Today I’ve interviewed Zack Urlocker, Chief Operating Officer at Zendesk.
Zendesk, is the leading cloud based help desk customer service software which uses a low touch sales model.
Low touch sales model companies usually keep small and focus sales teams, which saves a lot of money for their organizations, but can naturally contact fewer customers. How would these sales teams know where to focus on?
Zendesk, for example, have 10,000 customers and many new prospects are signing up for their service every day and they still very successful SaaS company as it intelligently using tools to help them figure out which users are more likely to buy. Those users are being referred to their sales team and the rest are being pushed for their self-service model which doesn’t require human resources.
Watch the full interview with Zack below to also learn what Zendesk use to keep their subscription customers using their service (hint: customer engagement)
Today I’ve interviewed Steve Bartel, Head of Analytics Team at Dropbox.
Dropbox no-touch sales model is a very good example to emphasize how important it is to increase customer value using different types of user approach activities (nurturing campaigns, application, etc.)
The most efficient way to conduct those activities is by performing them based on the customer life-cycle stage, rather than time based (as many companies still do) as the first approach refers directly to the user’s life-cycle stage in the application while the later assumes where they’d be at this time statistically.
If we refer to our users knowing their current stage in our application (instead of assuming that), we increase the chance users will be mature enough and be able to address our call and implement our suggestions.
See the complete interview with Steve to find out which other activities Dropbox is using to increase their customer engagement:
To read the full transcription of the video, click here
My name is Steven Bartel. I am responsible for the analytics team at Dropbox. And Dropbox is just a way to have your files wherever you you are, it also makes it really easy to share them. So dropbox does a lot of different things to increase user engagement. We use some of the more standard techniques.
For example, we’ll have tip e-mails, so early on in your Dropbox life, you’ll get an e-mail, saying “Hey, you haven’t tried out this feature. It might be useful for you.” We also do things around promoting our different features on our website. For example, in the top left corner when you’re browsing your files online you might see something that prompts you to share a folder with a friend, and maybe your photos.
Lastly some of our features our viral and they help help our users promote user engagement across each other. For example, we have shared folders, so when I put something into a shared folder, I’ll invite my friend to it. And, you know, they’ll start using DropBox again. We have a sales team. And what they’re looking into is how to sell DropBox for businesses.
The consumer product is entirely driven word of mouth and automated through our website. But we find that it’s, you know, very useful to have people to help explain the use case of DropBox for businesses. It might be, you know, if that’s a thing that will put more into this product, and we have a bunch of tools around, sourcing those leads, and figuring out who exactly might be the best fit for our sales team.
I’m happy to introduce the new LinkedIn connector of Totango.
This new feature helps low touch sales teams to get even more insights on prospects and accounts they are dealing with.
In low touch sales or zero touch online sales, one of the key challenges sales executives have is to rapidly go through the account qualification process – to quickly know who they are dealing with. Specifically for businesses who sell to SMB and Enterprise, inbound style, you wouldn’t expect sales rep to know by heart all of it’s inbound incoming potential buyers.
Totango LinkedIn Connector enables immediate visibility into incoming account profile from within the Totango view.
At Totango, I have initiated a project to collect and share more best practices around low-touch selling, free-to-paid conversion, up-selling and customer retention. On this blog we will share what we learn from speaking to sales and customer success professionals in the field of open source and SaaS software.
Today, I had an opportunity to speak to Rudy Reyes, the newly appointed VP of Customer Success at Alcove9. Alcove9 is a young company with an open source search tool that looks into a company’s intranet and indexes all of its data and information for rapid retrieval. It is a subscription-based service, but not a cloud-based solution.
The basic indexing and search tool is a free, open source download called the a9 Hub. Then, Alcove9 offers support subscriptions and upgrades to premium features such as CAD visualization and markup (a9 CADViz) or application connectors (a9 AppConnect) to systems like PLM (Product Lifecycle Management), ECM (Enterprise Content Management), ERP (Enterprise Resource Management), and more.
I asked Rudy about his priorities and customer success metrics for the company.
What are the priorities for the company today?
Alcove9 just went live on Monday, October 31; however, the foundation is based on a proven solution that has matured for over 7 years.
Our primary focus is on people who are looking for instant access to all of their corporate data that often resides in disparate systems. The core, open source download, a9 Hub, is the cornerstone of the entire suite of products and support services. Another important aspect of our sales and marketing activities is to work with partners such as AutoDesk and Aras to identify new product solutions in order to make organizations more efficient while eliminating the frustrations of trying to find vital, lost or legacy data.
What is the priority for the Customer Success team?
I work with the early adopters, translating customer requirements into product features. Then we help customers with successful on-boarding and implementation. It is really important to have someone who is focused on the total customer experience.
We are interested in adoption rates: who is downloading our application, who is installing it and then adoption metrics of different modules, such as which features they are using and finally retention rates (churn).
What are sales or up-selling signals?
Our sales are based on high-touch qualifying questions. For example, do they use CAD; do they have a PLM, ECM or ERP system. If they answer “yes,” then we will introduce them to the appropriate connector solutions. (AppConnect).
Thanks Rudy for the insights! I am keen to watch the progress of Alcove9 in the future!
Use an inside sales team to support leads through their evaluation process and convert them to paying customers.
Inside sales representatives (ISR) and sales management teams juggle with large volumes of leads of various qualities. Leads follow a self-paced evaluation model and the role of the inside sales team is to increase the number of those that eventually “convert” to paying customers once their trial concludes.
Here are 4 tips for inside sales teams to improve their effectiveness, increase conversion rates and deal sizes. Creating happier customers and a happier sales organization!
1. Prioritize correctly by eliminating noise
Within many SaaS companies the lead volume is very high and there are only so many phone calls one can make. The trick is to focus on the most promising prospects, the potential customers who came in with a real intention to evaluate the service and buy.
In order to focus on the right opportunities, sales teams should have ‘intention indication’ which is usually reflected by the amount of time and investment prospects put in the evaluation process. In short, make sure your CRM contains data that reflects the actual (as opposed to potential) engagement level of a lead, and prioritize your work accordingly.
2. Increase Contact Rate
Every sales person knows that being in contact with a prospect increases the chances of a bigger, better deal. However, in many cases, due to volume and geography it takes a while before you can actually contact a prospect.
To increase your chances of making contact, follow up while the prospect is within context, meaning, when the prospect is actually using the web application. By implementing a ‘who’s currently online’ monitor and contacting leads that are actively evaluating, your contact rates are sure to go up.
3. Make smart and personal sales call
When making contact, be sure to use all the information you have on the prospect in order to be personal and address the actual needs of a potential client. Prospects who interact with your business over the web expect a conversation with a sales rep to be effective and rather not repeat their entire history which was already reflected in forms that they have filled out and actions they performed on your application.
Make sure to prepare for each sales call by reviewing the following on the lead:
Demographics information: This includes the size and industry of the organization, the evaluator’s role within the organization and so forth.
Usage information: What has a prospect done so far during their Trial? Have they been able to get up and running? Are they using the software regularly during trial? Did they invite necessary stakeholders to join the evaluation (where appropriate)?
Make sure your sales-tools provide visibility into these two issues so you can form an intelligent view on their status and be more useful to the lead as you interact.
4. Timely follow up
Potential customers need time to absorb the information available on your web site and properly evaluate to understand the true value of your service. In many cases, they will evaluate multiple alternatives simultaneously. Make sure to follow up on time. On the one hand you don’t want to annoy the prospect (that adds zero value), but on the other hand you wouldn’t want to drop the ball and let them fall in the hands of your competition.
Sales teams should map various milestones of the evaluation process, and have clear benchmarks and definitions for prospects who are on track and those who are not.
For example, for an online help-desk service, we would expect to have more than one agent by the 5th day of the evaluation. If this is the case, a prospect is on track and only needs encouragement, if this is not the case, a prospect might need a different type of engagement in order to open the road blocker.
Managing these milestones for multiple ongoing accounts is not easy, but it’s essential to fulfill your role as a facilitator of the evaluation.
Successful SaaS sales teams that follow a proven methodology and take advantage of automated high-quality information will increase their chances to sell more and faster. They will improve the predictability and consistency of results – this is critical for scaling the organization.