Business Analysis – The Secret Sauce to Salesforce Success
Episode 011: Business Analysis – The Secret Sauce to Salesforce Success
In this exciting episode, we navigate through the dynamic Salesforce ecosystem with Vanessa Grant, a seasoned business analyst with more than 10 years of experience. She shares her inspiring journey and invaluable insights on Salesforce projects.
🧭 Vanessa’s tips on finding reliable resources, networking, and the futuristic potential of generative AI in bettering Salesforce solutions are priceless. She also underscores the pivotal role of business analysis in Salesforce projects. The discussion delves into the necessity of thorough project preparation, a DevOps process, user experience design, and a governance system. Vanessa emphasizes the importance of clean documentation, automation, and data integrety for AI preparation. 🎯
💡 Also introducing our new segment, ISV Spotlight! Meet Sam Levis and Caspian Lewke from Gong as they unveil the intriguing story behind Gong’s inception and its profound impact on the revenue ops space.
The episode concludes with an open invitation to the Banking on Disruption meetup at Dreamforce!
Don’t miss this captivating discourse on Salesforce and its dynamic ecosystem!
Links & Mentions
Salesforce Product Owner
Vanessa Grant is a Salesforce Product Owner at Mosaic. She has built her career around solving business problems with technical solutions and process improvements. Salesforce work embodies everything Vanessa loves in a job: teamwork, challenges, helping people, and Salesforce. She’s committed to improving outcomes for all Salesforce projects by speaking regularly on the importance of quality business analysis, devops, and design.
0:00:03 – Vanessa
Business analysis is really the first step of any. It’s a project-based role, but it’s really the first step and I would say probably the most important step, to make sure that whatever Salesforce project you have gets off on the right foot. It is the solid. Business analysis is the foundation of any good Salesforce project. If you are not building the right things, the project is not a success.
0:00:33 – Fred
Hello and welcome to Banking on Disruption. I’m Fred Kovina Holy smokes. We have another amazing guest on deck for episode 11, business analyst extraordinaire the real Vanessa Grant. I had a phenomenal time talking with Vanessa, riffing on everything we’ve seen in our combined more than 25 years in the Salesforce ecosystem and how we bring that to every one of our client engagements. After the interview, we have something special for you this week. We’re piloting a new segment we’re calling ISV Spotlight. In the ISV Spotlight, we spend 15 to 20 minutes with an ISV partner talking about their offering and what makes it unique and worthy.
For the first one, we do not disappoint. We have Sam and Caspian from Gong. If you have anything to do with revenue ops or revenue generation, you need to stick around for this one. Also, this episode is dropping five days before Dreamforce kicks off. I can’t believe it. Now, if you’re going to be at Dreamforce this year, you need to come to the Banking on Disruption meetup. Several of our guests will be there, including Vanessa. You won’t want to miss this one. Thanks to our partners at Formstack for co-hosting it with us.
It’s Tuesday in the early evening, 4.30 to 6.30, just when you’re ready to wind down from sessions and gear up from the Foo Fighters. We’re a few short steps from the Moscone Center, so please drop by. For more details and to register, go to dreamforcebankingondisruptioncom Now. While you’re listening to the podcast today, why not take a moment to follow us on LinkedIn at the Banking on Disruption podcast, or on Instagram at at bankingondisruption Now. Sit back and strap in, because our show is coming to you right now
0:03:06 – Fred
And welcome back this week. I couldn’t be more excited to be talking with Vanessa Grant, aka the real Vanessa Grant. Vanessa is an associate principal consultant who’s built her career around solving business problems with technical solutions and process improvements. After discovering Salesforce in 2010, it became the go-to tool in her technical solution tool belt. Salesforce work embodies everything Vanessa loves in a job teamwork, challenges and helping people. She’s committed to improving outcomes for all Salesforce projects by speaking regularly on the importance of quality, business analysis, design and DevOps.
Also, vanessa is a co-host of the Salesforce career show, where she and Josh are nice enough to let me drop in from time to time, so if you’ve not checked out that podcast yet, make sure to give it a listen after this episode is over. So, vanessa, welcome, thank you for having me. Thank you for being here. I’d like to start out just by asking you how did you first discover Salesforce back in 2010?
0:03:28 – Vanessa
Oh, well, you know, it’s that very heartwarming trailblazer story of me being a VP of business operations at a SaaS organization. We acquired two companies one had SugarCRM, one had Salesforce and we’d been using Goldmine CRM. I did a bunch of demos, signed the dotted line, and that’s how Salesforce came into my life. But I will say that Salesforce demo in 2010 blew me away maybe to age myself a little bit, but that was back in the day where, when we brought new software into a company, we were either installing it from a CD or throwing it into the network. So to see something like a CRM in the cloud like really blew my mind and so thus became the Salesforce geek that I am today.
0:04:11 – Fred
No, I totally get that. I’ve been in the ecosystem about that long as well. We didn’t do a bake off. I’d love to have seen that Sugar Goldmine Salesforce bake off that you guys did. But I wasn’t even involved in the decision. I had my boss coming in and telling me one day hey, we just signed this contract for this thing called Salesforce. It’s your responsibility. You’ve got six months to get it up and running. Good luck. And then he was gone. So that was my root awakening. But it was like and it’s obviously a very different product and platform today that could do so much more, but for the time like it was groundbreaking, like I had a floor of dotnet developers that could do all kinds of stuff for the front end. This was so much better for my business users.
0:05:01 – Vanessa
I remember when Salesforce first came into my life, one of the best practices if you went like, if you literally went onto the Salesforce website, it would say the person who could be your Salesforce admin might just be the receptionist. If she’s the one who cares about your data the most, maybe that should be the admin. And so that’s what we did back then. It was the Wild, wild West. So I home grew my own admin. I’m so proud of him. He’s like a senior admin at the Associated Press now, so I guess that worked out for him. I was managing for developers because it was classic days, so everything was code if you wanted to do anything custom. But yeah, it was a cool time, but I wish I knew then what I know now. Of course, we all script that for a Salesforce org, so apologies to that company, whoever they might be.
0:05:48 – Fred
Well, and a lot of times we had help with it. That first org that I did had some very questionable architectural decisions. Some I will own, Some will be owned by the consulting partner that I hired. They’re not around anymore, at least not by the same name, but it’s one of those things like you have to go through it a couple of times before you really kind of understand how everything works. I’m curious. You know you’ve seen a lot in the last 13 years. What would you say are your tips, your tricks for navigating the ever-evolving ecosystem?
0:06:23 – Vanessa
The ecosystem or like the Salesforce org, career-wise, where you can elaborate a little bit.
0:06:32 – Fred
I was going originally with the ecosystem from the product angle the Salesforce product, the platform. Constantly changing Workflows were a thing since I got involved. Now obviously they’re being supplanted. We’re having changes in profiles and moving towards permission sets. There’s always changes coming. I also want to get into the career part of the conversation, but just first, from a technical perspective, how do people keep up? How do you keep?
0:07:04 – Vanessa
up. How do I keep up? Well, I would love to say I read the release notes, but I usually just wait for the summary. So, for me, a lot of my strength comes in networking, and so I just go to a lot of conferences, I meet a lot of people, and I think back in 2010, when I was doing this, you could conceivably say that you knew everything about Salesforce, and that is just an outright lie today if anybody says it. And so I think it’s really important to have access to resources. So it’s not so much of how do I learn everything, it’s how do I quickly get access to the information that I’m going to need, and so part of that is being in touch with the experts. So if I can just call somebody and say, hey, could you answer this question really quick? Or understanding which are the sources that are useful versus noise in the ecosystem, because there are a lot of folks that will post things for attention and not so much for value.
0:08:02 – Fred
And so you want to name names, you want to call anybody out.
0:08:06 – Vanessa
I do, but I’m not going to. I will say I saw Twitter post the other day and it was just like some Salesforce guy I don’t even remember what his name was, but it filled me with rage. It was like this tweet that was like in three months time, learning these skills can change your life. And it was like empathy, continuous learning. And it was like 11 super soft skills. And I was like one why three months? Why did you come up with it? Three months, it’ll change your life. Two, how are you going to teach somebody empathy in three months? Where’s your plan for that dude?
It was just such like click baiting nonsense and that stuff drives me crazy because you get these like Salesforce talking heads that just put noise into the ecosystem and as folks that are trying to transition into a Salesforce career, like it’s harder to find the stuff of value. So when you do find that stuff. One, save it. Book market. If a Salesforce puts on a good webinar, save that I mean having access to resources where you can get information that is of value quickly is really important. There’s for clouds, for industries, for processes, for how to run Salesforce projects, all of its information that you may not know today but you’re likely going to need at some point in the future.
0:09:20 – Fred
No, I couldn’t agree more. There’s a ton of noise out there and I don’t want to go to AI right off the bat, but you just gave me an opening and I can’t resist talking about AI. But one of the things that I’ve been dedicating a lot of time to recently and it was my presentation at Midwest Dreaming was using generative AI to help make better Salesforce solutions, because there is so much out in the ecosystem. You can’t be an expert on everything and not that it’s going to design the perfect solution, but I do think that my goal was to get to enough generative AI that it could point you in the right direction to some things.
Hey, have you considered doing this? This might be a good solution type of an approach, but there is so much garbage out there and what’s being scraped and you think about what goes into. You know whether it’s chat, gtp or Anthropic or any of the platforms. They’re out there scraping social media and Reddit and Substack, and some of it’s good, right, but some of it’s dated and some of it, to your point, is just kind of garbage and it becomes hard and what would you say would be your best tips for somebody coming in to celebrate the signal or to separate the signal from the noise.
0:10:36 – Vanessa
I tend to usually direct people to get their LinkedIn to a point where it’s serving them. So what I mean by that is Salesforce has an MVP program. These are people that are vetted by Salesforce, that have been regular contributors to the ecosystem or considered thought leaders in their particular space. Those are the folks that I try to connect with initially on LinkedIn, and they’re usually going to post on LinkedIn. If they’re doing a webinar, if they’re writing an article, if they have a blog, they’re going to be promoting whatever it is, because they’re community people. They’re people who care about sharing Salesforce knowledge, and that’s usually where I would say I would trust their opinions on what the good sources for information are and I trust them as qualified sources for information. So that’s where I would usually start as the MVPs.
0:11:26 – Fred
No, I think that’s a fantastic recommendation. Any, you know, I asked you to call out on the on the bad side. Any, any particular resources you want to call out on the good side?
0:11:36 – Vanessa
Oh, on the good side, I love so melissa shepherd for the seat for folks that are on a cta path. That architect ohana slack that she has has amazing stuff if you’re interested in that. I also love david giller for admin stuff. David giller’s been doing it for years. He’s great. One of my personal heroes is in gots and elements cloud and you want to talk about a company that’s doing really cool things with a. I like their, a I demo, like blew me away. But yeah, there’s. There’s just so many like, really like people doing really cool things in the sales force ecosystem. I think that’s one of the things that I love about the sales force ecosystem is, for whatever reason, like it inspires the geekery out of out of so many of us. We’re just like where. I think I did this video once where I said that sales force is like kind of a part of my personality now and that’s kind of scary to say, but Also very true, but also.
0:12:29 – Fred
No, I completely agree. I completely see that. I think you know I’ve observed something very similar. I think for me it’s a couple things. One, it’s a Very, very powerful platform that is insanely accessible. You can go today, stand up at a developer or get a fully, you know, functional. You would want to use it for production, but you can get full access to all the tools. In some cases you might have to go in and ask for special licenses for, like some of the industry, cloud stuff, for things like that, but you can go and do basic configuration all the way up to writing classes and classes of apex code and it’s very accessible. It’s easy for people to kind of come in and in the last five years with trailhead like it’s so easy to go in and if you’re motivated, just like pick things up and learn, like verses, if you wanted to go Get smart on on the amazon ecosystem or on like some other development platforms, you have to be much more technical, much more quickly than you do it. Sales force.
0:13:28 – Vanessa
Yeah, when. So before I dedicated my entire career to sales force, I was much more of a business process person and I was really concerned before I got into consulting that I wasn’t technical enough. But that’s. That’s part of the thing. I mean. Sales force is a platform, so it’s continuously evolving. There’s it, there’s lots of project based work because it’s going to have to continually be improved. It’s not like you’re installing it. What you get out of the box is the only thing you get. You really have to tailor it to your business, and so there really is room for so many different folks with different skill sets. People, people, technical people you ask people integration people like their business people there everybody can have a part in a successful project. Delivery of a sales force feature.
0:14:17 – Fred
Absolutely. I think this is a perfect chance to talk a little bit about some of the career pivot conversation. A lot of our listeners come from a banking and financial services background not necessarily everybody, but I do hear from a lot that they’re getting their first exposure. You know, maybe their bank but just bought sales force, are there expanding it into the department of their working in and they’re really getting into Sales force for the first time, either as a power user or maybe they’re being asked to step into a product ownership role, at least for, like, their function. What advice do you have about people that are managing that type of a career pivot? You know both like as your first game to sales force and then if, like the both of us, you kind of decide after getting that first taste that you want to go all in, how do you manage that career pivot successfully?
0:15:07 – Vanessa
Well, I think the first thing is to start getting into that trailhead account and start keep learning things with sales force.
It really is a continuous learning journey and I think it’s very difficult for companies when they first get sales force to be able to distinguish.
The sales force isn’t just like Another I t product that we’re gonna have a ticketing system and whatever anybody wants. Somebody puts in a request and, okay, we deliver the sales force, that it is a platform and that the folks that are overseeing sales force have to be really like internal trusted advisors. And so once you can start seeing sales force from that side, where how do we Use sales force as the central point of our business to maximize the value that we’re getting out of this huge investment? You know it’s not just I’m an admin or I’m a user is that you’re actually a contributor, because what the things that you’re thinking of as far as the ways that we can improve our business processes using sales force Ask for, there is a possibility that sales force can actually do the thing. So having everybody contribute to the evolution of sales force at a company to make it incrementally better and better and healthier and healthier, that’s the. I mean, that’s where the magic of having sales force work for a company really lies, in my opinion.
0:16:24 – Fred
No, I think you’re spot on. I’d love to hear your advice on how to get that right. And you and I’ve both been in the consulting system for a while and I’m sure you seen the gamut of companies that are all in and they’re running their business on sales force and the only piece of software is not the only sass that’s under the roof, but they’re clearly sales for centric and they’re the ones that have it kind of is window dressing. Right, I’ve got sales force for this, but I’ve got these other 45 point solutions that I’m trying to get people to navigate towards. And how do you get company to do that? In my shift so they go from Kind of sales force as a, as a flavoring, to being really sales force. You know. First, who’s.
0:17:09 – Vanessa
That’s a tough one and I don’t know that a ton of organizations do it well, I found when, when I was internal, there was a lot of challenges trying to figure out where sales force should go in the company and If, when my team was under sales, we found ourselves doing sales stuff all the time. When my team was under legal, we found ourselves doing legal stuff all the time, and it was just a lot of dictating what they wanted us to do.
What I find is when sales force can be under a more neutral person who can see the value of the product and they’re able to to better able to prioritize the needs of the business and figure out which project should go into the road map for sales force.
That’s that’s where the you don’t end up building sales force based on what you know the squeaky wheels probably in sales. You know what now, if you don’t have that champion kind of at an executive level, it can be really challenging, especially if you got very, very silent organization and so sometimes there has to be some some education internally. Are you gonna get your execs that are hopefully gonna be your sponsors on the trailhead? Unlikely, but you know that’s where you rub elbows with your a try to get them a ticket to dream force and give them that whole experience where, when they’re speaking to other leaders, even ones that are in similar industries, they will learn a lot. They’ll be able to understand what does it look like to have a healthy sales force or that contributes to my business on a regular basis? You know that really adds value.
0:18:40 – Fred
Yeah, no, I love that. I think that’s a great combination of approaches. I know that a number of times I’ve had Either executives at companies that I’ve worked at or you know it from the consulting side, that have been, you know, I don’t wanna say detractors or pessimists, but they haven’t necessarily been all in and then they go To dream force. They even go sometimes to a world tour event and really just make those connections with their peers. They see, you know what’s happening and kind of the excitement behind it, and it really helps Get the juices flowing.
I think that you know the more that a person can do internally to be that evangelist and really Approach various business problems with the. What can we do to solve this with the tools that we already have? I think that’s another technique that I’ve seen, you know, work really well, especially in this environment where everybody is watching the bottom line a little bit more. If you can deliver additional value with the licenses that you already have, rather than going out and buying something else that you either have to integrate or deal with not being integrated, I think that’s that’s definitely a differentiator.
0:19:49 – Vanessa
Yeah, I mean it definitely goes back to that being that trusted internal advisor in your organization where, if you can be viewed as not somebody who just Lives to serve their users, but somebody who actually can provide value to a business, that their council is gonna be sought after regularly. As far as, hey, these are some new business initiatives coming down the pipeline. What can we do using sales force like that is where you want to be.
0:20:13 – Fred
Yeah, absolutely. I want to go back to something you mentioned briefly a second ago and I’ve gotten a ton of value from your posts. I’ve seen the articles on sales force ben. You know it comes up frequently in your podcast about business analysis and the importance of business analysis and why you need to invest time in getting your processes right before you start putting your fingers to keyboard and configuring or writing code. So I’d like to give you just a little bit of an open mic to be that advocate on why business analysis is so important.
0:20:50 – Vanessa
I could be here all day.
0:20:52 – Fred
The I’m gonna go make some coffee. I’ll be back in a minute.
0:20:57 – Vanessa
So business analysis is is really the the first step of any. It’s a project based role, but it’s it’s really the first step and I would say probably the most important step to make sure that whatever sales force project you have gets off on the right foot. It is the Solid business analysis is the foundation of any good sales force project delivery. If you are not building the right things, the project is not a success. So when we’re talking about business analysis, we’re talking about folks that are going into understand what the business problems are there. It’s very often times when you have Stakeholders within an organization that are going to, in their mind, already picture what they want. So they’ll say I need a button or I need a page that does this, and that they’ll already have the whole solution in their mind. But again, sales force is a platform and oftentimes that platform has many stakeholders involved and so having that architect that is going to more neutrally be able to decide okay, given the business problem, forget the button that they want no business.
To make a button. Given the business problem, what is the best way? Considering best practices as far as architecture, considering my other stakeholders and their needs and considering the health of the sales force, or how do I deliver this business value in the best way possible? So let the sales force expert handle that, and then the bas, or the folks that are going to be handling the business analysis portion, are really the ones that are getting to. Why are we doing this? What is the business value we’re seeing that we want to see from this? What is it that we’re wanting to get to at the end of this functionally? What kind of experience should the users have without talking about how it’s going to be done?
0:22:46 – Fred
But, vanessa, we already have a process and it’s worked for such a long time, and why can’t we just put that on sales force? It’ll magically be better.
0:22:55 – Vanessa
Well, I mean, I say it all the time but if you take a bad process and then you throw sales force on it, you just get a faster bad process. So before you even throw sale like I don’t even mention sales force in my first conversation usually it’s let’s talk about your current state and then let’s talk about where you want to go, and it’s it’s a business process that we’re talking through, not the how is it going to look in sales. Forget, sales force might not even be the answer to it. A lot of times. Maybe you’ve got tom, an accounting who’s really married to his excel sheets and maybe that’s the problem and maybe that’s the one you need to deal with first before, before you start moving stuff in a sales force. But really getting that, getting that documentation down, getting your business process maps down, getting all your stakeholders to agree on what the process even is and what we want it to look like in the future all of this is really really valuable work that needs to be done at the beginning of a Sales force project so that you’re building the right thing.
I feel like so often consultants and even businesses fall into the trap of if we’re spending so much time preparing that, that we’re not delivering things. They want to see tangible things. They want to see things getting built in, code being written, what? What ends up happening is, if you don’t take that time to do proper documentation and proper business analysis and proper user stories if you’re doing agile or business requirements document, whatever it is if you don’t take that time, you are going to basically push all that, the project down the line.
You kick all those problems down the road where things are going to get built, you’ll demo them and the all of a sudden I’ll be like wait, we didn’t talk about this one handoff. The other department should have totally been Been brought in earlier. Oh wait, hold on, I hate that thing. Or wait, you didn’t really understand what I was, what I was going for. So the more you can and I know it’s so trendy to say shift left, but it really is if you can, if you can shift, shift a lot of that project left and capture all of that properly, it will make the rest of the project go so much smoother.
0:24:57 – Fred
So I couldn’t agree more. I’m gonna ask a very dangerous question, which is you know I’ve been now in consulting for almost 10 years and one of the rules of thumb initially you know I’m kind of project estimation was you take your, your bill duration and you should add 20% for discovery and 20% for testing and 10% for deploy, and that’s kind of and I’m not saying that’s right, but I’m saying that that was kind of the conventional wisdom. So if you’re thinking about kind of that same rule of thumb, how much time would you Think we would spend on business process analysis?
0:25:39 – Vanessa
you know documentation, you know design ahead of build, kind of relative to that bill duration well, I mean, if we’re doing something in an agile fashion, then when you’re writing those user stories like you don’t necessarily have to unless you’re doing my god, what’s that? The safe agile man? That stuff’s like like, it’s like scaled. Scaled I mean it’s like concurrent waterfall, you know whatever you know, I mean, I’m not a fan of that one, but you don’t, you don’t want to light up your release trains.
Oh good, god, you know the enterprise service bus or what I don’t know. Anyway, forget all but. But it’s for me it’s OK. You don’t have to just have a whole bunch of fully groomed solution user stories before we even start build. Like I think it can be an ongoing conversation, but you do have to have your requirements down and the whole idea like when you’re talking, you’re like OK, well, if the build is going to take this long, then we need to do 20% for discovery. Why are we starting with how long the build is going to take if we don’t actually that is the trap of that particular methodology.
0:26:46 – Fred
Like I said, I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just saying like, if you’re, if you’re kind of expecting and you know, I don’t know, I have this kind of gut and maybe maybe I’m the wrong one here right, but if I get in front of a client they’ll say, oh, we need to do this, this and this, and it’s a business outcome, it’s not just a button, right. It’s like, oh, we, we want to build this loan origination process on Salesforce and blah, blah, blah. And I can, my God, I can say, ok, that’s, that’s six months or that’s, you know, nine months or whatever that. And I’m not right to the, to the, but you kind of know, like, order of magnitude is this, is this two sprints? Is this 20 sprints, right?
So then you’re like, ok, if it’s, if we think it’s about six months, we should spend probably at least a month on discovery, up front documenting stuff, right. And so that’s kind of my thing. Like, if you think you’re doing a project that’s going to be half a years of effort, is that a month of business process discovery and documentation? Is that two months? Is it? Is there not really a good rule of thumb? I’m just I’m curious.
0:27:44 – Vanessa
I think every business is a little bit different and the way that they are set up with stakeholders can be a little bit different. So I think it’s important to take that time in the beginning to strategize and figure out how you’re going to tackle it, because I mean, if, if you again, I don’t look at it as like how long the build is so it should be a month I look at it as how complex is this? How many people do I need to speak to? How many requirements do I have? Is the scope even locked? That’s always one of the fun things, because the answer to that is no.
You know, do it, and also, how many people do we have. So if I’m just one BA, it could take a long time. If I have a team of BA is and we’re going to split up in a world Workstreams, then that could, then that’ll be different. So there’s a lot more factors in there for me. But I think certainly, before we’re even talking about when the build is going to start, we have to have a really clear understanding of what those requirements are, what the scope of the work is, and and it has to be detailed enough that we can actually strategize with the resources we have to figure out how we’re going to actually go into this discovery phase so that we, where our output will be, you know solid user stories that are ready, there’s print ready, you know.
0:28:55 – Fred
No, I totally hear that. You brought up one of my favorite topics, which is agile, and I already know your opinion of safe agile, which is fine, but like just in general. So I tend to be a very strong advocate and I’ll use a different term here of Running Salesforce as a product inside a company that they would agree.
Whatever your particular product methodology is, you should have and strive for continuous improvement, delivering continuous features, whether it’s to new user groups or to your existing user base. But what are your thoughts on agile? Like how, how would you approach agile to a company that maybe has never thought in an agile way before?
0:29:42 – Vanessa
It’s, it’s tough, and I remember when I was a product owner and I was overseeing Salesforce, we got put under the product team. That first month where they were trying to teach me agile, I was like what is this? Like witchery, like this does not make any sense to me. Like we’re doing like ceremonies now. What kind of cult thing is this? And I will say it.
So I was really, really fortunate in that on my first agile project, one of my developers was a was an agile coach, and I was so fortunate where I’d never seen an IT project get delivered on time and on budget. And my first agile project where which was done to the T perfectly you know scrum, master, agile coach or the whole every ceremony was done just right. We played little games. Whatever it is on time, on budget, every stakeholder was prepared for what the thing was going to look like at the end because we kept them in the loop the entire time. We had involved stakeholders, we had involved you know interactive demos. It was amazing, and so having seen a project get delivered in an agile fashion was done well was amazing. Unfortunately, then I moved into a lot of different consulting engagements where folks aren’t formally trained on agile and they end up doing some kind of weird hybrid waterfall agile like we say. We’re agile because we, because you know we throw we, we do waterfall and user stories.
We’ve got standups every day, right, right if we got standups so much and I mean there’s benefits to that, but they’re. They’re losing a lot of what makes agile good, and unfortunately it is. It’s going to always going to be an uphill battle, especially if you’re working with a client or if you’re just somebody in an organization and you’re trying to get them to to change from that waterfall mindset to agile and no, no slagging on waterfall, like there’s a time and a place where, ultimately, a waterfall methodology is good. It’s really you have to understand okay, what is the project? How, how tight is that? Are those requirements? How tight is our timeline? Thinking about okay, we’ve got con bond, we’ve got, we’ve got scrum, we’ve got waterfall. What is the best delivery methodology for this particular project? I don’t know that you necessarily have to use the same one every time. I think it should really be dependent on what here’s the work that I have. What is the best way to deliver this?
0:32:11 – Fred
Yeah, I think you’re, you’re, you’re, 100% on track with that. I’ve, and I tend to like I do. I like the, the flexibility in it. I like the, the ability to do quick reprotecting you know business needs change quickly and also like the fact that it really is a commitment to the users in the organization that this is a living, breathing product. It’s not just you know, we’re not, we’re not all going to go to a cave for six months and come out and then never look at it again for another five years. Right, this is, this is a minute’s good of all overtime. But I do think, like you know, for me, integrations, especially like large, complex base level integrations, like in a bank, if you’re Standing up sales for the first time and you’re connecting the core banking transactional system to sales force, in a lot of ways that makes sense to be more waterfall than actual. Right, it has, you know, some very defined requirements. So I do like that.
Pick the right methodology For the work that you’re doing. I think these have been great nuggets on. You know some of the foundational things that need to be in place Anytime somebody is, you know, considering a new sales force in environment. What other kind of foundational elements would you, would you want people to consider? Do you think are important anytime? You want to make sure you have a healthy work?
0:33:33 – Vanessa
Well, now that I’ve been in the sales force ecosystem for over a decade and I’ve seen how sales force has evolved over the years, there was a real Push in the beginning for for getting an admin and a developer to work on your org, but there wasn’t a focus on the other, I think found things that are foundational for a healthy sales force organ. So, as a consultant, what I’ve seen over and over and over again, really really sadly, is these five to ten year old orgs when they didn’t have a robust devops process, they didn’t consider user experience design, they didn’t consider business analysis, so they had no documentation and so if they change one thing, the whole thing broke. And I’ve done these projects where the sales force org has to kind of get burned to the ground and and and rise like the phoenix again you know where. They build it from scratch again and trying to do it right. So I love that sales forces is putting much more emphasis on some of these other things because at the end of the day, if, if you can get your project delivery, write your devops process here, you don’t want to put things straight in a production. You want to. You want to team that understands how how projects are going to get, get taken in and move through the pipeline so that we can, so we all feel confident about what’s going to be delivered. You need user experience design, so if nobody is going to use the, then what’s the point of building it? You need business analysis, because what’s the point of building it if it’s not the right thing?
And then I would say, lastly, is you need some form of governance, because if you don’t have some governance on your sales force or you are going to be a place that that is the slave to the squeaky wheels again, probably sales, but but but where you turn into an order taker and so having a really, really clear project intake, you know your emergency is not my emergency. That has to go through the proper channels. We have to be able to prioritize, cuz ultimately and that’s a very agile thing is we’re trying to get to the most business value as fast as possible. And so if we are just stopping what we’re doing because some, somebody wants a field somewhere, and not really Doing it properly by asking why do you need that field, what’s the business value from this, and let’s, let’s weigh that against the other things that people are asking for in the organization, you’re not going to maximize the business value of your sales force or and you’re also not going to maximize the health of your sales force, or so governance, even and when I talk about governance besides managing your business stakeholders really really important getting those things prioritize, getting everybody on the same page. As far as Okay, we are the trusted internal advisors and, yes, all of your feedbacks important to us, but it’s going to go in the right order.
I think governance is also really important from the standpoint of how we develop this. So sales force oftentimes is a team sport. When you are maintaining a healthy sales force org and if you have two developers, you don’t want to make it look like there’s two developers when you’re looking at the code in the sales force org. So having standards as far as naming conventions, how descriptions are gonna are gonna go, you know how flows should be built all of that is really important so you as a team can collectively understand what good looks like, what is done, look like you know in our sales force org, so that we’re all on the same page and if somebody leaves, the next person comes in fits right in the. This is what we as a team have agreed upon Is what we need to do continuously to maintain the health of our order.
0:36:57 – Fred
I love, I love all that. I especially love where you started out, which is kind of that philosophical shift in sales force and I think a lot of it when I first got exposed to sales force. So is actually ironically, the second sales force org that that that company bought. There was one that was for a city, areas of you know, smaller piece, maybe 10% of the business, and sales force had set up an appointment with the guy who was like the president of that division and talked about how awesome it was and he basically put you know 20 licenses on his American Express card and nobody knew about it and I didn’t. I didn’t learn about it, you know I did. Sales force was now like part of what I was supposed to own in the organization. I didn’t even know about it for another three years but sales force was so good, like you know.
It’s one of those things like I don’t think we would. We would be here today If sales force didn’t have that like very gorilla kind of you know sales approach. Or we’re gonna get in there, we’re gonna, we’re gonna find these sales leaders, we’re gonna find these service leaders and get them to put it on their American Express card and get in in all of these big, you know enterprise companies at the same time. It’s led to like now we’re reaping All of these ill managed organizations right. That that along the way never kind of picked up. Governance never kind of picked up. You know a devop strategy, an environment strategy, you know a testing strategy, development standards, and it can be really painful. I’m curious, like what, what do you use? Like if you have kind of a quick and dirty, you know analysis that you do to say, hey, this, this org is salvageable or this org just needs to be burned to the ground and and start, start new? Like what do you look at? What are those key things?
0:38:52 – Vanessa
Oh gosh. Well, I guess the first thing I’ll do is I’ll look at see how, how good their documentation is. So if they have any documentation, that is helpful. But we’ll look at probably automations is a big thing how many fields they have. So Like I would love to say it was only one org, but I’ve seen it several times where they’ve they’ve had over like 800 fields on account. So they had to do like a account to kind of a thing, you know, with the shadow over Like there were, like and which is blows my mind is just how do you like so many fields?
0:39:25 – Fred
and how many of them were empty? That’s my question.
0:39:30 – Vanessa
And so so once it starts getting where, again it’s the there’s so much we don’t know. There’s so much in here and there’s so much we don’t know. And anytime we are trying to add a feature or change something, like we were shaking in our boots because we know that something’s going to break, that’s usually the okay. Maybe we need to start having the conversation on does this make more sense to start from scratch and maybe start having those conversations? I’m like what is Salesforce supposed to be doing? Like what are the key business processes that are going through your org? Because right now you have a ton of technical debt and it might just be easier to just start from scratch, maybe, and also see if it was architected well. If it wasn’t architected well, that’s another big thing. Doing that all in the same org, especially if it’s like five, 10 years old. Sometimes it’s just better to start fresh with you know that whole.
I know better now than I did then the past is the past, but you know I’m going to do it better next time. And there’s no, you know it happens all the time. There’s no shame, people will be happier for it, I mean. But that’s why I think it’s something like 30% of companies are still in classic.
0:40:47 – Fred
Like some insane to me.
0:40:49 – Vanessa
It’s some. I know it’s close to that, but it’s because they’re afraid to go to like. They’re like everything will break.
0:40:56 – Fred
We have no documentation Like we’ve got all these visual force pages.
0:41:02 – Vanessa
Yes, and so a lot of times that classic conversion is is what’ll start those conversations actually in a lot of the orgs that I’ve seen you know. Okay, well, we want to reap the benefits of lightning, so what do we do? Because if we try to touch anything, everything’s going to break. So, okay, well, maybe we just have a new lightning org and start doing that business analysis and get our stuff in a place so that once we deliver the baby, it’ll it’ll.
0:41:28 – Fred
it’ll grow up healthy and not make this thing mistakes a second time around. Well, I think that that all is fantastic. I know we talked about AI once, but I’m going to bring it back to AI again because I think this is a great kind of segue, you know, for those orgs that maybe are not quite in as dire straits. But, you know, maybe you’ve been around for five years, seven years, 10 years, have a lot going on and now everybody’s looking for you know, how can we bring AI in? How can we get more insights? How can we, you know, take advantage of these count summaries or opportunity summaries or any of this generative stuff that Salesforce is rolling out and a lot of third parties are rolling out? What would you say to like make sure people are ready before they start layering a lot of this AI on top of their existing work?
0:42:24 – Vanessa
Well, ai is only as good as the information that it reads off of. So, while we don’t necessarily like we can’t predict all the cool things that AI is going to bring to our lives in the next five years, but what we can do now is clean house a bit. So I actually am doing a session actually very similar to this at Dreamforce in a couple weeks, but and I’ll give a lot of credit Ian gots from Elements Cloud who’s like, like, like in deep on all this AI stuff. We’ve had some really great conversations, but it’s making sure that your data is clean. So if you’ve got a whole bunch of fields that you need to deprecate, if you’ve got a whole bunch of app exchange products that you need to deprecate, if it’s still in there and you throw AI on top, it’s going to read okay.
0:43:08 – Vanessa
This must be good. So cleaning house a bit with your data. But you know, Ian made a good point when we were discussing it actually yesterday, on how it can be overwhelming if you’ve got thousands of fields in your org like, oh geez, okay, now all of a sudden I’ve got to put really good descriptions in my in a thousand fields and that’s the first thing it’s. You can prioritize your AI backlog. You know, if we’re going to go back to business analysis a bit, trying to think of what are the processes that are most important, that would benefit the most from AI, and then focus on what those business processes touch in the Salesforce org and work on cleaning those things up first and so take it from there. So organize your AI backlog by business process. So, again, business analysis is going to be, while it’s foundational for a good Salesforce project, is also going to be foundational for having an org that is prepared for AI.
0:44:03 – Fred
You mean, it’s not a one and done thing.
0:44:06 – Vanessa
No, no, I mean, it’s funny. I feel like people like want to throw BA’s into a cave after the project is done, like, well, we’ll let you out when we want to implement the next Salesforce feature. But but yeah, besides getting your data clean, there’s also going to have to be, again, more governance. So how are people at your company using AI today and and how can you, as the Salesforce person, be involved in those conversations on how the company is going to use AI moving forward so you can be an advocate for your org, which should be at the heart of the organization? And then the other thing is to make sure and this is more of the long term strategy for AI is make sure that things are well architected.
Again, if you throw AI on top of stuff and the foundation is weak, you know that’s maybe not the best time to throw AI on top of stuff, but if you, if you don’t have a strong foundation, you know you’re you’re not going to maximize the benefits that that AI would be able to bring in the future as far as productivity or even solutions. You know it’s you really do have to kind of clean house, but the thing I love about it, like these, are all things that admins have wanted to do for years, but could never like. Go up against the other business stakeholders that are like, yeah, my thing brings business value, so we should work on my project. Next, all of a sudden, we’re like, yeah, but my stuff’s going to bring AI, so please let me clean up my technical debt for once.
0:45:25 – Fred
Like yes, yeah, I know I love that and one of the things they just want to call out that. I heard in what you said and maybe just like double click into it a little bit, like it’s not just about getting your data clean, it’s about getting all that metadata clean, right? So if you want AI to come in and do unsupervised learning on your org, it needs to know what those fields are. And if you don’t have field descriptions, if you don’t have you know it’s not going to be able to really get the context of what you’re storing in that field, and so yeah, comment on that code Exactly.
Like so and I just I think that’s something important for listeners to take away is this is a. It’s important to get that right as well. I love you know, for me, I’ve always tried to get my clients, especially like a managed services kind of environment, to take 20% kind of as a rule of thumb.
I’m very good at these rules of thumb, apparently and say, 20% of every you know cycle, every release cycle, every maybe not every sprint should be for, like, org improvement, for, whether you want to call it technical debt or whether you just want to talk about you know org optimization, but it really should be on improving what’s there, and then the rest of it can be new stuff. Right, like everybody wants the sexy new features, right, I can’t blame them for that, but you can’t just ignore the other, and I think even with AI on the table is very hard to sell. Well, our next five sprints are all going to be org remediation but, like, if you start working it along the way, I think you’ll have a, you’ll be done before you know it and and you’ll be, you’ll continue to be ahead of the game as long as you keep, you know, investing time.
0:47:11 – Vanessa
I totally agree. I think it’s. I think the the first step is to take the first step. So get you know, start start learning what AI can do. Start trying to brainstorm on on how it might improve which business processes. Start working on those things. Start thinking about governance. Start maintaining your things in your org. So comments, the descriptions, all those things like totally with you when, when, yes, you can implement all these sexy features, but if you don’t maintain them and take the time to maintain them, then you’re going to end up like so many of the orgs that I’ve seen, where we burn them to the ground and rebuild them in five years. That’s just the reality.
0:47:51 – Fred
That is just the reality. Well, this has been an amazing conversation. I really appreciate your time. Vanessa, this episode will drop on September 7, which is just a few days before Dreamforce. I think you, kind of like humble, bragged in one of your responses a minute ago about having a session, and I think you actually said one of my sessions, so I guess that means you’re going to Dreamforce. You want to tell the audience a little bit about where they can find you. How many dozen sessions do you have?
0:48:24 – Vanessa
Humble brag. I mean, it’s pure humility.
0:48:26 – Fred
I like it.
0:48:29 – Vanessa
I am doing. I have four speaking slots at Dreamforce. I’m doing three sessions. One of them is preparing your org for an AI driven future, so you guess you kind of got the sneak preview on that one. It’ll probably be have some some cool slides though. So if you, if you want to get the prettier version, find your place in the Salesforce ecosystem. So, for folks that are new to the Salesforce ecosystem and trying to figure out what role might might be good for them, or clouds, or how do they get that information, find those resources similar to what we had discussed earlier, and I’m also doing a panel on how to supercharge your discovery using AI.
0:49:07 – Fred
That sounds, those sounds like fantastic sessions, and and if people want to go, do that, just go to the agenda builder. Look for your name and they should come right up.
0:49:17 – Vanessa
Yep, they should come right up. Vanessa Grant should be pretty easy and also a dream force, I think Josh Matthews, my co host on the Salesforce career show, and I are going to be doing a dreamforce like podcasters party on on Wednesday If anybody wants to come out to the circuit party.
0:49:36 – Fred
I think that’s Wednesday 230 to 330. I think I don’t think I will be there as well, and I think Josh and I have been working on reaching out to several other podcasts and bloggers, so we’re hoping for a great crowd. So hopefully your audience and our audience and a lot of people can get together and just really have a good time learning for each other shots.
You know what it’s. It’s 230 in the afternoon, but I have heard you can drink all day if you don’t start the morning. So but I am definitely looking forward to dreamforce. I definitely would have put your sessions on my agenda builder, and looking forward to the meetup and I really appreciate the time. Thank you so much.
0:50:20 – Vanessa
Thank you so much for inviting me. It was really good talking to you, Fred.
0:50:22 – Fred
Take care and welcome back this episode. We’re excited to launch our inaugural ISV spotlight segment with gong. If you have anything to do with rev ops, you know gong is a juggernaut in that space, and today we’re joined by Sam Levis and Caspian Lukey to tell us a little bit about gong and how they’re helping firms move the revenue needle, kicking things off nice and easy. Sam Caspian, tell our listeners about your roles at gong and for those of our listeners who aren’t familiar with gong as a product, what’s it all about?
0:50:58 – Caspian
Well, hey, fred Dane, thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to be on the podcast. My name is Kaspy and Lukey. I am a sales engineer here at Gong and I often make the silly kind of analogy that if an account executive is Batman, I am like Alfred. I’m responsible for solving the technical problems that either prospects run into or account executives, and I’m kind of a man in the chair the guy in the chair to conceptualize my role. So it’s really exciting. I spend a lot of time with customers and with account executives, solving really interesting problems and grateful to be here.
0:51:30 – Fred
I love that. I guess that makes Sam you Batman. I.
0:51:33 – Sam
Guess, so I guess so well do you have the voice?
0:51:36 – Fred
say I’m Batman.
0:51:37 – Sam
I do not have that. Maybe for the end of that. I’ll try it out at the end of the pod. But, fred Dane, thanks for having me. Pleasure to be on and I am an account executive here at Gong. I’ve been here for about a year and a half just over that now, and my primary responsibility Bring in our new logos. So trying to drive revenue and get new logos into Gong and and using our platform.
0:52:01 – Fred
That’s great, fantastic. So tell us, tell her listeners, a little bit about Gong as a product. I know what it does a little bit. I know, dane, you know, but I don’t know that our whole listening audience knows Gong and what it’s all about.
0:52:13 – Sam
Awesome, yeah, so at a at a high level, gong is like a GPS for your go-to-market team. So what we’re doing is we’re ingesting all of the activity of data around your customer facing interactions that are taking place today. So any email center received a zoom meeting, any calendar invite. We’re bumping all of these data points up together to give you a comprehensive view of all of your data and then giving you the ability to make sense of this data and then deliver you insights to drive revenue.
0:52:44 – Dane
Awesome. Hey, sam. Thanks for giving us an overview of Gong as a product. And just thinking about how products evolve over time, where did it start? Can you give us that founding story of Gong? Of course, yeah.
0:53:00 – Sam
So our CEO and co-founder, amit Bhandav, was having a very successful run as CEO at Sysense and all of a sudden, they were having a terrible quarter and Amit had no clue why this was happening. So he was on a long flight from Israel to the US and what he was trying to do is listen to all of his team’s calls For the entire flight and realize that, no matter how many calls he listened to, it was truly impossible to understand Exactly what was going on. So that’s where the idea of Gong came, so that Gong could be your eyes and your ears to deliver you insights without having to be part of every sale conversation.
0:53:41 – Fred
I love that and you know, really, I think of the message I’m hearing is scale. You know, obviously, the ability to not have to, as a sales leader, as a revenue ops leader, be in every single conversation. That’s not possible. In addition to that, I’m wondering you know Casper, and what makes Gong so popular with revenue leaders?
0:54:02 – Caspian
Yeah, it’s a good question. I would say that there’s three main reasons why Gong is so popular with revenue leaders and different stakeholders within revenue organizations overall. One is that you’re able to accomplish a broad variety of tasks in one place. So if you’re a manager, you’re able to coach. If you are on the revops I don’t know if you’re focused on forecasting you can review your pipeline and forecast out of Gong. And then finally, and arguably, what a lot of sales leaders care about is Surfacing mission critical insights what’s working for my different reps, what’s not working? What messaging do we need to change? That is all Areas that Gong focuses on. And number two is Gong helps reps improve.
And I’d ask you all the question and you know a question for anyone listening who doesn’t want to get better at things they care about.
Right, if I’m an individual rep and I want to understand how is the best performer on my team Responding to certain objections, I can use Gong to listen to how that best rep does that.
Or if I’m a manager and I want to understand how can I Kind of share best practices across the team, right, sam’s phenomenon at his job how can I share how Sam is Beginning discovery in his initial conversations will with Gong.
I can share snippets from his conversations so that people don’t need to spend hours sifting through calls to find those what I’ll call gold nuggets. And then finally it that point dovetails nicely into that final point, which is that there’s value for everyone, regardless of where you sit within the revenue organization. Overall, if you’re on the revenue operation side, you probably care about forecasting, which Gong can help address. If you’re in enablement, you likely care about what messaging is most effective, proving out the ROI of specific trainings, which Gong can help you uncover. And then, finally, for sales leaders, what helps reps hit quota and hit quota consistently, and where can I implement coaching to help those struggling reps? Those are all areas that Gong helps solve for, and I think that’s what makes Gong effective, is it helps people get better at their jobs or, hopefully, get better at the things they care about.
0:56:11 – Fred
Yeah, I love that and you know I’ve been a revenue leader in professional services over the course of my career for the last 10 years and I have noticed a ton of sophistication. Come to that revenue ops and revenue management Function, especially you know, accelerating the last five years. How does Gong like dovetail into those trends, like what trends are you seeing and how is Gong complimenting those trends? And really you know building this product around meeting, you know meeting that increasing level of sophistication.
0:56:44 – Sam
Yeah, definitely. We’ve seen very common themes, especially in the last year, year and a half, right now, and so Gong is this robust, comprehensive base of these customer-facing interactions that we’re able to Understand and make sense of. And so there’s three very common themes that we’ve seen recently, and just diving into them and backing up with what the researchers are saying is that strategic initiative are failing, and right now those are what go-to-market teams are placing big bets, putting a lot of money into strategic initiatives and, according to McKinsey, 70% of strategic initiatives fail within the first year.
0:57:25 – Fred
0:57:26 – Sam
The second big theme that we’re seeing is that rep productivity is completely strained right now, especially in this virtual world that we’re working in. So, in fact, forester is saying that 77% of a reps time is spent on non-selling activities, so we’re not actually getting in front of the customer or the prospect. We’re doing a bunch of admin work or one-on-ones with our team and not doing what helps us drive revenue and that’s getting in front of the customer prospect. The last theme that we’re seeing, and maybe the most alarming for a sales leader, is that winnable deals aren’t closing right now. So CSO insights reports 53% of committed deals Don’t close as expected, which is a bit worse than a coin flip, and so yeah.
And so, like these themes, I think they’re not all that ridiculous if we really break it down, but it does beg the question what’s going on with go-to-market teams, and why are these challenges or themes so consistent? And so what we’ve seen from our database of these interactions is that most Organizations are truly disconnected from what’s going on with their customer base and they don’t have the visibility needed to understand the true impact of their go-to-market approach. And so what gong is Proposing is that the real gold is in these customer-facing interactions, and, using revenue intelligence, using AI as well as technology, we can be the eyes and the ears to figure out truly what’s going on, to give everyone that visibility that’s needed To set the strategic initiatives, to make our reps more efficient and effective, and also to help us close more business.
0:59:11 – Dane
Amazing, you know. Let me ask you something. When you say that you guys are tracking these Interactions and you’ve got a lot of kind of history to look at and give feedback with, can you dive into that a bit further? Like you know, what are we talking like? How many, how many different types?
0:59:28 – Sam
of Definitely yeah. So gong has been around for six or seven years and we started this kind of conversational intelligence marketplace and now developed into revenue intelligence and so we have over about Two and a half billion with a B customer-facing interactions in our database, which is 5x any other vendor out there, which helps us Conservatively be three times as accurate with our insights amazing, amazing and obviously you guys are Incorporating all different types of probably like algorithms and AI and that kind of stuff to help make sense of all of that data and Just just bring the good points to the table as far as your customers are concerned.
1:00:17 – Dane
Exactly exactly All right. So from the top, I Thanks Sam for that perspective and just to go a bit deeper with it, Can you get into how the product has evolved? You had mentioned earlier that gong started as conversation intelligence and in a different place today. Walk us through that.
1:00:40 – Caspian
Absolutely Well to your point and, as Sam mentioned earlier, we started as a conversational intelligence platform with the goal of helping sales leaders understand what was happening in their sales orgs and, more specifically, within the conversations their sales reps were having, in an effort to improve coaching and to double down on best practices Again understanding what’s working and what’s not, but specific to those conversations.
Over time, we understood that one of the main challenges revenue organizations face is forecasting accurately.
Reps missing quota is just as frustrating as when a sales leader sets a forecast and is Then sets that forecast incorrectly, and so we begin to surface, forecast specific insights, and we brought a product which we call gong forecast to the market, which again helps either sales leaders or revenue operations teams make sure that they’re able to set, set forecasts that they can be confident in, and that is backed by, to your point, our own AI, which is based on the billions of sales interactions that we have compiled, ingested and analyzed over the last few years.
Finally, and most recently, this is very exciting to talk about because it’s a very recent release. While forecasting is great and conversational intelligence is also very important, generating pipeline is a large focus of sales organizations, and especially the business development organization and it’s often done, but often is done maybe less effectively than sales leaders might like, and we wanted to change that. Some of the more challenging aspects and help organizations unlock best practices and Understand how to generate pipeline as effectively and as efficiently as possible, which is why we brought to market gong engage, which is all around the top of funnel, making sure that people are able to effectively reach out to prospects and also move deals through the pipeline and ultimately allow reps and sales leaders to have more closed one Revenue overall at the end of the year.
1:02:48 – Dane
That’s. That’s amazing. I mean, it sounds like you guys have some great tools to increase volume and Velocity and a pipeline with so much going on. How do we keep up with it all? Like we make promises, for example, to customers on a regular basis. We’re scribbling notes on sticky here and notebook there. Are there also some tools to help keep me organized and and that sort of high volume, high velocity environment?
1:03:16 – Caspian
Well, I would, I would argue, and maybe Sam can add some context here. I would say that that’s definitely one of the areas that gong, and more specifically gong engage, can help reps address a staying on track and on top of all of those follow-up items I know you mentioned sticky notes. In a past life I was a sales rep and I used sticky notes and at the end of most days my desk as well as I Covered in sticky notes and I’ve probably sent like two of the 20 emails that I meant to. And it could be so challenging because sometimes and I can only speak for myself, but sometimes the email don’t send. The phone calls you don’t make are the ones that would have been most impactful, would have pushed that deal Over the line, would have gotten that prospect that’s ghosting you to get reengaged and totally that’s really part, that’s just one aspect, of what engage is trying to solve.
What gong engages trying to solve and Overall, what gong is a platform is trying to address, is making sure reps are taking action on those items that matter. But, sam, I being a rep, I’m sure you have a little bit more color.
1:04:18 – Dane
Yeah, sam, like you know, walk us through, like, send me the other differentiators.
1:04:23 – Sam
Gong is a product and maybe starting out with some of the things that gong provides to keep us organized and not have us forgetting about things, yeah, of course, I Honestly don’t know how I would do my job without gong now, just because it’s become Basically my personal assistant, and that’s what it is for every seller using gong. We have this Infinite memory right now with gong, where we don’t have to be taking notes and I can be completely present in a conversation, but then it’s also giving me my action items for how I need to follow up, so I’m not missing anything with my customers and prospects, as well as just being as efficient and effective as possible. And you mentioned some of the differentiators. I think there’s three Main ones that come to mind when we’re just talking about gong versus other Players in this space, and I think it really comes down to technology Services and our future, and the first one being better technology. Capturing the, the information, is the easy part, right, like everyone could do that.
There’s gonna be a ton of different call recording solutions out there now, but it’s gaining an understanding of the reality and turning those insights to drive real value. That is difficult, and gong is gonna be able to do that better than anyone, one reason being we’ve been in this field longer than anyone, so we have a much larger database of these interactions. But we also have this R&D team out in Israel. That is truly incredible that that team is gonna be even larger than most vendors in this space, so this just helps our technology be by far, I would say, ahead of any other player out there.
The second thing at which I mentioned the better services our Ability to get you successfully up and running and partner with you to drive these insights is gonna be top-notch. We have a hundred plus different technology partners that we integrate with, which is gonna be two times Any other player out there as well. And the last thing is that, when we’re just talking about a future partner, gong has this singular focus to be a better long-term partner and rapidly advance our technology, moving forward and Havving everything in one platform. Just like Caspian mentioned, we have everything in this revenue intelligence platform, whether it be the forecasting tool, the engagement tool or our core product, and we’re always Evolving as well. So we just want to make sure that we’re gonna be with you now and in the future as well.
1:07:00 – Fred
That’s fantastic. I love that message. One of the things I want to go back and double-click on is the integrations, and obviously I think you know this is a sales force oriented podcast. I know not everybody in the world uses sales force. There’s a lot of other CRM options out there, but I’m assuming that by and large, your customers want to have this very tightly integrated between their CRM you know kind of as that system of record for the deals themselves and the relationships with this assistant personal. I love that personal assistant analogy. So do you want to talk a little bit about how Gong and CRM generally, or sales force specifically, work together and compliment each other? Sam, maybe that would be a great one for you to take on.
1:07:42 – Sam
Yeah, yeah, for sure. I’m just gonna basically An analogy that I love and I’m gonna give a shout out to my former AE manager, adam O chart. It’s been a OG seller here at Gong. He taught me this analogy and I use it in a lot of my introduction calls. I would say a CRM, like sales force, is going to be this incredible system of record, it’s a, it’s a library, where you have all this information.
1:08:08 – Caspian
1:08:08 – Sam
Gong is gonna be doing it’s like an AI powered Librarian in that library to tell you exactly what book to check out. So the CRM, the system of record that we need to, you know, sit on top of, and then Gong is gonna be this system of action To give you the insights. But I’m gonna pass it to Casping here just to talk a little bit more about the relationship that we do have with sales force.
1:08:35 – Caspian
Absolutely, and let me say I love that. I love that metaphor. I actually hadn’t gotten a chance to hear that before, so I appreciate you you sharing that with you, sam. Yes, as Sam mentioned, we of course want to be respectful of people, of how different revenue organizations Leverage their CRM, and, as a result, we found it very important to be able to integrate Directly with a lot of the large players in the space, one of them, namely sales force, and, as a result, we have a bi-directional integration with sales force and actually now have a sales force Gong Managed package that is listed on the sales force app exchange.
So not to get too much into the nuts and bolts of that specifically, but it is what it is meant to do is to help people, with really no lift by them, to be able to unlock the power of Gong within sales force and get a flavor for the types of insights that they are able to see from Gong in sales force. So this managed package includes nine out of the box reports and two dashboards, and some of these include a Report for early stage opportunities where pricing was mentioned on the call, so managers can coach their reps appropriately. Number two there’s a pipeline and analysis dashboard, so Competitive opportunities closing this quarter and late-stage opportunities without pricing mentions are shown. So again, managers can coach reps to take action as necessary. And Finally, and of course in today’s market, super important competitive analysis dashboard on helping people understand when rate per quarter for competitive Opportunities and the dollar value of competitive opportunities that were closed one.
So the goal again is to help people, with no lift by that org or any of their technical admins, can begin to get a flavor for what’s possible by leveraging the power of Gong within sales force and they are still able to get their regular benefits and the regular Data and stay within the regular workflow. If they do like to work out of sales force, which a lot of people do, we still want them to be able to experience the benefits for Gong. So having next-level reporting, rock solid activity data and to be able to review their pipeline like never before is really our main focus here at Gong and Something that we like to. We want to meet people where they are and if people work at a sales force, we want to give them Gong within sales force.
1:10:58 – Fred
That’s fantastic. Having a strong productized integration that lets people you know continue to work in their existing workflow is is amazing. I think that makes a lot of sense and probably is points to a lot of how You’ve been able to penetrate so much of the market so quickly. I’m super excited. I can’t wait to learn more. Help the rest of the audience if they want to learn more about Gong Maybe see a demo or have a conversation. What’s the best way for them to take action?
1:11:26 – Sam
Yeah, I think they can reach out to us on on LinkedIn or email. I know if you’re not following cast me and he’s got the big lead in presence, the half beam, half man, many followers, fun. Follow. So LinkedIn Me at Sam Leviss or cast me and Luke II. My email Samuel dot leviss at Gong dot IO. Feel free to reach out there as well and would be happy to start a conversation with anyone that sounds fantastic.
1:11:53 – Fred
Well, thank you, sam, thank you cast me and really appreciate it, and we’ll talk again soon awesome.
1:11:59 – Sam
Thank you both so much.
1:12:01 – Dane
Thank you, thanks guys, thank you.
1:12:07 – Fred
Well, everyone, we hope you enjoyed episode 11 of banking on disruption. Don’t forget you can find show notes and a full transcript of the show on our website, banking on disruption comm. I know I mentioned this in the intro, but it bears mentioning a second time. If you will be a dream force this year, you won’t want to miss the banking on disruption meetup. It’s a chance to meet me and most of our podcast guests and continue the conversation. If you didn’t get enough ecosystem chat with Vanessa today, or user adoption with Paul, or FSC with Elliot, or slack with Daniel, or so many more of our conversations, you won’t want to miss it. Thanks again so much to our partners form stack for co-hosting it with us.
The meetup is Tuesday in the early evening. It’s just in time for when you’re ready to wind down at 4 30 from being at sessions all day and Enough time to charge yourself and your device is back up before the foo fighters. So join us from 4 30 to 6 30. For more details and to register, just go to dream force dot banking on disruption Com. Like I said, thanks again for tuning in. New episodes drop every other Thursday. So we’ll see you in two weeks after dream force and, in the meantime, don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn and Instagram at at banking on disruption. Until next time, this is Fred Kavana, wishing you success in your digital pursuits.
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