A focused forecast: How Filtered increased its ACV by 62%
As a fast-growing startup, Filtered needed a Revenue Intelligence tool so it could better coach its reps and make the most of its pipeline.
Filtered leveled-up its sales team and increased its flagship product’s ACV by 62% using Gong to focus on its most important accounts. Plus, Filtered used Gong’s data and insights to inform a launch that accounted for 20% of the company’s revenue in its first year. Gong also helped reduce that product’s sales cycle by two months.
I’m a massive, raving Gong fan.
Those are the words of Vinit Patel, Co-founder and COO of Filtered, a UK-based learning technology and content company whose mission is helping customers filter out irrelevant learning content.
Filtered’s solution intelligently refines learning content, delivering it to the right people at the right time, using personalised recommendations to help them build the skills they need.
When Vinit heard about Gong in late 2019, he wasn’t actively seeking out a Revenue Intelligence solution, but he loved the content the team produced.
“The podcasts were incredible. I was drinking the Gong Kool-Aid well before we became a customer.”
Though the content was valuable and interesting, his team was still small, and Vinit didn’t yet feel the need for a revenue solution.
But then something changed.
As the Co-founder and COO, Vinit was always laser-focused on growing revenue. As 2020 approached, he began exploring more ways to help his individual sales reps accomplish that task. He started thinking about how to make adjustments and tweaks to how the sales team operated: their sales approach and how they helped customers. He wondered, “How do we arm our teams—especially our sales team—with the best skills and insights so they can develop as individuals and excel at their jobs?” If he could do that, he knew the company’s top line would grow.
In early 2020, the Filtered sales team spent a lot of time sharpening its sales skills and methodologies. It implemented a more deliberate and structured sales framework, began running more internal demos, started a sales book club, etc.
This re-focusing effort went well, but the team needed something more to take it to the next level. Enter, Gong’s Revenue Intelligence platform.
This is the story of how Filtered used Gong for three things: coaching, deal execution, and hearing the true voice of its market.
The Gong experience: Phase #1
As the months ticked by in early 2020, Gong moved from the back of Vinit’s mind to his frontal cortex. (You know, the part of the brain that helps people set and achieve goals.)
“Ding ding!” said Vinit. “It hit me. This software could help us put our sales training into motion. It could even enhance it. It was a true ‘a-ha’ moment for me.”
Gong could help increase revenue, support individual reps, and arm the entire sales team with the tools it needed to excel.
And so, they tried out Gong.
Any initial skepticism from the sales leadership centered around whether customers would be comfortable with having calls recorded. The sales team also had a bit of tech fatigue, and wasn’t terribly keen on adding another new technology to its stack.
Vinit managed this by enlisting a few key individuals as early adopters. “If I got buy-in from our Head of Sales, Head of Customer Success, and one of the sales engineers, I knew I could make Gong a reality.” He wasn’t wrong.
It worked. Any early doubts were washed away within the first few weeks.
The initial roll out gave the team the confidence that Gong did work, and that recording prospects and customers would not affect the quality of the relationships they had or ones they were working to build. As Vinit said, “It turned out that 95% of our prospects and customers had no issue with being recorded.”
Phase one was a success. The revenue that was essential to Filtered’s growth was quickly becoming a reality.
A collaborative coaching culture
Vinit’s team quickly realised that having calls recorded meant they had to be on. At their best. Every time. The team recorded everything and everybody.
With that much information coming in, Gong empowered Filtered to see which sales folks were excelling and which ones needed to make improvements. The sales leadership at Filtered used Gong to see how struggling reps responded to coaching. The answer was a resounding, “VERY WELL!”
Early on, Gong’s insights confirmed some hunches about where (and which) reps needed support. But the data also surfaced what sales reps did that worked. Without Gong uncovering these helpful gems, they would have remained buried forever.
“Our time-to-value with Gong was unreal.” In less than two months, the Filtered team “went from a bunch of hunches and a bit of data, to plenty of data and evidence … and no hunches necessary!” Goodbye opinions. Hello, reality.
It helped that the Filtered sales team was very willing to be coached. Everyone readily accepted opportunities to learn from the best. They were all in on “cloning the A-players.”
“When our salespeople realised that the star players did certain things consistently, and that Gong data backed up their winning formulas, they jumped all over the chance to grow,” said Vinit. There’s also something to be said for learning from one’s peers, which can be less intimidating than taking orders from managers (even nice ones!).
Deal execution: A truth serum for Filtered’s pipeline
Sales reps are not known to be conservative when it comes to pipeline forecasting. They are apt to be slightly (or quite) overconfident when it comes to predicting deals that will close.
Being able to listen to Gong calls has been incredibly revealing for Filtered sales managers. As Vinit says, “When a rep says, ‘This deal will close this quarter,’ we can listen to the sales calls to really unpack what’s going on.”
This, in turn, means deal reviews are more grounded in reality, more fact-based. Gong insights help Filtered sales managers understand what’s really happening inside a deal.
Vinit knows that Filtered’s pipeline quality has improved. He can, for example, see whether conversations lack activity. “You’re telling me this deal will close in two weeks’ time, but no one has spoken to this customer in the last three weeks? There’s no way this deal is closing in two weeks.’” Fair call, that. And it’s a necessary insight if you want to get the truth from your pipeline.
Additionally, “ACV on the company’s flagship product increased by 62% with the introduction of Gong because we qualified customers who were a better fit.”
That means the customers’ needs are more aligned with the product’s offering. They’re the right persona in the right market. As a startup, this type of alignment is essential to healthy growth. Filtered was able to focus its small (but growing) team’s efforts on priority prospects and customers, knowing that the solution was a good fit and that the outcome would create raving fans. (We know how important that is!)
As we call it here at Gong, they got “truth serum for their pipeline.”
A new product line is born
Sometimes the golden nugget of truth you’re missing comes from your own market.
Filtered gives everyone in their business access to Gong (not just sales people), including the product and marketing functions. They’ve used Gong data to better understand and respond to customer needs
The Filtered product team listens to Gong calls to gather relevant market intelligence. And extracting market insights from Gong calls actually led Filtered to prototype—and eventually launch—a new, industry-first analytics tool.
“Gong’s data and insights helped our team fast track our new product with conviction and confidence,” said Vinit.
This new product accounted for 20% of Filtered’s revenue in its launch year.
And while Vinit admits that this revenue can’t be 100% attributed to Gong, he knows that what the team learned from Gong without a doubt had a positive impact. Without Gong, their new product would have been “tentatively built,” or the team would have made mistakes along the way. That would have cost the company real money in both revenue losses and costs sunk into development.
Fortunately, Gong gave them visibility into the leading indicators of success for important initiatives: field adoption and a real-time response from the market. Thanks to Gong, the iteration process ramped up as well. Filtered was able to beta-test with several customers, and the “wow” moments were recorded on Gong, again, giving the team the confidence to push the product to market.
Once they had a minimum viable product, the team used Gong for market testing. The results were terrific. Filtered even began making sales before the full launch. (Thanks, Gong insights!)
As they rolled the product out to market, Filtered used Gong to qualify potential customers for product fit. Without Gong, Vinit says this phase would have relied heavily on “extensive notes” and “emails from customers,” which is less than ideal.
“We could paraphrase what customers were saying,” said Vinit. “We could put their words into slide decks. But nothing—nothing—beats hearing specific feedback directly from the end user. That feedback is unvarnished; it’s not been tainted in any way. It gives us clarity.”
BONUS: Filtered shaved an entire two months off its sales cycle (specific to this new product).
Gong transformed Filtered’s entire business
The Filtered team absolutely loves Gong – especially their COO.
“Gong has transformed our business, from the way our people manage deals to the way we listen to and meet the market. Our team could not be happier with Gong,” Vinit shared.
When the Filtered/Gong agreement recently came up for renewal, Vinit sent a note out to the sales team, seeking feedback, and asking the sales reps if they had any concerns. The team came back with resounding compliments.
It’s rare that an entire team sees the value in a software solution, and leadership was pleasantly surprised.
“In fact,” Vinit admitted, “there have been few things we’ve invested in as a small business where we’d happily pay more if we had to. Gong is one of them. (Wait, Gong is recording this, right?)”
We can’t wait to see what’s next in the Gong-Filtered partnership.
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