Founded in 2014, Allbound offers a channel partner SaaS platform that helps companies accelerate their recurring revenue. Previously at Act-On Software, Greg Reffner was hired as Allbound’s Director of Sales in December 2016. This is the story of how Greg and the Allbound sales team moved the needle on six key sales outcomes, while shifting their company’s culture back to its customer-centric roots using the Gong conversation intelligence platform.
When Greg first came on board at Allbound in late 2016, the first thing he noticed was the way the organization handled conversations with prospects was broken. What made this worse was that nobody realized how much improvement was truly needed because no one had any visibility into what was happening on sales and customer calls. Many of their key sales outcomes were sagging compared to their projections, and Greg attributed this directly to how sales conversations were being mismanaged with prospects. The sales cycle dragged on for 92 days. Win-rates were a single-digit percentage. Deals were stalled in the pipeline. As a result, customer acquisition costs (CAC) were painfully high.
Having been a previous Gong customer at Act-On, Greg implemented Gong as a way to automatically record, transcribe, and analyze his sales team’s calls and demos. He wanted to uncover areas of the sales process that needed fixing, and help his reps sell more crisply. The goal was to shine the light on all prospect conversations in a way that would force the company to return to its customer- centric roots. When Greg started recording and analyzing sales calls with Gong, his suspicions were confirmed. He was able to identify key elements of the sales process that needed fixing, and quickly discovered that sloppy sales calls were the root of several of the company’s problems.
Uncovering a Needed Shift in the Business Model
Greg initially spent several days “binging” on sales call recordings and analytics via Gong to identify where their sales process needed to be fixed. Right off the bat he discovered a bottleneck: Upon analyzing sales conversation trends, he found that just about every lost deal was due to their price point being significantly higher than what their market could bear. He heard prospects saying things like “Your price was double what I expected,” and “I love your solution, but your competition is less than half of what you cost.” In an industry where pricing information isn’t published on company websites, this business intelligence was pure gold.
“We killed ourselves by pricing way out of our market’s budget range. By going back and reviewing the sales team’s calls, we identified that we needed to change our pricing structure to make it fit with the market we’re going after. I couldn’t have discovered that insight without reviewing my team’s sales calls within Gong. We would have been barking up the wrong tree for a long time without it.”
Since these calls were on record, Greg was able to present this to his VP and CEO. This led them to shifting their pricing model to be more aligned with their target market. The shift generated immediate results. On the old pricing model, sales reps managed to close one new logo per month. With the new pricing structure, reps were now closing 5-6 deals per month. Even though the average deal size decreased due to the pricing change, net new revenue per rep doubled due to faster deal velocity, higher win- rates, and triple the amount of new logos coming in the door. All with the same spend on marketing and sales.
Disciplined Discovery Calls and Crisp Demos
What Greg realized next by analyzing calls with Gong was that there was no rigor in how reps were qualifying prospects and securing next steps. Qualifying questions about timeline, budget, authority, the buying ecosystem, and urgency weren’t even asked. What’s worse: no one even knew they weren’t being asked.
“Before Gong, we weren’t even asking key questions like timeline, budget, key pain points, or making the business case. As a result, sales cycles dragged on for 92 days on average. After implementation, Gong gave us as sales leaders the assurance that our reps were addressing these issues early in the sales cycle. We’ve now shortened our sales cycle down to just 16 days, and we forecast 85% more accurately than we did before.”
The moment Greg identified these issues and started coaching his team on how to qualify the buying process, quantify pain, and secure next steps, it made it incredibly easy for them to ask for the business sooner and turn a 92 day sales cycle into a lean 16 days.
Ongoing Coaching, Training, and Onboarding
Once the big issues in the sales process were corrected, the focus shifted to ongoing coaching. Greg started to zero in on specific talk-tracks to deliver targeted coaching feedback, helping his reps tighten their calls and demos. Analyzing their calls has given Greg the ability to disseminate his top performers’ skills to the rest of the sales team.
After just 90 days of using Gong, Allbound has experienced a transformation in their sales organization by improving six key metrics.
- Sales Cycle Length: Previously clocking in at 92 days, the Allbound sales team has reduced their sales cycle to 16 days flat. Greg and team shaved 76 days off of their sales cycle, and he attributes that to the capabilities Gong provided him to diagnose, correct, and coach to their sales process. Deals also progress from stage-to-stage 27% faster than they did before.
- Forecast Accuracy: Insight into every call that spans an opportunity helps Greg understand the true state of his team’s most important deals. The context of what’s actually happening in the calls across a deal when paired with CRM data
and sales rep reports have boosted Greg’s forecast accuracy by 85%.
- Win-Rates: The individual sales reps have seen impressive results as well. As a result of on-demand coaching, swapping ideas with their peers by reviewing calls, and reviewing their own calls “game tape style,” the team’s win-rates have soared from 9.9% to 25% – a 2.5x increase.
- Onboarding Ramp Time: When it comes to how Gong has helped with reducing onboarding ramp time for new sales hires, here’s what Greg had to say:
“It used to take new reps 3 months to the day to figure out how to close their first deal before we had Gong. Our new onboarding class – armed with Gong – had a highlight reel of our best ever call and demo recordings to help get up to speed. Our newest rep closed her first deal on day 29. I attribute 100% of that to Gong’s ability to have them go back and review calls in our “Hall of Fame” call library.”
- CAC Costs: Along with a few others, these metrics have built off each other to reduce customer acquisition costs by 40%. For the same amount of marketing spend that used to acquire two new customers, they can now acquire 3.1.
“You get out of Gong what you put into it. We use the heck out of this tool. We’ve relied on it heavily to improve our sales process, and it’s paid dividends. But it’s because we’ve been willing to spend the time and energy within the tool: analyzing and reviewing calls to keep improving our sales process and aligning with our market.”
Greg says it all comes down to taking an introspective look at how sales conversations are managed across each potential deal. While Greg was able to auto-correct everything that was broken with their sales process using Gong, they’ve also been able to refine the parts of their sales process that are already going well, but could be even better.