How Gong Became Diligent’s MVP by Increasing Close Rates by 7.4%
Diligent needed a sales enablement solution to help its sales reps with skills development and reinforcement. They needed a tool with which they could glean powerful insights to infuse knowledge in coaching conversations to ultimately reinforce sellers’ skills.
Gong quickly became more than a solution; it turned into a Diligent team member. As a result, Diligent increased its close rates by 7.4% for Gong-influenced calls and reduced the time for reps to hit quota by 3 weeks.
When new Diligent employees go through orientation, they are introduced to Gong.
You see, Gong has been a vital member of the Diligent team for over 2 years.
And to be clear, when we say “Gong,” we don’t mean a person at Diligent. Nope. We are referring to Gong, the company — you know, Gong, the Revenue Intelligence platform. Gong, the tool that allows you to operate based on reality instead of opinions.
Gong is embedded into Diligent’s culture.
Diligent is “the pioneer in modern governance,” empowering leaders to “turn governance into a competitive advantage through unparalleled insight and highly secure, integrated SaaS applications, helping organizations thrive and endure in today’s complex, global landscape.”
This is the story about how Gong made an immediate impact and eventually engrained itself in nearly every team at Diligent — from its sales, marketing, customer success, and product teams.
Since implementing Gong, one of the Diligent sales team boasts:
- A 7.4% increase in close rate on calls that were listened to in Gong
- A 3-week reduction in time until reps hit quota, which translates into an additional $45k per new rep
More on this later, but first…
HOW DILIGENT MET GONG: LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
Let’s take a step back and meet a key player in our “Diligent meets Gong” story.
Introducing Aisha Wallace-Wyche.
As the Vice President of Global Training and Enablement, Aisha’s job is to ensure Diligent’s commercial teams are armed with the tools to succeed in their role — to meet or exceed their quotas and targets.
If Aisha is doing her job correctly, Diligent is continuously growing.
“Knowledge is the key — knowledge of how to sell, knowledge of Diligent products. I must ensure sales skills and internal processes are up-to-date for all employees at all times.”
Aisha accomplishes her many goals by designing and implementing programs based on understanding market dynamics, customer needs, competitive positioning, and product features/benefits. Oh, and she also owns the sales methodology program and works cross-functionally with product and marketing teams to develop messaging for these channels.
And if that weren’t enough, Aisha also oversees Diligent’s sales enablement tech stack.
In short, Aisha has a ton of responsibility. She’s busy. Staying focused and organized is critical in her role. It’s also vital she has the best software and solutions available to make her job more manageable.
In the Spring of 2018, Aisha began exploring sales enablement solutions that could help her reps with “skills development and reinforcement.” Aisha and the team were “intrigued” by what they saw with Gong, specifically all of the insights that could be gleaned and how they could use that knowledge in coaching conversations to reinforce sellers’ skills.
Shortly after the Gong pilot wrapped up, Aisha was all in. It was love at first sight.
FROM THE BENCH TO THE MVP
Neil Barlow, a “natural born coach” in Aisha’s words, was the Diligent employee who kickstarted the Gong-Diligent partnership.
Gong quickly took off across Diligent teams.
Per Aisha, Neil was leveraging Gong data the way it was intended to be used — the team was seeing its benefit, and most importantly, sharing those insights with other folks within the organization, specifically the CEO.
“Once our CEO got wind of Gong, adoption, and user growth quickly grew — doubling in a short six months. Once the reps began using it, there was no turning back.”
Vice President, Global Training and Enablement
Diligent began diligently rolling out Gong in systematic phases to the rest of its commercial teams. And because each team operates somewhat independently, Aisha had to resell Gong’s benefits and value every time. It was almost as if a new mini-implementation was required for each commercial team.
Fortunately, the reselling of Gong was met with little resistance — the word of Gong’s value had spread fast and wide.
Fast forward to today, and it’s not just the commercial sales team who are using Gong. Now field sales and product and marketing teams are all leveraging the power of Gong. There has been nearly a 10-fold increase in total licenses since Diligent started with Gong!
Product Management: Gong has become a KPI within the product management team. The leaders in that team require their product managers (PMs) to listen to a certain number of Gong calls per month or per quarter. This way, they can hear straight from the prospect or customers. PMs learn how others talk about the product and share the features they feel are the most important.
Marketing: The team is encouraged to listen to calls to become educated about the market, competition as well as the products and the solutions Diligent sells.
But that’s not all.
Gong serves as a considerable part of the onboarding process — not just for new sellers but actually across the entire organization. “There is no better way for a new product manager or a new marketer to get up to speed on what they’re going to be supporting then to go back and listen to the ‘best of the best’ Gong calls.”
Aisha believes Diligent has as many, if not more, users outside of the sales organization using Gong… because all teams want to learn! As one C-level employee said, “Diligent employees depend on Gong to do their jobs better.”
COACHING: THE DATA SPEAKS FOR ITSELF
Diligent uses Gong daily for coaching its team members. And the coaching is paying dividends.
But don’t take it from us. Listen to what some of the Diligent sales reps are saying about Gong.
John Rooney, Governance Advisor, Nonprofit Team: “When I don’t have Gong, I am lost.”
Andrew Harker, New Sales Manager EMEA: “Gong has made me a better rep.”
While those words certainly warm our hearts, data speaks much louder than words from a manager and C-suite point of view.
As just mentioned, data informs decisions, AND data can tell a story. And these numbers are powerful. Thanks to Diligent leveraging Gong Revenue Intelligence capabilities, Diligent Entities Sales has realized a 7.4% increase in close rate on calls that were listened to in Gong and a 3-week reduction in reps hitting quota, which translates into an additional $45k per new rep.
Those numbers translate to real dollars for Diligent and its employees.
Per Aisha, this is not just limited to Sales: “The best part about Gong is that we have integrated it across all of our commercial team’s functions. Gong has become the foundation of our business model for knowledge sharing.”
We asked Aisha to share some of her favorite aspects of Gong, and she listed plenty of features!
- Calls page: individual calls and points of interest with full Gong analysis.
- Team page: showcasing all team stats, specifically how reps stack up against each other (+ call duration, call talk-ratio) — all helpful for coaching.
- Scorecards: used with specific teams for strategic conversations.
- Libraries: helps keep different product lines separated in their folders to share the “best of the best” calls for onboard new team members.
Additionally, they use 1-page cheatsheets, which are helpful for non-recorded users to get “fed” Gong reports.
“And there is still more for us to dig into,” Aisha shared. “This is what excites me the most. We’ve leveraged so much of Gong already, but can’t wait to keep going… keep learning… keep growing.”
Aisha is very systematic when it comes to rolling out Gong to the various teams at Diligent. She follows the “haste makes waste” philosophy. Her goal is to ensure Gong is used company-wide, and this methodical approach works best.
It’s working. Aisha says, “When we think record, we think Gong.”
FIELD SELLERS: LET’S SEE THOSE PEARLY WHITES!
The global pandemic has touched every aspect of every company. From a sales perspective, no team has been more impacted than field sales. With travel at a near standstill, gone (for now) are the days of driving or flying to a potential customer’s office to meet in person.
Practically overnight, field sales reps have become virtual sellers. Every seller within Diligent is now, essentially, an inside sales rep.
But COVID has not stopped the Diligent-Gong partnership. “We’ve just continued seamlessly,” said Aisha.
That’s not entirely accurate: At least one thing did change — for the better.
Pre-WFH, field sellers were not accustomed to turning on their cameras when engaging with a prospect. Who needs a camera when you are face-to-face?! The move to remote sales changed all of that instantaneously.
Diligent instituted a big push across teams to ensure that every rep turned on their cameras. This initiative included scorecards to track and measure everything.
Diligent implemented scorecards with its enterprise account management team at the end of May 2020. One of the categories was “presentation.” The idea was to track whether a client director or executive had their camera switched on during the scheduled demo or presentation.
“When we initially started using the scorecards and conducted the initial reporting, only 18% of the team were using cameras during their calls. Thanks to Gong’s ability to track “camera on” usage, we saw a near 4x increase in rep camera usage when we revisited the scorecards a short two months later.”
Specifically, from late May until mid-July, 2020, the percentage of the team that had their camera switched on during calls jumped from 18% to 73%.
“In a pre-Gong world, while we could have required reps to use their cameras, we would not have had a way to track whether or not they were following through.”
As it turns out, having your camera on makes a huge difference when it comes to closing deals.
According to 2020 Gong data, win rates are 94% higher for deals where sales pros sell with video on.
Bonus: If you can get your buyer to turn their video on, the win rates jump by 96%!
While encouraging your reps to turn their camera on should be a top priority on your to-do list, Gong is always there to help hold team members accountable. Whether it be ensuring data-backed, revenue-producing actions like turning cameras on or making sure reps are leveraging new sales messaging during prospect calls, Gong is your Sales Enablement partner.
LISTEN TO THE MARKET; REACT IMMEDIATELY
Customer Success and Sales teams are typically on the front lines when it comes to hearing the voice of the customer (and future customer). In an ideal world, this intelligence is relayed to the Product team to enhance the offering, as necessary.
Unfortunately, much of this feedback can get lost in disparate spreadsheets, forms, CRMs, or even (ugh!) sticky-notes left on sales desks across the world.
With Gong, the Diligent product team no longer has to rely on a mashup of random customer feedback. Now, it’s all about Gong trackers.
In early 2020, when so many more organizations transitioned to online/remote work, tech spend went through the roof on video platforms like Zoom and WebEx. Diligent employees started to hear from their customers that they were using an adjacent technology, Microsoft Teams.
“We quickly created a ‘Microsoft Teams’ Gong tracker so we could hear how prospects and customers we’re talking about using that technology,” Aisha shared. “Then, our Product Marketers spun up collateral, assets, and talking points for our Commercial team to combat those objections.”
Gong allowed Diligent to not only identify the chatter around an adjacent technology but even better, be able to arm reps with reliable battle cards to counter… immediately.
No need to guess. No reason to assume. No more anecdotes. Gong trackers served up the data to inform decisions.
GONG IS PART OF THE DILIGENT TEAM: “WE GROW TOGETHER.”
Gong is not a tool limited to a handful of teams. Gong really acts like another employee of Diligent.
“The entire organization relies on Gong. It has had an impact across the board.”
Vice President, Global Training and Enablement
Gong is part of the onboarding process. It’s part of the sales and marketing and customer success and product teams. Even the UX designer wants to start to use Gong for user-experience interviews!
Aisha gets requests from so many teams and individuals to use Gong.
“It’s been fun working with Gong. We feel like we’ve been able to watch Gong grow as we’ve grown.”