How Gong Forecast helps Crayon create accurate and reliable forecasting
Prior to Gong Forecast, Crayon had to keep track of deal information from several sources and place them into a Google Sheet. The process was tedious and they lacked confidence in their forecasts.
Through the use of Gong Forecast, Crayon reduced the amount of time spent in forecasting calls by 66%! Instead of forecasting calls based on opinions, they were now based on historical trends and current data. The Crayon team had greater confidence and more forecasting accuracy.
Gong Forecast creates ownership and accountability for every team member, and provides an opportunity to measure our results over time so we can make better predictions in the future. This complete transparency allows us to devote more time to deals that actually need our attention.
“We need to use Gong.”
That’s what John Judge said to Crayon’s Founder and CEO, Jonah Lopin, shortly after he started as SVP of Sales.
“Gong’s reality platform is how we’ll get insight into what’s really happening inside our deals,” John said. “It will be the key to our coaching, our pipeline management, and competitive execution.”
Crayon is “the recognized leader in competitive intelligence software,” giving organizations a complete, real-time view of their competitors’ activities. Companies rely on Crayon to not only track competitive intel, but to analyze and activate information across their entire organization. The result is a more informed company that makes better decisions.
This is the story of how Crayon uses Gong to elevate their selling process, specifically when it comes to competitive selling and more predictive, data-driven forecasting.
Gong Forecast: The future of data-driven forecasting is here
Forecasting is hard.
You spend hours collecting data and chasing down individual reps to submit their numbers. You prep for meetings, then look at individual deals during rep one-on-ones. Eventually, you have to defend your forecast without really knowing if it’s accurate.
To complicate matters, your reps don’t have a single source of truth. They operate based on their own opinions. Are they overly optimistic? Too conservative? Sandbagging themselves? Who knows?
Crayon knows, because they’ve been using Gong Forecast. It gives them accuracy they wouldn’t otherwise have, using three steps:
- Gong Forecast’s AI understands what customers say, write, read, and engage with, to get a complete picture of the reality in every deal.
- It autonomously surfaces pipeline risks and points out forecast changes.
- It keeps everyone involved in a deal aligned using a clear audit trail.
While sales forecasting is both an art and a science, “Gong Forecast has injected this baseline fact of what’s going on in a deal into the way we look at a deal in our forecast.” This level of accuracy, according to Jonah Lapin, Crayon’s Founder and CEO, is critical to their business today.
Crayon now uses the Forecast dashboard for every single forecasting call. According to John, “We were working in Google Sheets, dropping deal information from several sources into there. Now, we’re locked and loaded in one place.”
This has reduced the amount of time they spend in forecasting calls by 66%.
“What used to take at least an hour to get through our weekly forecast, we can now rip through in 20 minutes,” says John Judge, SVP Sales, Crayon.
John loves it because it provides “fast, data-driven transparency for everyone involved in the deal.” The ability to see the historical forecasting record is also really exciting to Crayon. They can make forecasting calls based on historical trends and current data, not opinions.
When sales leaders see that deals don’t have alerts, it gives the team more confidence that deals will move forward and that their forecast is accurate.
Competitive intelligence meets revenue intelligence
The Gong-Crayon relationship is mutual.
Gong uses Crayon.
Crayon uses Gong.
Crayon uses Gong to improve their selling process, specifically for competitive selling.
Gong + Salesforce + Crayon + Product Board means Crayon always has a really clear picture of what’s happening — a real-time win-loss analysis. They know when competitors pop up in deals so they can act in the moment, not lament the loss after the fact.
“We have so much more transparency into our deals with the integrations Gong offers and this allows us to manage our pipeline more accurately and effectively,” says Jonah.
Crayon also created Gong trackers that make it easy to dig in deep on specific competitor mentions. Sales managers can easily access the exact call snippet and “watch game tape” of those competitor discussions. Then they’re able to execute very targeted, very effective coaching.
“Because of Gong,” says John, “our leadership is now out in front of deals thanks to what we see on the Deal board and the Forecast dashboard.” Gong removes the need for catch-up conversations and empowers managers to just jump right in.
Want to read the latest email threads? No problem.
Want to hear the latest conversations? No problem.
Gong automatically populates your CRM (say, Salesforce) with competitive tracking information. Sales reps don’t even have to take notes! They can just focus on customer conversations.
“It’s phenomenal,” exclaims John. “On the win-loss side,” Jonah continues, “Gong has made us much sharper and more clear-eyed in terms of market competitive dynamics.”
Your early warning system
“I think and I feel are the two phrases I fear the most when I hear them from sales reps,” says John. “I want them to know, and Gong helps us know.”
Gong also helps Crayon prove that “if you do what the data says,” good things happen. Take, for example, Gong data on multi-threaded conversations. Building relationships with multiple stakeholders in a deal is one of the best ways to win deals. Gong’s insights have shown that close rates double (or even triple) when conversations are multi-threaded.
John knows this; it’s not news to him. That said, he now has Gong data to prove the point. It’s irrefutable proof he can use to coach reps.
The data doesn’t lie around battlecards, either.
Before Gong, it was a “battle” to get sales reps to actually use Crayon battlecards even though sales managers (and John) knew that using them helped close more deals. So frustrating!
Thanks to Gong’s data and insights, the data proves that when Crayon sales reps use Crayon-generated battlecards, they win more often.
It’s a hard stop because the math is clear.
“Gong is like an early warning system when competitors are part of a deal,” says John. As a bonus, Gong doesn’t just warn him about competitor discussions, it also suggests the next steps a rep should take to move a deal forward.
Gong: way more than sales
Gong is now an integral part of how Crayon delivers a great customer experience. It even shapes how their product evolves.
Jonah calls Gong an “unfair advantage” in his sales funnel, but these days, the sales funnel isn’t limited to the sales team.
“Gong isn’t just a sales tool,” John shared. “It’s a business tool.” It has the capacity to help the sales, customer success, and product teams all work together.
Customer feedback generated in a Gong-recorded sales or customer success call feeds into the Product Board, which is pushed into Salesforce. This real-time customer feedback then feeds directly into Crayon’s product roadmap process in a very scalable way. Crayon gets the best of both worlds — the quantitative information about request numbers, and the qualitative magic (the “Golden Gong snippet,” as John calls it) that provides the texture and richness of the customers’ feedback.
“In all areas of Crayon,” says Jonah, “Gong makes us more proactive in our competitive execution. Using Gong has made us a better company. Forecasting and closing deals is so much easier now that we have a source of truth. Gong’s reality platform is our single source of truth and transparency.”
It’s a match you can duplicate in no time, using Gong Forecast.
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