Without visibility into customer conversations, Cognism missed out on valuable insights that could improve onboarding, coaching, up-skilling, and close rates.
Gong’s platform gave the company the data it needed to improve everything from its product and messaging to close rates and customer success. Having access to calls — the most important part of any deal — improved Cognism’s processes across departments.
I think that with remote work, platforms like Gong are really, really important for sharing, collaborating, and getting visibility into discussions.
Jonathon Ilett Global Head of Sales at Cognism
Visibility is becoming increasingly important to people like Jonathon Ilett and his team at Cognism. The fast-growing company, headquartered in London, UK, specialises in global sales intelligence, helping customers identify and surface new prospects. It was named one of LinkedIn’s top startups of 2021.
Having eyes on the ground (i.e., the frontlines) across his own distributed workforce has been key to improving his team’s sales techniques and broadening everyone’s knowledge base across the customer journey. Jonathon needed to ensure that his reps followed approved processes and that every opportunity he had for coaching would, in fact, improve their close rates.
“Gong initially started as a sales technology for us,” says Jonathon, “and now it’s an organisational technology that has an impact on multiple departments.” Throughout the pandemic, technologies that enabled collaboration replaced face-to-face interactions. Once the team saw how well Gong integrated throughout Cognism’s entire organisation, it found a permanent place in the company’s sales processes.
According to Jonathon, “It’s changed our messaging, improved products, and helped with customer success. Even if things go back to normal and field sales become standard again, I really think that software like Gong will play a massive role in the future of sales.”
So, how does Cognism use Gong to improve performance of its distributed team?
Namely, it improves coaching for reps. That’s only possible because Jonathon has reality-based (not opinion-based) insights from what’s happening on reps’ calls. Gong captures actual customer interactions and analyzes them to provide insights, rather than relying on hearsay from the reps themselves.
He has the team do a weekly core review in which they select a call from a rep and offer up positive feedback as well as notes for improvement. Obviously, the benefit is that the top reps can suggest best practices. The role Gong plays in this process is in selecting the right calls for review — ones that include a topic with which a rep (or multiple reps) struggle. Gong acts as a filtering system that makes the most important calls and issues visible. That might mean selecting a call that highlights objection handling, or one that focuses on pricing discussions.
For Jonathon’s part, he can also track high-priority calls to improve how he coaches on them. If he’s focused on improving win rates in competitive deals, for example, he can track relevant calls using Gong’s alert notifications, learn what works (and what doesn’t), and coach his reps accordingly. He can also sift through closed deals where a competitor was mentioned in the deal cycle, to look for trends in those calls and their talk tracks. He takes specific lessons from these deals and turns them into actionable coaching opportunities for his reps.
“You can really find and dissect calls that you might otherwise lose. And you have such limited time with the team, so making sure you select the right calls, ones that will up-skill your team, is huge. Gong plays a really, really key part in that.”
Just like coaching, onboarding and ongoing training on strategic initiatives can make or break a sales rep’s effectiveness. You need to know that your onboarding or new message training worked, so you can trust reps to deliver your story and messaging appropriately.
“We want to make sure that what we preach to the reps lands in terms of training, narratives around battle cards, product positioning, and the product itself. We need to know they have the correct demo flow,” says Jonathon.
Gong gives Cognism the clarity it needs to make sure reps follow the proper processes and use the right messaging. Being able to filter calls, find coachable moments, and act on them using Gong data makes onboarding and subsequent training on new initiatives fast and easy. Product marketing and sales enablement can also easily access insights into what’s being adopted, what lands well in the market, and what doesn’t work for customers and prospects.
It’s an across-the-board solution that aligns your sales and go-to-market teams and gives them new information on a regular basis.
“Gong’s now integral to a lot of the processes we have in place for sales,” says Jonathon.
The sales team at Cognism quickly realised that leveraging Gong to get data-backed insights and actionable next steps from sales calls made it easier to understand why some deals closed and others didn’t.
Today, that means Jonathon can coach on deals that are at risk and stop others from going sideways in the first place. It makes deal execution easier across his entire pipeline.
Jonathon isn’t alone when he laments the fact that, “Prior to having a solution like Gong, we relied on data inputted by reps and customer success managers to determine the fate of opportunities and potential renewal. Having a platform that lets us dig into calls right away or at a later date, means we can act quickly when it’s needed or reflect on an issue over the long term. It means I have better and more relevant discussions with my reps. That was the first reason we decided to adopt Revenue Intelligence.”
Gong hasn’t just helped Cognism’s sales team, it’s boosted the entire organisation. As Jonathon puts it, “The juicy stuff is in the conversations. Marketing and customer success now have access to all our sales calls, and we can easily share snippets from important calls. They can really see what resonates with our prospects, where their challenges are, and what the market’s asking for.”
That ability to discern the true voice of the customer improves the customer journey, and that boosts customer loyalty and revenue. Jonathon’s experience reflects that of so many sales leaders: “Before, there was no real visibility into conversations that had taken place. Why did someone actually purchase from us? What problems did they really want to address? Now that the customer success team is on Gong, we know that when we sign a client, we’ve got a catalog of all the conversations that took place with their sales rep. CS doesn’t have to ask the customer to repeat their entire story, because the person assigned to that account already knows the backstory. The buyer experience has been a lot better since we adopted Gong.”
With Gong now providing reality-based insights, time-saving automation, and a renewed sense of alignment, the sky’s the limit for Cognism. Cognism’s teams are refining their messaging, planning further product developments, improving customer experiences, and more, all with the help of insights from its sales team’s customer interactions.
Rapid growth is in full swing at Cognism. The Gong team couldn’t be more excited to smooth the path ahead to keep their teams and customers connected.
Learn more about Gong here.