Published by Calendly - December 8, 2016

How ZenProspect turned a one-person sales department into a team of trusted advisors

With “Zen” in the name of the all-in-one sales platform, it’s crucial that the team not only function at top speed, but that they do so in the smoothest way possible for prospects.

Simplifying and streamlining: Roy Chung, Founder & CRO of ZenProspect, knows how important these two actions are in creating a sales process that’s both efficient and client-friendly.

After all, with “Zen” in the name of the all-in-one sales platform, it’s crucial that the team not only function at top speed, but that they do so in the smoothest way possible for prospects — an approach that drove them from $0 to $1M ARR by the end of their three months with Y Combinator.

Here’s how Roy grew ZenProspect’s sales team from one rep (himself) into a well-oiled machine, and developed workflows for his sales team that are both effective and, well, zen.

Key takeaways:

  • To learn what is and isn’t working, standardize the system before tweaking or adding to it. “If you have SDRs and AEs who are all using their own processes,” says Roy, “you might have some people using a workflow that’s terribly broken, and someone else doing something that works incredibly well, and no one knows about either one.”
  • Identify the key touchpoints, then optimize. Identify how and where you can streamline communication, make decisions (or let prospects make them) more quickly, and eliminate low-value exchanges.
  • Centralize all the data your team needs — for efficiency and better use of your prospects’ time. The last thing you want is a rep clicking around, trying to find important details while a prospect waits on the phone. Make sure reps have access to all key knowledge at a glance.

Standardize before everything else

“If you don’t standardize, it’s very difficult to tell what’s working and what’s not,” said Roy. “So we standardize our entire sales process, as well as our onboarding and customer success process after that.”

This includes making sure all of your reps:

  • Send the same email sequence
  • Follow the same timeline
  • Use the same tools

Otherwise, says Roy, “you don’t have visibility into what is and isn’t working.”

“If you have SDRs and AEs who are all using their own processes, you might have some people using a workflow that’s terribly broken, and someone else doing something that works incredibly well, and no one knows about either one. Standardization creates visibility, and the opportunity to help the entire team grow together.”

Identify the highest-ROI touchpoints, then optimize

In ZenProspect’s early days, the highest priority was getting customers in the door, no matter how scalable the process.

“We did everything we could to create as great of an experience as possible for each customer,” said Roy. “We’d spend as much time with them as needed, jump on the phone whenever, etc. But we knew that wouldn’t work forever.”

So Roy went back to the drawing board. He mapped out the clunky sales and onboarding cycles, then began asking the hard questions:

What touchpoints had the highest ROI?

What interactions did and didn’t move the needle, financially?

What could be cut or tweaked to save time?

“We figured out which main segments our ideal customers fit into, and developed a specific workflow for each one,” he said. “That’s made it possible to handle hundreds of clients at the same time, since we’re not creating a custom experience for each one.”

Once they’d pared down the cycles, it was time to improve each touchpoint. Calendly, he says, has been a huge help in moving each account through the cycle efficiently and predictably.

“Way at the beginning of the w0rkflow, SDRs use Calendly to streamline communication, so prospects aren’t going through hoops with them to get on a demo,” he says. “Then from AE handoff to customer success, it’s being used to schedule onboarding calls and 30/60/90-day checkins. We have that all measured out very strategically.”

In addition to improving team efficiency, optimizing the sales cycle also eliminates roadblocks between your prospect and the closing call.

“The big idea here — what ZenProspect is known for — is creating a great experience for the rep and the client,” says Roy.

“For example, we were getting a lot of inbound leads asking for demos. The onus used to be on our team to go back and forth with leads to schedule, which was stressful for us and annoying for leads.

“So we standardized that process by adding Calendly links into the autoresponder emails a lead receives after they request a demo. In ZenProspect, we could see in each email how many people clicked on the Calendly links, so we knew which emails were the highest value and could adjust or cut the rest.

“Seeing that, and optimizing the cadence, actually increased the number of people that we got on qualified demos,” said Roy. “Fully automating it made a big difference to our bottom line.”

Funnel all the data your team needs into a central location

“The last thing we want is a rep clicking around, trying to find important details while a prospect waits for them,” says Roy. “So we really prioritize reps having access to all key knowledge at a glance.”

Roy’s team is at an advantage — the ZenProspect platform pulls data on prospects automatically, including company details and social profiles. But to help reps be fully prepared, they also use Calendly to collect qualifying information when a prospect books.

“In Calendly, we’ll ask for their preferred screenshare link, the size of their sales team, a backup phone number, etc,” he says. “That helps us preempt and guide the conversation, and combined with the data ZenProspect collects, we can create a nice, complete profile of the person before the call ever happens.”

This ensures the conversation is a good use of both people’s time: the prospect isn’t kept waiting or repeating themselves, and “reps can spend that precious time on the most valuable activities possible to moving the deal along.”

Bringing it all together

For teams still in the process of scaling their efforts, Roy recommends starting from your ideal prospect or customer experience — then working backwards to identify which pieces of that experience can be systematized.

“Since we started with the best possible experience,” says Roy, “we had a framework to use as we built out our teams. That’s how we organized not only sales, but the entire org — cutting what couldn’t scale, and filling roles or finding tools based on what could.”

By standardizing the sales process, optimizing prospect touchpoints and centralizing information to help reps create an effortless prospect experience, ZenProspect has positioned its reps as a team of capable, trusted advisors.

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