In this series, we ask Sales Tech Executives to describe how their solution can change a sales organization in a significant way. We call it Sales Tech Game Changers.

This week I interview Shreesha Ramdas, Co-Founder & CEO of Strikedeck.

NANCY: WHAT ARE THE TOP 3 WAYS YOUR SOLUTION CHANGES THE GAME FOR A SALES ORGANIZATION?

Shreesha: Strikedeck is the most powerful and comprehensive Customer Success solution, enabling businesses to reduce churn, drive customer trust and loyalty, and maximize revenue through innovative automation and integration technologies. Strikedeck takes a fresh approach to increasing customer engagement with workflow automation, machine learning, predictive analytics, usage tracking, surveys, and swift personalization.

Strikedeck enables Sales and Customer Success teams to more efficiently identify and handle the following key scenarios:

  1. Churn Reduction: Strikedeck analyzes historical data to detect leading indicators of churn and highlight at-risk customers long before they are up for renewal. This can also help Sales teams know which factors are warning signs in potential accounts they close!
  2. Upsells & Cross-Sells: Strikedeck keeps tabs on customer satisfaction, and identifies customers that are ideal candidates for upsell and cross-sell efforts in real-time, which increases revenue potential from each account.
  3. Advocacy: Strikedeck tags customers that can be advocates for your company and product, and provides mechanisms to harness that advocacy in the closing of new deals, which is helpful to both Marketing and Sales organizations.

NANCY: WHAT ARE THE TOP 5 THINGS YOUR SOLUTION ALLOWS SALESPEOPLE TO DO BETTER, OR FASTER THAN THEY CAN TODAY?

Shreesha: Strikedeck drives sales by helping companies quantify the value of their product/service delivered, providing mechanisms to highlight the ROI delivered to customers, and translate customer satisfaction into greater sales through upsells/cross-sells and customer advocacy.

  1. Helps Salespeople Transform from Transactional to Relationship-Oriented – With Strikedeck, salespeople are aware of all customer interactions and patterns of usage of the product/service. This helps salespeople have richer touchpoints with the customer on a periodic basis, and cultivate strong relationships with key stakeholders.
  2. Helps Salespeople Manage Renewal Process – Salespeople no longer need to fly blind in the renewal process. They get notifications 60-90 days prior to the renewal date, so they know when and in which accounts they need to take action. The customers’ NPS scores, sentiment, and overall health are available anytime during the renewal process.
  3. Helps Salespeople Get More Leads/Referrals – Salespeople are able to source leads from the existing customer base. We all know how difficult demand generation is in the current status quo in which GDPR has put restrictions on email marketing, and email open rates have gone down significantly. Salespeople have the ability to source referrals from happy customers and track their progress with Strikedeck.
  4. Helps Salespeople Improve their New Prospect Conversations – Salespeople have the ability to share insights, use-case scenarios, and examples from existing customers with the new prospects using Strikedeck.
  5. Helps Salespeople Accelerate their Sales Cycles – Salespeople can leverage current customers for providing references and testimonials to close deals faster. Prospects feel confident about the solution meeting their needs when they hear directly from existing customers on their use of the product/service.

NANCY: DESCRIBE THE FIRST 30 DAYS AFTER A COMPANY PURCHASES YOUR SOLUTION.

Shreesha: Strikedeck has developed a comprehensive onboarding plan to ensure our customers get comfortable with the Strikedeck platform, get a single pane view of health across their customer base using available data, establish metrics and supporting dashboards, and improve their productivity and consistent processes across the team. Every customer has a dedicated Strikedeck representative as a primary point of contact to support onboarding and adoption.

During the first week of onboarding, Strikedeck’s team with work with the customer to develop a product deployment roadmap timeline. Strikedeck does not limit a customers’ specific number of hours with the onboarding/success team. We engage fully until the system is set up and running as desired. During the onboarding, the Strikedeck Data team deploys advanced connector technology to access data and bring in the customer data in an ETL layer. The data team also builds, in parallel, a unified customer data model from various data sources.

Strikedeck organizes multiple workshops to prepare a customized health scoring model, customer segmentation fields, and playbooks for common business scenarios. In addition to the workshops, Strikedeck delivers training sessions to the end users. These training sessions are recorded and provided to customers as an evergreen resource. Strikedeck customers also have access to the Strikedeck help portal and resource library for guides & best practices.

NANCY: HOW HAVE COMPANIES DETERMINED THE ROI OF YOUR SOLUTION?

Shreesha: We find that our solutions more than pay for themselves within the first few months. Typical numbers reported include:

  • Revenue: 10%-20% increase
  • Cost: 30% – 60% reduction
  • Productivity: 35% – 65% increase

NANCY: WHAT SHOULD COMPANIES DO TO ENSURE THE SUCCESS OF YOUR SOLUTION?

Shreesha: Access to Data: The one thing we need to get you onboarded quickly is easy access to your data. We support eight different ways to bring in data and a library of over fifty pre-built connectors. In addition, we provide direct API access, which makes us the most flexible and data-intensive offering on the market. We are also now Soc 2, Type 1 compliant which allows us to meet enterprise-level standards for security, availability, and confidentiality.

Get Alignment Organization-Wide: Be the advocate for Sales & Customer Success alignment and showcase the value of the Strikedeck platform by utilizing the exportable reports that highlight the value garnered by customers from their use of your product. Share these company-wide to show what your Sales and CS team are achieving using Strikedeck.

Communicate Feedback & Findings to the Entire Organization: Sales can highlight the upsell, cross-sell, and advocacy candidates they are able to identify using Strikedeck, while Finance can benefit from seeing how contract revenue can be collected seamlessly through our billing system connectors. They will also enjoy seeing how much Customer Success and Sales are able to glean from existing accounts, making them an unexpected revenue-generator. Product can find out what features are needed and what doesn’t perform well, while Marketing can use the insight of which accounts to target for case studies and advocacy campaigns, as well as intel as to the assets that are helpful.

NANCY: WHAT ARE SOME GOOD RESOURCES IF SOMEONE WANTED TO LEARN WHAT QUESTIONS TO ASK, WHAT OTHERS ARE DOING, AND PURCHASE CONSIDERATIONS?

Shreesha: Here are some resources to check out:

Strikedeck Blog: A vast library of templates, case studies, personal experiences in working in Sales and Customer Success and a great way to stay up to date in the cutting edge of SaaS operations.

Customer Success Meetups: An event series geared to Sales and CS professionals to share their experiences and learn best practices.

Strikedeck Radio: Podcast with interviews from leading Sales and Customer Success leaders & experts.

Customer 360 Template: An excel template that allows you to manually track your customers and calculate a health score, and see what Strikedeck can do for you via automation and machine learning!

NANCY: WHO BENEFITS MOST FROM YOUR SOLUTION?

Shreesha: Companies of all sizes can benefit, not just SaaS companies! We’ve been able to deliver value to our customers that range from enterprise-level companies, to SMBs. How each one benefits depends on the nature of their product and the characteristics of the customer base, as well as what they need from our platform, whether it is advocacy campaigns, churn prevention, upsells, task management, automation & workflows, and much more. One of the most common benefits of using Strikedeck is that it enables you to scale operations with a smaller team – if there are a large number of customers – you can enact tech touch to scale post-sales and renewal operations efficiently. If they need to segment customers, Strikedeck can enable laser-focused campaigns geared towards high priority customers, and personalized communications populated from platform data.

NANCY: HOW DO YOU DIFFERENTIATE FROM OTHER VENDORS IN THIS SPACE?

Shreesha: We differentiate ourselves from the competition by a relentless focus on community. In addition to delivering the best solution on the market, we are committed to:

  • Helping establish Customer Success as a key revenue driver that’s essential to achieving strategic business goals of our customers and their customers.
  • Making Customer Success a self-driving function.

A big part of our efforts revolves around the evangelization of the Customer Success function. Our Customer Success blog doesn’t just highlight the most recent trends and best practices, but also gives voice to Customer Success leaders and their achievements. Every other post on our blog is written by Customer Success leaders. We organize regular meetups in San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Pleasanton, Portland, Seattle, Bangalore, and Pune where we invite CS leaders and other professionals to share their tips and tricks. We have started a podcast series, hosted by Kristin Hayer, CEO and co-founder of the Success League, where experts talk about the current trends in Customer Success.

We set out to make a product that is as powerful as it is easy to use. But this is only the beginning. Our vision is to have “Self-Driving Customer Success.” Today, Customer Success automation, like most enterprise applications, requires initial configuration to setup workflows, automation and KPIs such as customer health scores. We are building out our product to introspect/interrogate the customer and automatically setup templates, workflows and triggers that ensure optimal outcomes. We will use advanced big data techniques, and natural language processing to achieve this outcome.