How Ada Sourced 25% More Expansion Pipeline MoM Without Hiring More People and Reworking Processes
In this case study with Ada, we sat down with Michael and discussed his initial skepticism of Glowstick and how he came to view it as a crucial tool for his AMs.
Ada is an AI-powered customer service automation platform with customers like Meta, Mailchimp, and Square.
- The account management team needed to source more expansion pipeline with less resources.
- The traditional ways of expansion motion plays (e.g., white spacing each account, increased customer check-ins) weren’t cutting it to help hit their pipeline targets.
- Skepticism about adding yet another sales tool to their sprawling stack.
- A tool to bridge customer success and account management knowledge and context gaps on customer accounts.
- A way to mine all customer meeting recordings for expansion leads without needing AMs to be at those meetings.
- An easier way to find expansion leads without account managers (AMs) needing to comb through multiple data sources, e.g., contracts, product usage data, and customer meeting recordings.
- 25% increase in Expansion Opportunities MoM.
- For each AM: 20 min spent in Glowstick = 1 lead = $130K of pipeline every month.
- Better coaching for AMs given “always on” line of sight into every expansion opportunity’s deal stage and customer contact's intent.
Sourcing more expansion pipeline with less resources
Unicorn startup Ada is known for its innovative approach to improving brands’ customer experience. For Michael Elliot, Senior Manager of Global Expansions and Client Strategy, that spirit of innovation can be seen in the work he and his account management team do day in and day out.
In today’s recession-bound environment, every GTM team has to do more with less. And with time as a limited resource, Michael needed to make sure his team’s respective swelling account portfolios could be best serviced while still hitting their revenue goals.
“In today’s 'do more with less' world, it becomes increasingly important to maximize the resources on the time that you have. For my team to do everything to the best of their ability, they need a little bit of help from technology, and I would say that automation of their work was that missing piece,” Michael says.
As you guessed, Michael and his account managers had already been nailing down the people and process parts by deftly executing all of the right expansion sales motions:
- Checking in and asking their contacts and champions the right questions to see if there's anything that Ada might be able to help them with.
- Trying to get their foot in the door in other departments within the customer accounts or other teams.
- Making sure they notify customers if their conversation volume is about to hit its limit, and potentially set them up for a conversation volume expansion deal.
- White spacing within their accounts and combing through all of the contracts and reconciling disparate deal data.
But, Ada needed a tool to automatically find expansion leads and opportunities that they could act on in real-time.
“What we wanted to do is actually have many different ways of surfacing opportunities so that way we can fill our pipeline because if it was left up to only the traditional ways, then oftentimes it's not cutting it. We would miss our pipeline target on what we're supposed to be building and creating,” explains Michael.
An AI tool that sources upsell & cross-sell leads from all customer meeting recordings without needing AMs present at those meetings
Before Ada started working with Glowstick, Michael was directed by his Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) to check out Glowstick to “see if it’s interesting.” After exploring the website, Michael found Glowstick’s initial appeal in allowing account management teams to work more closely with customer success (CS) teams.
“It felt like everything was being done in silos, and I was hoping to actually use Glowstick as quick and easy knowledge sharing amongst the teams,” he says. “It's not just a customer success tool that will help bridge that relationship between customer success and account management – this could actually help us surface leads and opportunities as well.”
Though excited about its possibilities, Michael was skeptical about Glowstick: he was apprehensive about adding yet another tool to Ada’s very extensive sales stack.
“We have a lot of different applications that we use here at Ada and sometimes there's app fatigue. And I thought, ‘Oh no, here we go…here's something else that we might add that may not help us in the long run.’ I thought, ‘How valuable is this? There's not a ton here that I can really see.”
Despite his doubts, Glowstick made finding expansion leads from customer calls easier for Michael and his team. Now, they get to review in one place all the expansion leads that Glowstick finds and create opportunities in Salesforce right from within Glowstick. His AMs get all the context they need from each and every customer call – even from the calls they weren’t able to attend.
“It's not possible that the account managers are going to be on every single call. So they sometimes use Glowstick to get quick little snippets of what’s potentially relevant within a particular customer account to just stay on top of what's going on,” Michael reveals. “And if they need to, it may not be necessarily an opportunity, but if it's a, ‘I need to actually do this because this was brought up on the call’ or ‘I need to speak to the CSM about what they meant by XYZ during the business review,’ then they will review those leads.”
25% increase in Expansion Opportunities MoM and better forecasting (even for deals in flight!)
Since implementing Glowstick, Ada has been able to:
- See opportunities that might be further out for next quarter so that they can earmark as future pipeline.
- Use Glowstick’s recording snippets to get more contexts on their accounts, even if there isn't an opportunity there.
- Get early heads up context from Glowstick’s snippets on customer expansion intent (AMs get more time to work on a deal and do proper qualification and discovery before the customer themselves gets too far along in their own evaluation process).
“So far, it's working well for the account managers and we've uncovered in the last month four opportunities because of Glowstick.”
That’s not all: Glowstick has enabled them to speed up their uncovering of new expansion opportunities within a quicker timeframe than they previously anticipated, and log it directly into Salesforce.
“There was a voice opportunity that Glowstick recently found. One of the CSMs kind of glazed over it, and he even mentioned, ‘Oh, I'll bring that to the AM’ – never did. And over a week later, that AM found it through Glowstick, and I’m like, ‘Holy crap! There's a voice opportunity here that's potentially a $30,000 to $40,000 opportunity that they would’ve eventually found, but it would’ve been delayed getting to them without Glowstick.’”
Michael’s account managers were initially skeptical about Glowstick as well, but they all came to love it after experiencing one of the “Aha!” moments: they can find opportunities via Glowstick and then create those opps right within Glowstick without having to go into Salesforce – it’s all done for them and syncs to Salesforce.
“They can actually create and build opportunities from right within Glowstick and that is easier for them than doing it in Salesforce,” Michael says.
The other “Aha!” moment the account managers experienced was when they saw Glowstick’s ability to improve their deals-in-flight forecasting and enable them to change their strategy accordingly.
“Even for deals or opportunities in flight, just getting some of those insights that may happen to come out of conversations with the CSM or the PS [professional services consultant] and being able to take advantage or take action based on those insights is very important,” Michael explains. “It doesn't necessarily have to be generating a lead or finding an opportunity, but if it surfaces insights that allow us to take action in some way for better forecasting, for better sales cycle management, then that's very important.”
The insights and additional context Glowstick surface from meeting recordings also helps Michael coach his reps and gives him visibility into every facet of expansion pipeline.
“What Glowstick is doing well for me is finding those snippets, surfacing them, bringing them to me. Sometimes they're good, sometimes they're great, sometimes they're not relevant,” he says. “But it's when it’s something that’s actually really interesting, then it lets me talk to my rep to see if they are taking action on this. That's very important. It helps me coach, helps me be on top of the pulse.”
Ada’s expansion pipeline has never had a clearer line of sight, and Glowstick was a crucial tool to help make that possible.
“For me, it's the conversion of those leads to opportunities and to see what is the dollar value or how it has impacted our pipeline positively for the quarter or upcoming quarters,” Michael explains. “Glowstick will set them up for the quarters ahead. Q4 is not made in Q4. It starts now.”
“If they spend 20 min in Glowstick and find even 1 lead a week, that’ll translate to $130K of pipeline for each of them, every month.”