One customer spent an eye-watering amount on lead acquisition campaigns. They even sent sales reps on expensive business trips to meet leads. Some leads became customers.
But for the rest that didn’t? No one knew for sure what happened to them, why they didn’t convert into customers, and what could have been done better.
In the course of her user interviews, Thu Nguyen heard many similar stories. Marketers were frustrated because they lacked visibility into the outcomes of their leads. To get the data they needed, marketers had to keep chasing sales for updates. That was a huge time suck.
At Saleswhale, Thu is working with a team to solve this frustration once and for all. Thu, our Senior Product Manager, reckons that the world of marketing is becoming more growth-driven. But in order to prove its impact on growth, marketers need to first overcome their lack of visibility into lead outcomes.
In this interview, Thu shares more about the new product capability that the team is building to solve this problem: Reveal.
The Reveal team consists of engineers, product designers, and one product manager (Thu)
YY: Tell me about yourself and your job at Saleswhale.
Thu: I joined Saleswhale in August 2019. I came from a bigger startup, which had a more established product team. It’s been interesting working in such a young company as Saleswhale for a change!
I was attracted to Saleswhale because of its product: I wanted to learn about AI and work on something that helped people. Also, I like to be part of a team that cares. As a Product Manager working in the niche conversational AI space, I aim to make the Saleswhale AI sales assistant an excellent tool for our customers in marketing.
When I'm not working, my hobbies include being an obnoxious tennis fan and proudly watching sci-fi shows like the new Star-Trek. I also try to design and prototype whatever product ideas I have in mind.
YY: Saleswhale is working on a new product capability, a first of its kind in the conversational AI space. What’s that all about?
Thu: That’s right, we’re giving our AI sales assistants a new “power”. We’re calling this new power “Reveal”.
Up until now, our AI sales assistants help marketers engage and qualify leads at scale. When they find hot leads, they hand the leads over to sales to close the deal.
We’re upskilling our AI sales assistants so that they can go one step further. With Reveal, marketers will be able to see what happens to their leads after the handover. For example, how many of their qualified leads turned into actual customers. Marketers will also be able to see which leads have not met with sales, and remind sales to follow up with these leads.
In short, Reveal gives marketers full visibility into the outcomes of their leads.
Some of the insights users will get when they visit the new Reveal tab
YY: But not every marketer cares about what happens after sales receives their leads. For some, their jobs are done when they deliver enough qualified leads to sales. Why focus on increasing visibility into lead outcomes?
Thu: True, not all marketers care about lead outcomes. After all, marketers traditionally focused on top-of-the-funnel activities like brand awareness and lead generation.
But today, marketers face increasing pressure to directly contribute to bottom line metrics like revenue and pipeline creation. Some companies have even done away with the Chief Marketing Officer role, in favor of Chief Growth Officers.
In the course of our research, we spoke to some top leaders in marketing. All of them share a growth mindset. They care about marketing making direct contributions to the revenue and growth of their organizations. Our goal is to empower these growth-driven marketers and revenue leaders. Therefore, we’re building revenue optimization capabilities, like the reminders to follow up with hot leads, into our product.
YY: What were some of the challenges you faced when you and the team built Reveal?
Thu: It’s challenging in the sense that we’ve never built anything like this before. Since we had no playbook to refer to, we built Reveal from scratch.
We began with our users. We visited our customers at their offices and spoke to about eight Chief Marketing Officers and Heads of Marketing. From these interviews, we learnt that lack of visibility into the outcomes of qualified leads was indeed an acute problem. At one company, they hired an intern to follow up with sales. During daily standups at another company, marketing has to remind sales to enter the lead data into Salesforce. It’s a lot of manual work on marketing’s part.
Next, we did design sprints. A design sprint is a five-day process for teams to design, prototype, and test ideas with customers. During Reveal team meetings, we played recordings of customer interviews for the engineers and designers. It’s crucial that everyone involved in building Reveal hears from our customers. Then they will understand who they’re building the product for and why it matters.
The team then built a clickable prototype using Figma and tested it with our users. We watched them navigate the prototype on their own, took note of their comments, and used the feedback to make improvements.
Many sticky notes were involved in conceptualizing and building Reveal
YY: How has the original Reveal concept changed since the team first started building it?
Thu: When we first started, we envisioned the end result to be a kind of dashboard.
After showing the prototype to our users, we realized that marketers don’t need another dashboard. There are many dashboards in the market already. If we want to add real value to the lives of growth-driven marketers, Reveal has to be more than just a dashboard.
It turned out that what marketers truly want is a tool that helps them collaborate with sales better. So, we doubled down on developing a tool that helps marketing and sales turn more qualified leads into customers.
YY: What has been the most well-received aspect of the prototype so far?
Thu: It’s got to be the “nudge”! Nudge is a feature that solves the problem of slow response to qualified leads. Research shows that most businesses take about 42 hours to respond to their leads. That’s too slow!
Nudge prevents qualified leads from slipping through the cracks. Our AI sales assistants will collect lead follow up data from the sales team’s calendars, inboxes, and CRMs. When they log in to Saleswhale, marketers can see which of their qualified leads have not received any response from sales. Marketers will be able to nudge, or send friendly follow up reminders to sales reps. This ensures that sales meets with the qualified leads and helps sales to close more customers.
When sales meets with the qualified leads, marketers will get updated lead follow up data.
Marketers can use the nudge feature to remind sales reps to follow up on qualified leads
YY: How can interested marketers try Reveal?
Thu: Swing by our landing page, and sign up for the beta!
We will officially unveil the first version of Reveal at Dreamforce 2019 in San Francisco, from 19 November to 22 November. After Dreamforce, we will work closely with our beta users to improve Reveal. Some exciting ideas we have include: email integrations, CRM integrations, and smarter nudges.
What’s next? Reveal is just the start. You bet we have many more ideas for helping marketers grow revenue up our sleeves!
Interested in using Reveal to turn more qualified leads into actual customers? Sign up for the beta here.