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How project44 Generated $7.7M in Pipeline After Switching to Qualified

Behind project44’s success is a dynamic sales and marketing duo: Portia LaMotte, Director, Demand Generation and P.T. Sinnick, Senior Manager, Global Sales Development. Together, they’ve built a highly customized and impactful conversational program that both customers and sales reps love. Read and listen below to learn more:

First things first, why did you decide to implement a conversational sales and marketing strategy?

Portia: We were a very lean team at the time. We were, and still are, constantly experimenting. We knew our website was a powerful tool, we are in kind of a niche market, and we know the importance of the visitors that we do have and ensuring that we can break into them. [Implementing a conversational marketing solution] was the next step in the tech stack.

What challenges did you have with your first, alternative conversational solution?

Portia: We kind of built the [alternative conversational solution] out, but to be honest, one of our biggest issues with them was the lack of customer service and support because we’re a lean team and there was no dedicated person to the website who's sitting in there and optimizing all the decision trees and making sure that the routing is correct and that we're constantly refreshing... So we kind of set it up and then never used it much afterwards.

P.T.: We were experiencing routing issues and data quality issues that were pretty alarming. It was getting into our Salesforce instance and things just weren't accurate at all and so we had a lot of bad data. We didn't have as much robust reporting either. We didn't have an accurate picture of how many leads were coming and if it actually converted. We weren't pleased with what we could see and the accuracy of what we were seeing. It just didn't match up.

So, why did you choose Qualified?

P.T: One of the selling points with Qualified was around the Salesforce integration and providing higher quality data for us and into our system, which we have seen ever since implementing Qualified.

Portia: The accuracy is much better. And also the depth of the integration with Salesforce has really has allowed us to hone our strategy.

P.T: Another thing—From my understanding, based on our routing and the process that we wanted to implement, it was pretty complex, especially compared to other customers. So the fact that [Katie, our Qualified Solution Architect] was able to work with us and set things up exactly how we envisioned it was also a great selling point for us too because we did not experience that with the previous vendor. This level of communication and collaboration and a willingness to actually implement it was definitely a big selling point for us.

Portia: Beyond the technical scope of what you guys do better is the people element. With our team being bigger, I don't have time to do what [Katie, our Qualified Solution Architect] does. And she just is so fast. We tell her what we need to do and she does it. And then I don't have to worry about trying to figure it out and we're able to do more with it... She's ensuring that we're actually using it. We owe a lot to her. Tell her we love her and she’s the reason for our success.

P.T.: But that does say a lot though. Customer success has become such an aspect of most tech companies and the reason for their success. So, it just speaks a lot to what Qualified is doing and Katie specifically for us.

Tell us about how you're using Qualified.

P.T: Routing has been helpful. We're not getting as much noise coming through. The way that we have it set up—each rep is getting leads from the accounts that they're responsible for so they're not wasting as much time with something that isn't going to progress or somebody else's deal. They've seen a lot more success handling those leads. It's been a lot more targeted and valuable for them and a better use of their time while they're on Qualified. Obviously we don't want people sitting on Qualified, staring at the screen all day. We have to be doing our job, but Qualified will be notifying them when something important is ready. And that's the biggest value that we've seen from it.

We are a global company now and we've grown pretty substantially since implementing Qualified, especially on a global scale. In Europe, [our routing rules] are based on the countries we’re routing to. Each rep there speaks a different language so we want to have them focus on the countries where those languages are prevalent, so those leads will be directed to them. However, in the US, we have it based on a somewhat territory-basis, but based on Account Executives that they support. It's a little bit different than how it's set up in Europe so that we have to have these dynamic routing rules set up in Qualified so that we ensure that it's going to the right SDR.

Portia: I think [live streams] have been a really, really good change. When you're thinking about an SDR’s time, it is very easy to get distracted. I think that it’s really moved the needle in making their experience with the platform more efficient. We have less of the, “well, this person gets this round robin” and they're fighting over that one or they're distracted and pouncing. I feel like there's been less of that.

What kinds of results have you seen since you started a conversational program?

Portia: In almost a year, we've generated $7.7 million in top line pipeline. We’ve closed $1.2 million from Qualified and just shy of $2.3 million went to closed new opportunities but the majority of it is still open. We do have a really long sales cycle but I would say $1.2 million in closed one revenue is pretty significant. 

What are some of your key learnings after implementing a conversational program?

Portia: The less your robot sounds like a robot, the better it performs.

P.T: From an end-user experience, we've made different changes since we've implemented Qualified. We've made changes on our team in terms of the process of how to follow-up on leads, how to prioritize different companies based off of the Qualified traffic that we're seeing. So, even if that person wasn't the right person that came in and was requesting information we can prioritize those accounts and then go after somebody else, maybe a larger stakeholder or an influencer at that company.

How are your end users (i.e. your sales reps) enjoying using Qualified?

P.T: They love it. They love the ability to actually have those conversations with people that want to hear more, and want to do it right this second, opposed to being like “let's schedule a time later next week.” We're able to do that in real time and have those conversations. And through Qualified, we recently started using the [voice] call feature where they can just call directly through the [app], which has been super helpful. Instead of going back and forth on a chat bot, you can actually just call them. The team has really enjoyed using it. It switches up the day a little bit too, as opposed to normal SDR work of prospecting, you have this additional layer with Qualified where they can engage with people right on the spot.

Portia: The fact is it’s actually designed to be helpful instead of being a burden for the SDRs. You guys have obviously designed it with them in mind in a lot of ways. And I think that shows through how eager they are to actually use it.

Any best practices your sales reps have found to be effective?

P.T: At the beginning of using Qualified, we spent a lot more time sitting there, trying to see who's on the website, trying to do a few more pounces and things of that nature. However, since the technology has become a little bit more robust, where it'll notify us when somebody important is on the website, it’s really helped in our process so that we don't have to sit there and try to pounce ourselves. Qualified will let us know when we need to do that, which has been super effective for us, especially as of late with Qualified X.

It's cool because Qualified has just become part of the SDR process. And we have our normal work with Marketing like marketing campaigns or our outbound campaigns that we're working on, but having Qualified as a supplementary tool for pipeline generation has been really great, and we've incorporated that into our daily life. And now everybody is on the same page—We know when to use it, when not to use it, and make ourselves available as much as we can obviously, but it's become a huge part of our success on the SDR team.

What are some of the biggest surprises you’ve had along the way?

Portia: The biggest differences we noticed were just in the ease of use and the complexity of what you guys do. You make a very complex thing relatively simple to execute. Truly the integrations that you guys have and how robust they are, it goes a long way to making our lives a lot easier. I think ultimately an SDR is going to be more productive when they are more focused and it's been a lot easier to do that with Qualified vs. [our previous conversational solution].

P.T: However, once we went to Qualified and started to have more engagement and conversations, I was surprised to see the actual impact it was having on our pipeline generation and the number of conversations. And not only that, but the quality of those conversations. Obviously you're not going to get winners on all of them, but a large majority of them are quality conversations, quality companies reaching out to us and being routed to my team for follow-up. So I was surprised to see that this level of pipeline generation has taken place since we've implemented Qualified.

Advice for others starting on their conversational sales and marketing journey?

Portia: Dig into the customer service part of it because if you don't have someone who can dedicate a lot of time to building it out, that can be an absolute deal breaker in the value that you see out of the system. That was our huge issue with [our previous conversational solution] and it's an absolute non-issue with Qualified. A secondary would be to take a look at how deeply they're integrated with Salesforce. 

Thank you so much to Portia and P.T. for joining us! We can’t wait to follow your and the team’s growth. To learn more, read project 44's customer case study.

Posted on
October 8, 2021
by
Jessica Ding

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