Reaching the Next Milestone with Kickass ToutApp Customers

  • 55 customer visits
  • Dozens of flights
  • 10 customer “Closers Club” happy hours
  • 10 months
  • 1 amazing group of customers

It’s been quite a busy year for ToutApp. And today’s funding announcement marks another great step in that journey.

Perhaps the best part about these types of moments is that it creates an excellent opportunity to both reflect on the past and contemplate the future. In reflecting, one thing is certainly very clear: our success to date and today’s announcement would not be possible without our incredible customers, who everyday entrust ToutApp to help them be more effective salespeople.

Our love for salespeople is clear in everything we do — from our platform to our t-shirts, we have celebrated salespeople from the beginning. And ToutApp’s Customer Success team has one simple mission: to help our customers get the most out of offering so that they can be better salespeople.

This is something that we constantly invest in. In this past year, we have grown the Customer Success team from 2 to 10 people, developed dedicated Support and Enterprise Customer Success teams, hosted countless best practices sessions and fully optimized our Support resources for customers to access with ease. Last but not least, we’ve hosted many incredibly fun customer happy hours and dinners. Through all of this hard work, we are grateful that our customers are partnering with us for the long term, showing their support with  an incredible net renewal rate of 150% and a customer satisfaction score of 93%.

We all know that the art and science of sales continues to evolve faster than ever before. Today, the job of a salesperson is to be consultative, to help educate, to help define requirements, to help evaluate, to connect and through that process, to sell. ToutApp’s ultimate goal is to not just to give our customers the most innovative software that will help them close more deals, but also to share best practices for this ever-changing profession. In this way, we view ourselves as an end-to-end partner.

This latest fundraise is going to help us provide even more value for our customers. With it, ToutApp will continue to invest heavily in programs and teams that ensure our customers have the best possible experience and get the most out of their partnership with us. For example, this coming year, you will see ToutApp continue to grow our Customer Success team, develop deeper best practices and work directly with you to build the future of sales software. We are also kicking off a series of local city meetups where we will bring together sales experts and customers so that you have access to the best and brightest in the industry.

Thank you to all of our customers, whether you’ve just signed on with us or are a longtime partner, for giving us the opportunity to work with you and deliver with the best service possible. We’re excited to continue as the definitive, long-term partner for the growing, modern sales team.

Please don’t hesitate to let us know how we can better support you (or if you just want to make sure you get an invite to our next customer happy hour!).

Zipwhip Powers Its Sales Team with Tout [Case Study]

Zipwhip is a leading telecommunications provider that pioneered the concept of sending and receiving text messages between existing mobile, landline and toll-free numbers to any connected desktop, tablet or smartphone. With over 18M wireless and landline numbers and a small, but growing sales team, Zipwhip needed a tool that would bridge the gap in rep productivity and increase their pipeline growth.

“Once you start using Tout, you immediately realize how utterly ridiculous your previous way of operating was,” said Ian Swartz, Business Development Manager.

Today, the entire sales team at Zipwhip is on Tout. Learn how their team was able to do more with less.

How Marketing Can Drive Sales and Get Visibility Into Their Sales Team

In a 2015 report conducted by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 86% of the polled respondents said that their organization uses content marketing.

Content marketing was defined as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience–and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

But, we’ve previously learned that 80% of marketing generated content goes unused by sales–even if the content generated is created for sales. It’s obvious to note that there’s a disconnect between marketing and sales.

Companies need to take a four-pronged approach at closing the divide between sales and marketing.

First-Prong: Define goals together

Sales wants to drive revenue into their pipeline and close deals. Marketing wants to create collateral that gets used by sales and drives revenue into the company. For everyone to get what they want and achieve their goals, the two teams need to define their goal together.

Content creation is not the goal of content. The goal of content is to develop a relationship with a customer that will lead to profit. Increasingly, VPs of Sales and VPs of Marketing are interested in finding new ways to reach and connect to customers. Both VPs are interested in figuring out when (and if) marketing content is used during the sales cycle, and if it directly contributes to closing deals.

Second-Prong: Facilitate collaboration and team mentality

After implementing a clearly defined goal, the next step is to facilitate collaboration and team mentality amongst sales and their marketing counterpart.

Know Your Responsibilities

Meetings are time consuming. When done right, meetings can be highly effective and productive. In order to facilitate collaboration, sales and marketing need to have a regular meeting cadence with a focused purpose, agenda, outcome and action plan.

Know Your Ground Rules

In the interest of productivity, VPs of sales and marketing should set ground rules for their teams. If a piece of marketing collateral needs to be tweaked–suggest it in a constructive and useful manner. If a sales email template needs to be spruced up–suggestions should be welcomed.

Know Your Counterparts

Teamwork takes a team. Get to know your sales or marketing counterpart by scheduling regular 1:1s, or sync meetings, to get in touch with what’s working and what’s not. It’s important to discuss team progress and iterate on processes along the way.

Third-Prong: Organization

A database on cluttered content is useless. Content is a selling tool and it demands to be used. Your company’s branded content should be easily accessible by your team whenever they need it.

The database of content created by marketing, whether it’s blog content, case studies or competitive analysis–it needs to be central, well organized and maintained. Many companies rely on a single Content Management System (CMS) to house and organize all their marketing collateral.

Whether it’s through team trainings, reminders or notifications on when a new piece of content is added to the organized content library–marketing needs to do a better job of informing their sales counterparts that content exists.

Fourth-Prong: Content Measurement

You’ve done all the above steps, now what? If content doesn’t help close a deal or add revenue to the pipeline, then it’s not worth doing.

Make your sales and marketing teams work smarter through content measurement.

Beyond learning more about your audience and what resonates with them, content measurement provides one of the most useful metrics to any business: it identifies the content that’s closing deals.

Taking a close look at what types of content are closing deals enables marketing to produce, revise and remove superfluous material. And, it alerts sales in what types of content closes deals.

I won’t touch upon exactly how important content measurement is to the sales cycle and overall business, but I’ll leave you with this: marketing is about increasing sales and sales is all about increasing sales–it’s a no-brainer to work together.

Why is Sales Productivity such a huge deal?

Last week, at the AA-ISP conference in San Francisco, I was invited on stage to talk about Inside Sales. In this blog post, I’ll summarize the talk I gave about how Sales Productivity is the silent killer in the fast scaling inside sales industry today, and the 5 key killers you can focus on today to improve your bottom line.

This is Part 1 of a 2-part post. On this part, I’ll talk through WHY Sales Productivity is a silent killer and how you should be thinking about it.

First, Some Scary Stats on Sales Productivity

Scary Stats around Sales Productivity

Studies done between CSO Insights, Gartner and others continually show that while Inside Sales is growing bigger and bigger as a model for selling, the productivity across the industry is continuing to decline.

Does this mean that Inside Selling as a model is flawed? Absolutely not. What it actually means is that Inside Selling is getting to be bigger than ever, with ACVs at an all time high — quickly rivaling Field Sales. However, as we’re building larger and larger Inside Selling teams and as we’re chasing bigger and bigger deals, our systems, processes, best practices, and most importantly our software, simply isn’t scaling as effectively.

Salespeople are in danger of being disenfranchised

Did you know that on average sales leaders spend nearly $20,000/year/rep to improve their sales productivity? The scary part about this number is that while spending those large amounts — salespeople are still only spending 1/3rd of their day on actual selling. The rest of it is just busy work.

Even worse, while inside sales people have shown up and continued to show incredible value, the basic set of tools that they’re using for the core part of their business day still looks and works the same! In fact, it has looked and worked roughly the same for the better part of the last decade.

Decades old tools that Salespeople use

I purposefully used that older screenshot of Salesforce.com, because while the colors have changed, the overall framework of what Sales software looks like for salespeople simply hasn’t changed in the past decade.

Sales Software Needs to Step Up

My message to the audience was simple. The software stack, the set of tools that we give our salespeople as they reach new heights, simply hasn’t evolved as fast as our sales people and our sales models have. And it’s time that we demand better from the sales stack we use and we demand that we simply have better sales software.

Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 12.36.55 PM

And just to be clear, I’m not talking about the 18-different tools we buy for our reps to augment Gmail and Outlook. I’m talking about a true end-to-end solution that truly helps salespeople sell better. I’m talking about the sales software salespeople deserve to be using over the next decade.

To Solve This, We Need To Shift Our Mindset

The fundamental flaw that exists today is that we’re trying to scale Inside Selling to new heights while using the same set of operational processes we’ve used over the past decade. This includes software, this includes training, and this includes how we think about measuring and enabling salespeople. Our entire mindset on how we approach these things need to change if we’re going to scale Inside Selling.

The irony here is that Sales Leaders tend to be some of the smartest, driven and most creative people I’ve come across. And so while they conceptually understand that things need to scale better, they tend to resort to looking at everything but the software and their processes to help solve their problems — because simply put: they’re not engineers, they’re salespeople. So they focus on more training, or more meetings, or more play books.

In Part 2 of this article, I’ll help you change your mindset on how you too can think like an engineer and eradicate the Top 5 silent killers of sales productivity. I’ll teach you the key things we look at when we develop our sales platform and how if you look at the same things, you can drive immediate benefits to your sales productivity and bottom line. Stay tuned.

Entelo Drives Productivity and Growth [Case Study]

Founded in 2011, Entelo gives companies a competitive advantage in providing a platform of recruiting tools that they need to build a great team. The Entelo platform provides predictive analytics and social signals that helps their customers find, qualify and engage with top talent.

As a fast-growing team, Entelo needed the right set of tools to enable growth, integrate seamlessly within their existing workflow and drive insights and productivity for their Customer Success and Sales teams.

“We needed a tool to give us measured results to tell us what actually worked. It was crucial that we truly understand our interactions with prospects and customers,” said Loni Spratt, Director of Customer Success.

Learn how Loni and her team at Entelo leverages Tout to drive productivity and growth for their growing company.

80% of Marketing Content Created Goes Unused by Sales

There are a handful of factors that affect your everyday job in sales. Some of those factors you have no control over–such as a company’s buying budget. Then there are other factors you do have control over, such as using content to leverage your sales strategy.

In a recent report by the International Data Corporation (IDC) it stated that “sales team members don’t use as much as 80% of the content that marketing generates even though most of it is created for sales and channel enablement.”

That number is shockingly high. So, why should we care and what are we going to do about it?

In short, we need to talk about how to effectively align sales and marketing. Sales and Marketing needs to be a two-way street, not a dead end.

Solve For Buyer Insight

According to Forrester Research “buyers do want to work with salespeople who deeply understand their roles, their companies and their challenges.” What does this mean for your deals, pipeline, product demos and prospecting processes? It means that you should share credible content with your prospects that quantify a prospect’s role, industry, company and challenges.

Share a piece of invaluable content or on-trend piece that you found on the web that tackles a prospect’s specific problem, industry or role. Gaining a common footing with a prospect not only establishes camaraderie with a prospect–it creates credibility for yourself and your product.

Furthermore, consider dipping into your company’s repository of marketing collateral and share a Case Study, video profile, white paper or customer testimonial that supports your company’s core message and value proposition that is relevant to your specific prospect.

Solve For Better Communication

So far, the general consensus is that sales doesn’t use marketing generated content. Like any machine, you need to have all the parts moving in unison to get it to work–that’s no different for sales and marketing. To get both teams to work together, there has to be a two-way system between them.

Start with the root of the problem: communication.

Both teams should meet regularly with talking points to better understand your needs:

  • What types of content would you find useful for each part of your sales process?
  • What challenges are your prospects experiencing?
  • What kinds of content would be useful to relieve those challenges?

Transparent communication is extremely powerful and can create a better working relationship between the two teams.

Solve For Simplicity and Organization

Show of hands: how many times a day do you get frustrated because you can’t find a specific file on your computer? Chances are it’s a few times a week.

Despite marketing’s attempts to build a content library, between Box, Confluence, Dropbox and Google Drive–it’s enough to overwhelm anyone. Instead, sales and marketing should collaborate on prioritization and organization efforts in order to ensure that each team succeeds.

Break it folder down into each specific part of the sales cycle so when a salesperson is on a call, they can quickly reference any piece of content in a pinch.

Sales and Marketing Powers Unite

At the end of the day marketing wants to produce credible content that is used by the sales team; and sales wants to close deals and grow revenue. Everyone is working on the same team and we all want the same thing: accomplish our company’s mission statement. In collaborating together, both team’s can become the Avengers and drive to success.

14 Reasons Why Tout is our Valentine

It’s that time of year again – where we share our warm and fuzzy feelings about our loved ones, friends and our jobs. Over the past year, ToutApp has grown tremendously with each new person bringing in their unique personality and quirkiness. Yes, it’s true. We can’t hide it. We love ToutApp and we wanted to share our feelings about it with you:

 

crazy

1. Steven, Engineering Manager:
Everyone is crazy… and it’s awesome.

 

good_vibes

2. Sarah, Happiness Officer: 
I love Tout because of the energy, the synergy, the good vibes that course through the office even on the most meager of Mondays. Tout is a home away from home. #GoodVibes

 

wake_up
3. Tara, Manager Customer Success:

I love the feeling of waking up every morning excited to start the day at Tout. It breaks down to the team, culture and our customers. Everyday there’s a new challenge to tackle, opportunity to grow or an experience to learn from which is addicting. The tout team is a perfect combination of a little quirky, super smart and all around kick-ass.

 

science
4. April, Customer Success Manager:
I love how intelligent my team is.  Seriously, they are the most brilliant group of people I’ve ever worked with. From troubleshooting to creative outreach I am daily impressed by the people I’m surrounded with. There hasn’t been a day that goes by that I haven’t learned something new either about our product, our culture or about myself.
bestfriends
5. Brooke, Happiness Officer:
Hands down the people make this company what it is today. We all have that go getter mentality that is otherwise known as a 10xer. Aside from the people, I love the 20% projects we all work on and are so passionate about. I think its so unique to find a company that not only allows you, but gives you 100 percent support to pursue these projects. #TOUTLOVE

 

kermit_phone

6. Tamara, Customer Success Manager: 

Trying not to echo everything that was said, aside from the people and overall culture – I think it’s great to have open lines of communication across the company. That way you’re consistently aware of what’s going on and up to date on upcoming releases/events, etc. Way better than looking like an idiot when a customer knows more than you do. :)

 

family

7. Nick, Sales Happiness Officer:

For me, it’s inevitable that work is going to take over a great deal of your life, no matter what desk you sit at today. In order to love what you do, all while feeling accomplished, you must feel inspired by a purpose. Tout is that purpose for all of us. It’s not just work for this team, we’re family.
My colleagues attitude, drive, success and outlandish support make me jump out of bed in the morning. To know how to do something well is to truly enjoy it. Tout not only embraces that passion, but we spread that love in a contagious fashion to our customers and prospects daily to be better in every way.
You have to ask yourself, “if today was the last day of my life, would I want to be doing what I’m doing today?” Not only is this what I love to do, but these amazing individuals at Tout make me a better human. What else could you ask for?
Oh we also have kegs. #GoDucks

 

energy
8. Stephanie, Customer Success Manager:
The energy in the office is addicting. We support each other, are constantly learning from one another, and celebrate our wins together.

 

class
9. Jeffrey, Sales Happiness Officer: 
The ability to consistently learn and feel energized by everyone I work with.
pushup
10. Vince, Sales Happiness Officer: 
I would probably say that Tout is special for a few more reasons:
- The innovative nature of the business, as evidenced by our CEO TK’s forward thinking.
-The competitive but friendly environment, everyone wants to succeed and better themselves but not at the expense of their peers
- Athleticism abounds in the office, “clap, clap” (Whenever anyone claps twice in succession, the whole office does pushups together)
- We are all party people who can have fun together outside of the office

 

butterfly

11. James, Happiness Officer:

I get to do what I’m passionate about as well as embrace an awesome culture. I feel like there’s a lot of potential within the product that has yet to be tapped into. I look forward to seeing the company grow into something amazing; like a caterpillar blossoming into a butterfly.

 

success
12. Dan, Sales Happiness Officer:
My more-than-platonic feelings for ToutApp come from the shared mission to be more than the sum of our parts that can truly help our customers with something amazing. We’re building something truly beautiful and unique for sales people that will change how businesses communicate with their customers. There is nothing I love more than being able to help others be successful with what they care about.

 

highfive
13. Ali, Product Manager:
I’ve never worked anywhere where the smallest things are not only noticed, but celebrated. Whether it’s a birthday, a deal closed (no matter the dollar amount), an issue being fixed, a small feature, a work anniversary, etc. – it gets called out and celebrated. I absolutely love working in a place that has so much positivity (and let’s be honest, crazy) exuding from the walls every day.

 

 skills
14. Jenn, Executive Assistant:
I love that we celebrate everyone’s uniqueness and that each one of us can contribute our special skill or talent to the company in our own way.
Happy Valentine’s Day everybody!
XOXO,
Team ToutApp

If you’re interested in a career at ToutApp, we’re building a crack team of badasses: