Here’s the TL;DR:
Challenge: Champify needed a better way to educate large buying teams and reach internal decision-makers during the sales process. Long email threads and Google Docs weren’t cutting it.
Solution: Champify used Dock workspaces to share personalized information with their deal champion at every stage of the customer lifecycle—from the first sales call through to negotiation, close, kickoff, and renewal.
Results: By leveraging reusable Dock templates, Champify’s small Sales and Customer Success teams can now personalize information for buyers at a scale only previously achievable for big Revenue teams.
“Dock makes it a lot easier for me to manage a lot more conversations as only one person with so much time. Of course, the cherry on top is when customers say, ‘Wow, I'm impressed. This is super personalized.’”
Stephen Ruff understands the value of a strong buyer champion—it’s what led him to co-found Champify.
In his previous AE role at Heap, Stephen was responsible for generating his own pipeline. He realized he had three levers to pull to close more deals:
- Apply brute force: “If you pump out more volume, you're gonna have more at-bats, you'll get more hits.”
- Get better at the art form: “Sales isn't an art form of persuasiveness, but knowing your product, being able to engage, asking thoughtful questions, being personable.”
- Work smarter, not harder: “If you spend more time doing high-value activities that are more likely to result in a hit, you’re going to do better.”
Stephen found brute-force outbound was losing its effectiveness.
“Everyone has broad scale automation now for email, phone, LinkedIn—you name it. So buyers are getting overwhelmed. On top of that, there are six times as many software companies as there were ten years ago. Email volume has doubled, and response rate has gone down 40%.”
He also noticed how much the art of selling was shifting to educating.
“If you think about what we are as sellers, we're educators. We provide buyers with information so they can make an educated decision for themselves.”
“But this education process can be pretty big. Let's say you're selling an analytics product [like Heap] with a high learning curve. Education can take up the meat of the buying process.”
So Stephen decided to focus on the third option: work smarter, not harder.
“Our highest performing channel back at Heap—almost on par with direct inbound—was former customers. It was people we’d already built a relationship with. They were already educated and had already reached that clicking point.”
“Over time, as your user base and exposure grows, you get a decent volume of people who are changing jobs.”
“When you reach back out to them, assuming they had a good experience, they're responding 5X more and converting 3X higher and 3X faster. That can become a substantial lead channel.”
“That's how Champify came to be. Champify turns your former customers into an organic and qualified lead channel. It’s operationalized directly into your CRM, engagement tool, and Slack.”
Now, when it comes to selling Champify, Stephen and his team are taking a “work smarter, not harder” approach to buyer education.
Stephen identified four major challenges they had to solve to better educate their buyers:
- Enabling champion with personalized information
- Multi-threading across large buying teams
- Matching their buyers’ desire to buy asynchronously
- Re-engaging buyers that have gone quiet
Here’s how Stephen solved those challenges with Dock.
1. Champion enablement
“There's a stat out there that says the majority of buying conversations happen with your champion internally, with their own team.”
“You build a champion by connecting with them, helping them benefit personally, and tying your product to a problem they care about, but also by providing them the information they need to go internally and get buy-in and get their team excited.”
“From the first call through the business case and negotiation, we think it's important to be as transparent as possible and provide the buyer with as much information as possible.”
“We use Dock at every stage of the sales cycle. It plays well with how the Champify team thinks about sales as connecting with buyers and being on the same team.”
“Before Dock, we were using a combination of disparate email threads and Google Docs. Google Docs aren't very visually appealing, they're kind of janky, you can’t embed videos, and they’re hard to standardize.”
“I'd probably spend five times as much time putting together the content, and then it wasn't as good.”
“ Now, we have a leave-behind Dock template that we do after our intro call and demo, which helps introduce people to Champify.”
“They can browse through our Dock within a few seconds and understand exactly what we do and how we compare to what's out there. We include a brief demo video, an FAQ section that covers sales and ops questions, a security overview, and customer examples.”
“As the buyer asks questions throughout the deal cycle, we update the Dock with our answers. So that not only are we answering them via email, but when they go back to the Dock, they have all the information that they need.”
Having one go-to information resource is a life-saver for champions during internal conversations.
“Previously, your champion would have thought, ‘I know we’ve talked about this before. Do I need to go click on a bunch of these call recordings and read through the emails to put something together?’”
“With Dock, they can say, ‘Oh, wait no. I have one link with all of the information that I need.’”
“What's great about our Dock leave-behind is we're not only sending it to the person we had the intro call with, but they are sharing it with their team right out of the gate. It's a really easy way for them to get internal exposure.”
“We've actually had customers doing a business case to their CFO, pull up the Dock and just scroll through it.”
“More people are involved in the average buying decision now. Rewind the clock five years ago, you could go to a VP or somebody with decision-making power, and they would go ahead and make a decision on behalf of everyone.”
“Now, you’re probably not even going to be able to get an intro call with a decision-maker. They'll loop in people below them and say, ‘Hey, you guys, take a look. Come to me once you've done your research.’”
“It was already hard to get in touch with one person, but now you need to get in touch with and build consensus among a group. That's a big challenge.”
“Plus, Champify isn't the type of tool that can deliver value to only one user. You need to centralize it, plug it into every single person in your business's Rolodex, and distribute it to each team.”
“If we realize we’re not talking to the right person and need to thread out to a leader in an adjacent department, Dock gives us a great way to do that.”
Stephen uses their Dock workspace as a conversation starter, rather than making a hard ask for another leader’s time.
“Instead, we say, ‘Hey, check out this Dock. Here's what we've been working on, and how we're thinking about things. Let me know if you think this is interesting."
3. Selling asynchronously
“It's really up to our prospects—how they like to buy and their time constraints.”
“Sales is becoming more asynchronous. People are researching before they come to you, and even when they're in an active conversation, not everyone wants to take time out of their day to have a basic intro call with you.”
“We play into that by being transparent upfront about everything from pricing to what our product can do, to what we can't do, to customer success.”
“If you arm them with that information as early as possible in the conversation, it's only going to yield good things.”
“I'd argue that the most important piece to selling asynchronously is having a centralized piece of educational content that your champion or prospect can use to educate themselves and their team. I think Dock straddles both of those things perfectly.”
4. Re-engaging cold prospects
“The timing won't be perfect for most conversations you start. A consolidated leave-behind that isn't just a big email is a great way to keep somebody warm.”
Stephen protects their Dock workspaces with email authentication, which allows him to see who’s looking at a workspace and when.
“ We were in a conversation a couple of months ago, and we saw a few more people go back and look at the Dock, at which we were like, ‘Okay! These people may have come to the website, but this is a lot more specific.’”
“It was people we hadn't spoken with, so that means it must have resurfaced in conversations on their side. We were like, ‘Hey, this is a good time to reengage.’”
“After seeing a demo and setting up our first Dock, it was pretty clear it was way better than what we were using before,” said Stephen. “100% it's had a positive impact.”
“Having a Dock for each prospect makes it a lot easier for me to manage a lot more content and conversations as only one person with only so much time.”
“Because we templatize different sections, it's really easy for us to drop in different use cases that pertain to certain customers, or drop in their names and details that pertain to them.”
“The reactions have been great. We’ve gotten more people verbally commending the Docks we've put together than we expected.”
“Of course, the cherry on top is when customers are like, ‘Wow, I'm impressed. This is super personalized.’”
One Dock Tip
Stephen’s number one tip for using Dock: “Use templated sections.”
“You can either do a template for a whole Dock, which is like a big webpage, or you can templatize individual sections.”
“We have templated sections for competitive differentiators, how pricing works, our demo videos, an FAQ for a specific persona, or security info.”
“What's really nice about templatizing these things is as you come across new competitive information, or you want to share a new customer story, or you have an updated demo video—if you add that to a template, it gets synced to every customer-facing resource your customers have access to.”
“It's much more dynamic than doing anything with PDFs or traditional customer-facing documentation.”
One Sales Tip
We ask every customer we interview to share one piece of advice for someone in a similar role.
Stephen’s advice: “Make the buying process as easy as possible for the prospect by following the prospect's style for how they like to engage and how they like to purchase.”
“Some people want to get on the phone. Some people want to text message. Some people are like, ‘I want to do as much research on my side and talk to you as little as possible.’ And I'm okay with that.”
“People like to do more and more research on their own. So the more information you can give them, the more it's going to benefit you.
“So follow your process roughly, but make sure you’re following how your prospect likes to buy.”