How We Sell – Alessio Artuffo, Chief Revenue Officer, Docebo
How We Sell – Alessio Artuffo, Chief Revenue Officer, Docebo
A common part of the buyer journey that was talked about in our How I Buy series is the product trial. Buyers sign up online, try the product, form an opinion, and never interact with the sales team. This can lead to challenges in being able to start a relationship, broaden the conversation, or challenge the buyer to consider new points of view.
In this week’s instalment of the seller’s viewpoint – How We Sell – I’m thrilled to chat with Alessio Artuffo, Chief Revenue Officer, Docebo. Alessio and his team engage with buyers at many points along the buying journey, and have an especially interesting approach to engaging with buyers throughout the trial experience.
I enjoyed the conversation with Alessio, and I’m confident you’ll enjoy his insights into how he sells:
Let’s start off with a view of the journey that Docebo’s buyers go through. How do they discover what you can do for them?
Our buyers come from two high level needs. The first is internal folks at an organization who want to improve their internal learning environment. These folks come from backgrounds including HR, training, compliance, and related functions. The second stream is a buyer who is more go-to-market driven; customers, perspective customers, users, organization members, etc.
The two streams are quite different in terms of how they approach the buying journey. For internal training folks, they generally have an existing solution of some sort. They have often maintained a level of knowledge of the state of the learning solutions industry, and are quite aware of roughly what is possible and available in the market. They will come to the market with some clear gaps that they are looking to resolve.
In the second scenario, this is often an early adopter and a first time buyer. The idea of using learning as a revenue generation tool or part of your organizations go-to-market strategy is newer, and thus the buyers are much newer and the needs are a little less consolidated. The scope of these projects can however be massive and we have seen great uptake in the past couple years.
Let’s drill in a bit on how those buyers find out about what’s out there and discover that Docebo exists and might be able to assist them?
At the high end of the market, often these are expert learning practitioners within a dedicated function at an organization. They are usually quite familiar with the market and at least the names of the major players. Many of them will explore the trial that we offer in order to deepen their knowledge of Docebo specifically and how we might solve a particular challenge that they are having.
The trial is obviously an important part of many of today’s buying processes. How do you help buyers navigate their own trial in a way that maximizes their success without annoying them?
From a process point, there’s an inbound team that takes care of everyone who activates a trial. We use in-platform notifications to guide the trial participants, and at the same time, their actions will trigger specific plays and workflows within our team in terms of communications.
The outbound we send during this process is not an automated cadence, it’s an effort to help the trial participant. For example if we see that they have activated a course but have not uploaded any material, we will send them guidance and knowledge-base articles that show how to upload material.
The tone is not too aggressive, and is very targeted at helping the customer succeed in the experience. Our goal as much as we can is to open a conversation channel, whether this is via email or phone, all it matters is that we engage our adopters.
How do you balance the “tactical” helping of the user (ie solving their specific problem of uploading material) with the more “strategic” goal of getting on the phone and opening up the user’s horizons a little bit through a conversation?
The balance is not simple. There’s a lot of human intuition and a lot of continuous refinement that goes into it. The ultimate goal that we have is to segment the prospecting population into those who are in a mature, active software research cycle, and those who are kicking tires and exploring what’s “out there”, but don’t have an immediate or specific need to tackle.
We see a large number of front line roles doing the investigations; specialists and first time managers. They may report into a committee internally, but the research is being done by one or more front-line people. Often these people are third party consultants hired to scope who’s best at what. We will often hear from a Fortune 1000 company who has gone through a lights-out evaluation, finds that Docebo meets their needs, and is now ready to talk.
How do you tease apart the various types of buyers given that the nature of the trial is lights out?
We do a variety of things to attempt to determine what persona the buyer falls into. First, we try to understand where they are on their buying journey, and from that, find a very compelling reason for them to want to talk to us. The right marketing material, at the right time of the journey,or carefully chosen case study can sometimes accomplish that.
We understand a lot about the buyer from their email – we don’t allow personal domains like gmail or yahoo to increase the chances that the requests are quality, so the person has to use a corporate domain to advance conversations with us.
Our internal systems will also give us a sense of whether this person has been in any of our outbound campaigns in the past, which gives a clearer sense of if they are responding to a targeted touchpoint.
External and social data is also a key part of our process; for example we’ll see if they are hiring for learning functions. Or if they are participating actively in popular online forums seeking information. That can be a strong indicator that they are making an investment in the learning and development area.
It sounds like the cycle from exploration to purchase can be a lengthy one. How do you stay in touch over long-cycle deals without being annoying?
Our initial contact will be around 8-10 touches that blend email, phone, and social over a few weeks or months depending on the buyers responsiveness. The messaging is all about value. We need to understand exactly where they are in their journey and then offer something valuable as a next step. Sales only emails with no value are a boomerang.
We work hard to match our content production with our buyer journey. We look at the points of the buying journey that people can get stuck and focus our content development around those areas.
Trigger events like support tickets are also used to create an opportunity to interact. If for example, a person had a few tickets in the user management area, our team might say “while those tickets will be responded to, perhaps it would be useful to jump into the system and I can show you how it works”. There are lots of opportunities to help, and we look to identify them and react to them.
How does your team and marketing interact as you try to create great pieces for following up during the middle of the trial?
We recently brought on board a strategic content marketing manager to really help with that gap. We were producing great top-of-funnel content, but it struggled to match the needs of buyers in the middle of their buying journey.
Going back to the user management challenge, for example, if you want to interact with that user, you need to create a piece of content that speaks to that exact challenge at that moment. You need to understand the mindset of a trial user who is a week in, and is struggling with user management.
Often these pieces are not so scalable. The best example is spending 15 minutes on the phone with an expert who can show them the foundations of the system. Obviously this doesn’t scale.
We’ve taken that learning and seen a lot of success with bi-weekly product webinar series. We target users, not prospects, and it’s a deep in the product tour of a particular area with lots of user questions. Those are very useful to buyers in the trial phase that want to learn more but are not quite yet ready for a personalized demo.
Those are great insights, thank you Alessio!