Episode No:87

Importance of a Unified Tech Stack for Seamless Customer Experience

Ryanne Koch

Sr. Manager, CS, PandaDoc

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Ep#87: Importance of a Unified
Tech Stack for Seamless Customer Experience ft. Ryanne Koch (Sr. Manager, Customer Success, PandaDoc)
Ep#87: Importance of a Unified Tech Stack for Seamless Customer Experience ft. Ryanne Koch (Sr. Manager, Customer Success, PandaDoc)
  • Ep#87: Importance of a Unified Tech Stack for Seamless Customer Experience ft. Ryanne Koch (Sr. Manager, Customer Success, PandaDoc)

Episode Summary

In this episode of the Hyperengage Podcast, Adil Saleh interviews Ryanne Koch, a senior Customer Success manager at Pandadoc. They discuss her transition from account management to customer success and her experience working with SMBs and enterprise customers. They also cover the standardized onboarding process at PandaDoc, the use of data and metrics in onboarding, and the key role of a Customer Success Manager. Koch also talks about the importance of a unified tech stack for a seamless customer experience and how Gainsight is used for streamlined operations. She shares insights into her daily responsibilities as an enterprise account manager and the cultural values at PandaDoc. Furthermore, they discuss desirable qualities for a customer success manager and seizing opportunities in the age of COVID-19. Adil Saleh concludes by encouraging listeners to refer any customer success leaders for future episodes.
Key Takeaways Time
Ryanne Koch explains how her account management responsibilities were very similar to a Customer Success Manager role, enabling an easy transition. 2:15
Pandadoc provides customized onboarding packages for simple to complex customer use cases and workflows. 4:06
Pandadoc uses Salesforce automation to assign onboarding cases to CSMs and track response times. 6:11
After onboarding, Pandadoc focuses on adoption, tracking feature usage and metrics through their Wise framework. 8:09
The ideal CSM system provides a unified view of the customer journey. 13:17
Transitioning from mid-market to enterprise allows applying learnings and tackling new challenges. 14:51

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[00:01:27] Adil Saleh: Hey, greetings, everybody. This is Adil from Hyperengage Podcast. We're sitting here in Turkey beautiful island near the Bodham city, and we came across Ryanne. She's a senior Customer Success manager at Pandadoc. We all know what they do and how they've accomplished a category into the contract management and documentation workflow domain. Rhian, thank you very much for your time. Just a quick background on Rhian. She's transitioned from Account Management to more Customer Success Manager for the management for the last three and a half years. She started as a Customer Success manager. Now, back then, she was more towards SMB mid market. Now for the last six months, she's been a part of team serving enterprise segments. So one more time, Ryanne, thank you very much for taking the time out. [00:02:23] Ryanne Koch: Yeah, I'm happy to be here. Thank you. [00:02:30] Adil Saleh: Love. That great. [00:02:31] Adil Saleh: So our audience would love to know someone from account management. They are more friendly towards jumping into sales, jumping into Senior Account Management and VP of Sales, someone with as much experience as you have under your name. So how was that thought process when you were working previously as an account manager for quite a bit, and then you joined PandaDoc as Customer Success. Both are post sales, but the operation is slightly different. I know it changes globally when it comes to a SaaS platform such as Panadoc. So having that option in front of you, why did you choose Customer success? [00:03:15] Ryanne Koch: Yeah, so what's actually interesting about that is when I was in account management at a marketing agency, funny enough, the responsibilities for the role were actually very comparable to that of a Customer Success Manager. We're talking maybe about four or five years ago where I was in account management. And it's interesting because around that time, it was actually hard to find anyone with a title of Customer Success. I remember even when I transitioned to PandaDoc and started hiring for my team. We had to look beyond those that had customer success in their resumes, in their titles. A lot of times it was just under the umbrella of a different name, but the responsibilities overlapped. So my responsibilities from Account management title to customer success title were actually very similar. It was all post sales motion. It was dealing with a book of business, helping our customers find value in whatever we were offering for them. And it did involve a little bit of the upsell and expansion motion as well. So the transition was actually closer than it might. [00:04:20] Adil Saleh: Very interesting. Very interesting. And talking about your role now, thinking about products such as Pandadoc and having covering a range of different use cases, it changes with customer to customer, of course, problem to problem. [00:04:36] Adil Saleh: So how did you guys manage to have a standardized onboarding process if we just talk about the onboarding in the first place? [00:04:44] Ryanne Koch: Yeah, absolutely. So while we standardize our onboarding packages, we did create onboarding packages that were tailored for slightly different companies. So we actually offer about four different packages. And it ranges from your most simple setup with Pandadoc, which can just be getting, let's say, something like your Word documents transitioned into Pandadoc templates so that you have a stencil for everything that you're sending out. And then teaching our customers how to create documents off of those templates so they can create documents more easily, speed up the time to create those and get documents signed faster. So we have onboarding packages for simple use cases like that, and then it ranges all the way to what we call our ultimate onboarding packages. So that's something where you have folks that have a lot of integrations that they're trying to connect to PandaDoc. CRM is typically one of the most common ones, right. Sometimes we have payment gateways that we're trying to get in there, and we'll sometimes pull in our technical account managers or our solutions engineers to also aid CSMS in the onboarding process because we are dealing with customers that have a lot more complex workflows. Those also can range into API integrations as well. So we've really streamlined our onboarding offerings, but in those offerings, we've tailored them enough to be able to tap into a simple Pandadoc use case and a very complex one. [00:06:07] Adil Saleh: Right, so based off of your customer journeys, you pretty much mapped out standardized workflows and necessary integrations, be it payment gateways, be it like CRM marketing tools, integration that they need, pipeline management, integration that they would need, a lot of sales teams, they use it for their account management as well. This seems pretty nice. [00:06:33] Adil Saleh: I have one question around this. Now, thinking about onboarding that is, well, as you mentioned, is tailored as much as possible for their use cases, how you're ensuring success. Like, do you guys have any kind of metrics, any triggers set up? Are you leveraging data or technology during these specifically for onboarding metrics. Success metrics. [00:06:57] Ryanne Koch: Yeah, absolutely. So we have our sales folks that are selling these onboarding packages, right? And whenever they do sell one of those to a customer, it speaks through our CRM, which we use salesforce to let our CSMS know, hey, we have a new onboarding case, and we want to make sure someone gets assigned to that right away. So we do have automation set up to route that to the appropriate CSM team. And then from there, we also have triggers that let us know what our outreach looks like. So are we responding to customers to get those onboarding packages kicked off in a very timely manner? We monitor metrics like that. We monitor case age to see how long is it taking to get our customers onboarded. We know if it's a simpler workflow, that timeline should be a lot tighter than a more complex one, which just involves more meetings, more set up. So we also monitor case age as well. [00:07:49] Adil Saleh: Very interesting. Very interesting. [00:07:51] Adil Saleh: And also thinking about, like, post onboarding, you must have a workflow around adoption, product adoption, and of course, feature retention and all of those. As a CSM. Is it a part of your day to day to make sure that let's say you have a set of 20 customers you're looking after, and now, out of those, there are five that have an opportunity post adoption or maybe during adoption that there is an opportunity for expansion, or maybe there is a risk the customer has not been able to evolve to the platform, adopt, to the features that are basically that trigger you as a CSM, as an opportunity for retention and expansion, which is the higher purpose that CSMS try to advance all the time. [00:08:37] Ryanne Koch: Yeah, absolutely. So we do start off typically in this onboarding phase, right? And we make sure that what the customer signed up for is being addressed in the onboarding process so that their workflow is functioning how it should with PandaDoc that's laying the foundation. Right? Onboarding is so critical to making sure that the customers understand how to use the platform, that the time to value is short so that they feel like they're getting their return on investment quickly. And then once we graduate them from onboarding, we immediately transition into then what CSMS typically do, which is the adoption for the entire lifecycle of the customer. When we switch over to that adoption, that's where we get a little bit heavier into seeing how the usage is in the platform. We track a lot of feature usage. We actually have a nice framework that we call Wise. It stands for Workflow Insights, Speed, and Experience, and we have specific metrics within each of those buckets that helps measure how successful an account is with their Pandadoc usage. We then take it a step further, and we have specific feature usage indicators as well. We train our CSMS to lean into, looking at all of those metrics and understanding how those metrics work with each other to help tell this story of how is the customer using the platform? Is it showing the value that they signed up for? Are there some best practices that we can help them implement? Where is it not as efficient as it could be and can we step in to show them the efficiency there? So, yes, we lean on a lot of data to drive very thoughtful conversations, whether it's in the onboarding process or after that closes and we head into more of the adoption heavy. [00:10:17] Adil Saleh: Amazing, amazing. Help me just get a little closer into a customer success organization at Pandadoc. Now, there are situations and occasions and exceptional experiences that you get to meet during the adoption stage and even any point in the lifecycle of a customer when you need help. Of course, you guys never had control over a lot of support or technical support. Curious. So how does that information gets translated since you've been the front runners? What is that? You guys using any technology, any kind, of course, platform that you're using to get all that information when any customer is stuck at any point, to get it resolved as soon as possible in the most senior way, and the information gets in the same shape or form and it gets translated to the right people. Yeah. [00:11:11] Ryanne Koch: So we definitely lean on our tech stack quite a lot, right? And we have a pretty robust Customer Experience operations team. So that covers our Customer Success operations team, it covers our account Management operations team. And through a lot of partnership with our Ops team, we have been able to set up a really nicely, well rounded tech stack. So what we lean into as CSMS is actually Gainsight and we're still in the process of building it out. There's quite a lot you can do in there. And what we're aiming to do is pull in every single piece of the customer journey into the Gainsight platform to give our CSMS a one stop shop to fully understand what's happening with their accounts and their books of business. So a good example of that is what's happening with support. Our CSMS can go into Gamesight and click a Zendesk ticket tab for their account and get a quick overview of how many tickets have been opened in X amount of days. Do they currently have any open support tickets that maybe the customer reached out directly to support and didn't loop the CSM in? So without them checking the back end, they don't have visibility to it. So we do connect a lot of our systems together so that they do speak to each other because we are very heavy into rounding out the customer experience and the customer journey. And a really critical part of that is making sure that all of your teams are talking to each other and all of the systems are talking to each other. So you always have access to what's happening with an account. And as a CSM, that's so critical in really making sure that you can add as much value whenever you jump on a call or that you understand, hey, if we see a drop in usage, sometimes it is related to a support ticket being open and being worked through. It's really important to have as much of a holistic view as possible. So we lean into our tech stock a lot to do. [00:12:54] Adil Saleh: That wonderful. That's so important. Make sure you have a unified, essential source of data where everything is pretty much transparent and everybody should know what's happening during any point of the customer journey. [00:13:13] Adil Saleh: So now talking about expansion, like, I'm sure you're trying to integrate Gainsight. It takes a bit of time. I know it's so many integrations, so many data integrations. Of course, Data Ops team must be working closely with the Gainsight team initially. So to make it as an ideal platform, what would you would like to achieve out of Gainsight on a high? [00:13:38] Ryanne Koch: I think, you know, to put it as simply as possible, I truly want it to be the one place that CSMS go in their day to day. Right now, we have so many systems with really valuable information, and prior to Gainsight, our CSMS were hopping into maybe five different tech stacks or five different texts in our stack, I should say, throughout the day. And it just becomes a lot of bopping around. It's not as streamlined. It's easy to forget to look somewhere for important information. It also makes it a bit harder to train up a newer CSM to do so. So in a nutshell, you want your CSM system to house every possible piece of information that could influence the way that you want to support an account. [00:14:25] Adil Saleh: Yeah. Thanks very much for putting it in such a simpler way. And that's about it. That's what real customer success is, and that's how we're evolving as a customer success category. And Gains Tide, as you mentioned, they're the first movers, and there are so many other platforms trying to accomplish different nuts and pieces across the customer success category. [00:14:49] Adil Saleh: So now talking about you as your day to day, how big is your book of business or your teams? [00:14:56] Ryanne Koch: Yeah, so right now I support an enterprise team, and we have about 500 accounts within my team that we manage. We have 50,000 paying customers at Pandadoc as a whole. So just to give that a little bit of perspective. But right now on the enterprise team yeah, it's about 500 accounts specifically for my team. [00:15:17] Adil Saleh: Great. Love that you as an individual, like you stood here for about three and a half years now. What do you think? What's next for you as you recently joined more mid market to enterprise segment? So tell us more about this role. [00:15:34] Ryanne Koch: Yeah, so for me, it was a pretty straightforward transition. When I was helping manage the commercial base, we did have a lot of customers that did teeter on this edge of their business, was scaling so rapidly that they were just on the edge of flipping over into an enterprise account. So we had a lot of customers like that in the commercial base. So I was pretty familiar with that motion, the enterprise motion, right and the kind of support that enterprise customers need. I also did deal with enterprise customers back in a marketing space as well. So it's nice to have this experience of helping a company in a commercial space grow so much and your product is a part of that growth to then help them flip over into expanding into other teams, expanding into their tech stack integrations and being more in an enterprise space. So it was a nice transition and I really appreciate the challenge that comes with the complexity of what our enterprise customers are trying to do. It's a lot of wonderful problem solving and collaboration within teams that I personally really enjoy. [00:16:38] Adil Saleh: Yeah, that's real learning lies in workflows when you get to meet unprecedented problems, every enterprise customer because they have business operations that are huge globally divided and it's not easy to basically get them resolved by a SaaS platform that easily. So that's why they have some smart people behind the back, just like you. [00:17:04] Adil Saleh: So now, talking about slightly more on your role at this point as a Senior Customer Success manager, how do you think from a culture standpoint, how do you see as a best fit as a profession, a longer term view when it comes to culture at Pandadoc? People, team, leadership, DNA operating principles, how basically in grind and still they are with all of these values? [00:17:39] Ryanne Koch: Adil, I'm so sorry, you cut out a bit. Do you mind restating that question? [00:17:43] Adil Saleh: Sure, I'll do that one more time. So, Ryanne, I'm just trying to get into the culture of Pandadoc, like how you like the culture there, how all of these operating principles, DNA value, getting instilled across the team from leadership, how do you see as a fit for a longer term view at Pandadoc? [00:18:08] Ryanne Koch: Yeah, so we were very big on our culture at Pandadoc and I think it's what's helped make us so successful to date. We, ever since I've joined, had these principles of what we chalk up to life and that stands for Learn, Impact, Fun and Empathy. And it's really wonderful to see how when I joined, we were about 200 people and now we're around 800 and we've still been able to carry those values throughout while we scaled quickly. And I think it's because if you really look at Learn, Impact, Fun and Empathy, that extends not only internally, but that extends externally to our customers too. We like to lead with those values in every decision that we make, in every interaction that we have and we highlight them constantly. They're part of our review cycle as well. When we are sharing feedback about our peers, we highlight. Okay, in this specific moment where this person did something wonderful, was it a learning? Was it impact? Was it fun? Was it empathy? What did they tap into in our values that helped make this moment so special and so helpful to either a teammate or to a customer? So we really lean on those and we've never lost sight of them throughout our growth. And that has helped scale our culture as well as our business, which, again, I think is critical. [00:19:27] Adil Saleh: Absolutely. And it is super important for someone to work in a culture that is fit, diverse, and they have values they are consistently living and breathing with. It is super important. A lot of people that we get to meet, they have values written on big boards under the main room, common room, which it takes a lot to live and breathe with them every single day. So now, one advice I would want. You just be open, be concrete, genuine, in whatever way that you think is with. How do you see a customer success manager? What kind of ambition, thoughts, mindset, body language he or she should take into working at a diverse team such as Panadoc? Yeah. [00:20:17] Ryanne Koch: Is your question more geared towards working successfully internally or externally? [00:20:23] Adil Saleh: Internally, like as a team. Whoever wants to join for a career. [00:20:29] Ryanne Koch: Got you. Thank you for clarifying, because I think there's definitely overlap in the skills that we look for. But internally, I would say that something we focus on in the hiring process is looking for folks that are T shaped, right? So making sure that they have a good understanding of, yes, what their core responsibilities are. But they can also lean into other areas outside of their job description to help make their understanding of the business and of the people that they partner with more well rounded. So that's definitely something that we look for. [00:21:00] Adil Saleh: Great. Thank you very much for sharing all of that. On a last note, I always wanted to express this during this COVID-19, a lot of these tech platforms, they got scale, they had good valuation, revenue opportunities, install base that they got very quick succession. Examples are zoom. There are loads more, and everybody from an outside tries to see, okay, it was just a wave. And they were part of a wave. They were good at riding the wave. But it's not just about that. It's about making sure. We spoke to team at Motive. They had, like, in six months, they had a wave. Like, they had a mandate change. It is motor and automobile. So they were electronic login devices for truckers and more in US. Now they're expanding Canada and all across North America. Now, in six months, they've generated more than 70% of their entire revenue cap of past eight years. And it is so hard to make sure that you have that big enough team. Well equipped, well trained, well motivated, all the systems well equipped, and they are delivering value every single day. And then all of that is backed by operating principles and values. And it takes a lot. It is not an easy job to make sure that even in these opportunities and tapping into these opportunities, it becomes so hard for businesses, for companies, for teams. And talking to you, it makes me realize today, and that's why I'm trying to express this. So thank you very much, Ryan, for this time. All the knowledge that you shared, your experiences and insights that you had around your role at Pandadoc. Yeah. [00:22:53] Ryanne Koch: Thank you so much for having me. I really enjoyed chatting with you, Adil. [00:22:57] Adil Saleh: Absolutely. Likewise. Have a good rest of. Thank you. [00:23:00] Ryanne Koch: You too.

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