Closing a sale is one thing, but ensuring your customer actually uses your product is another. Here’s how one company, Outreach, does it.
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Outreach’s AI-powered platform frees sales teams from the admin work that keeps them from doing what they do best, says chief marketing officer Margaret Arakawa. Their tools, which help employees learn more about prospective customers, prioritize next steps in a sale and schedule meetings, aim to ensure greater efficiency and revenue.This interview has been edited for length and clarity. What does your company do?Outreach is a sales engagement platform. It’s AI-powered, and it allows sales representatives to get more engagement with their customers without as much effort or time. So generally speaking, if you have after-sales velocity, your price line should get significantly higher revenue.How do you define success?First of all, we’ve doubled our revenue every year for the past four years, and we’ve also grown to 3,200 customers. In particular, we’ve vastly expanded our enterprise customers, those larger-size customers. We’ve built a platform that can scale from 10 users to ten thousand. And in this last year, we really hit our stride as far as getting customers to adopt our platform.We also measure success by usage. A lot of software products are used only 20 to 30 percent of the time. That’s something that’s part of our DNA: not only that you loan the product but also that you use the product. Our customers log in, then use our product for email, to set up a meeting and more. And for our existing customers, we find that within the first six months, 50 percent of them actually expand their number of users.How important is your company culture?Extremely important. We’ve grown the culture in an intentional way, and by that I mean we really do care about the details. One thing that’s incredibly important for us is diversity and inclusion. I know a lot of people say those words, but I’m really happy that we’re living it. From the top down, the executive staff here at Outreach is 42 percent female. It’s intrinsically part of the culture here.What is your advice for retaining both customers and employees?We’re obsessed with making sure customers are using our product and are also excited and satisfied with it. We’ve spent quite a lot of time listening to their feedback and incorporating that feedback into the product. Specific features that are AI-enabled came from a customer’s feedback, for example. From an employee perspective, it’s the same thing. We listen to what employees need.What are some challenges in your career that led to breakthrough moments?Outreach was originally founded as a tiny company that sold recruiting software. It turned out all the sales prospects were most interested in the fact that we knew how to continuously follow up in our outreach efforts, the fact that we could book so many meetings and the fact that we could efficiently track deliveries to all those sales calls. We realized that that was the silver bullet everyone was looking for, so we changed the company entirely to create what we are now.