1.7: Ryane Bohm: How Gong Uses Revenue Intelligence to Improve Its Conversations
Sammi Reinstein: Hey, this is Sammi Reinstein, and you're listening to Conversation Starters. On this show, we talk all about bringing conversations back to B2B marketing and selling, because if there's one thing we know about doing business in the revenue era, it's that the best customer experience wins. Through the power of our own conversations with drifters, customers, and special guests, we'll learn how to deliver a sales and marketing experience that puts the buyer first. Let's get into it. Hey, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth: Good morning, Sammi.
Sammi Reinstein: Good morning. It is our seventh episode of Conversation Starters.
Elizabeth: Seventh. Our second to last of season one. It's been chugging along.
Sammi Reinstein: That's crazy. I have been listening to them, which I normally try to avoid listening to my own voice, but I have been going back to listen to our guests talk because I feel like they have had so many good things to say this season.
Elizabeth: Yeah, definitely repeat episodes to get all of the information, but I totally agree. Given my role, I have to listen back to all of the episodes for edits and social clips and all of that, and I will say, more often than not, I'm 1. 5 to 2x- ing these parts just to get through myself, but-
Sammi Reinstein: It's hard.
Elizabeth: But it's also really helpful, because I feel like every time now we come back into the studio, we either want to experiment and try something different, or we're like," That didn't work. Let's try this," that kind of thing.
Sammi Reinstein: Yeah. I listen to myself back, and I'm like," Oh, I need to stay away from these types of words or reactions," or whatever it is, and I learn from them, which, speaking of learning from listening to yourself back-
Elizabeth: What a segue.
Sammi Reinstein: Seamless transition. Today, we are talking to Ryane from Gong. Gong is a revenue intelligence platform, and Ryane is going to talk all about it in this episode. I'm really excited to learn how she talks about using data and making better conversations from that data.
Elizabeth: Yeah. I'm really excited to hear what she asked to say, not only from a sales perspective, but also a marketing perspective. I've heard only good things about how our reps use Gong, and really what you can learn from listening back to the calls, so excited to get into it.
Sammi Reinstein: Ryane, thank you so much for coming on the podcast.
Ryane: Yeah, not a problem. It's great to meet you, Sammi. Good to see and hear everyone that's listening.
Sammi Reinstein: Awesome. Ryane, can you introduce yourself and give a little bit of background at what you do at Gong?
Ryane: Yeah. I am the product marketing director at Gong, and I'm focused on our strategic messaging at the company, specifically around a lot of our company- wide initiatives, new messaging, new positioning, and our net- new product launches. We've got some fun stuff coming up for this year. I've been at Gong for exactly one year on the dot. February is my one- year anniversary. I came over from sending a few years at Salesforce and then a few other years at General Electric.
Sammi Reinstein: Happy one year at Gong.
Ryane: Thank you.
Sammi Reinstein: That's very exciting.
Ryane: Time flew.
Sammi Reinstein: Time does fly. I feel like, especially at tech companies, it's like one year is seven years.
Ryane: It's like,"How did this happen?" when I got the notification. Oh, cool. Great.
Sammi Reinstein: I know. I love getting those notifications on LinkedIn. Then I'm like," Seriously, I've been here three years? What?"
Ryane: I know.
Sammi Reinstein: This is my favorite question to ask someone in product marketing, so I'm very excited to ask this to you. What is Gong?
Ryane: Yeah, good question. Gong is a revenue intelligence platform, and the goal is to empower the entire go- to- market organization. That includes sales, which we talk about a lot, but also customer success, marketing, enablement, our inside teams. The whole goal is to operationalize customer interactions, and that's every way that you communicate with your customer, email, Zoom calls, texts, everything like that, so that you can unlock reality and really understand and action upon what's going on with your customers.
Sammi Reinstein: Nice. If you go to Gong's website, first of all, if you go to Gong's website, you do see an adorable Drift bot in the lower right-hand corner that says," Woof." I'm obsessed with Bruno bot.
Ryane: Yep. We are big Drift users.
Sammi Reinstein: It's one of my favorite icons. But also, if you go to the Gong website, you see words like using the science to help the art of selling. You see words like revenue intelligence. What does that mean, revenue intelligence? How does Gong play in the revenue intelligence space?
Ryane: Yeah. Well, to start with your first question, science and the art of selling is something that we talk about quite a bit. All of the sales folks listening to this realize that your craft is an art and it takes a lot of skill, a lot of practice. What we can do to help is provide that data, that insight, that science, to help make your art even more beautiful. We do that using revenue intelligence, which is specifically the market category that Gong falls into. Our revenue intelligence platform captures all the customer interactions, and then we analyze them using that science in the middle to provide the next best actions and winning outcomes for the entire organization.
Sammi Reinstein: What are some of those data points that I could see? Let's say I was going back and analyzing the conversation I'm having with you. What are some of those data points that I could look at?
Ryane: Lots of different things. Talk ratios. How many times would I be going on a monologue as opposed to asking insightful questions to really understand? What are those questions? Are they on message? Are they on brand? Am I setting up next steps, or is this just a fleeting phone call in the wind? Lots of stuff like that. We can really get to the bottom of who's saying what, when, and how are they actually speaking to your brand, to your company, which is something I'm passionate about as a marketer.
Sammi Reinstein: Yeah. I was on the customer success team before I was a marketer, and I would go into Gong and look at my conversations with customers. There would be so many times when I would look back and be like," Really, I talked for long?"
Ryane: I know.
Sammi Reinstein: You don't realize it when you're doing it. I'm curious, how crucial is it that you look at that data, and how can you use that data to create better conversations?
Ryane: Yeah. Looking at the data is, honestly, it's step one, and understanding, first, you have to admit that you have a problem. No, it's really just starting to understand and be comfortable with your style, and then understanding the style that works, the style that sells, really learning from your team members and the reps that are closing the most deals and repeating what is making them successful and actioning upon that. So understanding what good looks like and repeating that over and over again, and making that into your art and making that into your craft, and then harnessing the power of that interaction, and looping in the right people automatically so that you can take the best next steps, that isn't necessarily the best for you, but the best for the customer and the mutual relationship that you're building.
Sammi Reinstein: Yeah. I love that. At the end of the day, you're looking back at what you're saying, but it's to create a better customer experience, to create a better buyer experience.
Ryane: Yeah. You have to look internally, do a little soul- searching first, in order to make that experience the best, close more deals at the end of the day, and create that aligned view of the company.
Sammi Reinstein: Yeah. How does leveraging data help improve business productivity?
Ryane: Yeah. Data is, honestly, numbers and letters at a certain point. You just collect these numbers and letters, and a lot of times it's like," Well, that's great, but what do you do with it?" It's not exactly actionable until you add context to that data and start mining for insights. Context could be matching up a conversation with what's in your CRM, what was said in an email, how that text message appeared, marrying everything together so that you're getting not just one conversation, but the full scope of the relationship, to create an action that actually makes sense. It's not based on one thing. It's based on every touchpoint within sales and marketing and CS that this customer is having, so it's, A, not repetitive, and B, it actually matters.
Sammi Reinstein: I love that. It's something I've talked about in a previous podcast, but as marketers, as salespeople, there is a certain level of ego that can creep in where you think," This is the best next action" or" This is how my customers are talking, and I need to be talking X, Y, Z." But really getting down to the data and letting that provide the next best action is going to create that better experience.
Ryane: Yeah. I'm never going to put it past some of the most tenured reps. Sometimes you have to follow your gut. You've done this before. You've been around the block. Yeah, if you have this gut feeling, you've done it before, so I would never hold anything like that past a rep that's done this 100 times. That's amazing. Maybe we have a lot to learn from you. But adding this additional layer can help unlock things that maybe the most tenured person doesn't know about. You don't know the conversation that your CSM might have had three weeks ago. It just wasn't on your radar. Or you don't know what marketing has sent out to them or what they've participated on in the past. Even the best reps can really get a lot from understanding that full spectrum.
Sammi Reinstein: Yeah. Elizabeth and I were talking about it a little bit earlier, but listening to the podcast, or when I was on the CS team, listening back to my calls, can be a little uneasy. You look at yourself, and you count your likes and ums. And you might cringe a little seeing yourself on video, like," Oh, my hair was doing something real weird." But what are some key things that managers and reps should be looking for in their conversations?
Ryane: Okay. To start, I fully get that. Listening to my own voice, does it sound weird to everyone else, because I really... Will I watch this later? I will, but it feels weird to listen to yourself. A, just get past that, I guess. B, there's a lot of things to look at. It's not looking necessarily at one person, but also looking across a team. Who are your top performers? Why are they top performers? What are the traits that they hold that we can try and replicate and coach upon for maybe your middle 50%? How do we move that middle based on replicating what that top percentage is doing? We touched on it a little bit more. Talk ratios are important. Monologues, not great. I think that we can all agree on it, but you don't always know that you're going on a rant. How many questions are they asking? What we actually do is literally count the number of questions they are asking? Are they setting up next steps? Are we making this a process that's going to last a little bit longer? Then my favorite is, are they staying on message that the company really wants to put out there? You can track things like that, how they are speaking about the company.
Sammi Reinstein: Yeah. It's finding what good looks like, and just trying to replicate that as best as possible. You get to look at your team and find that. I think it's really inspiring to watch another Gong call of a peer and see how they handled a certain question and how they recommended a next step.
Ryane: Yeah. I think that's the best way to learn. Of course, it's really helpful when you're onboarding and when you're coming into a new company, and you want to learn what is the product, what is the way to sell it the best. Everyone has got a learning curve in the beginning, so that's a really great way to ramp up. I also call it a little bit like my cheat code. If someone has been successful, why are we starting from scratch again? There's no need to reinvent the wheel. This is working. Adapt it, make it in my own. Leveraging past successes to make an even more successful future is huge.
Sammi Reinstein: Yeah. With the data and then just trusting your gut, what is that balance between looking at that data and then also just having a natural flow of a conversation?
Ryane: Natural flow is the most important aspect, I think. You're trying to develop trust. You're going to be that trusted advisor. You want to have this person be your right hand throughout the process. So being able to sift through the noise if you have too much data, trusting your gut at a certain point, there is that art there that we're never, ever going to try and take away from. Just looking at the data, but making it your own, putting in your intuition into it, understanding what good has looked like for you, and using that to add a little bit of flavor to it. Too much data can be overwhelming and counterproductive, so just making sure that it's actionable.
Sammi Reinstein: Yeah. Trusted advisor is such a good key term when thinking about having conversations with customers and having conversation with buyers. We talk about that a lot at Drift. How can you make sure that your interactions are creating trust, and once you have that trust, how can you keep that trust?
Ryane: Yeah. It's something I hear a lot in the market, trusted advisor, and I truly believe in that as well.
Sammi Reinstein: Yeah. Can you talk to me a little bit about an experience that you've had using Gong that's taught you something about the way you interact with customers?
Ryane: Yeah. I'm sure, as a marketer, this one is going to ring home to you. A hot topic is how to best use slides in conversations. I'm a marketer. I love a good slide every now and then. But what Gong was able to do is really unlock the truth about there's a time and a place and a way to use it productively. Something that we see often is, for reps that are using slides, is they often become a little bit too reliant on it, and it increases the chances that they're going to go on a little bit longer of a monologue, because you're speaking to the slide and you're saying your script. Don't forget to ask questions. Don't forget the basics. It's a tool to be there to assist you, but that is just visual aid at a certain point. Don't forget what you've learned from day one as an inside sales rep. Get them to talk. Ask the questions. Don't go on a monologue. Use that as supporting and not as the end- all, be- all. I'm sure a lot of folks here go back and forth on slides, and it can be done, but it has to be done tastefully.
Sammi Reinstein: Okay, I'm very guilty of-
Ryane: I am too.
Sammi Reinstein: ...using slides, especially in remote settings, where you're so used to being on Zoom and you want to maybe hide a little bit behind it. But you're totally right, when I'm using slides, I'm on a script that I've made previously. I know what I want to talk about, and it doesn't leave as much room for questions from my peers, even internally too, when you're having those conversations.
Ryane: Yeah. Don't get me wrong, I still use slides every now and then, and I still believe that they are a helpful tool, but it's all about not forgetting your core foundation.
Sammi Reinstein: Yeah. Relatedly, how does Gong... This is very relevant because I love Bruno the dog bot. How does Gong eat its own dog food? How do you use Gong to create marketing and sales strategies?
Ryane: For sure. This is something that I'm very much in the middle of right now. I'm focused on a lot of our strategic messaging for the company. You may or may not have noticed we've done a lot of updating over the past couple months. We have an all- new website. We have a new mission. We're really broadening the awareness of Gong, what Gong is. Something that I've been doing as a marketer is trying to track those Gong-on-Gong statistics. What does our adoption actually look like for the strategic messaging? How many of our reps are actually using it? But instead of just that count, what's actually more important is, how is it actually impacting win rates and sales velocity? Are you winning more with this messaging? Are your deals progressing faster? When it is landing, why? How did you actually position it? How did you make it your own? What questions did you ask? When it's not, what went wrong? Is it something that we can change on the fly? I use it as, like I said before, my cheat code. If there's something that needs to be changed, the data is going to tell me. This is not something that you need to hold so near and dear that you can't change it. It's about being fluid and learning from the data, and actually doing something with it. I am constantly looking at my trackers to see what this is looking like.
Sammi Reinstein: Yeah. That's interesting. Gong has had a refresh in a way, and a new logo, new website. What did that enablement look like with the sales team, of this is what our messaging looks like, here's how you should use it, and then using that to look at the win rates?
Ryane: We did 100% training for the entire company. We had to do a stand- and- deliver, of we're going to train you up on what the new messaging is. We'll have our CRO do a recording, introduce a good way to position it, and then every single person had to certify with an enablement specialist, a product marketer, just to tell the message in a way that's unique to them. It's not about reading a script. No one wants a script. Everyone wants to know what it means to unlock reality to you. Then from there, we just started keeping an eye on it. We built custom trackers in Gong so that we can track whether certain key phrases were used, like our mission statement, or if a certain slide was used, so we can see specifically when and where it's used. And within the deals that it is used in, have those been closed, one? Are those progressing faster? We can track the timeline across when it moves through the deal cycle. But it's definitely an ongoing effort. We launched everything in October. We're seeing a lot of adoption, and hopefully those win rates boost. It's a very quick turnaround, but we see a lot of information and have also subsequently made a lot of changes based on what was working and what wasn't.
Sammi Reinstein: I love that it wasn't just your sales and customer success team that was trained and certified; it was the whole company.
Ryane: Yeah. The sales team is definitely customer facing, and it's one of the most important roles to stay on message. However, at a certain point, everyone is in sales in some capacity. If you're in recruiting, you are selling to a potential candidate or a potential new hire. You want to make sure that you are articulating correctly what is the company, what is the mission, what are you getting started in. We want our product teams to be building and understanding the whole goal of the company and what they're building towards. It is way more than go- to- market. Every single new hire from now forward is also learning everything new for the company with stand- and- delivers too.
Sammi Reinstein: Yeah. I think that's what every single company should adopt. I love that there was that training and getting certified. At the end of the day, everyone at the company needs to have those same values, when they're creating new products or when the support team is talking to customers, or whatever that is. Everyone is, at the end of the day, like you said, a seller. Everyone is basically a marketer. That's great. I love hearing that-
Ryane: I can't tell you the number of conversations I've had on the airplane of" What's that sticker on your computer?"" Oh, it's Gong. We unlock reality," and goes from there.
Sammi Reinstein: That is so true. Nowadays, with all the apparel, you're a brand ambassador no matter where you go, and you need to be able to speak the same-
Ryane: Here's swag.
Sammi Reinstein: There you go. I wish I had some swag with me too. I do love Gong swag.
Ryane: It's always fun.
Sammi Reinstein: Okay, and something I am curious about, selfishly, as I go into more conversations with buyers and customers, do you have any sort of database of common mistakes that you have seen in sales or marketing or customer success calls?
Ryane: Yeah. Where I'd recommend starting is Gong Labs. We have a team of data scientists that look through all of the interactions in Gong to find common mistakes, very positive successes, just to help identify traits for anyone to use. This isn't just Gong helping Gong. I definitely recommend looking up Gong Labs. Devin Reed does a brilliant job of picking out the best data- backed sales tips. I pulled in a couple. I was looking at it right before we hopped on, just to leave you with a few fun tips.
Sammi Reinstein: Please, do tell.
Ryane: Yeah. Number one that we found is negotiations over email. When rates actually spike, when you share pricing over email. However, once they start asking questions or asking for a discount and that e- negotiation starts, that's when it starts to tank. No negotiations over emails. Definitely share the pricing, but when the question is asked, then you hop back on the phone, so that there's nothing that's misunderstood over email. It's sometimes hard to get context like that.
Sammi Reinstein: Yeah, that makes sense. Then also the tone sometimes can be misconstrued, different things like that.
Ryane: Yeah. How many emojis can you really use, right?
Sammi Reinstein: Exactly.
Ryane: Team selling is huge. You're going to see your win rate spike and your deal velocity go a lot quicker when you are bringing in your experts or your manager. That time investment across your team, that's building trust. When you bring in your director or your VPs or anyone like that, that time investment is huge. Your experts, so your product team, your engineers, they're helping you to build your credibility, and you're just getting the competitive edge when you sell as a team.
Sammi Reinstein: Yeah, I love that. It goes back to the trusted advisor and bringing in those people who can provide that credibility.
Ryane: Exactly. There's no expectation that one person knows everything. I don't think anyone is ever going to expect that. Knowing when to bring in others is huge.
Sammi Reinstein: That's a great tip.
Ryane: Then the last one is multithreading. Team selling is great from your side as a seller, but talking to more people on the buyer's side and getting four or more contacts that you're actually speaking to is also going to hugely increase win rates.
Sammi Reinstein: Ryane, I have talked about this on past podcasts, but I really need to actually do it, to have a notepad with me, and a pen, because I wish I was taking notes. I will go back and I will listen to these, and I'm going to send this to our sales org. I'll pin it in the sales channel. Thank you so much for the insights and for coming on the podcast.
Ryane: Yeah, no problem. Thanks for having me. Feel free to reach out at any point, LinkedIn, wherever someone wants to connect.
Elizabeth: Okay, so my new editing tactic for these podcasts is going to be upload them to Gong, see what Gong sends back to me, and then I'll try to edit it in the best way, and take notes so that each episode gets better. I think that's the new hack.
Sammi Reinstein: That's exactly what Ryane was talking about, using data in the art and creating better recommendations.
Elizabeth: Ryane, you're welcome. I'm establishing a new use case for Gong right now, so you're welcome.
Sammi Reinstein: We're already big, raving fans of Gong here.
Elizabeth: Yeah, if that wasn't clear, especially the dog.
Sammi Reinstein: I love Bruno bot.
Elizabeth: Bruno bot. Well, speaking of balancing art and science in conversations, we actually have our first in- person Drift event coming up in March.
Sammi Reinstein: We do.
Elizabeth: That's going to have a special speaker who knows a thing or two about persuasion, influence, all the things.
Sammi Reinstein: If you couldn't tell by just the two words persuasion and influence, we are talking about Robert Cialdini. He is headlining Drift FLASH, which is, like Elizabeth said, our first in- person event in, I want to say, two, three years, something like that.
Elizabeth: Two and a half.
Sammi Reinstein: Two and a half.
Elizabeth: The last one was San Francisco, November. We were both there, HYPERGROWTH.
Sammi Reinstein: Yeah. It's going to be a really fun event, very educational, and we're going to have some amazing speakers. Our CEO, David Cancel, is going to talk, Katie Foote, and our chief product officer-
Elizabeth: Yes, Leo.
Sammi Reinstein: ...also has some things up his sleeve. I'm very excited. It's March 16th. You can get your tickets on drift. com/ events.
Elizabeth: Linked in the show notes.
Sammi Reinstein: Thanks so much for listening to Conversation Starters. If you liked this episode, please leave us a six- star review by clicking the link in the show notes, and hit subscribe so you never miss another one. You can connect with me on Twitter @ SammiReinstein, and follow all of our shows @ DriftPodcasts.
Ever listen to a recording of your own voice and think, do I really sound like that? Us too.
As hard as it can be to analyze our own conversations, it's so important to! By analyzing data points like talk ratios, word choice, and monologue length, we realize what kind of story we're telling, and if it matches up with the brand message.
Understanding what conversation style sells is something Ryane Bohm - product marketing director at Gong - is very passionate about. On this episode of Conversation Starters, Ryane explains how Gong's Revenue Intelligence Platform helps customers build trust with their buyers by providing sales reps, marketers, and customer success managers with the data points they need to understand which conversations work, and which simply don't.
She and Sammi get into what it means to be a Revenue Intelligence Platform, how to balance "Revenue Intelligence" with the natural art flow of a conversation, and how Gong got all its employees speaking the same language after a major rebrand.
- (2:43) Who is Ryane Bohm?
- (3:41) What is Gong?
- (4:50) What it means to be a Revenue Intelligence Platform
- (6:52) Why looking at data matters
- (11:22) Finding patterns in data to improve conversations
- (13:24) How to become a trusted advisor for your buyer
- (14:52) What using Gong has taught Ryane about her presentation style
- (17:10) How Gong "eats its own dog food" in its marketing and sales strategies
- (18:57) What team enablement for Gong's rebrand looked like
- (22:17) What you can learn about sales and marketing best practices from Gong Labs
Like this episode? Let us know by leaving a review!
Check out Gong Labs here.