Salesloft is a leading sales engagement platform that helps B2B sellers quickly get to “yes.” Founded in 2011, the company expanded from a sales development product into a complete, comprehensive software platform with functionality for the entire sales organization.
Boasting thousands of customers, including IBM, Cisco, Shopify, GrubHub, and other world-class businesses, Salesloft’s software enables customers to streamline workflows and drive revenue.
Driven by their innovative approach to solving key sales challenges, the Salesloft team achieved 50% annual growth and surpassed $100 million in annual recurring revenue early in the summer of 2021. In December 2021, with almost 700 employees, they received a strategic growth investment from Vista Equity Partners at a $2.3 billion valuation.
Cam Hilsman, Director of Product Management, has been with Salesloft for six years. Over her dynamic tenure, she’s seen the product organization grow from a team of one to over 30 product-specific roles, including product managers, UX researchers, and designers working in and with “Pods” around product areas.
As the team grew and formalized their structure, they needed to refine and standardize their product management process. They previously took a casual approach which worked well enough for a small startup, but was not sustainable for a high-growth B2B company. They needed to capture all their growing customer bases’ use cases, ensure all inputs were holistically reviewed, and remove recency bias in feature prioritization at scale.
Hilsman notes how the team struggled to efficiently and effectively share customer insights before Productboard:
“We tried different tools in the past. Nothing ever took or stuck. We had the typical spreadsheets — all the spreadsheets. We experimented with many options, including sending customer feedback through email to read and meetings where teams surfaced their priorities. All of our experiments came up short and felt very chaotic. Managing roadmaps and backlogs were a different set of experiments, with its own set of just-not-good-enough outcomes.”
As they searched for a comprehensive solution to level up their product management, Salesloft identified several specific challenges to solve. Most importantly, they wanted a tool to organize and streamline the invaluable yet overwhelming amount of feedback they receive: hundreds of comments each week from customers, internal teams, and NPS feedback.
Salesloft chose Productboard to funnel all feedback (24,000 pieces of feedback processed) into one place and analyze it in real-time. They ensure that critical customer insights are easily associated with specific features to contribute to product strategy and development.
“When analyzing a pain point, or a product area, we see feedback from all the different customers, channels, and perspectives. We organize, holistically understand, and manage our backlogs and roadmaps — all from within one tool. This has been a game-changer.”
The Salesloft team also built a custom integration that allows customers to submit their feedback in the platform, while they’re using Salesloft. This gives customers a way to deliver feedback in the moment while also ensuring their feedback was heard.
Another allure for Salesloft was Productboard’s ability to improve the feature prioritization process by better understanding return on investment across features and making data-driven decisions. A more strategic approach allows executive stakeholders and other teams to confidently align around product decisions and priorities.
Cindy Curtin Knezevich, VP of Brand and Communications, describes Salesloft before Productboard:
“like what we hear people say about life before Salesloft — game-changing, terrifyingly awful before and amazing after.”
By the time Senior Product Manager Adam Gardner joined two years ago, Salesloft was using Productboard extensively — and Gardner clearly saw it had streamlined the product process. Familiar with the tool from his previous position at Lessonly, Gardner hit the ground running and helped his team continue to leverage Productboard more deeply.
In addition to organizing and optimizing customer feedback, Gardner highlighted dependencies as one of Productboard’s most impactful features.
“Visualizing dependencies with Productboard saves our team and me lots of time and focus. Leveraging the dependencies feature was a game-changer, especially for our leadership team. We quickly see where other teams are progressing, and feedback relevant to our product or surface area without a single Slack message.”
Productboard significantly reduces the product teams’ preparation time for backlog reviews with executives like their CPO and VP of Engineering. Instead of manually compiling information from spreadsheets, phone calls, emails, and Slack messages into slides or endless meetings, the team pulls up Productboard in real-time to share their prioritized backlog and dependencies.
It’s easy for everyone in the room to grasp the data with real visibility into what they’re prioritizing and why. Everyone has a clear picture of the next steps and key stakeholders. Salesloft’s core values of “put customers first,” “focus on results,” and “team over self” shine through as the product team discusses the most critical topics prioritized using Productboard’s data.
“Productboard reduces work, saves tons of time, and prevents duplicate work. It’s not just less time to gather the feedback, but also efficiencies in tracking roadmaps and sharing product decisions.”
As new product managers, product designers, and UX researchers onboard, they use Productboard to learn about Salesloft’s customers, in-depth use cases, and user pain points in the customer’s actual words. It helps bring product managers up to speed faster than ever, giving them a wealth of information right off the bat.
“We frequently refer to Productboard as our database of customer insights, where new employees have access to a wealth of information about our customers and can immediately start getting up to speed. This has helped bring new product managers, product designers, and UX researchers, onboard so much more quickly than any process we had before Productboard.”
Productboard’s impact extends beyond the product team. Productboard is widely utilized by employees throughout the company, ensuring everyone from dev teams to engineering managers and even leadership fully aligns with Salesloft’s unified product vision, with an acute awareness of customer feedback driving that vision.
For example, when designers want to know about upcoming priorities, the product team guides them directly to relevant features in Productboard. Everything is there, including the customer feedback associated with those features. The team uses Productboard as the starting point for user research to source users for interviews and testing prototypes.
Before customer Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs), Salesloft’s customer success team uses Productboard to view specific feedback their customers left and share how Salesloft is addressing it. They also use Productboard to submit feedback for their customers.
Additionally, Productboard’s two-way Jira integration ensures that when a product team member updates something in Productboard, it’s automatically synced to Jira for their dev team to see. It also works the other way around.
Gardner “loves the Jira integration,” which provides maximum visibility and collaboration between product development and product management.
With a comprehensive product management platform and buy-in from cross-functional stakeholders, Salesloft is well-poised to continue their rapid growth. With several recent launches and more to come in 2022, the company is eager to leverage Productboard to build more data-backed, agile, and customized roadmaps full of meaningful innovation for revenue teams.
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