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Blog title card with title: "Announcing Amanda Kleha as the newest addition to Common Room's board of directors"
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Mar 26th, 2024

Announcing Amanda Kleha as the newest addition to Common Room’s board of directors

Our vision at Common is to transform how organizations connect with people.

How people find, adopt, and purchase software has transformed over the last 20 years, but traditional CRMs haven’t kept up. The lack of timely, 360-degree buyer intelligence results in a poor customer experience across the customer journey and organizations leaving revenue and productivity on the table during a time when efficient results are of tantamount importance.

In the last four years of working with go-to-market teams (sales and customer success, marketing, community and DevRel) at hundreds of the fastest-growing startups and public companies, we’ve learned two undeniable truths:

There is no one-size-fits-all playbook for GTM, and it is critical for modern GTM teams to have access to the intelligence they need so they can reach out to the right person, at the right time, with personalized context.

We’ve seen what a game-changer this is for our customers. For one customer, it helped them source 45% of all qualified meetings. For another, it helped them increase the average of meetings booked across the sales team by 50% in half the time.

Just as the vast majority of our customers are thinking about how they need to do GTM differently for their next phase of growth, we at Common Room are thinking about the same things. And I’m excited that we’ll have an incredible customer and revenue leader sitting at our table.

Amanda Kleha, former Chief Customer Officer at Figma and Senior Vice President of Marketing & Sales at Zendesk, has joined Common Room’s board of directors.

Amanda has worked at a who’s who of category-defining companies throughout her career: Google, Zendesk, Airtable, Figma. And she’s earned some remarkable titles in that time.

But, until now, board member wasn’t one of them.

I recently spoke with Amanda about why she took this step, why she chose Common Room, and why it matters to our customers.

Here’s what she had to say.

Image of Person360

You’re spending more time advising founders and companies now. Why did you choose Common Room as your first board appointment?

"Common Room was a product I knew firsthand. I also knew it had an amazing group of investors who I admired.

You [Linda Lian, founder and CEO of Common Room] and I met several years ago, but we reconnected this year. In that conversation I realized that Common Room had expanded its platform to meet the needs of not only community teams, but also broader go-to-market teams. I was energized by your vision and immediately connected with the need for sales, marketing, and customer success teams to think smarter about what customer signals they have at their fingertips.

From my experience at Figma, I knew that Common Room was exactly what teams really need now. With the global economy challenging revenue teams to be smarter in how they work, they can’t afford the inefficiencies of bloated tech stacks or to miss a signal when making daily decisions.

All of this made Common Room an obvious choice for me."

What’s the most relevant experience you’re bringing to the boardroom of Common Room?

"I’ve helped two companies go from zero to $500M in annual recurring revenue: Zendesk and Figma. Both experiences are ripe with learnings that I can offer up to Common Room.

At Zendesk, we invested heavily in a robust customer service and success organization. I learned a ton about what a top-notch customer experience looks like, as well as what some of the challenges are for organizations that want to provide a good experience across different GTM functions. I think it will be important for Common Room to show that it understands the challenges and opportunities these teams face.

After Zendesk, I was fortunate to lead the GTM function at Figma for more than five years as the Chief Customer Officer. As you might expect at a company like Figma, I deepened my appreciation for how great design separates average from excellent in B2B software. We also took a very community- and customer-oriented approach to building the culture internally and the brand externally.

We used Common Room to track and nurture our relationships with our most prolific evangelists. I have a lot of learnings about building modern community-driven experiences that are directly applicable to Common Room’s product and culture."

Quote from Amanda Kleha

How do you think GTM has changed in the past 5 years?

"COVID certainly transformed the landscape for every company. But in the last two years, the macro economy has put a lot of pressure on GTM, especially sales teams. No one tolerates sloppy, inefficient sales anymore.

Buyers are more informed than they’ve ever been and sales reps are often locked out of that first phase of research. So reps have to be on their game. They have to be highly sensitive to the customer journey and where buyers are in it by the time they speak to them. The only way to do this well is with tools like Common Room that give reps timely signals to use throughout the sales cycle."

What are your thoughts on the rise of product-led growth in recent years?

"I used to think product usage mattered a lot more than I do today. It’s an important signal, but it’s only one of many signals companies should be paying attention to.

At Zendesk, we would ask free trial users what their intentions were during the trial period. We were surprised to find that people were evenly spread across three buckets: 1.) those who wanted to buy and were using the trial to get started, 2.) those who were testing the product to see if it could solve a specific problem, and 3.) those who were just looking around.

Our data science team scored these leads based on what actions they took in the product during the first several hours. If you were more active, then of course you scored higher. But the most active leads were the ones who had already made a decision.

We realized that our reps had a chance to more effectively influence the leads who were still on the fence. Those were the people they should be focused on, and they needed more than product data to do it well.

Common Room is the only solution I know of that can capture signals from over 50 sources in addition to product usage so that GTM teams can get full visibility into leads and customers."

Quote from Amanda Kleha

I’ve heard you have strong opinions about customer success, mainly that it should not only be a post-sales focus. Can you share more?

"I don’t know when it happened, but at some point we started calling the specialists who help customers get value from a product, 'customer success.' I don’t love this term, because every customer-facing position at a company should be thinking about how to make the customer successful. But it sounds good, so it stuck.

It’s very important to not lose sight of the customer perspective. It’s easy to make decisions that are good for your internal needs but aren’t necessarily what’s best for your customers. Sometimes I worry that customer success teams fall victim to this trap.

They’re hired to make the customer successful, but really all of their colleagues should be trained to do the same and given time to incorporate some of those responsibilities into their jobs. Don’t get me wrong, I like what success teams do. I just worry that customers don’t understand why they have to talk to different people for all of their needs.

Companies need to have tools like Common Room that help every GTM team see the whole customer picture so they can serve customers in the best possible way. I love that Common Room is expanding its product to be highly effective for all teams, including success. I think the best GTM teams are the ones that are aligned across sales, marketing, community, and success."

In your view, what does the future of GTM look like?

The future of GTM looks like what the best teams are doing today.

They’re working together to figure out which signals matter most and taking proactive action on customer intelligence. They’re making sure they’re reaching out to the right people, with the right context, at the right time.

Every organization—and every customer—is different. We all live in a much more informed world that is constantly changing, so we have to keep a first principles approach to practicing customer empathy and innovating how we work every day.

I’m excited to be part of a team that’s addressing this and helping data-driven teams chart a new path."

Quote from Amanda Kleha

We’re thrilled to welcome Amanda to the Common Room team.

She brings a wealth of experience in all facets of go-to-market, and she’s joining our board as we prepare to roll out the next phase of intelligent GTM.

Our vision has always been to transform how organizations connect with people. We’re excited to show you how we’re bringing that vision to life for every part of GTM.

Stay tuned.

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