Common Room’s Uncommon Visionaries: GTM Sessions video series brings together leaders in the go-to-market space to discuss the trends and challenges facing sales and marketing professionals today, like lead attribution, how to tie community engagement to business impact, and more.
In a recent session, Common Room’s COO Jake Randall spoke with Tim Hughes, the Head of Sales at Temporal, and we’ve gathered some of our favorite takeaways from the conversation, including:
Traditional sales tactics are no longer as effective as they once were.
End-users are playing a much larger role in buying decisions. Instead of accepting the tooling provided by IT or leadership, they’re increasingly part of the buying conversation as they seek out solutions to make their workflows easier or more efficient.
Additionally, there’s been a massive shift to remote and hybrid work environments that continues from the pandemic. End users are increasingly seeking out peer recommendations and vetting potential solutions through an assortment of digital channels.
Sales reps can’t rely on traditional relationship-building strategies, like in-person meetings and events, dinners with leadership, and other networking. They have to be aware of the needs of this evolving market and adapt their sales tools, methods, and mediums accordingly.
Temporal provides an open source platform that its customers, like Netflix, Datadog, and Instacart, use to build reliable and scalable applications. To further that goal, Temporal provides meaningful education and networking to users via digital courses, an online help forum, in-person events, and a thriving Slack community.
The Temporal sales team has turned to its vibrant user community to meet and engage with users where they are. The community is a natural place where the sales team can both bring value to ongoing conversations and generate new leads for the business.
Tim underscores the important role community plays in the sales team’s approach and their part in giving back to members: “My team’s success is completely dependent on the quality of our community. The community needs to grow in order to create a funnel for us to actually engage with and convert users into paying customers. And the number one thing that we think about in the community is adding value in all of our interactions.”
Tim emphasizes this concept of value-added selling, where salespeople provide customers with value at every stage of the sales process. Because users are proactively sharing questions and feedback about their product experience through community sources like Slack, Twitter, Discourse, and more, these digital channels contain incredibly useful insights about where members are in their customer journey.
As you think about engaging users through the community, Tim recommends centering customer value first: “My first step is solving actual mission-critical problems inside of the user’s applications. And then I have high confidence that over time the partnership will build to where they’re using Temporal Cloud or some other part of our offering.”
Community is the ideal place to gather the context needed, including the specific interests or needs of a user, in order to know when and how to deliver value to bring them closer to your product.
An active community also provides value by helping members make industry connections, learning about best practices, providing access to educational content, and more.
When adopting this community-first approach, finding a way to aggregate and parse through all of the information generated by your community can be challenging.
Temporal uses Common Room to bring together all the engagement happening across digital channels and combine it with account data from Salesforce to surface actionable insights for the sales and marketing teams. This data is surfaced at both the member level for a 360-degree view of each user as well as by organization, so the GTM team can see activity and engagement from new or key accounts.
With Common Room, has been able to Temporal is able to:
Common Room has helped the Temporal team increase the efficiency of their sellers and grow more reliable pipeline through community-sourced leads. Aggregated insights from community channels allows reps to bring context and value to their first interaction with a new prospect, which also accelerates time to close.
Additionally, Tim has seen how listening to users across community channels can surface early intent signals: “What's really exciting about Common Room is this idea that you can detect interest prior to a user actually raising their hand, and you can start creating avenues by which they can more quickly get to you.”
Another interesting insight that Tim found through Common Room is a better understanding of who is in the Temporal community and where members are located. These insights have informed Temporal’s sales team planning.
Traditionally, companies will make these decisions based on surface-level firmographic data from their Salesforce or other CRM. However, there can be a mismatch between this data (like the official headquarters of an organization) and the reality of where community members are located.
Given the importance of end users in today's sales cycle, it’s essential to map sales team resources and engagement back to those users who are leading solution discovery and adoption. Tim recommends that companies take greater advantage of this data, in conjunction with an intelligence tool: “For sales planning, we go more deeply into what's actually happening inside of our community and where it is happening. We integrate those insights into how we think about hiring and staffing for the future, to give ourselves a better chance of meeting users where they are.”
Value-based selling and community have one very important thing in common: They prioritize solving problems and supporting the end-user, first and foremost. This powers a mutually-beneficial cycle of knowledge sharing and networking that will further both individual member and organizational goals.
Additionally, sales leaders must remember that they’re engaging in mediums where everything happens in real time. Take advantage of this compressed sales cycle by making sure your reps are well-educated and prepared to engage in meaningful conversations on the fly.
Insights from the community and engagement over these digital channels offer organizations a massive opportunity to increase the effectiveness of their sales team and the value they can bring to customers.
To see firsthand how Common Room can help you unlock pipeline growth with intent and context, get started for free or request a demo.
Want to learn more about the ways community engagement can amplify your sales and marketing efforts? Check out our blog Why community is an effective go-to-market growth strategy.