Databox VP of Customer Success Billy MacDonald shares his top tips from years of experience of what to measure to track team performance to increase revenue.
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About our guest:
Billy has spent the last 12+ years working on customer success at multiple SaaS companies including HubSpot, Databox, and Klaviyo. He's passionate about helping customers generate tangible value from software and representing the voice of the customer within organizational decisions. Billy also enjoys helping customer success professionals develop new skills and gain more knowledge in order to grow their careers.
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Pete: Greetings everyone. A very warm welcome to another edition of the HubDo Podcast, where we talk with software vendors, subject matter specialists, and end users who share real stories of how to do more on HubSpot. I'm your host, Pete Nicholls. I'm coming to you from Copenhagen in Denmark. I'm joined today by Billy McDonald. Billy, a very good day to you. Where are you joining us from today?
Billy: Hey, Pete, it's nice to meet you. Um, I am located in Scituate, Massachusetts, which is about an hour outside of Boston.
Pete : Great. I was in Boston for Inbound, uh, not so long back for the big event. It was great to be back and it's just a beautiful part of the world.
For our listeners, Billy McDonald has spent over 12 years working on customer success at multiple SaaS companies, including HubSpot, Databox, and Clavio. You're passionate about helping customers generate tangible value from software Billy and representing the voice of the customer within the organizational decisions that relate to that. And, I understand you also enjoy helping customer success professionals to develop new skills and gain more knowledge in order to grow their careers. And you are vice President of Customer Success at Databox, so welcome to the show.
Billy: Yeah, thanks Pete. And, like you were saying just a second ago, I genuinely believe that you know, the best way to grow a business is by focusing on the customers, you know, what their needs are and really making sure that they're at the forefront of any discussion you're having on what you can do better, uh, as a business to support them. So I think, uh, something I certainly learned at HubSpot my time there, uh, was a really big focus and been able to bring to a couple of other companies.
Pete: Yeah, I'm gonna run something by you actually, it's a phrase that I've used a lot, and you might dismiss it completely, but given we're talking about databox and dashboards today I've generally said many times you can't manage what you can't measure. What's your view on that?
Billy: Yeah, no, I, I think, uh, that's absolutely the case. You know, um, you know, obviously there's a balance there in terms of how much information you're trying to collect and what that means in terms of, uh, what the team needs to do to gather that information. But ultimately, if you're deciding to invest your resources into a particular program or initiative, you need to understand what it is you're trying to accomplish. You need to measure. The different outputs and outcomes of that work, uh, to understand if you're achieving that objective and if it's successful and helping your customers. So, absolutely. You know, I couldn't agree more with that statement.
Pete: That's a great point. The, uh, outcomes and outputs because today we're talking Databox, and for folks who maybe don't know the platform, uh, Databox was recently rated by G2 as one of the top 30 HubSpot Apps on the HubSpot App Marketplace. It was rated as a favorite for KPI and analytics dashboards, which is really the Databox thing. And uh, and there was a recent Databox survey about setting goals where you talked about output goals, outcome goals, and quality goals. Now, I, I've got one I wanna ask you about Billy, cuz I did a little bit of digging that, um, so you went to St. Allison College?
Billy: That. Yep, that's correct. That was, uh, uh, St. Allison College of Manchester, New Hampshire.
Pete: So we're going back to 2007 now, Billy, I found a dashboard with some outcomes and outputs on there. So I understand when you were in the soccer, as I would call football team, that the dashboard says that you played five games.
Billy: Uh, yeah. I, Yeah, that sounds about right. Uh, my sophomore year I got hurt my junior year, which explains a little bit of, uh, the lack of playing time I've had. But, uh, yeah, I started a number of games my sophomore year. Yep.
Pete: So your output was five games and then your outcome, it looks like you scored one goal.
Billy: Yeah, that's right. It was actually the first game that I played and, uh, funny enough, within about three minutes of getting on the field, now granted we were up by four. It was late in the game. Uh, I think it was my freshman year, begging, uh, coach to let us in at least. You know, some of the guys that hadn't played much that season and I think on my second or third touch, uh, put one in the back of the net, but wasn't as successful. Didn't have that many great outcomes after that. But it was a great experience to continue soccer in. Yeah, had a wonderful time up at ST's.
Pete: Great outcome. Uh, maybe peaked early in the lifelong football career, Billy? Well, but it's on a dashboard, it's a statistic, it's an outcome, uh, and some outputs for the games that you've played. So, uh, Billy, I'm delighted to have you on the show and to include Databox on the HubDo marketplace, cuz that's how we can help more people to do more on HubSpot. So let's get into the topic for today. Uh, our topic is how to analyze your team's performance with Databox and HubSpot team performance. Okay, so let's dive into that topic.
What types of customers, Billy, are an ideal fit for Databox and maybe who isn't a fit?
Billy: Yeah. So, uh, the businesses that we're able to help, uh, most are those that are using multiple pieces of software to run their business. And oftentimes the challenge that they face is all of that data is in different places and it makes it really difficult to analyze what's going on and also, connect certain metrics that are related, um, and across data sources in a way that you can understand how they're correlating or, uh, causing different outputs or outcomes.
What we really help customers with is being able to bring all that data into one place so that they can annualize and visualize it in a way that helps them understand how those different metrics, um, in their performances are correlated to, uh, the different initiatives and programs that they're running.
And so, uh, as part of. We also have a, a focus on helping marketing agencies that are delivering marketing and sales services to their clients, and need to be able to put together dashboards and reports using data, again, from multiple data sources, that helps those clients understand what it is that they're working on in the results that they're helping them to achieve. So really any business that has lots of data stored in multiple places, we're trying to help consolidate that into one tool so they can do all their analysis and reporting in one place.
Pete: Do you come across situations where you look at a customer or an agency and say, well, actually Databox probably isn't going to add a lot of value in this scenario? Does anything come to mind?
Billy: Yeah. You know, I think, uh, for those agencies or businesses that are really relying on just one data source, uh, or a small set of, uh, data sources, we're not gonna be as helpful because, um, in that case, you can log into the source itself to, uh, view the data. You may not be able to do all of the things that, uh, we can help you with, but that, you know, core fundamental way in which we assist businesses in terms of bringing that data into one place, uh, is not as valuable if you have a smaller number of data sources that you're using. So, uh, nowadays most businesses are using, uh, many pieces of software. Uh, I believe that we've, uh, run some reports on this, and the, the number has grown year over year, uh, makes sense. There are lots of great SAS products being built. Uh, every year. So, um, really any business again that is struggling with being able to get a handle on all of their data because it's stored in one place and, you know, they'll really lack the visibility into the performance to make decisions on what they can do better.
Pete: Yeah, I'd love to see a business now that just gets all their information from one source. It's just, there are so many SAS products and they're all interconnected and it just seems to be increasing. So, given your customer success focus for many years and, and now at Databox specifically around these statistics and dashboards Billy, what kind of ugly situations do you find people in to get started? What kind of mistakes are they making that you need to take them from to get them to where they wanna go? Where does it start?
Billy: Yeah. Um, you know, I think, uh, at a really basic and fundamental level, oftentimes, you know, we talk to businesses that really don't understand what metrics they should be tracking and looking at as part of understanding, uh, how their team is performing. And so that, you know, really is something that we start with oftentimes is, you know, helping our, uh, prospects and customers determine what are those metrics that they should be tracking related, again, to the different teams that they have in place or, uh, the programs that they're running. And then once we determine what are the metrics that, uh, they need to track, that's when we start to discuss, well, how do you wanna be able to analyze that data? You know, what's gonna help you understand? And tell the story of what's going on with that metric, given, you know, the context you have from the outputs that are, uh, contributing to that metric. So from there is where we can assist in, again, building out different dashboards, using, uh, certain visualizations that help tell that story, um, and then allow you to share the data in a way that others can understand what's going on.
Pete: Can you think of an example, um, recent times Billy or someone who was in that situation where they weren't quite sure what to track, and then you helped them determine some key metrics? So give us a clue of the sorts of things that they really did need to track and, how did it go on from there?
Billy: You know, I was, uh, talking with a member of my team and, uh, we have, uh, something that, we have a call called the call review that we run, uh, every other week. And, uh, what happens there is the entire sales team will listen to a call, um, of one of the other reps and a prospect that they met with to learn a little bit more about um, you know, what their use case was and provide feedback to the rep on, you know, how they could have, uh, run the call better or different ideas on how they can help that prospect with next steps. And something that came up recently. Uh, this is a smaller SAS company that's using Databox and they were having challenges with determining how to, uh, plan for the headcount of their sales team. So, uh, they're relatively small and so, you know, moving and hiring another sales rep is a big decision for them, and they wanted to make sure that they had enough leads and opportunities and ultimately deals they were, they're using HubSpot. So, uh, you know, the, uh, the record there that signifies, you know, a good opportunity would be the, the deal. And so they wanted to make sure they had enough deals to support. That rep. And so what we were able to do, uh, using our data calculations functionality is help them create a bunch of metrics that, uh, gave them insight into what the average deal size was, how many deals they were creating over time, what was the close rate on those deals historically. And then from that data, they were able to determine how many more deals they needed to create per month to support an additional. Uh, joining the team, we were able to bring that all together on one dashboard. They were able to use it, uh, in different internal meetings, really advocating for making that additional hire because they had been successful in, uh, creating more deals recently.
So, Um, that's just one example of, you know, something that we helped prospect with recently was, you know, figuring out how to actually create the metrics and get the data that they needed to understand exactly how many deals each rep needed to be supported in terms of achieving their, uh, targets and really making sure that they were not overstaffed and cutting into all the other opportunities that, uh, could be distributed to the other raps already on.
Pete: It's a good example because we've titled this session How to Analyze Your Team's performance. So listening to the call as a group to understand performance but then looking to the data at what point do you need to add a new rep? I mean, it sounds fairly simple then to decide, oh, look, we, we should be measuring something that's going to tell us when we need to add more reps, but, uh, what's the real challenge that you then needed to solve once you know you wanna do this measurement? Uh, is the data just laying there waiting to be picked up or you what needs to happen?
Billy: Yeah. So oftentimes, you know, the data is there, but it's stored in different metrics that are not connected to each other or working with each other. So in this case, uh, again, as I mentioned, we're able to use, uh, a tool that we provide called data calculations. It's a feature within the core, uh, Databox software that basically allows you to, uh, take multiple metrics, put them in the form of an equation, um, to produce a unique metric. So in this case, for example, one of the things that we did after we had determined the average deal size, we just took the count of deals that were closed and the amount of revenue generated from those deals. We then were able to create a separately calculated metric that, divided what each rep's target was by the average deal size, and that helps us know how many deals they need to close each month in order to achieve their target. From there, we looked at what the historical close rate been on deals over the last six months and this particular company has seen some fluctuation in the close rate. There's some seasonality to it, and so we needed to look at that over time, which was really helpful. Just. See what the trend was and really, you know, prove out the accuracy of the more recent close rate data. Uh, but that close rate data allowed us to understand and help that, uh, business determine how many deals do we need to create based off of historical close rates. To again, support an additional rep joining, assuming that their, uh, performance is on par with other reps that are currently on the team. The big challenge was the data was all there, but they couldn't, um, put the data together in a way that gave them that level of insight into the averages and the, uh, close right in a way that really helped them, uh, be more confident in the decision to add another rep.
In the past, they would add a Rep, see how it went, see if each of the other reps on the team were able to sustain the performance that they had previously. There were some issues with that strategy because they lacked of the insight that we're to help them get.
Pete: Analysis of the team's performance. What are the top-of-mind metrics that you typically turn to Billy when you're talking team performance of what businesses can use effectively to manage that team performance?.
Billy: Yeah. Um, so we were talking earlier about, uh, outputs versus outcomes. And so, uh, at Databox we, uh, consider outputs to be more of the productivity metrics. You know what actions you are taking to engage with more prospects or meet with more prospects. And the outcome is, uh, the revenue generated, uh, from those prospects. And, you know, to me, going back to what I said earlier, That is a signal that this prospect had a great experience and actually was able to get value from the Databox software prior to making a purchasing decision. So we really emphasize, uh, the usage of, uh, a paid trial and are very generous with the amount of time that we provide because we want our prospects to be confident and have completed a full setup and evaluation before purchasing.
We, although we offer a monthly to subscription, we of course, don't want our customers signing up only to plan to use the software for a month. We want them to be, you know, committed long term because they have a great plan in place to, uh, improve their, uh, reporting process. So in terms of the metrics I think are most important for a lot of sales organizations is how often are you meeting with those prospects because it's a sign or indication of how much value you are able to provide to them.
A prospect isn't gonna meet with a sales rep a second or a third or a fourth time if they didn't get value on that initial call. And so, um, I think keeping track of how many calls your sales team is logging and what that looks like on average, and also looking more deeply at those reps with more calls. And going one level, uh, deeper to understand how many of the calls that they're conducting are second, third, fourth calls with the same prospect. In other words, how deep are they going with the prospects that they're meeting with? Um, really gives a good, uh, indication of how great of a job that they're doing on that initial discovery call and whether or not that prospect feels that the Rep uh, believes that the rep understands what their challenges are and are in a position to help them. So the calls log, I think, is a crucial metric. It's one that I've used to track the performance of really every team I've ever led dating back to my time at HubSpot. Um, The other thing that I think is, uh, really important to track is really the amount of assistance that you're offering them outside of the call.
So for many businesses that might be, uh, measured in the form of, uh, email activity, but something that we've seen a lot of other companies, uh, start to do. Uh, and we've recommended this to many other businesses as it's a, a part of our strategy is, um, really offering to assist with whatever setup or implementation is required to adopt that product and service.
You know, really trying to remove barriers to completing that setup and eliminating friction so that people can really experience the value of the software without struggling with the setup component. So, uh, we regularly recommend that our, um, customers start to track those activities that are reflective of the reps on their team, actually assisting people with whatever product, uh, that they're offering or, you know, having, uh, really concrete data on the delivery of any services that they've offered.
Pete: So from the sales rep's point of view, measuring the activity rate, but then also taking it right through into the support type of activity rate, which is maybe beyond the pre-sales stages, more aligned to customer success. The ability to pull this together from multiple sources, Billy, the customers, and people who are listening to this podcast probably have HubSpot, and of course, it has a reporting dashboard of sorts. So, How far do you see people can take HubSpot's own reporting, and at what point really does adding Databox create best value?
Billy: Yeah. Uh, so, you know, HubSpot also has a, a great set of, uh, reporting tools within their software and I think it's an area that they've improved quite a bit over the years. Um, and really it's those businesses that are using HubSpot and other software platforms that are gonna be a better fit for Databox because again, uh, the real value, at least, um, at a basic level is being able to bring all of that data into one place and then you know, manipulate it and track in different ways that help you understand exactly how those metrics are relating to each other.
So, as an example of that, there was a customer that we're helping recently. One of our CSMs, um, had met with them and they use Intercom for chat. And so, Um, as part of that, they wanted to understand how those chats that they were handling were leading to, uh, deals being created in HubSpot. And within HubSpot, you, as you know, you can create, uh, different properties where the rep can input what was the channel for that deal. And so what they were able to do is, um, on the deal record, whenever a new deal is created, uh, they required that the person would complete whatever the channel was, and one of the options was chat.
And so, uh, ultimately what we helped them set up was a funnel visualization, uh, which started with the chat and then looked at the number of deals created from chat, and then, uh, furthermore the number of deals that were closed from chat. And it really helped that business to understand, uh, how effective they were at taking an already engaged user or, or prospect in this case, have a high quality chat with them to the point, uh, where they would go on and book a meeting with the sales team. That was the, um, criteria for creating a deal in their case. And so, what was really helpful was being able to see the conversion rate from step to step and also what the overall volume of deals, uh, were created from chat and, and how many were ultimately closed.
It gave them a lot of insight into, uh, whether or not that was an effective channel for them and what opportunity existed to actually increased the number of chats that they were getting. Cause it turned out in their case that, uh, they were creating a lot of deals as a result of it and those deals tended to close at a higher rate. And so, uh, after we helped put together the dashboard and, um, could analyze that data, uh, we talked about different strategies that they could implement to actually increase the number of users that were, uh, starting a chat.
Pete: So analyzing team performance across multiple tools, which you wouldn't be able to see if you only used the reporting that is sitting isolated in each tool cause you, you have no ability to bring all of that together in the way that you've described Billy.
Billy: Yeah, exactly. In this case, it was critical to understand, uh, the number of chats started, which was a metric that was stored, um, in Intercom. And so it wouldn't be possible to visualize the data in the same way where you're as part of the top of the funnel, recognizing, um, the chats from Intercom as the, as the starting point.
So, um, there are lots of other examples of that where, you know, depending upon like the campaign or really the process that you're taking users through, the steps are executed in different tools. And so what we help a lot of our users with is being able to measure step by step across, um, different metrics and, and data sources that they're using to, you know, actually execute on those, uh, those programs that they're running.
Pete: Really good examples of managing and, and measuring team performance, Billy. So I think for this episode, uh, if somebody is already grappling with bringing in information from multiple sources and trying to make sense of that, it sounds like, uh, fairly typical engagement then Billy, for a company that really wants to measure the team performance for growth, is that you can help them define what to measure, decide on, on that and then identify the sources and pull that together and, and build that dashboard. In some cases, before they even go into a Databox subscription, they've, they've got that view right away.
Billy: Yeah, absolutely. That's something that we do for a lot of our, uh, prospective customers is helping them build those initial set of dashboards. You know, we heavily emphasize the different templates that we offer as a starting point, and what a lot of our, uh, new users are a bit unaware of is that they can actually create a dashboard from scratch. Um, and there's a little bit of a learning curve to understanding, you know, how to, uh, drag and drop the different visualizations, how to choose the metric but, uh, again, one of the services that we offer and promote is, uh, setting up those initial dashboards and we'll collect some information on their use case, create something, share with them, get some feedback, make some edits, and then recommend additional ways that we can help them to expand their usage and, and create more dashboards. But like you said, anybody that is struggling with having data in multiple places or having to log and out of different tools and you really just can't understand and analyze the data in a meaningful way, those, those are the businesses I think we can really help.
Pete: So thanks for sharing some really good examples Billy. Sometimes it's tough to get some real stories out on this show, but you've been at this for quite some time and have a passion for customer success and helping people even with their careers in customer success. Uh, what would be a valuable tip perhaps that you could pass on to somebody who is going to look into this further, having listened to this show? What's your top tip for the day?
Billy: My top tip for the day is, in order to be really effective in changing the culture of your team and really getting at what's most important with driving customer success, you need to look at both the data, but also talk with customers and listen to what they're saying on the calls that your team is having with them.
So, I've shared this on other podcasts or webinars that I've been a part of, but you know, without that context and understanding of the challenges that your customers are facing and really hearing it from them directly, makes it that much more challenging to pull those key insights out of the data to understand what you can do differently to, uh, help more and more users or customers be successful.
So I would encourage, you know, any CS leader, if you're not listening to calls, if you don't have programs in place that surface uh, the feedback and ideas and challenges that your, uh, customers are facing, that should be your number one priority. And it, it could be difficult at time to really commit to doing it when you have all sorts of other things that, uh, you could be doing or being brought to your attention, but, listening to calls, uh, surfacing that feedback to the rest of the team, uh, is critical in my mind.
Something that we, uh, did here at Databox, I think, uh, was really cool and impactful for us. Uh, we developed a program called Customer Insights, where actually each member of our sales onboarding and account management team is required to share snippets of calls that they're conducting that highlight ways in which our users believe that the product could be improved. Uh, things that they're stuck with. The general feedback that they have in using it, and we share that with our product and marketing organization. Um, and it's contributed to the development of a number of new key features, um, over the last 12 months and things that have helped our users get more value out of our software.
So, uh, yeah, if you don't have a program like that in place, if you're not listening to calls, you should stop what you're doing, listen to a couple of calls today. I think it would be extremely important as part of making sense of all the data that you're looking at.
Pete: Databox does some really impressive things, uh, I've gotta say. So some great tips there, the customer insights initiative. Billy, thanks for sharing that. And, so I think we should wrap up at this point, I'm just gonna say, Billy, it's been an absolute pleasure talking with you today. What's the best way for people to connect with you?
Billy: Sure. Um, I'm happy to really talk with anyone that is having, again, these challenges with, uh, their reporting process. So feel free to email me at billy at databox.com. I may refer you to a member of my sales team would be really well-suited and, uh, equipped to assist you. Um, you can also email firstname.lastname@example.org. That's our general support. mailbox, if you have something urgent, you need a response to, our support will get back to you, and yeah, I hope to hear from some people that are looking for some help.
Pete: Fantastic. So thanks so much for covering that with me. How to analyze your team's performance with Databox and HubSpot. Billy, thank you so much for your time.
Billy: Yeah, it was great to meet you, Pete. Thanks for having me on.
Pete: For our listeners, you can find more information about Databox on the HubDo marketplace. Just go to marketplace dot HubDo dot com or click the link in the show notes.
Please send us your questions so we can help you do more, and I'll see you in the next episode. Thanks, Billy.
Billy: Thank you.
Your host Pete Nicholls is the Founder of HubDo, HubSpot Certified Trainer and Foundation Certified in Bidding and Proposals by the APMP.
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