As one of the fastest-growing SaaS companies of the decade, Intercom needed to shift their sales organization’s focus upmarket, from assisting self-serve, small business customers to pursuing enterprise-level deals.
As Intercom was maturing, leadership saw the need to strategically focus on unifying their global sales force on their message, vision and value. Their leaders rallied their organization around a buyer-focused sales strategy and message, leveraging Force Management methodologies and Troops. Within a year of completing the initial engagement, Intercom saw significant increases in revenue per deal.
Intercom used Command of the Message® to create a custom messaging framework that enables reps to consistently drive a buyer-focused conversation. Once deals enter the pipeline, Intercom sales teams use MEDDPICC as a qualification tool to identify buyer decision criteria, drive consistent discovery, and qualify and progress high-value sales opportunities.
Transforming your sales organization is an investment that takes leadership commitment. To fully realize the value, it’s crucial that the Intercom sales organization, from executives to managers and reps, consistently use their value framework and qualification tools to drive buyer-focused sales conversation and move the high-value opportunities through the pipeline. Intercom’s sales leadership realized they needed to have a system in place that would make the methods Force Management introduced stick over time.
Troops became the mechanism that holds Intercom’s reps and managers accountable to the training so teams can drive more value per deal, ensuring an ongoing return on Intercom’s initial investment.
We spoke with sales leaders at Intercom to understand how they leveraged their partnerships with Force Management and Troops to increase their average deal size by 4X.
When Intercom began to shift focus and target enterprise accounts, sales leadership recognized they had a significant skills gap in their sales teams.
Intercom started as an inbound sales organization, and their foundation was on a self-serve model. Their sales team focused on assisting small businesses to upgrade their accounts and select pricing plans based on their needs. While the SaaS company underwent rapid growth during this period thanks to a high volume of sign-ups, the size of the average deal was small.
Moving up to sell to larger enterprises required a newer, more proactive approach to targeting, qualifying deals, and driving value-based conversations.
While Intercom sales reps put their best efforts into sales calls with prospects at larger organizations, they lacked consistent rigor and process. Former Global Director of Sales and Support Enablement Rich Wing recognized that the problem was they had no “north star” of what an excellent enterprise sales process looked like to reference:
Even if they found a fantastic customer engagement model for enterprise sales, it was a challenge to get the entire Intercom salesforce unified around it. Each sales office at Intercom, from Sydney to San Francisco, had its own approach to training and coaching. There wasn’t a common framework for the entire sales organization to rally around or be accountable to.
Partnering with Force Management, Intercom established frameworks that equipped the sales organization to create and capture value with their sales message, while enforcing processes to gather data, qualify deals, and forecast pipelines.
Force Management’s Command of the Message framework helps B2B salespeople drive value-driven conversations with prospects and fill their pipelines with qualified leads. Intercom’s sales teams use the framework repeatedly to help ensure they’re continually focused on the buyer’s most pressing needs, and aligning those needs with Intercom’s value and differentiation. The framework is completely customized to Intercom’s sales approach and buyers, making it easy to reference and use in every sales call.
The MEDDPICC framework helps sales teams evaluate and qualify deals to determine whether they are ready to progress to the next step in the sales process. Intercom’s team likes that MEDDPICC helps provide accuracy for sales forecasting and leads reps to a-ha moments, where they discover opportunities to further develop sales skills.
Once the initial Command of the Message training was complete, Intercom worked with Force Management to ensure they had a reinforcement plan that managers and leaders could use to coach, inspect, and enforce the new frameworks and sales process.
Rich Wing equates the challenge to drive education. “We've given them the driver's manual, which technically tells them how to drive,” Rich Wing said. “But now they're having to learn how to merge on the freeway and how to not crash the car regularly.”
Command of the Message and MEDDPICC require that managers and reps review call and customer data to see how reps are performing against the frameworks and then identify any gaps where reps need to improve. But Intercom had several systems for capturing customer data and no easy way to retrieve it.
“We were having trouble with getting the account executives and regional managers to start just filling out the information,” Head of North America and APAC Sales Judson Griffin said. “I'm sure that's married to the fact that traditionally in Intercom, we had them go to like, six different places to fill out six different things.”
Plus, Judson observed, even when you have a central data-gathering system like Salesforce, getting sales reps to fill out information is a challenge in itself.
Intercom leveraged Troops to keep sales training top of mind and to facilitate ongoing coaching opportunities so that both reps and managers could see the value.
Global Director of Business Systems Jalal Iftikhar’s team set up fields in Salesforce that reflected the steps of the Command of the Message and MEDDICC frameworks. After every sales call, Troops signals show up in Slack to walk reps through the steps while the call is still fresh in their mind. The rep enters details in the Command of the Message, and MEDDPICC alerts from Troops, and can move opportunities to the next stage of the sales process directly from Slack — with no need to bounce between screens or log in to Salesforce.
Accelerating revenue growth and driving business predictability takes a commitment to improving your sales organization’s ability to execute. For leaders, the challenge often lies in defining the right strategic sales initiative to drive initial success, and a plan to build off of that success. Force Management helps sales leaders, like Intercom's, create more discipline around the key areas of sales effectiveness and navigate the path to growth. Our solutions support sales organizations in fueling a predictable sales engine, scaling bottom-line impact and ultimately becoming elite.
Sales Message: Ensure your entire sales organization has a sales message based on value and differentiation that enables them to charge a premium, repeatedly.
Sales Process and Qualification: Enable your entire sales organization to efficiently qualify, progress and close sales opportunities to consistently predict the business and secure better business.
Sales Planning: Ensure your global teams are consistently going after the right accounts to build healthy sales pipelines and create actionable revenue forecasts.
Sales Talent: Make sure you have the right people to meet your revenue goals, no matter your growth stage.
In the upcoming year, Intercom’s sales leadership plans to take the company’s sales training initiatives even further by focusing on existing business, leveling up account planning skills, tightening the systemization of business health, and deepening understanding of Command of the Message and MEDDPICC for specialized teams. Troops will be there along the way to ensure that Intercom’s training efforts are supported with sustained, scalable action that leads to growth.
Read Intercom's story from the perspective of their leaders.