In 2021, Gong customers tasked the Revenue Intelligence platform to find a way to bring them together to share and learn from one another. This led Gong’s CCO, Eran Aloni, to implement a community as the central part of its customer strategy. Gong discovered that an active community also resulted in customer retention, product stickiness, and even influenced ARR.
We spoke to Gong’s Head of Community, Nisha Baxi, about how community works with other teams to amplify business goals, the power of one centralized customer hub, and the next iteration of the Visioneers Community.
When Baxi started in 2021, Aloni had already discovered inSided’s Customer Hub. He was looking for a tool that could combine community into existing workflows. The ability to integrate with Gong’s existing technology stack like Zendesk, Skilljar, and now Gainsight, was a large factor in choosing the platform.
But beyond integrations, Baxi says the standout feature that inSided offered was its federated search functionality.
“The community is impactful in two ways. One it’s discovery. How do I discover things I can access and learn that I haven’t before? The second thing is I’m looking for something and need to find it. That’s why Google is so impactful,” she says. “You can ask anyone in Customer Marketing, Sales, Support, Education and Training team; we all care about federated search because people are looking for something, and it may not be in the community, and I don’t care if it’s not in the community, as long as they’ve found it. That’s what I like about inSided – the nod to the overall customer experience and not just trying to keep people in the community. It was about the broader community and what the user is looking for.”
The ability for users to find the answers they need, whether in the community or any external content like a Zendesk guide, has also saved Support individuals and community members valuable time and increased the self-service resolution rate.
Shared lift and results between teams
From day one, Gong has ensured to embed community into its broader business to avoid any silos. During the 72 days prior to launching, Baxi says it was all hands on deck, with about 100 Gongsters involved throughout the process. This included every function leader to align responsibilities, workflows, and KPIs.
“For me, community is only as important as how much it’s impacting the broader business. Community is everyone. It touches prospects and customers. Everyone is part of the customer experience. To give a great community experience, you need to work with your internal stakeholders that touch every single part of the customer journey to give the most optimal experience,” she says.
Community, along with Customer Success, Education and Training, Solutions Strategy, Support, Professional Services, and Customer Success Operations, all sit under the Chief Customer Officer.
Although community works closely with each of these functions, Baxi says the Education and Training team has been one of its strongest partners. The community has found a natural fit within the Gong Academy.
Rather than customers moving from one education module to the next, Gong wanted to create an immersive and fun learning experience. With some video-game inspiration, inSided and Gong launched “Gong Quests” for customers. As they level up from one learning path to the next in full fantasy-like armor, inSided’s embeddable widgets will pop up with relevant community content curated for that user. Users can even travel into “taverns” with other Gong community members to connect and share learnings.
But it isn’t all fun and games for community. Baxi also works closely with the Customer Success Operations team to ensure the community is measuring its success and driving business value.
“I’ve been finding it useful to have someone within CS Ops who helps with community drive those goals. Because of that, we can track our ARR influence and NDR impact in a meaningful way,” says Baxi. “We can see people registering for the community before they become customers, and when we see that they become a customer, we count that as influence.”
In addition to enticing prospects to become customers, Gong has also been attributing higher retention rates to community participants.
“We can see how long they are active in the community. But active users upsell three times higher than people that aren’t, so we’re tracking those numbers and seeing higher retention rates.”
Baxi says being able to attribute community as a touch point in the sales cycle is just another way the community function has become an integral part of the overall business and has reinforced its value.
Bringing Visioneers to life
With increased retention, 36% registered Gong users (about 3K individuals), 12K unique visitors, and 800 one-on-one meetings under its belt in year one, Gong is full steam ahead on taking the next step to embed community further into its over-arching customer strategy.
“We know customers engaged with the community are much more likely to grow with us, much more likely to stay with us, and have a big impact on the broader community and making them better Revenue Intelligence professionals,” says Aloni.
This October, Gong released “Visioneers.” This new experience connects everything from the Gong Academy, Customer Advocacy, and the Help Center in one centralized hub. When someone becomes a Gong user, their first touchpoint will be with this hub. Depending on how long you’ve been a Gong user, your experience will be tailored to you.
“Everyone wants to be their own steward of their ship, so I’m glad inSided and Gainsight has the capabilities to make it possible,” Baxi says.
Do you want to learn more about how you can make community a part of your customer success program? Book a demo today.