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.
To align and unify their global sales force on message, vision, and value, Intercom hired elite sales effectiveness consulting firm Force Management. 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 use Troops to reinforce sales training at scale.
Intercom needed to enable their sales teams to sell value at the enterprise level
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. 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.
Intercom implemented Force Management’s Command of the Message (CoM) and MEDDPICC framework
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(r) 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.
Troops helps Intercom reps consistently follow Command of the Message and MEDDPICC processes
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 driver 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.
An example of a Troops MEDDPICC prompt
The Troops advantage
Training doesn’t stop when a workshop or consulting engagement ends. If your team needs to keep reps accountable to sales frameworks, Troops can help you meet them where they are, make it easy to follow the steps that lead to sales success, and get the most value out of your company’s investment in training and sales frameworks or processes
Sales process reinforcement: Troops keeps new initiatives, like sales methodology rollouts, going long into the future. Contextual alerts help change sales reps’ behavior and give managers the visibility they need to help their teams stay the course.
Meet reps where they are: Troops makes it easy for reps to stick to their training by gathering data right from Slack and pushing it into Salesforce.
Gather high-quality data while it’s fresh: Schedule Troops signals to appear immediately following sales calls to capture crucial details while they’re still top of mind.
Coach on the go: Managers and executives can use Troops reporting to track trends in behavior and pinpoint gaps that indicate the need for further training.
What’s next for Intercom’s sales teams
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.