Handshake is the college career network of the future, built to transform the recruiting experience for college students, career centers, and employers. Their mission is to democratize access to opportunity: to help every college student find the right job for them, no matter where they go to school, what they're majoring in, or who they know.
Before Handshake met Troops they faced a “Wild West” of data and insights. Disconnected metrics, convoluted processes, and overall disorganization made it difficult to track and optimize the sales process.
As such, they wanted to roll out the MEDDIC sales methodology. They knew that to be successful, they needed to support the rollout with a fine-tuned process that would effectively and sustainably reinforce team- and company-wide adoption. They accomplished that with Troops.
By leveraging Troops, Handshake not only successfully rolled out MEDDIC. They also achieved a near 100% close rate for procurement deals and upped the bar for data quality, improving critical deal information by 50%.
And they didn’t stop there. Customer success saw the improvements Troops made for account executives and started using it themselves, allowing them to become more proactive about optimizing for time.
We spoke with Kyle Cox, sales strategy and operations manager at Handshake, to learn more about how Troops keeps the entire team on the same page and focused on the right priorities.
Kyle is part of a lean operations team of three that supports 50 humans. He’s in charge of all things analytics, account prioritization, forecasting, and territory planning. His passion lies in digging deep into how the business is performing and discovering opportunities to optimize the entire monetization engine.
Welcome to the Wild West of data
While deals were coming in, Handshake was having a tough time keeping sales reps accountable to collect, document, and share the right data about those opportunities. The information they did provide was sporadic and often lacked rigor.
Kyle and his team had to routinely remind reps to chase down the important information they needed to progress their deals. Then they had to bother reps to log that information into Salesforce.
In February 2020, Handshake decided to implement MEDDIC. The sales methodology would provide consistent expectations for the type of data sales reps needed to collect early on in the sales process. It would also give the sales team a framework from which to analyze deal health and improve forecasting accuracy.
Handshake knew a successful MEDDIC implementation would require constant reinforcement to get the entire team to embrace such a significant new initiative. That’s when they started looking for help.
MEDDIC, meet Troops
Handshake turned to Troops to make it second nature for their sales team to follow the MEDDIC methodology.
Troops workflows reinforced their new sales process at every step, prompting reps to adjust their behavior and giving managers visibility into how their people were doing with the new rollout.
For example, Handshake set up Troops’ pre-meeting alerts to help reps understand what MEDDIC information they needed to collect before each sales conversation. By sending pre-meeting alerts to reps in Slack, Troops highlighted missing deal information. This encouraged reps to ask tougher questions to get more valuable deal information.
Once meetings ended, Troops sent follow-up alerts prompting reps to enter the information they learned into Salesforce. But instead of forcing reps to wade through the CRM to enter that info, the alerts allowed them to quickly update sales deal info right in Slack.
Troops also alerted sales managers when reps entered new MEDDIC information. This gave managers the visibility they needed to review updates and coach reps on the methodology. Whenever a deal moved to a new stage with missing MEDDIC information, Troops alerted both the rep and manager, so they could fill in the missing information and reconsider the stage change, if necessary.
Other Troops alerts informed managers and stakeholders when critical information was missing from important deals or when deals were pushed out of the quarter. This allowed them to circle around at-risk opportunities and gather the data needed to take appropriate action.
Troops didn’t just signal when things were going wrong. Whenever an opportunity made it to Handshake’s procurement stage, Troops fired off an alert to the VP of sales, so they could influence the deal or share it with their CEO.
What’s more, Troops alerts helped sales reps be more proactive. Instead of being bothered by a manager or ops person every time they missed information or something went wrong, Troops helped Handshake’s sales reps correct those issues before they become problems. This made sales process feedback feel more positive and improved the relationships across their sales org.
More alerts, more wins
Five months later, and MEDDIC is now the status quo for Handshake’s team. Not only was the rollout successful, but the methodology and Troops have made a major impact — most notably in procurement opportunities and data quality.
Handshake already had a healthy close rate of 90% for procurement deals. But by using Troops alerts to get Handshake’s higher-ups rallying around their later-stage deals, they increased that to a whopping 95%.
Handshake’s MEDDIC implementation also changed the way the team thinks about and uses sales data. Instead of just writing off data gathering and Salesforce entry as busywork, reps now see the value of that information and use it to think more strategically about their accounts.
And the commitment to a more data-driven sales process shows.
Prior to using Troops, only about 40% of all of Handshake’s opportunities had sufficient information and details. Now, as much as 90% of opportunities have adequate details — empowering the entire team with the information they need to close more deals.
Introducing Troops to customer success
It didn’t take long for the customer success team to notice all the progress Handshake’s sales team made with Troops. They saw an opportunity to use Troops themselves to become more intentional, informed, and proactive.
They started by using Troops alerts to help them stay on top of leading indicators for at-risk accounts.
Handshake’s customer success team set up alerts to notify them anytime a customer:
hadn’t logged in for 45 days
had responded to under 40% of employer DMs,
had fewer than two users,
or had significant shifts in hiring numbers or status.
By knowing which accounts were in danger of churning, Handshake’s customer success managers (CSMs) could diagnose the issues and step in to provide guidance before it was too late.
The CS team also leveraged Troops' alerts to make their people more efficient and productive. Instead of digging for data, Troops brought the data to them when they needed it most. And this didn't just make them faster. Having the ability to pull insights from data in real-time made their CSMs smarter, too.
The Troops advantage
Having a hodgepodge of disconnected data and systems doesn’t do you any favors. Troops not only integrates and centralizes Handshake’s data; it also distributes it in a way that’s actionable and useful, empowering the right people with the right information at exactly the right time.
High-quality data: With built-in accountability and alerts, Troops prompts reps to collect the right information and quickly input key details every step of the way.
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 needed to help their team stay the course.
Collaboration: The information reps supply is valuable across the organization, and Troops distributes the right information to the right people at the right time. This means sales, CS, executives, and other stakeholders can lend their expertise to your company’s most important deals when it matters most.
Strategic thinking: The more high-quality data you have, the better your decisions. Troops helps teams think more strategically about their accounts by giving them real-time access to critical information and insights that help reveal the best way forward.
With Troops’ help, Kyle and his lean operations team have already made massive improvements to Handshake’s sales and CS processes. He continues to look for ways to leverage Troops to support what matters most to the business.