2020 has been a challenging year for many of us. It’s changed the ways we work, play and everything in-between. I started at ringDNA at the end of February. Shortly after my orientation, leadership made the difficult decision to transition to working from home. In the months since, the team has launched new features to adapt to the demands of a remote workforce. Features like our AI powered real-time coaching for agents and an updated call dashboard for supervisors to remotely monitor their teams empower our customers to succeed in the "new normal.”

Although ringDNA creates tools that enable distributed sales teams to thrive, I never considered remote work a possibility for myself. Too difficult to connect and too easy to get distracted. Yet we’ve been able to collaborate, align on goals and grow closer as a team – virtually. Now that remote work has replaced working in the office for the foreseeable future, I wanted to share some of the tools the ringDNA product team uses to stay productive during this time.

Product Discovery

Designing for Enterprise comes with its own set of challenges. Some of the benefits of working with Enterprise customers – building relationships, gaining trust, gathering feedback and testing solutions – are ideal for the design process. But it can also be difficult to evaluate feature development among multiple high-profile customers with different (and often opposing) needs. Feature requests must be considered holistically. At ringDNA we use the following tools to align our team’s objectives and ensure individual customer requests are considered within our company’s strategic goals.


Organizing insights / Why are we doing this?

Why are we building this? Who’s it for? It’s important to identify a clear user need to keep the team aligned on goals. ProductBoard has been a great tool to collect feedback, consolidate insights and prioritize opportunities. We’ve configured it to collect feedback from multiple sources including the ringDNA Customer Portal, Intercom, emails and our Sales and Support channels in Slack. These all go to a shared inbox for review. From there, we can highlight insights and link them to feature ideas in our Product Roadmap. We can also assign weighted scores that help us stack rank and prioritize work based on the number of requests and the expected user impact. This provides transparency across the product, dev and sales teams, which in turn promotes discussion and keeps us all engaged in new feature development.


Capturing conversations / What are people saying?

ProductBoard is a valuable component of our feedback loop with existing customers. But it’s equally important to understand the gaps in our product that cause us to lose potential customers. We’ve set up ProductBoard to collect all "Closed Lost" deals from Salesforce, but not all losses can be attributed to the product itself (sometimes a purchase decision is postponed due to personnel changes or a lead can simply stop responding). Sifting through all these insights can be time-consuming. Slack is a great tool for the team to share important opportunities that we lost and turn them into areas of exploration. I set up search notifications for “lost opportunity” and “closed lost” to receive alerts on these conversations.

Sales teams are subject matter experts on your product. They know the ins-and-outs. Our #salesquestions channel is a great way to peek into the questions that stump their knowledge base. Understanding the challenges the sales team encounters on a day-to-day basis helps clarify the value we bring to customers. It’s another way we gather feedback on areas of improvement.


Tracking performance / How are customers using the product?

Finally, we use Gainsight for visibility on how customers are using our product. After we identify opportunities from the previous steps, we dive into Gainsight to size and validate opportunities. How many customers are currently using a feature? How do users navigate to it? What do they do afterwards? How can we streamline this flow and what impact can we expect? We estimate the impact based on the total number of users and approximations based on the performance of previously launched features. This helps us get an idea of what users are doing. 

The next step is to supplement this with qualitative data – surveys, interviews, user testing, etc. – to understand the why. Gainsight provides a starting point for these activities as well. We use Gainsight’s built-in surveys to gather feedback from sets of users that match certain criteria. Even better, we can identify accounts with high usage of specific features and lean on the relationships of our sales and support teams for personal introductions to these customers.

Final Thoughts

In lieu of meeting in the office it’s imperative to set up workflows that empower our team to stay connected no matter where we are. Although they may never replace chatting in the hallways or jumping into impromptu white-board sessions together, hopefully these tools can help your team communicate and collaborate in the time of Corona.