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3 Golden Rules for Building a Frictionless Sales Process

October 27, 2022

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Your sales process is the lifeblood of your business. It’s the road map for generating revenue, shows employees how to sell your offerings, and helps guarantee consistent results. But when was the last time you reviewed your sales tactics? And if you did it today, what should you change?

To find out, we invited Mikita Mikado, co-founder and CEO of PandaDoc, to Playbook 2022

Mikita co-founded PandaDoc ten years ago to help businesses streamline their sales process with automated contracts, forms, and transactional documents. 

Today, the company has 800 employees and thousands of global clients. And in this session, Mikita shares three golden rules he and his co-founder learned while building the company and its sales process. 

1. Talk with customers to understand their needs.

When Mikita and his fellow co-founder Sergey Barysiuk started PandaDoc, they didn’t initially talk to prospective customers before building the product. “We thought we knew what needed to be built and how it needed to be built, and that was just foolish,” Mikita explained. 

At first, they didn’t realize their mistake. “After draining all of our savings and launching a free product, we brought in 3,000 sign-ups,” Mikita shared. They were beyond excited and thought the platform would take off once they got a billing system. But when they launched billing two months later, only seven accounts paid up.  

“[We thought] we were screwed,” Mikita told us. Because they realized their product wasn’t as desirable as they had hoped. “Not researching the topic enough and not talking to prospective customers was a huge mistake,” he explained. But the product hiccup didn’t stop Mikita and his business partner from moving forward. 

Instead, they decided to take the opportunity and go back to the drawing board. And they would start by talking to customers about their needs. “We rewired our brains and decided to talk to customers and inject ourselves into the customer journey,” Mikita shared. 

Then, Mikita and Sergey used what they learned to improve the product and make it more desirable for clients. They also used the information to support their inbound marketing (with tools like search engine optimization and paid digital ads) and capture more attention. 

For SMBs, you can use this insight by revisiting your customer base. For example, have you checked in recently with your clients? Do you know their current challenges and needs? Then, use the answers to these questions to improve your offerings and how you market them. 

“We need to learn as much as possible about [clients’] needs and challenges, and then we must follow the lead.” – Mikita Mikado, co-founder and CEO of PandaDoc

2. Streamline and automate your sales process. 

Mikita and Sergey originally created PandaDoc for their consultancy company — where they built websites and website extensions for clients. Because of the customized nature of projects, most (if not all) of their proposals had to be modified. And the duo wanted to find a better way. 

“If you’re using Word for contracts and proposals that you send out repeatedly, your sales team is wasting a lot of time,” Mikita explained. So, they set out to build a library of proposal templates that could be pre-populated and automatically generated with customer data.

The duo initially called this offering QuoteRoller, and they built it specifically for web design consultants to automate their client proposals. But eventually, they realized that other businesses needed this solution, too. And it ultimately evolved into what PandaDoc is today. 

Now, businesses from all industries can help their sales reps spend less time dealing with manual documents. They also get notified when the contracts are opened by prospects and are reminded to follow-up, which Mikita believes is pivotal to the sales process. 

“A timely follow-up and a robust follow-through are key [to closing sales],” Mikita shared. But you need a standardized sales process to tell reps (or remind them) of the best times to reach out. Otherwise, you leave employees to guess and figure out the process for themselves. 

For SMBs, you can leverage this advice by documenting a standard sales process that includes timely follow-ups. You can ask your best sales reps for their follow-up process and adjust your standard operating procedures (SOPs) to include best practices. Or, you can invest in software that automates these pieces

3. A strong, committed team inherently improves sales.

Despite being a software business, Mikita says PandaDoc is a people business first. “We thought we needed a killer feature, niche, or superstar investor,” he explained. But over time, he and Sergey realized that those things would inherently happen with a strong, committed team.

“Nothing is as important as focusing on people, culture, and teamwork,” Mikita shared. So, they began cultivating a company culture that attracted bright individuals who wanted to learn and make a positive impact. But at some point in time, the business still felt in disarray. 

“Everyone [was] moving in a different direction,” Mikita explained. “And it's the executive team’s job to set that common ground and joint context [for employees].” So, they decided to give their team a business playbook and called it the “PandaDoc Culture Code.” 

This transparent documentation includes their vision, strategy, and brand values. It describes the why behind what PandaDoc does, which enables all employees to align their efforts and approaches. That way, they’re all on the same page and working toward the same goal. 

For SMBs, you can use this advice by putting your people first and documenting your business playbook. That way, you can ensure that everyone on your team is on the same page and working toward the same goal. And if you already have documentation, take the time to update your SOPs.

“We have to disagree for the best ideas to flourish, but there are certain areas where we need to be aligned.”

Closing deals and generating sales revenue is pivotal to your business' success. But without a clear and thoughtful sales process, it’s impossible to produce consistent results. That’s why it’s critical to leverage these three golden rules and build a frictionless sales process.

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3 Golden Rules for Building a Frictionless Sales Process

October 27, 2022

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Your sales process is the lifeblood of your business. It’s the road map for generating revenue, shows employees how to sell your offerings, and helps guarantee consistent results. But when was the last time you reviewed your sales tactics? And if you did it today, what should you change?

To find out, we invited Mikita Mikado, co-founder and CEO of PandaDoc, to Playbook 2022

Mikita co-founded PandaDoc ten years ago to help businesses streamline their sales process with automated contracts, forms, and transactional documents. 

Today, the company has 800 employees and thousands of global clients. And in this session, Mikita shares three golden rules he and his co-founder learned while building the company and its sales process. 

1. Talk with customers to understand their needs.

When Mikita and his fellow co-founder Sergey Barysiuk started PandaDoc, they didn’t initially talk to prospective customers before building the product. “We thought we knew what needed to be built and how it needed to be built, and that was just foolish,” Mikita explained. 

At first, they didn’t realize their mistake. “After draining all of our savings and launching a free product, we brought in 3,000 sign-ups,” Mikita shared. They were beyond excited and thought the platform would take off once they got a billing system. But when they launched billing two months later, only seven accounts paid up.  

“[We thought] we were screwed,” Mikita told us. Because they realized their product wasn’t as desirable as they had hoped. “Not researching the topic enough and not talking to prospective customers was a huge mistake,” he explained. But the product hiccup didn’t stop Mikita and his business partner from moving forward. 

Instead, they decided to take the opportunity and go back to the drawing board. And they would start by talking to customers about their needs. “We rewired our brains and decided to talk to customers and inject ourselves into the customer journey,” Mikita shared. 

Then, Mikita and Sergey used what they learned to improve the product and make it more desirable for clients. They also used the information to support their inbound marketing (with tools like search engine optimization and paid digital ads) and capture more attention. 

For SMBs, you can use this insight by revisiting your customer base. For example, have you checked in recently with your clients? Do you know their current challenges and needs? Then, use the answers to these questions to improve your offerings and how you market them. 

“We need to learn as much as possible about [clients’] needs and challenges, and then we must follow the lead.” – Mikita Mikado, co-founder and CEO of PandaDoc

2. Streamline and automate your sales process. 

Mikita and Sergey originally created PandaDoc for their consultancy company — where they built websites and website extensions for clients. Because of the customized nature of projects, most (if not all) of their proposals had to be modified. And the duo wanted to find a better way. 

“If you’re using Word for contracts and proposals that you send out repeatedly, your sales team is wasting a lot of time,” Mikita explained. So, they set out to build a library of proposal templates that could be pre-populated and automatically generated with customer data.

The duo initially called this offering QuoteRoller, and they built it specifically for web design consultants to automate their client proposals. But eventually, they realized that other businesses needed this solution, too. And it ultimately evolved into what PandaDoc is today. 

Now, businesses from all industries can help their sales reps spend less time dealing with manual documents. They also get notified when the contracts are opened by prospects and are reminded to follow-up, which Mikita believes is pivotal to the sales process. 

“A timely follow-up and a robust follow-through are key [to closing sales],” Mikita shared. But you need a standardized sales process to tell reps (or remind them) of the best times to reach out. Otherwise, you leave employees to guess and figure out the process for themselves. 

For SMBs, you can leverage this advice by documenting a standard sales process that includes timely follow-ups. You can ask your best sales reps for their follow-up process and adjust your standard operating procedures (SOPs) to include best practices. Or, you can invest in software that automates these pieces

3. A strong, committed team inherently improves sales.

Despite being a software business, Mikita says PandaDoc is a people business first. “We thought we needed a killer feature, niche, or superstar investor,” he explained. But over time, he and Sergey realized that those things would inherently happen with a strong, committed team.

“Nothing is as important as focusing on people, culture, and teamwork,” Mikita shared. So, they began cultivating a company culture that attracted bright individuals who wanted to learn and make a positive impact. But at some point in time, the business still felt in disarray. 

“Everyone [was] moving in a different direction,” Mikita explained. “And it's the executive team’s job to set that common ground and joint context [for employees].” So, they decided to give their team a business playbook and called it the “PandaDoc Culture Code.” 

This transparent documentation includes their vision, strategy, and brand values. It describes the why behind what PandaDoc does, which enables all employees to align their efforts and approaches. That way, they’re all on the same page and working toward the same goal. 

For SMBs, you can use this advice by putting your people first and documenting your business playbook. That way, you can ensure that everyone on your team is on the same page and working toward the same goal. And if you already have documentation, take the time to update your SOPs.

“We have to disagree for the best ideas to flourish, but there are certain areas where we need to be aligned.”

Closing deals and generating sales revenue is pivotal to your business' success. But without a clear and thoughtful sales process, it’s impossible to produce consistent results. That’s why it’s critical to leverage these three golden rules and build a frictionless sales process.

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3 Golden Rules for Building a Frictionless Sales Process

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