JoAnne Baldwin faced a common challenge as PitchBook Data’s Senior Manager of Customer Marketing: sourcing client testimonials and stories is a cumbersome, time consuming process. PitchBook, a financial technology company that serves as a database of information on companies and investors in the venture capital, private equity, and merger/acquisitions realm, relies on customer stories to fine tune its offerings and bring new customers on board. PitchBook’s analyst team also reviews capital market trends and publishes a number of reports focused on private markets that speak to the needs and priorities of PitchBook’s customers. In a niche, fast-paced industry, time is of the essence. “I needed a scaled way to quickly garner insights from our client base,” JoAnne says.
Uncovering both the qualitative and the quantitative side of customer stories
JoAnne and PitchBook’s product marketing team began a search for a solution that would be able to not only gather information, but publish it in a digestible, usable format that could be implemented right away. While solid data was important, JoAnne also wanted a tool that would bring an element of humanity to how that data was presented. “Our sales and customer success teams need insights that help them accelerate deals and build rapport with existing customers,” she says. “That’s accomplished when we have deeper empathy for our client base and a broader understanding of what they’re experiencing.”
A solution that offered accessible, supportive customer service was also key for JoAnne. Knowing the product marketing team was expanding as PitchBook continued growing, the team needed a solution that could scale. Growing as a customer marketing team means evolving in the ability to leverage more nebulous KPIs alongside hard numbers; JoAnne needed a solution that would be able to tap into both. PitchBook’s product marketing team found what they needed in TechValidate.
Selling both a product and a team
With TechValidate, JoAnne and her team implemented a system of annual and periodic surveys that helps them listen to the voice of their customers. The team also uses Net Promoter Score to keep a finger on the pulse of their customer sentiment. Michelle Mendez, customer marketing manager at PitchBook, explained that the company’s TechValidate usage initially started as a way to get to know their customers better. Once that baseline was in place, the company’s survey practice continued to grow. The annual survey is tweaked each year to tap into timely themes and dig deeper into PitchBook’s value proposition.
“We publish TechFacts throughout the year for the greater marketing team to use in campaigns and for the Customer Success and Sales teams to drive PitchBook value with clients and prospects. The teams have been loving these quotes,” Michelle says. “If someone is talking with a prospect in a specific region or industry, I can quickly comb through our responses and publish something for them to use in a pitch or presentation.”
The annual and periodic surveys were adjusted in recent years to meet more of a product focus and the value clients get from PitchBook. Michelle says the team has also added in customer support questions to get a better understanding of how clients’ needs are being met. “It’s not just about selling the PitchBook database, it’s about selling our team as well,” she says. “Our Customer Success team is now armed with the stats to show clients and prospects our product value and how adept we are at supporting them.”
Creating a foundation for brand advocacy
Since implementing TechValidate, JoAnne says her team has seen a significant increase in requests for case studies and testimonials from their sales and customer success teams. TechValidate helps her team be more responsive to these requests with insights that are targeted and specific to the reps needs. Michelle says that the reps are becoming more familiar with the TechValidate portal themselves, boosting collaboration across the board.
JoAnne points to the referenced volunteers feature as a key benefit of TechValidate. The feature allows the team to easily identify customers that have volunteered to provide testimonials. For a project where JoAnne needed clients to do longer brand awareness interviews over the phone, she initially sent an email to her full client group to gauge their interest. She got just a 5% response rate. When she adjusted her request list to just those who were referenced volunteers, she saw a 35% response rate, a significant increase. “I see the referenced volunteers as being the foundation for a future customer advocacy group or advisory board,” she says.
Both Michelle and JoAnne see PitchBook’s use of TechValidate continuing to evolve in the coming years. “Our Customer Success Manager at SurveyMonkey takes us to the next level and helps us think about what we can do to better leverage the product,” JoAnne says. She also notes that the significant amount of time saved means the team has room to try new things.
“Without TechValidate, we’d be spending exorbitant time and energy connecting with clients to get the necessary insights. With how we’re able to get this information at scale, TechValidate pays for itself in the first survey we do every year.”