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How Clockwise harmonizes PLG and sales to convert enterprise customers

From PLG to a sales-assisted motion. Learn how Clockwise uses Pocus to operationalize PLS.
Sandy Mangat
August 16, 2022
How Clockwise harmonizes PLG and sales to convert enterprise customers

This is a customer spotlight with one of Pocus' earliest champions, Melissa Ross at Clockwise. Continue reading to learn more about Clockwise's GTM motion, their shift to Product-Led Sales, and where Pocus fits.

Introducing Clockwise

Clockwise has taken over corporate calendars everywhere, a favorite among productivity hackers and every other professional who just wants to simplify their day. If you haven’t jumped on the Clockwise train yet, you’ve definitely seen Clockwise statuses on some of your colleague’s Slack profiles. It’s an intelligent calendar assistant that frees up your time with flexible meetings. And it hasn’t stopped growing since its founding in 2016.

In the early days, Clockwise’s go-to-market strategy was very organic, and heavily focused on the success of the end user. 

With just one content marketer, a product marketer, and a support team; Clockwise was strictly a product-led company focused on making champions and power users successful.

As with most thriving PLG companies, their driving force was customer feedback, and acting on it to make their product a perfect fit for their ideal users. 

“That continues to this day. Feedback from users is very ingrained in our GTM culture,” said Melissa Ross, Head of Product-Led Sales, Clockwise.

But… a few things have changed.

Clockwise has implemented a Product-Led Sales approach on top of their PLG motion, ensuring that their Sales team, armed with product usage data, is reaching out to the right leads at the right time.

From just PLG to Sales-Assisted motions with enterprise clients

What was the turning point that prompted Clockwise to invest in a Product-Led Sales motion?

From the very beginning, Customer Success had deep product knowledge and solid relationships with users. Customer Success was spending a ton of time addressing questions from hand raisers, so much so that their jobs were turning into full time expansion efforts. It was a great problem to have, but also an indicator it was time to grow the Sales team — and redesign the outreach strategy..

 “We had a sense that a self-serve revenue model was going to work in many cases, but because we had been so focused on growing within companies before monetizing, there were really large deployments that we knew weren’t going to just self-serve and transact. They were going to need a lot of hand holding, a proper deal cycle, to support all of the organic usage.” — Melissa Ross, Head of Product-Led Sales, Clockwise.

How Clockwise approached PLS

The Clockwise team took a phased approach to operationalize Product-Led Sales for their go-to-market team. The goal was to learn from what was already working in their PLG motion and complement that with a sales approach that would help them land those larger enterprise accounts. 

Phase 1: Understand, Segment, Prioritize 

Understand

As a precursor to defining PQLs and operationalizing everything in tooling, the Clockwise team first wanted to deeply understand their existing users. 

  • Who are the primary user personas 
  • What type of companies sign up 
  • What are the use cases for Clockwise across departments 

How did they execute on this research? Sales shadowed Customer Success calls and spent time with them to dive really deep on each customer account. 

Segment

They then took this knowledge and used it to segment their customers and map them to personas. Clockwise segmented their GTM team by target market (SMB, Mid-Market, and Enterprise) and within those segments prioritized managers and above in Engineering, HR, Operations, and IT departments.

Prioritize

Then they launched into an account prioritization exercise, which Melissa says was a precursor to their more official PQLs of today. 


The prioritization work looked at different signals for each account like: 

  • How many users were active in each account 
  • How many conversations with Customer Success
  • How much Focus Time Clockwise had created for the company

It was a mix of product data with internal Clockwise context. Because Clockwise is a product that works on your behalf, the team was not focused on logins or frequency of usage, they had to get more granular into specific features that signaled a truly activated user. 

This work was manual and a bit technical, with the data science team looking at different dashboards, and bringing those metrics together to create a complete picture.

Phase 2: Shift to formalize PQL strategy

That early exercise helped them validate that there was a real opportunity to target outreach to these accounts and turn them into paying customers. With that early approach, the Clockwise Sales team were having more conversations and closing in on their target accounts.

The time was right to bring in a Head of Sales, who was tasked with building out team, strategy and motions one of which was PQLs.

Formulating a hypothesis around PQLs

A question GTM teams often ask is who owns PQLs? And who defines them?

For Clockwise, the first definition was a cross functional project led by Biz Ops, Data Science and Sales. 

“It was started with taking a look at our self-serve conversions and essentially quantifying attributes associated with those customers; and then understanding what signals correlate with likelihood to purchase,” said Melissa.

And while it was a terrific exercise, that scoring system turned out to be more predictive than actionable for sales. It was showing them which leads were going to convert, whether the Sales team intervened or not — this model didn’t tell them the incremental value of adding a Sales touchpoint. So, the team still had to put in manual effort to spot warm leads that would benefit from a human touch-point. 

Enter Pocus: Flexibility, Visibility, Automation

Instead of relying on that initial analysis, or spending weeks creating a new one, Clockwise felt it was time to look for a solution that would allow them to be nimble and quickly test PQL hypotheses. 

“I felt very strongly we needed to buy vs. build something that would keep up with our changing product, as well as requirements for what we would be able to see and operationalize out of our data,” said Melissa. 

With Pocus they were able to experiment with new ways of segmenting customers, testing new PQL hypotheses all without any engineering work.

And they were able to go deeper into the data. According to Melissa, on the surface, the raw number of users can look very attractive, “but you really need to layer on depth of usage on top of that,” she said. In Clockwise’s case hundreds of active users don’t necessarily mean conversions. Sales needs to know what features they’re using, and how they’re using them, not just a black box score.

From blackbox to data empowerment 

Before getting started with Pocus, Sales was spending valuable time deep in manual data collection from various sources in order to find the best sales opportunities in their existing user base. 

This didn’t just leave key info out of their lead picture, it was also becoming a very reactive model for sourcing pipeline — digging through data to find leads instead of being alerted of potential opportunities. 

With Pocus they’ve been able to seamlessly combine product and customer data into a single pane of glass view, showing Sales and the rest of the GTM team, granular insights into why accounts and users are good opportunities for outreach — so they can reach out at the right time, with the right message.


They’ve already uncovered key signals through powerful scoring models that are transparent and easy to understand and manipulate, even for non technical teams. 

Unlocking the ROI of PLS

Since operationalizing their Product-Led Sales motion in Pocus, Clockwise has improved the efficiency of reps, uncovered high potential leads to fill their pipeline, and accelerated their pace of experimentation. 

Specifically, the Clockwise team has been able to: 

Generate new lead types: When Sales needs more pipeline,, they turn to Pocus to identify a new hypothesis for what a lead could look like and then experiment/operationalize it.

💡Real example - SMB experiment: Clockwise set up an alert every time someone in a senior title invites a bunch of people. Before they would’ve gotten that info reactively, and now they get it in real time!

Research quickly: Pocus provides a complete snapshot of each account and its usage, helping reps onboard into new accounts easily and without a ton of manual work.

“Pocus helps reps onboard onto new account books and get the lay of the land for their top accounts. New sales reps don’t always know how to pull account lists or understand what they are looking at in more data-focused tools,  it’s an incomplete picture.” — Melissa Ross, Head of Product-Led Sales at Clockwise

Proactive lead management: Alerts! Alerts! Alerts! PQLs are literally coming to reps instead of them having to go scout a CRM (or go in cold).

Qualify inbound leads: The GTM team can see important info for each of their leads. 

  • Where are they in their Clockwise journey
  • What their role is within their company
  • Key insights into product usage data
 “It is a lot easier to be hand-fed high-potential leads to reach out to than to go digging for the data ourselves in various tools. We would have gotten that info reactively before and now that info comes to us.” — Melissa Ross, Head of Product-Led Sales at Clockwise

What’s next for PLS at Clockwise

Clockwise is ready to take PLS to the next level. First up, doubling down on things they’re already doing like reaching out to highly engaged end-users and high-potential accounts. Experimentation continues to be an ongoing priority for the Clockwise team, “We're looking at our funnel with a fine-toothed comb, from user acquisition all the way down to conversion to paid, and prioritizing where we think experiments could have the biggest impact.” said Melissa. 

And coming up next, they’re getting ready to layer on a more robust outbound strategy, “if our buyers aren’t in Clockwise already that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be reaching out to them,” said Melissa. 

Want to operationalize PLS for your organization like Clockwise? Sign up to get early access to Pocus.

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How Clockwise harmonizes PLG and sales to convert enterprise customers
Sandy Mangat
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