This week’s blog comes from our VP of Sales, Chas Scarantino who wanted to share why he chose to work with Pendo. Chas can be reached at [email protected]
Why I Joined Pendo
As the first of many blogs at my new role working with Pendo, I think it is important to give some insight as to why I chose to work with this company. I think you will find my rationale simple and interwoven with why people choose to use Pendo. Formerly, I have held positions in sales, marketing, product strategy, and M&A at very large companies and most recently, I was the Co-Founder and CEO of a successful SaaS startup that managed medical records for schools. After exiting that company and setting out looking for my next thing, I was focused on two key things: people and product. I believe that those are the two most important things in a company. All of the trappings of execution, business model, financial model, culture, company “why”, and more are not possible without the makings of a great team and a great product.
The Pendo People
The current team of 14 is made up of 4 former CEOs, former Google executives, former CTOs, CMOs and just all around high achievers. That in itself is not what brought me to Pendo, as a room of that many big personalities can be a huge success or a huge disaster. What attracted me was everyone’s ability to check their ego at the door. Remember, it is important not to confuse ego with passion. Just because an ego is checked does not mean passionate and heated debate does not take place. What it does mean is that everyone can bring their wealth of background knowledge to the table, share their opinions with brutal open and honest communication, and make decisions at a pace that moves the company forward quickly.
The other key to the background and dynamics of the team is the ability to guide a rocket ship to success. Everyone on the team has lived the startup voyage, the success and the failures. Which is more important? Neither. It is essential that a leadership team understands how to guide a rising ship and how to identify a sinking ship. Why? Because the only given in a startup is that you will make mistakes. If your company is taking off like a rocket ship, then minor mistakes are amplified by the speed at which the company is moving, so identifying and fixing those mistakes must happen at the same pace as you capture success.
Everyone talks about the hockey stick model of a fast growing SaaS company. If you zoom in on those hockey sticks you will see something that looks more like the graph of the historical performance of a publicly traded stock. It is in those downward ticks that you learn just as much as the upward climbs. It is essential to have a team that can identify both.
The Pendo Product
Entering into the throws of my third startup, I have determined that I like to build things and I like to solve problems. That is why I was so attracted to the Pendo product. Essentially, we help people build great products using data and communication tools to solve problems that arise along the evolutionary process that any product takes. From the days when I sold HVAC equipment to more recent days running a software company, you are faced with similar product issues. How do I make product decisions? Can I understand how my customers consume my product? Can I communicate effectively with my customer and impact their purchasing behavior? What I saw in Pendo was a solution that could tackle all of those issues. We are able to leverage the consistent product delivery mechanism of the web to understand the inconsistencies of users and communicate with them individually. Let’s dissect that sentence.
In the SaaS world, we sometimes forget how good we have it. Our products get delivered over and over again in the same manner to every user at scale. Compare this to a major retailer like Walmart. Just like us, they will have different behaviors based on the different profiles of their customers. Just like us, they can choose which products they want to sell and they can get an understanding of success of that based on the sales of those items. Unlike us, they cannot easily track how their users move around the store.
With Pendo, we leverage the consistency of the product with the knowledge of visitors and accounts to deliver data on the inconsistencies of how people use products. This gives our customers the data to make decisions on which features are working, which features are not, who they are working for, and what impact changes to the product make on that behavior. It is crucial to the growth of a company to be able understand how different users, at different times, use different parts of our product. This knowledge impacts every facet of the business from sales, to marketing, to customer success, and obviously product management.
Finally, all of this information has to be actionable. Obviously, we can use it internally to make the decisions I listed above. That said, we also need to be able to communicate with the customers that need help utilizing the product. Sometimes there just isn’t a product design solution for consumer behavior, or even more typically, there is a competing design solution that keeps receiving higher priority. Pendo gives the product, marketing, and client success teams the ability to immediately communicate with their users without the assistance of engineering. They can choose the segments of users they want to communicate with and then make it happen through our guide technology. And they can do this without disrupting an engineering cycle.
So when I looked at the product side of Pendo, it solved huge issues that I faced personally as an entrepreneur and I know affect everyone creating a product. When I spoke with Todd Olson, the CEO of Pendo, I learned that the vision of the company is to “Improve customer experience through product data.” Sold.