How we Sold You by Embracing the Cloud

July 17, 2013 Randy Frisch

If you’re an Uberflip customer now this will hopefully trigger happy memories – if you haven’t come on-board yet, you’ll now know how the magic happens! These are the tools we use to make a sale here – some of which you may find helpful for your own business.

For clarity, the first key to selling any product is making sure it’s an awesome solution that offers key benefits (not just features) to your buyer. I credit our CEO and dev team for covering those bases. Next is a great team that can ensure customer success through educating, onboarding and post-support of the offering. The third which I’ll dive into more in this post is the sales tools you use to guide customers from inquiry to happiness with your kick ass product.

That last one is more important than you’d think. It’s amazing how much more productive you can be with the right tools. Mark Evans outlined many of the SaaS tools out there to run your business in this ebook. As you’ll find, there are hundreds of slick tools out there that range from attracting to following up with customers. To keep this brief I’m going to highlight some of the tools we use here at Uberflip to sell to you: our customers and hopeful prospects : ) BTW this is not an open call for other SaaS providers to solicit me please!

1. How we welcome you

So let me take you back a little over three years ago. We had pretty much nothing – no CRM, no billing platform, no real template agreements – you get the idea. If you’ve been with us that long you must have been pretty patient as we learned how to welcome you better. Fast forward to today where we spend thousands a month on a variety of cloud tools to keep our team members on stride and our customers, like you, loving us from the very first interaction.

a. Chat

Many of you don’t have the time or desire to jump on a call or outline all those ideas and questions in an email. You simply prefer to start chatting – not surprising with today’s text obsessed mentality. We make this possible through using LiveChat. I actually tried quite a few products from LivePerson to SnapEngage but in the end I really liked how easy LiveChat was to set up and the price was very reasonable too. Whatever you choose, make sure it will integrate with your CRM (read on) because a lot of our customers are just starting their evaluation process when they jump onto LiveChat.

b. Email

Naturally we use tools like Outlook to handle our Rackspace Email hosting. But it took us some time to realize that whether someone was emailing us at support@, sales@, info@ or many other aliases, we did not have a way to respond to every customer in a consistent and efficient manner. So after a lot of planning we decided to move all incoming emails not destined to a specific person through our ticketing platform: Zendesk. Using Zendesk, we can send confirmations of receipt, reassign emails to the best suitable team member, and even track how long you’ve been waiting for a first reply. This helps us live up to our mantra of quick and efficient replies to every one of your inquiries, ensuring a reply in no more than 8 business hours.

c. Voice 

We’ve moved through a number of different tools to handle incoming phone calls. I won’t speak to what we use for our IVR phone service as I’m not wowed – although I have heard great things about tools like Ifbyphone (although they seem to get pricey). Instead I’ll give some tips here as to how we handled answering every call as we grew from 3 to 25 people in the last 3 years.

For a while we used a remote reception company, Smiledog, who answered the sales line, and routed the call after asking for your contact details which would be provided to our team member or transferred to voicemail/email if not available. This ensured close to 24 hour availability for any inquiry. This was important so we’d keep you engaged as some people don’t want to leave a voicemail and may have just jumped to another option – we know you would have found us sooner or later though : )

More recently we’ve moved our incoming calls to route through that same ticketing system I mentioned: Zendesk. It has a Voice platform powered by an integration with Twilio. Using Voice we can manage routing to available agents, and we get a recording of every call so we can ensure our team is always upholding a high standard of responsiveness as needed.

d. Trial

Many of you find us first through a no-touch process via our free trial. Our trial wizard is really a custom app of its own, designed to welcome you and teach you at the same time. The key here is ensuring integration with various other tools which I’ll touch on below, including our billing and CRM platform as well as other marketing tools we use today which I won’t touch on in this post. We send you through a trial to discover the platform on your own but strive to ensure that you always feel live support is only a step away.

2. How we Track You

Don’t worry, no big brother action happening here – we’re not the FBI! But we do our best to ensure we understand all touch points you’ve had with our application, team, and content.

a. CRM

I often refer to our CRM as our quarterback – we ensure it has all the info and can pass that to the right integrated applications across the company to ensure success. Without this we wouldn’t be able to maintain the high level of customer happiness and appreciation that we genuinely bleed at Uberflip. Today we use Salesforce as our CRM – I’ve got mixed feelings on Salesforce but there’s no question that they are the ones to trust in this space. From integrations with other tools to familiarity among new hires, they are simply the masters of CRM. Even our CTO has been a fan of their API for integrating our application for true synchronization – and let me tell you, that says a lot! The one thing to keep in mind is that Salesforce’s setup is a major project – we’re still figuring out how to optimize it. I am very thankful that we have a full time team member who owns this responsibility. For those not ready to make the jump to Salesforce, early on we managed our customers through a tool called Method. Method was a good tool out of the gate where I was still figuring out our customers’ typical path as well as our other processes which were not yet ready for integration. It was also a nice choice as it integrated with QuickBooks for billing before we migrated to a more robust tool.

b. Ticketing Platform

I personally hate the term ticketing platform as we treat any question from you as an intimate conversation – not a number. Fortunately we use Zendesk for this piece of the puzzle – an awesome tool that is all about customer satisfaction and love, making it easy to humanize an automated system! I’m a big Zendesk fan – it’s a really friendly experience and you can customize it with limited involvement from your dev team. It is much more than a ticketing system: capturing all of our emails and calls as mentioned earlier as well as syncing with Salesforce to ensure our account managers know about all of your interactions.

c. Learning Tools

There’s no shortage of tools to better manage a customer’s path. There are many others we use including Kissmetrics, ContactMonkey,, and more recently Hubspot. Some of these tools teeter between marketing and sales – a line which I think is and should be getting blurrier across companies every day. The reason we adopt many of these tools is to ensure we understand how you found us, what interests you, and within appropriate limits who you are so that ultimately we can create an experience that is efficient and amazing for you.

3. How we close

Assuming we’ve gotten you to the point of loving us we try and close you through an equally enjoyable experience. No matter how excited you are to buy something, paying is rarely something customers enjoy. As such, we try to make this process as painless as possible.

a. Subscription Billing Platform

Because we charge you a recurring monthly fee without any need to pay upfront, we need a system that handles ongoing billing in a smooth fashion on our side and yours. There’s a lot of very powerful tools out there like Zuora and Recurly which handle this – but we ultimately decided to use an open source tool called Freeside to handle how we bill you. Freeside is really just the engine in the back-end that’s made pretty by some slick UI – where hopefully you’ll agree we’re keeping things clean and simple. We make sure to pass only the right amount of info (no credit card details) across our team to ensure we all understand what products and services you have paid for so we can always answer your questions properly.

b. E-Signatures

Some of our customers sign an enterprise or partner agreement with us which includes some additional paperwork that requires signatures from you and us. If there’s one thing I hate it’s printing and faxing so there was no way I was going to put any of you through that ordeal. To avoid that archaic scanning approach we use an e-signature tool here called DocuSign which allows customers to electronically sign on their desktop or mobile phone and even routes to the right person in their organization with a click of a button. I highly recommend this tool as it seems to also avoid a lot of the common blackline requests you get from legal docs sent as an email attachment – or maybe we’re just super fair in our terms : )

c. Forms

We often find the need for forms – it could be one tied to a promo, special add-on product or something we just haven’t been able to build into our automated flow quite yet. For this I turn to Wufoo. In fact I’m often touted the ‘Wufoo King’ in the office for whipping up forms in minutes as I see a need to streamline a new common request. In general my approach is that any time one of our customers needs to order something new, more than once it’s time for a form.

Embrace the Cloud

I’ve really just touched on a few of the pieces that have allowed us to grow to over 1000 customers in the last year. As I mentioned our Customer Success team is focused on replying to you in a quick and efficient manner and that starts before you commit and continues after you come on board. Remember, you can’t build every aspect of an amazing experience so be sure to abide by the 1st law of cloud computing taught by Bessemer Ventures which is to embrace and leverage other cloud tools to make your business tick. Doing so at Uberflip allows us to deliver a great customer experience around the product while we keep our developers focused on building the product itself.

About the Author

As COO, Randy runs around daily between strategy, operations, sales and execution of Uberflip's awesomeness.

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