How Pendo Scaled its PreSales Team to Support 100 New Sales Reps with Hero by Vivun

Sara Vondohren Avatar photo

It’s no secret that PreSales teams are the heroes of your deals, and an asset to their Sales partners throughout the deal cycle. But with great power comes great responsibility—and making the most of your team’s time is critical when people resource allocation is more precious than ever.

Emily Dunn, Director of Sales Engineering (SE) at Pendo, first decided it was time to raise the bar for her SE team when a previously manual data capture process could no longer provide the value she needed as Pendo continued to scale.

As many PreSales leaders experience, it became difficult for Emily to understand where the gaps in the team existed and how many reps were required to support new product lines and territories, as well as their level of seniority. She needed a data-driven way to scale her team and drive clean AE-SE alignment.

Enter the new TMR (Team Member Request) process. With some time and investment, Emily was able to roll out a brand new process leveraging Hero by Vivun® that allowed Pendo’s SE team to grow at a relational rate to sales and become much more data-driven. Let’s recap how.  

Measuring SE efforts

Launching a new TMR system was a big piece of this pie and at its core, was all about measuring the level of effort on each deal. In turn, those insights would be leveraged to understand where the team spends their time and where investments should be made. 

After the new process, Dunn and her team were able to look at the number of TMRs and average hours per deal type and try to come up with an idea of an “effort score”. 

SE team demo requests, sorted by product line

How granular did these slices of data get? As Dunn explained, “It became much easier to look at slices of data like TMR’s per segment per week, so I looked at the average amount of hours per deal of that type, and multiplied average tmr’s times average hours. Using that same Effort score, it allowed me to come up with some projections of what it might be with the additional planned AE headcount.”

Product line insights

As Pendo is a multi-product company, a key point of interest was to understand SE needs by product line.

Average number of Sales Engineering hours spent in deals, sorted by product line

By understanding what types of product lines were requests coming from TMR’s, they were able to understand where there were gaps in enablement and act accordingly. As Dunn elaborated, “For one of our product lines we saw that a high percentage of the requests were coming in as “demo” which was odd as it was our least technical product line, so we expected to be brought in to later cycles for these deals. We used this to inform enablement on demo training for that product.”

Especially as sales teams scale, understanding growing needs and blockers amongst segments across your business is essential for building a sustainable and fairly allocated SE team.

Continuing to scale at reasonable pace

With onboarding new AEs comes a high demand for SEs—but where to allocate these resources is the question. Leveraging the newly established “effort” measure, Dunn was able to make important decisions involving the growth of her team, such as how many heads to bring onto commercial vs enterprise.

By measuring capacity, it became much easier to see not only where the gaps were, but also where there was overcapacity.

“To try to figure out how many heads to bring to commercial vs. send to enterprise, I need to understand how much “effort” is needed to absorb those deals”, Dunn explains. “I can look at the effort score of 22 on the PFSU segment where I know I have 1 person supporting who is at reasonable capacity, and then seeing it’s 22 for the growth key segment, logically I would need 1 person to come to my team.”

“Managing resources with Hero allowed the SE team to successfully support 100 new Reps in our first year of using the platform. This would have been much more challenging without an organized way to facilitate our involvement in deals.”

Things to keep in mind

Though this new system drove tremendous results, implementing it did take a conscious rewiring for the team to get used to—especially for team members who had been competently managing SE requests the old way. 

Dunn explained that AE’s had to initially be reminded to submit a TMR every time to preserve the data. However, framing it in a way that it was a benefit to their much respected SE counterparts in that it helped them get credit and attachment to the deals they spend time on.  

In order to win over today’s buyers, PreSales leaders must be able to measure effectiveness, drive best practices, and deliver meaningful coaching at scale. In the case of Emily and her team at Pendo, it was the ability to efficiently manage the team’s resources and gain performance insights that helped drive greater sales success. 

Looking for a way to scale your organization’s insights and streamline the sales request process? Reach out to us here to learn more about Hero by Vivun®.

Sara Vondohren Avatar photo January 27, 2023