Five9 is an industry-leading provider of cloud contact center solutions, bringing the power of cloud innovation to more than 2,000 customers worldwide and facilitating billions of customer engagements annually. The Five9 Intelligent Cloud Contact Center provides digital engagement, analytics, workflow automation, workforce optimization, and practical AI to help companies efficiently communicate with their customers across the whole customer journey.
Esther Friend, VP of Sales Efficiency and Transformation, is at the forefront of enabling the scale and success of the Five9 revenue team that helps modernize contact centers around the world. “We have a very customer-centric mission and approach that focuses on delivering CX promises, and enabling our customers to create joyful experiences for the audience they serve,” said Friend. “After years of dealing with the challenges of legacy systems and poor front-end experiences such as high wait times or abandoned calls, we help our customers modernize their contact centers through the cloud and meet the heightened expectations of their audience with a more human experience.”
In order for Five9 to evolve their go-to-market strategy and deliver their innovative solution to contact centers worldwide, they needed a scalable solution that delivered data and insights beyond what their then-current tech stack was capable of providing. “People.ai helps us be proactive instead of reactive in our GTM approach. They support our company culture where we’re focused on enablement and helping the sales team succeed long-term,” said Friend.
"With People.ai, we’ve removed the guesswork from our sales process and set our sellers up for success."
VP of Sales Efficiency and Transformation
Activity tracking, identifying revenue risk, implementing playbooks, standardizing deal reviews, validating key persona engagement
Prior to People.ai, Five9 were dissatisfied with the level of insights they were able to extract from their sales motions. “Our sellers had little time to dedicate towards manually logging their activities and contacts, as such we had limited activity and contact data to understand who they’d talked to or how the account was engaging back,” said Friend. “From a forecasting standpoint, it was incredibly challenging to have visibility into how the deals were progressing and to report with confidence as the reporting had turned into an anecdotal-based effort instead of data-based. If we continued to operate at this level long-term, it would have been very difficult to understand what ‘good’ looks like, and what the leading indicators and behaviors were to make our sellers successful.”
Five9 evaluated vendors with the intention of finding a solution that provided a 360-degree view into activities conducted, contacts engaged with, understanding what’s real in the deals, and having objective measures that they could follow. “We evaluated some vendors and quickly noticed that we wouldn’t have the level of accuracy that we needed in terms of how we associated the contacts and activities to accounts and active deals,” said Friend. “The devil’s in the details. It sounds great to capture activities in context but if you don’t do it properly, you end up with a bunch of confusing data that doesn’t make sense. The accuracy of being able to do that with automation was really important to us, and we felt that People.ai had the best solution in terms of how it was being approached.”
With People.ai’s patented AI technology to automatically capture activities and contacts engaged in the deal cycle, Five9 is able to inspect engagement with each account and opportunity. “In the past, if we had a diligent seller that tracked all of their activities and consistently tried to engage with an account, we still wouldn’t have the proper insight to know if the account was reciprocating or even cared about us,” said Friend. “Now, we have data that shows us if an account is interested. We utilize engagement level calculations to see if a customer is highly engaged, if they’re paying attention to us, and if they’re seriously considering us as a vendor for our product, all without having to even talk to the seller.”
The data from engagement levels has also helped enrich Five9’s forecasting capabilities and empowered sales leaders to make informed decisions with confidence. “As a sales leader, they can see the engagement score alongside the opportunity directly in our forecasting tool to best understand what their team’s performance and forecast is looking like,” said Friend. “This has helped us identify deals that are at risk of low engagement, allowing our leaders to confidently coach their sellers on next steps, and how to prioritize their times towards accounts showing higher revenue potential.”
As Five9 continued to rapidly scale and gain success in the world of modernized contact centers, so did the need to onboard new sellers to the company and make them productive as soon as possible. Colloquially referred to as the ‘Five9 secret sauce’, Esther and team implemented a playbook of best practices directly into their Salesforce environment using People.ai’s opportunity scorecards. This ensured a seamless experience for both new and seasoned sellers to manage and qualify their opportunities via a scalable and standardized process. “Besides our vital engagement scores, the sellers are also able to see the opportunity score on any of their deals to help them directly identify the gaps in an opportunity,” said Friend. “With People.ai, we’ve removed the guesswork from our sales process and set our sellers up for success.”
“People.ai’s Opportunity Intelligence has also allowed us to quickly evolve and stay flexible in a fluctuating economy. The buying process has changed across all of the B2B world in the past couple of years, and we’ve had to quickly configure our own deal qualification process based on what we’ve been seeing,” said Friend. “If we’re seeing new risk in the market, we can address that through our process and opportunity scorecards so that our sellers aren’t blindsided by those risks.”
Five9’s Marketing team spends time and resources on account and persona-based marketing with the intention of engaging and nurturing the right stakeholders at the right time. “Marketing needs to have accurate and current contact and engagement data to know what type of roles are getting involved and need to be nurtured in the sales cycle. As a result, when the customer is ready to move to our solution, they’re already informed, and we’ve helped them do their research,” said Friend. “We had hunches that IT personas were getting more involved in the deals through anecdotal feedback and that they were creating obstacles along the way. We dug through the data we captured with People.ai and found that, when IT got involved, there was a correlation to increased deal sizes.”
Correlating the impact that different personas had on Five9’s deal sizes was not a factor that had previously been intuitive to find, but now they had data to back up the conversation. “We worked with our Marketing team to create resources specifically geared towards the IT persona, and so whenever those roles got pulled into the evaluation, we had tools to address their concerns, needs, and criteria,” said Friend. “We became more proactive in our approach and no longer had to dread the possible barrier that the persona created in the process.”