Intent Based Marketing (IBM) At PandaDoc

Written documents have been an integral part of human history since the earliest civilizations, but haven’t changed much in 6,000 years – until now. We recently had a fascinating conversation with Dan Levinschi, Vice President of Marketing at PandaDoc, who is helping over ten thousand companies improve the efficiency with which they use documents.

About PandaDoc

Founded in 2011 and headquartered in San Francisco, CA, PandaDoc makes software to streamline sales workflows and provide transparency into the performance of proposals and contracts. The software allows sales teams to create, approve, send, track, and eSign documents, and the dashboard provides sales leaders with real-time reporting.

Background and Career

Dan grew up in Moldova and studied marketing in Bulgaria. After graduation, he moved to the Bay Area, working in web commerce management. He later moved to Poland to join Google in a support position for Google AdWords. After this, he transferred to Dublin, Ireland in sales for Google AdWords, and later joined the marketing team based in London, UK. Dan then moved back to the Bay Area and joined the Android team, running the digital marketing for Google’s hardware division. After leaving Google, Dan consulted with a number of companies, one of which was PandaDoc. After working closely with PandaDoc, he liked the business opportunity and joined as Vice President of Marketing.

Building the Marketing Team

We asked Dan what he did when he first joined PandaDoc, and he said “hire!” When he joined, the marketing team, he had 2 people, and now they have 14. He said during this time they invested in automation, rolled out HubSpot, and integrated HubSpot with Salesforce. They refined the understanding of their customer journey and invested in SEO, SEM and A/B testing. Their investment in SEO has resulted in PandaDoc now appearing at the top of many relevant search terms such as document templates, proposal management, contract management, and proposal software. They have also invested in SEO for integration partners; Dan gave the example of how PandaDoc appears on a search for automating Salesforce documents. He said they have also invested in review websites, and gave the example of how PandaDoc became the number one proposal software for G2 Crowd within the space of a year. Dan described the process: “If your NPS is high, you talk to your most loyal customers, give them incentives to leave reviews, and your ranking will be high and get you a lot of exposure.”

Segmentation by Use Case

We asked Dan how his team segments potential customers. He said that in the past they targeted companies by size and vertical, but more recently have found it more effective to identify customers by use case. He said they are looking for companies that are interested in optimizing their entire workflows through documents. This involves the “whole end to end funnel,” including document creation, review, signing, and even getting paid on the document. He said they are primarily targeting sales and marketing teams with at least several people on the sales floor looking to optimize their workflows; they are not interested in companies that are “happy with just passing around shared Google Docs.”

Although the target market may seem almost unmanageably broad, Dan said that in speaking with many companies, he has seen that “most are just looking for a specific feature such as e-signatures, fewer companies are thinking about the entire process end-to-end.” He also noted, “many companies are thinking about filling leads at the top of the funnel, but fewer are thinking about what happens when you actually get a lead, what processes do you have in place to efficiently close that lead?”  Dan said when PandaDoc surveys their customer base, they report a 30% increase in close rates using the solution.

Intent Based Marketing

Although, as mentioned earlier, PandaDoc does not segment solely on market vertical, Dan said they do analyze the top 25% of their customers to look for common trends. From this analysis, they can identify verticals where there tends to be a concentration of their best customers, such as marketing agencies, technology companies, hotels, and hospitality. They then use an ABM approach to identify other key accounts in these same verticals, and the relevant champions and decision makers such as sales leadership, marketing leadership and sales operations.  Once they reach out to these personas, Dan has noticed that they can convert rapidly to customers.

In addition to ABM, Dan said they are employing what he calls “IBM – Intent Based Marketing.” They infer intent based on the type of content readers are consuming at a specific time or on the searches they are making. For example, “5,000 unique companies are searching for how to improve contract management software.”  Using third-party data to determine the company domains these searches are coming from, the list can be loaded into campaigns and targeted at a company level.

Content Marketing

We asked Dan for his views on social media. He said his team is primarily leveraging LinkedIn and Facebook. He noted that LinkedIn is good for market education, and the quality of the audience is high. He said that Facebook is useful for retargeting specific prospects with content or an invitation to an event. Dan shared that one interesting content marketing project they are currently working on is “Industry Best Practices.”  He said that in a given year, over $16 billion worth of contracts close through PandaDoc. With so much aggregate data, they are able to extract useful industry information, such as “when is the best time to send a contract to increase the chances of the other party signing it? When is the worst time? What is the best month for closing deals?” They are working on putting these insights into Infographics that can be easily sent to decision makers and position PandaDoc as a thought leader.

Even further transformations in documents and contracts are on the horizon with Blockchain technology, which Dan said PandaDoc is now actively exploring. We plan to follow up with Dan about these Blockchain initiatives and other topics in a future interview.

Shastri Purushotma: Executive Producer – Ziff Davis B2B

Shastri is a partner at VaaS Advisors – a Value as a Service consulting company. He has written many articles for various Ziff Davis publications as well as the Huffington Post and Washington Post.

Intent Based Marketing (IBM) At PandaDoc

Guest Author Sep 25 2018 | 9 Mins Read

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Jeff is a Silicon Valley veteran with 25 years of experience in sales, marketing & channels. 15 of those years have been in SaaS startups, prior to joining Ziff Davis to head up sales, channels & alliances for their B2BSignals division. Ad adviser to startups in his free time,Jeff also enjoys the game of chess and being outdoors. 

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