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Kong has always had a competitive focus. It’s part of the company’s culture. One factor is that as a hyper growth firm in a hot sector, they find themselves regularly squaring off with new and existing competitors. Another is simply that Kong’s sales and marketing teams are hungry to win big against the competition.
With competition at their core, Kong’s product marketing team needed to create and maintain dozens of competitive assets, such as battlecards, and understood that the best way to achieve this, and to scale it, was to bring a competitive intelligence platform onboard.
“Our reps already had the enthusiasm for competitive intel and we needed to pair their desire for knowledge with the right tool,” said Bryan Nairn, Head of Product Marketing at Kong.
In addition to a tool that could enable their sales, the team also wanted to remove the burden of manual intel collection. Manually collecting and tracking intelligence had become a huge issue. The team was drowning in competitive requests across various Slack channels. Keeping up was getting more challenging and there needed to be a way for the field to self serve.
According to Bryan: “In such a crowded, competitive industry, there’s no way we could keep manually tracking the data. When we started to evaluate CI vendors, we were impressed with Crayon’s ability to automate the collection, curation, and publication of competitive intelligence. We knew we would save a lot of time by streamlining the way we monitor our competitive landscape to maximize our impact with sales enablement.”
The Kong team also appreciated the sheer number of Crayon integrations.
“We loved how Crayon could integrate directly with so many of the tools in our current tech stack,” said Bryan. “If our sales team finds intel in all the tools they’re already using, internal requests decrease. With these integrations, we’re enabling self service for our sales team in the best possible way.”
“The Crayon platform was the clear fit,” said Adam Jiroun, Product Marketing Manager at Kong. “Because there’s always been a healthy appetite for competitive intelligence at Kong, we knew Crayon could help all of our teams access the necessary intel to win more deals at scale.”
While functionality and integrations were key decision criteria for choosing Crayon, the pricing model was also attractive — based on competitors versus a per seat model. Kong is in growth mode so the company needed a solution where adding seats down the road wouldn’t stifle their competitive program. The cherry on top was Crayon’s onboarding process which got Kong up and running quickly.
The Kong team already laid the foundation internally for a new CI solution — building sponsorship and communicating the benefits of Crayon so that the sales and executive team knew what was coming and what to expect. From here, the team got to work getting Crayon set up quickly in order to make an immediate impact.
“Our goal was to get Crayon onboarded and into the field’s hands as soon as possible,” said Adam. “With a relatively small team, we decided to break up our workstreams to be more effective. I worked with our Crayon onboarding partner to get integrations set up while other team members dove right into the platform, creating battlecard content.”
Not only did the Kong team roll up their sleeves and jump headfirst into the platform, but Shannon De Marco, Crayon’s onboarding leader helped enable their internal team, ensuring strong adoption right from the start. In some instances, Shannon went above and beyond, pitching in to help create battlecard content for the team.
“Shannon was fantastic,” said Gaby Beitler, Senior Technical Product Marketing Manager at Kong. “She created an enablement presentation which outlined what to expect with Crayon, showing specific timeframes and milestones and then delivered it to our internal teams. The onboarding experience confirmed we made the right decision with Crayon.”
To achieve adoption for Crayon, and for their competitive intelligence program in general, the Kong team knew they needed to make accessing intel as simple as possible for their revenue team. This is where integrations became critical. Setting up integrations was a major part of Kong’s personalized success plan for rolling out Crayon. More specifically, Kong set a goal to have all their integrations up and running within the first two months of launching.
After 60 days, Kong had Crayon included in their tech stack with seven integrations set up — Slack, Salesforce, Confluence, Wingman, Skillshood, and Saleshood. Single sign-on was also enabled during that time which means every Kong employee sees an Okta tile for Crayon when they start — it’s built right into the onboarding process.
To get the integrations set up swiftly, Adam identified all the IT admins for the various tools in their tech stack. These stakeholders met with Shannon to better understand the value of each integration and what it would take to set it up.
“The enablement session set up by Shannon helped our internal stakeholders really understand what was expected of them. We had detailed FAQs sent to our sales ops, compliance and security teams so that they could set up the integrations with ease.” said Gaby.
Now that sales understands where to find competitive intel across their tools, the Kong team is getting serious time back in their day.
According to Gaby: “Having the integrations set up helps the sales team find what they need, when they need it. By putting intel in Slack, for example, we’ve noticed a significant reduction in the amount of ad-hoc requests we’re getting because the reps can self-serve.”
During onboarding, the Kong team kept sight of their program goals and instantly started rolling out new and updated battlecards.
“Kong has specific company goals around battlecard creation and battlecard updates,” said Bryan. “Crayon enabled us to exceed our battlecard goals because it’s significantly easier to publish new battlecards and update existing ones.”
Kong launched an astounding 12 battlecards within the first two months of using Crayon. Battlecard adoption internally was even more impressive. After launch, 60 percent of the sales organization consumed battlecards within the first 30 days.
Adoption for Kong’s competitive intelligence assets continues to grow among their team. Currently around 70 percent of the sales team views battlecards on a monthly basis. The battlecards that Kong’s product marketing team are responsible for have influenced a staggering $3.6 million in revenue so far.
With results like this, the sales team is taking notice.
“A sales rep recently told me Kong’s competitive intelligence program is one of the best he’s ever seen,” said Bryan.
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