Scheduled maintenance on August 23, 2014

UPDATE 3: As of 12:00 am PDT (7:00 am GMT) the maintenance window has been closed and all work has completed successfully. Search performance may be degraded temporarily as our elastic shard indexes are automatically rebuilt, but the system is otherwise stable and all services are online.

UPDATE 2: As of 11:15 pm PDT (6:15 am GMT) our datacenter partners have corrected the issue that was preventing our validation and services are being restarted accordingly. We estimate a further testing period of approximately 30m as we measure performance across the network before we close the maintenance window.

UPDATE 1: As of 10:35 pm PDT (5:35 am GMT) the scheduled work has been completed by our datacenter partners however it has not yet passed validation with the Pipedrive operations team. We are continuing to test and validate until we are satisfied with the internode connectivity this maintenance was meant to address.

We will update this post with more information as we have it, but currently we must extend the maintenance window to ensure proper validation of the new components.

Scheduled maintenance window:

  • Saturday, 8/23/2014 @ 8:30 pm – 10:30 pm PDT  (Sunday, 8/24/2014 @ 3:30 am –  5:30 am GMT)

To enhance stability we’ll be working with our datacenter partners to perform a scheduled maintenance of various network components comprising the Pipedrive infrastructure on Saturday, Aug 23, 2014 between 8:30 PM and 10:30 PM PDT. The Pipedrive application should be generally available throughout the maintenance window but performance may suffer and some services may be delayed temporarily. Following the completion of work some services may need to be restarted which could disrupt active sessions temporarily for a brief period of a few minutes at a time. We recommend you plan accordingly and apologize for the short notice.

We will update this blog post again once the maintenance has been completed successfully.

How Endomondo gets their sales into shape

Endomondo Logo

One of Pipedrive’s clients, the cool as a cucumber tech company Endomondo is the maker of the popular social fitness application that tracks your workouts, and gives audio feedback and guidance on how to reach your goals. It turned out that aside from some of us Pipedrive employees being active and loving users of Endomondo, they in return like getting things done with the help of Pipedrive. We had a chat with Endomondo’s VP of Sales and Marketing, Kasper Brehmer about how the company uses Pipedrive CRM system in the managing of their sales cycle.

What problem were you intending to solve when you first started using Pipedrive?

Basic sales management. We were expanding our sales team and needed a tool for following up on our sales process, as well as delegating leads between sales managers. Additionally, we were keen on getting a tool that would help us analyze and improve our sales process.

What kind of a solution were you using prior to that?

Basic email, but I have personally used Salesforce before in other roles, I wanted something more lightweight and efficient for our team

How did you come to the decision to start using Pipedrive and what changes have you seen after starting using Pipedrive?

A good friend of mine recommended Pipedrive on his LinkedIn profile, providing his referral URL. I gave him a call and he recommended the tool, so I tested it using the trial code. I quickly felt that this was the tool we were looking for and we have now streamlined our sales management process along the sales pipeline approach.

Could you tell us a little bit more about your use of Pipedrive – what specific stages do you have, and so on?

We haven’t changed the standard pipeline too much. The most important thing for us was to find a common agreement in the team of what the different stages mean. What has been critical for us so far, is using Pipedrive as a sales management tool, making sure we follow through with our leads. Hence we use the “rotting deals” feature, which very visually drives you forward. I’m a big fan of the GTD (getting things done) school and the way of working with Pipedrive is a lot along those line. In the long term, I’d like to see more  analytical and forecasting capabilities in Pipedrive.

Endomondo screen shot

You talked about the need for reaching a common agreement on what each stage meant – what’s the story behind this?

We found that the naming of the stages had a different meaning to each person. Even even after agreeing on a common vocabulary, we still needed to verbally discuss and align on when a lead could transition from one stage to the other. For instance “Contact Initiated” – does that mean that you have reached out, or that the lead has actually responded to your introduction? Or the same with “In Negotiation” – when does that actually start? As any salesman knows, this is a constantly moving target, which is why it was important for us to really sit down and verbally discuss the different phases.

Would you like to share any approaches that have worked well for you in sales or business development?

I’m a big fan of using lean tools like Pipedrive for our sales efforts, but our secret weapon is that we take our own medicine. Endomondo is all about providing our users with the motivation to live a more active lifestyle. Obviously there are health benefits to this, but people are often underestimating the energy you get from being active. Once you experience the additional energy boost you get throughout the rest of the day from a nice early-morning run, you know you have that little extra edge you need in your job to be successful

So what’s next down the line for Endomondo – do you have any news to share?

We are going to continue to serve our ever growing community and help them to stay motivated with new possibilities and features within the community. I’m personally super excited about all the new connected possibilities our app offers, connecting to smart watches and fitness bands. A lot more will happen in this area soon so stay tuned!

 

Aug 20th degraded search functionality (FIXED)

UPDATE #2: As of 1:39 PM PDT (8:39 PM GMT) mailbox beta has completed syncing and mail should be back to real-time delivery again.

UPDATE: As of 1:12 PM PDT (8:12 PM GMT) the impacted shard’s elastic index has been successfully rebuilt and search should be functioning again. Search speed/performance may be slightly degraded for some users while our replicas are synced but will speed up throughout the day as these tasks are completed automatically. Mailbox beta users should begin seeing mail again though there may be a slight delay as a large batch of messages needs to be processed now.

As of 10:05 AM PDT (5:05 PM GMT) we are aware of degraded search functionality for some select customers. We are very sorry for the impact this may have on your use of Pipedrive today. This morning it appears one of our elasticsearch shards failed and the automatic recovery did not function properly. We are investigating why to mitigate this in the future and we have manually restarted the service – it is running again but rebuilding the index will take several hours today.

In the meantime users that were connected to this shard may continue to experience degraded search functionality. Closed beta testers in our Gmail Mailbox Beta are also affected as mail may be delayed today. We recommended defaulting back to your normal inbox for the remainder of the day if you are a beta tester of Pipedrive mailbox.

Fortunately, for those of you that need to make use of search today we do have a proposed workaround while the index is rebuilding. You can actually use Pipedrive Filters as a form of advanced search, and this is a best practice we often recommend for people trying to search deeper than the search bar allows them to normally.

To take advantage of this all you need to do is create a Filter that you can then edit later each time you want to search for something different. An example screenshot is provided below:

Using filters for advanced search

Using filters for advanced search

Below is our support center documentation on Filters as well, in case you wanted to brush up on the power of searching cross-item records easily.

http://support.pipedrive.com/customer/portal/articles/1076914

This blog post will be updated again later today when the index is successfully rebuilt and all functionality is restored.

 

Scheduled maintenance on Aug 9, 2014

Update 9:15 AM GMT: This maintenance is completed by now. During the maintenance we were able to have an important piece of configuration of a storage mount patched that had previously caused some trouble during moments of higher system load. Thank you for your patience.

Original info, posted yesterday: To increase stability, we’ll be doing a scheduled maintenance to one of the database hosts on Saturday, Aug 9, 2014 between 7 AM and 9 AM GMT time. A portion of our users will be seeing the maintenance notice for up to 30 minutes. We are very sorry for the inconvenience and the short notice. We’ll keep this post updated with details as the maintenance happens.

August 7th connectivity issues (FIXED)

As of 7:15 pm Pacific Daylight Time we are aware of network problems within our datacenter. Pipedrive users may encounter yellow error screens or 502 gateway errors intermittently. We’re very sorry for the interruption to your work but we’re on it and working toward an expedient resolution. We will update this post every 30 minutes whether we have new information to report or not.

Update 3:00 GMT (8:00 PM PST): Access to the application is now restored. We will continue to monitor Pipedrive performance closely throughout the night.

6 Deadly Mistakes Great Salespeople Avoid

De1875x

Every now and then I meet salespeople who are extremely creative in developing lists of excuses. You know the ones – the economy’s still bad, our prices are too high, and so on (there’s actually a neat little list up at Fearless Selling). We’ve previously talked about what makes a successful salesperson.

But after hearing these excuses over and over again, I decided it was time to turn the subject around and talk about what kind of mistakes great salespeople avoid; how and why do others lose their potential sales, and how is all of this connected to our conception of what sales success is.

The mistakes: 

1) Not blocking in the time for prospecting.

This, ultimately, is the lack of discipline. If you don’t take the time every day to put in new conversations into your sales pipeline, you’re going to run into trouble at the end of the month when you have no new opportunities coming up.

2) Focusing on the wrong KPIs.

This one’s a simple mistake to make. If you’re that person who only keeps their eye on the month-end revenue target, then you’re not doing it right. You can’t control revenue. But you can control the activities that’ll help you find new opportunities, or advance the ones you have. Set a target for how many emails, calls and demos you should do every day or week and follow that target. I can assure that you’ll eventually notice an increase in your month-end figures purely because of focusing on specific activities.

3) Being too receptive to criticism.

When I took my first sales job, I was immediately told that I need to get covered with teflon – the stuff they cover frying pans with – so that no bad sentence or insult told would ever stick. You know that after a certain amount of prospects saying no there will be one in need of your product or service. Don’t let yourself being influenced by the ones didn’t buy when going to the next one that could be the buyer.

4) Preparing too much.

Yes, you still need to have sales skills, you probably need some scripts, and yes selling is often all about preparation. But there is a thin line between wasting time and actually going out selling. Trying to figure out the best possible response for every situation – it just makes no sense. You learn much better by doing sales with real prospects. Don’t get scared of not knowing everything, no one ever does. Plus, you still have that teflon skin when something does backfire.

5) Burning bridges with leads who didn’t buy.

You as a professional salesperson are out there to consult your prospective customers as to whether they have a genuine need for purchasing or not. This consulting process brings value to the consumer, as well as you, regardless of whether they purchase – they will at least have a better understand of their needs and a good understanding of solutions to use after you are done. If they don’t purchase, you should never burn any bridges, because in 6 months time their mood, resources or interests may have changed. The decision-maker may move into another organization etc. Point being, once you start holding grudges, you start losing potential deals in the future.

6) Not creating a buying atmosphere.

It’s all about your intent – defining it for yourself, selling the intent to your prospect and establishing trust within the process. The best sales professionals bring buyers closer to being honest with each other, not take them further away. Don’t try to sell your prospects something they don’t need, don’t mislead them, don’t cheat. They can feel it and they won’t buy. Or they distance themselves, won’t share their actual needs with you, and thus make their decision on the wrong grounds. This means that when they finally receive your product or service, they may be inherently disappointed – in you, in your company, in your product – it will backfire.

Now the first thing I ask of you is simply not to commit these mistakes. Instead, do these two things:

1) Think about the specific activities that help you obtain new sales opportunities and advance the ones you have. Regardless of whether they’re calls, meetings, emails or other pursuits, find them out, set them as goals and keep on doing them daily.

2) Turn on the Goals feature in Pipedrive and start tracking of how many new opportunities you add every day or week. Or how many opportunities you manage to advance into a stage that gives both you and the customer a good reason for final negotiation. That way there will always be something to close…

Do you have anything to add to this list? Post them to the comments section below.

 

Search functionality degraded — we are on it

On Mon, July 28th 2014 between 5:00 and 7:15 PM GMT/UTC, the search functionality and access to certain email functionality was degraded for a segment of customers due to failure of part of the data center network. We resolved the issue together with our data center network provider.

UPDATE: By 7:15 PM GMT/UTC, the services have been restored and everything should be up and running without any more issues.

I am very sorry for the inconvenience. We constantly monitor the performance of Pipedrive so we were aware of this situation as it was developing and did everything we could to restore it ASAP.

Who’s Your Economic Decision-Maker (EDM)?

This is a guest post by Adam Metz, the author of Amazon #1 internet-marketing best-seller The Social Customer, and the VP of Business Development at PandaDoc. His posts often contain gold nuggets, which is why we’re glad to welcome Adam on our blog.

It’s no wonder so many new sales professionals don’t know what an Economic Decision Maker is.

If you Google “EDM”, here’s what you’ll get.

The Economic Decision Maker is the most important person in your sale, not dance music.

The #1 problem that I see in sales professionals with under 5 years of sales experience is that they’re mistaking their main point of contact in a deal (usually referred to in Strategic Selling as their “coach”) for the Economic Decision Maker. Here’s a few tips to make sure that you never make that mistake.

1. How to know IF you’re dealing with the economic decision-maker.

In every B2B sale, you’re typically going to be selling to 4 to 14 decision makers. According to Gartner, the average is seven. You’ll have to probe and profile all seven of them to figure out which one is the EDM.

There’s a two-prong litmus test for who will be the EDM in your sale. If this person can give a “yes” that overrides all “no’s” AND can give a “no” that overrides all “yes’s,” then you’re dealing with the economic decision maker.

Your “coach” in any sale will be willing to share this information with you. If the coach is unwilling to share this information, then you lack enough basic trust to proceed in the sale. In that case, stop the sale and work on your rapport with your “coach.”

2. Getting good access to EDMs: Your coach, in any sale does want to give you access to the EDM. But they need to trust that you won’t embarrass them or make them look lousy. So, to gain the trust from your coach (and the confidence you need to talk to the EDM), just ask your coach straightforward questions like:

“Obviously, you’ve worked with Ms. EDM for quite some time. I was hoping to get some advice from you about how to work with her on this project. You know me a bit, and you know my style. If you could give me advice as to not only her business goals on the project, but how I can make it a really enjoyable project for her, that would be rather helpful.”

OR

“I feel that I’ve really worked well with you on this project because we’ve had solid communication. Now, I don’t know Mr. EDM as well as I do you. Can you give me some style and communication tips around Mr. EDM, especially what he looks for in a vendor partner?”

Going around a coach to access the EDM will almost always result in a burned relationship and a lost sale.

3. What to do if the EDM is not “sold,” but the coach is: This is a tricky one, because it puts the most tension between you and your coach. This is the situation where you have to coach your coach.

For example, if you’re selling to a 7-person team, and the EDM is not sold, but the other six are, here’s how to approach it.

“Team, it sounds like the seven of us are convinced this is the right way to go. I agree with you, too, but it sounds like the one of the decision-makers on your team still doesn’t see the plan as a total win. To make sure that the project rolls out the most smoothly, I think all five of us should revise the plan together over the next few days, to make sure it’s something we’re all happy with.”

In plain English: “Nobody here is doing a proposal until everyone is in agreement.”

4. Remember why EDM’s buy: 70% of EDM buying decisions are made to solve a problem, and only 30% are done to gain something, or improve the business (Impact Communications). Keep this in mind when going “pie in the sky” with an EDM.

Speaking of winning proposals… have you tried PandaDoc’s proposal analytics with Pipedrive yet? You’ll get 3 free documents to start with. No credit card is required, and you’ll be up and running in minutes.

3 pillars to becoming a sales superstar

A great deal of research has gone into what makes a good salesperson. A notable instance told by Brian Tracy in his Advanced Selling Strategies is the difference between the average salespeople and the rockstar sales guys in most large sales forces. How much do you think that the top 20% of salespeople were selling when compared to others? Twice as much? Five times? Ten?

The right answer is that they sold sixteen times more than the rest.

Were these people geniuses? Were they extremely charismatic? To tell you the truth then no they weren’t. If you just looked at them, you couldn’t tell the difference between them and the worst performers. Yet it turned out that these people had three things in common. They had all laid a strong foundation with the three pillars of sales success - clarity, will and ability.

So here are the questions that lay the bedrock of becoming a sales superstar.

3 Pillars of Sales Success_black

Have you set the right kind of goals?

You as a salesman can’t influence your results – I mean you can say you want 50 deals by the end of the month, but at the end of the day you don’t, strictly said, control the purchases your potential clients make.

What you can do is set yourself activity goals. This means setting yourself a number of approaches, calls and meetings you want to make every day or week. Knowing fully well that to a large extent sales is a numbers game, you can drive your productivity and not let your confidence drop – the more conversations you put into one end of the pipeline, the more closed deals will come out from the other. While the less successful may want good results as much as the more successful ones, the success will find the ones who are already out there putting in action.

Sure, you’ll reach the optimum at one point. What’s important though is the journey there – you will learn a great deal about hard and smart work whilst striving towards that optimum. Once you reach that, you’ll start learning about the balance between hard and smart work. The difference between average and rockstar salespeople is, however, that the best put in the hours to learn what smart work is and the average don’t. So keep on pushing until you hit your optimum and be clear about your goals to achieve that first pillar of sales success.

When we first started building Pipedrive, we realized that knowing the amount of “No’s” you need to get before you reach a “Yes” can give you a psychological edge – suddenly you’re no longer fazed by rejection. So we went on a small detour and created the NO Calculator.

Have you got a good “why”?

What drives you as a salesman? For many it’s the paycheck they receive at the end of the month. For some it’s somewhat deeper, like providing for their loved ones. I’ve found that finding a deep-rooted answer for the ‘why’ helps you keep on going. But then there’s courage that in the sales context means the desire of putting yourself out there – the willingness to fail over and over again in order to succeed. You’re always going to get declining answers, but the trait that all good salesman share is the courage to make that fearful step again, again and again, knowing full well that there are going to be plenty of “no’s” on their way to a “yes”. Reason and courage in a unison form the second pillar of sales success - will.

Have you mastered the basics?

There’s no shortcut to sales success. The best salespeople simply have their basics honed to perfection – they know which leads to qualify, they have a response to nearly every client reaction and they know every closing tactic in the book. This is something every salesman can achieve – it’s just a matter of putting the time in to learn and practice. Discipline, the second facet to ability, essentially means organizing your work. By setting time aside for prospecting every day, by making sure you follow up the right leads at the right time, that’s how you never miss an opportunity again. The best salespeople know when to follow up on their leads and move them along their sales pipeline. So there you go – skill and discipline – that’s ability, the third and final pillar to sales success.

Can you change your ways?

One of the three will not be enough. You might have great skills and clear goals, but if you lack drive, you won’t make it. You might have great aspirations and a bucketful of will, but if you don’t persevere and have a routine, you’re not going to cut it.’

The same goes for the status quo. Whatever brought you success today, you’re going to need to adjust tomorrow to adapt to the changed surroundings. Sales, like everything else, is multidimensional and you have to deal with every single facet.

Now go close.

Looking for an Office Assistant (Update: found!)

Pipedrivei pilt

Startups need some extremely well-organized people to keep them driven and focused on the task ahead. Given that Pipedrive is pacing ahead at extreme speeds, we are always on the lookout for people who’d help us do just that and thus keep us growing. If you’re on good terms with your OCD and are looking for a place to apply it then, first, read and answer the three questions below, then appoint your attentiveness to the job spec, and then give us an idea of why you’re the best person on earth for the job.

So first:

  • How would you feel about working in a company that’s growing, like, super-fast?
  • How would you feel about working alongside some of the coolest and most clever people around, and a cute dog?
  • How would you feel about helping to run the coolest office in Estonia?

If you’ve answered something along the lines of ‘great’ or ‘good’ or ‘awesome’ or ‘wicked’ (gosh), then keep on reading.

 Some of the jobs ingredients:

  • Maintain office supplies
  • Assist in resolving any administrative problems
  • Making travel arrangements
  • Procurement, purchases and supply stuff for the office
  • Helping in team events arrangements

 We require you to

  • Have excellent social skills, patience and flexibility
  • Be a self-starter and quick learner
  • Have a good verbal and written communication skills in English
  • Have the ability to prioritize projects and strong problem solving skills
  • Good research skills and attention to detail

What we have to offer:

  • Competitive base pay
  • No corporate BS
  • One of the coolest offices in Estonia
  • A chance to be a part of the next success story out of Estonia

If this is something for you, please get in touch via jobs-admin@pipedrive.com. Send your resume (in English) or link to your LinkedIn profile and please add a few lines on why we should pay extra attention to your application.