Equipping Reps with Technical Insights That Can Seal Deals with Help from Chorus

Case Study


I no longer listen to my radio in the morning. I listen to calls in Chorus.ai.

Javier Molina

Vice President of Corporate Sales, North America, MongoDB

Accelerating Onboarding and Driving Continuous Development of Reps

MongoDB’s sales leadership is not only challenged with recruiting and ramping new reps at a rapid clip, but also making sure that those pros are prepared to navigate very tough questions from and uncover the pain points of the database developers and other technically minded customers MongoDB serves. But the company’s sales leaders are pulled in many directions themselves, and don’t have the time to listen to every call and give the type of targeted feedback and coaching that new reps require to succeed.

The need for a reliable solution for recording and reviewing sales calls is a key reason MongoDB initially sought a conversation intelligence solution, says Javier Molina, Vice President of Corporate Sales, North America. One of Molina’s reps recommended the Chorus.ai platform, which she had used at another company. After hearing more about Chorus.ai, Molina says he was sold: “When I learned that Chorus.ai could help my reps to self-coach and allow me to listen to calls without sitting in on them, I couldn’t wait to try it.”

Molina says that he and other sales leaders at MongoDB recognized almost immediately how powerful a tool like Chorus.ai would be for ramping reps, generally. But they also realized it would complement their very structured approach to onboarding and sales enablement. “MongoDB invests seven times the industry average in onboarding and sales enablement — and we’re very proud of that,” says Molina. “Our approach involves teaching our reps our ‘force management’ methodology, along with a refined sales process called ‘command of the message.’”

The methodology and process Molina refers to help MongoDB’s reps onboard swiftly. They also help lay the groundwork for sales pros’ continuous development at the company. One way that Chorus.ai helps on both fronts, according to Randy Petkoff, Cloud Sales Manager at MongoDB, is by giving reps access to insights that can help them conquer one of the most daunting challenges in the company’s sales process: discovery.

Digging Deep Into Calls to Understand Customers’ Pain - and How to Respond #

Petkoff says that MongoDB’s reps, as part of discovery, need to identify customers’ “required capabilities” (i.e., specific requirements that have to be met for a customer to realize a positive business outcome), and also quantify a customer’s pain as a way to qualify that customer. For new reps, this is far from easy, given the technical nature of MongoDB’s offerings as well as the work of its customers.

“Doing discovery with deeply technical subject matter from developers who are, arguably solving some of the world’s hardest problems — well, that’s a lot for a new rep to come up against,” says Petkoff. But with Chorus.ai, new reps now have a lifeline, he explains. They can dig deep into calls to understand customers’ pain points and how, specifically, MongoDB’s products and services can help to solve them.

“Our reps must do a really good job of multi-threading, finding pain, and driving the sales cycle,” says Molina, adding that it is typical for reps to do five or six calls, on average, with customers in the first month of the sales process. “For reps selling a complex database product, that takes a lot of practice. The only way that our reps can get that practice, without actually talking to customers, is by listening to a lot of sales calls — and Chorus.ai makes that easy.”

Sean Andrew

Sean Andrew

SVP, Worldwide Corporate Sales, MongoDB

When we first adopted Chorus.ai, I worried that the team would think we were micromanaging. But everyone quickly embraced Chorus.ai because of how easy it is to share best practices and receive support from the whole ecosystem at MongoDB.

“Organic” Adoption of Chorus.ai Across the Sales Team #

“Chorus.ai has had a twofold impact on our team,” says Sean Andrew, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Corporate Sales, at MongoDB. “First, by listening to call snippets, new reps can quickly grow their understanding of our technology platform and onboard faster. Chorus.ai also helps our existing reps to self-coach, and better understand the information that customers are providing to us about their needs. And that is helping them move deals forward, faster.”

The second impact, says Andrew, has been on sales team leadership. He explains, “Our leadership team has a 1:7 span of control, so we don’t have the ability to be on every single call. But through Chorus.ai, we can listen to segments of calls or even entire calls — on the way to work, during work, after work. That is helping us coach our team much more effectively, which is accelerating our reps’ development and productivity, too.”

Andrew says he was somewhat surprised by how fast Chorus.ai became such a valuable, everyday tool for the sales team at MongoDB. “When we first adopted Chorus.ai, I worried that the team — and especially our most tenured reps — would think we were micromanaging. But everyone quickly embraced Chorus.ai because of how easy it is to share best practices and receive support from the whole ecosystem at MongoDB.”

Molina says he became a “power user” of the Chorus.ai platform early on, and his reps quickly followed suit. “Once they started using Chorus.ai, they just kept going,” he says. “Now, they are really invested in it. My best reps are actually commenting on their own calls. And in Slack, I see a lot of sharing of Chorus.ai calls and snippets happening as well.”

Molina continues, “Adoption of Chorus.ai in the organization has been very organic. The type of people we hire are extremely driven, very intelligent and coachable. They don’t mind if you listen to a call and then coach them on it live. I actually get more asks to listen to calls than I have time for! In fact, I no longer listen to my radio in the morning. I listen to calls in Chorus.ai.”

And the impact Chorus.ai has had on reps’ ramp time has been even better than the MongoDB team anticipated, according to Molina. He says it’s now taking about 2-4 months for new hires to get fully up to speed, compared to 7-9 months, which was the previous average.

Petkoff says he keeps Chorus.ai open on his computer all day long, as do many of his colleagues. “It’s one way that we communicate as a team,” he says. “We share snippets of calls with each other constantly.” Petkoff says he’s also a big user of Chorus.ai’s Coaching Scorecards, which are designed to track specific initiatives across the organization and enable managers to track skill improvement over time. It also allows reps to track their scores and focus on improving areas with low scores.

“I’ve really seen a lot of value from using the scorecards,” Petkoff says. “Building scorecards helps everyone understand what type of information we need to be gathering in calls with customers. We put together about 10 questions that we all look at and score together, and share with each other. That allows me to ensure we are speaking the same language and getting what we need to get out of each call.”

Listening More Effectively to Customers and Raising the Bar on Accountability #

It didn’t take long for Danielle Lemieux, a Senior Corporate Account Executive at MongoDB, to become a power user of Chorus.ai, too. She had used the solution at another company, and was a strong advocate for its adoption at MongoDB. Lemieux’s days are spent primarily on the phone, talking with current customers, doing discovery calls or demos, closing new business deals, and prospecting. With so many calls, and so much technical information being discussed, taking notes can be arduous — and error-prone. It’s also a distraction, says Lemieux.

“When you’re in a conversation with a customer and jotting down notes, it’s hard to be ‘in the moment,’” she explains. “Having Chorus.ai in the background is a big relief — it’s helped me build rapport with my customers because I can listen to them more effectively.”

Lemieux adds, “Chorus.ai also helps me review details before follow-up calls—and because I’m really up to speed, that helps me close more deals.” Getting more timely feedback from her manager is another success factor, and Lemieux points to a current deal as a case in point: “In my first call with the prospect, I thought I’d asked all the right questions to take it to the next level. However, I shared the call with my manager, and he pointed out some gaps. I’ve been able to accelerate the timeline of the deal because I knew which specific questions I still needed to ask. I think that without that feedback from my manager, I’d be further behind on that deal.”

Chorus.ai is also helping to drive better sales team performance at MongoDB overall, according to Petkoff. “When I think about unexpected benefits from using Chorus.ai, accountability comes to mind. How you prepare before a meeting is fundamental and when you’re aware that the floor is potentially going to hear what you said to a customer and how you said it, it makes you more accountable for your performance. And when sales reps and leaders are held accountable, they deliver at a higher level, which results in a better experience for our customers.”

Danielle Lemieux

Danielle Lemieux

Senior Corporate Account Executive, MongoDB

When you’re in a conversation with a customer and jotting down notes, it’s hard to be ‘in the moment.’ Having Chorus.ai in the background is a big relief — it’s helped me build rapport with my customers because I can listen to them more effectively.

MongoDB has a mission that is both ambitious and empowering: “to free the genius within everyone by making data stunningly easy to work with.” The global software company, which has U.S. headquarters in New York City and international headquarters in Dublin, has more than 15,000 corporate customers in over 100 countries. MongoDB’s general-purpose database platform has been downloaded more than 70 million times, and the company also offers products and services to help its customers build and run applications in the cloud. Its MongoDB University, which provides training to customers to help them build, run, and deploy applications on the MongoDB platform, has more than 1 million registrations.

In 2017, MongoDB became the first database company to go public in 25 years. And in October 2019, the company announced a partnership with Alibaba Cloud, which will offer its customers a MongoDB-as-a-service solution through its global data centers. Currently, MongoDB’s business is growing by 50%, year-over-year, and in response, the company is rapidly increasing headcount in its sales organization - and expanding its customer success team, as well - to support its customer base of database developers, architects, administrators, and other highly technical users.

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