How Intercom Increased MRR by Building a Self-Serve PLG Motion

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Since its founding 2011, Intercom’s primary focus has been on a traditional inbound model with a sales-led focus. This meant more than 10 years of tech debt in their GTM stack: duplicate records, funnel leakage, Salesforce errors (CPU timeouts, disrupted flow of leads), and more.

Go Nimbly worked with Intercom to stand up a self-serve, PLG motion that meant customers could buy how they wanted to buy. For Intercom, this would also translate into
more customers and higher LTV.


Betting on PLS

While Intercom had an existing PLS solution set up, it was only for legacy customers. When PQLs came in, notifications were only going to reps via Slack, which meant a lack of both accountability and visibility into how those leads were converting.

There was no high-level PLS strategy or adoption across departments and any efforts made were largely siloed from a process and technology perspective.

For example: Reps didn’t have a clear process to follow in converting PQLs; Ops teams were not able to be self-sufficient in defining new playbooks due to technical and data dependency; and Product, Sales, and Marketing teams were all running a PLS strategy in silos.

Intercom, like many organizations, was struggling to define
who should own PLS and drive quality outcomes.

Steering, Solutioning, & Executing

Tackling Tech Debt

  1. Code refactoring to automatically assign apps and provisions to Accounts
  2. Created a process that automatically tracks the lifecycle of a self serve customer in Salesforce and provides a clear starting point for sales reps that want to have a sales conversation with the customer

Steering the Project

  1. Built project plans and set up a steering committee with representation across the organization
  2. Managed the project’s dependancies on a number of other in-flight initiatives

Defining the Strategy

  1. Brought best practice on defining the flow of data through the organization
  2. Defined accountability measures to ensure PQLs were being chased by the sales team
  3. Defined a traceable process that gave sales reps a clear next step

Solutioning

  1. Designed data flow from product → Snowflake → Correlated
  2. Configured playbooks in correlated for each use case, which are configurable by non technical skill sets to allow for easy addition of future use cases
  3. Built a Correlated → Salesforce integration
  4. Standalone Salesforce solution
    • Created a data model that allows us to take in signals from any system and turn them into action with a clear path for the sales rep
    • Built a UI that shows the rep the full usage story
    • Built a qualification process that that drives consistency and clarity in the state of PQLs
    • Designed flexibility in the Salesforce solution to support future use cases, for example marketing or customer success being assigned certain qualified records.
  5. Built project plans and set up a steering committee with representation across the organization
  6. Managed the project’s dependancies on a number of other in-flight initiatives
  7. Brought best practice on defining the flow of data through the organization
  8. Defined accountability measures to ensure PQLs were being chased by the sales team
  9. Defined a traceable process that gave sales reps a clear next step

Behind the Artwork

All the graphics you see here were created by Emma Shirey.

Emma is an Ozarks-born Manhattan dweller whose illustrations are joyful, playful, and whimsical images drawing inspiration from the mysteries and wonders of the natural world.

You can find more of Emma’s original work on her Instagram here.


Perhaps you’ve noticed the inclusion of some unique artistic elements throughout this story, and are curious about the thinking behind that?

For one thing, we believe Revenue Operations is both a science and an art form.

Often, these kinds of stories are told alongside corporate branding and imagery, in a way that we don’t think truly represents the creative vision and collaboration that goes into getting this kind of innovative work past the finish line.

We’re passionate about the work we do, and every customer story we feature here is one we’re excited to share with you. In the spirit of that, we’re working with independent artists to help us tell these stories through commissioned artwork.

Are you an artist, or do you know one we should reach out to? Let us know! We’re always on the lookout for talented folks to work with and showcase.