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How Gong Constantly Finds Happy Customers and Shares Their Stories

Who are your brand’s biggest fans? What would they say about your product if you asked them?

As a Customer Marketing Specialist at Gong, Hannah Hapin spends all day every day answering those questions. “We have the wonderful responsibility of connecting with our customer base and uncovering advocates who are willing to share their stories about their usage of Gong and the impact it has on their team,” she says of her role.

Like most customer marketers, Hannah works cross-functionally with Sales, Customer Success Enablement, Product, and the broader Marketing team to get them the stories they need to land new business and expand with current customers.

Hannah Hapin
Customer Marketing Specialist, Gong
“Customer advocacy increases the reach of our marketing efforts and gives a more authentic voice to our brand.”

But any advocacy program worth its salt requires a lot of time and effort. With the help of well-defined programs and a platform for capturing and curating customer stories, Gong’s bank of customer evidence is top-notch — and ever-growing.

Here’s the process Hannah and her team at Gong use. It’s yours for the taking.

Gong’s too-relatable customer marketing challenges

Hannah is in ongoing contact with existing customers and advocates, so she has a front-row seat to Gong’s customer marketing obstacles. One of their biggest challenges is finding customers who are the right fit for a specific ask from Marketing or Sales.

She describes it like this: “Our customer base is so large that we don’t always have insight into who our champions are. Well, we didn’t before UserEvidence anyway.”

In the past, the Gong crew also struggled to keep social proof organized to equip other teams with the assets they needed. With customer testimonials living in disparate places — from spreadsheets to their advocacy platform — it was tough to quickly find quotes or metrics to answer a request.

“I would have to look through each place, put it all in a Google Sheet, and then share it with whoever was requesting social proof,” Hannah says. This manual searching and sharing is a tale as old as time for customer marketers.

That’s why Gong needed a way to:

  • Import all testimonials into one place
  • Create targeted microsites
  • Tag the social proof to organize it

From there, they could just copy and paste a single external link to the customer evidence library and share it with Sales, Marketing, or Customer Success. They chose UserEvidence as the platform to support this new streamlined process — and got to work.

Gong’s library of customer evidence

A frictionless way to gather customer evidence

Now armed with a better way to curate and share customer proof points, Hannah and the rest of the Gong Customer Marketing team focus their time and energy on identifying strategic moments to gather the evidence the rest of their team needs.

“Because of UserEvidence, we’re able to uncover some of those happy customers that are willing to share their story and create more assets to share with the rest of the team,” Hannah points out.

Here’s the best part: They’ve actually reduced — not increased — the number of marketing requests customers receive, preventing customer feedback fatigue and request overload.

Laying the foundation with consistent customer advocates

Gong’s approach is to consistently look for advocates; when Hannah and her team find a happy customer who’s ready to tell their story, they create case studies and other social proof that Gong can share broadly.

These customer stories, quotes, and stats powerfully influence prospects to purchase and encourage current customers to expand by buying more seats or adding on a new Gong product. As Hannah says, “Without our customer advocates, we wouldn’t have as much credibility as a company.”

Hannah spearheads Gong’s advocacy program, which is open to its happiest customers. The program allows Gong to funnel customers into advocacy opportunities, like asking them to:

  • Join a reference call
  • Provide a testimonial
  • Share a review on a third-party site
  • Speak publicly about Gong at events

In exchange for those advocacy actions, customers receive points through the program, which they can redeem for gift cards, snacks, or gift boxes. These efforts are fairly common in the customer marketing space, but without the right people and tech, the challenges of sustaining a program like this would be basically insurmountable.

How Gong supports strategic initiatives with customer proof

The advocacy program lays the foundation for consistently gathering customer evidence at Gong. But how does the team use the resulting proof points?

Here are three strategic marketing initiatives Gong couldn’t do without ample customer proof.

1. Product launches

When the company’s newest product, Gong Engage, first launched, they needed quotes from happy customers to support marketing for the release. Hannah’s team worked closely with Product Marketing and Customer Success to build a survey in UserEvidence and email it to top beta users of the new product.

The initial survey returned some constructive feedback because they intentionally chose to send it to a wide range of customers — not just high-NPS users. As a first step, they shared the feedback with their product team, who could then make improvements and resolve bugs pre-launch. Once the product was fully launched, Hannah re-sent the survey, this time just to users who were happy with the product.

The second survey brought in strong testimonials that Hannah’s team turned into microsites and short customer spotlights (think mini-case studies). Several of the testimonials are competitive stories for Gong Engage, sharing why someone left another solution and chose Gong instead.  As you can imagine, quotes like these are invaluable tools for Product and Product Marketing teams.

Chief Sales Officer
“I recently switched from Chorus to Gong the solutions are night and day. Gong wins in all fronts and since making the switch engagement and value is significantly higher. Other than the platform being much stronger on all fronts – the client success team and support Gong is on another level, as is the ease of implementation and integration. It took Chorus 2 weeks to set up integration with Zoom vs. Gong, where it took minutes.”

A competitive testimonial after the full launch of Gong Engage

2. Industry-specific customer proof

When Gong first adopted UserEvidence, the Sales team was on a mission to break into new industries like manufacturing, healthcare, and financial services. At the time, customer stories from those segments were few and far between. “A lot of people look at our product like a sales coaching tool,” Hannah explains. “People in these industries didn’t think their salespeople would really get any value from Gong.” The customer marketing team leaned on customer evidence to prove them wrong.

The first step was to look at the customers they had in those target industries — a short list at the time — and create industry-specific surveys, based on segment research from the product marketing team. Customer marketing sent those surveys to the relevant existing customers and found advocates to tap for case studies.

They socialized the case studies on LinkedIn and the customer stories page on the Gong website. Now, the Sales team has ample ammo to pitch themselves to new prospects in those target industries. Gong has successfully grown its customer base in those new segments, thanks to the power of customer evidence. “The case studies on our website aren’t just in the software industry anymore. It’s more broad: education, healthcare, and financial services,” Hannah says.

Head of Sales
Diversified Financial Services Company
“Utilizing Gong has been critical in our success to scale best practices learned in our early regions to apply to our expansion regions. We began the year at $50M ARR, hit $100M ARR by April 2022, and will end the year at a multiple of that. We began the year at about 60 AEs and will end 2022 with over 200. If you include SDRs, AMs, Managers, etc., our sales org will end over 420 people.”

A testimonial from a Gong financial services customer

Hannah maximizes customer outreach by vertical in other ways, too. Outside of publishing the best testimonials and metrics, she tracks who gave the most in-depth and knowledgeable responses, adds them to her list of target customers, and reaches out depending on their role.

She typically sends an email to managers or individual contributors, asking them to join the advocacy program or write a third-party review. Directors and above are typically the right fit for a reference call to speak to other leaders interested in purchasing Gong.

Hannah Hapin
Customer Marketing Specialist, Gong
“If we need something right away, like a case study in a specific industry, we’ll reach out for that asset. But we keep track of all of the advocates on the back end in UserEvidence.”

3. Golden Gong Awards

This is one of the most unique customer evidence use cases I’ve seen so far. Every year, Gong hosts the Golden Gong Awards, a high-touch program to uncover new high-quality advocates for the product and create public-facing customer content. The awards help Gong identify top users, source new stories to replace old and outdated ones, and create customer proof points for new products like Gong Engage.

When planning the annual program, the customer marketing team first considers relevant company goals. This year, for instance, Gong is prioritizing RevOps customers and metrics-driven case studies.

VP and Head of Decision Intelligence
Medium Enterprise IT Services Company
"Within a short span of 3 quarters, we have more than doubled our opportunity conversations across the organization from 32% in Q2 2022 to 66% currently. For key sellers (reps) the adoption number has scaled over 80%. Other improvement areas we were able to identify through Gong analysis of our best reps were that we had a greater win rate when we had 2-3 contacts in a deal and involving the C-suite, leading to deal closure in the first 30 days! We used this information to coach our sellers on these key insights to improve the overall win rates and close more deals. We were able to improve our overall win rates in 2022 by closing 40% of all deals in 30 days or less and 60% of all leads in 60 days or less."

Golden Gong nomination from the 2023 awards

They decided on awards like RevOps Leader of the Year and Revenue Team of the Year and then built unique surveys to capture nominations for each category — and they required metrics in each submission. Gong hosts the surveys on the Golden Gong Awards webpage, and customer success managers can easily invite their customers to apply or nominate someone by filling out the survey. They also highlight previous years’ high-profile winners on social to encourage customers to apply.

Gong harnesses UserEvidence surveys to capture Golden Gong nominations

Hannah and her team check the number of submissions daily and export them to share with the marketing leaders who will select the Golden Gong winners. Gong announces and publicizes winners, and then these new testimonials replace existing customer quotes on their website with new ones, so social proof stays recent and refreshed. Customer marketing also creates a new case study with each winner — this year, that means six new case studies in one fell swoop.

A Golden Gong award doesn’t just benefit customer marketing: “Customers love public-facing opportunities to share their knowledge and be seen as a thought leader or successful Gong user in their role, which uplifts their career.”

Gong’s take: Focus on efficiency and get loud

Customer proof fuels lots of marketing and sales efforts at Gong, and UserEvidence empowers Hannah’s small team to spend their time on nothing but high value advocacy work.

For instance, she’s now able to tag case studies by industry, region, or competitor insight once, and her library is sorted for good. This little bit of upfront work makes for much quicker sharing of relevant, targeted customer proof in the long run. “That single link that we can copy and paste is easier for prospects to read and our reps to keep track of,” she notes.

In the past, Hannah spent hours sifting through previous tools to find the customer proof she needed. Now, filtering and finding those relevant stories takes just seconds.

Hannah Hapin
Customer Marketing Specialist, Gong
“With UserEvidence, we can do a ton because it takes us less time. I’m more open to saying yes to new projects and taking on things for other teams.”

Get loud about customer marketing stories and results

A sure sign of a great customer advocate is their willingness to be vocal about how your product has helped them solve a challenge for the business. And according to Hannah, the mark of a successful customer marketer is similar. Here’s her advice to other customer marketing teams looking to gain internal buy-in for a tool like UserEvidence:

Show the results and the impact, and be loud about it.

Other teams may not initially see the value of using a survey tool like UserEvidence to gather customer feedback. But if you’re diligent about sharing the testimonials and metrics you gather from customers and creating a better customer advocate experience, they’ll get on board — that’s what happened at Gong.

“My teammates across the org all see what the UserEvidence platform can do. Now, they’re all in.”

If you’re ready to go all in on customer evidence to streamline your customer marketing efforts and identify raving fans for your brand, let’s talk. UserEvidence has you covered.

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