We came, we saw, we conquered. This past June was an absolute flurry of excitement & activity at Vendasta, with Conquer Local 2019, our third conference ever, being our most successful to date. Let me be the first to share my massive thanks to all of our attendees–it was an absolute delight to meet many of you in person for the very first time, and I’m already looking forward to seeing you all again in Montréal next year. Es-tu prêt?!

Our excursion to San Diego was packed full of riveting keynotes from industry experts, inspiring workshops with tactile takeaways, and, perhaps most exciting: brand-spankin' new product announcements from Vendasta. To quote an unnamed attendee: “this is why I come to your conferences… to see the awesome %&#! you guys release.” Pardon her French.

So if you missed out, you should probably avoid making the same mistake two years in a row and get your tickets now for Montréal. But at any rate, here’s a quick recap of the 7 killer releases we showed off:

1. Product-Led Growth: Supercharge your company’s SMB acquisition, retention & growth. Hook your prospects with a foundational set of free marketing products for any SMB, igniting your sales efforts with hot lead scoring. Then, watch your revenue grow automatically as they self-upgrade to your paid packages. Coming Fall 2019. Register for closed beta at vendasta.com/product-led-growth

2. Integrate Vendasta with Salesforce: Sync your SMB data with the world’s #1 CRM solution. Secure two-way account syncing ensures your business data stays 100% accurate, no matter where it’s updated. Then, plug-in sales technology like Snapshot Listing Scan to help your team close more deals right within Salesforce. Available today. Get a quote by signing up at vendasta.com/salesforce

3. Updates to Task Manager: Workflows. Progress. Transparency for you and your clients. The task & fulfillment platform formerly known as Concierge has received a few game-changing updates. Namely, custom projects templates let your fulfillment team spend less time assigning tasks and more time collaborating. Available today. Learn more.

4. Multi-Location Business Center: Let your clients see which locations are winning or need help, slicing data in any way. We’ve completely redesigned & replaced our Brand Analytics dashboard with a brand new mobile interface and Google My Business data. Available today.

5. Instant screen share for salespeople: Vendasta partners with Crankwheel to provide a quick and easy screen sharing right from with Sales & Success Center. Prospects can view using any browser, desktop or mobile, and we’ll show you whether they're paying attention. Oh, and did we mention it’s free to start using? Available today.

6. In-platform SaaS Metrics: Get big insights on 6 key metrics that are critical to growing your business. Right from the Partner Center dashboard, you’ll see data on your engaged salespeople, engaged accounts, account retention rate, billed products, average revenue per paying account, and gross revenue. Coming Q3 2019.

7. Office 365 coming to Marketplace: Increase client stickiness by reselling the world’s most popular productivity suite. Office 365 joins G Suite, MyCorporation, Constant Contact, and GoDaddy as our latest global brand Marketplace integration. Available July 2019.

Ready to dive in?

Announcement #1:

Product-Led Growth

Coming Fall 2019. Register for closed beta at vendasta.com/product-led-growth

In true Vendasta fashion, we kicked-off Conquer Local 2019 with a bang. Our message? Together We Grow. Come to think of it, that’s always been our mantra; we don’t grow unless our partners do. It’s embedded in our DNA. Our founders made an early decision that we wanted to focus on building world-class technology, then delivering that tech through local experts who provide exceptional customer experiences. As a result, our growth is entirely based on the success of all of you.

So what becomes the job of every employee at our company? To continually come up with ways to help our partners grow–look at the latest strategies, test, and experiment to allow each and everyone one of you find greater success in your business, and move faster than the speed of the market so that you’re set up for success.

Which brings me to this product announcement. It’s a “magic potion” of sorts. One we’ve been concocting since late last year. And in just a couple sips, you’ll be lowering your cost of acquiring new customers, decreasing your time to payback of those customers, and increasing both retention and the value you capture across the lifetime of those customers.

It starts with a foundational strategy. An idea that we borrowed from a respected thought-leader in the SaaS market. “Product-led growth” is a term coined by OpenView, who’ve built an entire portfolio of companies employing this tactic. Put simply, it’s where the product serves as the primary driver of user acquisition, retention, and expansion. It’s used by some of the fastest growing SaaS companies in the world: Slack, Shopify, Twillio, and hundreds more. And guess what? We’ve built it, productized it, white-labeled it, and are bringing it to Vendasta partners. Exciting, right?

But it’s not all about the product. It’s an entire go-to-market strategy. Marketing, sales, and a freemium pricing strategy all working together harmoniously.

How does it work?

As you might know, Vendasta’s Business Center is your SMB-facing portal that gives your clients access to all the apps and services you provide them, all under your brand. Up until now, Business Center, alongside apps like Reputation Management, Customer Voice, Social Marketing, Advertising Intelligence, and Listing Builder have been something you provide to your customers after you closed a sale.

Until now.

With Product-Led Growth through Vendasta, we’ve made it possible for your company to give your prospects full access to Business Center, along with powerful express versions of our most popular apps—at no initial cost to the SMB—to drive engagement and build trust with your brand. Each express product is limited to Google My Business and Facebook, the two most important places for SMBs online.

Perhaps the best part is that all of the engagement within Business Center is surfaced to your sales team as valuable insights they’ll be able to use to deliver expert advice and specific solutions. The more you know about your customers, the more you’re able to truly help them.

On top of that, we’ve built in automatic upgrade paths; hook your prospects with the free software, then watch as they self-upgrade to packages containing your current offerings. It’s all designed around our end-to-end ordering system, looping in your assigned salesperson and alerting your system admin of the purchase.

Through Product-Led Growth, we help you generate more highly qualified leads by giving your prospects immediate value, then delivering deep insights to your salespeople. And we know SMBs who’ve experienced meaningful value by using your products are more likely to become a customer (or to be upsold) in comparison to other leads.

In summary, Product-Led Growth can be boiled down to three main components: a marketing, sales, and freemium pricing strategy all working together harmoniously.

1.  Provide immediate value in Business Center that drives SMB prospect engagement;

  • Express products allow them to use tools for Google and Facebook.
  • Instant metrics, already preloaded when they log in for the very first time.
  • Recommendations on how to better manage their business.

2.  Give predictive insights to your salespeople;

  • Lead scoring provides a deeper understanding of prospects & customers.
  • Reveal attributes, activity, and needs in a single dashboard.

3.  Grow revenue automatically

  • Built-in upgrade paths allow your prospects to try before they buy and buy at exactly the right time for them.

Product-Led Growth is almost ready for all of our partners to start using (Fall 2019 can’t come soon enough). But if you’re interested in joining our closed beta, sign-up at vendasta.com/product-led-growth and Vendasta’s team will reach out.

Initial feedback has been incredible so far. Check out this fabulous testimonial:

Announcement #2:

Integrate Vendasta with Salesforce

Available today. Get a quote by signing up at vendasta.com/salesforce

When it comes to CRMs, Salesforce is most certainly the belle of the ball. I’m willing to bet that if you’re reading this blog right now, you’ve used Salesforce at some point in your life. But there’s no question as to why it’s so ubiquitous; it’s undeniably a fantastic platform, and many of our customers agree.

Earlier this year, we conducted what we understand is the largest known local salesperson survey ever. We asked our nearly 30k salespeople using our platform questions on topics ranging from their preferred sales “style”, challenges they face, and the tools they use to make them more effective at their job.

When asked which Sales CRM they use (besides Vendasta) it wasn’t any surprise that Salesforce came out on top.

This begs the question: what about Sales & Success Center, Vendasta’s sales CRM built for local salespeople? Turns out that many of Vendasta’s partners choose to use Sales & Success Center alongside a main CRM of choice. There’s a handful of unique tools that, until now, were only accessible through Sales & Success Center, including Snapshot Report, Snapshot Listing Scan powered by Yext, hot lead notifications, and (coming soon) account activity through Product-Led Growth.

With all of this great functionality, why wouldn’t our partners simply use only Sales & Success Center over their current CRM? We began speaking to many of our Enterprise customers, and discovered that as much as they’d like to use our platform, migrating their entire sales team over, alongside all of their data associated with all of their accounts wasn’t an option.

That brings us to this announcement. Vendasta partners can now request to have our team build a custom integration with their Salesforce account. Doing so gives your team two major benefits:

  1. Secure two-way account syncing ensures your business data stays 100% accurate, no matter where it’s updated, which saves you time and keeps things organized.
  2. Plug-in sales technology to help your team close more deals right within Salesforce. No logging into Sales & Success Center required.

How might this all work? It starts with your salesperson creating an account in Salesforce. Through the integration, the account then gets automatically added to Vendasta. Now, since the account gets created on our end, we can begin to pipe sales data into Salesforce (such as Snapshot Listing Scan powered by Yext).

Now, as your salesperson uses Snapshot Listing Scan within Salesforce to sell, say, Listing Sync Pro powered by Yext, when she makes the sale, it’s easy for your Vendasta administrator to find the account and activate the product.

It’s as simple as that. Now the question is this: what does your sales team find valuable in the Vendasta platform? Our ultimate goal is to bring all of the great unique sales functionality of Vendasta to your salespeople, without forcing them to log into two different dashboards. Is it Snapshot Report? Hot lead notifications? Or how about some of the new lead scoring and account activity from Product-Led Growth? Register today and let our team know! vendasta.com/salesforce

Announcement #3:

Updates to Task Manager

Available today. Learn more about custom project templates.

Our software platform previously known as “Concierge” has received a bit of a facelift this year, but the core problem it solves for fulfillment teams has always been the same: it’s a prescriptive way to manage your client’s digital marketing needs, so your team can service more customers and scale effectively.

That’s the magic word: scale. Easier said than done, but an absolutely critical component to growing your business. You might be asking yourself: what actually is scale? And why is it so damn important?

Vendasta’s EVP Jeff Folckemer has a fairly unique definition of scale: “It’s the ability to grow your business so others see the value. This includes your customers,
your investors, your team, and you! So, Value = Scale x Revenue x Customer NPS.”

One of the biggest challenges fulfillment teams face is showing value. Not because there isn’t value in the services being provided, but because it’s difficult to be transparent with clients on every last bit of work being performed. Tasks on projects like managing social media content, responding to reviews, claiming listings, and build websites can require multiple touchpoints and input from various team members, yet the end business might not see all of the hard work behind the scenes.

To remedy this issue, we’ve seen partners use something that everyone understands: spreadsheets (groan). On the surface, this might seem like a good idea; everyone can open a spreadsheet. It’s easy to share, easy to understand, etc… But managing fulfillment in spreadsheets is a total recipe for disaster. It’s hard to collaborate, it’s hard to track, and it’s damn near impossible to create repeatable processes.

That’s where we see fulfillment teams turn to popular tasker tools like Trello, Asana, and Basecamp. Unfortunately, users of these tools face issues as well; most task management systems are not prescriptive, they’re not automated, they’re user-focused as opposed to account-focused, and perhaps most importantly, they’re not 100% integrated with the fulfillment work that needs to happen.

That brings us to Vendasta’s Task Manager: a digital marketing fulfillment dashboard designed for fulfillment teams. What makes it unique? It’s prescriptive, so it automatically pulls in tasks for your agents to perform. Plus, with our most recent updates, your team can manage large projects and organize a group of tasks for your client’s business at scale (there’s that magic word again). We like to think of it as the binding agent that enables scale, efficiency, expertise, and reporting for companies providing fulfillment services to SMBs.

Of the new Task Manager features unveiled at Conquer Local 2019 there were a few stand-outs, including Projects & Custom Project Templates. Projects are ideal for managing any collaborative, multi-step digital project, including but not limited to: website creation, PPC and social campaigns, listing management tasks, onboarding and QBRs, and client engagement projects like collecting and responding to reviews. Additionally, custom project templates make onboarding new clients a snap.

It was also announced that coming soon, the Task Report will be integrating with the Business Center Executive Report. For those of you unfamiliar with Task Manager, the Task Report is automatically generated and emailed, and shows your clients an overview of completed tasks, and work that’s pending. It shows things like how many social posts have been scheduled, how many reviews have been responded to, and how many listings have been claimed. Task Manager keeps track of all the essential tasks your team has performed and propagates information into the automated Task Report.

The tricky part of the Task Report has always been that it’s separate from all other reporting delivered to SMBs via the Vendasta platform. Namely, the recently updated Business Center Executive Report shows proof of performance on a wide array of products from the Vendasta Marketplace. With this upcoming integration, you’ll be able to display all of the hard work your team has been doing behind the scenes right alongside the metrics that showcase whether or not the business winning online.

Task Manager is available now for all Vendasta partners. Look forward to seeing the Task Report integration with the Business Center Executive Report coming sometime later this year.

Announcement #4:

Multi-Location Business Center

Available today. Learn more.

Do you serve customers who manage multiple businesses? Businesses with more than one location face challenges at a greater scale. It’s difficult to keep a pulse on the health of all your businesses

Whether you have a franchisee/franchisor relationship, sell to a specific industry, or are simply an owner of multiple different businesses, you’re likely all asking the same questions:

  • What are people saying about my brand?
  • Which locations are doing great?
  • What work needs to be done, where?
  • Where are the biggest customer issues?

Vendasta wants to help answer these questions. Therefore, we’ve made a significant investment to upgrade our Brand Analytics dashboard. Now, with Multi-Location Business Center, Vendasta partners can let their clients see which of their locations are winning or need help, slicing data in any way. It features a completely redesigned, new mobile interface that’s accessible directly within Business Center, making it easy to switch between single and multiple business location views. Because it’s deeply integrated with Vendasta product suite and growth platform, we’re able to take all the data on individual locations and roll it up into this powerful dashboard.

Here’s what we think makes Multi-Location Business Center so special:

  1. Expose big brand data: see the big picture with ease, and get insights on how to better manage multiple locations at once.
  2. Find the outliers: See which locations are winning or need help, slicing data any way you want.
  3. Bulit-in workflows: Get work done with key workflows, like responding to reviews, made easy.
  4. Built to be extensible: Currently, we support review and listing data, and most recently have added Google My Business Insights. In the future, we’ll be supporting your data, coming directly from your own products you’ve added to the Vendasta Marketplace.
  5. Powerful mobile experience: Available anywhere to all users on a mobile device.

Early customer feedback has been incredible. Here’s what Erica Byrum from Apartments.com had to say:

Multi-Location Business Center is available to all Vendasta partners today. Interested in upgrading? Give us a shout!

Announcement #5:

Instant screen share for salespeople

Available today. Learn more.

Remember that sales survey I mentioned earlier? One of the questions we asked was around the types of regular interactions salespeople have with customers. Over 60% of respondents say they either use phone calls or emails. While in-person visits are still important, the industry shift to remote sales pitches is clear.

We’ve also heard from our partners that screen sharing software can, at times, get in the way of sales. Prospects often are left struggling to find a link they need to click to join the meeting and are then asked to download software that may or may not work on their device. We understand this first-hand; over the past year, our own in-house sales team has been experimenting with a remarkable tool that streamlines this process and maximizes the impact of remote sales presentations. It’s called Crankwheel, it kicks ass, and now we’re bringing it to all Vendasta partners through integration with Sales & Success Center.

Crankwheel is screen sharing software that launches instantly and allows prospects to view using any browser, desktop or mobile device. It even shows you whether they're paying attention (or not).

How does it work? Within an account’s detail page in Sales & Success Center, you’ll notice there’s a new “Share Screen” link at the top. Click it.

You’ll then be asked which contact you’re planning on sharing your screen with. Not seeing them on the list? No worries. Simply cancel, scroll down, and add them to your Contacts list.

Click on your contact and wait for a second or two. If this is your first time using Crankwheel, you’ll be asked to add the extension to your browser (Chrome only at this time). Once installed, head back to Sales & Success Center and repeat the process.

And that’s all! Once loaded, you can start sharing your screen. It even allows you to connect viewers by sending them a link through text message, email, or a direct URL. Simple, right?

With your free plan, you have unlimited access to Crankwheel for your first month. Each month past that it drops down to 25 interactions. Thinking of ditching your current screen share software? You can check out their paid plans here.

Announcement #6:

In-platform SaaS Metrics

Coming Q3 2019.

One of the biggest questions we know Vendasta partners have is this: “how do I know if I’m winning or losing?” At the moment, it’s a bit of a challenge to answer. That’s where In-platform SaaS Metrics come in. They’ll allow all Vendasta partners to instantly make sense of all the data flowing through their platform, with a clear understanding of where they’re at, and how fast they’re going. With this update, we’re giving them the tools they need to take immediate action on the areas of their business that need the most focus.

As Peter Drucker has famously stated, “what gets measured gets improved.” And in our SaaS world, we’ve identified a few key measurements (linchpins) that make all the difference.

The fastest growing Vendasta partners have one thing in common: they’re tracking the metrics that matter most. We’ve identified 6 key metrics that you need to track:

  1. Engaged accounts
  2. Engaged salespeople
  3. Account retention
  4. Billed products & basket size
  5. Average revenue per paying account
  6. Gross revenue

Our high-level SaaS metrics dashboard reports on each of these metrics. Consumable at a glance, where you can tell where you are at; see if things are looking good or need further investigation and action. The reporting of each metric will be based on targets derived from industry research but can be overridden to fit your specific business needs. Additionally, you can drill down into each specific metrics to get rich, actionable information.

In-platform SaaS Metrics arrive Q3 2019. Look forward to hearing more information soon.

Announcement #7:

Office 365 coming to Marketplace

Coming July 2019.

Office 365 announcement starts at 16 minutes & 35 seconds

To cap-off our conference, it was announced that the world’s most popular productivity software (and, quite possibly, the world’s most popular software, period…), Microsoft Office is coming to Vendasta’s Wholesale Marketplace for resellers. This means agencies, media companies, cloud brokers, and anyone else who sells solutions to local businesses, of any size, can immediately go-to-market with Office; no contracts or technical integrations required.

Office 365 joins G Suite, MyCorporation, Constant Contact, and GoDaddy as our latest global brand Marketplace integration, and will be available July 2019.