Recently we had our first People’s Court at SupportNinja. People’s Court is a recent development within SupportNinja’s sales department in which every deal that is outside of our ideal customer profile is brought before a panel to make the case as to why that potential prospect should be brought on as a client. Attending were the Account Executives, me, our COO, and Ray Preston, SupportNinja’s Head of Sales.
In the beginning, like many growing companies, we took on all customers, regardless of size or vertical. If you wanted to work with us, we were game! In the end, we found that being everything for everyone became challenging and no way to run a business. Taking this into consideration we set rigid requirements.
SupportNinja Client Requirements
Every Account Executive had strict guidelines they had to follow. Guidelines that clearly expressed when they could negotiate and what they could offer at certain volumes.
- 10+ million dollars in revenue
- Aligns with our lines of business
- Customer Support
- Back Office
- Data Entry
- Has need of our minimum ninja count of 5
We, naturally, ran into a couple of problems. Having strict requirements limited potential customers that had high growth opportunities. In turn, Account Executives were running into situations where the pricing guide did not cover the costs of outlier job requirements, potentially losing the company money. We needed flexibility and a way to make sure we work with customers that set SupportNinja up for future success, thus the creation of the People’s Court.
How People’s Court Works
The format is simple, every Account Executive lists out the deals that are outside the ideal client profile. It could be that the deal lacks volume or that the deal is in a new industry. If the Account Executive thinks they can make a case, they add it to the docket.
Items they include:
- Link to the deal profile within HubSpot, our CRM
- The volume required
- The price estimated
- The projected margin
- The reason why the Account Executive thinks they would be a good client for the company
For us, a company’s ability to scale is very important. We ask ourselves if this prospect is a partner that will grow in headcount with us and if they are willing to put in the leg work to be successful. After a short discussion, the leadership panel decides whether to move forward with a deal. It has to be unanimous among the leadership that the deal is right to move forward.
The Benefits Of Having A People's Court
Sales and operations are often able to come to an understanding
Sales learned what was important to operations and how to present those challenges to the prospect. Operations know which deals are going through the pipeline and what their nuances are
Account Executives have to fight for deals
If an Account Executive values a deal they must think twice before discounting or bringing on a challenging prospect.
We are more flexible and able to discuss opportunities that can help us progress as a company.
Tighter control of margins
By having more control earlier on in the sales process, SupportNinja is able to be more focused on the client.
The Path Ahead
We are still early in the process and already I see value in creating alignment between operations and sales. I will update this post with any new developments!