The true test of marketers. Are you a revenue driver or a cost center? You cannot afford to be the latter. Marketing leaders must focus their teams on the areas that will drive revenue while they cut costs – the biggest impact for the business. Join TripActions CMO Meagen Eisenberg at SaaStr Summit as she highlights her approach to ensuring Marketing delivers on its mission-critical role even in times of uncertainty or crisis.
Meagan Eisenberg | CMO @ TripActions
For four years at MongoDB. Today we’ll talk a little bit about the marketing trade-offs during Coronavirus, or really any, I would say, crisis type mode and things that we’re all learning to adjust to and really about driving revenue while cutting cost. A little bit more about my background. I’ve advised more than 25 companies, seven of which have been acquired in the last two years and three of which have gone out of business. So I’ve seen both sides of it.
But one thing I know through pattern recognition, there’s a lot of similarities across startups and companies as they go through the different stages. Every company is different. They have different personas, different messaging, but there’s certainly some things that I see that are familiar. And so today I’m looking forward to sharing some of those learnings and what I’ve seen.
I was fortunate enough two years ago to be part of a case study that Stanford GSB did on MongoDB with my current partner here at TripActions, Carlos Delatorre is the CRO here and was the CRO with me at MongoDB. And so today I thought I would put it in a case study format. But this case study occurred in the last five weeks. So very new and fresh for all of us. And the case study of course is going to be on TripActions.
So I think a ten-second background on us and what we do. We are a business travel management and a new model for corporate T&E. We are very much a different model in that we’re one platform where you have your booking travel, your consumer-like interface married to your world class travel agents all in one. And so we’re a great experience for your employees but also for your finance teams who are trying to control costs and save money.
So here we are, the unfortunate truth. Companies have found themselves unprepared in the midst of COVID-19 crisis. It’s unlike anything many of us have faced. And with that, we’ve got a complexity of a health crisis and an economic one. We’re all aware we see declining pipeline in revenue, cost controls are at the high, we’ve got major expense scrutiny. We’re looking at everything we do from software to people.
Our workforce is remote. We’re going through layoffs and furloughs, recession planning and for me as the CMO, facing really massive cuts to marketing budgets and headcount. As you imagine, you’re looking at your costs and what you can really adjust. And what I can say more than ever is there’s a Latin proverb out there that says, if no wind, row. And I’ll tell you that is what we’re doing in this case study and I think across the board.
I’ve talked to many CMOs and even CEOs really looking at the current situation and all of us are rowing right now. And as a business, TripActions, we about five weeks ago had to focus immediately on the core. There were four things that we focused on, our customers. We knew immediately we’re in business travel, our travel managers needed our help. Think about what was happening five weeks ago, we were starting to shut down travel to Asia as a start and trying to figure out what does that mean.
And then it started to spread and it started to spread over to certain countries in Europe, all of Europe, UK, and went on from there. So I’ll talk a little bit about what we did to focus on our customers. Second, product market fit. We knew that this is a new world. This is a very different thing that we need to be ready for. And one thing I’ll say about tech companies is that in a time like this what is going to get us out of this is technology.
We see all over Twitter right now, digital transformation, everyone’s working from home. If you have not set your workforce up to deal with this and you are not online and in the cloud and all the things that we need as employees in a business, you’re making that transformation now. Product market fit matters more than ever and technology is what’s going to get us out of this, the understanding of data and getting the insights and how fast we move in tech.
And then third of course, cash preservation. In the five weeks ago my dad, 74 years old. He’s always been in tech over 30, 40 years. And he saw a lot of the news going on and he sent me a text and in the text it said an old saying from a tech guy who’s been through multiple recessions that said, love cash more than your mother. And I got that text and I kind of smiled. It’s so true.
Of course, in fairness to him my parents are divorced. And so I do love my mother, but I understood what he meant. Cash means a lot to really get through what we’re going through. And then of course your employees. More than ever you need to motivate and help your employees get through this. We launched a podcast this week and really it’s around open for business. But the first topic is on wellbeing.
So these are the four things we focused on as a company. I think all companies need to think about. So let’s think about our customers. Five weeks ago on a Friday, the CEO Ariel pulled a bunch of us execs in a room and said we need to pivot immediately. We need to build immediately. We need to do what we need for our customers. Right now they’re dealing with the duty of care. They’ve got to find their travelers and get them home, but there’s more than that that we’re hearing from our customers.
And he said, “Product and engineering are going to build this weekend. They’re going to build a bunch of things that we need. Meagen, sales. Everyone, customer success. You need to be prepared to launch this. Launch it to our customers, launch it to the sales team, launch it to prospects.” And in my mind I was thinking, well, we’ve always cared about traveler health and safety. We have a map. We know where they are.
We know where future travelers are coming. So what are we building over the weekend? And what we talked about is what they needed right away is information. And they needed to come into the tool so they could make decisions. They needed the data and the insights. And the engineering team built an integration to the CDC that fed in level one, two and three. And at the time he really cared about level three, certainly even level two countries and making sure your travelers didn’t go there.
And could I, as a travel manager, start to find out what countries I need to get people out of and get them home? But then also, what do I need to do to block new travelers and make sure they’re aware? You can’t afford to have only a percentage of your workforce on a platform. You need to know where everyone’s at. So if you found yourself in a situation where it was unmanaged and people had booked on consumer site, you didn’t know where they were, who you needed to get home.
So we built out integration very quickly. And then as a marketer, I had to think a lot about, okay, these things are starting to change and what our travel managers care about in this situation. And the third thing is that they needed to blacklist. First, they needed to blacklist by country and continent, Asia. But then we started thinking, well, actually cities as it hit the US and we started to shut down routes as a travel system, what are the tools you need?
And I think tech is uniquely situated to deal with this issue because one, we were a five year old company born after the iPhone and our ability to pivot and build very quickly and our agility is what allowed us to deliver for our customers and what we need moving forward from a product market fit standpoint. And so we built. And really our approach to our customers and the market had to pivot immediately. And that of course affected everything we were doing in marketing.
So as a CMO, I had to focus my team on driving revenue while cutting costs. Because as you know, we took a hit on head count and we took a hit on a budget. So how could I be a lot smarter about it and focus my team on what we needed? And the three things we needed to focus on were messaging and the narrative and the new world, and what customers needed and prospects needed. Two, we had deals in the cycle.
What did we need for our sales team from an enablement standpoint and our CSMs? Our customer success managers needed to focus on what our customers needed in the moment to protect their employees and travelers and protect them moving forward. And then of course, sales pipeline and the livelihood of our business. And what did we need to do for demand gen? Because demand gen landscape changed dramatically.
As we know, people aren’t traveling, events weren’t happening. So I’m going to go into that. I’m going to start with messaging. So look at this. This is our website a little over five weeks ago. What’s wrong with this picture? This is what’s wrong with this picture. The best experience in business travel. Nobody in the last five weeks has been having a good experience in business travel.
People that were away were trying to get home, whether you were for business or for personal, our travel agents were busy. We went 7X on call volumes and chat volumes in a week. It was immediately. And it started in Asia and it started to spread around the world, everyone needed to get home. And then it turned into a wave of everyone needed to cancel future travel. And we even had CEO’s that use our product that were on vacation that needed to get their families home and they called into the airline, to the hotel and they couldn’t get on the phones. All the phones were busy.
And so they actually called into our travel agents and our travel agents immediately got them flights, got their families home, brought them home. So we were helping our customers, we were helping our customers’ families. It was very busy, but it was not a best experience in business travel. And so as a CMO I realized, oh my goodness, all the work we’d done in the last year, every email, every nurture, everything had to be audited and we needed to rewrite it and we needed to do it very fast because the tone and the environment had changed.
We were going into a mode, the tone was serious and it wasn’t this happy, cool, hip thing. It was this, let’s get people home, let’s be serious. And we pivoted very quickly to the power to manage business travel and expenses. And what you see on the right is what we did in about a year of rewriting content in five days, 15 hour days. I had the team working weekends, late nights. And we went through all of these items.
Right away, we had to pivot the sales deck and shift with what we spoke about and what we highlighted. Many of these things, the product already had. We had duty of care. We had things that helped you with business continuity, but it wasn’t what we led with and what we started with. Because before five weeks ago, you cared about the traveler experience and controlling costs. Now you cared about traveler safety and controlling cost.
And so we started to pivot. The sales team had to be trained, all our MDR and SDR outreach had to be changed. We had outreach sequences, we had over 60 of them. We audited them all. We had to rewrite them. We rewrote our entire website. Screenshots changed, graphics changed, quotes with customers changed. We had over a hundred emails that we were doing in nurture that had to be pulled down, rewritten and then re posted, pausing people through them, social media copy.
All our social handles, think about Twitter, Facebook, they all said the best experience in business travel. We had to redo all of those. And then also a week before this really hit, so about six weeks ago, we had launched a new product called TripActions Liquid. It is a corporate card for expensing. And our tagline was, don’t you wish all business travel was this smooth, and really playing off the liquid side of it.
But really travel wasn’t that smooth, it didn’t make sense. And now it was about spend diligence, it was about people starting to work from home and how you enable them to understand your expenses in real time, not waiting a month or two months when they submitted it. People needed to order monitors at home. So how could you enable them? And so we had to change all our display ads, all our magazine ads, you name it. It was a massive rewrite of work.
And what I will say is if you’re today looking at all your content, you should do an audit and do a lot of this pivot in your messaging so you’re relevant for today. And there was a lot of discussions on the channels around not being tone deaf and making sure you weren’t taking advantage of the situation, but that you were really delivering what your customers and prospects needed. And this is just another example of what we featured and quoted started to change and our customers, we had built all these products and we were getting great feedback and they were more than willing to allow us to talk about it.
And it wasn’t about the amazing booking experience and our world class travel agents, we had that. It was about employee safety, duty of care and controlling costs. So if you think about it, everything, when you pivot your messaging, now my second priority was sales enablement, making sure that we took what we had to pivot and what we were building and get it into the hands of the sales team and make sure they were delivering it appropriately.
And that really starts with your pitch and the value that you provide in times of crisis and for business continuity. And so we spent in a very short amount of time what we needed to do to enable the field around that. And then the third thing really getting into driving sales pipeline and what did we need to do from a demand gen standpoint. And here, if you think about pre COVID times, now and post, if you look about your buyer mindset, really we were all focused on our function.
How do I optimize my function? Even myself, how do I optimize what we need to do in marketing? And if you’re at HR, how do you optimize onboarding? And you’re recruiting, you’re focused on that. And now all of a sudden, you hit this period, the great pause, right? And you’re distracted, things are uncertain, you don’t feel connected, people are working remote. In HR, you’re trying to figure out first safety.
Then second, you’re trying to think about how do I get people that are now a part to come together and to work together? Once you get through this moment and you get set at home, now you need to get your employees back to being productive, because we can’t afford the couple of weeks of slow down and then now not to operate as productive as we were prior to this period. So what do we do to motivate?
And across the board, every buyer that we’re working with, that change, things they focused on. And what I would say the most important thing for us was how do we become a trusted resource in this time? What are we doing to provide value? People are seeking information. They’re watching the news. They’re jumping on Twitter more than ever. I mean, Twitter must be exploding. I know I’m on there. I see a lot of conversations, these little town halls popping up, having conversations.
So things are shifting very quickly and you need to realize and shift with your audience. And so how does that play out? Well, we do what we always have done in marketing. You’ve got to make sure people know who you are and where you’re at and how to connect with you, but then you need to hone in and be very targeted and think about how this impacts your account based marketing, your ABM. And now do this with less money and maybe less people.
And so here we are, how do we market in a world where we have to be six feet apart, work from home and not come across as tone deaf? And all these different things that are distracting our buyers and our folks and what do they care about to get business done? Some of you may remember I did a talk at SaaStr a few years ago about how the hell do you get leads right now and more than ever. That is what we’re thinking as we get through this, how do we build pipeline? How do we bring them in, how do we drive value?
And this was the funnel that I shared. And what this is is the mix of things. On the left, you’re really looking at all the awareness. So that casting the wide net, what are all the tools we have as marketers to bring people in? And what do we do to accelerate the pipeline and then keep them as customers? And I’ve gone through and crossed out a few things. Because as we know, we’re not doing events right now, we’re not doing trade shows. We’ve moved to a virtual world like today.
But those in-person things and the way that we created awareness in a greenfield space was to get out there in person to get them aware of us, but then to bond them to us, to have them become fanatics of our brand, that interaction. Direct mails have changed, right? Nobody’s in the office, you can’t go buy an office list and address and send it to them and surprise and delight them. What’s great is the companies out there like Sendoso have pivoted and given us a way where we can engage with them on email and they can privately update their information.
One of the things I love that I saw was Matt Heinz. He sent an email out to CMOs, a few of us and said, “Hey, I’m starting a book club. I’m going to send you a book if you’re interested. We’ll read it in the next couple of weeks. We can come together online and look at it.” And I gladly gave my personal address and I got the book yesterday. And I think what a great way to reach out to your audience to bring something to value.
It was change and adversity. How do we deal with adversity and marketing around that? So I can see the world pivoting and coming up with creative ideas. And part of leading for your team and in marketing is what got you to respond? What are you seeing that gets your attention? What actually makes you open the email, the line? What do you see on Twitter or on Facebook or on LinkedIn that gets you to read it? And how can you apply that to your own company?
And so these things have changed. Now we have less money to do all of them so we’ve got to be really smart. And I think the trick is creating content and value and what your customers need now. And so here we are, that cast in the wide net, brand awareness. How do we let everyone know we’re here to stay in this new world of marketing? Well, we’re not going to do these things, or at least we’re not going to do them the way we used to.
Maybe we’re going to do virtual events and instead of have some cool experience at the event, we’re going to send Uber Eats to them and send them some coffee. Or maybe we’re going to take them to lunch at home and allow them to order because if we were in a sales cycle, we’d take them to lunch. So let’s find creative ways to surprise and delight the people we need to talk to and reach out. But we’re going to pivot.
And one of the things we’ve done is we’ve really looked at what can we do online with videos and ads to engage with folks that are still online. Now I will tell you, things went dead for definitely two and a half weeks. I didn’t see things start to rebound out there in traffic until about April 8th, April 9th. But I think the world went quiet as we all figured out how to get home, how to deal with the situation, homeschooling. I know I have three kids.
How do we make sure they’re set up and what they’re doing? How do we keep our businesses running? How do we figure out the new world and market and learn? The other thing is on the right, press community and social media. Think about this. About a week and a half into this, after we pivoted all our messaging, we decided, you know what? Everyone has questions. Everyone certainly in the travel industry is trying to figure out Coronavirus, where’s it hitting? What’s the CDC doing? What are [inaudible 00:20:20] are out there.
There’s all these questions coming up for our specific community. So within 48 hours, we figured out how to launch a community. And the systems and tech team, Schwartz on my team went out there and he evaluated what was available that we could… We had to buy it, procure it really quickly, went out on G2. What are the technologies that we could stand out? What could we afford?
We were lucky we found technology called Vanilla for that we knew we could go through the procurement process. We might’ve skipped a few steps to get them to stand them up. I had the content team working on the content calendar. Corporate marketing was working with our influencers, partner marketing was working with our partners. Can we stand a community up? And in 48 hours, we did stand a community up.
We had one topic, it was Coronavirus. We’ve now since expanded it. It was a blue background, it was very bland. But then within a few days, we added a much better interface. We learned how to use the product a little better, we add other topics. And we launched community.tripactions.com and we started to see traffic come in and it sits on our domain. And we were able to interact and start to provide value. Our suppliers came in, our airlines and hotels came in and started contributing content.
And it was a great way, I think, for us to build and provide value to our community in a time of what they were needed and what they were searching for. We also were sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves, I think in travel is sad. Things are grounded and people weren’t traveling. And there was a lot of things not great going on. We were working from home and we were missing our colleagues. And we were brainstorming, what can we do?
And we came up with the idea called PassThePlane. And I’ll go into it a little bit more on the next slide, but it was, what can we do in this moment to reach… We’re separated, but how do we come together when we’re apart? Our mission is all about bringing people together. So this is a very awkward time for TripActions folks that were all about the circles and squares and bringing them together. And so we had to think about what could we do?
And we kicked this off as a company and we started to make paper airplanes and pass it around. And most of us have paper, maybe we even have a bill that we can fold up and throw. And we threw it to our employees and I threw it to a colleague in Seattle, and they threw it to a colleague in Palm Springs. And we started to really feel a connection that way. The other thing we did is we started looking at consumer brands.
I feel like consumer brands really get these types of things. We saw McDonald’s, they started separating their arches and really trying to do public service announcements around social distancing. And we thought, “Oh, what can we do?” Well, we can separate our circles and squares. And we did that. We separated them and we said, “Hey, let’s take a few weeks.” And hashtag social distancing, what are the creative things that we can do from a brand standpoint to support what we need to do in the world and be part of it and resonate with our audience and not be tone deaf in what’s going on in the world out there?
And then of course, you’re always thinking about your customers and as you pivot your messaging and product, you need to have the right customer case studies, the stories that you could put out there that make sense. And then really thinking a lot about our blog content and our SEO strategy, what do we do with not a lot of budget? You need to bring traffic to your site and how do you bring traffic to your site? You write content that people value and come to and share.
And so we continued to build a lot of content that was relevant for what we’re doing today and what’s needed and get it on our blog and share it and work with our influencers. So that’s the brand side of the world. Here’s PassThePlane. So far we’ve reached over 5.6 million. I certainly invite all of you to do it. There’s something, I think, amazing out of the sadness when you do this with your colleagues as one and even your family.
My dad is remote and at home, isolated of course. And I know he loves airplanes and I pinged him. I text him and I was like, “Hey, you love airplanes. Will you make an airplane and throw it?” And he was all over it. He took a video of it, did it, he videoed it and then he sent it and he tagged my nephew that’s down in Albuquerque. And then my nephew did it. And it’s amazingly easy to do and I did it with my kids that day as well. And to see them doing it and having a little bit of joy in times that are not great and how it can bond and bring you together.
And there’s something I know in your company and in your world that would resonate with your audience in ways that can bring you together. And so that’s something that we did and that we launched. So to balance the brand awareness and what are you doing out there with your community is now how do we translate this into demand and identifying our targets and getting them in there and really thinking about the ABM side? Well, we can’t do these things the same way anyway.
We certainly can’t do thought leadership round tables in person, and we can’t do the sporting events. And the direct mail, we can adjust it to the email and trying to personalize it or sending them things like I said about Uber Eats. And one of the things that we did that we’ve seen a lot of success with is thought leadership office hours. We thought, well, people are coming together in the community. We brought our CAB together, our customer advisory board, but we also realized CFOs right now are working double time.
They’re trying to figure out how to preserve cash, how to control costs, how to forecast out, how to run the business and maintain it successfully through this time. They have things they need to talk about. Could we create a webinar to bring them together? And we have run four of these now where we brought CFOs together and seen an amazing response. And it’s not about us talking about our product. This is about letting CFOs and our customer network and our prospects come together to talk about what they’re dealing with and ideas.
Same thing we brought together HR leaders and bringing them together and thinking about procurement leaders and certainly travel managers. And so can you bring communities together? I know I’ve joined several CMO ones that I have found invaluable to be learning from my peers and understanding and working with them. Certainly measuring and tracking. We’re trying to figure out what’s working, what’s not. Our budget more than ever, we need to make the most of it.
There’s a lot of great technologies we’re relying on right now to give us that information. We’re doing much more personalized videos and ads. So we’re only putting ads in front of our target accounts. So we are efficiently spending our money. We’ve been working with Terminus to target our strategic accounts and major accounts and seeing some really good results and partnering with our sales team. We’re building out micro sites for those accounts. So it’s very relevant to what they want.
Our sales team has relationships they’re building as they go through the funnel. And it’s important that when this company comes to the site, they see the things that matter to them specifically. And then of course, our persona messaging. More than ever, there’s a lot of noise out there. And if you have a few different personas and you’re sending them all the same thing, they’re just going to delete it. What does finance care about? What does your CFO care about right now? What does procurement care about? What does the travel manager and HR…
I guarantee they’re all different things and that they need the relevant information. So as I said, we created office hours for the different personas but also just messaging to make sure that we’re on spot. And what I will say, my team has definitely been rowing, right? Really trying to figure out what do we do to keep the moment up and moving forward. And with that, these are some examples, generating demand by becoming a trusted resource. That’s what bonds you to your customers as you’re adding value to them.
This week, as I mentioned, we launched a new podcast. We’d love to have you all go and check it out. It’s called Open for Business, which all of us hopefully will be in the… We are now certainly, but as we come out of this and get everyone back to business in the next couple of weeks, coming months. We launched one this week. We’ve also set up workshops that are specific and we worked with an agency called FESTIVE ROAD that are helping businesses figure out what is the tools, what is the roadmap, what are the policies that they need moving forward?
And we’ve launched something called Route-Based Recovery. It’s the reverse of blacklisting. If you think about it, we started to shut down routes as travel in the world started to be impacted. Now there’s going to be routes that are going to open back up. You may fly SFO to Norida or to EWR or whatever your routes are for your company. And you’re going to want to only open the routes that you find out that are safest for your employees or at least you’re informed.
And so we have that integration with the CDC, how do we help our travel managers figure out where they can start to allow their essential workers to travel? Because executives are going to need to get on the road to talk with customers and prospects. Your top salespeople are going to need to get out there to meet. We know more than ever that end person connection does matter. And when folks and the country and the world is ready to do that, we want to make sure businesses have the tools they need.
So workshops are a great way to help and provide value. I talked about the persona based wiki resource centers. We’ve launched these amazing resource centers by persona that’s not just about us. If you make it about you, they won’t stay for long. It’s got the information they need out in the market to do their job better. We also launched… it’s been a busy week. Thank you marketing team for building. We launched our TripActions Academy. We launched six courses this week.
One thing we know during recessions and depressions is people go back to school and they retool. Community colleges get really busy and all of us need to retool our skillset for where people are hiring, what people need. It’s a competitive marketplace. And so we’re launching this to get people certifications and learning so they can be even better at their job. And also people are at home right now and they may have some time to focus and learn. And what better time than to do online courses in school.
So we’ve launched academy.tripactions.com for our customers and for prospects, and really anyone who wants to better themselves in this time. And then persona based calculators and different ROI tools. Right now in finance, they just canceled a bunch of flights and they need to understand what’s the impact. What’s the financial impact of flights and credits that they have and cancellations and the tools that they need so they can spend wisely and make sure they’re taking care of their businesses?
So all ideas and things that you can do to provide value to your customers and move forward and help them. And I definitely believe more than ever, I’ve always thought a true test for marketers, are you a revenue driver or a cost center? And I thought about that before this, but really now more than ever we can’t afford as marketers not to drive revenue and show our value and to be able to showcase that.
And I believe more than ever you need marketers in this world because we’re understanding the audience, what we need to do and enable our field team to quickly pivot and message. We need to be creative right now. We can’t be tone deaf, we have to add value. There’s just so much that we need to do right now. And really that’s what I have to share with you. Thank you for your time. And I’m open for questions. Let me see. We have a Q&A here. And I might need some help from the SaaStr side. Let’s see here. Clicking on the Q&A, maybe I have to escape out of here for a second. All right. Here we go. I see our chat.
Hey, Meagen. I’m also happy to read you a few questions if that helps.
Yes, if you would. For some reason the Q&A is… There it is, now it’s popping up. So Meagen, I’m interested to know if you’re able to generate any prospects after changing all the messaging, especially in the industry you’re in. Yeah, that’s a great question. We are usage based model. So if people are not booking hotels and travel, we don’t have that revenue coming in. But what is interesting about this time, we had our second largest month in the history of the company in March.
And why? You ask why would that be? What people found is certainly if you were unmanaged, you did not have a platform where you could track or know what your employees had booked, you could not fulfill duty of care. If your employees went and booked on a consumer site, you had no idea where they were. And how do you reach out? How do you protect them? How do you get them home? How do you look at future travel and make sure they cancel those and get that money back for the company?
And so we saw a lot of unmanaged companies go to managed, also enterprise and mid-market that had managed solutions more than ever needed not just the traveler map that we had and the ability to find out future travel, they need to blacklist and they need to get this data and information. So yes, pivoting the messaging and making sure we’re on point definitely brought in prospects and conversations and made us very relevant more than ever. Because there’s certainly employee traveler safety and controlling costs.
The second largest cost for companies is actually T&E for most companies, it’s either second or third. And so this is top of mine. And as I mentioned before, you’ve got a lot of credits you need to manage those. So second question, how big is your team to be able to pivot of your content that fast? How much in house versus outsource? So I did take a hit as we scaled back a little bit, my team is now 32 people. And I did not outsource, actually we cut budget.
So I have a very strong team and we really are builders and created a lot of content. And I have the systems folks in house, I have the content, I have the corporate marketing. We have really good relationships with customers and our partners. And so we were able to pivot and we have strong sales enablement and alignment between marketing and sales to make that pivot. But there were some long hours. I don’t want to necessarily ever go through that experience again. But we were able to do that in house but it was definitely a balance of tough love and motivation for all of us to get through that.
Next thing. It sounds like your team came up with a lot of creative ideas for adapting to the new situation. Can you talk about the ideation process used a bit more as a leader? How did you encourage? So we immediately imagined we’re all remote. I did stand up meetings every day in the morning, and we still do these with my directs, and then did a rap meeting at the end of the day at 4:30, 5:00.
And so at the beginning of the day it was, “These are our top three priorities: messaging, sales enablement and sales pipeline. Where are we on the projects? What do we need to get done? Who’s owning what? What’s the feedback?” It was very like a war room every day in the morning. And I feel like we’re still kind of in war times. And then at the end of the day, it was check in with the entire marketing team, how’s it going? What are we seeing here? Can we follow up with this? What does the sales team need?
So more than ever, you need to come together and communicate. And it is a balance of, like I said, this tough love. You need to motivate everyone but be very clear around the situation that we’re in and what we need to do to get through it. As far as fostering innovation, every meeting I kept a section, an expansive section where it was brainstorm. I need everyone’s ideas, the whole no idea’s dumb and nobody cut it down.
Let’s start riffing on a few ideas and everyone just start… what are you seeing in the market? What have you seen consumer brands do? What can we be doing? And just get those ideas out there and can we build on it? And then also we’re very busy on Slack with ideas and the marketers are creative, right? So I was very proud and impressed by the team. We just kept coming up with ideas. Let’s build a community, can we pass the plane to each other? Can we do something to bring us together?
Can we build an academy and a university? What are we needing? I think this is the fun part about being in marketing. It was horrible but yet fun. The art and science of marketing like what data, what is it telling us, but now how do we get to do the art side of it? So the next one, how do you think about reprioritizing program and ad spend? Specifically would you… It moved. Would you focus… I lost it.
Specifically, would you focus first on capturing high intent bottom of funnel programs or instead focus on lower conversion, lower costs? Oh man. What I kept thinking about was how do I do it most efficiently and what’s converting. Something I saw interesting is certainly in the travel industry, a lot of companies had to make cuts as you can imagine to conserve cash and to go to the core. We saw people stop bidding on our brand terms.
So we didn’t have to spend as much money on brand terms because the smaller players are cash preserving, everyone’s focused on their core business. And so I don’t think it’s a time to pull out of paid search at all, but actually we are able to spend more on different types of terms like business travel management because I think marketing teams got distracted or cut. And so our ability to keep building content that people needed and to keep bringing traffic in.
I don’t necessarily have a good answer. I think you have to look at what you’re seeing in your business, your traffic and what’s converting and what’s not and focus on that. I think it’s going to be a little different for everyone. But I do think paid search and organic is something you should focus on. And content really matters, focus on the right content and tap into your influencers. They’re out there. Everyone’s willing to help.
Our influencers and partners were awesome in this environment. They got it and we were creating content that was necessary and valued and they supported us. It says, if you had to find places to cut social search, where and why? Originally I was thinking we need to pull back in social, but actually I think people need social more than ever because everyone’s on social. We’re separated and isolated and we’re all going online to figure this out.
I’ve spent quite a lot of time looking at Twitter, communicating, exchanging ideas. So I still think you need social, but I think that’s something many people can get involved in. Our CEO’s involved in that, our sales team is on social, has been trained and enabled and your customer success managers and your product… a lot of people you can bring them up to speed if they’re not up on speed.
But I think it’s a worthwhile all hands conversation with your company about what you need from them and how their reach and their networks matter. And it’s, I think, a cost effective way to do it when you don’t have a lot of budget. Let’s see. What should we do with all the physical material we had planned for our previous marketing campaigns? We definitely have the surprise and delight marketing materials. If you’re running social programs and people want to privately opt in for you to send them stuff, there are great programs like Sendoso I mentioned, or Snappy I think.
There’s a couple out there that will allow you to engage with customers and prospects where you could ship directly to them. There is a time that we are going to come back together. So as long as it doesn’t say 2020 on it, we may change our dates on things. I think you can use it or is there a way you can check in with your employees and do things for them? And I think there’s always ways to surprise and delight, or can you donate it to a local organization that could use it? Do you have something of valuable…
There’s lots of organizations trying to help people. I think it’s a time to be creative with that stuff for now. And if it’s branded best experience in business travel, maybe wait a little bit on that stuff. Let’s see. How much time are you investing in creating COVID-19 related content? I would say the first couple of weeks, very much in that. I mean, everything we’re building will help in any really, I think, crisis. But specific to us it’s very relevant in business travel.
There was SARS, there was 911, there’s been many things that have disrupted travel where you need tools to take care of your travelers employees. There’s always going to be times that we need to control costs more than ever. I mean, we should be always thinking about controlling costs, but making sure people have the tools for that. So I think it matters. We don’t know how long things will go, there’s many unknowns. I don’t know. I feel like it was more than worthwhile to focus on what our customers and people needed in that time.
Next question. How do you tailor marketing messaging to reduce churn and increase engagement from current customers? I mean, churn matters right now more than ever and especially in SaaS. Your CFOs are looking at your spend and they’re ranking your software and they’re drawing a line and they’re questioning are these still necessary? If you had to rank your software, what do you need in the future and where are you cutting? They’re negotiating and they’re doing different things.
So more than ever you need to enable your CSMs. Part of the three things I had to focus on, the second one was sales and CSM enablement. Your CSMs need to be connecting with the customers, driving value and making sure one, they know we’re there for them, but that we’re building for them. And if you’re a tech company, which most of you probably are and SaaS, I mean, what’s going to get people’s business back to business is tech.
What we do and what we build and the data we have access to companies need and we can provide value and we can pivot and find product market fit. That’s what startups do, that’s what tech does. And so be communicating with your customers what you’re doing to add value so you reduce churn. And some, you won’t be able to reduce. If you have a lot of SMB and commercial companies and they start to go out of business then that’s out of your control. But what’s in your control is what companies need and what you can build for them and focus on those.
It says, we are a very small team at the company I work at, resources are limited. I’m also entry-level marketer. How do you overcome feeling overwhelmed and help create content in a timely manner? Definitely all of us are feeling that. At least once a week, we did it twice a week in the first couple of weeks, but take your team on a Zoom walk, follow social distancing rules. They can walk around their apartment, their yard, their house.
Keep the distance but there’s nothing like being on Zoom and seeing the blue sky and getting some sunshine. So first of all, if you’re feeling that, get some vitamin D. If you’re in the Bay Area, we got beautiful weather coming. Sit out on your porch, your balcony, your front step and soak up that sun for 10 minutes then come back in, take a deep breath and start building content.
I do think you have to balance your mental health and feelings so that you can be productive. And so do that, take that moment and then come back in and get busy. I’m also a morning person. I do my best work in the morning. I wake up at 4:30, the house is quiet. Like I said, three kids, three dogs. I take that time to recharge, to get ready, to answer follow up and to create and build and write content.
So I think that balance matters, but you do need to build content and put yourself in the shoes of the people you’re writing for and what they need or call up your customers and ask them, what do they need? What’s top of mind, what information did they search for to do their job? And then try and curate it and find it for them. Let’s see, you said you had a large month in March. Yep. Do you think this mainly due to the change of voice from SDRs? How did the process change?
I think it was large because we delivered something that people need and we tapped into what they’re looking for and the value. And I think that it’s your awareness and you’re messaging that you’re putting out there and the content that you’re putting out there, it’s making sure your SDR certainly and your BDRs understand the environment and what needs to happen. It says, how did the process change for sales to be able to close new prospects as the pandemic continues?
Well, I mean, they need to focus on their target accounts, what those target accounts need. One of the things we’re certainly seeing as we deliver T&E, so travel and expenses, is our CFOs need to know right away what people are expensing. You can’t afford someone to maybe leave your company and turn in three months of expenses, $40000 worth of expenses you didn’t even know that was coming. So what you do need is to know in real time.
So what are we delivering in real time for CFOs? Well, we have something called TripActions Liquid that shows you what they’re expensing in real time and you can set the policies and you know and you’re not caught off guard. It’s making sure you’re showing what your persona and audience needs right now. So what I would say is moving forward, we’re making sure our sales team is talking to what our audience needs right now and the engineering team is building. We are building what they need, and then we are quickly making sure we understand and deliver that to market and we have the right messaging.
What about the customers asking for a discount in the interim period, likelihood for churn? I mean, that’s the natural state of things. Some of your customers are going to need to do that. They’re like all of us trying to figure out how we do it. And some cases, if they’re in dire straits, you’re going to figure out how to support them and do what they need in the time. Maybe you’re going to give them some reprieve for a month or two months, or maybe you’re going to, okay, full due at the end of the year.
I don’t know. You’ll figure out that creative thing that you need to do so you can keep your customers and understand their situation. Certainly I ask for those customers that are doing well and on the other side of this cut some slack to your vendors. But it’s a partnership and I do believe we’ll get through this, we’ll figure out what that is and we’ll have the conversations. This is not the first time companies have gone through recessions or negotiations during tough times. And so we’ll figure out what that looks like.
Did you use platforms like G2 and Capterra? If so, did you see any increase in lead flow from these channels? Yeah. So I’m a huge fan of G2 for some obvious reasons. But yes, I mean, we use G2, we look to our customers, they’ve got a great quarterly report that they put out there that shows that we use as enablement for our sales team. They just did a great report for all of us, the top SaaS companies, the top tech companies, the most loved companies.
So they’re doing a great job to help all of the tech companies and SaaS companies out there to surface the voice of their customers. And that’s what we should look to. We should look to people’s customers and what value they’re getting out of the software and have the voice of them. And so, yeah, we’re definitely to answer that question, leveraging G2. Let’s see. With the different marketing streams discussed, what is your rough allocation of each?
Well, five or six weeks ago? I would say budget, we probably did 40% towards events and pipeline and acceleration and person stuff. So when I took a budget cut, I whacked that. And that’s probably the right thing to do. Now when I look at it, people right now are focused on building content. It’s the software we need to take stuff to market. I would say it’s paid search. And it’s content syndication, it’s working with our vendors.
Skift and BTN are out there creating amazing content for travel managers so we’re working with them to make sure we can provide value as well. So I would say it’s content syndication, it’s paid search, those types of things, direct mail through creative means. How are you to manage to be a revenue generator and how did you calculate that? Well, part of being a revenue generator is being able to prove that you drove the revenue.
And we’re fortunate that we do have a pretty, I would say, sexy text deck. We added over 20 martech in the last year that allows us not only to optimize our website, but to understand and really look at our funnel. We have things for sourcing and attribution like Visible, we use Full Circle CRM. We’ve got obviously Salesforce, we’ve got LeanData. We have a bunch of tools that are allowing us to monitor everything that comes in and then see what’s sourced converted and prove it’s not just about MQLs, I follow serious decisions.
It’s not just about qualified leads. It’s actually, did you help build and source pipeline? And then what close did it come from marketing or not? And can you trace that back? So you definitely need the systems to prove that you drove the revenue. And then influence. I would say there’s not many things that get closed in business that you didn’t influence somehow from a marketing standpoint.
Somehow they found out about you. Prior to this thing they found out about you through word of mouth, they found out about you through an event, through something on display, through conversations, a lot from your customers, through paid search. But then they came to your website, which if you’re in marketing or running your website and optimizing and capturing the people that are there, they came through content networks and syndication. And then you had to provide proof.
There’s hurdles they went through to buy your product. Did they want to find out if you were secure? Yeah, they did. Did they want to find out if you’re going to be around for a while? Yes you are and this is the proof. Your sales team can tell you what hurdles they’re facing and what enablement content they need to do that. So all the content you create, you should be tracking. We create campaigns in Salesforce for every piece of content. And whether it’s sources it or influences it, we can tell every person that has touched this content and we track that and look at it and then all the ways they come in through the channel.
Has your organization TripActions seen the uptick in webinar attendance? Yes. Our office hours are awesome. I’m really impressed to see the number of CFOs right now, VPs of finance that are attending our webinars and that are engaging with us after. We don’t sell in the webinars, we’re bringing them a community together. But they come to us and they ask us. They hear about something that we’re doing because our customers are there and they’re talking about some of the tools that they get from us to solve problems and then they’re coming to us.
So yes, our webinars, I call those webinars, they are there. They’re Zoom, they’re office hours. So yes, we’re seeing really good success with that. I mean, and look at right now here we’re on SaaStr summit. And the number of people that I have registered and attend is high because we’re all trying to get information to figure out how to build and run our businesses. How much budget should be spent by startup for their ads currently via ed techs? Okay, for ed tech.
I mean, it depends. If your audiences are there and you’re seeing you’re getting in front of them. I mean Terminus, we use, is a great way to get in front of exactly the audience we want. They can do it by the company. And we use Bombora as well just to understand which companies are in market now. So that combination is a great combination. And so I think it depends what’s working for you and where your audience does that.
So I’d ask your customers, what are they looking at? And then go put your content there because they represent your future customers for the most part, unless you only have five. But if you have at least 20 to 100 customers, they know. So let’s see. So would direct outreach be a good strategy in the current situation? Direct outreach, yes, is a great strategy if you have something compelling for them.
So if you have a message that resonates and you’ve enabled your SDR team with the exact messaging or your sales team. Because you get 14 seconds, right? We all have, I always heard, the attention span of a goldfish is so many seconds. So you need to be able to give value immediately before you get hung up on. And so are you saying exactly what that person needs to figure out at that time? So yes, outreach works if you have the right messaging when you make that call and your field team’s enabled.
Any advice or plans on how to reduce customer churn in this recovery period? Provide value. We launched our academy to better them, to make sure they’re learning and they come out of this with even better information and we’re helping them control their costs and save money in this environment and what they need. So, yes, if you want to reduce churn, provide value, deliver what they need, pivot the product if it’s necessary, make sure your CSMs have everything you need.
And bond with your customers, be creative. If you’re on virtual conferencing or Zoom, create clever backgrounds when you come in. We’re all playing with it. But what if you find out your customer loves The Warriors, can you put like The Warriors on the background of your Zoom and just surprise them? Or they’re from Texas and they like a Texas team, can you do something with Texas in the background or what’s their alma mater?
I don’t know, find something to bond with your customers and surprise and delight them in the environment that we’re in now and be there for them. What do you think about doing virtual events? Would we see the same ROI? I don’t know. We did a big conference traverse. We saw a ton of money from our customers bonding with us and signing up and enterprise and all of that stuff.
What I meant to say was we spent a lot of money on it to bond with our customers and we were going to do it again. And now we need to figure out are we going to do a virtual event? And we probably will, we’re probably going to test it, but it’s going to be different. And we’re going to have to find ways to bond with them and we’re going to have to do it in a cost effective way. And we’ll see, I think it’s going to be a big test for a lot of us.
Part of being in marketing is that you’re testing and more than ever, we have a new environment we’re testing. And if we do ours in September or October, I’ll let you know. Or I bet SaaStr will have a good case study on this for all of us after this week. But we’ve got to find a way to bond. And if people that’s how they’re digesting information, then that might be the way to go. Let’s see. What type of demand gen campaigns are you running during the pandemic?
Well, we’re talking a lot about business travel continuity and the business travel continuity checklist. So we’re creating things that people will need to deal with the situation, ROI calculators I talked about, all of those are things that are value that people are willing to exchange their information for. And so those are things that are relevant that are customers’ need. And we’re seeing a lot of inbound around these types of checklists, ROI calculators, stuff like that.
When you launched TripActions Academy, was it targeted to the unemployed that would learn skills to get a job? No it was not. Actually it’s for our customers out of the gate. We invited our customers. We enabled our CSMs to talk about it. This is like version one phase zero, whatever you want to call it, the six core courses. And we have 20 under works that we’re going to launch. And it’s open to anyone, but we will invite others to join.
And I think if you do them really well, even when we are hiring and onboarding in the future, our own employees will take this. It’s teaching them about the industry, the business, it teaches about best practices and managing travel, what our customers care about. So I think it’s a really great investment almost for any company right now. So no, it wasn’t built for the unemployed, it was built for our customers. It was built for our future customers from that standpoint.
Two questions. On which social media platform are you seeing most traction and how much of a conversion? So I mean, when I talk about social media it’s more about engagement. Over a month ago, I would’ve said Facebook. I still think a ton of people are on Facebook, but Twitter, like I mentioned, I think is blowing up. People are having conversations on Twitter. That’s a really fast way to get information. It’s kind of fun.
Some parts are sad, there’s a lot out there, but it does kind of keep you top of mind and in marketing on what people care about in the moment, what they’re thinking about. So I would say Twitter is a big one. Instagram, we used to be out there in the world taking all these cool pictures of what’s happening in the world, now we’re all taking pictures of our backyards and spraying and things. But people are still on Instagram and that converts over to Facebook. And your really deep networks are on Facebook so I think it’s a great way to connect with your deeper networks.
And then certainly LinkedIn. A lot of people are in LinkedIn right now, whether it’s talking about the value they can bring to customers or looking for kind of their next thing. So I think those are kind of the top four. Let’s see. With the gas lighting and major saturation of COVID related content, how are you keeping a finger on the pulse, the psychology of our consumer, blogs, writers sources to keep an eye on? I think your customers are the light of it.
You yourself, as a human, think about how you’re feeling as a human and what you want to see and hear and what turns you off and what makes you curious. So for me, I mean, I wake up early and I get on and I look and I start to exchange with my colleagues that are all either in Europe or the East coast, they’re on talking. My team that’s in London, Katie and team are sending me stuff and things that they’re seeing.
So I think part of keeping out a pulse is you need to be out there. If you’re in marketing or you’re a CEO of a company, you should be there engaging and talking. And that’s how you kind of stay up on it. And your marketing team, I mean, we have a marketing channel and folks are engaging and dropping topics and generating ideas of what they’re seeing and what they think and create that environment where you’re team feels comfortable doing that.
Let’s see. What do you think about renewals? People don’t have cash flows. I’m not sure I understand that question. What do you think about renewals? People don’t have cash flows. I mean, I think if you’re saying, should we be concerned about renewals as a SaaS tech company? Yes, focus on your customers, they’re going to be picking where they’re going to spend their money and what’s going to help their companies the most and what they need. Come up with creative ways to support your customers and add value.
Let’s see. Most travel tech companies are usage based, do you think we will start seeing more subscription-based? You know what I think is interesting about that? Is if I’m buying software, if I’m not using it, I don’t want to pay for it. So if you’re subscription based and I’m not using you and I’m paying you, I think that model actually in this time is not great. If I am using you, then I should pay for what I use. So while it sucks right now because nobody’s traveling, I actually think usage based is an advantage.
When you use us, you’ll pay for what you’re using. So I think as we come out of this we’ll be attractive to those that are controlling costs. What are the metrics you’re looking at as leading indicators to measure the return to normal? Well, we have a ton of data on people booking. I will say people are starting to book. So we are definitely getting excited to see and to look at kind of how far out they’re booking, where they’re going. So definitely seen that tick towards the future.
Our leading indicators are people booking. That tells us they have a place to go, they’ve got some essential travel, things might come back to normal in the next month or two. But let’s see, right? We’re going to follow the government and follow the CDC and do what’s right for the world. How do you engage with customers and prospects to keep your company top of mind? Add value, making sure you’re delivering. What is the one thing you would recommend marketers not do?
Well, we had a situation ourselves where a competitor actually put out in the market that we’d gone out of business. And they did it in a way, they pinged our customer that they had lost to us at the beginning of the year. And they said, “Hey, well, what are you going to do now that TA’s out of business?” And our customers forwarded that to us. And it was such a sad moment and time to see a competitor take advantage of a really horrible situation and to lie and to put false information out there. That is something, if you are enabling your BDRs, your SDRs, now is not a time to lie about your competitors or put forward any of that stuff that’s not true.
And so how did we react? I mean, we created a blog. We wrote, we reached out to our customers, let them know, “Nope, we’re here. We’re in Europe, we’re in Asia, we’re all around the world.” We had to do what was smart for our business. We had to preserve the core. So we are here for our customers now, tomorrow, in the future. And we know we did what’s right for the business and we had to address it. But that is something I would not be doing as a marketer, have some integrity as companies and don’t do kind of stuff.
You said, when marketing budget profit fall down a company, in this situation what should we do? I think what you’re saying, if budgets are cut what should we be doing? I mean, what I did is I focus on what I think matters the most. I prioritized, I had my team align around three very… now’s the time to focus and execute and track results. So that’s what I would do. And I think content is the way. You can build content and get it out there and it drives organic and it drives value and that’s what you should do.
Can you talk a little bit more about PassThePlane challenge success metrics, goals? Yeah, I mean, we didn’t set up success metrics for PassThePlane. That was something we needed to do as a company, we needed to do as human beings. We certainly were excited when we saw it take off, when we saw partners get engaged, when we saw our employees all around the world pass things, when we saw people we didn’t even know, when we saw families and a glimpse into family’s lives and their kids.
That I think was the great part that came out of it. We did not have goals. Normally, you would set up these brand campaigns and you would say, “This is what we want to see. These are how many reach,” and all that. We moved very fast. We didn’t set those up. And it was something that we did initially with the company and we saw it and we started to put it out there and we built a landing page to educate people on it.
We didn’t brand it with our colors. We invited our competitors to get involved. We really just want it to be something for the travel industry, which as many of you know is really taking such a big hit. And so that was what we did it for. But certainly excited to see over 5 million folks be part of that. Is it that a manual thing to track your marketing in Salesforce or what tools help you to do that to track campaigns?
We use the campaigns module in Salesforce, allows you to track members or leads and it spans across the leads’ and contacts’ databases to track all the way through the funnel. And so as you create campaigns as leads come in, they need to be tagged. So when you go web to lead or web to Salesforce, you need to have it set up on your forms to assign it and track it to the campaign, to put it all the way through.
So have you restructured your team during this crisis? Like I said, I shored up on content. My field team shrank and started to focus on webinars and online events. I pivoted some folks that were focused on some of the social side really heavy on digital and social. And let’s see. As far as scaling back on my original 2020 plan, I mean, events went out the window so that was a big scale back. We had plans to do more out of home advertising obviously. Not many people are going out of home right now and billboards and stuff. So that got put on hold.
Advice for early stage travel SaaS startups, figure out your market. Product market fit matters. So really any startup focused on those first five customers, the next five, get to 10, get to 20. It’s really more about solving a problem for the customers right now and partnering with them to solve that problem and then figuring out what sticks and find the product that many people will need so you can scale.
How do you validate your ideas and choose from a bunch? I mean, as you start to run it, it gets validated, the people engage and it turns into it or not. If you have a bunch of ideas, I mean, I think that’s part of being a leader is figuring out what you’re going to go test. You’re listening to your team, you’re thinking about you got a gut feeling, you’re pulling your customers and you’re bringing all of that data together to make a decision and you hope you make the right decision. And you have to give people the ability to fail, right?
Not every idea is going to work. And I think if you don’t allow some ideas to fail, you’re not going to get good ideas and the crazy ideas, right? It’s the crazy ideas that sometimes win that you’re not expecting, because that’s what breaks through the noise. So that’s my thoughts on… you don’t really know until you test it, you have some gut feeling but go for it. And if it doesn’t work, stop it. Try something new.
I mean, goodness knows we’ve tried a bunch of things in the last five or six weeks and learned pretty quickly and engaged with the market. And if we got information back that said, “Hey, no, that’s not working.” Then we stopped it and then we tried something new.
Hey, Meagen. It’s Webber from SaaStr. Just giving you a quick update. You have about time for one or two more questions.
Thank you. I know we’ve gone long and I appreciate those that have stayed on. It says, could you summarize the vendors you mentioned on this talk that helped you all? So let’s see here. Vanilla forums helped us get our community kicked off. TalentLMS open source, way to stand up your academy. We had to procure software really quickly, it had to be affordable and in our budget and something we could put together and learn very quickly.
Sendoso helped us from a direct mail standpoint. Snappy, a lot like FESTIVE ROAD, is an awesome partner of ours that we’ve been working with. BTN, if you’re in the travel space and Skift. Terminus, another vendor that’s done awesome work with us to get our targeted ads out there and quickly learn and go through stuff. I’m sure I’m missing… Podcasts, we’ve worked with some podcast stuff I don’t know off the top on that.
Let’s see. What tools are you creating for your calculators? I’m not going to remember the name of the calculator. I might have to post that later. But we do have one that we’re working with. Did you guys cut budget? Yes, we cut budget by half, 50%. So yes, we definitely cut budget. That’s the way to become efficient and productive and really help your team prioritize. Lose your budget or half your budget to nothing like focus and I guarantee you gravitate to the stuff that’s going to work when you do that.
Let’s see. How do you set yourself apart from other big TMCs providing tools, et cetera, these tools are still out there? Well out of the gate, there’s a reason we have 4000 customers using us. We are a very different… you need to tell your value prop. We are differentiated because we are one platform. We are amazing tech, that is the booking side of it. We’re a consumer like thing with travel agents. We have a service and support. We have live travel agents all in one platform.
The Legacy providers were built before the iPhone over a decade, if not 20 some years ago. And they are not able to pivot and iterate like a startup can, they’re not agile like we are. And by not having it on one platform, guess what happens if you booked in one tool and now you’re traveling and your agents another tool? You could not quickly figure it out how do you go and get stuff canceled and wait in long hours to get your call back?
I mean, our agents, our SLAs are under 60 seconds because we use a technology we built ourselves called Travel Zen that has everything about you personalized. We know who you are immediately when you call us or chat us. We know what trip you’re on, we know where you are in the world. We know your preferences, your loyalty and the problem you’re facing. And so we can respond very quickly because of that. Our product and our service differentiate us out of the gate.
And if you were out there and had to call in, what I was saying is our SLAs are under a minute, usually 27 seconds. Now our volume went up 700%. We still kept our answering and response under six minutes those two weeks of terror for everyone. We had everyone online, trained, ready to go to support. Our agents were amazing. And that is because we leverage tech. That is because we are a modern platform, we have access to data and we were built in modern times. So that’s how we set ourselves apart from the Legacy TMCs. What percentage of…
One more I guess, because we need to end this. Have you tried word of mouth through your employees, influencers, any advocacy tools? Yes. Definitely. We use GaggleAMP for that. I use community tools like Influitive. Advocacy is a great way and your employees have great networks and can get the word out there. And so yes, we do use word of mouth and we enable our customers as well to shout from the rooftops their experience with us. Thank you everyone. I know I’ve gone way over, appreciate your time. And Earth Day 2020, 50 years celebration, an interesting time to be on the planet.
Thanks so much, Meagen. And thank you everyone else. We’ll see you in the next session