How Handshake Increased Enterprise Sales Performance by 53% with Pathlight

How Handshake Increased Enterprise Sales Performance by 53% with Pathlight
Pathlight Customer Spotlight Award: Devan Nguyen from Handshake

The global pandemic didn’t only change how college students get an education—it also changed how they find jobs when they graduate. Nearly all virtual, the current job market—from those seeking to those hiring—has had to adapt quickly to changing needs. Company and recruiting leaders have doubled down on virtual hiring, and studies show that Gen Z would prefer to go through the recruiting process virtually.

So it comes as no surprise that Handshake, the number one site for college students to find a job, is growing faster than ever. The company was able to take advantage of this new virtual job market and optimize for it, now giving recruiters access to 20M students and allowing students to engage different companies all at the same time in a virtual environment. And, at the close of 2021, they announced their Series F funding of $200 million—signaling plans to continue to grow at a rapid rate in the year ahead, more than doubling headcount in 2022. They’ve been able to differentiate themselves and seize a growing opportunity to help students find jobs by partnering with companies—the key source of their revenue—to find the best hires.

Devon Nguyen is the Senior Manager of Handshake’s Revenue Operations (RevOps) team, which supports the sales team and sales leadership to ensure accurate forecasting, productivity, and optimized processes to gain efficiency in the sales cycle. His job is to implement tools and systems to increase sales velocity and close more deals, thereby making the team more proactive and productive in prioritizing certain accounts—and winning them. Devon was named Pathlight’s customer of the quarter for the amazing results he’s achieved with Pathlight. Here’s a look at how he did it.

Scaling rapidly and the need for a north star

When Devon joined the company, he noticed two things: the sales team was—and is—growing at a rapid pace, and account executives weren’t optimizing their workflows. “AEs lacked focus and weren’t getting the most out of their pipelines,” he says. “They didn’t have metrics or a north star to work towards, either.”

Working to understand each individual AE and where they should spend their time was tedious and not scalable given the team’s growth rate. At the time, Devon, working to improve processes and help the team scale, was relying on a Google Sheets spreadsheet, which he would update daily with team information exported from the many tools they use. This process was time-consuming and meant he spent more time gathering and consolidating data than actually helping the team improve outcomes.

The company had purchased Pathlight when Devon joined, and, when he saw what it could do for the team, he became the champion for implementing it. With the goal of optimizing how AEs and Sales Directors were working and solving for their growing pains, he rolled out Pathlight to improve their processes. “We knew Pathlight was the right solution for us,” he says.

Getting buy-in and leveraging integrations for a successful implementation

Devon’s first priority for implementing Pathlight was building awareness and getting buy-in across the team. “Many of our Sales Directors hadn’t used it before, so I wanted to make sure they were bought in and using it daily,” he says. That involved showing the value of the platform for AEs—and making sure they weren’t struggling with tool overwhelm or fatigue.

“I got them to understand the value of Pathlight as a place to work with their managers on areas of improvement and managing their pipelines and deals,” explains Devon. “Since many AEs are very goal-oriented and driven by their commissions, once they understood how Pathlight could help them hit their targets on a monthly basis, they were on board."

Then, Devon analyzed the sales pipeline. For Handshake’s sales team, pipeline quality, also known as the pipeline ratio, is the number one indicator for sales success within a quarter. “Even with a huge pipeline, if it’s not high quality, an AE will struggle to meet their goals,” Devon says. “So I made sure that each AE’s pipeline was accurately represented in Pathlight so they can see how they’re doing.”

He also started tracking who AEs are engaging with—Handshake has seen repeatedly that if an AE involves a director or above on a deal, there’s a much higher probability of that deal converting. So Devon set up metrics that track which deals involve a director and which don’t.

Finally, he focused on optimizing data integrity and smoothing out integrations to make sure that all of the sales team’s tools were communicating in realtime. He worked closely with the Pathlight team to leverage the product’s features and Salesforce integration capabilities. “As soon as sales directors started to see value in the metrics we were tracking—and trusted their accuracy—it was a breeze getting folks on board,” he says. Now the entire enterprise sales team uses Pathlight.

Tracking—and driving—team success

Handshake’s Sales Directors leverage the platform in 1:1s with AEs every week, and AEs follow up by going into Pathlight to look at how their metrics are tracking. The enterprise team uses Pathlight to guide meetings and share ideas, look at how folks are performing, and run team-wide competitions for hitting specific goals.

“Pathlight has been a game-changer for our team,” Devon says. “We’ve seen our conversion rate on sales increase, as well as other metrics, too.” Above the line (director level or above) engagement has increased for AEs: “We’re able to keep the team accountable for engaging with decision-makers—and drive more wins for them at the same time,” says Devon. And since tracking mini goals in Pathlight, the team has seen an increase in performance of 53%—which contributes to business outcomes and team satisfaction, too.

What’s more, the team’s Salesforce hygiene has improved because directors can identify opportunities that have been in the same stage for 30+ days and encourage AEs to either move the deals along or refocus their energy. The team has also seen outbound sales increase, which is a big driver in demand gen.

And their number one indicator of sales success, pipeline ratio, has also improved. This also improves Devon’s ability to forecast, since pipeline ratio is the team’s number one indicator of performance.

From a team perspective, Sales Directors are empowered to be better mentors and coaches to AEs. “Using Pathlight helps directors understand, for each AE, where they need to focus time, which tactics will improve their performance, and how to drive engagement,” explains Devon.

Finally, for Devon, tracking the team’s key metrics happens automatically, which saves him time and helps him focus on optimizing even further—instead of on transferring data from different sales tools to Google Sheets.

A look to the future: Fine-tuning for the best ROI

As Handshake continues to grow, harnessing their recent fundraising and ability to respond to an increasingly digital job market, Devon and the team plan to expand their use of Pathlight. Devon hopes to add more metrics while staying extremely strategic with the tool, making it one of the most highly leveraged ways for the sales organization to continue improving.

“I don’t want to crowd the platform with metrics, but rather fine-tune the best metrics that can drive results on our team and make sure Pathlight is providing visibility and inspiration for folks across the sales organization,” he says. “Our goal is for all AEs to be using Pathlight by the end of the year. I can’t wait to see the results rolling it out will have on their performance and engagement—and on our sales.”

Congratulations again, Devon! The entire Pathlight team is proud to work with you and we’re so impressed by the Handshake team!

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