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Gong SaaS Growth Strategy Zenpost Featured Image

When the same company happens to have a revolutionary product that has literally made their market and boasts prominent customers such as Facebook, General Electric, PayPal, and Nasdaq among their 800+ clients… Well, then we’re all ears.

Gong.io raised a $750,000,000 valuation in December 2019 and it was already well-positioned to dominate its market and continue on its path to becoming a Unicorn; all thanks to the best-in-class product and their top-tier growth strategy – which we’ll break down below.

Gong.io has positioned itself firmly on the market as the innovator and authority in revenue intelligence. Luckily, they’ve left us a trail of breadcrumbs that make for a killer growth playbook for a company of any size. Now, to understand Gong’s current strategy – we have to understand the company at its core.

About Gong.io

Gong.io was founded four years ago by Amit Bendov (Revenue) and Eilon Reshef (Product), both senior tech executives and veterans of startups. The company has been doubling its headcount every year and broke the 300 mark in early 2020.

LinkedIn data measuring the amount of employees for the past year

LinkedIn data measuring the amount of employees for the past year

 

total employee count infographic

total employee count infographic

The company addresses data management and best practices for sales, marketing, and other revenue teams. Their revenue intelligence platform collects data from phone calls, emails, and other client interactions, and analyzes it using machine learning.

The goal is to provide end-users with insights so that they can improve their sales.

Since their product is based around illuminating the truth in sales data, they’ve built their entire marketing strategy and messaging around the same.

How Gong.io appeals to sales professionals

[Tip #1] Use powerful messaging and a bold visual approach for a strong brand recall

If there is one motto that could sum up how Gong.io approaches their marketing and communications, it’s the following: “Different is better than better.”

This means that doing something fresh can bring more valuable results than actually being better than competitors.

#1 Conversation Intelligence Platform for Sales image

#1 Conversation Intelligence Platform for Sales image

Gong.io’s website, 2017

Gong.io rebranded several times in the past. Early on, the website was informative, but not very memorable. It looks well put together, but it doesn’t really reflect the power of their platform.

Fast forward to today – their design is impossible to forget. When it comes to presenting themselves to the world, they took a bolder approach.

Their current tagline is ‘GOODBYE OPINIONS. HELLO, REALITY.’

This correlates with the main problem Gong.io identified in the sales industry: too many opinions, too few reality checks. Original research backed with hard data ensures them visibility and recognition.

Check Tip #13 to find out more about why this matters.

Gong.io’s messaging is more direct, actionable, and straight to the point.  It aligns well with the openness of their overall content strategy, their willingness to address the taboo topics, and their clear ‘No B.S.’ approach.

The takeaway: Different is better than better. Define what makes your brand authentic and don’t be afraid to do something out of the ordinary. Speak to your audience at eye level, play with controversial topics to spark industry conversations.

[Tip #2] The Flywheel Framework: Create a frictionless, customer growth process

When you take a step back and try to see the whole picture, you’ll see that Gong.io created a flywheel thanks to their inbound marketing efforts.

The Flywheel Framework was introduced by HubSpot and it implies creating a positive feedback loop so that customer success fuels company growth.

It’s focused on making sure your customers have everything they need to succeed since that grows over time (via referrals and LTV). The team aligns to minimize friction for their customers.

There are three key actions businesses need to take care of in order to optimize their flywheels:

  1. Attract
  2. Engage
  3. Delight
Customers Attract Delight Engage Infographic

Customers Attract Delight Engage Infographic

Gong.io’s first operating principle is – ‘Do whatever it takes to solve the problem of your customers.’ That means going so far as to authorize employees to jump on a plane for a face-to-face meeting with a customer if it would make a worthwhile difference.

That’s how Gong.io creates raving fans and constantly gets unsolicited posts from their fans.

With their data-driven content strategy, conversing with their customers at eye level, they earn the attention of their prospects and aren’t in any way aggressive or imposing. They commit to opening and nurturing relationships, not just closing deals.

By providing knowledge, great service, convenience, flexibility, and instant gratification to their customers, as well as being responsive and proactive, Gong.io continuously delights its customers who then become brand advocates. When you have a great product, the results speak for themselves.

The takeaway: Create raving fans by ensuring a frictionless experience for them to keep your flywheel spinning. Focus on helping your customers thrive: this is directly how you’ll fuel your business growth.

[Tip #3] Practice what you preach:  Gong.io scaled their sales team to achieve $120M ARR using their revenue intelligence platform

Gong practices what they preach and the proof is in the pudding. They reported 2x revenue growth 2020 into 2021.

In 2022 Gong revenue run rate hit $120.0M in revenue infographic

In 2022 Gong revenue run rate hit $120.0M in revenue infographic

Lakta

Gong.io looks at the data available in their revenue intelligence platform to figure out how to influence their hiring profiles and identify their best potential hires.

Because their processes are based on real data, they have the credibility to share their findings with raving fans and potential customers. For instance, they design their onboarding program so that it feels just intense enough so that the new hires struggle a bit in the new business environment.

Led by the ‘iron sharpens iron’ concept, Gong.io ensures people support, challenge, encourage, and coach one another. They try to see the bigger picture and value one individual’s contribution to the team and positive impact on the company.

The takeaway: Practice what you preach. Align what you do internally with what you advise your customers. Share proven and data-backed techniques with your current and potential customers to develop authority and trust in your brand.

[Tip #4] Account-based marketing on a personal level: make the most of email communication

Gong.io always seeks the opportunity to communicate with their customers meaningfully. Email is an irreplaceable channel for that.
There are a minimum of two different segment groups Gong.io communicates with:

  • New email subscribers (i.e. leads)
  • Existing customers

Here’s an example email that a newly subscribed person gets after leaving an email to download Gong.io’s guide:

Email from Gong.io offering a Business Case Cheat Sheet

Email from Gong.io offering a Business Case Cheat Sheet

As you can see, their email matches the set brand tone and it is consistent across all of their channels. A subtle, well-intended CTA is placed in the ‘P.S.’ section.

The language itself is laid back: short sentences, power words, and jargon make the text of the email well adjusted to the target audience.

The greatest value of an email list is that people have already shown their interest in your content. By going through the list of subscribed business emails, you can map out high-profile leads and fuel your account-based marketing.

Monitoring open rates and click-through rates is a good way of qualifying leads or mapping potential frictions, and then reacting proactively. Content is there to support your efforts in engaging different types of groups.

Gong.io promotes new content such as ebooks to their existing list. This is how they ensure their subscribers are well taken care of:

Email from a man offering multi-threading playbook for free

Email from a man offering multi-threading playbook for free

When Gong.io had to update their Privacy Policy due to The California Consumer Privacy Act, the team wanted to come up with a unique way of notifying their customers about what these changes mean.

This was challenging because not many people are interested in reading this type of tedious material.

Devin Reed, Gong.io’s Content Strategist, came up with the idea of how to engage them. He wrote a funny, witty email with a subject line: ‘Our lawyers made us do this.’

This email resulted in a 40% open rate. Once again, they proved that every mundane email or announcement serves as an opportunity to do something different that will grab attention and create more fans.

This approach also generates word of mouth (WOM).

Marketing Channels Distribution Infographic

Marketing Channels Distribution Infographic

Similar Web

As you can see, more than 60% of Gong.io’s users come from direct search, which means they’ve built a habit of coming to the website. That’s great brand recall.

The takeaway: By challenging conventional wisdom and doing the complete opposite of what others are doing, you can take advantage of reinforcing your brand image – even in case of notifying your customers about a privacy policy update.

B2B SEO Strategy

Zenpost_The SaaS SEO Funnel

The SaaS SEO Funnel for Zenpost

Bottom of the funnel SaaS SEO Infographic for Zenpost

Bottom of the funnel SaaS SEO Infographic for Zenpost

[Tip #5] Target multiple stakeholders using SaaS funnel-based content mapping approach

In contrast to the B2C industry, which implies a single person making a buying decision, in B2B – there are a lot of stakeholders who collectively participate in this process.

This is fairly logical since the investments are more long-term and the chosen B2B software solution has to be of use to several departments or team members.

When weighing available options that could potentially help their companies, C-level executives, managers, and all sorts of working professionals will value different things. Each of them has unique pain points they are looking to solve.

From an SEO point of view, this means that you need to come up with relevant keywords and satisfy each stakeholder by explaining the value of your product in a way that resonates with them.

Here’s how Gong.io does it and how you can, too:

  1. Identify customer personas, group them, and list value points for them
  2. Use funnel-based marketing: map out specific problems for each persona group, at each phase of the funnel (i.e. Awareness, Consideration, Purchase, Advocacy)
  3. Create TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU content based on your research and analysis

In the footer of Gong.io’s website, you can see separate pages that explain the value of the product in different use cases:

Gong.io website Use Cases Product Company Solutions and Resources index page

Gong.io website Use Cases Product Company Solutions and Resources index page

So, there are four customer groups they target: Sales Leaders, Frontline Sales Managers, Sales Enablement, Account Executives.

Each of the four pages shows key benefits relevant for the specific role. Strategically positioned CTAs help with drawing prospects further in and creating a sense of urgency.

Gong.io homepage website page man with a gong and enthusiastic attitude

Gong.io homepage website page man with a gong and enthusiastic attitude

How-to articles and guides are the best kind of TOFU content and Gong.io invests in them heavily. They also require email addresses from users in order to download some of the materials, which helps the brand to a) continuously grow their email list and b) bring potential customers closer to the brand.

Gong.io has an entire section with tons of resources designed to engage people who are in the TOFU or MOFU.

Gong.io Resources page on website

Gong.io Resources page on website

Pay attention to the fact that there are a lot of different topics covered and that Gong.io also invests in content diversification (webinars, podcasts, videos, written guides, high-quality visual content, etc.) The goal here is to actually be helpful and educate your target audience. If you inspire them to bookmark your website as a useful resource, even better.

BOFU content helps with conversions by allowing potential customers to visualize how they can use the platform.

The takeaway: Use the funnel-based approach to create your content. Bear in mind different stakeholders and invest an effort to understand them, walk in their shoes. Start by analyzing their pain points and see how you can help them. For the biggest gains, diversify your content both in terms of topics and formats.

[Tip #6] Focus on search intent and relevant longtail keywords – not high search volume

The B2B space is much smaller compared to B2C. This means you should first consider high-value, low-volume keywords. These are typically specific, longtail keywords.

Most SEO professionals rely on the same parameters when doing keyword research and listing great ranking opportunities: they prioritize low keyword difficulty score and high monthly search volume. This is a pretty straightforward tactic for increasing traffic, but what you are actually looking to build is:

  • Qualified traffic that has a solid chance of converting
  • Audience and thought leadership

Here’s how B2B SEO differs from B2C SEO:<

B2B SEO B2C SEO
Keywords with low volume Keywords with high volume
Many decision-makers Single decision-maker
Long sales cycle Short sales cycle
Low likeliness of a cold organic visitor converting High likeliness of a cold organic visitor converting
Higher prices, typically combined with long-term commitment Lower prices, typically with no commitment (with the exception of subscription-based services)

B2B companies should focus on reaching a smaller group of people that are genuinely interested in buying or learning more about what you have to offer, opposed to reaching a great number of them who don’t fit your customer profile.

In order to identify high-value, low-volume keywords, you need to think about the search intent. If you’re using keyword tools such as Ahrefs, you can always check the results in SERP to see which pages already rank high for the observed keyword phrase.

This is a good way to unlock the intent behind the query because those results that appear high in search have proven to satisfy the expectations and needs of users.

Once Gong.io started ranking for longtail keywords with lower volumes, they moved on to expanding their optimization focus and targeting more broader terms.

If you follow their progression, you’ll see they first addressed immediate challenges of their target audience, and then they went after broader terms. This caused the first spike in their organic traffic which then continued to grow.

Looking at the period of August 2018, you’ll see that Gong.io invested in optimizing for longtail keywords such as ‘opening lines for sales people’ and ‘sales techniques overcoming objections’ which are keywords that have relatively small search volumes, ~90 queries per month or less.

But they are relevant. These ‘low-hanging fruits’ helped them climb up the rankings fast and eventually placed their brand on the first page of the search results page (SERP).

Organic Keyword Trend chart

Organic Keyword Trend chart

SEMRUSH

Gong.io then gradually moved toward tackling keywords with a slightly bigger volume while bearing in mind different variations. For example, ‘cold calling techniques’ (monthly search volume ~ 600) and even broader, e.g. ‘sales call’ (with a monthly search volume ~ 1000).

In less than a year (July 2019), they managed to hold solid rankings for keywords with bigger volumes and dominate their market. They rank on the first page for ‘cold calling tips’, which has ~1900 monthly searches and a very high keyword difficulty score.

Slowly, Gong.io managed to own much more of the branded keywords and create new product categories. This success is the consequence of their thought leadership efforts as well.

This is when they started providing more free materials and educational resources and captured relevant traffic by optimizing for keywords such as ‘books on selling’, ‘best sales training’, ‘sales training topics free’, ‘sales training ideas for meetings’, etc. For all the major relevant phrases, they rank on the first page.

By starting smaller and moving upwards, Gong.io managed to earn SEO traction and then grab the best ranking positions for relevant, highly competitive, and high-volume keywords such as ‘cold calling’ (~12000 monthly searches), ‘sales interview questions’ (~4400 monthly searches), ‘sales techniques’ (~2400 monthly searches), ‘sales tips’ (~1600 monthly searches).

What’s particularly interesting about Gong.io is that they’ve created a new product category called Revenue Intelligence and owned this keyword for which they still rank #1. Primary keyword phrases that drive the most traffic to Gong.io today are branded.

Below you can find screenshots of the former look of Gong.io’s home page (accessed through the Wayback Machine, October 2019):

Gong.io homepage with a man and women celebrating success happily

Gong.io homepage with a man and women celebrating success happily

 

Gong.io product homepage

Gong.io product homepage

As you can see from the first screenshot, they didn’t have a separate ‘Revenue Intel’ category as they do today. Their website copy was different, as well as their product offering.

Glance over their current website and you’ll notice they moved away from trademarked names and toward more general product terms.

Later, they’ve included the ‘What is RI?’ which then became ‘Revenue Intel’:

Gong.io says What is Revenue Intelligence?

Gong.io says What is Revenue Intelligence?

You can find more info about the reasoning behind this within Tip #10 regarding thought leadership.

The takeaway: When analyzing keyword opportunities, prioritize relevance over search volume. Aim for specific, longtail keywords for the quickest SEO gains, and then move toward bigger search volumes. Think about emerging industry concepts to adjust your current product offering and claim great ranking positions early on. Always analyze the user intent to avoid generating irrelevant traffic to your website.

[Tip #7] Define content pillars and topic clusters for better search visibility

Creating content pillars and focusing on topic clusters instead of publishing single articles based on keywords – that’s what helped Gong.io rank high for relevant queries.

The content pillar should broadly cover the topic you are focusing on so that you can link the cluster content/supplementary pages to it. Cluster content is very specific and in-depth as it deals with just one area mentioned in the pillar content. The pillar page has to be broad enough to serve as an umbrella for 20 or more posts.

Building content pillars and topic clusters is complementary to the techniques explained in the Tip #5 and Tip #6. Here’s the process, in a nutshell:

  • Define customer personas/groups and identify their pain points
  • Group their challenges and problems into topic groups
  • Use keyword research to validate your findings and organize your topics in the following way: core topic (i.e. pillar content) + corresponding subtopics
  • Produce content, measure results, fine-tune your approach as you go

The key to succeeding with pillar content is to really focus on creating a plethora of resources on a highly relevant topic, with one main page covering this topic generally. With a smart interlinking strategy, you’ll be able to rank higher.

Let’s explore a specific example of Gong.io’s resource pillar content to explain how this works. One of their top-performing pages is the one which ranks on the first page of Google for ‘cold calling tips’:

Gong.io’s resource pillar content

Gong.io’s resource pillar content

Ahrefs

This Gong.io’s article is a great example of pillar content. It is in the form of a listicle and very well written, but it covers this topic in a very broad sense.
When you analyze the included internal links, you’ll see they lead to other types of content and resources, but specific product pages and landing pages as well.

For instance, there’s a link that leads to a downloadable cheat sheet and a link to a blog post built around the ‘is cold calling dead’ keyword. These two are examples of the afore-mentioned cluster pages that dive deeper into one specific part of the main topic, i.e. cold calling.

The takeaway: Turn your B2B website into a resource worth bookmarking by creating content pillars and supporting pages. Use the content pillar strategy: utilize internal links to rank higher in search while also providing your visitors an easier way to navigate your website.

Content marketing & promotion

[Tip #8] Turn your blog into a content home base

Gong.io captures interactions between sales teams and prospects, analyzes the data, and provides knowledge-based feedback as to how and where the team can improve. Logically, they’ve continued their strategy by centering their blog categories around the same topics.

Revenue Intelligence Blog

Revenue Intelligence Blog

Gong Labs is a category covering articles Gong.io produces based on the data they’ve collected from 10M+ sales calls and the deal flows analyzed on their platform. This is their most valuable type of content since it is drawn from their unique data and expertise. Nobody else could write many of these pieces.

Videos are recordings from past live-streamed video series, while Customer Stories include written articles, a mix of fresh content, and repurposed content from other case studies and videos.

Product News is where Gong.io publishes press releases, company announcements, and product updates.

Sales Management gathers articles that address the pain points of sales leaders like VPs and managers, their primary buyers. Through the content published in the Selling Skills category, Gong.io targets their primary users – SDRs and Account Executives.

Having a central base for their content enables Gong.io to target different buyer personas and own relevant keywords.

The takeaway: Design a pleasant reading experience for your site visitors. Once you define content pillars, it will be much easier to come up with the right blog categories. This way, you’ll engage different personas and help them easily navigate through your content.

[Tip #9] Repurpose content and optimize it for social channels to increase reach

Content repurposing is a huge part of Gong.io’s marketing strategy. Everything they create ends up being repurposed for social channels, primarily Linkedin (see screenshot below).

Social Network Distribution between Social Media Channels

Social Network Distribution between Social Media Channels

Similar Web

Since B2B sales teams have increasingly moved to work on LinkedIn, Gong.io focused their social efforts on the platform their customers are paid to be on. With creative content, they keep work interesting.

They’re not afraid of polarizing topics and that’s paying off big time. Take a look at the most recent example of this approach: their blog post, ‘The Startling Truth: How Cursing Impacts Sales’.

This article generated  930+ reactions and 340+ comments!

The Startling Truth: How Cursing Impacts Sales image women with a headset pink background

The Startling Truth: How Cursing Impacts Sales image women with a headset pink background

And here’s how Devin Reed, Gong.io’s Content Strategist, shared it:

A Case Study on Gong.io’s $7.5B SaaS Growth Strategy

4 Lines. 1 Racy Concept. A perfect bullseye.

The team avoids sharing opinions or tips that don’t have practical value, they are down-to-earth, fun, and helpful – which is why they are loved by so many sales professionals.

As LinkedIn has gone mobile and visual over the past few years, Gong.io’s repurposing and moved towards social ready infographics for:

  • Visually pointing out key findings from data research
  • Showcasing expertise
  • Creating a digestible format that can be easily shared on social networks
  • Leveraging link building efforts

With their ever-growing vault of sales data, Gong.io has an almost inexhaustible source for researching novel content. The results and findings can be turned into bite-size infographics. Here’s a bundle published by Gong.io.

The single factoids make perfect cutouts for social media:

Gong.io image of charts with two different infographics

Gong.io image of charts with two different infographics

When it comes to sharing content on social media, Gong.io knows how to grab the attention of users. The eye-catching snippet serves as a teaser for the full blog. Through a short, yet powerful copy, Gong.io communicates why the article is worth reading:

Gong.io Twitter post about cursing

Gong.io Twitter post about cursing

 

Gong.io Facebook post about cursing

Gong.io Facebook post about cursing

When SlideShare was king of LinkedIn Content, Gong.io made some catchy presentations.  Chris Orlob, Gong.io’s Director of Sales, racked up over 65,000 views on his repurposed slideshares alone!

Here’s one example, repurposed from this blog post about objection handling techniques:

The Gong.io objection handling training deck

The Gong.io objection handling training deck

This simple Slideshare generated 28,000+ views!

The takeaway: Go where your audience is and don’t waste your time trying to replicate your competitors’ tactics. Commit to repurposing content. Publish it across relevant social media. This will save you both time and resources.

[Tip #10] Build a 121,000+ community through thought leadership

In the B2B world, trust and credibility matter the most. This is why Gong.io has invested a lot into thought leadership. It has paid off big time in terms of generating qualified leads, creating link authority, and increasing brand awareness.

But what’s interesting about Gong.io is the way they measure content success. They don’t pay much attention to blog traffic, vanity metrics such as social likes, or the usual content performance metrics. What they do care about is engagement and the cumulative effect of their content strategy reflected in the increase of their Linkedin followers.

It makes perfect sense to pay attention to the follows and shares if they indicate people’s genuine interest. When strangers share Gong.io’s thought-provoking content backed by data on a professional network such as Linkedin, they are putting their reputation behind this content.

At the moment of writing this, the company itself has 121,624 followers and a solid engagement on their page. More importantly, they have over 1,000 employees who are active on this network and use it to disseminate content and support the brand’s growth.

In the beginning, Gong.io used a short video format with the casual tone to organically grow their Linkedin community, and then they introduced contests and giveaways and went heavy on content repurposing. They gave away books that were highly relevant to their target audience and enabled them to see the actual human faces of the Gong.io company.

The combination of PR content, guest posts, and authoritative posts that generate backlinks organically (e.g. data articles based on research, or controversial pieces) are the three main types of content that Gong.io relies on when it comes to positioning the brand as the thought leader in the industry.

PR Content Guest Posts and Authoritative Posts Infographic

PR Content Guest Posts and Authoritative Posts Infographic

It’s important to make a clear distinction here regarding the definition of these three types of content:

PR content PR content is not necessarily tied to a paid promotion on an external online publication.  It can be any type of company-related news published outside of Gong.io’s website, including press mentions, expert comments, participation in industry discussions, media placements, etc. Examples:
Expert comments shared by Jameson Young (VP of Sales @ Gong.io) and Devin Reed (Content Strategy Manager @ Gong.io) in this blog post published on Drift’s website.
Gong.io being mentioned in Forbes’ post here.
Company news published on Markets Insider.
Guest posts Guest posts refer to content written entirely by Gong.io’s employees and published on external relevant publications, regardless of whether or not Gong.io has paid to get their post published. Example: This piece published on Forbes written by Udi Ledergor, VP of Marketing @ Gong.io.
Authoritative posts Authoritative posts are original, high-quality blog posts. These can be data articles, comprehensive guides, expert tips, controversial pieces, etc. Examples: Research and data articles such as this one and this one<, as well as well-argued controversial pieces such as this one. These posts organically earned links on reputable publications such as HubSpot, Sales Hacker, Unbounce, Harvard Business Review, etc.

Thanks to their thought leadership efforts, Gong.io has become the synonym for revenue intelligence. Their key players such as Chris Orlob (Director of Sales), Devin Reed (Content Strategist), and more recently Sheena Badani (Senior Director of Marketing), are all active on LinkedIn sharing videos, podcasts, and articles from the company and each other.

Gong.io created an entire podcast dedicated to revenue intelligence and a separate Revenue Intel category, which opened them access to qualified, warm-hot leads. The constant flow of insights and knowledge they share helps with retaining their existing customers as well. Check out Tip #11 to find out more about their podcast.

In addition, several people from the company have authorship on key publications such as Forbes, which fits well into their content repurposing strategy, too. Gong.io has been involved in a number of interviews, podcasts, guest posts, etc. Their expertise allows them to contribute to major publishers and strengthen their market position.

The takeaway: Combine PR content, guest posts, and authoritative content to build thought leadership. Figure out where your target audience is, which publications they trust, and do everything you can to appear on their radar. This is how you’ll grow your community.

[Tip #11] Own the market: Use podcasts to become an authoritative voice in your industry

Revenue Intelligence is a fast-growing, but still newborn market. Gong.io has ensured great competitive advantage early on – not just by creating the product category in B2B SaaS, but also by investing early and heavily in their podcast – Reveal: The Revenue Intelligence Podcast

Creating a podcast is very effective in building relationships, both with your audience and experts from the industry. Gong.io has mastered the art of achieving top quality in format, content, and guests. The guests of their first podcast show were Mark Roberge (former CRO of Hubspot), Patty McCord (former Chief Talent Officer of Netflix) and Ed Calnan (President and Co-founder of Seismic).

They continued hosting high-profile sales professionals such as Dave Mattson (CEO and President at Sandler Training), Michelle Benfer (VP Sales at Hubspot), Dan Shapero (CBO of Linkedin), and others.

Gong.io doesn’t do any show notes with their audio on the site. Instead, they write up articles based on each interview, along with notes from their conference talks together under the ‘Revenue Intelligence’ subfolder. Essentially, they’ve made a separate blog section to target their unique market-making keyword.

he takeaway: Podcasts are a great way to connect with your audience and industry leaders. Use them to engage different customer groups, build trust in your brand, and draw new customers in. Do so by addressing very specific topics that are not well covered in the industry.
Take it a step further, and develop your show to dominate a single keyword or topic vital to your business’s success.

[Tip #12] Create case studies and actionable resources that directly explain the value of your product

Gong.io has been publishing PDF case studies on their website since 2016. The structured format, broken down below, reflects the traditional case study most often used as sales collateral. They currently have 8 case studies available. They initially started with 6 in 2018, then added one in 2019, and the most recent one in 2020.

The bulk of the case studies being in 2018 makes sense, that coincides with the closing of their Series A funding – and their acquisition of ONDiGO, which helped fuel their technology and use cases.

Take any case study published on Gong.io’s website and you’ll notice a pattern. Each has the so-called “before-after” narrative arch and it’s very result-oriented.

Here’s a screenshot from one of their case studies just so that you get the idea:

Image of The Results of the ability to create a successful call structure

Image of The Results of the ability to create a successful call structure

The formula is quite simple and broadly used in marketing: challenge/problem – solution – results. Each case study shows how the solution helped the client increase revenue, save time and energy, optimize processes, automate mundane tasks, etc.

Check the table below for a  detailed breakdown of Gong.io’s case study structure:

I) Overview of the case study Overview statistics around the case company and success with Gong.io
II) About the company and what it does Who is the client? How big are they? What are their business operations about?
III) Challenge the company faced, which led them to work with Gong.io What challenges did the client face? What are their pain points? Can this be quantified?
IV) Solutions provided by Gong.io How were the challenges addressed? Which solutions and services were provided?
V) Results they obtained because of Gong.io What sort of quantifiable results did the client achieve?
VI) Client quote to prove to prospects that Gong.io has made a difference to their sales team and numbers Quote a key member of the client’s team, ideally the buyers themselves, to cement a personal image in the readers’ mind
VII) CTA at the end of the doc Since case studies are BOFU content, CTA is for a buying decision.

Since 2018, Gong.io has been shifting to webinars and short-form videos (see example here) that serve as customer success testimonials.

Videos follow the same structure: they are also based on customer experience and focus on explaining how Gong.io helped them overcome specific pain points.

The takeaway: Use a clear structure when creating case studies so that your prospects know exactly what they can expect from your product. Make sure the PDFs are well-rounded and nicely designed. As your buyers’ habits shift, your case studies need to as well. They don’t have to stay as formal business cases if personal stories prove more effective.

[Tip #13] Build recognition through original data articles and research

One type of content Gong.io produces deserves additional attention because it is the keystone of their content strategy and brand identity: data-backed research for actionable articles.

Gong.io identified a gap in the sales industry. Knowledge wasn’t based on data, but instead on the opinions of “experts”.

The core of their content strategy is based on original research and it aligns with their broader narrative and their tagline: GOODBYE OPINIONS, HELLO REALITY. If you explore all their content distribution channels, types and formats – they always tell the same story of ‘opinion vs. reality’.

Gong.io addresses the main beliefs in the sales industry and tests them by using their data. They even approach some unexplored, controversial, and taboo, yet interesting topics, by always telling it like it is

Udi Ledergor, CMO @ Gong.io, explained this simple, yet effective way they create content that is so good that people are willing to pay for it:

“We get, probably once a month, an email from either some university or some sales schools that are sincerely asking how much it would cost for them to use our materials in their courses. Our materials are now being used in Harvard Business Review, the Sales University in Texas, Illinois, and other places. We never charge them for it, we just ask for attribution. The point is, when you create content that is so thoughtful, relevant, and interesting that people want to pay for it, you know you hit the Holy Grail of content marketing.”

Following Gong.io’s strategy, to make your content truly stand out and attract attention from high-profile publications and even universities, you need to make it:

  1. Relevant
  2. Interesting
  3. Immediately applicable

Instead of being a copycat and doing pretty much the same things as all of the other brands, Gong.io thinks about their buyer persona, not their brand. They start with what their audience wants to read, not with what they want to say. That’s relevancy.

Gong.io speaks to their audience at eye level. The team aims to humanize sales practices. As Ledergor says – they take their work very seriously, but they don’t take themselves very seriously. The most important thing for Gong.io is to stay authentic and do something fresh. That’s being interesting.

Lastly, Gong.io creates real content for real people and always tries to help them. Their content is easily digestible, every sentence pulls the reader into the next one. The advice they offer is actionable and immediately applicable.

The takeaway: Identify the data unique to your business so that you can produce content no one else can. This is the most valuable type of content you can produce in B2B. Stay relevant and interesting, and offer advice that is immediately applicable.

[Tip #14] Use conversational marketing (chatbot) to save time and qualify leads

When you open Gong.io’s website, you’ll notice a chatbot (provided by Drift) named Bruno.

BrunoBot chat bot for Gong.io

BrunoBot chat bot for Gong.io

Besides this dog-chatbot being very on-brand, this is actually a very smart tool Gong.io uses to save time and resources for qualifying leads. As you can see from the screenshot, the three options users have are automatically placing them in the appropriate phase of the funnel: the first response is for those in the consideration phase, the second is for those in the brand awareness phase, while the third one is for existing customers looking for assistance.

When you choose the second response, the chatbot provides an explanation of the product:

BrunoBot chat bot for Gong.io

BrunoBot chat bot for Gong.io

Then it continues with the process to see whether or not you’ll be a good fit:

BrunoBot chat bot for Gong.io

BrunoBot chat bot for Gong.io

Since conversations present the fundamental way people engage, understand, and recommend products and services to one another, having a chatbot ensures they feel heard, regardless of their location or time zone.

Research conducted by Inside Sales showed that waiting 5 minutes to respond to a new lead resulted in a 10x drop in the likelihood of being able to connect and follow-up with that lead. Double the time and there is a 400% drop in the odds of qualifying the lead.

Instant gratification has become the norm. Gong.io does everything they can to make their potential and existing customers heard, right when they need it. The chatbot is the extension of their customer service, and it helps in separating the wheat from the chaff when it comes to lead quality.

The Bruno chatbot is working really well for Gong.io. If you look at their website metrics, you will see the bounce rate is quite low, the average visit duration is 5 minutes while the average number of pages opened during one visit is almost 6:

Traffic and Engagement

Traffic and Engagement

Similar Web

Although we cannot attribute this success solely to the chatbot, it’s safe to assume that it did play its part in making website visitors stay longer.

The takeaway: With the info gathered in the chatbot conversation, your team members will know exactly what the potential/existing customer needs. This contributes to a more positive experience for them while you get to qualify leads easier and save your team’s time and energy. Aim to delight your prospects from the moment they first interact with your brand. This can trigger word-to-mouth recommendations.

Paid media strategy

[Tip #15] Use Linkedin Ads to build a flywheel demand generation (TOFU+BOFU content)

In the B2B industry, marketing that generates the biggest ROI consists of many different elements. To leverage their thought leadership efforts, Gong.io invests in:

  • Repurposing thought leadership content for Linkedin
  • Increasing their reach by promoting this native content through targeted Linkedin ads

Linkedin is there as a community platform and Gong.io is not using it solely for generating leads, but for engaging its followers, sharing thoughts and novelties.

Here’s an example of one repurposed content piece written by Gong.io’s Content Strategist, Devin Reed, who’s also a host of the Reveal podcast.

Take a look at how this piece was promoted on Linkedin:

Gong.io post on LinkedIn about apologizing

Gong.io post on LinkedIn about apologizing

The ad is well designed, the controversial approach to the topic certainly hooks the attention of anyone scrolling the newsfeed, and the clickbait title is very hard to resist.

The article includes graphics from the original research, so it serves as a consumable and intriguing teaser for the real thing.

57% of sales calls contain apologetic language infographic for gong.io

57% of sales calls contain apologetic language infographic for gong.io

This article was a huge success because it was adjusted to the Linkedin platform. The message and tone resonated well with all those who deal with the sales process, and because tips were actionable – Gong.io earned themselves a reputation of a useful resource that tells it like it is.

The article generated over 100 comments, encouraged following and sparked fresh discussions on a topic that’s relevant for the brand.

Within the article, they’ve included the CTA that leads to a squeeze page which is actually a two-step form that requires users to leave their email to download content. On the ‘thank you’ page, there is an additional CTA for users who wish to immediately explore what Gong.io can do for their business:

gong.io chat sheet download thanks message

gong.io chat sheet download thanks message

With this ‘thank you’ page, Gong.io engages people who are already deeply invested and increases the chances of them converting into paying users.

Gong.io is smart because they play a long game: they encourage people to explore their content and subscribe to their podcast, they inspire them to join the conversation by sharing their thoughts on research findings, and by showing a genuine interest in their pain points.

Here, you can see the ad for their podcast with a very tempting copy that promises knowledge sales professionals can use to double their income:

gong.io LinkedIn podcast message on LinkedIn

gong.io LinkedIn podcast message on LinkedIn

In addition, Gong.io uses ads to engage people who are at the bottom of the funnel:

gong.io LinkedIn message promotion

gong.io LinkedIn message promotion

This ad is pretty well put together because it communicates the credibility Gong.io has through its client portfolio. People who are looking for a revenue intelligence solution will certainly click on this ad, even if it’s only to explore.

The takeaway: Figure out where your audience hangs out online. Building and nurturing relationships with members of your community is a long-term process that never ends. It’s not a once-off activity you can scratch off your to-do list.

[Tip #16] Use co-channel optimization for direct response lead generation amplification

To generate direct responses and attract new, qualified leads, Gong.io uses:

  • Paid search
  • Linkedin ads
gong.io keyword search

gong.io keyword search

Let’s take a look at how they handle paid search first:

Ahrefs

They have applied their SEO learnings and placed ads for relevant keywords, including ‘sales calls.’

gong.io ad on google

gong.io ad on google

By clicking on this ad, users get redirected to a landing page where they can download a free ebook after leaving their email address. This is a good way to keep their flywheels spinning.

Thanks to their content pillar strategy, Gong.io already dominates the market and holds first-page rankings for numerous variations of the ‘sales call’ keyword phrase, so it makes sense to invest in paid and amplify their efforts:

gong.io keyword search for sales

gong.io keyword search for sales

Ahrefs

As for using Linkedin ads for direct response lead generation amplification, it’s no secret the network is great for highly specific targeting. Advertising here is anything but cheap, but it does bring great ROI. Gong.io retargets visitors who have already consumed their content or subscribed to their content, and then try to capitalize on their interest:

gong.io email subscribe page

gong.io email subscribe page

This way, Gong.io puts customers in the center of their attention.

However, as Gong.io’s marketing team explained, they don’t allocate too much of their budget to paid advertising on Linkedin. They want to optimize everything they can to continue increasing organic reach.

The takeaway: Optimize the experience of your potential customers and prevent sales frictions through well-thought-out Linkedin ads. Gong.io doesn’t invest much in ads because their organic reach is extraordinary, but they use it as a push. Make your brand impossible to forget by helping your prospects get exactly what they need in each phase of the funnel.

16 takeaways from Gong.io’s $7.5B Growth Strategy

Gong.io has certainly found a unique way to drive consistent growth, especially with its operational principles in place. Here are the key takeaways:

1. Different is better than better. Don’t lose your head by analyzing what your competitors are doing. Think about how you can differentiate yourself and make your brand memorable.

2. Use the flywheel framework to create raving fans. When you go the extra mile and focus on helping your customers succeed, you can generate word-to-mouth.

3. Practice what you preach. If you stand by the data-driven approach, use the data yourself and let it guide your processes. Test your techniques internally in order to provide your customers with actionable knowledge that truly helps them.

4. If you’re doing ABM, don’t do everything by the book. Challenge conventional wisdom and utilize email as a great channel that simulates 1-on-1 conversations.

5. If you’re in the B2B industry, you need to think about satisfying multiple stakeholders. Use the SaaS funnel-based content mapping approach to reach all relevant customer groups.

6. Don’t chase high-volume keywords. Instead, focus on highly relevant keywords, even if they have lower volumes, Bear in mind the search intent: these are the most lucrative keyword opportunities.

7. Think about gradually building authority on topics that matter to your target group. Use the content pillar and topic clusterization strategy.

8. Use your blog as your content home base. Make the categories clear, communicate with different target groups, and ensure a nice reading experience by making the website easy to navigate.

9. Don’t let your content be ignored. Have a repurposing content strategy in place. Figure out your most valuable channels online, Adjust the content for social platforms they use, encourage conversations.

10. Combine PR content, guest post, and authoritative content to build a 30,000+ community. Focus on opening relationships: this will help you close deals in the future.

11. Start a podcast to push fresh ideas forward, grow your community, and gain new customers. Use your podcast to repurpose content and leverage your brand image.

12. Create a clear structure or a template for your case studies in order to organize all the information people in the BOFU are interested in. Think about other types of content formats, such as short, yet to the point customer success videos.

13. If you are in the SaaS business and have access to data, use it for research. This is how you’ll build brand power, generate organic links, and become a thought leader.

14. Use conversational marketing (i.e. chatbots) to provide instant gratification. Delight your customers and save your team members’ time by letting AI take over the first steps and qualify leads.

15.  Linkedin ads might be expensive, but they allow you to retarget people and narrow your target audience. Use ads to amplify your efforts to increase organic reach.

16. For direct response lead generation, think about combining Google ads and paid social ads. This doesn’t need to be an ongoing activity, but it’s a nice way to secure your rankings and reach new people on social platforms.

If you’re in the same or similar market as Gong.io, this teardown of their methods and strategies can be of great use to you. If not, it can still provide you with some amazing, out-of-the-box ideas on how you can plan your growth.

A Case Study on Gong.io’s $7.5B SaaS Growth Strategy
Gong.ioGrowth Strategies

Dave Polykoff

Dave Polykoff spent the last 8 years building content platforms for Tier 1 publications and Fortune 500 companies. Now, he's focused on helping businesses of all sizes streamline their content marketing efforts.