In The News

Class of 2019 — Our learnings from the Salesforce Accelerate Program

In March, we excitedly announced our participation in the Salesforce Accelerate program. And in May, we filled you in our progress at the program’s midpoint. We’re thrilled to share that we’ve completed the Accelerate program and are now Salesforce Accelerate graduates!

The Salesforce Accelerate experience was nothing short of extraordinary. The learnings we came away with will help us drive forward faster and with greater impact than ever before. We also made great connections with other Salesforce ISVs and partners and gained valuable insight into our industry and core market position.

Oh, and we had a great time doing it!

“The Salesforce Accelerate program was akin to getting an MBA in SaaS growth in 11 weeks. Over 37 sessions, we learned invaluable lessons on go-to-market strategies, product excellence, and customer success.” -Blakely Graham, TaskRay CEO and Co-founder

Our top highlights included:

  • Creating a focused blueprint for our customer journey is a challenging but essential step in articulating how we can build a whole product solution that meets our customers’ needs within and outside of our offering.

  • Salesforce has always been a leader in embodying and activating their values, and the Accelerate program further cemented the need to further thread our own vision and values into departmental and personal objectives.

  • Acknowledging the value of and need for different roles and resources in different stages of company growth can be empowering and help you recognize exactly where to focus your efforts. Aka - there isn’t a “one size fits all” approach.

  • Transparency is not only powerful for internal organizational alignment, but also in connecting with customers and partners.

“We’ve always believed in our product and team, but Accelerate has allowed us to step into a bigger and bolder role as leaders in the Customer Success ecosystem.” - Jamie Cole, TaskRay VP of Product and Marketing


TaskRay's Top 4 Takeaways From Pulse 2019

Last week, six members of the TaskRay team headed (even further) west to San Francisco for the seventh Pulse conference, hosted by Gainsight.

Pulse 2019 was the largest of the Pulse conference series to date, with over 5500 registrants taking over the U.S. tech industry’s favorite venue—Moscone.

Our team spent four days connecting with customer success professionals, taking in sessions, and enjoying the awesomeness that was Pulse! Did we mention there were puppies!? Yes, there were puppies.

Other highlights included a CS rockstar-packed opening keynote with Cisco EVP and Chief Customer Experience Officer, Maria Martinez, and 1920’s themed Gatsby-style gala, and a strong meme game.

We compiled our top four takeaways about what’s happening now and what’s the next big thing in the customer success and customer onboarding space.

Takeaway 1

Conversations at Pulse are focused and powerful. We spent a lot of hours at our booth talking with CS professionals from all over the world and they shared one trait—they love what they do and they are laser focused on improving their skills.

From TaskRay Account Executive, Jon Barlow:

Because the customer success industry is still relatively new, there is so much to learn. CS professionals are excited about where the industry is headed and its exciting to see the level of sophistication at which they're already operating.

Takeaway 2

Customer success and product are the new power couple. Once existing as two siloed areas of an organization, Pulse 2019 made it clear that product and CS will be spending a whole lot more time together, and we think that’s a good thing.

This year, Pulse offered a product-specific learning track focused on user-centric product development.

TaskRay CEO and co-founder, Blakely Graham:

Your best product feedback comes from your customers and it is essential to pipe this to your product team. Pulse is helping to shape the future of how Product and CS work together.

Takeaway 3

Another theme our team noted was the idea of “human first leadership” and how it can be a differentiator throughout the customer lifecycle. Specifically, combining intelligent processes with the human touch of customer success can help teams scale onboarding and success programs without dramatically increasing headcount or budget.

TaskRay VP of Sales and Customer Success, Mike Davis:

The ability to marry product signals with human-led intervention during the onboarding and customer success journey will be critical to long-term success and growth without needing to grow staff at the same rate.

Takeaway 4

Get outside your office walls, listen, and connect. It may be simple, but we stand behind it! Each time we’re able to attend a new conference, we learn so much from connecting with others in our industry and in new industries as well.

Our VP of Product and Marketing, Jamie Cole took the stage at Pulse for a session all about the handoffs from sales to customer onboarding to customer success and her takeaway sums it up:

The questions that arise during sessions at Pulse (and other conferences) are indicative of the wider themes emerging in CS — and we need to pay attention! These are the future leaders of the CS profession and we can learn a ton from them.


To sum it up, we’ll be back for Pulse 2020 and likely the year after. Why? Because CS is an emerging practice that aligns with a lot of what we’re doing at TaskRay. And plus, they love to have fun! That’s win-win in our book.


Salesforce Accelerate Program: We're half way there!

(Woah woah, livin’ on a prayer!) We’re excited to be half way through our time in the Salesforce Accelerate program and we’re rocking out with some brand new knowledge!

Last week was the second of three onsite Accelerate sessions. Salesforce opened the doors to the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco and invited TaskRay and the other ISVs in for three days of informative, actionable content, speakers, and networking.

View from atop the Salesforce Tower in the Ohana Lounge.

View from atop the Salesforce Tower in the Ohana Lounge.

The focus of this session was: Go To Market Excellence. As such our two Go To Market leaders, Mike Davis (VP of Sales & Customer Success) and Jamie Cole (VP of Marketing & Product) traveled to learn about topics ranging from how to build sales and marketing materials that are customer-centric to how to think about pricing and packaging for Enterprise SaaS to how to leverage the new tech Salesforce has on its roadmap.

“The Accelerate Program is a master-class in SaaS marketing & sales from the creator of the SaaS category. We have already benefited tremendously from access to some of Salesforce’s best and brightest talent as well as the specific, actionable motions they’ve taught at both the strategic and tactical level.” - Jamie Cole, TaskRay VP of Product and Marketing

Each evening after the sessions, we were invited to listen, learn, and mingle with leaders both inside Salesforce and across the SaaS ecosystem. The culminating event being a discussion between Jason Lemkin of SaaSTR fame and Jackson Cummings of Salesforce Ventures about some of the biggest opportunities and challenges for start-ups in the SaaS space. It was a wide-ranging conversation that touched on talent acquisition challenges, where you should base your company, how to get friction out of your sales process, and how to be radically customer-centric.

And, because Salesforce invented the 1-1-1 model, no Salesforce event would be complete without a service component. We were able to spend an afternoon at the Marin County food bank helping process a shipment for the community. Our group was able to get 28k pounds of canned fruits and vegetables sorted before the next group was set to arrive.

Now we are back in TaskRay country. Putting our learnings to work so that we can continue to build the top customer onboarding tool for the Salesforce platform!

TaskRay Joins The Salesforce Accelerate Program

The TaskRay team is beyond excited to announce our participation in the Salesforce Accelerate program this week. We’re joining ten other Salesforce partners in the program’s fifth session, which kicked off on March 26, 2019.

For the next three months, our team will be working closely with our partners at Salesforce and our advisor to create strategic alignment in sales, marketing, product management, product marketing, and business development—all directed at better supporting our product and customers.

As a Salesforce ISV partner, we relish opportunities like this to dive into product and process improvement across our entire company and can’t wait for what the next three months holds!

“We are thrilled to be part of this impressive group of companies all looking to accelerate growth within the AppExchange partner community,” said TaskRay Founder and CEO, Blakely Graham. “This unique opportunity allows us to collaborate more closely with Salesforce as we drive towards our aggressive goals.”

We’re particularly excited to work with our advisor in the Accelerate program, Cary Fulbright, a cloud industry veteran with a venerable track record in the Salesforce ecosystem.

“The Accelerate program cherry-picks some of the most exciting and fastest growing partners and shares the behind-the-curtain playbooks that Salesforce has developed for its own success over the past 20 years. Partner success directly contributes to customer success and ultimately to Salesforce’s success.”

- Cary Fulbright, TaskRay’s Accelerate advisor and Principal at Five-500 Group

Our team is on the ground this week in San Francisco diving into our first series of programming.

Blakely Graham, Jon Barlow, Mike Davis, and Will Egolf all hard at work at the Salesforce Tower, San Francisco.

Blakely Graham, Jon Barlow, Mike Davis, and Will Egolf all hard at work at the Salesforce Tower, San Francisco.

“We look forward to learning from our peer companies, Salesforce team, and our mentor as we propel towards our goals in 2019,” said TaskRay VP of Sales and Customer Success, Mike Davis.



This entrepreneur's advice to himself: Think big. Now bigger.

If Eric Wu weren’t the co-founder of Bracket Labs, tasked with sales and customer success, he’d like to be running a surfing school in Hawaii, possibly with a bowl of potato chips and French onion dip at the ready.

Put that in his futures file.

Meanwhile, he’s busy building high-quality collaboration and productivity apps for the Salesforce AppExchange.

Introducing TaskRay, New Salesforce Wear App for Apple Watch

Yesterday, Bracket Labs revealed TaskRay for wearables, which extends business processes to devices like the Apple Watch to help improve mobility and productivity at work.

TaskRay was built with the Salesforce Wear Developer Pack, an agile platform that provides enterprise developers with sample code, documentation, demos and reference apps, allowing them to extend Salesforce implementations to wearable devices. 

The Momentum Continues: 3 Million Installs and Counting

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The Salesforce Community has reached a major milestone—3 million installs via the Salesforce AppExchange. While that’s an impressive number, what gets Bracket Labs (and hopefully TaskRay users) excited is what that number means:

  • 3 million times a company has added new solutions as simply as adding an app to a phone.

  • 3 million opportunities for businesses to provide cutting-edge applications to their teams, while maintaining Enterprise-class reliability and security.

  • 3 million small but critical steps towards accelerating, streamlining, and improving the way that millions of people around the world get their jobs done.

Hitting 3 million installs is more than the latest step in the explosive growth of the #1 business app marketplace, it’s continued proof of an ongoing revolution in business computing. My co-founder Eric has written a few times in The New AppExchange & Why It’s a Big Deal as well as Enterprise Apps Take the Spotlight about the fact that we founded Bracket Labs because we were so passionate about the opportunity that revolution presented. So for us, the 3 million install mark also stands as a proof point that we really are surfing a big wave of change.

Looking Back

I thought it might be interesting to look back at how Bracket Labs was built and how it wouldn’t have been possible without the Salesforce1 platform, the AppExchange marketplace, and the huge paradigm shift that’s happening in enterprise IT. It feels funny to think about our small startup actually being one of the pioneers in the AppExchange, but after five years, nearly 800 customers, and a pace of triple digit annual growth, I guess we are.

With the benefit of hindsight, there are three key areas where building our business on the AppExchange was not just strategically smart, but fundamentally critical to building a viable business.

1. Business model development
The first hurdle every entrepreneur faces is developing a business model that actually works. It’s got to be repeatable, sustainable, defensible. This is pretty hard to get right, partially because there are so many variables in a business model. It’s sort of like trying to juggle 9 random objects and get them all into the air at the same time. The beauty of building a business model based on the Salesforce1 platform is it reduces the number of variables. In our case, the customer segments were already defined (Salesforce customers), the distribution channels were already built (the AppExchange), and the revenue model was not only well understood it was pioneered by Salesforce (subscription software). This reduction in variables meant that we could put more focus on innovating in the areas that have proven to be the key differentiators in our business model: product design, customer experience, and operational efficiency.
 

2. Product development
There’s a reason that the majority of enterprise software businesses are venture backed. The list of product functionality necessary to satisfy enterprise requirements is long, complicated, and exacting and it takes a while to get it right. To make it harder, a large percentage of that functionality isn’t fun to build - no developer is excited about creating yet another forgotten password recovery flow. But by building TaskRay and our other apps “native” to the Salesforce1 platform we’re able to leverage all of the enterprise-class functionality, security and
infrastructure that Salesforce is already using with their own customers. Similar to our business model development, this meant that we could focus on building unique product features that delivered value to our customers and skip building the “table stakes” functionality because it was already done. It also meant that we brought our apps to market much faster than average. Our first app went from napkin sketch to paying customer in less than six months.

3. Sales
“Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM.” This concept has been expressed so often as to become cliché, but the underlying sentiment is as true as it ever was. Simply stated, it’s pretty difficult for a small bootstrapped startup to sell software to a large Fortune 500 company. Even with a perfect solution and price, the questions about a small company with limited capital being capable of delivering enterprise-class reliability and security will make even the most adventurous CIO gunshy. And who could blame her? She’s not just buying a project management tool, she’s trusting that the tool will satisfy the larger information control requirements of her company. Being native to the Salesforce1 platform simplifies the conversation because we use the same service infrastructure they’ve already vetted on their way to becoming Salesforce customers. The AppExchange introduced a new model for CIO (or B2B) app shopping - one that  opens the door to small & large customers alike, and dramatically reduces the average time from shelf to sale.
 

Looking Forward

Eric and I remember celebrating the one millionth install - a big day for us. It’s hard to believe we are already celebrating the third. But there is no clearer sign of success than the explosion of AppExchange installs and for us the paralleled growth of our app, TaskRay.