Hey fam. Okay, before we dive into how our team uses Pano, I want to share a bit more about ✨ our team.✨ Pano is actually a product we launched within our venture studio, Plain Sight Ventures. We’re a scrappy team at PSV who loves to build super simple (and beautiful!) solutions so that every day work can be easier. We don’t think solving for “productivity” is enough — making people feel contented and even empowered in their work, that’s what we’re aiming for.
We also really hate clunky software and find that most solutions out there are overloaded with features people don’t need. While it may be seem cost-effective to have a Swiss Army knife of features in one tool, we’ve noticed that this often causes more headaches than its worth. So over the past couple years, we started digging into what folks really need to keep them in the flow and lessen the mental fatigue of over-complicated platforms.
This is why precision is one of our core tenants. We’re not interested in building massively layered solutions, we want to find the root cause of the problem and see if we can make something straightforward to solve it. (See: Webmerge, our previously acquired software tool. Dead simple. Very successful.)
Now, how did we land on Pano? Earlier this year we started talking to folks about some of the challenges they were having at work. It turns out getting people to share their work woes is pretty easy. But the harder part comes in paying very close attention to what the source of the pain is and asking good questions to get there. After a couple months of those conversations, we eventually got to a place where it was clear that people are inundated with the amount of tools that hold customer information.
Everyone seems to have a dozen or more tabs open at any given time, and all of this leads to friction. The time it takes to log into Salesforce for contact info, Stripe for billing, not to mention the time it takes to message a coworker via Slack, figure out who answered a support ticket, and so on for ONE customer is pretty insane. I mean, we can’t live like this!
And that’s the moment our team gets excited — when technology has become a greater hindrance than an aid. This is when we start to look for the solution…
Finding the use case within our team
A good place to start for us is usually where we, too, find friction. It won’t always work like this — some of the problems we solve won’t be ones we have ourselves. But it’s nice when it works out that way because we can empathize more with our customers and likely find better, more consistent improvements with the products we build.
Pano is definitely a tool we needed.
We all live in different cities. At any given point, one of us is in a different country traveling. We spend very little time in person together, which means asynchronous work is quite common for us. This way of working requires that we use tools to stay on top of things. And those tools have to function super well, like a sixth member of our team, otherwise we all get very cranky. And when you’re a small team, you can’t really afford the crankiness for too long. So when it became clear we also needed something that would help us manage customer information, we started building Pano.
How we use Pano
While I’m sure Pano, and all the tools we build, has areas to improve — what we’ve built so far is pretty dang cool. We all use Pano in slightly different ways, but when it comes down to it, Pano has dramatically streamlined how we understand a customer and decreased the back-and-forth on gathering customer data. (Aka, less of us bug Jeremy, our CEO and keeper of the data. And when you bug Jeremy less, the happier he is and the more he builds… so really, it’s a win for everyone.)
Here are a few ways we use Pano:
1. CRM database integration
We love Notion here at PSV. We use it to manage our content calendar, meeting notes, PSV projects, and for this context — it holds our Pano pipeline of leads and customers.
Gabe, our head of partnerships and sales, is often the first person people talk to when they discover Pano. He and I both use Notion to manage that funnel of folks coming through. When someone schedules a meeting via Calendly, we have a Zapier integration that adds a card to our Pano CRM with that person’s name and email address. Pano logs any email communication Gabe had with that person and meetings that have happened and are upcoming.
2. Tracking meetings
When someone creates a Calendly link, it will generate an event in Google Calendar. We all have our calendars synced with Pano, which means that any time in the future, we can look back on when someone met with a customer. While it’s not a massive report showing quantitative data of meetings and how they relate to customer success, this does provide us with anecdotal evidence of whether or not meetings help people find value in Pano. Essentially, it fills in the context of why meetings may or may not be a wise chose as we grow our sales and marketing strategy.
3. Preparing for a call
This is where we really started with Pano — preparing for a call with a customer. Like I said, we’re a very small team which means that pretty much all of us will interact with a customer at some point. We round-robin our Zendesk tickets and I often pass off customers to Jeremy for any customization they need. With all these touch points, it’s important that we can quickly reference the context of that customer’s experience. Pano makes it super easy to see everything all at once.
This is also super helpful when any of us meet new people. If I connect with a person on LinkedIn or at an event who I think could be a good fit for Pano, I can quickly search that person’s name in Pano and see if anyone on my team has chatted with them.
It’s like having your own assistant subtly whispering the names of important people at a party.
We’re honestly discovering new ways that Pano can be used all the time. Larger teams use it slightly different than us (which we will cover in a later post). With each new conversation we’re exploring more ideas and ways to add more value — without complicating the product, of course.
Our integrations stack is going to be a key part in executing this goal. And it’s really fun to think of how Pano can work with other software solutions and serve as the great and simple communicator among them.
If you’re interested in using Pano but we’re missing some of the integrations in your tech stack, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can chat about what you’re thinking. We’d love to hear from you!