The Decision Memo Framework That Saved Us $70K

Madeleine Work
April 26, 2022
min to read

The Decision Memo Framework That Saved Us $70K

Madeleine Work
April 26, 2022
min to read

There’s a problem with tech-purchasing decisions.

The problem is that we love shiny stuff. And we’re living in a glittering diamond mine of tech. 

At last count, there were 8,000+ new marketing tech tools available on the marketing — plus an additional 1,000+ sales tech tools

And just like the shiniest crab ever to live, we can’t help but adorn ourselves with one more beautiful piece of technology — because, damn, it sure feels good to be fabulous. 

Source: Tenor

At Chili Piper, we made 100% of our decisions through something called a “decision memo”. 

At its core, a decision memo is a collaborative document where employees can cooperatively solve organizational problems. 

In this article, we’ll share Chili Piper’s tried-and-true method for making objective tech-purchasing decisions — and how decision memos helped us see an estimated $70,000 ROI by making the decision to use Gong as our conversational intelligence tool.

Let’s get into it.

Why are decision memos great?

Decision memos are how Chili Piper makes fully transparent and inclusive decisions, as a fully remote organization of 180+ people located across 14 time zones.

It’s a Google Doc that explains the problem, identifies possible solutions, and solicits recommendations/feedback from teammates around the world. Once everyone has included their feedback, the doc is sent to the decision maker who makes the final decision based on everyone’s input. 

One of the best things about decision memos is it’s a big equalizer. Everyone can be part of the conversation, regardless of time zone or public speaking ability. It’s not the loudest voice that’s heard, it’s the most thoughtful.

We use decision memos to decide everything.

Should we develop this new product feature? Should we implement a no-meeting day? Should we purchase a new tool? 

For our purposes today, we’re going to share an example of how we used a decision memo to decide to purchase Gong — and getting an estimated $70K ROI in the process.

Follow along as we make the decision to purchase Gong

And see an estimated $70K ROI in the process.

I’m going to take you through our decision-making process for purchasing Gong, step-by-step. 

Before you start, grab your copy of our decision memo template and our decision memo example to follow along.

Let’s go:

Context 

First, we outlined the status quo. We shared what we were currently using and the problems we were having. 

At the time, we were using SalesLoft Conversational Intelligence for recording sales meetings. While this worked fine during our early stages, the lacking functionality started to gnaw on us as we expanded our sales team. 

When we were preparing the context section, we asked end users (sales reps) how SalesLoft Conversational Intelligence just wasn’t cutting it. 

We ended up with a strong case for why it wasn’t working — and why we needed a change.

Business Case

Then, we made our business case. 

As we were building out our business case, we assumed that a more advanced conversational intelligence solution would:  

  • Save up to 1 hour per rep per month by easily surfacing action items and promised next steps
  • Allow us to identify high-risk deals, saving at least 1 deal per rep per year

Using these assumptions, we estimated that the ROI of switching to Gong would be more than $70,000. 

The other advantage of listing out quantifiable expectations is that they double as success metrics. When it came time to renew Gong, we were able to measure actual outcomes against expected outcomes, and decide whether we wanted to renew our contract (another spoiler: We renewed).

Options

In our search for a conversational intelligence platform, we explored six different tools: Jiminny, Refract, ExecVision, Wingman, Chorus.ai, and Gong. 

Under each tool, we included:

  • Use cases 
  • Integrations
  • UI screenshots
  • Total cost
  • Recommendation

Integrations were key to our decision-making process — if the conversational intelligence platform didn’t integrate with our current systems, we wouldn’t even think about moving forward. 

Recommendations

For this decision memo, we solicited recommendations from four team members: three from sales and one from RevOps. 

Pro-tip: Never, ever make a decision about tech without Ops. 

Then Nicolas, Chili Piper’s CEO, made the final decision. 

And that’s the story of how Chili Piper became a Gong customer — and the beginning of our beautiful friendship.

What’s next

If you didn’t grab your copy of the decision memo template and decision memo example above, get them now: 

Once you’ve got those tucked away somewhere safe, you should be ready to rock and roll — and start making the most objective decisions of your life.

There’s a problem with tech-purchasing decisions.

The problem is that we love shiny stuff. And we’re living in a glittering diamond mine of tech. 

At last count, there were 8,000+ new marketing tech tools available on the marketing — plus an additional 1,000+ sales tech tools

And just like the shiniest crab ever to live, we can’t help but adorn ourselves with one more beautiful piece of technology — because, damn, it sure feels good to be fabulous. 

Source: Tenor

At Chili Piper, we made 100% of our decisions through something called a “decision memo”. 

At its core, a decision memo is a collaborative document where employees can cooperatively solve organizational problems. 

In this article, we’ll share Chili Piper’s tried-and-true method for making objective tech-purchasing decisions — and how decision memos helped us see an estimated $70,000 ROI by making the decision to use Gong as our conversational intelligence tool.

Let’s get into it.

Why are decision memos great?

Decision memos are how Chili Piper makes fully transparent and inclusive decisions, as a fully remote organization of 180+ people located across 14 time zones.

It’s a Google Doc that explains the problem, identifies possible solutions, and solicits recommendations/feedback from teammates around the world. Once everyone has included their feedback, the doc is sent to the decision maker who makes the final decision based on everyone’s input. 

One of the best things about decision memos is it’s a big equalizer. Everyone can be part of the conversation, regardless of time zone or public speaking ability. It’s not the loudest voice that’s heard, it’s the most thoughtful.

We use decision memos to decide everything.

Should we develop this new product feature? Should we implement a no-meeting day? Should we purchase a new tool? 

For our purposes today, we’re going to share an example of how we used a decision memo to decide to purchase Gong — and getting an estimated $70K ROI in the process.

Follow along as we make the decision to purchase Gong

And see an estimated $70K ROI in the process.

I’m going to take you through our decision-making process for purchasing Gong, step-by-step. 

Before you start, grab your copy of our decision memo template and our decision memo example to follow along.

Let’s go:

Context 

First, we outlined the status quo. We shared what we were currently using and the problems we were having. 

At the time, we were using SalesLoft Conversational Intelligence for recording sales meetings. While this worked fine during our early stages, the lacking functionality started to gnaw on us as we expanded our sales team. 

When we were preparing the context section, we asked end users (sales reps) how SalesLoft Conversational Intelligence just wasn’t cutting it. 

We ended up with a strong case for why it wasn’t working — and why we needed a change.

Business Case

Then, we made our business case. 

As we were building out our business case, we assumed that a more advanced conversational intelligence solution would:  

  • Save up to 1 hour per rep per month by easily surfacing action items and promised next steps
  • Allow us to identify high-risk deals, saving at least 1 deal per rep per year

Using these assumptions, we estimated that the ROI of switching to Gong would be more than $70,000. 

The other advantage of listing out quantifiable expectations is that they double as success metrics. When it came time to renew Gong, we were able to measure actual outcomes against expected outcomes, and decide whether we wanted to renew our contract (another spoiler: We renewed).

Options

In our search for a conversational intelligence platform, we explored six different tools: Jiminny, Refract, ExecVision, Wingman, Chorus.ai, and Gong. 

Under each tool, we included:

  • Use cases 
  • Integrations
  • UI screenshots
  • Total cost
  • Recommendation

Integrations were key to our decision-making process — if the conversational intelligence platform didn’t integrate with our current systems, we wouldn’t even think about moving forward. 

Recommendations

For this decision memo, we solicited recommendations from four team members: three from sales and one from RevOps. 

Pro-tip: Never, ever make a decision about tech without Ops. 

Then Nicolas, Chili Piper’s CEO, made the final decision. 

And that’s the story of how Chili Piper became a Gong customer — and the beginning of our beautiful friendship.

What’s next

If you didn’t grab your copy of the decision memo template and decision memo example above, get them now: 

Once you’ve got those tucked away somewhere safe, you should be ready to rock and roll — and start making the most objective decisions of your life.

Madeleine Work

Madeleine Work is the Sr Content Marketing Manager at Chili Piper. She loves making people laugh and learning new things. When she's not typing away at her laptop, you'll probably find her running, hiking, or off on an adventure somewhere. Follow Madeleine for laughs and content tips on LinkedIn.

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