Blackboard Inc.

Spike in demand for digital platforms leads Blackboard to create 36% faster sales process

Spike in demand for digital platforms leads Blackboard to create 36% faster sales process

What We Did

Blackboard Inc. is a leading educational technology company serving higher education, K-12, business, and government clients around the world. The company’s customers are increasingly using digital platforms—and the 2020 pandemic has only accelerated this shift. The issue? Rising demand required a level of responsiveness and efficiency that the company could not support. That’s when Blackboard turned to West Monroe.

We didn’t just help the company transition to the latest technology platform, Salesforce Lightning. We studied processes and pinpointed ways to use new technology to improve them. As we did, we uncovered an even greater opportunity to handle a higher level of demand for digital services.

The effort is already paying dividends, and the impact will grow as Blackboard takes advantage of new tech-enabled features and functions.

35%

less time required to create sales quote

$5M+

increase billing efficiency for overages in the first two years

27%

increase in quotes per month

The Opportunity

To efficiently serve the education market during the COVID crisis, Blackboard needed to measure customer subscription metrics—including retention rates and churn—using industry-standard definitions. However, its outdated version of Salesforce and incomplete integration of various acquisitions limited its ability to measure what matters today.

To eliminate these barriers, Blackboard asked West Monroe for help. We didn’t act or sound like past consulting partners—and company executives liked that. We don’t just implement technology, we help businesses work differently.

An Undeniably Different Approach

We brought together a multidisciplinary team with expertise in customer experience, the high-tech & software industry, and business process design—in addition to being a platinum Salesforce partner.

But before we moved forward with Blackboard’s request, we took a step back. Our team wanted a broader view of how Blackboard uses technology, including the whole Salesforce system. As we do when implementing new technology and processes, we employed principles of human-centered design.

Taking a broad view was critical: We spotted a business problem even more significant than the one we were brought in to solve. Given the changes brought on by the pandemic, Blackboard’s pricing strategy and capabilities were limiting its competitiveness. So we got to work, collaborating with Blackboard executives to retool the pricing strategy, develop appropriate metrics, and implement a more cost-effective CPQ solution with Salesforce to administer and manage pricing and quoting processes with more standardization, proficiency, and coordination.


Outcomes

  • A better customer experience
  • Faster quote-to-sales process using automation and Salesforce CPQ
  • Increased agility through the loss of tech debt
  • More efficient sales and customer management processes
  • More accurate data that leads to data-driven decision-making

Project Timeline

2
Months
Implemented a revenue subscription/retention measurement dashboard
6
Months
Migrated to Salesforce Lightning
4
Months
Created a customer-facing B2B commerce portal
12
Months
Designed Salesforce CPQ requirements and built the solution

Returns You Can Measure

By improving productivity and eliminating manual work, Blackboard is realizing new levels of efficiency and cost savings. For example, by introducing Salesforce CPQ, the company can sell more efficiently and process more sales in less time.

The solution has unlocked other important benefits. Blackboard has reduced technical development and support costs, as well as technical debt – the implied cost of rework due to past “patches.” The company’s IT team can now respond faster to business changes. Additionally, Blackboard is taking advantage of new sales and service functionality to improve client experience and accelerate introduction of new products and services.

These benefits will only grow as Blackboard continues to power its sales and support processes with new Salesforce features.

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