This week, Gabriel sits down with Mikita Mikado, CEO & Co-Founder of PandaDoc, to discuss the importance of removing friction in your sales process with digital contracts. Mikita explains what PandaDoc is and how it can help businesses transition and follow through with paperwork while working from home. Additionally, Mikita shares his insights on how we can adapt during a crisis and look at the positive outlooks for business.
Listen to the Podcast version of this episode:
Gabriel: Hello everybody and welcome back to MarTech Masters. Today I have Mikita Mikado from PandaDoc. He is the CEO of PandaDoc and I'm so excited about this MarTech master. How are you doing Mikita?
Mikita: Hi Gabe, I'm good how are you?
Gabriel: Good good good. Thank you for spending some time with us talking about not only PandaDoc but how companies can can use it to help them during this crisis. So first of all why don't you introduce yourself. I know again a lot of people know PandaDoc. We're using a lot of uh these these services these days but tell us a little bit about yourself and about PandaDoc.
Mikita: Sure my name is Mikita. I am originally from Belarus and I co-founded a company called PandaDoc which helps more than 17,000 businesses to streamline their work with sales proposals, contracts and other transactional documents and we do things like help to get those documents signed, we offer the software that does that, uh generate those documents, collaborate on them and store and share them, so that's essentially what candidates could go about.
Gabriel: That's great and before we dig in into the software itself uh these are trying times, people are trying to adapt their business strategy in general. We've seen different types of businesses having different issues. Some of them have lost a lot and they're trying to adapt or survive, some of them are in the adaptation already uh because they can keep running their business but with different changes, and then some other ones are growing incredibly. What have you seen out there? What are some ways that people are pivoting their business strategy and what have you done um in PandaDoc?
Mikita: Sure! I'm an optimist so i'm trying to see a bright side in everything that that's happening and what I feel has happened with the pandemic and lockdown is that the world got somewhat fast tracked you know into 2030. We were forced to digitize uh quicker, we were, and you know frankly I think, you know, this is not the last pandemic that we're going to go through um based on the data, the severity of this sickness is manageable, it's not going to kill the humanity, but it forces us to rethink the way we work, we think, the way we live and kind of pushed us in into the future. So you know the good news is that we got really really good training, that the humanity was was put through and where we now live in the future.
Gabriel: Definitely, um yeah what does our future look like?
Mikita: Yeah uh well the future is digital that's for sure. The future is digital and um it's global but it is also...I'd say very different right? It's very very different and you know we have to, we have to learn to adapt and we have to learn to be happy in that environment because at the end of the day most of the components that are needed for people to survive to to be alive and to be happy are still there. Well hopefully we are going to um you know kind of turn this toggle and and switch and adapt quickly so that this transition period it's not going to be too painful for us.
Gabriel: Yeah yeah and we are seeing that from all kinds of different businesses and from people also. We're seeing how people are adapting already. One great example is telemedicine. You know before, certain doctors were not open to telemedicine and now all that it's the new norm and uh that's not going away, we're going to stay in that way. I believe that having more security, more safety layers is going to help in general and um I like that you're talking about a positive message. I'm also an optimist and I love seeing the opportunity in everything. I also want to be respectful of people suffering because of course there are a lot of people out there are suffering but there are amazing opportunities through every crisis right? Like every type of crisis brings opportunities and i love the message of focusing on those opportunities um and and of course every person and every company has different situations. But there's always an opportunity to adapt and change and what we've seen is that companies or people that are not good at change and they want to not go through the changes that life throw at us, not just the pandemic, usually suffer more. People that are open to change see better possibilities, more opportunities and usually positive outcomes through that. I love that message of positivity. What are some of the business decisions that you at PandaDoc have made because of this pandemic? I love the idea of also hey we jump started into the future. We need to run our business like it's 2030 already because there's no other choice. What are some of those business decisions that you have made because of this?
Mikita: Well um PandaDoc is is a software application that allows you to sign documents electronically and how else are you going to sign documents other than through a product like PandaDoc when you're, uh, when you work from home, when you're in a lockdown? Like that's the only way. So what we decided to do is we decided to offer the signature capability um for free.
Gabriel: Oh great!
Mikita: And the reason we've done that is because well the change is hard and change is painful and a lot of businesses and a lot of people are suffering right now because they have to you know they have to adapt and you know a lot a lot of folks are out of business for an extended period of time um while they still have to pay rent, or they still have to you know they take care of all the bills and and expenses and so forth. So we decided to offer offer this part of our product for free so that people can remain in business. So that's kind of like external, what we've done to the market in order to try to help however we can. Internally from the beginning of March we all got remote and we tried to implement a lot of programs to help people do that change and and focus on the bright side. For a lot of, you know, for a lot of Canada employees this is a very very difficult transition. I mean at times your your job is a very..your workplace is a very important part of your social life right? And then that's being taken away from you by the pandemic, what do you do? So try to come up with all kinds of different um initiatives and programs uh to help our team to remain sane happy, productive, focused.
Gabriel: That's great
Mikita: And actually what... second month? More than second more than two months into it I feel like we we've learned quite a bit of this working remote skill and we actually found that um more than 40% of our workforce does not want to go back to the office after serving you know serving the team, so we'll see. We'll see how that transition is gonna, you know, it's gonna impact us but um at the very least I hope that we all are gonna remain sane and happy.
Gabriel: Definitely, definitely and what you're saying is resonating everywhere. We're hearing that Twitter is saying don't ever come back to the office and Facebook and Google are thinking about the same things. I believe that the tech industry is is also taking this very seriously and saying why do we need to work in an environment even though the environment creates...I was a big believer in being at the office and being together because it creates creativity and it moves you know things and creates more connections, but we've seen the same thing. Our our agency is working even better than before, uh if that's even possible, because people are more productive, they're more focused, and and as you said it's important to implement those processes internally to uh to help the team um work as as good as possible and have still good communication and and positivity.
Let's dig deep, deep into into PandaDoc and talk a little bit about how PandaDoc can help people these days. We've been using PandaDoc for years now, we've moved all of our contracts into PandaDoc but what this crisis has done is it forced us like you said to move absolutely every process into PandaDoc. And what we've seen is that that reduces also a lot of the friction that we've had before which is like you have to come to the office and print the document and sign it and scan it and like all these different things that had to happen before. Now we're in the process of hiring someone and we put all the hiring documents inside PandaDoc and that has been super smooth. And we have implemented new um new Covid policies in the company and we use the bulk send feature from PandaDoc send it to everybody, everybody signed it and and everything was great. So these internal processes are being helped by the use of PandaDoc and software like PandaDoc. So tell me a little bit about how PandaDoc can help all kinds of businesses with these features but also some of the processes that you have seen that you can help with and to reduce that friction that usually has with selling something and signing a contract or internal processes, internal procedures. Tell me more about how PandaDoc can help on these different places.
Mikita: Sure Gabe. We help to streamline quotes, proposals, contracts, forms, and all types of other transactional documents. Documents that don't really change that much maybe you know a few things, client details or prospective employees, details they're going to change within that within that doc, but really the doc is based on the template. You typically send those documents out of your CRM radius or ERP, you name it, system record. So what we do is we help you to manage a library of frequently used templates, collaborate on those templates with your team, automatically merge templates with data coming from again CRM, ERP, HTS you name it, deliver documents electronically to third parties, automate all kinds of workflows that exist around those documents be that collaboration approvals within your company, uh negotiational contracts with your customers going back and forth, you basically compress that whole Workflow and reduce friction in it because it's digitized. It's a streamline, it's simplified, and it's easy to use for you and your counterparties. And then finally uh your counterparties can sign those documents with legally binding electronic signatures, peel them out, you can export data that they filled out and in case of sales docs things like proposals, quotes, you can process payments through those documents. So basically you can go from uh propose to close and and get paid in essentially no time. That's the scope of our product, um, cause document automation for sales, HR, you folks are utilizing us for prospective employees and existing employees. And again all kinds of transactional scenarios where you need to send something out, collect data, get things signed, that's what PandaDoc is all about.
Gabriel: That's awesome. So in the beginning you mentioned, um, you mentioned the whole you know we're forced to live in the future now and of course your company is helping with these challenges - what are some of the opportunities that you have seen out there in this shift that everybody's living in the future? In the digital world we're living in the oasis if you have seen the movie. The question is what are some of those opportunities for businesses out there that should be thought about and uh and definitely developed?
Mikita: Yeah um well what we've seen is that over the course of the last two months organizations that we've seen much in our sales funnel started coming in. Governments uh municipalities, schools um all kinds of institutions, businesses, organizations, that were a little bit kind of backwards thinking, maybe not as fast on adopting uh innovation, not as fast at trying to streamline automate their processes. So what we've seen is that those folks started coming in and started digitizing their processes, started digitizing the way they work. And the good thing about it is that say as a citizen I love that because now I can be um you know I'm gonna get a better service from the from the municipality that I live in. That's great, you know that's great. They're going to get more efficient well they're going to get more things done hopefully and that's pretty awesome. And schools come in. I used to go into uh into principal's office to to sign some like paperwork for my daughter's uh enrollment in daycare and it's just like it's a waste of time for everybody right? Because I have to go there and then they have to process this like form and it's just what why? Now we see a lot of schools signing up so that's great. I think a lot of the um a lot of folks that relied on dated dated processes that are very manual um are now going digital. And I hope that this is going to spur um creation of new startups businesses and and tools, organizations, that accelerate that transformation, accelerate that innovation and that's great. Yeah. Pretty awesome. Another thing that we've seen and and we've done is we launched a program that helps folks who lost their jobs due to Covid learn sales operations, revenue operations.
Mikita: And there was a lot a lot of demand for that. So I think that now is is is a very good time for organizations to invest in professional training potentially, to invest in future employees by offering training ideally free of charge. A lot of people lost their jobs and are thinking about turning their career path one way or the other. And um I mean there are a lot of jobs out there that you know that are hard to find people for. So um training people to be able to perform those jobs I think is a very interesting field filled with a lot of a lot of potential, great potential. So um I hope that that a lot of a lot of organizations, a lot of businesses are gonna try to help people learn.
Gabriel: That sounds like a great future. Again it goes back to that positive future and new future that we can create together. I I like that you're discussing first of all innovation, how industries that have not traditionally been in the avant-garde and innovative like schools and education and health care government they're now being forced to do that and be more flexible and more agile and use the internet for most things. That paints a future that could be a lot better and more streamlined and more uh more about saving time and being happy. Like you started the conversation being happy because you can spend more time with your family and not so much time filling up forms and and going to the principal's office for uh for a signature right. Uh and also I like the idea of educating. There's so many resources out there that are free and like you said companies like us could put out there more resources to educate and bring people up to the standards that we need them to be, to be hired for better jobs and raise everybody's you know way of life. So that's a very very positive positive message. I like that a lot. Um, anything else you want to share Mikita? This is this is your time. I want to always give and first of all thanks for being here, thanks for being an awesome software partner for us and our customers, and helping us and our customers close more deals, to make it easy, reducing friction all of our processes, making our employees happier so they don’t have to like print and scan and sign a piece of paper and things like that. Even saving the planet, we have a couple of videos that we created about saving paper and of course PandaDoc was on those videos. So so so many different, so many different positive things. Thank you for being here. But anything you want to share with us? This is your time, we always give our speakers, our guests time to share whatever they want so thank you again for being here and share whatever you have to share with the world.
Mikita: I just want to, um, just want to ask everyone to focus on the bright side of this. These are very uh very trying times it's not easy. It's not easy. We're forced to make a transition into the future. But as long as we can focus on the bright side and try to stay positive and committed to to go through this uh painful change and come out of it on the bright side we'll be fine. So um be strong, be healthy, and be happy.
Gabriel: That's awesome. That's a great message. Mikita, thank you very much again for being here and stay safe please okay? Take care. Thank you. Have a good one, bye!