Dreamforce Interview with Eric Prugh, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer, PactSafe

Eric Prugh
Eric Prugh

“It is essential to create robust knowledge bases that drive operational efficiencies, scalability and growth that can be automated through AI.”

Tell us about your journey in technology and why you created PactSafe?

My journey in technology started a long time ago (I won’t say how long!) just as web design was becoming a thing. I got an “HTML for Dummies” book for my 13th birthday and it changed my life. Ever since, I’ve been obsessed with technology and the power of technology to solve really interesting problems. I’m amazed at the tech companies that have changed how we eat, travel, shop, and more. I learned more about B2B SaaS when I joined a rising tech darling ExactTarget in 2008, where I was able to learn the sales, product, marketing, and overall business side of things.

After the acquisition of ExactTarget by Salesforce, I was ready for my next journey—and I wanted it to be from the ground up. In PactSafe, I saw an opportunity with a huge market to serve all the tech-forward thinking companies I’ve come to love. With PactSafe CEO Brian’s legal background and my SaaS experience, it was an ideal match. We’ve changed so much from the early days, but the fundamentals of our vision and where we want to take the company still excite me every day.

What’s the biggest attraction for you at Dreamforce 2018?

This Dreamforce will be my first as a partner so I’m really excited to soak in all that there is to do from a partner perspective. As an outsider and a product guy, I always get excited for the product keynotes to see what amazing new technologies have been developed in the past year. I learn lessons from every Dreamforce on how to launch and position products from experts like Adam Blitzer, Bret Taylor, Eric Stahl and Joanna Milliken at Salesforce.

I think seeing more on the Integration Cloud is going to be really interesting and speak to Salesforce’s position on integrations and the power of integrations. This is an important element of our vision as well and one that we can grow into as we grow our partner relationship with Salesforce.

Who are you keen to meet and huddle at the event? Which sections would you be attending?

As any company founder would say, I’m definitely most interested to speak to our customers, prospects, and partners. They are the ones who make our business run and I always cherish face time with them in this kind of inspiring environment. It facilitates such great conversation on what’s possible. Aside from that, I’m most excited to learn more about the Salesforce partner ecosystem and get to know potential partners that we can meet to find growth opportunities, integrations, and more. Salesforce has such a rich network of partners that are transforming businesses in so many amazing ways. I’m pumped to be a part of that discussion this Dreamforce.

We’ll be attending all sorts of sessions on how we can better use Salesforce ourselves—be it through Customer Success, improving our integration, expanding our integrations, and more. I’m really excited to hear what other folks are doing and to meet with our Salesforce team to learn how we better partner together.

How do Salesforce trends and technology impact your business?

The biggest trend that we fully believe that Salesforce continues to pioneer is the importance of technology to streamline manual, people-driven processes. Whether it’s eliminating paper, sifting through massive data sets, or automating a simple business process that used to be manual—the cloud can transform any business no matter how old or mature. With things like integrations coming to the forefront, drivers for change within organizations trying to transform old ways of doing business can now do more with less. Doing more with less means getting to market faster, operating more efficiently, and improving the bottom line like never before.

How do you plan to extend the benefits of Dreamforce to your employees, customers and technology partners?

Dreamforce is an incredible experience and one of inspiration for me. Salesforce is the master of painting the big picture of what’s possible with not only their platform, but also in thinking next-level on what’s possible in business. I love this environment—it spurs amazing discussions with customers and partners alike to speak to how we are a part of that vision and our role in the digital transformation. Learnings from the discussions drive our roadmap for years to come from both a product and business perspective.

Tell us more about your recent funding and your product innovation roadmap for  2018-2022?

We’re so thrilled that we’ve partnered with new investors Mercury Fund and Signal Peak Ventures to take PactSafe to the next level. Our team has been making incredible progress in how contracts are prepared and delivered for acceptance for our customers—adding fuel to the fire is incredibly exciting and will help us serve our customers and partners with an amazing experience.

As far as a roadmap goes, we’re on a mission to eradicate friction from contract acceptance, and we’ll continue to build tools, dashboards, and a platform that helps make that vision a reality. We’ve got some really exciting new developments in our product and our platform that we’ll be rolling out this quarter and in 2019. One of the key differences of our approach to contracts is pretty simple, and lays a clear and exciting roadmap for us: contracts don’t have to be a document with a signature on it. Acceptance of a contract should happen where you talk to your signers—chat, text messages, mobile apps, and more. So our platform, architecture, and product will continue to build out on that concept to help our customers rethink the traditional customer experience as it comes to contracts.

Also, it’s not something we talk a lot about, but with this perspective on contracts we’re able to attach new data points to contracts that will become points of analysis for legal teams to better assess risk within their business. Whether it’s consent, compliance, acceptance, signature, or otherwise—PactSafe offers the first digital dashboard for lawyers to see all the contracts within their business that aren’t pen and paper. Think: click-through agreements, contracts posted online, consent given in mobile apps to use location data, and more. It’s a powerful tool to give legal teams insight that they have never had.

With 6000-plus Martech and Salestech companies to choose from, how should new businesses leverage contract building platforms to make better, unbiased decisions on technology buying?

The beauty and the challenge of the number of choices in salestech and martech is the sheer number of platforms out there. We evaluate these types of tools all the time, and contracts play an important role in that process, but really the contract is the last foot in a half-marathon of assessing your real business needs, analyzing the market, looking at pricing, etc. In most cases, they are a formality. We research using platforms like G2Crowd to assess market presence, customer satisfaction, and pricing. Once we’ve done that, we hit product websites, do demos, and more.

So many companies now are putting free trials online because they’ve invested in easy-to-use interfaces, built self-provisioning flows to help their business scale, and offer live chat on the site to get questions answered quickly. When someone is ready to make a decision, the contract shouldn’t be a timely process with a lot of back and forth. Our hypothesis at PactSafe is that when you have a live prospect ready to buy, you shouldn’t let any friction stop that customer from buying. That’s why we built Chat-to-Sign to make that process easy. The contract is generated right within a conversation and can be accepted with a click or a tap.

Could you elaborate on the idea of “modernizing contract acceptance”? Which key areas in the industry are you focusing at?

Consider this ridiculous scenario—when you go to Facebook.com to create an account, you aren’t stopped in that process and asked to wait while someone sends you a contract with the Terms of Service of the site to sign. That would never happen. Instead to protect their legal interests, they add contract language to that process that you accept with a checkbox or when clicking the “Create Account” button. What most people don’t realize is that this is a legally binding contract. These types of experiences are becoming more and more prevalent in B2B, too. We call these scenarios “high-velocity” contracts that are accepted in all sorts of different ways, and our platform empowers businesses to make high-velocity contracts a part of their process no matter the type of business. We integrate into other workflows (like Live Chat) instead of what most electronic signature (esignature) platforms require, which is a proprietary workflow owned by the esignature provider and not the end customer.

What use cases this primarily covers are agreements that are mostly standardized or only require mild personalization—NDAs, employee onboarding docs, online terms, privacy policies, sales contracts, trial agreements, beta agreements, and more. Our platform is really best suited for the higher tech business looking to scale both internal and customer-facing processes with super simple contract experiences. The best thing about our platform is that it’s API-driven, so our customers find new ways to integrate it with different use cases, contracts, and internal processes all the time.

Do you think lack of CRM innovation is hurting the martech ecosystem? How does your platform add to CRM arsenal?

I think there’s plenty of innovation happening in and around CRM. I’m always inspired by the new companies popping up with different perspectives, industry focus, and technologies to evolve the way we think of CRM. For us, CRM is a means to an end. We use lots of systems on top of CRM that help us define the things “in motion” in our business and Salesforce acts as the database of record for those actions after the fact. We haven’t been able to tap into the machine-learning or AI-driven components of CRM as it stands today. We care about what are customers are doing as much as as what they have done. Business metrics drive our quarterly performance and forecasting, but lots of the analytics tools out there for customer success and product help us act quickly in different ways. I look at what companies like Intercom are doing to centralize around customer communications as an example. That’s where integration comes to play. It’s less important to have a true system of record as long as systems talk to each other and the insight specific to each team is meaningful and optimized for that role. A system of record is then only as good as the integrations.

Our play in CRM is enabling sales, customer success, and support teams to reduce friction in generating contracts and getting acceptance. We then integrate to CRM when contracts are accepted while keeping the right records for legal teams to manage and access through our platform.

Would you provide us your take on turning AI-driven and enabled by 2020?

We have a ton of data inside the platform that is ripe for analysis and insights. Contracts are driven by relationships and have traditionally required handholding by attorneys to polish, negotiate, and execute. I don’t think that will change—lawyers know the ins and outs of the laws (a very subjective topic in some cases as we all know). Where AI can help is the scale factor—helping lawyers work more efficiently to call out trends that may be problematic, clauses of contracts that are always being struck, or analyzing the quality or “grade” of a contract without requiring manual oversight. So much of what a lawyer does is document-driven—it’s our goal to extract the right information to present to legal teams at businesses who have so many things to manage. This way, their role becomes more strategic in truly managing the risk of the business, not managing the documents behind the data.

An inspiring quote from past editions of Dreamforce that you have ever heard

One of the most poignant, straightforward pieces of advice I’ve incorporated into my life was from Marissa Mayer in 2013. I found her to be super refreshing and someone I related to well. Her comment was in relation to “to do lists” and prioritizing things getting done in her life. She said, “If I did [get to the bottom of the list] it would be a real bummer,” Mayer said. “Because think about all those things at the very bottom of your to-do list that really shouldn’t take time out of your day.”

Thank you, Eric! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.

Eric Prugh is a tech executive, recovering developer, SaaS obsessed, platform builder. He loves the interconnectivity of systems and how they can solve business problems. Currently, Eric is the chief product officer and co-founder of Pactsafe. Prior to his role at PactSafe, Eric was a product leader at ExactTarget & Salesforce.

PactSafe Logo

PactSafe is an Indianapolis-based API-first software company that specializes in getting contracts signed electronically at high velocity and massive scale. PactSafe’s modern signing methods are saving businesses time and money and it’s instant legal records are increasing peace of mind. Through PactSafe’s solutions, customers like Angie’s List, CDW and TiVO protect their legal and business records, and save employees time through high-velocity contracting.

The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.

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