MURAL is a visual collaboration platform built to unlock imagination and innovation for distributed and hybrid workforces around the globe, helping teams solve hard problems together and even have fun. Propelled by the uptick in remote work, MURAL has been growing rapidly, raising their $50M Series C in June 2021 and was one of the fastest growing tech companies of 2021.
To understand how MURAL structured their Revenue Operations (“RevOps”) to meet this level of growth, we spoke to Keith Jones, leader of MURAL’s GTM Systems. He shared with us how selecting the right Salesforce partner helped extend the leverage of the RevOps team during a period of hypergrowth.
What were some of the challenges you and your team were facing when you first joined MURAL that made you seek out an external consulting partner?
When I first joined MURAL, we had a lot of tech debt in Salesforce. We’d experienced an unprecedented level of growth in a short space of time and simply hadn’t had the right resources in place to adapt our systems to meet the new needs of the business. Our org was overbuilt in ways that no longer made sense and which were preventing the company from continuing to scale. We’d come to the conclusion that we needed to take a few steps back in order to take further steps forward.
We were also grappling with a lack of internal process. It’s always been important at MURAL to get direct feedback from day-to-day users of Salesforce. To say users were keen to provide us with feedback would be an understatement — we were inundated with Slacks, DMs and emails. Unfortunately, there was no clear process around who to go to for certain things. Questions would frequently fall through the cracks, which wasn’t the greatest user experience.
What were you looking for in a consulting partner?
I’d inherited a relationship with another consulting firm who had provided a lot of good work up till that point, but which was not set up for the scale and velocity we needed as the company continued to grow. We needed a partner who was willing to meet us where we were, and who had the blend of technical expertise and discipline we were looking for. Essentially, we needed a partner that we could bring with us along our growth curve and who would not hold us back.
We were introduced to the Candybox team via a mutual contact at Clari and were impressed by the company’s Agile working style and expertise in the high-growth SaaS market. One of Candybox’s services is a technical audit and, since tech debt was a high priority issue, we decided to run an audit to pilot our partnership and start building a roadmap to address the most pressing issues facing MURAL’s Salesforce org.
What were some of the things you were able to achieve through your partnership with Candybox?
The technical audit we did immediately after engaging Candybox was very impactful. It affirmed some of the suspicions I already had and provided insight into issues and opportunities I wasn’t even aware of. The Candybox team put together their findings in a way that was digestible for people outside of the team, and this allowed me to get other people onboard with why certain things needed to be done. I faced virtually zero resistance due to the way Candybox illustrated the business impact of acting on their insights.
Candybox had put together a list of recommendations based on their findings during the audit, and we split the highest priority action items between MURAL’s internal team and Candybox. We were able to leverage Candybox for the more complex work, such as retiring old custom Apex, or migrating process builders into a new architecture based on flow.
More recently, Candybox helped us scope out and design complex initiatives. Two examples are implementing the Quote and Contract objects, both of which required significant process and architectural changes. We were able to use Candybox as a fractional solutions architect to determine the best way to approach the build and to create the design and technical documents, after which we could hand the plans over to our team to implement. We not only saved time and benefitted from an overall better product due to Candybox’s experience, but also enabled our own RevOps team to gain valuable new skills and exposure.
What do you think the past 18 months would have been like without Candybox?
When we first started working together, it felt like the RevOps team was running around with their hair on fire. Now, we actually work methodically and have a process. Part of the reason we were able to get to this place was because Candybox enabled us to take the time and space to implement and perfect internal processes.
Without Candybox, we would have struggled significantly with several projects or simply ended up not going ahead with them. They filled legitimate gaps in the current team’s expertise where it wouldn’t make sense for us to hire someone full-time, but where we do frequently need help — for example, with custom Apex. With Candybox, we can tap into those resources as and when needed.
It’s also been great to have a thought partner who is always receptive to ideas, and for whom no work is ever too complicated. Even when Candybox has feedback that conflicts with what we had originally envisioned, we are able to come to a resolution quickly. The team’s technical skills, as well as the time and effort they put into their work, are obvious. They are also not afraid to push back on timelines or temper expectations in order to provide a quality output.
What was the overall impact of the partnership?
Working with Candybox has allowed me to focus on the things that are most important to MURAL as a company and to me as a leader. Having a fractional solutions architect we can use for highly complex strategic, administrative and development work in and around Salesforce has significant advantages. Previously, I was MURAL’s solutions architect, but it spread me very thin and did not allow me to focus on leading and growing the team. It’s important that the people on my team know that my priorities lie with them. Having the bandwidth to make sure I’m looking after them is huge.
I’ve also been able to focus on getting the team to a place where we can operate efficiently in an asynchronous fashion. Previously, so much of my time was spent doing user support in Salesforce or scoping out high-level technical work, but having Candybox as a resource allowed me to free up a lot of time, which I then used to scale out the RevOps team’s operations. As a result of that, we are now able to focus on the key projects we commit to each quarter, as well as answer support tickets in an orderly and timely manner. Additionally, we’ve been able to reduce the number of bugs and errors users encounter, since we are building and implementing things in a much better manner than we could otherwise.
On top of that, the RevOps team is learning at a rapid scale by building things according to the scope laid out by Candybox. Candybox leverages the most cutting edge technologies in Salesforce and their work is based on their accumulated experience across dozens of growth-stage tech companies, so it’s a great learning experience for my team to see how they approach things.
What is your advice to someone considering working with a Salesforce consultant?
Consider what is important to you and your business and then hold your consultant to a very high standard. The right consultant will be able to meet those high standards and will relish the challenge. Once you find the right partner, let them into your business and don’t be afraid to share the pain you’re experiencing. Great consultants will help you find solutions for that pain, like Candybox did for us.
MURAL’s revenue has been growing at a breakneck pace for some time now. Since we began working with Candybox, we’ve almost tripled our workforce, with no indication of things slowing down any time soon.
When it comes to my team, I want to enable each individual to hone their craft and unlock growth paths in their career. I think a great way to do this is through greater specialization in technologies and areas of the business. The specialization we’ve developed already has allowed us to meet business needs much earlier than originally anticipated. It has also allowed people to focus on the things they do best.
For our users, I want to continue to reduce friction in the user experience of Salesforce. We intend to continue to leverage Candybox as our technical architecting partner. They will be a key component to every big Salesforce milestone and initiative that comes our way.