The Platform Chronicles: 10 Questions with Matthew Schiltz, CEO, Conga
On competing in the $10B contract management market and managing hyper-growth
Welcome to the The Platform Chronicles, a new publication designed to introduce readers to some of the most innovative partners that have developed applications on the Salesforce platform.
This issue focuses on Matthew Schiltz and Conga. Conga provides five-star rated apps on the Salesforce AppExchange for contract management and Salesforce sales tools. Contract management is a natural complement to Salesforce CPQ — software that helps teams configure, price and quote deals.
10 Questions for Matthew
Matthew Schiltz is an experienced senior executive with a proven track record of building successful, high-growth technology and cloud companies ranging from the private start-up stage to public companies. He has previously served as CEO for a number of successful companies including DocuSign, Tier 3, Blue Box Group, Insightful Corporation and CourtLink.
The following is a lightly-edited transcript of our ten questions for Matthew.
October marks your two-year anniversary as CEO of Conga. What attracted you to this company?
There were several reasons…let me highlight a couple of things. For me, it all starts with people. You can only go as far as your team, and I love the Conga people.
Our product set was another strong attraction. Everyone who uses Salesforce needs one or all of our products. Conga is the highest volume downloaded app on the AppExchange with a terrific five-star ranking. This reflects our outstanding reputation for product quality and customer success. We’ve been on the AppExchange since the beginning. It’s been over a decade.
What do you see as some of the highlights over the last 12 months?
It’s been an exciting 22 months as CEO. I’m a people guy and I’m excited about the people we have hired and developed. We’ve had phenomenal growth. We’ve been told that we’re the fastest-growing company in the Salesforce ecosystem. Last year, we grew bookings by more than 200%. This year, we’re looking at growing bookings by another 100%.
On the product side, we’re super excited about Conga Contracts which we launched in April. The product is built for the Salesforce platform and is tightly integrated with Salesforce CPQ. Conga customers see us as ‘mission-critical.’
This year, we held our first ever user conference in March. It was oversubscribed. It was so popular that we’ll be doing it again twice more this year. The next one is in September in London. We also have one in October in Las Vegas.
Another highlight has been attracting Salesforce Ventures as an investor, which we announced in June. We have a great relationship.
Lastly, although it’s more than 12 months ago at this point, we acquired three important companies: ActionGrid, CRMCulture and Novatus. In fact, we leveraged tremendous contract lifecycle management technology, and the deep experience of the Novatus team to help develop Conga Contracts.
What are your top priorities for the next 12 months?
The top priority is all about continuing to grow at a rapid pace. The good news is that we’re in a huge market. Gartner estimates that the contract lifecycle management market is at around $10B, and say it is growing at more than 20% annually.
Attracting the best talent is our #1 execution priority.
Let’s talk about your go-to market strategy: You have multiple points of entry into an account — Contracts, Composer, Action Grid, Reporting. Have you organized your field around individual products or do your reps sell the whole Conga Suite?
Our customer base is highly varied. We have some customers who need to produce a lot of electronic documents — quotes, statements of work, contract renewals. That’s relatively simple — we have software for them. This allows us to “land and expand.” We get them successful on the first project, and continue to work with them to add other parts of the suite. This is great for us as these are relatively quick sales cycles.
At the same time, we have customers who start by buying the whole suite.
Salesforce has been pretty aggressive in organizing around verticals. You have a horizontal solution for quote-to-cash … Are you looking at vertical extensions?
Quote-to-cash is a pretty horizontal app/business process. That said, markets like healthcare, wealth management, and high tech have been very good to us.
I’ve been tracking your indirect channel efforts. At last count, you had more than 65 OEM partners, including FinancialForce and Sage. How do you see this growing vis-a-vis direct sales?
Our channel partners resell our document generation software, Conga Composer. It solves real customer needs for them.
Conga also enjoys a tremendous System Integrator (SI) channel. In fact last year we deployed deals with over 400 different SIs.
We’ve talked about the great fit between CPQ and Quote-to-Cash. How is this working in the field — are you seeing more Salesforce account executives looking to bundle Conga in at the initial sale or are you often an add-in at a later date?
This is working very well with the field. There are at least three types of engagements. We can work closely together at the start of a deal to help Salesforce close more deals faster.
We can also come in after the Salesforce customer is live and solve really complex business issues.
At the same time, we have some customers who sign with us to manage their electronic documents. In these cases, we’re the first software they have bought that runs on the Salesforce platform.
In all cases, we can help expand Salesforce’s presence to many first-time users in new departments like Legal or Finance. There’s a lot of white space here.
Let’s talk about the meshing of the Salesforce and Conga technology strategies. There is a lot of customer buzz about Salesforce Lightning (new user experience) and Einstein (artificial intelligence)? Where are you in development?
Great question. All of our products are Lightning-ready. Everything in Conga Contracts was designed for Lightning.
Einstein is very interesting for us. We see a lot of opportunities to leverage machine learning — for example to provide valuable business insights with Conga Contracts for workflows around specific types of contract language.
I noticed that you have a “100% CEO approval rating” on Glassdoor. Not sure I’ve ever seen that before. What do you attribute that to?
I’m grateful for the positive feedback from employees. Humbled by it. We got there because of trust. They trust me and we really trust our people. We’re very open with our trusted employees, including sharing our numbers, our wins, and our challenges. We have a very “open book” company.
Last question: You’re a customer and partner, what would you like to see Salesforce do with the platform to make life better for you and your customers?
Salesforce is the #1 Cloud app platform in the world and has driven 17+ years of innovation. We’re grateful to be part of the ecosystem.
I love to see initiatives like Lightning. Having a great user experience leads to faster time to value for our customers. We want to incorporate Einstein in everything we do. Keep innovating!
As for what Salesforce could do better, I’d like to see an increased investment in Quote to Cash. It’s a very hot topic and mega trend!
About Conga: Founded in 2006, Conga is a go-to application provider for Salesforce users who want to optimize their CRM investments and accelerate their sales cycles. Available on the Salesforce AppExchange, the Conga Suite of products extends the value of the Sales Cloud by simplifying and automating data, documents, contracts and reporting. A Salesforce Platinum Partner with industry-recognized products and support, Conga has a base of more than 150,000 users in 45+ countries and across all industries.