Investing in Accord

Ryan Rich, Wayne Pan, and Ross Rich

I’m delighted to share that I’ve led a Series A investment in Accord on behalf of Matrix. As part of this investment, I’ve joined Accord’s board.

Accord is a customer collaboration platform that enables top sales teams to drive mutual action plans with prospects. Mutual action plans, or MAPs, have become a best practice in enterprise sales for good reason: they embrace the reality that a sales process is a project. Defined outcomes, roles and responsibilities, next steps, resources, timelines, check-ins—all of the ingredients of projects are present in enterprise sales processes, too, if you know where to look.

Sharp sellers have long leaned on shared docs, Slack Connect channels, and general project management tools to help manage sales processes with prospects like the projects that they are. But general project management tools miss the mark for mutual action plans in a few ways. First, project management tools designed for internal use within a single organization simply aren’t optimized for episodic high-intensity usage by participants external to the company. In a traditional project management tool, everything from the login flow to the corporate branding centers the originating company, instead of celebrating and welcoming the prospect. Second, internal-first collaboration tools tend to be far too flexible for the purposes of managing a sales process; top sales orgs have proven processes that they want to keep as consistent as possible across all opportunities. Third, internal-first project management tools assume too much shared context. In a sales process, customer discovery starts with making the implicit explicit; the right tool will draw clarity out of the woodwork.

A snapshot of the actual mutual action plan we used to drive toward a deal between Matrix and Accord.

Accord solves the puzzle of customer collaboration by putting customers first. The login flow makes it a breeze for prospects to engage on mutual action plans, leading to Accord’s remarkable track record of buyer-side adoption. Meanwhile, the interface centers the prospect’s brand and the mutuality of two businesses coming together at every turn; just the simple fact of assuming that two logos will always be side by side in the interface leads to different design decisions than would have been made otherwise. In terms of flexibility, Accord prioritizes “strong defaults” across the board, starting with their impressive playbook library; while it’s possible to edit just about anything in Accord, going off-track becomes much less tempting when the starting point is so solid. And when it comes to making the implicit explicit, Accord really shines; as one example, their Team screen offers an elegant visual way to invite a prospect to name key stakeholders within the organization.

Accord’s Team screen sparks conversations between sellers and prospects about who needs to be in the loop.

When I spoke with Accord’s top users, I heard over and over that Accord was their tool of choice not only because it helped them sell better, but because their buyers felt like it was built just for them. By consolidating the entire sales process and all the relevant resources into one place, sellers gained a hub for bringing new stakeholders into the process midstream—and a self-serve resource for their champions within a prospect organization to share with the relevant decision-makers at just the right moment. It’s no surprise that top sales teams have already embraced the Accord way; Figma, Stripe, Affirm, Headspace, and dbt Labs are all customers.

As a product, Accord looks simple and approachable, and that’s on purpose. But the accumulation of this many subtly right decisions could only come from uncommonly insightful founders, and that’s what jumped out at me when I met Ross and Ryan Rich—two brothers with backgrounds as top sellers at Stripe and Google—and Wayne Pan, Accord’s CTO and a repeat founder himself. I admire the Accord team for their intensity, their intuition, and their integrity, all of which I got to see in full force through our whirlwind process of deciding to work together a few months ago. A deal is a project, too, and so it was only natural for us to manage the entire process in Accord. When done right, completing an intense project together is one of the best possible ways to forge a strong relationship—and strong relationships are the foundation of all meaningful work. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work side by side with Accord for the next decade and beyond.

Curious to go further? Check out Accord’s launch announcement on TechCrunch, take a look at heir Careers page, and start a free trial today!