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How Horizon Education eliminated manual sandboxes for product trials with Storylane

In addition to guided sales demos and leave behinds, Horizon Education has been successfully using Storylane product walkthroughs as a trial environment for prospective buyers.

EdTech, SaaS
HubSpot, Slack
New York, United States

About Horizon Education

Founded in 2013 by Dustin Bainbridge, Horizon Education is an education software company. They partner with K-12 high schools and school districts across the United States to provide assessment preparation for the ACT and SAT exams. They work with students, teachers as well as the administrative departments, serving the entire spectrum of a child’s test-prep journey.

The Team 

Craig Leren has been at the helm of Horizon Education since 2018. Apart from his day job, he also takes care of building sales demos and product walkthroughs for the Horizon Education sales team with Storylane. 

Craig Leren, Chief Product Officer @ Horizon Education

The Problem

📌 Same product with different customer bases
Horizon Education is not just a multi-product company but it also caters to multiple use cases, for different user personas. However, they were using the same demo environment to showcase their product to everyone. And they knew this wasn’t the best way to carry out their sales demos. 
The reps, at times, found it difficult to outline the relevant value proposition to the different personas, resulting in some lost deals. Citing the stage of the company, it wasn’t feasible to categorize reps to focus on specific use cases and with new reps continually being onboarded, getting them to the field became time consuming.

📌 Unexpected hiccups during live sales demos
At Horizon Education, reps had been using their actual product to showcase during live demos. But this comes with its own set of challenges. Such as, bugs creeping in, unexpected change in data/ numbers, reps not prepared on new features, during the demos itself. In fact, the team did face such unexpected challenges a few times, which is how the need for a demo tool became apparent to them.

📌 Manual sandbox creation for product trials 
For a tool that caters to multiple personas, there are often different features that appeal to them. As a result, Horizon Education has at times struggled with showcasing the right set of value propositions to users trialing the product. 
There was always skepticism around users being lost, not finding important features or being unable to accomplish something. And with sandboxes, there was no way to help prospects with the right kind of guidance for them to have the right kind of product exploration journey.

The Search 

Horizon Education started scouring the market for a demo solution but quickly became inundated with products with just screen captures. However, the team wanted something that’s beyond mere screen captures, which led to them narrowing their search to application capture providers. And this is where they came across Storylane.

Craig looked at a few different solutions before ultimately zeroing in on Storylane. Three things that moved the needle for him in favor of Storylane were,

  • Ability to sign up and trial the product without any hassles of NDAs or multiple sales calls
  • Perfect blend of the right price point with the right set of features, for their use cases
  • Lack of the screen linking feature during application capture
"It was an easy choice between Storylane and the other solution, given they lacked auto screen linking with app captures. Our demos often extend to 20-30 captures and it’d have been a nightmare to build out the demo flows without auto-linking."
-Craig Leren, CPO

The Solution

The signup was followed by an onboarding call with Storylane’s CS team, to understand Horizon Education’s use cases and suggest the best ways to accomplish them. It also involved going over the crucial features that will be useful to Craig and his team while building demos as well as some best practices around it. Over the next 3 months, Horizon Education saw a lot of tangible benefits of using Storylane, some of which were, 

📌 Replacing live sales demos with Storylane’s interactive demos
Horizon Education’s sales team including their CEO have almost completely replaced showcasing their actual platform during live demos with Storylane’s interactive demos. They wanted a reliable platform that eliminates any scope of change in data, random bugs affecting functionalities or surprising new features, surfacing during live demos. The flexibility and ease of the product has been very well received by everyone. Among other things, they love its checklist feature as well as the very detailed documentation.

📌 Using Storylane demos as leave-behinds 
Since Horizon Education has started using Storylane demos as leave-behinds, they’ve almost entirely phased out sandboxes, eliminating any concerns of unfulfilled trial experiences. Through this they’ve been able to help educators with hands-on access to the product without having to share logins with them. 
Their prospects are now sharing interactive leave-behinds with more people in their team to quickly see the platform’s value props and make a decision, without talking to a rep. Moreover, Horizon Education is also using Storylane demos for onboarding new reps and training them.

"Storylane has helped us showcase our product in a very streamlined way. It has also enabled us to give our prospects a hands-on experience of the product without creating multiple sandboxes everytime. These leave-behinds are engaging, tutorial-like and give prospects a safe playground to explore the product."
-Craig Leren, CPO

📌 Integration with HubSpot and Slack for lead data and timely follow-ups 
Horizon Education has used Storylane’s native integration to integrate with HubSpot, which they use to send out both marketing mails and sales follow-ups. Particularly, the short self-guided product tours that they recently started sending in marketing emails, has been a real game-changer. Having added HubSpot’s custom form to it, every lead capture gets passed onto HubSpot from where automated nurture campaigns take over, resulting in increased demo bookings.
In terms of Slack, every rep has their own unique demo link which they share with their prospects. They then get notified on Slack in real-time whenever their unique links are clicked on. This helps them contextualize their emails and follow-up with prospects at the right time, establishing rewarding buyer experiences leading to closing more deals.

Craig wants to next embed the Storylane demos on Horizon Education’s website to capture the visitors as well as use Storylane walkthroughs as interactive support guides for the customers.

The Impact

Horizon Education has created two demos that are currently used as leave-behinds for their prospects as well as in their nurture flows for marketing qualified leads.

  • The average time spent in viewing the two demos in the past 90 days, stands at more than 7 minutes.
  • In the same time-period, both the demos have garnered 750+ views which equals to 90+ hours of total time the viewers have spent going through the demos.
  • The quick self-guided demos that they have started inserting in marketing emails has resulted in some unexpected numbers, with over 100 engagements, within a short time frame of <30 days.
  • Over a 90 day period, the two demos have together converted over 42% of the viewers into leads.
"Previously, there was scope for error and we’ve gone from a process that could be time consuming and painful to a process that’s super quick."