Vasu S., Enterprise Solution Engineering, Dallas, TX

Our “DocuSign Innovates” blog series places the spotlight on employees and teams who create and innovate in many different and unexpected ways. Some build cool tools, analyze data or and write code in new ways. Others may redesign product and processes or create clever marketing campaigns. Still, others may figure out a way to make a positive impact on the communities in which we live and work. We’d like to celebrate those individuals and teams here. This week we sat down with Vasu, Lead Solution Architect, Enterprise Solution Engineering at DocuSign, to learn more about how he innovates in his role.

Tell us about the challenge you addressed with your innovation.

The DocuSign sales team needs compelling demos to present the best of what we offer to customers. Solution Engineers build these demos so we can show the art of the possible. The demos often need to be branded with the prospective customer’s logos and colors to give us that extra edge. When I came to DocuSign in 2013, I quickly realized the process used to prepare for these client meetings was inefficient. It was taking forever to create the demos because the team was doing it from scratch every single time. My very first day at DocuSign — we were all in Seattle for a sales conference — one of my teammates had stayed up all night working on a demo. It wasn’t a scalable approach. You could work 24/7 and still not deliver. And I wanted to see my kids and do a great job.

So that desire for a better work-life balance was the initial catalyst?

Yes. My background is in software engineering. I thought could create an interactive wizard that could create demos for us in less time. We could take a several hour process and trim it to under 15 minutes. The first product I wrote was called “DemoBuilder” — basically an automated wizard that doesn’t require development expertise and allows you to build the demo interactively and tailor it to the prospective company’s branding. For example, if I had an upcoming meeting with Microsoft, I could create the demo using Microsoft’s forms, I could brand it with the Microsoft logo and Microsoft colors, and make it look like it was something that was built specifically for Microsoft. It really revolutionized our process because we took something that took a very long time down to less than 30 minutes, and it’s much more impactful because the customer can envision doing their work via DocuSign.

Did you just decide to do this on your own or did you run it by anybody?

Originally, I was writing it for myself. I just did it on my own on nights and weekends, whenever I could. Then, I thought the entire team could use it. So after writing and publishing it, I told the team, “Hey, this tool exist,s and you guys should go out and use it.” Over time, we’ve been adding to it. We’ve had four versions so far. We manage it like a product — adding features, changing things — so that it reflects our latest and greatest.

So each team member can take it and adjust it to their particular client or needs?

It basically works off the code generation principle. You pick all of your options and you configure the demo interactively. It doesn’t require any kind of manual involvement; it’s all automatic.

What was the response from your team members when they first saw it?

They were happy. In some cases, they were spending a lot of their time creating demos, so it made a big impact on how we could scale. And the quality of the demos went up substantially. Previously, we just talked about particular features but never had a way to show them. Word got around DocuSign, and other groups started using the tool as well. Between our professional services, enterprise, and commercial teams, I’d say about 70-80 people are using it now.

That tool has been used for about three years now. Have you come up with anything else?

I had this idea of building more custom demos that were targeted toward specific verticals, like financial services, life sciences, and insurance. We then created some demo portals that were targeted for specific verticals such as financial services, insurance and healthcare. The demo portals could be used out of the box without the need for any development work. We later added the ability to customize a particular demo portal with the customer’s branding. We didn’t have any budget and had to do it on our own. But it has changed the way we go to market because we’re now able to show our product in a very focused, professional context. In sales meetings, we’re trying to get across complex concepts in a very limited amount of time. We need to show the client something they can understand and relate to immediately. We can now demonstrate the full DocuSign experience. We want our customers to be able to envision a real day in the life experience of using DocuSign – everything from remote signing to embedded signing to signing on separate devices.

What has been the impact of this innovation?

It’s made us a lot more successful, efficient, and competitive. The demo portals are now a company-wide resource. They’re used by sales, but they’re also used by other teams. In the past 2 -1/2 years, sales executed more than 20,000 demos from the portals. Plus, there are far more things available on it today than when we first started. We’ve also added a couple more verticals in addition to financial services, healthcare, life sciences, and insurance.

Are you thinking of new ways this tool could be used even more widely or effectively?

Yes, we’re constantly evolving to reflect new leads, new things that we want to do. It’s been a win for us because it helps us be a lot more efficient. It helps us maximize our time. It’s an ROI slamdunk! We’re extremely efficient, and we’ve been able to manage the exponential growth because we’ve been very innovative in our approach to automating our jobs and doing it better. We’re constantly looking for new ways to do that.

Do you feel that DocuSign is unique in encouraging individual, innovative thinking?

We’re extremely innovative. First, we hire very smart, energetic, creative people. But what really distinguishes us is the fact that we’re so collaborative. At DocuSign, you leave your ego at the door. People are so unselfish with their knowledge and their skills. It’s a team effort, and I think that’s our secret sauce. That’s the reason everyone loves working here; it’s just such a great team environment. We always have each other’s back. We’re all willing to go the extra mile for the sake of the team, and that’s why I think we’ll continue to be successful.