Digitalization is upon us, and along with it, the written signature is dying. With its’ digital signature platform, Penneo dreams of creating a paperless workflow, where you can sign things digitally. Penneo makes a difference for Danish companies by understanding their customers.
The need for their service became obvious when the founders of Penneo sat in a basement and phoned around Denmark to find customers who dared to replace the written signature process and go paperless. They found that the written signature process is both insecure and messy, and both time and money can be saved by going digital.
With its’ digital signature platform, Penneo wanted to help lawyers and accountants become free from paper. But to get customers onboard and make sales, Penneo had to first get people to understand what digital signatures can do for a company.
“In many cases, the only reason why we print a document is to have it signed. Today documents are born digitally, and with Penneo they can also be completed digitally. But old habits are hard to get rid of,” explains Camilla Skallerup, sales representative at Penneo.
Customer feedback drives development
They managed to get the first pioneering companies onboard with their dream very quickly. The sales team now had vital feedback to share with the developers and they managed to iterate Penneo and make it even better.
“In the beginning, we had to put ourselves in the place of the customers and understand what sort of workflows they had. Based on the feedback we were able to build new solutions for our customers,” says Camilla Skallerup.
With that feedback, Penneo learned more about the needs around signatures, such as the orders and roles in the signing process, a feature that was quickly added to the product. They also learned there was a desire for forms where the signers can completely predefined fields before signing a document, which later became part of the Penneo platform.
“When we in sales tell our developers about our customers experience, they are listening. It’s great to be listened to and to be able to shape the development process. In large organizations I have worked for, the developers have always been located in the United States, so it has been hard to have a say in the development,” says Camilla Skallerup, who worked at two large IT corporations for 15 years prior to joining Penneo.
An internationalization has been a part of the plan from the very beginning. Through their strong foundation in Denmark, Penneo has been able to take on the Scandinavian market with their Digital Signature Platform, based on “E-IDs”, common digital logins that are tied to the IDs of Scandinavians such as NemID, BankID, and Tupas.
Selling the dream of a better world
From sitting in a basement in the very beginning Penneo has climbed some steps. Literally. Today they find themselves at the 13th floor of the old DR Byen building in Soborg, outside of Copenhagen and the Penneo-team has reached over 600 customers. Ranging from small sole proprietorships to C20 companies. What Penneo customers have in common is the need to sign documents digitally.
“When we speak with a customer and learn about their process with pen and paper, it’s cool to be the person who inspires them to solve this problem with a more modern, secure, and easy process,” explains Camilla Skallerup.
Customers are now reaching out to Penneo themselves, although canvassing is still important to the sales team. It does not bother Camilla to knock on doors, as she knows that she is selling something that is beneficial to customers.
“It gives me joy to make a difference for customers. It is maybe not a huge difference, like making the world more peaceful, but we help companies be more efficient. I am damn proud of the feedback I get,” says Camilla Skallerup.
Many happy customers
Penneo has been on a massive growth trajectory since it started. Still, Camilla Skallerup says that gaining tons of customers is not the primary goal of the sales team.
“Often, startups try to get a lot of customers quickly. If you look at traditional subscription platforms, you can get a lot of customers in quickly who don’t even use the platform. With us, it is vice-versa. If customers don’t use the platform, it gives no value to either of us,” she explains.
The pricing structure at Penneo is in fact designed in such a way that it only costs a small amount to have a subscription, after which customers pay per signature. In this way, Penneo only earns money if customers actually use the product.
“If a customer experiences that they no longer need us or can no longer make use of our service, they obviously should not be a customer. We want to have customers where we can really add value for them. It is vital for us to have happy customers who use our service, because that is a growth opportunity as far as everyone is concerned,” says Camilla Skallerup.