Jonathan William: Well, welcome to our panel this afternoon on establishing your customer service strategy. We live in this age of convenience where consumers expect their delivery tomorrow. They expect everything on demand, whether it’s Netflix or Uber. We did some research recently at HubSpot that said that 80 percent of customers have left a business due to poor customer service. They want things faster. They want to communicate with businesses through up to 13 different channels and the expectations have simply never been higher. They want you to know who they are before they even get there. And there’s a real cost of businesses for not meeting these expectations. You might know it costs a lot more money to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. So, this really matters. And the thing about customers today is they are also your biggest advocates.
60% of people will trust what the other friends or family say about a business more than they will trust a company. So, it’s a really important topic and I’m really thrilled to have a great panel here today to help to talk about some of the strategy and some of the ways we can meet these expectations today. So, here we have a Fiona, who’s from EdSmart.
Andy Farquharson: Okay. So, we’re going to start. We need everyone to please be up on your feet as you grab your bag. It’s not going to be too painful cuz we’re all going to move into the center row. And stay standing when we get here. You guys can … No, stay standing. Come across, huddle up, I don’t want to hurt my neck looking around trying to find you guys. Nice. Stay standing. We’re going to ask you all some questions.
Awesome. Guys, just to get an understanding of who is in the room, just like to learn a little bit more about you. Presuming, just show of hands first. Who here is sort of in a business that had database out? Okay. Everyone else whose hand was not up, you can sit down. No, wait. You can stay standing. All right. So, people whose business, the average contract value of what you sell is under 10 grand. Could you please sit down? If your average contract value is under 50 grand, please sit down. Still a few up. All right. 100? 200? 500? What are you selling here?
Cheating. Awesome. Guys, thank you very much for that. It gives us a good understanding as to, I guess, what you guys are going to want to get out of this. Because what we’re talking about here is building a sales machine and your sales machine is very much dependent on how much the value of what it is that you sell because you’ve got to take your different models to market based off basically the segment that you’re in which really aligns to how much your customers pay.
So, we have estimated. The theme is really about building that sales machine because the world of sales has changed drastically. There’s a couple of obviously a big shift which we all know and understand which is why we’re here, like it’s B2B Rocks, a lot of it are also suspenders. Adopting to this sort of new model has meant that there’s a lot of an average contract value, sales cycles are going faster, and more importantly, there’s a lot more information out there for people to consume. So, sales people can’t just hide all the information here and just tell the customer few lies and keep things moving. That basically means that the world of the Rainmaker, they sale superstars that used to … 20% of people who deliver 80% of your revenue are dead. You can’t survive. You can’t build a scalable organization like that. You need to find a way to be able to get 80% of your revenue coming from 80% of your sales team. We need to be able to make our businesses as Rainmaker [inaudible 00:02:59].
That’s why we’re going to be here talking about how we actually going to build a sales machine. So, super excited about that the panel that we’ve got. We’ve got different perspectives, different average contract values, so it’s going to be a little bit of something for everyone. I’ll invite all the speakers up and then we’ll get the go down and get them to tell a little bit more about their business. First of all, we’ll get Anne Nolan who’s the co-founder of Award Force. All right. Thank you. Emma Lo Russo, CEO of Digivizer. Where am I going to get? All right, I’ll come on this side. And Matt Browne, founder and CEO of DoneSafe. Brilliant. Also, I’m obviously going to do a horrible job of introducing you guys properly. So, if we could start and down the other end, if you could just tell us just a little bit about Award Force, you, and yourself are Award Force. We can hear.
Anne Nolan: Yes. All right. Award Force is a SAS platform for award management programs. so grants, scholarships, anything that has a submission and assessment components. Essentially, we help people find and recognize excellence in communities in all over the world. So, we work with people like the Country Music Awards, through to Business Awards, you name it. There’s awards for everything. We are about almost five years old commercially and we have a team of soon to be 23 in 12 countries. That’s right.
Andy Farquharson: Don’t look at me, I don’t know.
Anne Nolan: Someone else down there. Yeah. So, we are a fully-distributed team.
Andy Farquharson: Okay. Awesome. And what’s your average contract value?
Anna Nolan: AU$5,130 annually and in the first year, there’s an $1,800 onboarding component.
Andy Farquharson: All right. I like that very precise. It’s good to know if people know their numbers. Awesome. Emma?
Emma Lo Russo: Hi. Digivizer is, we help companies go to market through digital where development add partner to the social and search platforms. We have a technology platform that enables any business to connect up their social and search accounts and seeing realtime owned, earned, and paid media, so you can have real time insights as to what’s working for you and what doesn’t. And then we add services over the top for clients like Microsoft and Lenovo, and Optus, and sort of the big in. We can kind of do end-to-end anything. We build digital sales models and particularly in B2B where experts in how to build social to sales through social for big contracts and small ones.
Andy Farquharson: Okay. What’s the range of contracts?
Emma Lo Russo: So, the software starts at $89 a month. An average kind of services plus tech would be in the vicinity of 5K to 10K a month. We kind of have three tiers of customers. We could have a 2 million plus 12-month contract and then we could have, there’s a bunch that sit around 120, and then there’s a whole bunch that sit at 3K a month. But it’s always $89 a month under sittings, sitting underneath that for the tech.
Andy Farquharson: Awesome. Well, lots of exciting things to get into the air and the sort of segmentation pace. Matt?
Matt Browne: I’m Matt Browne and I run DoneSafe. We are, I guess, in doing compliance software and primarily, we help you to protect your business and yourself from anything that can hurt you, hurt your reputation, or hurt your back pocket. So, that’s really the focus of our platform. We have two segments. We have an SME segment and we have an Enterprise segment. We’re probably stronger in the enterprise space at the moment with an ACV in the enterprise space of the six figure contracts sizes. And then in SME, we’ve got sort of an average contract value of around 15K.
Andy Farquharson: Okay. Awesome. And we’ll run back down as we go back down the other way. Obviously, you’re selling to very different people. Give us the understanding of the size of your sales organization or that sales and customer organization. And also, who is that ideal customer that you speak to you?
Matt Browne: I guess as a business, we have two ideal customers. Our first ideal customers is enterprises. They are the customers that we work directly with primarily because they need us to help them to obviously solve a problem in their business. Maybe their workers’ compensation premiums are too high and it’s costing them millions of dollars, maybe they want to self-insure, maybe they’re hurting too many people, whatever it might be. And in terms of the enterprise space, our ideal customers, we work with Telstra and McDonald’s, and people like that. And then in the SME space, obviously, we can interact directly with every SME, so we work with partners and our partners tend to be insurance brokers and practitioners who are advising on risk.
Andy Farquharson: Okay. So, if you’re looking at enterprise space, who in the business is the purchaser of your technology?
Matt Browne: Again, in enterprise, it tends to be the person responsible for risks. If they’re buying a health…
Andy Farquharson: Is that on their LinkedIn title?
Matt Browne: Yeah, it is. Chief Risk Officer is a real thing and they are big risk departments. But basically, risk managers, health and safety managers, and heads of HR.
Andy Farquharson: Yep. Okay. So, that’s pretty broad. Awesome. Emma, how about you over there at Digivizer?
Emma Lo Russo: Yeah. So, depending on which tier, we target small to medium businesses for just the tech only And that’s just a digital sales funnel, just completely online. Anyone that we’re selling services to will be the CEO or angels, or funded startups is a nice sweet spot for us in terms of trying to get to scale and cuz we’re data driven, everything’s based on data, we can know what works and what doesn’t, so that could be very effective way of doing things. And as a get larger into enterprise, it would be like the CMO, it could still be [inaudible 00:08:53] as we get engaged at the board level, help us go digital now to develop out the digital sales funnel. We also act as the CEOs’ formal large organizations in sea levels. So, building their social profile and we have a program that’s about curation, creation, and connection and how that actually works as part of your sales funnels.
Andy Farquharson: Yeah.
Emma Lo Russo: [inaudible 00:09:18]
Andy Farquharson: What’s the size of your sales or customer organization?
Emma Lo Russo: Nearly everything is still online in terms of what comes in. We’re 63 people, we’re in 13 countries and about 30% of our revenues are in overseas. From a sales perspective, I guess it’s just me. But in terms of the team …
Andy Farquharson: [inaudible 09:44] is very busy.
Emma Lo Russo: … it’s more like we’re very content led. It’s a very much digital first way that we go to market, so it’s really just conversion with the conversation. And then once the clients on then on have their own team, that will be allocated to the client.
Andy Farquharson: So, you are the one answering all those inbound queries?
Emma Lo Russo: Well, that’s a little bit more automated than that, but yeah, kind of. Not really. It’s more automated. It’s actually more automated. So, we’ve got intercom both on our website and in app. So, then there’s a team that would answer those and a lot of those are ready-made questions. We’ve got a dedicated social person, so they’re answering a lot of that goes in there. But in terms of what would fade, one of the things I would say for everyone is think about your digital sales funnel. What’s brand? What’s consideration? And what’s conversion? If you like, often I’ll play the brand a bit to get people interested. Make sure that they’re following, so then it’s what we can tell. We’re helping people understand what they want and what they might convert on, and then there will be a call to action. And then hopefully, that’s an easy onboarding experience.
Andy Farquharson: And obviously, it feels like a lot of the conversations when you’ve got to have them. Like all the content that they’ve engaged …
Emma Lo Russo: And a lot of insight because every time someone’s touching something they sharing a lot of information about that engagement.
Andy Farquharson: Awesome. Very cool.
Anne Nolan: We work with industry associations and event management companies, government, and also direct corporations. So, within that, it’s really the people who are running the programs. So, anyone who’s actually responsible for all the submission of entries and all of the judging is our ideal client really.
Andy Farquharson: Everyone usually publicizes when they have put on an award. It’s pretty obvious who’s running them. I mean with that, do you wait for them to come to you or do you go outbound to go find them?
Anne Nolan: It’s been evolving. Certainly in the beginning, it was pretty much all outbound and we’re quite fortunate for that reason that it is actually relatively easy to find people that are running programs and to get to them and to get to have a conversation with them. Outbound now has moved down to being about 30% of our revenue with the probably the largest amount now coming from inbound and referrals which is really risen out quite dramatically which is wonderful.
Andy Farquharson: Yeah. Always a good thing. Matt, what does that look like for you guys in terms of how you’re going and actually getting these conversations with these potential customers?
Matt Browne: Yeah. Look, it’s obviously evolved over time. Initially, it was just getting out there and picking up the phone and calling anybody who’d listen to us, but it’s definitely becoming a lot more marketing lead now. As our business has kind of gone through the growth phase and now into sort of the scale up phase, we’ve got a marketing department, we’re probably at a point now where we’re pretty close to 50% of our leads coming down which is great but that doesn’t mean that you can get lazy on getting out there and actually networking and calling people either. It’s pretty much a 50-50 split at the moment.
Andy Farquharson: Okay, awesome. Now, one of the big challenges we see around prospecting is this initial engagement piece is actually sort of training and enabling the people who are doing the conversations to have that passion and to have that knowledge that you guys have found as hold. How do you impart that knowledge into these people that you’ve hired to be able to carry on that message for you?
Matt Browne: I think some of the ways that we’ve found as a founder is you kind of have the founder glow, which basically means people want talk to you because you founded something and it’s kind of cool. When you’ve got to teach a sales team to do that, you obviously look for sales people, first and foremost, that are a little entrepreneurial and can think outside of the box but you also need to very quickly teach sales people that it’s all about the mental model of the customer you’re working with and how do you kind of break that down so you’re understanding the problem, the intrinsic problem, the hygiene factors for that individual. For us, we’re primarily risk management software, one of those intrinsic values is I don’t want to go to jail, I don’t want to be fined and obviously, I don’t want anyone to be hurt on my watch. That definitely helps.
Andy Farquharson: Pretty strong emotional drivers there for people. How does that work for you guys at Digivizer, Emma? Like in terms of enabling your people on the phones, on chat to tell them a message.
Emma Lo Russo: Yes. We don’t have phones, so it’s all social.
Andy Farquharson: How is that? You said no phones.
Emma Lo Russo: Yeah, no phones.
Andy Farquharson: That is such a rarity these days.
Emma Lo Russo: But I would actually say the secret is hired the most awesome people. So, we hire on smart, talented, get things done, infinite learner, and not an asshole. And it doesn’t matter what they’ve done and you almost want people that don’t fit mold.
Andy Farquharson: How do you validate that in the interview process? The last point.
Emma Lo Russo: Believe it or not, even a simple question like, “Tell me when you were most unhappy with someone at work and how you manage that?” And just even that response could be something. Or you throw a curly question in the cuts across so many. Just watch behavior. You can actually pick these moments. People can be difficult just even confirming the meeting time after they’ve applied. You’ll just get a sense. So, just anyone that looks like they’re a hard work, they’re just not in. Because if they’re going to be hard at that point, they’ll be really difficult. And we’ll screen that very quickly as well. So, I think when a team knows it, we lead with values, we hire, everyone knows how to talk to that, they’re proud then to work there, and then we do weekly [inaudible 15:02] and we show what’s going on. So, it’s a continuous kind of here’s what we’re working to, here are the problems that we’re solving, here is what we want now. We want customers to feel he is where we are. It’s a continuous show, listen here. We do weekly lunch and learns. So, it’s a whole bunch of ways of just making it leave so anyone can be out there and then basic stuff like T-shirts and things like that. Just make them brand ambassadors because they want to be.
Andy Farquharson: Yeah. The T-shirt.
Emma Lo Russo: Look at the Microsoft ones, right? [inaudible 15:37]
Andy Farquharson: Plenty out there. It’s awesome. It’s a constant sort of continuous learning journey that you’ve got through in there. And the learning you talked about for lunch and learns, is a lot of that product-focused or you’re thinking more on customers? And what some of the challenges that they face?
Emma Lo Russo: For instance, we’ve got a product one going on at the moment but it’s actually a product challenge. So, you win points and a winner will win something. They’ve got to solve real problems but it’s customers’ problems. So, it’s who can mimic and do that, and go through getting the answers for real. So, it’s kind of living brave, whereas, if it was just [inaudible 16”12] or written and doesn’t live. But actually it’s more like, even on my previous company, I was president Chief Operating Officer over a six listed software company and we had 2,000 resellers. We found the best way to grow sales was to actually help them run their business which was more about how to develop a business plan, how to help them design really effective compensation plans, how to focus on leadership and have constructive conversations, practice radical candor, and it was all these completely different things that we actually could link directly to sales growth because it was more about developing the leader of who you’re partnering with. And so that philosophy is just the same at Digivizer, like how can we grow people? If you grow people, you grow your company.
Andy Farquharson: It’s great to hear. It’s one of those things like replace reseller with sales rep and we find that the people who are really sort of motivated to help our teams grow just create that loyalty and sort of foster that learning. So, it’s awesome to hear that you guys are on that journey at Digivizer. So, mixing up a little bit because we talked a little bit there around prospecting pace and then a little bit around staff. But actually, let’s down the staff. Do you have any interesting interview questions or tactics that you use to sort of make sure you guys don’t get ourselves?
Anne Nolan: I agree. I think it’s fairly easy to spot that one. But we’ve had a phenomenal journey actually in attracting the right type of person. One of the biggest challenges with being a fully-remote environment is that it’s actually not that well suited to salespeople. Traditionally, a lot of the high performers in sales like to be around other sales people, like to have the balls and hear the ding ding, and have that sort of that combined motivation. So, when you throw that away and put someone off in a room by themselves that may not actually have another conversation with another team member all day, it’s a very different kind of person that will succeed in that role. We have quite a comprehensive recruitment process, we’re very careful, we’re very slow to hire in some, probably maybe too slow sometimes, but it’s very important to us to get the right person onboard, and use a combination of traditional recruitment questions and techniques, and profiling. It’s really critical effective for us.
Andy Farquharson: Okay. Any favorite question or tactic you’d like to share with the audience?
Anne Nolan: Tell me about a recent act of kindness.
Andy Farquharson: Recent act of kindness. Matt, do you have one?
Matt Browne: I always like to ask, “Why would you hire you if you’re in my shoes?” I think that’s a nice way to flip it.
Andy Farquharson: Yeah. One that I heard recently was just similar around the random act of kindness. It’s just leaving bit of rubbish on the floor in front of the waiting room chairs saying that, “Pick it up and put it in the bin.” That’s sort of funny. So, yeah. Interesting. Always good for that. Oh, here we go. I like it.
Emma Lo Russo: So, one question you can definitely learn a lot about a person is ask them if they had to work out the number of petrol stations in Sydney, how would they go about it because we’ve got something we want to do with it. And often they’ll just be like either, “Why are you asking me that question? That’s so weird. It’s not in my door. Like how does this relate?” or someone be going, “I probably have to approach it with what’s the population of Sydney.” So, you can get a completely different understanding just by throwing a question. Will someone panic? Will they critically think?
Andy Farquharson: The Google question.
Emma Lo Russo: Will they actually act? But actually, it works.
Andy Farquharson: Yeah. Awesome. So, the big part of building a sales machine is really sort of making sure that you’ve got a repeatable ways to be able to drive people through the process. And to do that, you really need to be able to have a process. So, Matt, if we all sort of come back and we’ll start at you, firstly, do have a good understanding of your win rate of what it takes when you open an opportunity to when you close it?
Matt Browne: Yeah. I think we’ve got a pretty good understanding. We track all of the stocks, sort of standard SAS metrics where we use a program called Grow. Fantastic. It’ll be looking for something.
Andy Farquharson: Cool.
Matt Browne: We pump all of metrics into there and we have weekly stand up, so we look at all of those. For us, we find that if we can get to demo, we have a very high close rate. So, more than ⅔ of demos will close. Probably where we’re still trying to get a better understanding is how to get them into demo and how many calls does it take to get them to demo, and maybe the quality of conversations that are being had to actually make that happen.
Andy Farquharson: Okay. So, what CRM are you guys using?
Matt Browne: We use ProsperWorks.
Andy Farquharson: ProsperWorks?
Matt Browne: Yeah, which is the alphabet back to one. Yeah.
Andy Farquharson: Awesome. [inaudible 21:06]
Anne Nolan: Pipedrive.
Andy Farquharson: Popdrive?
Emma Lo Russo: We don’t use one.
Andy Farquharson: Don’t use one? Really back in every trend here. Well, we can ask a couple of people. So, how many stages did you have in your sales process?
Matt Browne: We have five sales process.
Andy Farquharson: Presuming, first ones discovery maybe?
Matt Browne: It’s a qualification.
Andy Farquharson: Qualification?
Matt Browne: Yep.
Andy Farquharson: To demo?
Matt Browne: So, then we go into demo. That’s right. And then obviously, we have negotiation which is … actually, I’ve missed one. So, we go from demo, then we go into a stage where is just valuation. That’s it.
Andy Farquharson: There we go. [inaudible 21:42]
Matt Browne: I don’t use my CRM, that’s a bad thing. So, evaluation, then into negotiation, and then closing, of course.
Andy Farquharson: Okay. Awesome. And then how about you?
Anne Nolan: We have six, I think. We started working on and then pre-demo, demo, post demo, proposal, and negotiation. I like to keep a good track on deals that are one straight from proposal versus the ones that … So, negotiation is where additional questions come out after you’ve sent the proposal which generally means you’ve missed something at the earliest stage.
Andy Farquharson: Awesome. So, one of the tough things that we find is that sometimes the stages mean … they’re fairly nebulous, and sales reps use them in their own independent way. It means one for one thing, it means something for another, and then your forecasting is all out of whack. Do you guys use any technology? Or how do you actually maintain that hygiene of that sort of pipeline?
Matt Browne: We have an aging pipeline and we also have a percentage of confidence applied to each of the pipe. We track that and we track how many days things are slipping in each of the stages. Basically, based on our average, we apply our average values across and then we look for things that are kind of special cause variations from that.
Andy Farquharson: Awesome.
Anna Nolan: Very similar.
Andy Farquharson: Okay. Awesome. Now Emma, you guys obviously don’t have a CRM. You’ve obviously done a lot of work, you’re out here building the brand now and then you’re going and engaging, people are coming in via their inbound. That don’t immediately just come and sign up straight away, do they?
Emma Lo Russo: The moment if they were coming straight to web, they would just register their interest and it’s just automated in terms of email program from there, so we just look at numbers. We set goals and we set numbers that we’re hoping to convert through that pipeline. But it’s every part of that pipe and that said at the organization level. We follow OKRs which is objective key results. It’s under the radical focus, so everyone talks a common language and we follow those numbers at that level. From the enterprise side, it tends to be nearly all referral. So, we have a very high conversion rate that’s easy to manage on a whiteboard or a Google Spreadsheet and we use Slack to manage any of our actual kind of opportunities because often it will have a little bit of a team. So, we run it a more as a hybrid. Yes, so it’s either large numbers and it’s automated or it’s small enough that it’s manageable, but big deals off the bat.
Andy Farquharson: Okay. Sometimes we say companies adopting technology so that they can really take it out off the sales reps’ hands to make sure that the customer is the one that signaling where they are in the sales process. Have you guys utilize that? An example might be some document, e-signing on a technology to understand sort of when and how people looking at their proposals.
Matt Browne: For us, we’ve actually just rolled out PandaDoc, so that’s a new one. But we’ve always used tech to kind of get out proposals out. They don’t understand how far they’ve gone through the proposal, which pages they looked at, the time that they’ve spent. So, that’s really interesting information. And it’s the same one we’re raising funds when we send out a deck to investors. We like to say the same sort of story. So, I think you can never get enough of that data around where people are engaging within your decks. And obviously, you can use that then to fine tune your messaging on those slides.
Andy Farquharson: Yeah. Very cool. And it’s sort of taking a slightly different tactic for you guys, especially on awards. I bet that the people who are managing and driving it are probably going to be different to the people who are actually making the decisions on where their budget gets allocated. So, when you’re sort of going through that process, similar to what sort of Matt described there with the proposals, how do you sort of better enable the champion within the business to then sort of sell it to the decision-maker?
Anne Nolan: That’s a great question. And it is a huge focus of what we do because we’re quite often selling to people who are not that comfortable with technology and we’re still very much at the early adopter stage of our market. So, to sell to them is very different from the next level up. As much as possible, we try and get the decision-makers involved in the demo even if it’s only for 10 or 15 minutes and then we allow them to go again and keep a very clear communication with the person that we’re talking to so that we understand where the blockers are and what that person above is like, and what they need, and then support them with a range of upsell internal on-sale materials.
Andy Farquharson: Okay. What’s an example of some of those materials?
Anne Nolan: Well, we’ve just recently released a justification tool kit which is quite nice. It has a little ROI calculator and then the usual things that you would expect, information about us, if they need to know that, but more about what we can do for them and how we’ve helped solve that problem for the people just like them.
Andy Farquharson: Very cool. Matt, how do you guys manage that process?
Matt Browne: In terms of services?
Andy Farquharson: In terms of moving beyond the initial first point of contact and selling with an old broader organization.
Matt Browne: Yeah. I think one of the really important things especially because a lot of our sales are enterprise and especially when we’re teaching our partners how to go and sell our compliance software, it’s identifying that a sale … and you said this around sort of the Rainmaker sale type where one person would go in and talk to one person in the business, that person to make the decision and everyone would cheer and you’d ring the bell. It’s too late to ring the bell. But I think really, you find there’s about 5.4 people involved in any sales cycle in an enterprise and it can be a lot higher than that. It’s growing every day. You’ve got newer and newer departments appearing. You’ve got a governance structure, you’ve got the governance people onboard, the more risk of these people onboard, you’ve got to get your person who’s going to go out there and kind of be your champion in the business and promote. So, finding those right people is really critical. We teach ourselves people that they need to go in and obviously have as many conversations with as many people in the business because one of the may disappear, one of the might leave the company and then the deal goes stagnant.
Andy Farquharson: Yeah, it’s always one of those tough things to actually get people to sell on your behalf. I guess one of the things that you’ve said out. It’s great to hear you’re building tools to enable people to educate them on what they need to think about when they’re making these decisions. But something that we’ve seen rising to prominence is just by utilizing video, creating a really simple personal video saying, “Hey, look. It was great to chat to you. I hear the challenges your facing. This is how we might be able to help you.” and then that sells on your behalf within your business.
Matt Browne: I think video is great. I think the other thing that works really well is is customer videos. Not the customer videos where they’re focusing on the features of the thing you’re trying to sell them but really focusing on the pain points that resolved for them. So, the hygiene factors for those individuals.
Andy Farquharson: Awesome. Love hearing that. We talked about a couple of big shifts right at the start of at how sales has changed because business models have changed. A lot of that also means that the majority of our revenue [inaudible 29:46] happens after our traditional close. Yeah, it’s really sort of the opening of the relationship that we’re going to have. Emma, how does that look like at Digivizer? I mean, how do you support your customers to be able to identify and sort of grow that existing base?
Emma Lo Russo: For us, it’s like if we help our customers be successful, they will just spend more. It’s really simple. And because it’s digital marketing, it’s easy to measure. I spend, I put this much in the top of the funnel, how much converts. If you can deliver more or show growth over time, or more cost effective lead or sale conversion for them, then ultimately, they’ll keep spending. That’s what we focus on most, rather than knowing how many people in a sales funnel or say how many pieces of content has had to be touched and how much is that journey had to been customized. So, if someone touches these, what should they receive next? And if they then go to there, what do they receive next? So, setting up that digital sales funnel, that’s where we play and that allows you to get scale and do mass learnings. Because it’s all measurable, you just do more of what works and what doesn’t. It seems simple but you just have to have it all connects in the first place.
And then that gives you clues on content too, like what do people care about? Where’s your target audience? What are they actually engaging with? Whether it’s topics, brands, people. How do you actually use that insight to inform what you do and bring them then on the journey? Because whatever they’ve connected with, they’ll give you a clue of what’s next and what’s next. And we kind of set up what you’re talking about getting digital.
Andy Farquharson: Awesome. With that, sounds like a lot of what’s happening is alert-based from how your customers are utilizing your technology, what campaigns that they’re running and driving. Say even on your lower transactional higher revenue accounts, do you also have things like scheduled meetings? I mean, I hate the word quarterly business review, but similar style.
Emma Lo Russo: Sure. I mean, for a large account, they’ll be there, there is no question. There’ll be a team that’s allocated to them, time of the digital strategist and a content creator, etc. And there’ll be an analyst so everything’s data-driven for us and they’ll have real time view into what’s going on. But we would still say from a strategy perspective, how we’re resetting strategy based on what we’ve learned to kind of basically locked down whatever is next to get statement of works or peers, or something like that. If not, like as I said, my favorite type of customer is someone who really wants to grow their business, who is the decision-maker, and has the budget so they tend to be [crosstalk 00:31:20] …
Andy Farquharson: It’s everyone’s favorite type of customers.
Emma Lo Russo: … small to medium businesses. But particularly, like I said, funded startups are really interesting. They have a huge requirement to report to people, so whether it’s their investors or the person who’s responsible to the CEO or the founder. So, they need to have data but they’ve actually got money and they needed to be effective. So, they’re awesome cuz they make fast decisions and they’ll just run our jobs to help them be successful.
Andy Farquharson: Anne, with your business, do people have the expansion opportunity? Potentially, do they have more awards? Is there much growth opportunity here with those accounts?
Anne Nolan: It’s certainly different. We see our clients as our sales team and all of our users as our sales team. So, that word of mouth is a really important part of what we do. Some people do have multiple programs and we do occasionally get that new business that might come out of it where they’ve got one and another one to open another one, but it’s more likely to come from more of any industry and knowing other people who run awards programs, or it could be that they are an entrant on one program and a judge on another program, and then involved in someone else’s program. So, it’s more that they’ll go to do some online judging and go, “Oh, this is terrible. You should be using a workforce.” So, that’s probably where that accelerated growth comes from for us.
Andy Farquharson: So, really utilizing your existing customers as challenge for your business?
Anne Nolan: Absolutely.
Andy Farquharson: Awesome. And how bad it at down safe? I mean, does the nature of your product makes you pretty sticky because you’ve quite in depth within a lot of organizations? I mean, how do you identify further opportunities to grow the business within those accounts?
Matt Browne: I guess we made a strategic decision about 12 months ago to really expand our product line and that came through customer. So, for us, the most important thing I think you can do as a founder is get out and see your customer and spend as much time with them as possible because you’re not going to identify sales opportunities from your office. I guess for me, the big thing for us is we go out to all their enterprise customers monthly. We have account meetings with them monthly and we’re always looking for opportunities where they’re seeing pain in their business and obviously, that converts to us being able to provide a new solution. So, we basically converted our platform to be into in compliance as opposed to health and safety in the last 12 months. We’ve now grown into areas like 27001 and GDPR, and all of those fancy security and data.
Andy Farquharson: I just nod my head and pretend like I know what 27001 means.
Matt Browne: But basically, all the information security and data privacy items, for example. So, for us, having those monthly account meetings and asking our customers 1) who internally would benefit from some of these solutions, 2) who would you recommend us to within your network? And at the same time, would you be happy to write a [inaudible 34:09] review. So, that’s really important as well.
Andy Farquharson: Yeah. Not G2 craft?
Matt Browne: We actually do both.
Andy Farquharson: Good. All right. Monthly is a heavy [inaudible 34:18], though. So, your customers are giving out and putting in amount of their time time monthly?
Matt Browne: And they get a lot of value out of it because we bring them insights at every meeting. One of the important things for them is we’re fortunate to collect a lot of data. We have a little over a million users now, we can provide quite a bit of I guess desensitized insights back to those individuals which also then leads them to understand which other modules in our platform might be useful for them.
Andy Farquharson: Okay, awesome. Really cool. So, we’re coming to the end of the panel but I did want to throw it out and you guys have grown out to that other part of the room. I thought we deploy one in. But I want to throw out some questions to the floor and see if anyone had any of their own challenges you want to crowdsource an answer to in building your own sales machine. Everyone’s got a rocking sales machine. No one needs help. All right.
Audience 1: I love your idea of this video and presenting a video to clients. Oh, thank you. Does it work? Or do you have clients that find it a bit cheesy?
Andy Farquharson: It’s a it’s not my idea. I did just steal it from people. But look, [crosstalk 00:35:23] it depends on where and how it’s being used. It can be sort of really cheesy. But look, especially in that existing client, to be able to share within an organization, we see people getting a lot of great success.
Matt Browne: I think the important thing with video is it has to be entertaining. It has to be meaningful too …
Andy Farquharson: Or real.
Matt Browne: … or real. Exactly right. Real is entertaining. And one of the big things with video is it can’t be a sales pitch. It just needs to be about problems that people are solving, how they’re solving them, and why they’re solving them that way.
Andy Farquharson: It’s really interesting. there’s a company that does video called Bonjour. They sort of build an app and they enables you to make that really easy. Then they’ll put a little thumbnail of the video there. But of all the data that they review, a lot are open rights so you can see the thumbnail and walk up the open rights. You know if sometimes if you pause on a video and you get caught in a really funny face, it’s those ones. When you’re actually showing that you’re human and it’s not highly polished, gets the highest open right which is awesome, I can’t do a perfect video. Any other questions? All right. Here we go.
Audience 2: [inaudible 36:36] you’ve mentioned the sales process to your CRM … Thank you. I was wondering maybe to you if you’ve worked with customers that have changed their pipeline looking at the customer buying journey rather than me as the seller taking the customer through the steps.
Andy Farquharson: Well, how did you figure out what you’re going to put as the stages in your CRM? Did you just log into the CRM and say, “That looks good.”
Anne Nolan: Very easy to use. And interestingly, the decision about whether or not to make it internally focused, as in it follows our sales process, this is the journey that someone will go through, is something that we’ve sort of gone back and forward on a little bit, but I keep coming back to at the moment it makes more sense for us to actually follow our own internal journey and that’s primarily because we are working with a very new market and they’re actually taking a leading position. Works very well in our client base but very, very iterative. And that’s what I love about Pipedrive, it’s “Oh, that stage doesn’t work. Let’s make a new one. Well, let’s kill that. Move that. Change that.” So, yeah. A lot of changes over the years.
Andy Farquharson: How was it for you?
Matt Browne: I’m not going to pretend that I know five steps in my CRM that look for us. I think it makes a lot of sense thinking about it from a customer perspective. I think while we don’t have that reflective in the stages of our CRM in terms of the way we track metrics and also the way that we deal with customers within each of the stages is very much map to the customer journey.
Emma Lo Russo: Can I just say I think what’s happening in this is proving out an enterprise level cuz we run enterprise for a lot of large organizations. People want to choose their own journey. And so, what you’re really trying to do is make sure you can measure where they are in that journey and less around forcing them through a certain path. And that’s definitely very different to settle say 5 years ago when it was more relationship-driven. You timed it to what worked for you, everything’s flipped to your time, and you let your customer choose their journey.
Andy Farquharson: Awesome. The other thing I’ll add to that is absolutely let them to use the journey but think about having the the stages that you’ve got that help you sort of forecast your business based off verifiable actions from the customer rather than what you think you’ve scheduled. Make sure that they’ve jumped a hurdle with you to be able to go through that process. One more.
Audience 3: Just wondering at what rate your sales organizations grew in comparison to your product organization? From the early days to now, did they sort of grow at the same rate? Or did you grow the product much faster and sales has come later? Would you sort of try and keep them at the same sort of proportion as you grow?
Matt Browne: I’d like to say that we had a really strong strategy and it was really that well-planned out. I think we, being enterprise software, we probably grew out product a little earlier than sales. For a very long time, it was myself kind of just hitting the pavement, doing a lot of sort of face to face sales. But I can say now that we’ve kind of hit scale. It’s very much almost a 50-50 in terms of our organization. And really, it’s probably going to become more like an 80-20 in terms of sales and marketing globally. It’s becoming I guess the number one area of acquisition for talent for us.
Emma Lo Russo: I’ll just answer. We presold, so we didn’t bootstrap for the company. We’re sold first, built the product, but then made it common for everyone and then build out the product team, then build the kind of services and marketing team, and now we’re building out the product team. So, I’m now flipping it back the other way.
Andy Farquharson: Very cool.
Anne Nolan: Probably similar to you, it’s been a bit lumpy. We started off with a larger product team and probably making the phones in commercial, and it’s even a lot more now. We really have sort of 30-30 split across the business between … it means not exactly, but sales service engineering is quite even and is growing now more evenly.
Andy Farquharson: Awesome. Well, that’s us. So guys, thank you very much for your questions and your attention. More importantly, can we please get our hand together for Matt, Emma, and Anne for sharing their insights. Thank you.