Speaker 0 00:00 <inaudible> Speaker 1 00:03 <inaudible> Speaker 2 00:08 grim to the breakout growth podcast where Sean Ellis interviews leaders from the world's fastest growing companies to get to the heart of what's really driving their growth. And now here's your host, Sean Ellis. Speaker 3 00:24 All right. In today's episode, we're going to be looking at three D hubs, which is a fast growing B2B platform that simplifies on demand manufacturing. Three D hubs was founded in Amsterdam in 2013 and has raised $30 million in venture capital to support its rapid expansion. I'm really interested to dig in and see what they are doing to drive all of this growth. I'm interviewing Ferdinand Goldson, who is their director of marketing and growth and he previously led growth at recruitee, one of the fast growing B2B SAS companies in Europe. So let's get started. Hey Ferdinand, welcome to the breakout growth podcast. All right. Thanks for having me. So I'm super excited to have you on. I think it's a, it's a really good transition episode because I'm, I'm going into kind of hardware next and, uh, the fact that you are kind of B to B hardware. So I'll let you explain that in right now. In fact. So why don't, why don't you tell us a bit about what three D hubs is and what problem it solves? Speaker 4 01:34 Yes. Um, well, 3d hubs is an online manufacturing platform. So we offer an AI driven platform that gives engineers access to a virtually unlimited manufacturing supply. Uh, if you, if you work in hardware and you're an engineer building hardware products, one of the biggest challenges is getting those products actually made because you designed them for functionality and then you actually have to make sure that there's actually getting manufactured. So we offer this online platform that allows, uh, introduced to manufacture their parts more quickly, more easily. And uh, it's a, it's highly automated. It's faster, it's more transparent, it's easier to use that, a lot of the traditional solutions on the market. So we're really trying to disruptive and disrupt this industry. Speaker 3 02:17 And does it tend to be, um, more, more sort of locally sourced or is it not really matter for a lot of these companies if it's, if it's local, local, Speaker 4 02:25 or, or across the world? Yeah. So we have a global network of manufacturing partners, over 250 of them offering all sorts of different technologies, including three D printing, CNC machining, injection molding, sheet metal fabrication. So all the different technologies you would use to manufacture different parts and products and prototypes and they're based everywhere in the world. So on the one hand we can often try to manufacture things as closely as possible to the customer, which of course is a very sustainable solution. But we also offer companies the chance to, to unlock manufacturing countries all over the world. Because if you're a smaller company and we serve companies of all sizes, but if you're a smaller company or an SMB, you probably don't have the network and the connections to big manufacturing powerhouses like China or India. And we essentially give that access to companies like that. Speaker 4 03:15 So they can get some of the cost advantages potentially of of a, of a lower cost manufacturing hub. But if they maybe need something fast, then, then you give access to something local. Yeah, it's always fast to be honest. I think, uh, it's a, it's really more a sustainability question in a lot of cases and we do offer that access and uh, often also cheaper simply because we have this network of partners. And that of course allows us to get the most competitive price out of the system. And then how do you guys make money out of standard platform models? So, uh, we get a cut from, uh, from various orders. Okay. Okay, cool. And then, um, so you've been there about six months, it looks like, um, what, what, what drew you to the opportunity and, and what made you feel like you could be successful there? Speaker 4 04:03 Well, on a really simple level, what do we do? The opportunity is that I am wholeheartedly convinced that this company is going to be a unicorn in the not too far future. Um, so that was one of the big selling points. It's a, it's a really a revolutionary product we take. Usually if, if you've designed a part or a product or even just a prototype, the time it takes to find the supplier, talk to them, get a quote, there's a lot of back and forth. It can be a lot of bureaucracy. Things don't always work out. We've essentially automated that entire process because we have an AI algorithm that will predict the price view instantly. So something that could usually take up to two weeks suddenly takes five seconds. And that's for more than 19% of our parts. So I really think the product is revolutionary. Speaker 4 04:46 It's a funded company. We've raised $30 million in funding, and it just to me seemed this company seemed like the perfect opportunity to truly take things to the next level and work with what I think is a really groundbreaking product. Not to mention working in what is the biggest industry in the world. The manufacturing industry is 12 $13 trillion. So that's a very, very big industry with huge potential. And at the same time, it's very traditional. So there's a lot of things to disrupt. I did a little bit of kind of digging into it and it looks like it looks like the business model may have changed a bit in, in uh, maybe maybe in the last year where it, where it seems like you've really just kinda dialed into something maybe over the last year. Can you, can you touch on that at all? Any changes that have happened? Like how long has the company been around? Speaker 4 05:33 Yeah, the company's been around since 2013. It started off actually as a peer to peer marketplace. So it was very much like your traditional, or maybe not traditional, but your classic modern online marketplaces. Think Airbnb for example, where people with three D printers, we would basically be connected with people with making make Curry three D printing needs. And then about two years ago we started pivoting towards a B to B model where we started adding new manufacturing technologies and really focusing on the bigger picture within the industry. And that's what we've been doing the last two years. And that's also one of the things that makes my job really exciting, that this used to be a B to C company, now it's a B to B company. Um, and a big part of my job is, is really helping gear the marketing and growth strategy towards this B2B focus. Speaker 3 06:20 So, and that, is that part of what brought you in, cause it seems like your background is more B2B. Speaker 4 06:25 Yeah, absolutely. So my background is, uh, quite, quite heavily B2B. I did work in B to C back in the day, but it's also because because of this pivot, there was this opportunity, there was this kind of green pasture to build a marketing team up, not from scratch but virtually from scratch. And that was just too exciting opportunity to pass up. Speaker 3 06:42 Yeah. So, okay. So what's the first thing that you did when you got there like that you prioritize, we got to do this before we could do anything else? Speaker 4 06:50 Well, the very first thing, one thing that makes 3d hubs of this industry very different from most of the people that I know working in growth is that we have a very, very specific target audience. So when I was working at recruitee previously are talking to an expert recruiters, um, which has certain challenges but very different than having a target audience of engineers who are very technical, a no BS attitude, not necessarily the word who was people in the world, in the world. So the very first thing I had to do was really wrap my head around the industry on the stand. How do these people think, how could these people work? How does the product actually impact them? Because what you'll find is a lot of classic marketing tactics and no traditional copywriting tactics and tricks, they just don't work because this is such a niche audience. So the very first thing that I tried to do is get to know the industry that I focused on building the team because I was essentially brought into build this team up. And then the first things we did after that were set up our experimental process for, for data-driven experimentation and iterations and then focused on a European expansion strategy into Germany and France. Speaker 3 07:53 Hmm. So how, how was the tooling when you got there? Was it, was it pretty good in terms of analytics and testing infrastructure? Speaker 4 08:00 Yeah, we had, we had a quite, quite a good setup, uh, all around. We definitely had some of that B-to-C legacy that had to be disentangled and it's being worked on. But luckily we have a data team as well in house and we are now working at quite a high level and we're constantly iterating and maturing our, our tooling and always adding new tools to it. But I was actually quite positively surprised by how good our setup was when I joined <inaudible> Speaker 3 08:23 yeah, that's great. I've, I've definitely come into situations where that's the first thing. It's like I got, I don't even know what the hell is going on. We gotta gotta gotta get some good measurement systems in place. And, and I mean it sounds like you did a lot of that figuring out, but it was more kind of qualitative customer understand the industry and that you maybe had some data already in terms of what people were doing. Absolutely. Absolutely. So, and then you mentioned that you were at recruitee before. I know, I kind of know that space. I actually was an investor in a company called Connectifier and um, I know that recruiter has been one of the fastest growing, uh, companies, uh, one of the fast growing B2B SAS businesses in, in Europe. So, um, congrats on the success there. What, what do you feel like is the biggest difference, uh, in, in how you need to approach growth here at three D hubs versus what you were doing at recruitee? Speaker 4 09:11 Yeah, I mean I joined recruitee when we were, I don't know, 12, 13 people. It was very, very much in the early days and looking back, being more immersed into the world of funded companies and VC backed companies. It's actually quite remarkable what we managed to do, what they still managed to do today, because that's an unfunded company. They, they, to me, I still would describe recruitee as the only real bootstrap sass company possibly possibly in the Western world. Of course that's a, that's an exaggeration. But I think, uh, there, there was a really substantial differences. The first major differences in the business model, uh, recruiting is really classic SAS. So all the templates, everything that you'd look at to know the classic funnel. All these things were just really templatable really easy to apply reporting data structures, everything was focused on pretension, achieving negative churn. That was our, that was back then our Holy grail metric was having negative churn. Speaker 4 10:03 And it's something that we actually sustained quite long. Whereas a three hubs where we're marketplace of course, so we're really much more looking towards returns of repeat orders. So there is a bit of checkout element in there. So that's the first big difference. The second big difference is that the target audience is just much more technical at a three D hubs. So the, the amount of uh, knowledge that you need to acquire in order to understand the user is just a lot, a lot, a lot greater. And then also the complexity of the product because recruiting is just as, as a software as a service, whereas a three D hubs were sort of selling two things. We're sending an online platform, which is driven by AI and has a lot of particularities and complexities within it, but we're also selling manufacturing services via that platform. So you're sending two things at once and we have a huge amount of customers coming in every month. Uh, we're a funded company, we have these big unicorn global ambitions. So there are definitely some substantial differences from a marketing perspective. <inaudible> Speaker 3 11:02 no, it makes a makes sense that there that when you really start to look at the two different businesses that even though they're both B2B sounds sounds pretty different. So what about when you, you mentioned that earlier in your career you were in B to C. um, how would you kind of more broadly characterize the differences in B to B growth versus B to C growth? Speaker 4 11:22 Yeah, so most of my B2C experience was in a agency and consultancy and training models. So, um, my main takeaway is that I think B2B is a lot harder in a lot of ways from a marketing perspective. I think from a business growth perspective, when you're thinking about the business model and the revenue potential B to C has a lot more channel challenges as you as you go further down the line. But from a marketing perspective, I think B to B is very challenging because first of all, you have fewer channels. You have a very specific target audience that you need to tap into that you really need to understand that decode. There are not a thousand channels, a hundred channels that you can use. Um, knowing your audience is often even more crucial and you have issues that are very particular to B to B companies. Speaker 4 12:08 For example, the decision maker and the user will be different people. You have that in some <inaudible> situations, but it's, it's uh, it's less strong than when you look at B2B, where the person who is testing the tool and the person who's going to be using the tool and the person who's going to make the final decision upon the tool. And the person who's going to actually approve the purchasing of the tool, it could be four completely different people where you have to understand what are the needs, how are they making decisions, what drives them? How do you convince them? So really that's just the tip of the iceberg. If you go into things like DRO for example, in most B to B companies, you won't have that same kind of volume that you can just test everything in anything. So conversion rate optimization is a different ballpark and it's really much more a value game than a volume game. Speaker 3 12:55 That's great. No, you definitely touched on on a lot of the things that I've found as I've, as I've gone back and forth between B to B and B to C, it's a, it definitely seems to be a different beast and it's part of the reason why I'm uh, grouping together a lot of different B2B companies trying to, trying to really put together a playbook more around what a B2B growth looks like. But beyond that high level B2B, why don't we kind of zoom back in on three D hubs and, and talk about the success that you've had to date. And um, I think probably especially now that you've been there, that the time that you have what you feel like a really the keys to driving that success at least so far. Speaker 4 13:34 Ooh. Um, there are a few, I would say, first of all, just having an awesome product just makes such a big difference. If you have a great product and if you're doing something really cutting edge in a traditional industry, that that becomes such a driver behind not just your commercial decisions, new strategic decisions, but also your branding decisions. I think that's a major thing. And another thing is having a really great team. Um, I've had the huge privilege that I been given the trust to build a team. We've hired over 10, 11, even 12 people in the last six months and really built a, an extensive, uh, marketing team with really, really amazing people that makes, that makes it, that makes a huge difference. And I think looking forward, we really hope to invest more into really distinguishing our brand. Because when you're in such a traditional industry and you come in with very strong branding, it can make such a big difference in a lot of the, the way that, uh, the product of the company is perceived within the market. Speaker 3 14:29 And then you also mentioned earlier that it's just, it's a, it's a huge industry that's, that's ripe for disruption. So how, how much of that you, you, you just, you started with, that's an awesome product, but how much do you feel like the market is just in the right place where an awesome product could do really well? Speaker 4 14:47 Yeah, it's such a huge industry that it's very hard to say this is the right time and place. But what we're seeing now is that a lot of countries, if you take a country like Germany, for example, Germany is in the top five countries in the world in terms of manufacturing output. But when you look at a digitization of manufacturing, there are 17th. And you can see that we've seen digital really taking over a whole range of different industries and now I really think that's such a traditional industry like manufacturing is right for it because we have industry 4.0 the rise of IOT hardware companies are becoming more automated, more technical, more digitally savvy, more digitized as a whole. Uh, AI is disrupting entire sectors within this industry. I think this is, this is in many ways the right time to to come in and, and, and present what is a much more sustainable solution because it's not the most transparent industry in the world. Speaker 4 15:48 Traditionally speaking, if you're talking to one factory, somewhere halfway across the world, you don't know if you're getting a fair price, you don't know how long the communications are going to take you. You don't necessarily have the network or the context to be able to manage those properly. You might not have the supply chain team to do that. And if you can automate big chunks of that and we do longterm see that the future of manufacturing is going to be this distributed digitally driven model and we want to be the company that brings around that change. I mean I assume if the, if the opportunity's as big as you say it is and that there's so many problems to be solved that probably there's a lot of other companies that are pursuing this opportunity as well. You don't have to name them, but I'm just curious if you feel like it's a, it's pretty competitive. Speaker 4 16:32 I mean it's, it is quite competitive because you're, you're, you're not just competing. This is, this is where it comes back to we're selling two things. You're setting a platform and then you're also selling the services that are available through the platform. And if you're only talking about the services, you're competing very, very strongly with very traditional companies. Things like mom and pop shops around the corner. And it's, you know, if somebody has a local manufacturing shop that's our CNC shop, local manufacturing partner that they work with and you know, they see each other on weekends or they go over for meetings. It's very hard to compete with that if you have the scalable digital model of course. But if you're talking about just platforms in themselves, there are a lot of players in the market, but I think when it comes to that niche, I think we're by far the most innovative, the most disruptive, and that's really something that we want to keep pushing. Speaker 4 17:20 So it was pretty differentiated then in terms of, in terms of how you're approaching it? Yeah, absolutely. It's a, it's, I always say that, you know, Uber can see if you, if you take a company like Uber, their competitors might be Lyft, but it's also taxis, but it's also riding your bike. In Amsterdam for example, I live in out to them, so I always have the option to, I take an Uber or do I cycle to where I'm going because I can cycle back again. So suddenly companies like swapped bike and Uber actually come. They're competing for the same, same audience for the same, solving the same problem and it's very similar in manufacturing. There might be 10 completely different types of companies all vying for the same for the same audience to solve the same pain. Really before these types of services emerged, how did people, how did people or these these companies source manufacturing partners and there's a few options. Speaker 4 18:06 Either you had, like I said, his mom and pop shops, which are really your local, smaller suppliers or you were working, if you're a big company, I dunno, really big companies, they manufacture things with huge factories like Foxconn. All of these big factories, contract manufacturing facilities, or they had in house capabilities, which of course is not incredibly scalable. So we really, we see that a lot of these traditional solutions are either already too limiting or are at risk of being too limiting in the future. Not to mention that there are a lot of companies that simply cannot get the benefits because they, they, they just cannot, they're not big enough to be able to work with these huge partners. And that's really what we do. We, we help, uh, medium sized players compete with the biggest giants of the industry. So he's gotten to leveling the playing field a bit between them. Speaker 4 18:59 Absolutely. So, and then I assume, I mean again, it's, it's six months since you've been there, but I assume you've, you've come across some, uh, growth challenges in the six months. So is there anything that comes to mind as a big challenge that you've hit and what have you done to overcome it so far? It had, the big challenge of course, again, is that you have such a technical niche audience. I always say whenever I'm hiring people, I'm talking to people. I say, if you can figure out things like customer development, user experience, designed user experience research, if you can figure out this audience, you can go to any company in the world and figure out that audience. I don't, I don't think there are many more complicated or more difficult audiences to figure out if you are not from that world. I'm not an engineer and most people on my team aren't engineers. Speaker 4 19:41 Although in the rest of the company there is a very, there's a high dominance of engineering backgrounds. And I think, I think that's the fundamental challenge. And then there are really things unique to us. For example, really shifting everything over to this kind of P to P mindset. Um, and always balancing. And I think is maybe one of the other things that you might be the most innovative cutting edge company following all the modern processes, really taking, you know, growth hacking to the next level and experimenting being data-driven. You could be the most modern player in the industry, but that doesn't change the fact that your audience might not be. And a lot of our most potential valuable leads and customers and on the audience as a whole is in, in many countries and in many sectors, quite traditional. So we find ourselves using the latest experimental processes and some of the experiments that come up are things like, let's try and send a flyer in the mail to the head of engineering. And there's nothing, and I think that's maybe something that's happened a lot, is that with kind of the advent of the lean approach to marketing and kind of modern marketing, a lot of people forget that just because your cutting edge doesn't mean that your audiences and you still have to do what works for your industry. So you can apply a lot of these modern process processes to the most traditional marketing methods that might still work. And balancing that has been a big challenge as well. Speaker 3 21:01 So I want to come back to the first one that you, that you mentioned. Um, so getting to know this, this technical niche audience, uh, and, and trying to figure them out. So has it had, did you do that mostly through interviewing customers, surveying customers, um, studying the industry, talking to experts, all of the above? Uh, one more than the others? Speaker 4 21:23 Well, I would say that. So I now know a thousand times more than I did six months ago. And I still think I'm just scraping, uh, the, the, you know, the, the tip of the iceberg still. I think there's still so much to discover. Um, but what we do is yes, exactly. We, first of all, we talked to everyone in the company, we tried to talk to customers, we go to events, we tried to talk to the people and we really tried to get the full picture. This is again, something that I think a lot of companies should be doing is that we don't just talk to people who've chosen us. Cause I think everyone talks about talking to customers. I think that's really important. But I think sometimes it's more important to talk to the people who didn't choose you, the people who considered you and said, nah, I'm not gonna go with that. Speaker 4 21:59 Cause those are the people who hold the secrets because the people, you've already, the people who already use you and use your product, you've already convinced them. So you must be doing something right. But if you can tap into those people who have actively decided against your solution, that's where, that's where you learn a lot. So we really try to go to events and immerse ourselves at the industry as much as possible. Read the content, talk to people and, and through that just get a better understanding because one of the things that I found is most companies, even those that are really good at growth, their marketing still sounds like marketing. And that's something that everyone, every marketer as a trap, every marketer falls into at one point or another. Um, and, and it's happened to me plenty of times, but in our industry you can't get away with that. Whereas in some others you might. Speaker 3 22:47 Yeah. So it's interesting that you mentioned events cause I, I think back to my first B2B opportunity, this logged me in way back in the early days when we had kind of shifted from pure B to C to more B2B. And one of the very first industry events I went to was in London. And I just, through the conversations that I had over those three days, I did more kind of customer development to where I started to get so many Epiphanes in terms of how do we, how do we get these guys, what, who are the right target people? And, and so I think that's one of the big advantages of, of B2B is that you do have these kind of industry events where you can have a ton of conversations and really it's less about selling your product and more about really getting to understand your audience and how you can better serve that audience. Absolutely. 100%. So let's, let's kind of look more now in terms of how you guys are organized for growth. And, uh, I mean, you, for one thing, you've, you've talked about that you've added quite a few people to the team, but like, even even just you directly as director of marketing and growth, what, what is the scope of your responsibility in that role? Yeah, we have. Um, Speaker 4 24:01 so I essentially oversee, uh, the whole marketing and growth department, which means that we try to boost metrics across the entire customer journey from start to finish. So we do everything from demand generation to branding to PR to lead acquisition to product marketing, product growth, improving the user experience at certain parts. Uh, we worked very closely with our checkout team and the product teams and the various other other departments of the company to uh, to try to maximize, um, metrics across the funnel. And um, it's really, we, we split it, we split it into three different teams because there are, if you take, if you take your traditional growth funnel, you know, kind of awareness, acquisition, activation, revenue retention, referrals as it is in our case, if, uh, if you take that entire scope, we have three teams dedicated to each section of the funnel. Speaker 4 24:52 So at the top we have a demand generation team, which is all about branding, PR, content marketing, inbound, really driving the awareness. So, you know, pouring water into the bucket. And then we have in the middle we have our lead acquisition team, which is mainly us, a staffed by growth marketers. What they do is everything that's a little bit of awareness but primarily acquisition and activation. So we focus really on how do we maximize these activation, how do you maximize conversion, how do we, how do we do the most automated was segmented full of nurturing and everything that's channeled marketing falls into that team. And then we have product marketing and growth team, which is really deeper in the funnel, which is everything that's max increasing stickiness, making sure that there are, that if we have one company using us, that we have as many engineers as possible in that company using us. Um, things like retention returns and everything is product communications, product positioning, that falls into that third team. So we really tried to cover the whole funnel with these three teams. Speaker 3 25:54 That's cool. And, and um, has that, has that changed a lot since you, since you've been there? I mean, did you like what did it look like when you got there? Speaker 4 26:03 This has all been built in the last six months, or when I, when I, when I joined, we had, we had three people in marketing and we had a content marketing manager, product marketing manager and um, and somebody who was more of a community social media events side of things. And now we've actually built this into full fledged teams, including designers, developers, um, growth marketers with different focus. We kind of different focuses and different strengths. And uh, we've, we've built a really all encompassing team that can really cover all parts of the customer journey. Speaker 3 26:42 Wow. So you actually have dedicated developers Speaker 4 26:44 on your team? Yeah, we have two full stack full time developers. Oh, that's fantastic. And then, um, as far as the sales model itself, is it, uh, how much is it like kind of outbound, outbound, just just calling on clients versus that sort of inbound, inbound kind of, I mean you've sort of explained it, it sounds more inbound where where the content and everything's bringing people there and then you're trying to find the right prospects and nurture those prospects. Is, is that, would you say it's less kind of enterprisey and more, more that or are you also doing some enterprise stuff? It's both. We're actually doing both in parallels. So we definitely have this more inbound funnel, which is something that we've already recently built up and we do have to tap into. Given the industry, would you have to tap into the high intent channels? Speaker 4 27:32 So something like SEO and SCA is going to be way, uh, how say way more important in terms of generating opportunities and really high value leads then only or the funnel. But early in the funnel, the demand generation team is really about building to Matt because here's the thing is that you have this huge industry, this huge audience. But from that audience, you know, 90% of them have the pain, 80% of them are aware of the pain, 70% of are aware of the pain and willing to take action on it. 40% of them have all of those and are open to a solution like ours. So educating the market and penetrating the market is so important. That's really what the demand generation team does. And then the lead acquisition team brings in high value leads, nurtures them into the product marketing team, maximize their value once they turn it to customers. Speaker 3 28:19 So it's, it's really, yeah, like as you said, the high intent, harvest the heck out of that demand as much as possible. But um, but if that's always going to be a pretty finite market and then the really big end of the market, especially if everything's going through transition is going to be how do you, how do you get all those people who are really not looking for a solution but need one to, to be more open to it. So it sounds like you're covering all of that, which is great. Speaker 4 28:43 Yeah, absolutely. And there's also a whole outbound process as well. So we definitely cover it. We tried to cover both of these things. Speaker 3 28:49 Great. How do you interact with other teams? Is it, uh, do you spend much time like interacting with the product team for example? Um, or, or is it pretty separated? Speaker 4 29:01 Yeah, I mean when I joined, this is the thing that you, you can muddle any kind of team set up that you like and it might look really great on paper, but then when you join a company that's not five people, you're going to have to adapt whatever you're doing to how the company is already set up. So we don't have a SAS product. So when it comes to optimizations within the product, it's really much more kind of optimizing the checkout flow. And that's something that rests within product because, because we have very good data driven and a and conversion driven people within the product team. So we aligned closely with them. If we have certain findings and certain ideas or feedback, we relay those over there. And we work really closely with sales as well. I think in the future a lot of these departments are slowly going to dissolve and merge and various different ways. And so we work very closely with sales. We're quite closely with customer success and then everything that's designed granting product as well. Speaker 3 29:52 Okay. So there's a separate customer success team as well? Speaker 4 29:57 Yes, yes. Because it's, it's we, we need to fulfill orders, right? So it's a very, very different skill set. So this is just a, it's a really good, it's a really pretty opposite, really interesting case because it's such a different business model that how you apply what you read in the books to how it is in reality. This is the company where it's different than most. But at the same time I've also had so much kind of support and the resources to actually build what I wanted to, what I am hoping that what I'm looking to build. So, so we have a nice balance. Speaker 3 30:27 Right? Well, I definitely feel like, uh, there is no what works for most, the more conversations I have, the more I realized that, um, you know, every, every company is pretty unique. And, and how you, how you build a team and how you execute around an opportunity does seem to be, it does seem to be pretty different. Some are more different than others. And it sounds like you guys are in that camp. Um, and then so do you feel like cross-functional alignment's pretty good there? I mean, as, as it's grown, sometimes things tend to become more silos. Sounds like you're interacting pretty well with some of those other teams. But, um, is it something that you guys really make a concerted effort to do and if so, what specifically are you doing to, to increase the, the, uh, alignment between, between teams? Speaker 4 31:10 Yeah, I think having teams aligned is incredibly important. And having cross functional teams within the departments is also very important. So you want to cover a whole, a large range of skills within your own team and you want to be working very closely with other teams because if you have a very data driven team interacting with a, with a knothole data-driven team that doesn't really work, data different as a, something that should be, should transcend the entire company. Um, and, uh, so working together closely is crucial and we really go out of our ways to, to set up, we, we make certain decisions only with other stakeholders and other teams. Uh, what we do, what we do in our departments, what we've done recently is we sit with Steve and stakeholders from every team and we really just sit down with them and say, what are we doing that we could be doing differently and what aren't we doing that we should be doing? And we really try to get other people's, um, input on how to do marketing better. And I think that's, even if they have nothing to do with marketing, even if they're in a completely different department, we try to understand how can we, what do you think we should be doing? Because if you have a company of 130 hundred, 40 people, 36 different nationalities. So it's a very diverse, very mixed company. There are so many perspectives and that's just a treasure trove that, that, that, that you need to take advantage of. Speaker 3 32:23 Do you guys have kind of a, a shared metric between teams, like a North star metric or, or does everyone have their own KPIs that are focused on Speaker 4 32:31 yeah, we worked with OKR, so we have, okay. Yours that we have on for the whole company and then per team and we set that per year and per quarter. So we work with the OKR model and that's essentially what drives us. So we don't have a North star metric per se, but uh, we do have key targets within each team. And then within the marketing department we really try to push new customer revenue and opportunities for example, is a big metric that we, that we chase. Speaker 3 32:55 Okay. But then like long, longterm, longterm success would probably just be gaged then in in revenue growth or how, how would you kind of gauge longterm success? Speaker 4 33:04 Yeah. Well we set, we set a number of OKR for the year and one of those is revenue, but there are also other ones that are difference from year to year depending on the challenges that we think we face. So we have this really, it all falls under division. You know, this vision of becoming this, uh, this leader in automated distributed manufacturing. Speaker 3 33:23 Yeah. Before we kind of jump in and look at really that path where we're coming up on the end here, but I uh, there's so many questions I want to ask you cause you, you really, um, I think have a super interesting perspective on this stuff, but um, what, uh, w sort of, what's your process for figuring out ways to improve your growth to accelerate growth? So, um, just whether it's discovering whole new growth levers or optimizing growth levers. We have a what, what's the process that you follow there? Speaker 4 33:50 Yeah, I think the, the key here is that we built these three teams and these three teams, eventually we'll have the, you know, the same amount of people, the same sort of weight, but that is not necessarily currently the case. But the idea with building these three teams, so this kind of demand generation, lead acquisition and product growth is the key there is to really show how important the focus of each part of the funnel is. And each of these teams that has targets that a strategy and they were the things that already work, which we uh, which we, we tend to build playbooks. So we know that if we go into a new country, we have to do X, Y and Zed in order to conquer that country. And so we work off the base of these playbooks. We work on the basis of constant iteration, optimization. Speaker 4 34:32 And then for discovering new things, we have experimental process. So we work in biweekly go spritz where we outline our experiments, create the hypothesis, really almost like as on paper. And at the moment we do this with the entire department because just because you're working on product growth doesn't mean you can't have it put into demand generation. So we did this with the whole team and we have usually tense five, six strategic people who are always at the meeting. And then three to five people who are welcome to join and anyone from any other department is welcome to join if they want. And we then just list off our experiments, prioritize and then we assign it, execute them. Speaker 3 35:12 So let's, let's now look at the customer. And you said that was one of the first things that you did when you got there. Um, you, you really tried to understand what the, you know, who, who the customer's words and more technical customer and what their needs are and how, how you satisfy those needs. So let's, let's kind of look at the path that a new customer takes from first discovering 3d hubs to eventually becoming a raving fan of it. Um, I think you've, you've covered quite a bit on acquisition and how, how you acquire customers. The, the one thing that I want to dig a little bit more into is, um, th this concept you also touched on of, is the buyer the same thing as the users, same thing as the one who approves the purchase. What, what does, what does that kind of, what are the touch points look like in, in a decision to, to buy and to keep, uh, becoming a customer or keep staying a customer? Speaker 4 36:02 Yeah. Again, it boils down to we, we, we tried to, we tried to sell the platform and then find the platform. We can then sell these various services. We, we generally try to target the end user who was the engineer. The idea being that the engineer might not always be the final decision maker and there might be other players who can block these decisions and we do take them into account. We built content, one pagers, all kinds of stuff to help convince those potential blockers and those potential other decision makers. But we really think that ultimately the person is going to be using the services, can be using the platform. That is really the person to convince. So we gear everything. We know what our activation moment is, the wow moment, the aha moment Tozer, however it's called these days. While we know that we, uh, we know that the key kind of wow factor when you use our platform is that, you know, as an engineer how long it can take to get a quote. Speaker 4 36:55 And then here you land on our website, you upload your CAD file, you upload your design, and then within seconds you have a quote and that code is guaranteed so that that quote, you can lock it in and submit it. So, so, so that's how accurate it is because we've, we've made over 4 million parts and we can use that data to predict how much the price is going to be on a completely new prop party we've never seen. So we know that when somebody uploads a part and gets an instant quote, they can then click between the technologies, they can click between the materials and they can see how that fits their price. They can click between the lead times. So you have full control over the price of going to pay. So we know that that's the activation moment and that's why we also tried to make the barrier to that as low as possible. So that's when, when I say that the lead acquisition team works at activation, it's really about making sure that people get to that, get to that instant quote as quickly and effectively as possible. Because that's, that's really ultimately what moves the needle for us. We know that if somebody has taken that action, that's a, that's it. So that's why we also gear a lot towards the, the, the key influencer within this process, which is the engineer who will be using the service. And then we tried to, Speaker 3 38:00 okay, so they engineered tends to discover and, and uses Speaker 4 38:03 yes. The, the educators to discover and users and then add, use it, the platform. And then we tried to equip that person with the various tools and content needed to convince other planners. The other, of course it changes depending on the size of the company, but that's essentially how we look at it. So broadly speaking, Speaker 3 38:20 that's awesome. And I think it's great that you've identified that wow moment because I think, you know, and it sounds like a, a very, uh, clear wow moment. So that's something that the growth, the marketing team can really work hard to get people to that point. But you also mentioned that you do have a customer success team. Did they play any role in getting people to that point or do they come in only after the deal's closed? Speaker 4 38:43 Yeah, it depends. I mean we're a company that's growing really fast so a lot of our processes are in constant and a constant state of flux and uh, so that has deferred over time. Genuinely. Ideally customer success, we'll, we'll deal with customers, uh, simply because of resources and volume at that. That's ideal. But of course there are situations where a deal isn't closed and the customer success team will get involved. And especially when we do events, we have a very localized strategy to marketing. So if we are doing an event in France, we'll make sure that there are sales, customer success marketing to everyone who can speak French, is there to serve the French market, learn for the French market, understand the French market. So there is a little bit of a cross pollination there. Speaker 3 39:22 If, if you identify a lead and they haven't gotten to that wow moment yet, that would <inaudible> and you're doing everything you can on the marketing and growth side to, to kind of automate the process of them getting there. But if there's going to be some, some hand holding and touching that happens, that would be more with a sales team rather than with a customer success team? Speaker 4 39:42 Yes. Well, yeah, it depends if they're a customer that it could be both. But customer success is really more for, you know, if the sales team will really try to get them to the wild, what would the customer success team is more about? <inaudible> more about solving the troubles, the issues that the customer faces, especially with the orders and such. So we, we tried to balance out, our job is to get them to the wild woman. In fact, we've geared our entire lead flow to say that you only qualify for certain actions if you've had the wow moment that's almost, you have to do that to become a customer. Speaker 3 40:13 <inaudible>. So, so food for thought, just, uh, from my earlier B2B experiences, I, I've, I've done a lot of conversations and B2B recently and, and with all the reading that I've done, I actually am, am, if I were to go back and redo it, I set it up exactly the same way that you have said, but if I were to go back and do it, I think I would reverse it to where to where a salesperson is so money driven rather than experience driven, that it's as hard for the end user to maybe be trusting of a sales person as much and having customer success, being a, you know, trying to engage with people who haven't gotten to the experience yet that leads to conversion and longterm retention. I think. Um, I like what I did was I actually had sales people that just put the name customer success on. But I think literally having them just having their key metric being get people to that experience, um, I think it's something that worth worth considering because it feels like, um, it feels like that's, that's where things are moving toward, that, uh, decisions to purchase are based on that type of wow experience. And that you've got such a clear one that having someone who's not money driven but just driving to get people to that experience can be really helpful. Speaker 4 41:28 Yeah, I think that's, I think that's really interesting. I guess, I guess in our case, what's, what's different is that because you're selling the platform, you're selling the, the, the technologies that they're not really into contact with sales either until they've actually been on the platform. So, uh, and in that respect, also most of our sales people engineers, which is, uh, which is a, also a nice PQ, uh, particular kind of peculiarity is that they are, they're, our salespeople are also our target user in a lot of cases. So, but yeah, I think, I think I do agree that generally having customer success successful at early stage where they really have the customer's interests at heart, I think that's super valuable for sure. Speaker 3 42:02 Yeah. And then also obviously, um, you know, you want to retain people on the platform and help them get more value and more success with all the services you offer. So I think customer success can play a really key role there as well. Uh, and then how important are referrals to the business? Um, do, do they make up a big, I I assume especially when it's a platform and kind of a marketplace that a lot of times one side helps to draw the other side end. Do you have that dynamic going at all? Speaker 4 42:28 I will in past companies, I've, I've worked a lot with referrals and I've seen, uh, I've seen, uh, a lot of success. It's, it's, it is trickier to crack it and B to B. I see. I noticed that in some industries like Germany and France for example, referrals tend to play an important role already just from a word of mouth, side of referrals. Then incentivize referrals and kind of automated referral programs, they become a little bit more challenging, but they can definitely work. It's something that we do. Speaker 3 42:54 Yeah. I mean I'm actually, yeah, that's what I was referring to is really just the, the, the word of mouth kind of side of things. Speaker 4 43:00 Yeah. I think it's really interesting for both the both working, both expanding within companies and between companies. I think, I think it's definitely an interesting thing to explore. It's a challenge I think to crack incentivizing customers is, is, is, is a challenge, Speaker 3 43:15 right? But, but in terms of just like, I think the starting point is, is it happening at all and, and then how do you accelerate it? Maybe more with, with incentives or just making it easier. But, um, but I agree like the inside companies, you know, if you, if, if you're partially serving a company and you can drive that kind of land and expand and, and, and look for more opportunities, but then also, uh, from company to company or from, you know, manufacturers who can, or the manufacturers who can, who can help to bring more clients onto the platform or vice versa. Um, it seems like that's a, a good, a good growth lever to potentially work. Even if there's not specific incentives, financial incentives to do it. It still feels like that should be a part of what's driving growth there. If you can crack it, Speaker 4 44:02 that's a, that that's golden and you, you don't have to incentivize with, uh, financial incentives. There are so many incentives. If you have a, if you have an audience that's a little bit geeky, for example, there are so many cool incentives that you can play around with that aren't necessarily financial discounts. So there was, there was potential there for sure. Speaker 3 44:19 And even even the events that you talked about, I mean, the more that you can kind of, and I mean that's one of the things that I did back in the early log me in days was featuring really successful customers and, and kind of webinar and that, that kinda kinda stuff, at least their success helps to attract other people. And so it's not always sort of direct word of mouth even, but just how, how do you, how do you leverage the base to get bigger so that size doesn't become something that becomes a drag on growth but instead becomes an asset that can lead to more growth. Absolutely. And then, uh, last thing I want to look at is the retention and engagement, which you've, you've touched on as well. You've got a team that's focused on that. Um, what's the, you know, what gets someone coming back and using more often on the platform or like once they're set up is that, are they done or, or, or is there a way to keep people, um, understanding and, and experiencing the value more often so that they, that they continue to stay, engage and retain longterm? Speaker 3 45:17 Yeah, that's really the goal of a product growth team. And, uh, Speaker 4 45:21 how often, what kind of retention you're looking at really depends because you have so many different kinds of companies. Using 3d helps for so many different reasons. So you can have companies that are going to order monthly, then you'll have companies who might only order a couple of times a year. It can differ. So I think what's really important there is having really clear user segmentation, really understanding who are your, who is your, who are your different types of personas, your different users, how on what do you expect from them? What does a successful, how do you define a successful user within that segment? So I think that's kind of one key thing that we work on decoding. Um, and then of course, that's where customer success comes into play hugely because having a great customer experience, reliability and then of course, keep in mind we're a manufacturing company. So things like things like customs, things like delivery times, all these kinds of things that you would never even think about, which I never thought about in my, in my sass days. Uh, suddenly things that, uh, that, that contributes. So from that end, I think having really strong product positioning is, is, is important. Having really strong product communications, making sure that everybody's aware of the full potential of your product. And that's true of any product. Speaker 3 46:27 Yup. No, I think that, that makes a lot of sense. So, um, before we wrap up, I always like to ask the question. Um, what, uh, what do you feel like you understand about growth now that you may not have understood about growth just a couple of years ago? Speaker 4 46:41 Um, decision making is crucial. I think the, the, the fact that everybody is very data-driven these days I think is, is awesome. It's, it's necessary. Uh, it's incredibly valuable and it's, uh, it's really changed the face of marketing. But sometimes you do see this, this, this data perfectionism. Uh, it's something that I, and many people I have known in the past I've suffered from in the past. When you're, when you're, you're, you're trying to be as data-driven as possible, uh, is decision making and decision making. Paralysis can, can, can set in very quickly. So I think making decisions, it's, it's very, uh, usually by my experiences that making a bad decision or a mediocre decision is usually still better than making no decision if you're in a fast paced, fast growing environment. So decision making is crucial. Perfectionism is in many cases, death and you don't have to choose between speed and quality. Speaker 4 47:40 I think this is the one thing that I used to think you had to choose between those two things. Um, but as you go as a company, you actually have the luxury of that choice. And that's when you start focusing on things like branding, which used to be a nuisance when I was working as you know, in the trenches and hacking away at different experiments, branded guidelines and branding checks. They were useful. But then when you get to a point where you are pretty strategically thinking about growing your business, you realize that brand is often the difference between a customer choosing you or choosing another product. Because, because we always assume that the customer understands our product like we do, but very often the customer doesn't see the difference between five different products. They kind of do and maybe they're shopping for very certain features. Speaker 4 48:20 A very often the brand will be a swaying factor. Um, and maybe the last thing is just that there are so many new, like marketing is such a marketing and growth and growth. Marketing is such an exciting field and is constantly changing that you can't, you need to be careful not to forget kind of the age old truths that, you know, human psychology hasn't changed in tens of thousands of years. How we make decisions and why we make decisions. And what drives us, it hasn't really changed that much. So understanding how to tell stories, understanding how people think is still crucial and no amount of data on automation of tech is going to be able to replace that. Speaker 5 49:01 Yup. I love it. That's great. So, um, some of the key takeaways that I have from this conversation, uh, I love Speaker 3 49:09 the breakdown that you said between B2B and B to C. um, I, I think it is super complex as you said, but clearly, clearly, um, in, in your business and your B2B business, uh, you guys have hit a gross stride and you're confident and it's going to be a unicorn. And I think the, um, the, the, the elements are there to support it like a, uh, a very, very big industry that, uh, is, uh, has a lot of dated ways of doing things that aren't, aren't leveraging digitization of manufacturing and some of the other things that you talked about. And so it's pretty ripe for disruption and then you have a good product and that's, that's differentiated with the way that you bundle the services in. And then, uh, and a team that's executing and, uh, executing well with very specialized roles. And you've got to break broken down and it feels like you're, uh, you're also constantly in that, uh, improve mode of trying to find better ways to, to do all of these things. So, um, I'm, I'm excited to see where you guys take it and thank you for your, uh, openness in sharing the story and, and helping us all get better at, at B2B growth. Speaker 5 50:22 Oh, thanks. Thanks a lot for having me. It's been a, it's been really great. Well, yeah, that definitely appreciate Fernanda and to Speaker 2 50:28 everyone listening, thanks for tuning in. Speaker 1 50:30 <inaudible> Speaker 2 50:35 thanks for listening to the breakout growth podcast. Please take a moment to leave us a review on your favorite podcast platform and while you're at it, subscribe. So you never miss a show until next week.