How Tally Overcame the Challenge of Trust for a New Financial Service to Drive Breakout Growth

Episode 29 August 13, 2020 00:42:42
How Tally Overcame the Challenge of Trust for a New Financial Service to Drive Breakout Growth
The Breakout Growth Podcast
How Tally Overcame the Challenge of Trust for a New Financial Service to Drive Breakout Growth

Aug 13 2020 | 00:42:42

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Show Notes

In this episode of The Breakout Growth Podcast, Sean Ellis interviews Tally’s Vice President of Growth, Mark Powlen. Tally offers an automated debt manager, which analyzes a user’s financial profile to determine the best and fastest way to pay down credit card debt. Their algorithm finds the lowest available interest rates and leverages an integrated credit line to saves customers money as they reduce their debt. Tally only makes money when their customers derive this value, and this deliberate “alignment with users” is an underlying theme of Tally’s breakout growth success story (24:58).

Making users less stressed and better off financially is the company’s mission, and to make this actionable the company has built teams and processes around a North Star Metric that focuses on how quickly users are getting out of debt (23:40). This informs and drives a test, learn and adapt growth approach driven by Tally’s dedicated growth team, but embraced company-wide (13:05). 

In this episode, we will learn how Tally drives growth through cross-functional alignment and how intentional growth leadership has made this possible even as the company has grown to a team of 132 employees from just 8  four years ago. We will also dig deep into Mark’s approach to high-velocity experimentation and learn how the development and prioritization of tests leverage quantitative learnings from analytics paired with qualitative information from user research and customer support feedback loops. For fans of Sean Ellis’ “Hacking Growth” this episode will certainly resonate, as Mark and his team have embraced the book’s key principles on their way to breakout growth success.

In this episode of The Breakout Growth Podcast, Sean Ellis interviews Tally’s Vice President of Growth, Mark Powlen. Tally offers an automated debt manager, which analyzes a user’s financial profile to determine the best and fastest way to pay down credit card debt. Their algorithm finds the lowest available interest rates and leverages an integrated credit line to saves customers money as they reduce their debt. Tally only makes money when their customers derive this value, and this deliberate “alignment with users” is an underlying theme of Tally’s breakout growth success story (24:58).

Making users less stressed and better off financially is the company’s mission, and to make this actionable the company has built teams and processes around a North Star Metric that focuses on how quickly users are getting out of debt (23:40). This informs and drives a test, learn and adapt growth approach driven by Tally’s dedicated growth team, but embraced company-wide (13:05). 

In this episode, we will learn how Tally drives growth through cross-functional alignment and how intentional growth leadership has made this possible even as the company has grown to a team of 132 employees from just 8  four years ago. We will also dig deep into Mark’s approach to high-velocity experimentation and learn how the development and prioritization of tests leverage quantitative learnings from analytics paired with qualitative information from user research and customer support feedback loops. For fans of Sean Ellis’ “Hacking Growth” this episode will certainly resonate, as Mark and his team have embraced the book’s key principles on their way to breakout growth success.

We discussed: 

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:08 Welcome 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 1 00:00:25 In this episode of the breakout growth podcast, I interviewed tallies VP of growth, Mark Pallen. Now, when Mark joined the company, about four years ago, there were only eight people today. There are over 130 people. So what the heck is tally? How are they driving all of that growth? That's what we're going to dig into. So on a high level, it's about automated debt management and they analyze a user's financial profile and figure out the fastest way for them to pay down their credit card debt and the best way for them to pay down their credit card debt. The important thing to note here is just the quick growth that they've had and some of the challenges that comes with that. So, um, of course, overcoming team alignment issues is one of those challenges that we often hear about on the breakout growth podcast. So like many other companies they've used mission to help to align the team. Speaker 1 00:01:13 And so that mission is about making users much less stressed financially, and really just better off financially. And they have used a North star metric to help quantify that mission and to keep everyone focused on, on moving in the same direction. And then many of the principles that you may have learned about in hacking growth or just growth hacking in general. So we're going to dig deep into what that growth engine looks like, but, uh, it's a, it's a pretty interesting discussion and what it takes to succeed in FinTech and just high growth startups overall. So let's jump in with tallies, vice president of growth, Mark Pallen Speaker 1 00:01:59 Mark. Welcome to the breakout growth podcast. Hey Sean, thanks for having me. Yeah, it's a, it's great to have you on. So can you tell us a little bit about what tally is and, and really the problem that you're setting out to solve with it? Sure. Yeah. Uh, so let's say tile is a consumer tech company and, uh, we're automating people's financial lives. So, uh, the main value prop for that is we built the first and only automated debt manager, uh, which analyzes your financial profile and then determines the fastest and smartest way to pay down your credit card debt. Uh, and then it actually takes action based on that information. And so we're actually, we're able to save people a lot of money by providing a lower interest rate and also ensuring that the optimal amount is always paid to the right card at the right time. And then did I see something about like a credit line that you offer as well with it? That's right. Yep. So part of Tali is a credit line and that's actually a part of what us to save users, a lot of money. Um, our, uh, our algorithms only ever pay your credit cards from our credit line. Uh, if we're, if we detect that we're able to save you money on interest. Um, and then that balance actually resides with tally. Speaker 2 00:03:15 Okay. And is that the main, um, business model or do you, do you charge a fee on top? Speaker 1 00:03:20 Yeah, no, that's right. Uh, we only make money if we're able to save a user's money on interest and we do that mostly through our credit lines. Speaker 2 00:03:29 Okay. And so, and then it's the interest that they're paying is where you make Speaker 1 00:03:33 That's right? Yeah, basically, uh, we're able to, we're, we're able to borrower in bulk from banks and we can get access to interest rates that individual consumers can't, uh, and then we pass on the majority of the savings to them and, uh, we keep a small amount, um, as the margin to us. Speaker 2 00:03:51 Very cool. And then the typical target customer, I mean, I assume it's somebody who's carrying debt, so, um, what, uh, what, what else can you tell me about the typical target customer? Speaker 1 00:04:02 Yeah. Uh, so typically our target customer is, you know, the middle calf middle-class tech, trusting millennial. Um, oftentimes, um, our users have gone through a recent life event that caused, you know, unexpected changes in their financial system, uh, situation. Um, so people find themselves, you know, throughout life in different circumstances, actually, you know, using credit cards, um, as a tool to maintain their cashflow and that at those times, um, tally is quite useful for, Speaker 2 00:04:38 Oh, well, I'll be interested in a couple of minutes to ask you how COVID affected has affected things, but it definitely seems like, um, people have, uh, have had a lot of financial effects from, from COVID. So that'll be interesting to dig into, but I'd love to start with really how, what growth has looked like since you've been there. So you've been there about four years. It looks like. And what, uh, how many people were there when you joined the company? Speaker 1 00:05:00 Yeah, that's right. Uh, four years in about two weeks time, time flies. Uh, let's see. When I joined the company, there were eight people. Speaker 2 00:05:10 Oh, wow. Okay. And then how many now? Speaker 1 00:05:13 Uh, I should know that number off the top. I believe we're in the mid one thirties. Speaker 2 00:05:18 Okay. Wow. Yeah, that's a, according to LinkedIn, I'm seeing one 32 twos. Speaker 1 00:05:23 Yeah, that sounds great. Speaker 2 00:05:25 Wow. So that's, you've seen a lot of changes then obviously going from, from over a hundred employees to starting with eight employees, Speaker 1 00:05:32 What Speaker 2 00:05:34 Did you see about the opportunity when you came in that made you feel like it was a good opportunity? Something that you were confident you could be? Speaker 1 00:05:41 Yeah, that's a, that's a really good question. So I, you know, when you join a company that early, um, you know, to be honest, a lot of it has to do with getting comfortable with the team, um, the, the founders themselves, uh, as well, you know, the engineering and then, you know, the rest of the business team that's there. Um, so spent spent a lot of time, uh, with the team, just getting comfortable on that. And then the other thing, um, that you want to pay a lot attention to is like, do, is this something that's interesting to you? Right? Cause like you're getting here, you're going to have to put in a lot of effort to, to bring something from that early, uh, you know, to the market. Uh, so it has to be exciting to you. Um, and then also, um, I took a look at the market, so basically did I think that, um, the market was large? Did I think that this was filling an unmet need in the market? Uh, there was some early information, um, from user testing to take a look at, to see if like, if this was a real pain point, not huge amounts of cohorts or, or anything like that. Um, but, but there was enough to get comfortable with the fact that there was a real need that was being solved, Speaker 2 00:06:52 But, but it had customers on it when you joined or, or, or not. So when I joined it, Speaker 1 00:06:58 It was prelaunch. Uh, but they had started to just do some early beta testing. Speaker 2 00:07:04 Okay. So you had some kind of customer feedback, at least, at least in terms of the problem and the value proposition. And it seemed like there was enough Speaker 1 00:07:12 Potential date. It was worth going for that's right. That's right. Yep. Speaker 2 00:07:15 Awesome. So now let's get to the question of COVID-19. Um, obviously a lot of people have been financially affected by COVID what, uh, how has how's that Speaker 1 00:07:25 Yeah. Actually impacted your business. Yeah, that's a good question. So, you know, we're actually pretty fortunate to have not been that negatively impacted by COVID-19. Uh, and, and honestly, largely that goes back to what I was mentioning before and how, um, how important the team is. So a big reason why we haven't been negatively impacted is that, um, the, the people that found a tally, uh, were able to learn lessons from the last recession. Uh, and those were already baked into Talley's underwriting process, um, from the, from the very beginning. So, uh, our head of credit came from capital one. He's, uh, he's an awesome guy. Um, and he lived through the last recession with capital one in their risk management department. And, and so the model was built with the expert, with the expectation that we would in a evidently go through some Rocky times. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And so even amongst all the uncertainty, there was a degree of like concern conservatism that was already baked in and that's, that's been really paying dividends. Speaker 2 00:08:35 I mean, I imagine that the need for it has actually gone up with COVID. Is, is that the case or, Speaker 1 00:08:41 Yeah. You know, that actually is the case. A lot of times what happens is, um, economic shocks actually cause, uh, people to be more aware of their finances, um, and actually take more action to protect them in the that's certainly happened to me. I can tell you that I went from not knowing what I had in which banks Oh, crap. What do I have? Okay, I'm fine. But just like a definitely shined, a bright light on, on everything to make sure that, um, you know, all my commitments could be fulfilled. Yeah, that's right. Yeah. So we've, we've seen, we've seen increasing user demand. Uh, we obviously want to make sure that it's, it's all being done responsibly and that people aren't, um, you know, getting themselves into a worst position. And so, uh, you know, we are being a little conservative, uh, but it's actually been a pretty solid time for us and that's good. Speaker 1 00:09:32 And then there was no issue, uh, unlike credit commitments on your side to be able to keep things rolling. Like, yeah, I gotta assume you, you said you get pretty good rates from the banks. And, um, that I know I am just for example, I had actually a, um, uh, unpaid word agreement for a, um, credit line against my house going into it. And they called and said, we've changed our mind. And, uh, cause I had another house that was under construction and um, I said, be honest with me. Did you, did you change your mind? Cause you found something about me, are you pulling this on, on just about anybody who you don't need to honor a commitment to make a loan to? And he's like, ah, it's the second case. So I imagine that you've probably got contracts upfront that protect you against that sort of thing, but was there any, any risk on that side? Speaker 1 00:10:23 Yeah. You know, we, we do have contracts, but uh, again going back to it, um, I think it's actually times like these that can really set a business apart. So because we've had pretty because we have very solid tried and true models, uh, and because of some of the expertise on our credit team and, you know, from our CEO, Jason, um, uh, we, we actually haven't, uh, you know, fortunately haven't seen any, um, any issues with our capital markets, um, partners, uh, they, they all are still very much with us and have confidence in the models that we have. Awesome. Well, so let's, let's step out of the hopefully short term, uh, issues of, of COVID and look kind of more holistically at the business. As we talked about, you went through this crazy growth of people when you joined to now being in the hundreds of people, what, what do you think have been like the key factors that have really driven that growth up to this point? Speaker 1 00:11:25 Uh, you know, kind of looking back on it. I think there's probably three kind of most, most important factors that have driven a lot of talent success. Um, the first is honestly strong product market fit. So, uh, our, our product provides a lot of value to our users, um, and it, and it is a very, um, high pain point for users. So we we've done studies in the past, um, particularly around things, identity that's associated with, uh, debt, specifically credit card debt. Uh, and we, we found from studies that, um, credit card debt, uh, thinking about credit card debt actually triggers the same level of, of anxiety as if you were sitting in the doctor's office, waiting for, um, biopsy test results to come back. So there's like a, there's an extreme emotional reaction to it. Uh, and so, you know, providing a product that not only saves users money and functionally guarantees that they're making the right choices, um, there's also like a big kind of unmet emotional need that our product sells. Speaker 1 00:12:34 Um, so, so strong product market fit is definitely, uh, been a boon. Um, I think the second is the team as I mentioned. So, uh, the growth team specifically, uh, I think we have a really solid team of individuals, but also the wider company and org, as we've, as we've scaled, we've kept, we've kept a really high bar, uh, not just for talented individuals, but I'd say for people that fit the culture and people that bring a unique perspective to it. Um, and then I think the third thing is, you know, process and execution. Uh, the growth team in particular really is taken to heart like a test learn and adapt mentality. Um, and I think that it has been propagated throughout the organization, the product team, uh, you know, our analytics, operations, the whole company really, um, you know, takes the heart test, learn and adapt and that's, uh, allowed us to be pretty agile. Speaker 2 00:13:31 Well, fantastic. And then, yeah, obviously test learn and adapt is a really important approach. Like for example, in this situation of COVID that we were just talking about, but have there been other challenges that you guys have faced over over your time there that, um, you've you've really had to work to overcome? Speaker 1 00:13:51 Yeah, you know, I think one of the early challenges we had is that the tallies, the actual product is fairly complex and nuanced and how it, and how it works. And there's a lot of like different scenarios because it's fully tailored to your, uh, each individual's financial profile. Um, and so the challenge was there, aren't a lot of like very easy comparisons that are top of mind in, for consumers, uh, that they're able to like really quickly associate, like, I know this thing because I've seen this pattern before. So, um, that was a challenge. It was like, you know, how do you describe something that doesn't necessarily exist? Uh, and I think the way we overcame that is just really investing in our, in our creative team, um, and finding interesting ways, uh, to, to convey what Tyler does, you know, quickly abstractly and visually, you can get a lot more across, um, visually than you can in words. Speaker 1 00:14:58 And, uh, that's definitely been a key to our success. Um, the other kind of thing that comes to mind is, uh, that we, we asked for a lot of personal financial information, like to TA to tailor your, your, uh, the payments. We need to know a lot about our users. And so, uh, we require a lot of trust from our users relatively early on. Um, and so over the years to overcome that we've invested in high quality content while the educational content, as well as we really put an investment in our comms and PR team, um, make making sure that Tali, um, gets our story out there and our perspective out there, um, and, uh, and can be viewed and other people's, you know, like in third party endorsements basically. Speaker 2 00:15:45 And I imagine it was something like this, that referral is maybe not so high because, you know, there might be some embarrassment around debt, but, um, but at the same time referral for high trust businesses tends to be in a pretty important channel. How is that played? Speaker 1 00:16:01 Sure. Yeah. You know, there definitely is some stigma around credit card debt, but we've, we find that, that, um, maybe it's not as broadly shareable as like the next social networking trend, but there are very close knit groups, um, that people trust. So it's, it's shareable amongst like close family, close family and friends. And if you string enough of those together, it actually can make up a substantial part of your business. Um, the other thing we found on referrals is, uh, this is nothing new, but it's important to make it, you know, at moments of delight in your product. Obviously like when people are having a good experience, they're more open to referring friends. Uh, and then the other thing we found is making it contextually relevant. So, um, instead of just offering, you know, um, a flat amount and make it something that's contextually relevant to your product, Speaker 2 00:17:01 Do you offer any kind of incentive for referrals? Speaker 1 00:17:05 Uh, we do. We, we incent people to refer and, uh, we make payments towards our user's credit card debt to help them pay their debt down faster. Cool. Speaker 2 00:17:13 Well, it seems like it would be pretty compelling even if there may be some embarrassment, I guess the good part is that the person referring is, uh, is, is showing that they're on top of it and they're getting it figured out. And so maybe, maybe they don't want to refer when they're in the depth of the problem, but as, as, as they've moved through the solution, they might be a little more Speaker 1 00:17:33 Proud to be referring and recommending it. Yeah, we try and turn it, you know, turn on the people. There are a lot of people that are really proud about all the effort and there is stigma, but a lot of times, as I, as I mentioned earlier, like there are life circumstances that are outside people's control, um, that caused you to, you know, need tools like tally. And there's never, there's really no shame in that. And I think people are oftentimes proud that they're making progress. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:18:00 Yeah. I feel like people have actually become a lot more transparent about financial challenges in recent years with things like go fund me if, you know, if they, if they run into a real problem that, um, you know, that there, there are people out there trying to help them and, and they have to be a little honest for that to even happen at all. Um, so let, let's talk a bit about how you're organized for growth. So you've, you've touched on one of the things that you really emphasized was that the, that the team and the process and the execution is, is a big part of how you've been driving that growth. So what does, what does that growth team look like and how does it do, do you have a separate marketing team? Do you, do you do touch sales? How does product layer into it? Um, some, some insights into that would be great. Speaker 1 00:18:43 I imagine this is going to be changing, uh, kind of like as we, we get, uh, larger, but, uh, you know, historically there has not been a separate marketing team, um, from the growth team, a lot of the functions, um, ended up falling on the growth team. We are starting to think more about, um, you know, brand, um, and our messaging right now. And I think with that, that comes at like naturally at the phase of your company. I think with that, we'll probably start breaking it out into a wider marketing org. Um, Tali itself is all self-serve. So there, there is no, like there's no sales team. Um, and then the growth team specifically, uh, you know, has a very close partnership with the product team. Um, early on, uh, the product team was just one of the cofounders, right? So it was a, it was very small and the growth team was just me. And so, uh, and so, you know, it's a bit less formal at that stage, you know, because there's, there are only so many people in the company and it's very clear like how, how you interact. Uh, and then, you know, as we've, as we've grown the product team, um, they've done a really good job, making sure that there's, there's a great process in place, um, to incorporate many different stakeholders, one of them, the growth team. Um, and so we can really help bring a growth mindset to the core product implementation. Speaker 2 00:20:13 And you, you feel like there's, there's pretty good alignment between, between product and growth that's continued over from, from the time when it was just you to, now that there's a lot more people that are involved in the process. Speaker 1 00:20:26 Oh yeah. Yeah. I think we did. I think we've done a good job staying, um, closely aligned. Uh, and I think that's really important. Like you have to stay closely aligned as a company. Our VP of engineering has a saying, she likes to say a lot, you end up shipping your org chart and, and if your org chart is very siloed and disjointed, then that actually shows up to the end user and that's a really bad experience. Um, so I think all the teams, that's how I have made, uh, made a concerted effort to make sure that there aren't silos and that, um, we have autonomous teams, but the autonomous teams are staffed with cross functional team members. Um, uh, so that you don't have this, uh, you know, disjointedness when you inevitably ship your org chart. Speaker 2 00:21:17 And so for you as, as head of growth, what, what was your background before you became head of growth? Do you come more from marketing more from products? Speaker 1 00:21:26 Yeah, that's so long ago I started out in finance. Um, so I spent a couple of years in finance and then I switched more onto the user acquisition performance marketing and, um, an analytics side. So I worked at a company for awhile, a ran a bunch of very large scale user acquisition, user acquisition campaigns. Then I switched over more onto the analytics side of it. So, um, it was, uh, analytics, uh, at invoice to go and, and there was working closely with the product, the growth and the user acquisition teams, um, to do a lot of the cross functional, uh, cross channel attribution and making sure that all the experiments were run in conjunction with each other and then, uh, joined tally to found the growth team. Speaker 2 00:22:16 And so do you feel like your, your, um, analytics background was, is really important to being, uh, effective in your job or, uh, what's the, what do you think is kind of the most important skillset and being effective in your job? Speaker 1 00:22:31 Yeah, I mean, I think early on the analytics part is definitely really important, particularly. Um, if, you know, at a very early stage company, you're not necessarily going to have dedicated analytics resources. Um, so being able to self serve, um, and build out all of the underlying infrastructure that you need, I think is, is important. If you're going to go early at a company, uh, a little bit later, you start to specialize. So now we have an analytics team. I think being able to like work with them closely has been valuable. Um, and then I think the other skill is, um, related to analytics, but being able to like think through experiments and how, how you want to set something up, um, in a way that you're going to get the maximum learning out of it, Speaker 2 00:23:27 Kind of the, the analytics perspective. Do you guys do, do you have a North star metric? Do you have OKR? Is what's how do you kind of think, um, sort of big picture performance data for the whole business? Speaker 1 00:23:40 Yeah, so for the business we, we use OK. Ours, um, uh, you know, to align all the teams and then attach initiatives to them. Uh, we, we do have a North star metric for that current product. Um, and it's, we measure how quickly our users are getting out of debt. Um, and that's really important because it ties, it ties, uh, you know, super closely to our mission, which is to make our users less stressed and better off financially. Um, and so it's that, that metrics definitely a point of motivation. Uh, it also coincidentally, um, is good for us to financially of being really good for our user. It's really good for our business. And it's also something that really motivates us. Yeah. So I, that's an interesting kind of point. Like, it seems natural that you would try to get those three things aligned, but, um, I, I'm just curious, like how, how deliberate were you guys about that? Speaker 1 00:24:40 So, so you have that mission, you have how you make money related to that mission. And then, and then the North star metric of sort of serving that, that, that customer value, um, to get them out of debt faster. Um, do you, do you think that's been a key factor in your success and, and did you, did you guys have to kind of tune that in over time or was it right there from the beginning? No, I think that was very deliberate from the beginning. Um, our co founders felt pretty strongly that, uh, you need to be, you know, you, you need to be aligned with your users. Uh, and so from the very beginning, our systems were built so that, uh, we were never actually able to make money unless we're saving users money. And so by aligning, um, the financial incentives with our users, like structurally make sure that we're always making the right choice for them. Speaker 1 00:25:35 And I think that's been really important because particularly in financial services, there can be a lot of like perverse incentives. Um, if you're just, if, if you, if you're not able to do those, like, it just makes it really easy to make the right decision. Yeah, no, I can see if you, you know, if you can get somebody buried under the debt and just have them pay the minimums and keep, keep taking the high percentages that that would, uh, that that's where, where some of that could be, um, misaligned a little bit in terms of, you know, really serving what's best for the customer. So it's great that you guys are, um, yeah. Can feel good about the business. And that's probably part of the reason why you've been there for four years. You burn out pretty fast if you feel like you're not doing some good in the world. Speaker 1 00:26:21 Um, so you talked a bit about experimentation, so I'm, I'm curious, uh, how, how you guys think about experimentation, how you, how you figure out opportunities on where to experiment. And, uh, maybe you can even give us an example. You don't have to give the results to it, but just like a type of experiment that you've done. Sure. Let's see. How do we think of new experiments? So that's a like very cross functional effort. Uh, typically it starts a couple of ways of there's either, um, something obvious in our data, uh, meaning like there's an obvious that there's a problem. It doesn't necessarily like the data doesn't necessarily tell you what the problem is or how to solve it, but we will, we'll look for like steps in the funnel or parts of the product, where there are unusually large dropoff points. And then, and then, you know, have a series of brainstorms, um, or design sprints. Speaker 1 00:27:20 Our product team leads a lot of design sprints with different stakeholders on, on how we might solve that problem. Uh, come up with a, you know, a series of hypothesis of what might be going on there and then design experiments to validate that. So that's one track and that, that comes more from the data side. Uh, the other side of it is that we have we're con we're constantly running user research, um, and that can come from a couple of places. So there's a user research team are at, in conjunction with our design team. They, they host a lot of user interviews. Um, and, and so, uh, it's, it's easy to pay, not easy, but it's good to pair that qualitative, um, data with the analytics and that will help you kind of shortcut to what the actual issue might be. Uh, and then another source of knowledge is our customer support team. So the customer success team does a really great job of, um, bubbling up themes that they're seeing they're on the front lines. And they, they, they will know immediately if there's something, uh, that's causing confusion in the product. Uh, and they, they do a great job of communicating that back and, and, uh, coming up with, uh, things that they think could be good fixes. Speaker 2 00:28:37 Uh, and then in terms of deciding, okay, so you've identified, here's some issues maybe to come up with some ideas on how to solve those issues, how do you decide which ones to take? Speaker 1 00:28:48 Yeah, so then that goes into just our prioritization framework. So we use ice typically, which is impact confidence and ease. Uh, and we go through and, um, and rank all of the, uh, potential experiments using that framework. Um, and then that's not a perfect solution, so that will give you like roughly their priority. And then typically we have a meeting, um, uh, where we go through and discuss if there's any ones that are close or, or if we feel like, um, there's discrepancies on how different individuals rated those. Uh, we talked through those and then we come out with the master list of priorities Speaker 2 00:29:31 And that's like a weekly meeting, or how, how frequently do you do that meeting? Speaker 1 00:29:35 We do a weekly meeting with the, uh, product product analytics and the growth team. Okay, cool. So let's, let's kinda take, okay with that framework of how you, how you find opportunities and drive improvement. Now let's kind of look at what that customer journey looks like from how people typically discover tally to what's the, what's the aha moment to where they kind of like, Oh, crap, I really need this. And then where they get really excited about the value it's delivered to them. And potentially, even as you talked about referral that earlier, um, what, what, how do those kind of pieces fit together? Yeah. Uh, so there's a couple of ways that users typically discovered Holly. Um, we, we do get a lot of word of mouth. Uh, so this is not necessarily like referrals, like built into the product, although we do have that. Speaker 1 00:30:31 Um, but there are, there are various, uh, financial forums and different like threads out there where people go to discuss, um, that, uh, so, so we do see a decent amount of traffic from there. Uh, as I mentioned, we invested in PR and comms early on. Uh, so we do see a good amount of traffic. Um, they're coming in, uh, you know, both from directly from the PR, but I think the kind of bigger thing that, that also feeds into is our SEO. Uh, so having these really high value, um, placements adds a lot of trust and then also builds up a lot of SEO traffic that we get. And then the third area is paid ads. Um, it is a fairly substantial piece of it. Uh, I think we have a pretty good balance, um, uh, but there are a paid boobs that we have, and then like for a paid ad, somebody essentially looking at, like, if you have credit card debt and, and then you offer your value proposition, or what's the, what's the sort of a hook in a paid ad that makes someone want to respond. Speaker 1 00:31:38 Hmm. Yeah. So w we run different messaging for different parts of the funnel, but yeah, right off the bat, it's typically, as I was mentioning before, um, finding ways to really quickly get across, um, what Talia is going to do for you, and sometimes in a somewhat abstract way. Uh, but like a lot of like, this is, you know, easy comparisons of using tally versus not using tally, um, for, uh, you know, kind of like, uh, user stories of people that have used the product and gotten out of that. Um, yeah, I can imagine that, uh, just that differentiation piece is really important because there are a lot of, um, companies out there, the debt consolidators or whatever, whatever they're doing that, um, uh, yeah. May or may not be, may, may not be as effective in, in how you're doing Speaker 2 00:32:40 Things or they're negotiating debt on your behalf. And so there's probably a lot of like fear in customers and how you can kind of differentiate it. And what makes you unique? There is probably probably a bit of a challenge, but clearly you're, you're figuring that challenge out. Speaker 1 00:32:56 And then, and then kind of like, I think it's the job of like the ad is to just capture people's attention and excitement enough to get them into your, your product flow. Um, and then from there, it's really about, um, personalizing it. So like the, the moments that I, that people start to see the value, um, are when they start to see how, how this is different than maybe another lending experience or how this is different from other experiences they've had, where it's, it starts to get, become really tailored to them and then show them the actual action that it's going to take. So, as opposed to just giving you kind of some charts and data, um, it becomes clear like tally is actually going to take this weight off your shoulders. Speaker 2 00:33:44 And as you mentioned, they've got to enter in a lot of that personal information at a certain point. I assume that they're not necessarily making a commitment when they enter that information, but they are committing to trusting you. It's just right. Speaker 1 00:33:56 That's right. That's right. Yep. When, when, at what point Speaker 2 00:34:00 Do they, do they enter their personal information in? Speaker 1 00:34:04 Yeah, I mean, to be honest, it, we do have a pretty, we do have a fairly significant amount of information. We start requesting like pretty early on in the funnel. Um, this is actually an area that we're actively experimenting with, uh, right now just seeing if there's ways that we can, um, get people into the product quicker. But to some extent, if you are able to get over that hump, then there is, there is something to be said about having people committed to it, right? So there's a, there's a balance between just dumping people into an experience, but like nothing's really set up. And so it's hard to see the value versus like requiring all the pieces of information off the bat so that you can show them a really personalized experience. I think we're going to find out the answer to that soon to be honest with you, we've, we've done it the first way for awhile. And, and this is kind of the first time we're starting to test a lighter experience, get into the product. Speaker 2 00:35:07 Yep. No, that makes, that makes sense. That like, it's really hard to know exactly what's going to work there and that, so that's, that's a, a classic example of where you probably need to do lots of testing to figure out what, how do you, how do you motivate someone to keep going through and address any of the concerns or trust issues and all of those points to ultimately get them to, to the point where, where you can serve them and have helped to quickly reduce the debt that they're carrying. So I think one of the interesting things about business is when you think about engagement and retention, it's almost like a dating app in a sense that like the more successful you are, the less they need the service. Um, how do you, how do you think about engagement in sort of retail Speaker 1 00:35:50 Cohorts over time? Yeah, that's a good question. So, um, I think it's a, it's at least maybe depends on your business, but for us, it's an important to break out the difference between the tension and engagement. Um, for us, our product has extremely high retention, uh, which is great. Uh, I think we have typically 99% month over month retention for our users. Um, and while we are actively, um, working to get users out of debt, uh, you know, the reality of a lot of credit card debt is it does take some time. So it is our goal to eventually get, uh, all of the users out of debt, but, but that doesn't just happen overnight. Um, so, so there's some natural churn that will be built in, but it's, it's a long enough period that, um, people have built a relationship with the product so they can continue to use it when they're out of debt. Um, Speaker 2 00:36:50 So they can't have, once they're out of debt, there is, there is some kind of a use case going forward from there. Speaker 1 00:36:55 Yeah, that's right. You, you don't have to use the, uh, the line of credit. It's just there, if you need it. Uh, otherwise you can, you can view all of your cards in one place, um, and, and pay them directly from tally and not get charged, not get charged, anything for that, uh, which helps, um, helps people stay on top of it. And then also, um, there's like the motivation factor. So this is actually something that we're starting to think a lot more about now. Uh, because as you mentioned, like our product is all about financial automation. So to some extent, like once you set up Polly, it just does everything for you. There's, there's actually not a, uh, like a functional reason that you have to return to the app unless you're coming back to pay us. Um, so, but that being said, like, we are starting to think more about engagement because we want people, even though we're taking care of it for them, we want people to stay engaged in their, in their finances. It's better for their financial health. And so thinking about more ways to inject, um, motivation, uh, and encouragement into the product. Um, I think we're doing a good job of that now, but I think, uh, we're going to be adding a lot more there in the coming months and years. Very cool. So, yeah, Speaker 2 00:38:16 Congrats again, like on, on everything going, going from eight employees, it's gotta be pretty wild ride to see the company grow around you. So congrats on that. And I'm sure it's really exciting. I'm curious when you, when you kind of look back at, especially at just the last couple of years, is there something from the couple of years that you feel like you discovered about how growth works that you didn't really understand before that, uh, anything jump out at you? Speaker 1 00:38:43 Yeah. Uh, I don't know if this is, if this is particularly new, but it is something that I think I've like, uh, really seen, uh, and gained more confidence in over the years is that the speed at which you're able to test, um, greatly improves your chances of success. Uh, and, and like with that, you, you need to do as much as you can to scope down, um, projects as much as possible to get them out there quickly. Um, I think I was very guilty in the early days of scope creep on my end, like wanting the experience to be perfect before, before putting that out there. And like, that's the marketing side of me and you, you need to fight that as much as possible. Uh, the, at the end of the day, I think the thing I've learned is like, if your product is valuable, um, users are willing to deal with some rough edges. Like don't put out a terrible experience, but if it requires a little bit of user input, a lot of users are actually willing to engage. If they think your product is valuable, they're actually willing to engage with you and, and join you in the journey. And so don't, don't be afraid to, you know, scope projects down a lot to get them out there quickly. Speaker 2 00:40:00 Awesome. No, I love that. And yeah, I mean, obviously there's going to be a lot more learning if you can actually get it out there instead of, uh, instead of polishing. And then, and then obviously the other thing you learn with that is, uh, if, if it doesn't achieve the desired result, it's pretty painful to roll something back when you spent a lot of time polishing. Speaker 1 00:40:19 Exactly. And to be honest, you might be polishing the wrong thing. I mean, you can give your best guests, but the users are going to tell you what they, what they like. And don't like at the end of the day with their actions. Speaker 2 00:40:30 Yeah, no, that's great. And again, so congrats on everything. I mean, one of the big things that really jumped out at me, um, from, from what you talked about is just having that really strong sense of mission and then aligning that mission with how you earn money and, you know, your, your key success metric and the North star metric. And, and, and then having a team that sounds like you've got a great team around you, both directly on the growth side, but just like across the company where, where people are driving a high velocity of experimentation to keep driving improvement and your ability to accelerate on the mission and impact against the mission. So, um, it looks like you guys have, uh, have helped a lot of people with, with tally, and I'm excited to see where you, where you take it from here. Speaker 1 00:41:18 Yeah, yeah. It would be impossible to succeed without, um, your cross functional partners. Speaker 2 00:41:24 Absolutely. Speaker 1 00:41:26 Definitely appreciate that. Speaker 2 00:41:28 Yeah. But I have to also say that not, not, not all businesses, um, are, are, are very well aligned cross-functionally and I think that really slows down, especially on a growth team that touches so many different, uh, departments in the company. If you, if you don't have support from those different groups, uh, it can, it can really slow down your ability to run experiments and to run the right experiments. And, um, so you definitely, I mean, I'm sure you played a big role in, in having everyone work together effectively there, but it's a, it's, it's not, it's not the case in all companies. So, um, congrats on getting to where you are. And so, um, I just want to thank everyone for, uh, for tuning in, thank you for sharing, uh, how your, your scaling tally. And, uh, as I said, I'm excited to see where you take it from here. So to everyone. Thanks. Thanks for tuning in. Thanks a lot. Speaker 0 00:42:25 Thanks for listening to the breakout growth podcast. 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