What's Helping Valuer Decrease the Sales Cycle for Enterprise B2B Clients of Its Match Making Platform

Episode 8 December 12, 2019 00:54:43
What's Helping Valuer Decrease the Sales Cycle for Enterprise B2B Clients of Its Match Making Platform
The Breakout Growth Podcast
What's Helping Valuer Decrease the Sales Cycle for Enterprise B2B Clients of Its Match Making Platform

Dec 12 2019 | 00:54:43


Show Notes

In this episode of The Breakout Growth Podcast, Sean Ellis interviews Dennis Poulsen, CEO of Valuer, along with their CMO, Taylor Ryan. Valuer helps major enterprises tap into startup innovation strengths via their AI-powered matchmaking platform. 

Sean’s goal with this interview is to understand what is truly driving breakout growth success for Valuer. Since launching in early 2018, the Demark based business has scaled rapidly due to a surprisingly short sales cycle and an effective lead gen program.

In the interview, we explore the problem that Dennis and his cofounders originally set out to solve, how they were able to build initial traction for the platform and when they had enough validation to aggressively start scaling.

We also analyzed today’s growth engine which starts with aggressive customer acquisition.  Most new sales leads are generated via content marketing that aims to increase awareness among enterprises that startups can help solve their digital transformation and corporate innovation challenges. This content marketing has helped valuer achieve strong organic search traffic.  

The Valuer team works to convert web traffic to qualified sales leads by optimizing site content such as case studies and reducing friction to completing the demo request forms. They are able to capture additional leads for outbound sales calls by analyzing IP addresses of the businesses that visit their website without completing a lead gen form.  

Once leads are generated, the sales team works to quickly arrange a demo of how the platform works. Given that Valuer sales efforts are focused on large enterprises, the sales cycle is surprisingly short, typically ranging from a couple of weeks to a couple of months. 

All of these elements of the growth engine ultimately are working to increase the number of synergistic matches between startups and large enterprises. 

Learn more about Valuer at Valuer.ai

Learn more about CEO Dennis Poulsen here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dennisjuulpoulsen/

Learn more about CMO Taylor Ryan here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/taylorryan/

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00 <inaudible> Speaker 1 00:03 <inaudible> Speaker 2 00:08 come 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 this episode we're going to be looking at a company called valuer, which is a fast growing marketplace that connects corporations with innovative startups. So I'm fortunate enough to have, uh, both the CEO Dennis Paulson and the CDMO Taylor Ryan in for the conversation and discussion. And we're going to be looking at everything from how did they validate product market fit in a marketplace. Yeah. Clearly you need to have some level of activity in that marketplace to know if you're onto something. So how, how did they think through that? What side of the marketplace, if they've been focused on building, or are they focusing their energy on building both sides of the marketplace? And then they generate their revenue from corporations, which tend to have an enterprise sales cycle, which can be really long. So what have they done to actually shorten that sales cycle? And ultimately how does the, how does the overall growth engine work in the business? And then hopefully as we talk through that would, they'll get some ideas on how they can accelerate growth even further. So that's a good start. Speaker 5 01:30 All right, welcome to the breakout growth podcast guys. Hey, thanks for having me. Hey, thanks for having me. Speaker 3 01:37 It's great to have you guys on. So before we get started into how valuer is growing and digging into all of this, Speaker 5 01:44 the real meat of everything, why don't we start by just having a Taylor, why don't you just give us a brief introduction to what, what valuer is sure. So valuer connects startups with corporations. The whole concept is, is really quite simple. This day and age, there's this bullshit bingo buzzword called digital transformation or corporate innovation. The, the crux of it is really cemented. And uh, John Chambers, he actually just stepped down as the CEO of Cisco, uh, last year. But one of these really interesting quotes kinda reverberates across all of these large fortune 500 companies, which is 40% of fortune 500 companies will become irrelevant in the next 10 years if they don't start working with startups. The idea is that there is an understanding and a need to constantly innovate and continue to uncover either new business models or develop new technologies. And a lot of these large companies don't have the speed in which to go about doing this. So they're starting to look at startups as a mechanism or a collaborator to be able to start building some of these new channels to eventually end up generate revenue generating revenue. So it's this crazy new scene that's come on board, you know, it's the David versus versus Goliath and it's now starting to play in real time. And there's a lot of companies that are diving in Speaker 3 03:06 and, and so you're a bit of a matchmaking service that connects the startups with the, with the corporates. Is that a good way to think of it? Speaker 5 03:14 Absolutely. What you have is a lot of young, hungry startups that are really eager to start working with a lot of these large companies. One for just the resources obviously, but two, it's a major validator, right? If you have a business model that works with a large company that is seen as, Hey, these guys have something here, it's working. So both players gained so much out of these collaborations and it's just the perfect time to really start pairing these two entities together. Speaker 3 03:42 And then do both startups and corporates pay you or do you only charge one side of that? That introduction? Speaker 5 03:49 Yeah, so we're painfully aware that startups are bootstrapped, right? So not a lot of money floating around. So we make sure that the corporates are footing the bill and that's how our business model works. It's a subscription model for these large organizations to kind of foot the bill and get a curated list of delivery of the startups that are fitting what they're looking for, whether it's size, revenue, a particular technology or sector, location, all those different things. Speaker 3 04:14 Great. And then, so Dennis says, as a founder and CEO, when you decided to start the company with, with your partners, what was the problem you guys were actually out trying to solve? Speaker 6 04:26 Yeah, that's a very good question Sean. So it, it, it really comes down to what the Taylor, what, uh, already started describing here in the beginning. And so companies, the large companies out there are really trying to get a foothold with the startups, but they have never really been used to, um, let's say, uh, with a simple term. They've never been used to kind of scouting and finding these startups on their own so they don't have, they don't have a methodology or process in place for that. Right? So those were one of the, that was one, one of the major problems that we would try to, to help, um, large companies solve that we should, we should build a platform that would actually allow them to structurally access a really, uh, curated deal flow on startups that they could use for all of the innovation purposes. And as a Taylor also said, the other part of the problem is essentially that you have come, that you have startup companies out there and most of them, you know, never make it right. So we also wanted to solve that problem by giving many more startups a chance by introducing them to these large companies that are looking for innovation. Speaker 3 05:43 So both, both as potential acquirers and as a, as money from investors on the, on the corporate side or, or, Speaker 6 05:51 or just one of those, there are actually long, there's a long list of activities that both corporations and startups are looking, uh, looking to, to do with each other. So as, as you say, that's a true traditional corporate venture, the, the, the M and a side of things investing into startups. Uh, but there's also the whole thing around piloting and making partnerships and collaborations and building something together, right? So that you can, you can fast forward that Speaker 3 06:21 <inaudible> once you've gotten traction, you, you set out to solve that problem. Initially you built the solution and now that you kind of figure out how that solution fits in with the broader market, how do you describe the mission that you guys are on as a business? Speaker 6 06:35 So the mission that we own as a vision is to become the number one marketplace for in, in between large corporations and startups. And the idea is that we're currently building, um, the, the side of the marketplace that represents the corporate, the corporations. Right. And we will venture into the, the other side of the marketplace that that is, that is with regards to the startups as we progress into time. But the, essentially the mission is to bring these two, um, very synergistic players together in, in a, in a new and much more structured way that will allow them to find the synergies as opposed to not being able to find, uh, you know, all of the, all of the things that they could help each other with. So using, using, basically using a data driven approach and a crowdsource base based approach. And then machine learning on top of that to make those matches. It's, uh, many companies. And many people out there in the market say, well, you're basically, you're basically like Tinder, you know, in business relationships. And I really liked that, that analogy because it is actually true to lots extent, right? Speaker 3 07:47 So that's so very short term hookups between these businesses. Then hopefully, hopefully a few marriages come out of it as well. There you go. Yeah. So I know Taylor, you're, you are, uh, you, you've been a founder in the past. I've been a founder. Um, and then Dennis, you're, you're clearly a founder because you founded this business. Um, obviously you know, so many, so many people have ideas that just don't end up going anywhere. Something is working here. Something's working well. When did you know that you had a formula that was going to work, Dennis and, and uh, that you could be confident that we can really step on the gas and try to scale this? Speaker 6 08:28 Oh, that's a great question. I think, I think we are doing a long list of things that are really, um, that are really playing into the fact that we are scaling, that we are able to scale the company here. But one of the things, one of the concrete things that we did in the beginning was to kind of flip the typical SAS model, um, where in a normal situation and on a normal, uh, even a B2B SAS situation would go out and you would, you would ask, uh, you were trying to implement a freemium model, right? You try to get a lot of users on and then test with those users. And then at some point in time, let's say off the one year you would, you would start asking them to pay for your Speaker 3 09:08 very Silicon Valley model, Speaker 6 09:10 very Silicon Valley model. But we kind of flip that around and said, if we really want to test, if, if there's a market out there, if these companies are really willing to pay for this, and they believe that as a big need for what we come with, then let's go and propose an enterprise grade SAS model to them. And, and, and, you know, measure how they, how they kind of take that, right. And luckily, eh, and eh, to our assumptions, they, they were actually very keen on paying for this platform right from the beginning because they, they, they definitely came to us and said, well, there's no other platform out there that, that does an S the, the approach that you have. And this seems to be, you know, we really require this capacity within our teams. So these companies, they have a lot of money to throw around and they'll spend trillions of dollars going into this. The boss word, a phenomena digital transformation, right. Though it's been a ton of money there. So, so we, we did that really well and we had many customers come on board very early, early on after delivering the first or launching the first, let's call it dirty version of the product. And, uh, yeah, that, that's one of the, that's one of the things that we really felt we nailed. And that's, that's what led us to believe, truly believing that we could scale this. Speaker 3 10:34 That's great. And so how, sort of from a, from that first interaction to, to feeling like you had something, how long did that take? Speaker 6 10:43 So, yeah, if we, if we just go back in time, we started the company in the summer of 2017 we built the MVP over the course of the summer, late summer and came out with the first product in January 18 and basically, you know, one month, one month after there we had two paying customers on the platform. And so essentially after, after seven months of, uh, into the business, we had the first enterprise great businesses running on the platform. Speaker 3 11:15 I mean, one of the reasons I was attracted to you guys is that I did look at a lot of external indicators of, of growth and it really seemed like you were onto something and you've, you've hitten hit a great growth stride, especially, um, for European companies. You guys are based in Denmark. Um, it's, uh, there, there's something that's really good that's going on there. And so I know companies don't always want to share all of the details of what their growth are, but is there anything that you're comfortable sharing that would help the audience gain an understanding of what your, what your growth looks like? Speaker 6 11:46 Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I can give you a couple of examples on, you know, on the enterprise segments. So for instance, um, we have, we have, we have had 30 customers on onboarded on the platform within the first 15 months of operations. And when you get a customer like, uh, you know, a fortune 500 customer on, on, uh, on a, typically as a customer, it takes you a blue chip customer for instance. Right? It takes you normally in between two to five years to get a customer like that. However, we went out and we, we actually secured more than 30, 30 of these blue chip customers on, on the, on the platform, you know, within, within 15 months. So that's wow. Speaker 3 12:34 And then in terms of teams, so that was one of the things that had kind of jumped out at me. It looks like you guys are pushing Speaker 5 12:40 almost, almost a hundred employees at this point. Is that right? Yeah, I mean I can jump in on this one. It's <inaudible>. Speaker 3 12:46 It's one of those things. When I first arrived here, uh, I came in January of last year, no February, Speaker 5 12:52 and I think it was maybe five or six of us. We were on the first floor. We've now moved up to the top two floors and it's a full functioning crazy, a really bizarre at times office because there's so much happening and everybody's buzzing around. Uh, and we growth hacked a lot of this stuff. So one of the unique things about Denmark is that your, uh, you're required in many different universities to take a three month internship in order to graduate. So a lot of the folks that we initially started with were interns. And so the concept was I would have a team anywhere from five to 10, then it turned into 15 to 20. And this was one of the biggest ways that we scaled within at least the marketing side of things. They've done a lot more hiring outside of that. But you know, I do a fair amount of a, let's just call it assistant professional, a professor work. Speaker 5 13:46 So like speaking at, at some of the local universities and I'll do anywhere from an hour to three hours on growth hacking. By the way, it's a lot of the stuff that I learned from the stuff that you put out, so kudos to that. Uh, people will approach me after it and say, how come they're not teaching us this stuff in school? And it's a very seamless conversation to basically bring them in and say, look, if you want to work on some really cool stuff, why don't you come work at valuer, we'll set you up with your own project. I'll make sure that we set kind of milestones, I'll give you your task. And you own that. And of course they screw up things from time to time. But that's part of the learning curve. You have to give people a chance to experiment, try different things. Speaker 5 14:27 But when you have 15 to 20 people that are all doing their own different projects, these things take off like wildfire. And so we've been able to onboard everybody. That's a full time and part-time paid marketer. That's on my marketing team of almost 20 now. Has come in as an intern and it's amazing getting to work with these people. And you know, for those that haven't maybe taken too many, uh, too many years or too many months even to get good at one thing within marketing, you know, your first article, your first video or your first design, whatever the case is, it doesn't look as good as your 10th and doesn't look as good as your hundred. So by the time we get outta here within three months, I mean, they're borderline experts and that's part of the fun, you know, Speaker 3 15:13 that's, that's awesome. And I, and I definitely found that, um, you know, one of the consistent patterns that I see across fast growing, growing companies is that that passionate team who's aligned around a shared mission tends to be, tends to be a, a common factor around a lot of these businesses. But clearly, right? Product, right market is also really important. So, you know, if you, once you identify like in your case that all of these corporate innovation groups and digital transformation groups are so much money going into this and companies are really spinning their wheels, there were the ones who are doing it really well are the startups. And so I think you've, you've identified that fit of a, of a real solution to this problem and connecting these two groups. Um, so I'm, I'm just curious when you kind of look at the, the product market fit side, a team that's passionate about executing a shared mission and all of the different parts, what do you think is, is really the most important factor that's led to the success that you've achieved so far? Speaker 5 16:15 Well, I think there's a couple of things, and Dennis May may differ on this, but we've been lucky enough to find the clients that get it. So there's a lot of players out there. There's, there's tons of overpriced conferences that are all about digital transformation and everybody wants to say they're doing it, you know, and everybody wants to look like, Hey, we're the next best thing. We just hosted a hackathon and we took a picture with a giant check with somebody and the CEO patted him on the shoulder and said, great job, but it doesn't mean anything, right? So people are starting to actually pick up this platform and use it and they're starting to kind of open their eyes up to, Hey, there's real value in these small startups that are doing things that we couldn't have done internally because it's not possible. You know, one of the examples is this company a that they do water pumps and they've been one of our favorite clients for a long time. Speaker 5 17:03 They started getting into the IOT space and trying to figure out how they could detect loss within kind of their supply chain to show if water started here and only half of it ends up here. How do we detect where it went? Instead of trying to iterate on this internally in an R and D department, they were like, why doesn't value or find a really cool startup to help us out? And this is, this is one of those things that it's like an aha moment and they're starting to share it with other companies saying, you guys need to check out what they're doing cause this is our future. And that, that to me is why I go into work, man. They're like, it gets me jazzed up. Yes. Speaker 3 17:39 So it kind of an interesting question. Um, and Dennis, I'll let you jump in there in a second. Sounds like you had a comment but I think tied to that, yeah, I can definitely understand why this is good for the corporates and clearly they have money that can go to the startups. Um, but in, in my experience with startups as well, that like one enterprise client for example, for a startup can become so distracting that it can, it can kind of kill the innovation. So it's sort of like, is innovation contagious or is is stagnation contagious in which, which direction does that flow? And I'm just curious how, how you guys can, uh, can, can help prevent some of that and jump on that one. Speaker 6 18:20 Yeah, I mean I wanted to, I wanted to say before that I, I completely agree with what you just said. Uh, Taylor naturally, um, one of, one of the things that, one of the very big issues in inside of these large corporations and you know, when you look at their ability to do innovation, because you can, you can talk about innovation all that you want, but if you don't incentivize the people on the floor that I actually go in to do the innovation, you will never get any innovation, right? So one of the things that we feel that we have done in terms of product market fit and we've done really well is actually to have the platform engage with the customers. So, so we are not just like, you know, the, the, the likes of Crunchbase or other similar platforms where you go in and then you search for a startup, right? Speaker 6 19:09 Our platform actually includes all of all of the relevant players and stakeholders inside of our customers, um, businesses. So one example is that if you, if you have won a division in a company that is looking at a specific area and you want to find startups in that, in that area to help you out on some stuff, then you can actually, you can actually ask, you know, up to a hundred people inside of your organization to participate in the selection of these startups that could be potentially really relevant in solving this challenge that you're having. Right? So it's not, it's not only a platform, kind of a big database finding startups and that's an, you know, a nice matchmaking algorithm. We actually include like, you know, this is called supervised learning from an machine perspective. We actually use and, and activate the people at these organizations and allow them to supervise the learning basically on our platform. And this is a very, very powerful element. It truly includes and motivates people and they feel that they're part of the whole selection process. Speaker 3 20:20 <inaudible> <inaudible> so that's, that's part of that. Yeah. As you were saying, the product market fit where you've, you've gotten the product to a point where it's, it's, it's addressing hopefully some of the issues I was talking about in terms of, uh, I mean I even, even just simply like the pure procurement side, which you guys as a startup would, would see. I know in one of my past startups, the amount of time that it got it, it took to get into the system, get paid by an enterprise and then afterwards to get paid by that enterprise was, was pretty painful when you've got payroll to make and the rest of the challenges of a startup. Um, so I mean, I guess that's one question for you guys. How, how have you been able to bridge, how have you been able to bridge some of those challenges of, of serving corporates that way? And then do you, is there any of those concerns when you're connecting the startup to the, to the corporate? Speaker 6 21:14 Luckily they are and the corporations are very aware that their typical procurement processes does not fit with working with startups. Right? Because you can't have 120 day payment term on a, on an invoice, right? So they actually working really hard on, on kind of making those procedures much more easy to swallow for a fall startup. So they have to set up it like a separate vehicle to support the inflow of startup solutions and start vendors, uh, at, at their, at that business. And what we have, we have basically when, when we engage with these companies, we have basically talked to them about this very fact, right? That you cannot, you cannot really engage with startups and then, uh, throw these horrendous terms at them because they will be out of business before they can, they receive the payment from you. Right? So we take that up front and we have a good discussion about that and it seems, you know, it seems for us at least, and when you kind of draw out the, draw the trend, draw the picture then, then they understand it, Speaker 3 22:22 right? It's one of those, like every problem is also an opportunity. And I guess the more that you, uh, the more that you solve that problem, the more valuable your platform becomes in, in not only helping to match, make the, the corporates with the startups, but actually helping them to have successful relationships together. Cause because ultimately you can't deliver a successful relationship then it's not going to be sustainable in the longterm. Speaker 6 22:46 Exactly. Just as an example, we had one company ask us, Oh well, you know, make the search definition on our platform that they wanted to find startups with it and you know, that had new procurement applications and new ways of doing procurement. So if they're really trying to look into, into a solutions for this. Speaker 3 23:05 Awesome. And, and Taylor, did you have a comment there? Speaker 5 23:08 Yeah, I think it's an interesting space right now because what you see in terms of acquisitions is a completely different, uh, mechanism than collaborations. The concept of a large fortune 500 company buying out a startup. That transition of leadership often doesn't pan out in the long run. And we're really trying to encourage a lot of these companies to go all in and start working with these folks when it's early stage. I can't tell you how many times you meet corporate VCs that are like, yeah, we're looking to partner with a company that has like 2 million ARR. And it's like, well by that time they don't really need you. You know, you're not taking any risks there. So when they start to see valuers radar and the way that valuer supplements a lot of these early stage and difficult to find startups, there's a little bit of education there, right? Speaker 5 24:01 It's like this is actually really ideal for you. If you get an early and you provide some sweetheart deals and things start actually panning out. I mean you have a hell of a future set out for you, but it's also the educating to say every VC knows that of the hundred investments that they make, you're really banking on one or two. So you have to really put out the feelers and try out a little bit of everything. And that's a culture shift, right? There's a lot of different reeling back moments of well, how come we're not going to see any real revenue from this for the first two years because it's a startup. Come on, you know, play the game. You know? And that's so difficult to ingrain. But with a lot of our clients, I gotta tell you like, some of these people get it and they're like, no, no, we're doing this for the long haul. And that's what you want to look for in an ideal client is somebody that actually gets it, you know? Speaker 3 24:52 Yeah. One of the things I want to kind of jump into a little bit, but that's, that's more on a, on the kind of theme of this podcast is, is I obviously, I, I do think the right solution to the, to the problem and how you, how you're delivering that solution to the, to the customers is, is really like critical to the foundation of sustainable growth. But let's, let's look at some of the other elements. Um, really taking everything from how someone discovers valuer both on the startup side and the corporate side down to how they become really satisfied, happy customers that hopefully spread the word and help to help to bring in some others. So maybe Dennis, you could take us through that, that, that typical path on the, on the corporate side from, from discovery is, is it an outbound sales call or is it through marketing or how are they finding out and then ultimately what, what does the path look like that leads them to being a happy customer? Speaker 6 25:49 Yeah, sure. So overall we've been, I think it's, it's fair to say that we have been really aggressive on, on a, on a number of fronts. And so we have, and Taylor would be able to address that very, very clearly. We've done a lot of, uh, we have put out a ton of content, eh, very short amount of time. And that has allowed us to, you know, to rank really well online on some of the keywords that are really important to us. And I don't have to explain that, but that means that we get, you know, organic like inbound coming onto a website and that leaves us with a lot of nice leads that we can play with there. So that's, that's the long version of saying that we get a lot of uh, get a lot of customer opportunities inbound. But we also have a like an old fashioned cold calling as set up in the office where we do, we do reach out and uh, we're getting quite a lot of meetings set up using that methodology. Speaker 6 26:52 Um, and, and of course there's a, there's a lot of automation that are happening as well. So what a typical path is that a customer signs off on the platform and, and we set a meeting with this eh, potential customer and then basically what happens on that meeting we set up is a, is a demo. So we demo the platform, we explain what it is that we have built, the methodology behind it, why it's important and you know, the value that they, the value that they essentially getting out of value. And, and that that is, that is very different from the path of startups, right? Because as I think I said early on in the podcast that we have started building the corporate side of the platform, right? It's not, it's not normal to build a two sided marketplace and then, you know, go, go for both sides in the first place, right? Speaker 6 27:45 You start with one of the sides and we started out with the corporate corporate side, right? So now, right now the startups come on onto the platform and we see more and more startups that organically come in that, that, you know, come in and sign up without us really advertising for it that much. Um, and they, you know, they sign up for the platform, but right now they basically sign up to take, you know, to participate in the platform. It's not that they log in and then they have a user there and then they can go around and they can look at stuff. It's basically they, they, they're basically participating at this point in time in the lottery. Right. Our mission is to expand into the, to the startup side of the marketplace and then start developing, developing that side of it. Speaker 3 28:33 But the, but the idea is by, by starting with the, the money side that once you, once you have the corporates with money and it'll be way easier to attract the startups. Is that the, the the general thinking there? Speaker 6 28:43 Yeah, exactly. Because we are, we are a curated platform so we do not just eh, you know, throw random startups at, at, at random corporations out there. So co corporations come in, they clearly define what they are looking for and the more definitions and the more search requirement that we have, essentially what you say, the more customers we have, the more relevant it will be for startups. So you are completely right on that. Speaker 3 29:10 And then so, but in the meantime, before you have a ton of startups on the system, a lot of that information is somewhat public and if you have a good system for processing that information and when a corporate needs a particular type of startup, then you're able to, you're able to kind of, without even necessarily the startup signing up for it, you're probably able to provide some level of matchmaking, especially if you reach out to the startup and say, I have a corporation that may be interested in working with you. Do you do much of that? Or, or how does, how does that part work? Speaker 6 29:38 You know, every time we get a new customer on, every time there's a new source definition on the platform, eh, certs mission on the platform, you can call it. Then we, we actually do a new search from scratch, meaning that we, we, you know, pretty much mine all publicly available data areas on the internet and get new information on startups that could be relevant to that, to that the corporation, right. As well as, as an, as an, as a big agent network that we are, that we have built. That is a crowdsourced approach that we have that find startups from fresh more or less from that point in time. So we do a lot of outbound in the sense of finding startups. So we don't at this point in time require that they come to us before we can show them to our corporate clients, if that makes sense. Speaker 3 30:24 Yup. No, that makes sense. And then Taylor, did you have a comment there? Speaker 5 30:28 Yeah, I mean there's so many different channels in which we're, we're constantly pumping out different processes. So in terms of driving people to the platform, as Dennis mentioned, content is really worked out for us. The idea is that it isn't as crowded of a niche as you would expect, but it's also a not a, it's not a very well defined niche. You know, this, this murky term of corporate innovation isn't immediately searched for. So the concept is you have to discover people before that spark moment clicks for them of, Oh yeah, we've got to start working with startups. So you have to figure out kind of what ways they're looking around to see, Hey, we got to do something with our company. Otherwise, in five years we're going to be scratching our heads wishing we had done something five years ago. So it's pushing out a ton of content. We're doing a lot of listicles on the website itself. I've been laser focused on CRO. I'm started doing frictionless forms, which is a ton of fun. So the idea is every single form field after the first two people start dropping off. So we get their email address. If it's the corporate email address using clear bits API, it peels out first name, last name, company name, number of the people at the company, all this information. Speaker 3 31:41 I went through the the flow and saw that it, it prefilled. A lot of information. Yeah, Speaker 5 31:44 yeah, yeah. I mean it's just one of those fun things like I, I've always wanted a project where I could actually implement that. And this has been the perfect environment. And then you have lead funnels and there's, there's so many great tools now out there in terms of like locating somebody's IP address and then guessing what company they're with. And there's a bunch of different like really cool hacks that allow you to basically reach out to those people and say, Hey, I noted that a you stopped by our website. This is actually normally for actually tracking our own customers. But, uh, your name came up. That's really weird. Um, were you stopping by our website for something in particular? And people actually get into a conversation after that and it's like, man, this works. So, you know, it's all these fun little processes that spring up. You try it out and if it works, it's like, okay, we're going to keep doing this. You know? Speaker 3 32:32 That's cool. And especially with the bigger companies, you, you tend to be able to have some, something you can glean from, from IP and DNS information of, of uh, who that company is. If you are targeting the startups that way, they're more likely to be in a shared office space or something where it's harder to know who the heck you're who the X on the website. A little more challenging on that end. Yeah. Yeah. So if I, if I understand right then a lot of these companies, um, are, they've got teams that are, are focused on digital transformation and, and uh, just the innovation groups within these businesses, but they aren't necessarily thinking that startups are a key part of achieving what their objectives are. So that's part of what you're doing on the content side is, is helping to create that awareness that they have their goals, but the, the means for those goals may be more startup oriented and you're helping to create the demand for, uh, them to recognize that that startups could be a good, good part of their solution. Is that a good way to characterize it? Speaker 5 33:31 Yeah, I mean that's, that's the concept. It's, me and Dennis were talking earlier about this actually, there is no defined field for what we do. You know, if, if I was buying a chocolate bar, I would go, Oh yeah, I know what this is. Or if I was, you know, an email service, I would know what that is. It's very difficult to define, you know, innovation management and have, it means something very critical to people. And also understand this is supposed to save you in the next few years, pay attention. You know, it's a very different way of first educating and then slowly leading these people into what is an opportunity that can change the outcomes for essentially entire companies and startups. You know, you're delivering dreams to startups that never had a chance to really scale. So it's sitting in between the two. And that's, that's a wild situation that not a lot of people get exposed to. Speaker 3 34:24 So, uh, Dennis was going through and saying somebody signs up, they get the meeting where they were, they go through the den demo and learn the methodology. So what's the next step from there? Do they, they generally do a pilot or what's, what's, what's the next step to where they actually end up purchasing the solution? Speaker 6 34:44 So, yeah, so, so after the demo we talked to them about the process and the way that we deliver the startup content to them, uh, via the platform. And we have set the platform up so it kind of mimics the way that a corporate and corporate department would normally operate in. So you have set up, we have set up the platform doing a quarterly searches. So you start out at the beginning of the quarter and then you get the results at the end of the quarter and then you can start a new search. And then you know, that it's kind of an ongoing process that we invite corporations and essentially our customers to participate in. Right. And we always paint the picture and which is a very <inaudible>, which is very true that that this is not something, you know, looking for startups and trying to get very structured around getting access to startups and working with them. Speaker 6 35:37 Right. It's not something that you just do, you know, in the month of January next year and then you don't do it anymore or you wait two years. Right. It's, you don't have the luxury anymore. Right. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that they, they sign up on the platform on a, on a, on a 12 month subscription, and this, this subscription is automatically renewing. And the idea is that, you know, they'll keep searches running on the platform because there's always new stuff to learn. There's always new technologies and business models coming about that they need to attend to. Right? Yep. Speaker 3 36:13 So, so the goal of that initial meeting is, is to actually sell the subscription and, and is it, does it usually happen after just one meeting or is there a number of stakeholders and it's, and it's a sales process that, that is, is fairly drawn out. I mean, it clearly, you said you've, you've closed a lot of companies in a much shorter time than you would normally have for enterprises. So I'm just curious. I got through that first meeting. If, if, if, if the goal is to get them to an order right out of that meeting, Speaker 6 36:40 it is clearly the goal, but, but, uh, but I have to be honest and say it's also very different from company to company. It's all about their culture and how they normally buy things. Right? So we have, we have examples of companies that, you know, we had the PO and for one year, uh, after, after less than five days after having spoken to them the first time. And we will also have other examples where to two in between two and three months. Right. So it is, it is still a very fast sales cycle compared to compared to the segment that we are in. How, however it is, it is, it is different and it depends, as we talked about before, it depends on the mindset that this, uh, this corporation is currently in. So if they have a very clear mindset around, we have to work with status, we need to get this process up and running, you know, then the sales process is fast. If they need a little bit of convincing and they have more stakeholders and, and, and people to educate internally, it will take longer time. So <inaudible>. Speaker 3 37:40 So one of the things I noticed when I was going through the signup process is that, uh, I mean it definitely feels like everything's leading into that, to that form to get someone, so it's very lead gen optimize, which makes sense so that you, when someone talks to a sales rep, they're going to understand it much better. They're going to get that demo. Um, but I'm just curious how the decision was made that once they've completed that form, it sort of feels like that journey has ended on telesales rep reaches out. Have you, did you do a lot of experimentation around that or is there a, is there something else that you could do to educate them on the platform in between filling out the form and talking to a sales rep? Speaker 5 38:20 I can jump on this. I think, you know, the idea of sending out, um, there's, there's two different ways to look at it, right? One is of course we want to contact the, uh, when it's a corporate that signs up, we want to contact them right away. Um, putting them kind of a drip campaign has had, uh, varying degrees of success. But of course the direct outreach is where it's really at and getting these people on the phone in terms of scaling that, you know, we don't have a a thousand signups a day, you know, when it's a large player, we're looking at a handful here and there throughout the week. And so the idea is that it's really easy for us to do the human touch and the human element without needing to build out a marketing funnels. As much as I would love to do that, we really want to get us either in front of them on the phone or having a meeting as soon as they've hit, you know, like send me information or confirm you know, their details. So it hasn't been as much of an automated, uh, type of approach for that reason. And you know, as somebody that kind of loves to tinker with that stuff, it's a little frustrating to hold back. But the concept is these are the big fish that you have to pounce on right away because maybe it was just one of those things where, you know, they had two extra strong cups of coffee and clicked into something and they're never coming back. So get them on the phone as soon as possible. It's one of those deals. Speaker 3 39:45 Yeah, and I, and I totally get that and I, and I, it feels like you want to get them on the phone, but to me it was, it was more about you've got this big call to action when they come to the homepage to get them into that funnel. They get in the funnel and they complete that. So you have someone's attention, engagement and context right at that moment. And then they hit a page that says, we'll be in touch. And so for me, like as I, as I dug through the site, I saw for example that you had case studies that you've got a lot of other things that could potentially help them understand the solution while you have their attention while you have some momentum. I was just curious if you've done much testing that sort of says, Oh, we're better off kind of hit that having them hit that finish line and wait for the call. Or if a, if, I mean the business is still relatively new and, and you know, it might be more about where we're focused top of funnel right now I'm more about kind of learning that process of driving improvement. Speaker 5 40:40 Yeah, we played with the idea of having them into a sandbox immediately. But the problem is there is this element of education and if you just say, Hey, here's an ebook, you read it, I don't think it's going to be as powerful as let's get this guy or girl on the phone. Uh, and okay. Speaker 3 40:56 Absolutely. Yeah. I'm, I'm, I'm totally with you though on that goal. It's just, I assume it's not, it's not all like a one minute turnaround for that phone call or maybe it is Speaker 5 41:05 on better days that Dennis, you could speak to that, but these Slack alerts come through and people start dancing around the office, like get on the phone. So it does happen that quick. Speaker 3 41:16 Awesome. Well that's great. And I've definitely seen studies on, you know, time to call from a lead. Like the, the longer you wait, the less likely you're going to close that lead. So if you could do it in minutes that I think it probably has, it was pretty high impact. Speaker 5 41:31 Yeah. But the Slack integration helps that. So the idea is that we have a specific channel just for that. So the alert is seen throughout the entire office immediately as soon as it converts. But I do agree with you that there's a lot more room for testing to see if there's something more that can be given after they kind of finish up before that phone call takes place. If they're really eager to, to kind of jump in. There's always room for testing and it's just something that I haven't been incredibly laser focused on in the immediate, but it is handled by sales pretty well for the time being. Speaker 3 42:04 Is that basically, I mean, and, and part of it might just be a lot of marketing teams are, are really focused on their, their key metric is, is lead gen. and once, once I've generated the lead, it's, it's time to go back and generate some more leads. And that's clearly like a very important motion in the business. And, and all of the pressure is, Hey, sales team meets needs more leads. I've, I've definitely been been there as well. Um, so for, for me it's really, uh, I w what I have found is that a lot of the best organizations and particularly in consumer businesses, so that's, that's part of the, the question here is does it apply in a, in more of a B2B enterprise type space. But the, the more that you have that really good integration cross-functionally between teams who are holistically looking at what is that path to delivering value to customers? Speaker 3 42:54 How do we, how do we keep everyone aligned and pulling in the same direction and, and, and continue to drive improvement through experimentation, across kind of all parts of that customer journey. Um, I think conceptually that works in all types of businesses, but, um, I think it really starts with, with even, uh, in trying to drive that improvement one, having a, having a belief that everything you're doing, there's a better way to do it. And then to having a common metric across the team that everyone is working together to drive. So I, I, that's a, you know, in, in growth circles we call that a North star metric that, so Taylor, do you feel like you guys have a North star metric that you're, uh, cross-functionally trying to drive? Speaker 5 43:38 Yeah. You know, so I think there's, there's always going to be more than one, right? You know, like in the immediate, of course it's, it's just the sheer amount of, of validated or, uh, you know, decent leads, right? So that, that, of course is one, but the other is converting those leads into paying customers. That that to me is the most important thing. And it requires giving people a nice experience from the standpoint of the onboarding and making sure that they do feel warm and fuzzy from some of the more human, human, holistic, humanistic types of things. So sending a thank you card in the mail as opposed to just an email like, Hey, got your check, thanks for the money. Um, we'll be in touch. You know, there's, there's little things that you can do. And I've found myself, uh, more ingrained with the folks over in sales, uh, just in the couple of months just because there's so much more going on in terms of some of the outbound stuff that we do. Speaker 5 44:37 And I'm finding that sometimes you really do have to kind of knock down doors in order to get in front of the right people. And when there's so many tools available, it's kind of plugging in one and taking the other and then swapping them out for this. And so there's a lot of fun things. And that again gets at the heart of this whole growth hacking approach that I absolutely love, which is finding new angles, new approaches. So it's a mixture of everything. And I do think, of course there's always more room for uh, inter exchanges of different departments, but we're also really focused on executing. And if I don't deliver enough opportunities, enough leads, then everybody suffers. So we all have to hold up our first surgery. Speaker 3 45:19 You're for sure. Yeah, I mean and, and I think like lead gen is going to be a huge part of that overall growth engine. But I think one of the things that I think is that I've really picked up just in the last five or 10 years that is more powerful than I probably ever recognize before, is having something that is a real value metric in terms of, you know, that's aligns with mission. So for you guys, something like weekly matches or monthly matches knowing that, yeah, knowing that every match that we make, we create value in the platform that is going to unlock referrals, for example. And so that's going to help to feed top of funnel as well. Like when you're really killing it for, uh, a corporate innovation group, they're going to probably connect with others and kind of help, help spread the word. So I mean it sounds like, yeah, Dan, Dennis, is that something that you've, you've thought is there like a key value metric that you can kind of communicate across the company? Speaker 6 46:12 So if you look at the number one and metric that we, uh, that we're working, uh, you know, everyone is working on is it's basically all ability to as show an edge, as much relevance, uh, to, to our customers as possible, right. As, as provide them with really truly relevant startups that could potentially, you know, drive them into the next businesses and you know, important problems that they need to solve for their customers. So every, so as I said before, as we work in this quarterly fashion, right, every quarter that's a, that's a, that's a result deliver to the customer on the platform. Basically they go through that and we want them to be able to go through that and then say after, Oh my God, this is, you know, it's, it's gotta be jaw-dropping, right? So we are working, the, the whole company is working extremely hard at, you know, building, making sure that our, that our product is actually producing, um, these matches that are, that are really relevant for the corporations, but also of course for the startups, right? Speaker 6 47:18 So that they, that they really have a chance of going together and making, making something happen together. Right? So that's, that's going back again to why did we, what was the problem behind, you know, what, what is it that we essentially are trying to solve with many? Right? And that is to find those synergies and a match equals the synergy, right? So, so that is, that is you kind of saturates everything that we do. And if we're not able to do that, it would essentially mean that customers would kind of look at the platform and say, maybe it's not that relevant after. All. Right? So we can't have that kind of a situation occur. So luckily our customers come back to us and say, you know, they have that jaw dropping moment when, when they get the results, right? And then the platform, because it is a machine learning based pet form, right? It learns on the basis of the findings that it has. It has done with the customer, right? So if you find something that is dropped jaw dropping in CR in Q1, then just wait and see what you find in Q2. It's going to be, you know, crazy. Speaker 3 48:20 And that's, and that's where I find that if, if you take some of the mission things you were talking about Dennis up upfront and you, and you have that metric that ties to that mission. So something about matches over a period of time and, and you can really feel the progress. I mean, I w just in every time, uh, Taylor, you, you talk, I can, I can feel how much passion you have for the mission and the business. And so, you know, it's one of those things that I find if, if you have a team that is really aligned around that mission, they're going to have so much more sustainable energy and driving that mission forward. And the, and the challenge, especially in an enterprise targeted business is if it can become so siloed so that it's really about moving that, that metric of just leads and it, and that really starts to depersonalize it. Speaker 3 49:08 So I think like being able for everyone to spend the time and then their core competency and core responsibility to drive the metric that matters for their group, but also to be able to zoom out and, and be able to tie that into the context of the big picture and how we're making progress on that mission just helps everyone work together better. And, uh, and, and hopefully starts to say, you know, how can we, how can we deliver on that mission? Even when we have customers in the top of funnel, how can we, how can we continue to, to deliver on that mission? And so what's kinda cool is like I see that in some of the content you've created where being able to have that, that list of the top sass companies across the fabric, SAS, startups, fast growing SAS startups across Europe, um, you know, you're, even if you don't monetize that connection, you're still making that connection when you publish that list and get that out to the corporates. Speaker 3 50:04 And then obviously trying to try to move them more into your platform to, to conduct those transactions is even better. Um, but, uh, are you sure you don't want to come work for us? I, uh, I want to go work for everybody. That's my problem. But, uh, but no, it's super exciting because I, I mean, interestingly enough, for me personally, so much of the work I'm doing these days is with, with the same groups that you're targeting on both the startup side and the corporate innovation and digital transformation. Everyone's, everyone's trying to learn how, how Facebook grew so fast and how Airbnb and Uber and all of these different marketplaces have grown so fast. And a lot of that is what we cover in, in hacking growth as a book. And it's, it's been pretty interesting to see how it's, how it's resonated kind of on, on both sides. Speaker 3 50:52 And I love what you guys are doing to, to bring these groups together and um, and just congrats on all of the, the progress to date and it's, uh, and, and obviously there's always so much more room for improvement across, across every part of that, that engine of growth, of, of driving more and more with those matches over time. Um, so I guess before we wrap up, is there anything, uh, anything that you guys are, feel like you understand about growth today that maybe a year ago or two years ago you, you didn't understand as much and just, I think that'd be helpful for the audience to kind of share that, that learning journey a little bit in what you've learned for driving growth in your business? Speaker 5 51:32 Sure. I can give, uh, my two sensei. I think what I've learned the most in terms of just within my team, uh, is, is more of the leadership and kind of the soft skills that allow for some of the more technical skills to blossom. I think sometimes a lot of people are just looking for an opportunity to learn something new or to get that foot in the door in that chance. Um, and I, I've certainly kind of been that guy for a really long time. I, I've, I want to be the boss that I never had. I've, I've worked for a lot of bad bosses and you know, it's been really amazing. Uh, thanks to Dennis and the rest of the founders to get an atmosphere where they basically have flipped me the keys to the car and they're like, drive, you know, and uh, and I get to do that on a smaller scale with my team and it's like, look, let's, let's give this a shot. This could be fun. You know, here's, here's how we do it. Go for it. And I think it's perpetuated across other departments as well. And it, it just makes for so much more fun to go to work and it's a different atmosphere. Speaker 3 52:36 That's, that's great. And then what, what about you Dennis? Is there anything that you feel like you understand about how the business grows today that you didn't realize in the early days and maybe wish you knew earlier? Speaker 6 52:46 Absolutely. I mean if you, if we talk about the concept of growth hacking, I mean I had no clue about growth hacking, you know, going back two years when, when we started the <inaudible> I, I, I knew it as a term, right? But I had no real understanding of it. I hadn't been, you know, working with people kind of implementing that methodology or going, going to business with that kind of attitude. And so to, to your question, I would really have wished for, for that kind of experience, that kind of knowledge about growth hacking. And when I did my, my previous data and I really Speaker 3 53:26 think that they could, they could have had a tremendous impact on that one. It was very successful, but I think it could, it could have been even more successful. That's for sure. Yeah. Oh, that's a no, I don't think anyone ever gets the execution absolutely perfect on anything. It's a, it's, which is what's exciting about it cause there's always a better way to do absolutely everything. If you've got the right measurement systems in place and the right process and you tie it all back to, to a mission that the team's excited about, then then, um, you can really make the magic. But, um, I think regardless, regardless of imperfection in, in, in what you guys are doing up to this point, because again, nobody's perfect. Um, I'm super impressed with what you've achieved so far and, uh, excited to watch and see, see what happens from here. So congrats guys on everything and thanks for sharing your journey with the listeners of the breakout growth podcast. Thanks a lot, Sean. Big fan. Thanks a lot. You want to really appreciate it. Speaker 1 54:22 <inaudible> Speaker 2 54:27 thanks for listening to the freakout 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.

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