In this episode, I talk with Matt Franklin, founder of Payaca, a new job management platform for service providers. We discuss innovating within a company and using that experience to launch a startup as well as why the customers you start serving may not be the customers you are now trying to attract.
Hi. My name is Matthew Todd, and welcome to Inside the Scale Up. This is the podcast for founders, executives in tech, looking to make an impact and learn from their peers within the tech business, we lift the lid on tech businesses, interview leaders and following their journey from startup to scale up and beyond covering everything from developing product market fit, funding and fundraising models to value proposition structure and growth marketing.
We learn from their journey so that you can understand how they really work, the failures, the success the lessons along the way, so that you can take their learnings and apply them within your own startup or scale up and join the ever growing list of high growth UK SAS businesses. Hey, and welcome back to the podcast today. I’m here with Matt Franklin. As always, Matt, as with the other guests that we have on our let you introduce yourself, introduce your company and let our audience know exactly what it is that that you’re up to.
Cool. Thanks, Matt. So yeah, I’m Matt Franklin, CEO and founder of Payaca. So we help service businesses to run their business in the simplest way possible. So they can do everything from sending engaging interactive quotes for work they’re going to do so typically, these are in the trade industries.
So think heating engineers, electricians, roofers, landscape gardeners, these quotes can have images, multiple choice option and as optional extras, which help them a cut out the back and forth between them and a customer, but make it easy to basically upsell their products and services so they can get more revenue for every quote they send. And then we make that process of delivering the service super simple.
So we’ve got web and mobile apps, mobile apps for field based teams to get allocated work will keep track of what tasks they need to do. We have like automated forms and certificates for certain industries, you can build automations, it’s almost like an internal Zapier function, sending communications managing multiple pipelines for so you might be doing installations might look different to services, and you might need to go through separate steps. So bringing that kind of very, like Kanban approach to service industries that are typically massively understaffed in terms of great technology.
And we go all the way through to our integration with accounting software. So it is like really, end to end really helps businesses to sell more of their products and services, grow their business model their team. And yeah, we’re just getting started really
Awesome. No, great to. Great to hear that we’ll we’ll kind of dig into more of the detail about exactly. You know how you’ve arrived at at that point. But it’s good to kind of hear a little bit about your background before starting piarco Unicorn and what your experience looks like. And what were some of the motivations for for getting this off the ground?
Yeah, no problem. So I started, started my career studying statistics went into a few different analytical roles. I was at ovo energy, who now ovo group and there’s a number of businesses under that. I joined them as an analyst and then moved into product management there. So they kind of went through a bit of a tech transformation, hiring lots and lots of developers trying to structure their teams in a, I guess, very agile way. I worked on like various like data engineering products at first. And then they over acquired a business called Kogi home plan. So this is like home emergency insurance cover large network of heating engineers. And under the brand coffee home here, they wanted to launch her like direct to consumer heating, installation business.
So instead of a typical flow, where you get someone out to do a survey and your property, and then they send you a quote, To install a new boiler, for example, you could go to an online flow, really simple, like click the options that you have, and then it spits out a fixed price quote at the end, like next day installation, multiple payment methods. Really easy to go through that sales experience. I was given the opportunity to like create that business from scratch within oboe. So initially, it was just me and one software engineer, kind of building it launching it, which was a great experience for really what I wanted to do next, which was to do my blog, try something for myself.
The things that we learned from that was that we could like deliver that amazing like sales experience with good tech, good UX, but actually then control In the customer experience, when it came to delivery of that service, it was extremely difficult. We have a network, but how Yeah, how do you control that, and say that customers will come into us great sales experience, awesome.
That’s why they bought from us. But maybe we weren’t always able to allocate the work to the, like best suited engineer in the field. So the idea then, sort of triggered from that was, well, actually, there’s, there’s amazing businesses out there. Small independent businesses that are growing that understand their own, like sort of marketing strategies, they’re not necessarily going to a big company, to give them leads, they’re running their own business. But what they’re, they don’t have the capability to do is to serve technology to consumers allow them to buy in the way that they want to buy.
So they’re buying products on Amazon, like it’s, it’s very engaging, very simple. But when it comes to services, like the bar was so low, and that’s because the people aren’t building great software for the service industries. In general, it’s very early that the adoption is way behind many other industries. So it felt that it was an opportunity to bring that technology, that customer experience, the automation, the process that helped those small businesses who, when it came to actually delivering the service, were top notch, to kind of really update what they could do and give them the capability to stand out in front of their competitors. And so that was kind of where the secret Packer started. And so I left, left that, that role and started working on start working on Packer.
Now, that’s, that’s great, you kind of identified that gap, kind of by listening to those customers, you know, seeing that the delivery experience didn’t match that initial sales experience that they went through, and as you say, kind of people are used to buying in, you know, tech enabled ways now.
So I guess that sounds like you’re in a very good position to kind of have some experience of building a business from within a bigger business, as well as you know, getting some customer research as part of that and seeing the the problems and opportunities. But I guess what gave you the confidence to kind of go out and then you know, focus on actually trying to build that what was the kind of the validation? Was there more validation that you needed to do? Or was it pretty obvious to you that this was going to be a business that you could get off the ground?
That’s an interesting question. I think. I think the way I approach a lot of things is like cargo Hawk, and I’m just gonna, I’m just gonna disagree. I was very much of the opinion that I couldn’t do this any other way than just throwing myself into 100%? And, you know, like, how hard can it be? Yeah, obviously, very hard.
But I think it’s something that I just, I want the I knew I wanted to be doing this kind of thing. I wanted to be building something, I wanted to be building value and being able to, like, create my own team from scratch, and really build that culture that allowed us to, like deliver things rapidly.
And by the only way it was going to do that was to leave her employed role and just just get started. I think, yeah, just a high level of self confidence. Really? Yeah. You know, it’s just and also really like, what was the what was the downside risk? In reality, are usually it’s really just the opportunity cost. It’s like the salary I could earn. You know, it felt like if I was going to take a risk ANYTIME I LIKE THE The sooner the better. Really?
Yeah, I think that’s a an interesting perspective. I think it’s a good perspective. And yeah, if you are in a position to throw yourself in, into it, then especially with experience, like you had it sounds like, as you say, that was the ideal timing, that if you were going to do it, that was the right time to do that.
Yeah, and I think, yeah, I think it just gets harder as you as you as you get older, and you take on roles with higher salaries. And you know, just I knew it was never gonna get any easier to do it. And, you know, this is what I’ve always wanted to do. I’m like, so happy that I’ve started doing this. And yeah, we’ve not proven like big success yet. But so it doesn’t matter. It’s the journey that that we’re on is the bit that I love. Working with a small team like solving problems building solutions for customers. is getting that feedback iterating quickly. But to be honest like that, that is all that I want to do. So, regardless of the outcome, and obviously we’re going for a big outcome, but it sort of doesn’t matter, because this is what I want to do. And I just do it again.
Yeah, I think that’s a great perspective, I think you have to love the journey, as much as that outcome or whatever that destination you think looks like, because that will change.
Over time, you know, you will adjust expectations as you learn. And I think people getting into this, you know, launching a startup launching a SaaS business, you know, maybe influenced by a lot of kind of us sentry media that makes it sound like very simple, oh, you’re gonna get around investment and you get a bigger round of investment.
And look, you’re kind of worth multi millions of pounds or dollars. Now, right? You know, it’s, I don’t think you can start, you’re thinking that it’s a measure of success, I think you’ve got to love the journey really connect to those problems that you’re trying to solve?
For sure. And countless examples is that kind of gold medal syndrome, like when you when you get there, these kinds of Olympic athletes, you get get there, and suddenly they fall into depression, because they’re like, oh, you know what, now? This is what I thought I was aiming for. And now I’m here and now what, what’s, what’s my next goal? And you know, that happens time and time again. So I feel like very aware that that is not a trap to fall into. It’s kind of like in the moment right now is, is peak really? And then then then everything else is a bonus.
Yeah, absolutely. So yeah, I guess then from launching, you know, making that decision to commit to this. You know, what did those initial steps look like? Were you doing a lot of research, were trying to build a prototype, you know, how did you go about, you know, trying to prove that this was something that you could progress and iterate on?
Yeah, is an interesting one is definitely something that took longer. For a few reasons. One of which, like part of that core sales experience, I felt that there was a big opportunity to bring payment methods. So one in particular being like for a large investment in home improvement work. Spreading the cost was a big advantage.
So if you could enable their small businesses to present financing options to their customers, then that’s a big benefit that they had cut out the need for them to go through the regulatory hoops and get FCA authorised themselves, but the customers could then customers could still get the benefit.
And that was like a core part of the proposition at the start is absolutely not now we’ve dropped it completely through the learnings that we’ve that we’ve gained, but because of that being a core part of the proposition, we needed to get FCA authorization.
So it, you know, I was very much I had a lot of experience in like building things very lean way and iterating quickly, but like, within the regulated space, you couldn’t do things that you weren’t regulated to do. So it took a lot, there was a lot of time preparing the application with the FCA, a lot of people experienced advisors said we can do it in the way that that we wanted the opinion that they were wrong, and went to the FCA and it took months because that processes are quite painful.
But we did get approval in the end and that really came down to knowing the reading, reading the guidance inside out. And being able to present a case for actually what we want to do is in the best interest of the customer, everyone’s protected you know, all of that stuff.
So that took a lot of time at the same time. I was trying to do as much research as I could into like how our target businesses would would you know respond to the proposition without obviously being able to sell it. So I spent a bit of time just going into plumbers merchants, builders, merchants and just saying Do you mind if I just hang out in here for a bit set up a stand? I had a little like roll about nothing. Just just kind of talk some people and it’s like it’s like doing any kind of like sales. Cold Calling everyone like is super scared of is it’s it’s fine like most most people like Yeah, sure. Just yeah, it’s fine. Like set up chat to people do you know it was fine.
And it’s not something that naturally was like, you know, I’m not really an extrovert But I knew that we had to lie, I had to go through that, to learn a lot. So that was an extremely valuable experience to go through that. And at the same time, I also spent, I just found people that are just cold, called potential customers talk to them about the proposition. And yeah, nine out of 10 people superlight. And a lot of people will just give you the time.
So I’d highly recommend just just doing it, because that’s something a lot of people just don’t want to do. And that cut out and it was something that really enabled me and therefore like now the team to just get a really deep understanding of our target customers needs. And it’s put us in a position where I believe that in an industry where you don’t typically get a good match of ability to build great software, good UX, and deep understanding of the customer needs is something that I think gives us like such a massive edge.
So yeah, and we so we built a simple web app to start off with just a quoting and invoicing before we can do the financing side, which is kind of like we have those features now. Not the financing. And, yeah, just got testing, really, the initial proposition was, we can offer a free service where we’re essentially taking origination fees for the for loans.
As Dr. So it totally changed now, it’s very much like a SaaS product, and targeting probably like slightly, slightly larger businesses than we were targeting at the start. Okay, I think that’s actually one of the hardest things is because we’ve worked in a very iterative way, you start off, you got a very restrictive feature set. And therefore you can only target very small customers, if you’re going to work in that way of just like releasing releasing iterating, like rapidly, which is great in a lot of ways. The thing that is not grayed out necessarily is you’re then if you’re moving up the chain, suddenly at one point you’re targeting one set of customers at a later point in time, who you’re targeting is no longer that set of customers you were targeting before it’s like a completely different subset. Really. So you bet. That’s, that’s quite a tough one.
Yeah, no, I can imagine in for that initial research, then when you were kind of hanging out in those, those builders, merchants, and I think it’s a great piece of advice really is Yeah, call your target customers, as you said you did, but also look for places where they already, you know, go to hangout attend as a, a great way to meet them, you know, preferably face to face, if you can, but what were you kind of looking for from that research perspective? Was it confirmation that the financing idea, especially in the cost was something that they would, you know, at least be interested in? Or was it kind of deeper level research finding out about other problems that they had that you might better build some tech around?
I think the both of those things, it was validating that idea, which, in terms of interest, was definitely validated. Where it completely falls down is like delivery of that. That experience, we were working with partners who couldn’t necessarily deliver like great tech, great UX, you were handing that off, we’re also attracting people who thought that this was a silver bullet that was going to deliver them more leads to their business.
So instead of it being like a payment method that customers already decided to work with, you just makes it easier, which it wasn’t meant to be. It was like, Oh, if I offer this then or if, you know, if I have this option in my business, then it is gonna bring all these new customers to me. And yeah, I quickly found out that even people that leave and people who did bring more leads than it wasn’t necessarily the leads that we’re going to be most valuable to their business. So like fell down for multiple reasons.
But I think, you know, maybe that triggers the conversation, but then it is really it’s just a case of like, asking, just asking why asking more questions. And you really get an understanding of the underlying problems that I have. A lot of times, and this is something that I’ve kind of was able to have more background in from I guess, working in a product management role is so often people tell you solutions, so you ask them, whatever question it is, and I’ll tell you all the if I had that, so if you do this, yeah, I want that.
And if you actually did that, like a lot of times it’s terrible, terrible solution. But what it allows you to do do is to really, really get deep into like, what is the underlying problem you’re trying to solve in this silly solution you’re suggesting, and then get away and like develop a better solution or solution to the underlying problem they have. They couldn’t ever have told you what that was.
So how do you then kind of bridge that gap in that research between what they’re telling you they think they want versus what those underlying needs are?
I think it’s just asking questions. It’s, it’s funny, like, I talked to the kind of sales and success team and trying to trying to almost like, teach the questions that you should ask is actually really hard. Yeah, I find that I naturally, do it, I think because I’m constantly thinking about how you solve problems in a technical way, and almost ignoring solutions that are telling me but just constantly thinking, okay, what are they trying to do? What are they trying to sort of why are they doing it that way? I’m just I naturally am asking those questions, I try to teach someone else how to do it. I’ve not found a really effective way, the only way that I have to do it is to just ask the same question. So if someone gets off the phone with a customer, and they’re telling me something, I’m asking them the question. So I see need to ask this, you need to ask that.
You use them as a proxy for the customer to help them actually and ask those questions to the customer the next time.
Yeah, exactly. So. So just trying to explain why like, you need to ask this type of question. Because if you don’t understand why they’re doing it that way, you don’t understand why they’re suggesting this solution. Yeah, you’re just constantly thinking about the problem. They’re just they’re just constantly almost like filtering out the noise of like, solution. Just getting it what is it you’re actually trying to do here? Yeah, it’s just such a valuable, valuable skill to have.
Yeah, absolutely. And, yeah, I certainly, you know, tell the SaaS businesses that, that I work with, we work with that, that research is all about the problem. And too many, you know, founders can be too solution obsessed. And yes, you should love your solution. But that, you know, it’s almost like they’ll have some conversations and say they’re doing customer research, but really, they’re just looking for a minimum bar of confirmation of their solution to pass.
And then there’ll be a little bit scared about doing any more research, in case the next people they talk to say something different. But I think your perspective is much, much better you where you’ve got to be willing to change the solution, or even let go the solution. And actually the problem is the most important thing.
Yeah. And I mean, to be fair, like I made the same mistake, really, because really like that we do, or I clung on to that like finance thing is a great solution. That did it. So the underlying problem if people were actually coming to it with the problem of generating leads, and like, yeah, maybe maybe there was a way that could have identified that earlier. Rather than going through all that effort of getting upset, authorized.
And building it. I mean, that there was a, there were some big benefits to it, in terms of it. Like, I was always very capital constrained. And it did enable it because it was big interest in it, it did enable us to grow very quickly. raise funding, build a team, this enabled us to build what we’ve built now. Yeah, how could I have built this team? And therefore could us together have built the product that we build today? In another way? The you know, I don’t know we didn’t have the funding at the start. And actually, this got got us the funding so
Yeah, it was got everyone interested customers and investors like them.
Yeah, it’s like yeah, we’re all interested in it. Yeah, we’re not doing this anymore. It doesn’t work. Yeah, I believed at the time I believed it was a great solution. It was so cool. To what cuz I got I hired a couple of people in sales and like, you know, there’s they will always take the easiest route to a sale. So then we sort of avenge problems for ourselves because they’ve made all the sales and then we were like, like, we don’t like customers who bought purely for that now we’re getting rid of this thing.
You can’t really convert them they’re probably the wrong types of customers anyway for what you want for the solution that you want to build. And so we have this mix we have painfully more when I was doing all this adding hate had much higher chance of buying into the entire solution because I was never selling it in a way that cause someone to like, be like great I’m gonna offer finance, that’s gonna solve all my problems. But when you hire a sales team, and particularly the start when it was like, remote as well, having oversight of that and shaping your message in the right ways. Yeah, it’s very difficult.
Yeah. So how did you manage them to cover that hiring of that initial sales team, but then also kind of enabling them to sell given that the proposition was, was kind of changing at the same time?
Yeah, I think it’s very hard. So we started building the current product. Just as COVID was hitting. And therefore, we’d been my first hire was a software engineer. We’re working in a shipping container just outside of temple made. And then yeah, COVID here, and everything had to go like remote. And was quickly okay, we’ve got something I need some help selling it. Find someone with experience in sales? sort of had to be remote there. I think we just put job ad on LinkedIn. Yeah. interviewed them seemed like they’d get they got it. Great. Like, listen to some of the calls that I’ve had. Let’s go. So yeah, I mean, like, we’ve gotten a credible team now, like every hire we’ve made has helped us learn what we actually want.
But we’ve made a bunch of mistakes along the way. In terms of those hires, I think like hiring your first your first sales hire, when you don’t really have any experience of sales other than obviously, I could sell because as the founder, it’s cold. I know we have to. But yeah, how I do that. I would do I mean, now I ended up arm hiring someone I’ve got like a high level of trust in as head of operations. So operations being like customer operations, so sales and customer success. And working with them. Like also we’re like 100%, office based as well. So where we’ve built, it’s easier to build that culture and find people who want to come work with us in this environment. It’s like it’s just so much easier now.
The US even though you were kind of forced to go remote, you’ve opted to not to stay remote them to kind of pull everyone together.
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s something that building, building something new from scratch, having to iterate quickly, needing to be very dynamic, having spontaneous conversations across like, all different roles, different teams, is just so hard to do remote. And I’m sure like clearly, like you can do it remote, but it’s such a massive edge to be in the same place together and being able to have those real time conversations. It I realized that that kind of makes us quite contrarian at the moment.
But the thing that we have found is like all recruiters will tell you Oh, everyone just wants to be remote now, especially if you’re talking about hiring right engineers, and it’s just not true. They’re just trying to remove every barrier possible to matching one person to another and getting their commission that’s all they care about. So it’s not Yeah, they’re just incentives aren’t right there.
Whereas we’ve said actually, we believe there are people who want to come build something new in a small team it like with with us here. I know we’re gonna pay the high salaries but people who really care want to like do something with meaning like then they do come to us and it’s harder for us that sort of top of the funnel to get to get like volume of applicants But like every person we do have coming in like the chances of us of that person being a good fit and that’s really liking them wanting to work with them are extremely high.
So yeah, there’s there’s there’s there’s pros and cons and obviously like access to talent is so much easier if you’re can go fully remote but culture and and being able to create something from scratch is just, I believe, like so hard. Like, it’s so hard anyway. Why would you make it hard?
Yeah, good advice. And I think It’s difficult. And I can, I can see the the pros and cons of both approaches. But I think it’s interesting what you were saying about that advice from the recruiter, and you got to remember that, you know, that is not impartial advice, as you say. And also, with hiring, as well as with sales, right, it’s the number of leaves in the top of the funnel.
For the most part, it doesn’t actually matter. Unless there is some, you know, quality associated with that ticket, you know, if he’s not even quality, right, then actually, you know, you could end up with, you know, 10 times as many people coming in the top. But if the quality is, you know, more than 10 times lower, then you’re gonna get a worse outcome than if you, you know, attracted less people. But attracting more of the right people. It makes it so much more efficient for your business. If that’s that’s the case. Yeah. So, yeah, I guess in terms of off team, then at the moment, how big is the team?
So we’re going to be a 13. And a few few changes recently, but each change that we’ve made, it really, really helped us define exactly what we want, as put us in a really good place. So Well, again, a B. For engineers designer for in sort of customer operations, to into growth, marketing. Yeah. Yeah. So yes, kinda structure is mainly like people, people building the product, the people selling the products.
Yep. Those are the key things to be doing. You got to sell. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So yeah, I guess in terms of that new customer definition, then moving to a more of a SaaS model, you know, what does that look like kind of from a product pricing perspective, from a value prop perspective now, then?
Yeah, so it’s interesting, because when we started, it was very much like, tell traders that like sole traders are hard to build a scalable business with, because really, it’s like selling to consumers, very price sensitive. The kind of value that we could add in terms of like automation, team management, all these new features, were building, the incremental value for a sole trader, very small was like, I just want a quoting invoicing and payments, and you’re now building more and upping your prices. But I don’t really care about that. And so, yeah, unfortunately, that we can’t really build a business with people who don’t care about that, because like, we’re not making any money here. Which is, which is tough to get through that transition.
So we do have a solo plan at the moment. But it is a lot higher price than it was so he was around for about a month. So we’re still talking like pretty low price point, in the kind of b2b SaaS space, which again, like makes it hard, because it’s still like going after volume, but we’re gradually going up. The kind of like business size, or at least business ambition. So our sweet spot right now is in that kind of up to five users.
And we call it like, there’s a team package. And then we do like six to 20, which is a business plan that we started to get people in on, there’s a couple of key features that we need that we kind of had historic, like USP features. So the quoting side, it was always the thing that attracts people in the past because it’s yeah, that’s the thing that we’re able to, like stand out from their competitors, like convert more and more revenue. It’s kind of like a easy one to explain. And, like now we’ve got like, more unique features such as, like the automation feature that’s kind of built in and being able to, like create those separate customer journey pipelines.
So yeah, they’re kind of more available in our in our higher plans, but there’s a couple of things like we’re now building like, supplier material relationships, so a customer can like buy, buy something on a quote, and then that can automatically link to materials that are available at certain suppliers and the whole like process of can be automated.
And then like being able to break invoices down like into stage payments, essentially which when we looked at it, no accounting software does particularly well. Yeah, we think we’ve got a great solution to that. We just need to build it but yeah, there’s there’s some a couple of like big things to do that we need to do to really open the door to the slightly bigger businesses but like at the same time, we are focused on delivering some enables any small business to start from scratch, but with ambition to grow, that’s really the who we’re targeting, and then grow with them.
So in analogy wise is it’s kind of similar to Shopify. So the feature set different, but I guess where Shopify is like, you can just spin up an E commerce business from scratch. And then obviously, they’re going up the chain now and some more like sort of enterprise plans. For service businesses, there is no great equivalent, where the challenge like there’s, there’s more that’s actually required.
Because you’ve got this typically more steps your deal might be created, it’s always a bespoke proposal, rather than a fixed price product that you can buy online and then deliver that service involves coordination of a lot more than than just shipping a thing. It’s like all of the source that own materials, and then deliver it with a team and manage them in the field. So yeah, there’s a lot to it.
Yeah, a lot of moving parts. But I think that’s a good way to kind of move up. That kind of, you know, customer size and value chain is to not just think, Oh, if only we had x, y, and Zed, we could do this, let’s you know, put a pause on sales go away, Bill, just put our heads down, and then come back, but actually find the customers that you can serve now, but have ambitions to be that next kind of segment of customers.
And then if you can work with them, and just stay slightly ahead of them, that’s a great way to, you know, still attract the right kind of customers that are going to help to validate that that new proposition as well. So, yeah, I guess in terms of, of where things are, now, then with the business, what are the kind of the priorities you mentioned earlier? There are some bigger features that you’re building, but what is the kind of the growth side the kind of the sales, the marketing? How you exactly? You know, sell to these these bigger customers?
Matt FranklinThe biggest challenge, the biggest focus of my time, now is growth. Where is it kind of needs to just be in the detail on the product side to get us to this point.
The biggest challenge, the biggest focus of my time, now is growth. Where is it kind of needs to just be in the detail on the product side to get us to this point. Yes, there’s a couple of extra things we need to deliver that we, you know, we’ve we’ve got people queued up asking for, which is great. But really, it’s like, okay, how do we, how do we grow this thing in an efficient way, particularly in this like, sort of current environment where, you know, is it going to be easy to raise funding in 12 months time, like, probably not? So the real focus is like, how do we grow to that point where, you know, we are sustainable. If we can get to that default live position, that’s absolutely the goal. Growth in this, like, in this sector is, is really tough, because it seems ridiculous. bringing technology to this industry is quite early in that curve, like the adoption is, is is coming. It’s coming quite quickly.
But we are still early. So in terms like people searching for like CRM, for whatever industry is, is happening. But it’s quite small volumes. A big part of our growth strategy is creating good quality and high internal content. So in the form of video, we’ve got a big YouTube channel now. So great, you can subscribe to that. If you listen to this. Yeah, we’ll drop the LinkedIn. Packer on there on YouTube. Yeah, so I mix of content, which is about like showing our internal team and culture which is, is helpful for customers and, like, people, we, you know, we want to hire, one of the things that we found that people value the most is how transparent we are. It’s very authentic, were going out, like telling them that we’ve got public roadmap, saying what features we’re going to build. And we just, you know, we we spend a lot of time right now. talking to customers, every day.
And yeah, so that that kind of internal content is something that we’re sharing with the team, but we’re also like trying to create valuable material for the audience. rank for that kind of longtail SEO, where people are searching for these very specific things, which may not be a big volume but when they find this, but they can.
And then yeah, experimenting with a bunch of different things on the digital side. Then partnerships is really a big focus for me right now is so how do we get there? the right partnerships with suppliers and industry experts. So we’ve got like, pack a heating accelerator, we call it where we’ve been working with a big personality in the heating space. Rather than heating company bought a bunch of training businesses, how do we put together a package specifically for heating engineers?
Because actually, our solution is industry agnostic for service industries. But how do we make this specifically for that? And and then we make that work for heating engineers will replicate that for other industries. So yeah, hi, grace is big face right now. There’s a lot we need to figure out. But, you know, everything’s everything’s looking good.
Yeah, and I think that’s a great strategy, certainly getting that content out there, you know, regularly to build that, that trust, especially within an industry that as you say, is a little bit further behind the curve in terms of tech adoption is going to be so important that they get to know the packer brand, as well as what the products can do for them.
But yeah, definitely kind of resonate with the the partnerships as well, if there are ways to align incentives and interests to serve that audience, especially one where there may not be as many people kind of getting in front of that audience, I think it’s especially important to do so.
And that continuous customer researchers, well, you know, you just said in passing, that we talk to our customers every day, but I just want to emphasize how important I think that is, I think you should be talking to customers, every day, you should be talking to prospects every day, you should be talking to people to buy your products to understand why you should also understand why the people that didn’t buy your products, you know, made that decision as well. And you know, as well as people that even went to competitors.
Yeah, and the other. The other thing that’s really important is obviously, not every member of the team is able to talk to customers every day, if you like an engineer, for example.
But one of the things that we like to focus heavily on is making that feedback customer like the conversations we’re having with customers visible to every member of the team. So, you know, we use intercom on our site, and there’s a Slack channel. It’s just like, posting all the conversation.
So the team can see what exactly are people asking us for what we also have like a customer feedback channel, where if someone’s like spoken about something important, it gets posted there, right? Cuz this customer has asked for this or like, this is like the problem they’re trying to solve. And it’s just very visible to all members of the team. So it’s so important that everyone and then it’s how we’ve hired software engineers, as well as like people that really focused on solving the customer problem more than like, writing elegant code.
And because I when were at this stage, like, everyone’s role is pretty broad, like you’re having to do more than just your specialism you’re having to think about if you’re an engineer, you might be thinking about product management, about like Customer Success about if somebody’s knees doing so, like someone’s gonna do it. And it may not be your role, but like you, we’ve just hired people who just just want to join that. Join that mission and just get it done. Which is great.
Yeah, absolutely is. Yeah, I think you’ve got to hire people that buy into the, the problem that you’re trying to solve and, or the approach of finding problems to solve, rather than people that just have a solution already. And I think, especially in the tech space, unfortunately, there are a lot of developers that have the solution in mind, even before they know what the problem is, or even what the company is, right?
They’ll have, you know, favorite languages, frameworks, or whatever it may be, that they want to use or or play with, as I’ve heard many developers, unfortunately describe it, but it’s, you know, it’s not really about playing with something. It’s about solving some real customer problems. So cultural fit is so important there.
Yeah, and it’s easier to do when we’re here together. Yeah, it’s just much clearer.
Yeah, absolutely. Cool. So I think yeah, there’s a lot of things here that I think people can and should take away from this you know, the importance of being you know, customer research driven, you know, focusing on the problem, be willing to change the solution and building the right culture and team around that so I think yeah, I think it’s been really interesting talking to you today and I hope people do get a lot out of this episode and do kind of chip in if you are listening and you have any, any questions or perspectives, you know, especially on the the remote working versus, you know, Bringing in office together.
Trigger few people. Yeah, I’d love to hear some, some perspective on that. But I think the the approach that you you describe and like even down to that customer research and feedback making that visible to people, I think it is so much harder to do in a fully distributed and remote remote environment.
As the other thing I talked about, like ways that this was being tracked in like Slack, for example. But the other thing is, obviously, all the conversations that happen, like someone will get off the phone with a customer, while the customer success side and walk straight across to the development team. And we’ll be chatting about. That’s an interesting thing. We haven’t thought about that way. Like we could solve it in this way. Yeah, that’s great. Some. Yeah, we could solve this right now. Or like we could solve this next sprint, or whatever it is, you know, that there’s that side of it as well, which is almost like unnoticed.
Yeah, I don’t think that’s something you can easily reproduce.
You can’t because you, I guess, things feel so unimportant, that you are not going to go to the effort of saying, right, I’m going to book a meeting with you to discuss this, I’m going to interrupt you, I can’t see where you’re interrupted, or I can’t see if you’re making a cup of tea or like, whatever. So I don’t I’m just not going to mention that thing. Because it’s not important. But there are so many times when someone has said something out loud, that doesn’t seem important that is triggers that conversation that we can go like, let’s let’s chat about this. Now. Let’s whiteboard it. And I just don’t think you can create you can recreate that remotely.
No, I think it’s hard to do anything. It’s that compound effect, as well as lots of small interactions like that build up over time, and like you’re saying there may only be a certain percentage of them that, you know, lead to a deeper level conversation. But if you don’t have that kind of forum to do that, then you miss out on all of those. Yeah, and I think it’s a great, a great point. I think it’s a good, good place to leave it, I think, well, obviously you will share, you know, links to your website will share links to your YouTube channel, etc, as well. But I guess just before we do wrap up, is there anything else that you you would kind of like to leave our audience with?
I think the biggest thing that I always say, if you’re gonna go and do something, if you’re gonna start something, or maybe if you are doing it, like resilience is the biggest. The biggest, necessary trait I think is, is like so there are so many times when I could have stopped doing what we’re doing, because it just seemed like it wasn’t gonna work. And just keep going if you’re, if you truly do have a customer problem that you are solving. If you keep going, you will get there. You’ll figure it out. And it’s hard.
Awesome. No, Matt, thank you once again for taking the time today. much appreciate it. And yeah, I look forward to catching up again in future seeing how, how those growth plans have gone and how you’ve managed to kind of move up that that customer tier as well.
Great. Thanks, man.
No worries, take care.
Thank you for joining me on this episode of Inside the scaler. Remember for the show notes and in depth resources from today’s guest. You can find these on the website inside the scale up.com. You can also leave feedback on today’s episode, as well as suggest guests and companies you’d like to hear from. Thank you for listening