How a love for his children created startup sales success - SellX How a love for his children created startup sales success - SellX
 
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How a love for his children created startup sales success

One day Troy Westley was reviewing one of his kids asthma emergency response plan, that is one of seven kids! He wondered why he hadn’t provided it to his school teacher and sports coaches with the emergency plan in case of an incident. Did that make him a bad parent? In turns out he was not alone.

Many parents and the organisations with a duty of care for their children didn’t have access to that kind of information because of the difficulty in obtaining, maintaining and accessing this kind of information in time of need. Which got Troy thinking and CareMonkey was born.

CareMonkey has turned into a great Aussie success story and is now tackling the challenge of selling into the larger North American and UK markets. Troy’s has overcome the challenges of marketing to a crowded, noisy marketplace by partnering with other vendors selling to his Ideal Customer Profile, with a team of 5 internal sales people closing the deals remotely. This clever approach has given CareMonkey instant trust, credibility from his customer and the confidence in a go to market strategy that can scale into international markets.

This is a Startup Story not to be missed!

What is your elevator pitch?

CareMonkey is an electronic health and safety system that automatically gets medical and emergency details up to date for any organization with the duty of care. Then make those very important details instantly available to authorized carers on their mobile devices, so they know exactly what to do, who to call or what to tell them even when it’s a paramedic.  We also automate permission and consent forms; we can collect any other custom information. The system is used by schools, clubs, universities, in sport, HR, scouts, the disability sector, church groups, youth groups and camps. I mean, that’s about it.

When did you first realise this is a problem that needed to be solved?

So, the backstory to that is that I actually had quite a good career in IT for more than 20 years and I always wanted to do my own startup and I just didn’t know what to do, what problems to solve and I came up with hundreds of ideas and some were terrible. There was nothing that I would quit my day job for. Then just by mistake, one day I reach into my filing cabinet home and saw one of the boys’ Asthma Plans.

An Asthma Plan is designed by the doctor it describes all the symptoms of this person’s medical condition and also what to do in an emergency like when they can’t breathe, to follow these steps. I realized, oh my God, I’m a horrible parent! I should have copies of this and given it to every teacher, every sports coach, every relative, every family friend where our boy often goes and I hadn’t done that. And because it’s difficult and I’m typically very lazy I’m not that well organized.

So that gave me the idea and I started talking to other parents and the things that parents said to me was that I’ll tell you what else we’ve got, filling up the same form over and over and over again for schools, school camps, excursions. I mean how many times do I have to fill in my emergency contacts, medical contacts, the allergies, the asthma plan, my Medicare number just does not hit it. And after all there’s a problem to solve,

Then the school said we hate it because we have got to get out and get them filled and get them back and that’s a shocking process! So it was starting to really gather, looked like there was a real broken problem, and a good problem to fix, and then the final thing was that, I’ve actually got 7 kids.  I haven’t time for that story!

Can you tell us more about your revenue sales story?

How it started

So why don’t I tell you how it started. 2 years ago, it was October 2013 and we made our first sale. And at the point in the business, there was me and Martin, he’s my co-founder and he is our CTO, and we had a part-time junior developers. So there was just the three of us, and I was the sales guy. And we built the product and we built version 1 and I have got to see if anyone would be willing to buy this. So I went and demonstrated it into schools and at the end of my demo, I would say to the school principal: what do you think? He’d say: this is great, we’ve never seen anything like this before. I’d say, would you like to use it at your school. And they would say, yeah. And I would say, can I send you an invoice tonight.

Direct Sales is not our model

That’s where we’ve started, we have five people selling direct now. But now we are a partner led organization. We can send the best email campaign in the world and I will tell you what we’d get: “unsubscribes”.  People haven’t got time to read your email messages, your sales messages even when they are good. I probably get 15 or 20 emails a day of people trying to sell me their stuff. And I bet you there’s some really good stuff in it and I don’t read it; I’d delete the whole lot of them. I haven’t got time. Nobody has the time.

But I will tell you what they do read. They do read the email marketing from their already trusted suppliers. So I can send the exact same message through one of my partners and we will get a response.
Partner referrals driving leads

We partnered with “Fox Sports Pulse”; now they’re an organization owned by their News Ltd. They have got a sports administration system used by 30,000 clubs in Australia. So, we partnered and integrated with them and now they started selling, they didn’t directly sell but they used to tell the message to all their clubs and now on the back of that relationship, we got into the NRL, into the Basketball Victoria, into Touch Football Australia, into the Special Olympics, everywhere, because my customers listen to them, alright? At the stage where our partners are mainly referral partners, so the partner generates the lead for us and then one of their team, one of our direct guys goes and sells.

What is your biggest challenge in sales?

Two things.  One of them is getting attention and I kind of address that. So you can win slush.org internationally and you can win different awards but when you try to reach out to your prospects, they have never heard of you. So it doesn’t count.  

I’m addressing that with partners. The second challenge for us is now, we have just, over the last couple of weeks, or last month, got started marketing through partners in the UK and US, so we have gone global, so my challenge is ramping up partners and ramping up some direct people in those parts of the world so that they can have at least the same success rate we are having here. That is my number one focus for this year: the UK and US markets.

For those that prefer to read there is also full transcript but here are the highlights;


FULL TRANSCRIPT

Andy: Hi everyone, my name is Andy Farquharson, welcome to another installment of the “Startup Stories”. This is a series of interviews with B2B startup founders and sales leaders. Today’s topic is about traditionally as one of the biggest challenges that they have, which also happens to be one of my favorite topics, which is, “Sales”. We are super excited to be joined by the CEO of one of the most sort of successful startup stories we’ve got coming out of Australia at the moment, and it’s Care Monkey. Alright, so, Troy thanks you for joining us today.

Troy: Really good to be here Andy. Thanks for the invite.

Andy:           My absolute pleasure.  So you recently won an award in Finland last year, how was that journey?

Troy: That was a pretty amazing experience. The reason I got to Finland was that I won a pitching competition in Melbourne for slush. I think it was in March and the prize for that was a trip to Finland to pitch on the world stage. And so I took that trip and I wasn’t thinking I was going to win, I just thought that it was a great opportunity to go over and promote the business internationally. And there were a thousand startup companies that applied, that shortlisted to 100, there was lots of pitching that day and I was fortunate enough to get into the top 20 and got another shot tomorrow and next thing I’m in the final four and then I thought wow I wonder what the prize is. I mean I didn’t even look that up and I ended up taking it out and so that was another surprise.

Andy: Absolutely awesome! And then the worst thing was that she didn’t even get to take the prize home did you?

Troy: Well I got the novelty check and I won 6,50,000 Euros. It looked really good, it’s good for peer, but that prize wasn’t folding money that prize was an investment opportunity and my cofounder and I decided we can win that. The best way to get funding in business is to sell stuff and so we are earning revenue and we are funding the business that way through annual subscriptions.

Andy: I absolutely love to hear that and I totally agree. It’s a sure fire way that you know that you are going to have something valuable for your customers if you get to part with cash and continue to do that you’re definitely on the path to success. Perfect!

So considering you’ve gone on and you’ve conquered the world stage with your pitch, what we generally do at the startup stories is that we go through 15 minutes of questions so it barely hurts a bit. But the first one is something you should be well practiced on, so could you hit us with your elevator pitch?

Troy: Well, I’ve done it a couple of times. “Care Monkey” is an electronic health and safety system that automatically gets medical and emergency details up to date for any organization with the duty of care. Then make those very important details instantly available to authorized carers on their mobile devices, so they know exactly what to do, who to call or what to tell them even when it’s a paramedic.  We also automate permission and consent forms; we can collect any other custom information. The system is used by schools, clubs, universities, in sport, HR, scouts, the disability sector, church groups, youth groups and camps. I mean, that’s about it.

Andy: Well, you definitely nailed it. You could see you going oh I’ve got this one and just settled in and just went through with it. It was just good. Alright, it sounds like you’re solving quite a lot of problems for a broad section of many different communities. I mean how did you first realize this was the problem that you wanted to solve?

Troy: So, the backstory to that is that I actually had quite a good career in IT for more than 20 years and I always wanted to do my own startup and I just didn’t know what to do, what problems to solve and I came up with hundreds of ideas and some were terrible. There was nothing that I would quit my day job for. Then just by mistake, one day I reach into my filing cabinet home and saw one of the boys’ Asthma Plans.

 

An Asthma Plan is designed by the doctor it describes all the symptoms of this person’s medical condition and also what to do in an emergency like when they can’t breathe, to follow these steps. I realized, oh my God, I’m a horrible parent! I should have copies of this and given it to every teacher, every sports coach, every relative, every family friend where our boy often goes and I hadn’t done that. And because it’s difficult and I’m typically very lazy I’m not that well organized.

 

So that gave me the idea and I started talking to other parents and the things that parents said to me was that I’ll tell you what else we’ve got, filling up the same form over and over and over again for schools, school camps, excursions. I mean how many times do I have to fill in my emergency contacts, medical contacts, the allergies, the asthma plan, my Medicare number just does not hit it. And after all there’s a problem to solve,

 

Then the school said we hate it because we have got to get out and get them filled and get them back and that’s a shocking process! So it was starting to really gather, looked like there was a real broken problem, and a good problem to fix, and then the final thing was that, I’ve actually got 7 kids.  I haven’t time for that story!

Andy: Yeah, definitely not in 15 minutes.

Troy: I’ve filled in a lot of forms myself, and I’ve also been involved in sport a lot, because 6 of my kids are boys and they are heavily into sport. A lot of times I’ve been the coach. I was the coach of a football team, a basketball team, and a life-saving team and what I realized with that was that as the parent I’ve filled in all these forms at the start of every season with medical information, but as a coach I never got them. Clubs, that were collecting this information, they were actually doing what I was doing with asthma plan. They were collecting really important stuff, filing it away, saying we’ve done that, we’ve collected it but it just wasn’t accessible. So, as a coach you’re left with a bunch of kids and in an emergency you don’t know who to call, you don’t know what to do, you don’t know who’s got what medical conditions, and that’s where I thought I’d quit my day job and do it. And that was four and a half years ago.

Andy: What a fantastic story! It definitely resonates with me. Even though I don’t have 7 kids, I don’t even have one kid but we go with that challenge but also with my nephews and nieces they’ve got the exact same challenge. Like when I get to sports I have no idea. The coach has absolutely no idea. So, I can see that having general broad applications across all areas. And obviously the market is appreciating with what you’ve put out there.

Troy: Look, we didn’t target all these markets to start with what we started in schools.  What happened is that after we got about, the first half a dozen schools had signed up, that meant a couple of thousand parents that were using our system to enter this information. We started getting leads on our website and they would say, hey, I would just like to fill out this information for kids at school but I’m the Secretary of the soccer club or the president of the Swimming Club, we need this information, too.  And I was like, wow, we are in the sports business. So, now we’re in the sporting business and more leads kept coming in from the schools and universities and church groups and youth groups and the scouts, and just everybody who has a duty of care can use this system and that’s quite a nice aspect that it has opened up a lot of markets.

Andy: Absolutely! That sounds like there is so many, it could even be a little bit of a distraction in terms of going out and executing against all of those so there is inbound opportunities.

Troy: And people come up with ideas all the time: have you thought of going into the retirement homes? Have you thought of sailing to cruise ships because everyone gets sick. There is a million things you can go for and you do have to be successful in it’s best to focus on usually one particular niche and really dominate that niche. And I know that but we can’t help ourselves because the leads just keep coming in from different areas but I thought we’d have a crack.

 

Andy: Well, it would be fantastic to learn a little bit about what your sales organization looks like now from the people, process and technology perspective

Troy: So why don’t I tell you how it started. 2 years ago, it was October 2013 and we made our first sale. And at the point in the business, there was me and Martin, he’s my co-founder and he is our CTO, and we had a part-time junior developers. So there was just the three of us, and I was the sales guy. And we built the product and we built version 1 and I have got to see if anyone would be willing to buy this. So I went and demonstrated it into schools and at the end of my demo, I would say to the school principal: what do you think? He’d say: this is great, we’ve never seen anything like this before. I’d say, would you like to use it at your school. And they would say, yeah. And I would say, can I send you an invoice tonight. Alright? And that’s how we started, I mean, going directly to schools.

 

Andy: So you actually got out there face to face?

 

Troy: Absolutely. You don’t want to do that. That’s not a scalable model. But when you’re a startup, we got to get out there because I was learning. I was sitting in a room demonstrating different aspect of our system and seeing when the heads were nodding.  I’ll give you an example.  When I demonstrated our system and I talked about how the automated reminders will mean that the school administrators we’re have to check up with parents anymore for missing forms and missing information; the school administrators who have a really boring task of doing that, they started nodding their heads like, I need this!

 

Andy: Like totally!

 

Troy: And then for later I would always focus on that because the school administrators there would want to know that and as soon as you’ve get them on board and then twist the principal on. Doing things in face to face also lets you know what was missing what, what you could do to improve, what looked hard, what they didn’t get, and so cutting the long story short, I started selling, a couple of months later I’ve got a full time sales guy to do that independently. We have now got five direct sales people in Australia. But, direct sales is not our model.  That’s where we’ve started. But what we are doing is, we are now a partner led organization. I will tell you one really good thing about this, we can send the best email campaign in the world and I will tell you what we’d get: “unsubscribes”.  People haven’t got time to read your email messages, your sales messages even when they are good. I probably get 15 or 20 emails a day of people trying to sell me their stuff. And I bet you there’s some really good stuff in it and I don’t read it; I’d delete the whole lot of them. I haven’t got time.

 

Andy: Did you find it was worse when you were chasing a particular market segment be that, say, in schools, health care, or sport?

 

Troy: Nobody has got time, nobody wants to read your email marketing. But I will tell you what they do read. They do read the email marketing from their already trusted suppliers. So I can send the exact same message through one of my partners and we will get a response. So I will just give you an example. Like in the case of sport, we partnered with “Fox Sports Pulse”; now they’re an organization owned by their News Ltd. They have got a sports administration system used by 30,000 clubs in Australia. So, we partnered and integrated with them and now they started selling, they didn’t directly sell but they used to tell the message to all their clubs and now on the back of that relationship, we got into the NRL, into the Basketball Victoria, into Touch Football Australia, into the Special Olympics, everywhere, because my customers listen to them, alright? In education, one of my partners is “Human Edge”. They’ve got a school administration system and we integrated with them and they tell their customers about their nice integration that we can do and make things easy for the school and now we get leads through their marketing, not ours. That’s what we are doing, partner lead, to generate the leads.

 

Two types of partners: one is a reseller. Obviously in the reseller model you don’t need to do anything. They’re selling. But at the stage where our partners are mainly referral partners, so the partner generates the lead for us and then one of their team, one of their direct guys goes and sells. And the way that we do that, we now try to do that in our office rather than road trips all the time. We use Skype and other methods. We still sometimes have to go out to schools and do presentations in person.  We have also created a lot of videos.  Hopefully, we never get to that, one day, we won’t need to do any live demos. People will just watch the videos and they buy, they’ll sign up.  Now that has happened a few times. I have had some leads on my website from schools where they would say I’ve watch the videos and I want to buy the system and that just cuts through the whole thing.

 

Andy: They can be heard just from your website? Do you have an ecommerce engine?

 

Andy: No, we haven’t gotten it yet. I’m still cutting invoices manually. Something we’ll get to viagra belgique one. There’s more important things to do right now.

 

Andy: Fair enough. Let’s go back to referral partners. One of the things that I hear lots of startups struggle with, is, how to attribute that the lead they are getting from there partner for [inaudible 16:20] and so whether it is a referral fee or whether they are paying cash on a sale.  How do you guys go about that relationship with your marketing referral partners?

 

Troy: Like I said, a referral partner earns a percentage of our annual subscription. We’re generous. I have been involved in some big companies and known a lot about the partnership side and in general, it’s fair to say that most companies generally screw their partners. If you can’t allow your partner to make a good profitable business, it’s never going to work. So we are very generous with our revenue share.  And the second point to your question is about how do you know where the leads come from? So we ask everyone about leads: where they heard about us? They have to pick a partner when they enter themselves as a lead on our website. Look, it’s not perfect because you can still get that wrong, but also partners can run their own campaigns and send the leads to us. We tag those automatically. It’s not perfect but we are still getting better as we go.

 

Andy: So your partners, if you are doing well by them in terms of referral percentage, they are going to believe you, there are not going to try to extract or screw you down to get sort of perfect analytics.

 

Troy: No. What you do is, you share the love and the love comes back. Right? So that means we are very friendly to our partners, so they can make good business and then everybody wins.

Andy: Awesome! We are running short on time now but I need a quick understanding of what is your biggest challenge in terms of sales at the moment?

Troy: Two things.  One of them is getting attention and I kind of address that. So you can win Slush.org internationally and you can win different awards but when you try to reach out to your prospects, they have never heard of you. So it doesn’t count.  I’m addressing that with partners.  The second challenge for us is now, we have just, over the last couple of weeks, or last month, got started marketing through partners in the UK and US, so we have gone global, so my challenge is ramping up partners and ramping up some direct people in those parts of the world so that they can have at least the same success rate we are having here. That is my number one focus for this year: the UK and US markets.

Andy: Definitely huge markets and very exciting opportunities for you ahead. Just going back a little bit to the first challenge you have got which is getting your customers’ attention. Obviously going with their trusted advisor, in the partner that you’re selecting, who provides that social proof which is really helpful. But how do you figured out which messaging is going to be really able to cut through with the customers that you are engaging by email or phone?

Troy: This is the right part about our system is that it is pretty much the same messaging because whether you are selling to a school, a camp or a disability services provider, to a university sports club, they have all got responsibility for the people that are in their care. They have all got this issue of trying to keep this information up to date. They have all got the issue of distributing this information that secure to all their people. So, we are just solving a common problem for all those different organizations so messaging is easy.

Andy: You just get across the word school with care.

Troy: It is a very common problem and when you explain it to somebody, for instance, in a school, that’s where they’d go, oh this would be cool in a sporting club, it would be good in scouts, so it is easy to get.

Andy: Lots of time with broad applications across many different verticals.

Troy: Pretty much.

Andy: It is like you’re sitting on a gold mine

Troy: It would be good if it was that easy.  You still got to sell stuff.  And the main thing is, and I would give this advice to anybody that was listening and doing their own stuff is, you need to be solving a red-hot pain that is worth solving. Nobody is going to pay you money for nice-to-haves. You have really got to solve something that is burning a hole in somebody.

Andy: That’s a fantastic point to end us on. Troy, thank you so much for your time. There were plenty of nuggets of gold that you delivered there. Where can people go learn more about care monkey and follow you?

Troy: Just go to www.caremonkey.com. We have got a lot stuff on our website. We’ve got demo videos and everything about our business is there. You can connect with us. There is a Care Monkey site on LinkedIn, on Facebook, Twitter and probably here.

Andy: Perfect! Thanks again for your time. I really, really appreciate it and look forward to speaking to you soon. And good luck with care monkey.

Troy: Well, good on you, Andy. Thanks a lot.

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