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An early pivot towards a B2B approach has unlocked a huge new market for this Aussie startup

In LocalMeasure’s first incarnation, Roamz, they were targeting end consumers with their location based social app but while selling access to potential advertisers they were constantly hearing that they would be happy to pay for a B2B version of the app. So they pivoted towards the paying customer and LocalMeasure was born and success has followed ever since.

Their COO, Sara Axelrod, talks about a sales centric approach to market development and the creation of a pod structure that has enabled strong international expansion while keeping a laser focus on account management customer success.

Rapid international growth provides an abundance of challenges and Sara goes into detail about how LocalMeasure is tackling these while setting the business for future growth.

We hope you enjoy this Startup Story!

What is your elevator pitch?

In a nutshell, the companies who were using traditional social media monitoring, we find our missing on average about 80% of the content that’s related to their business so they’re just using keywords and hashtags that’s missing at minimum 80% of all the post that customers are making from that physical venue.

By looking at that content through the lense of locations, so using all of those hashtags and keywords signals but in addition to that location signals such as GPS and check in, we’re able to uncover that additional 80% of content. LocalMeasure’s created a technology in a set of smart pipes that enables businesses to leverage all of those new pieces of contents and information to provide better experiences for their guests and for their customers.

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

Our founder Jonathan Barouch started the predecessor of LocalMeasure was called Roamz back in 2012 and he had a successful ecommerce startup prior to that and they wanted to get into the locations based business. Roamz when it was first founded in 2012, it was similar to Foursquare in a sense but it’s consumer-facing app, they gave you the ability to see what was being on posted on social media all around you from all the different social platforms not just Foursquare. so I guess in a sense the way that we figured out that what the problem behind LocalMeasure was so when they were taking Roamz to market and trying to get companies to buy essentially ad space within the app a lot of the businesses that we approached said, we’re not so interested in paying for advertising on a consumer app but if you able to re-skin this technology in kind of a B2B capacity then we’d be really interested in. Eventually we heard that what we did and so I guess it was a version of Market Research in a sense.

Can you tell us more about your revenue sales story?

We’re lucky to have a CEO who is sales focused. All CEOs are sales people at the core but he is I think more so than CEOs I’ve experienced in the past. When we came on board, we were lucky to have a network and a set of relationships and even some kind of early clients. It was fairly reputable names who were really willing to back us and that’s always nice when you’re getting started, so you have those reference points.

My background is in direct sales and strategic sales that was really where we were focusing at first – small but mighty team really focused on the strategic direct selling, building relationships with the biggest global brands in our key markets. Once we really started to just still down regarding who that ideal customer was, what our value proposition is, systematize the case studies and the collateral and all the materials that would help us better. We started to layering kind of complementary functions. Right now the Pod structure if for our sales teams in each office, is there we have a VP of each market who is the general manager and of course a salesperson but also looking after partner relationships, etc. In the last couple of months we rolled out an SDR programs or sales development program. We’ve got some great super smart people who are really looking more on the quantitative side of things and thinking about how do we generate interest at scale and what technologies do we use to help do that.

I’m a big proponent of Account Management and Client Success, that’s really really important especially in the early days making sure that everybody of course stays on but more than that they have only the best things to say about your product and about their experience of working with your team. So we have a VP, an SDR and account manager at the at the core in each market and that’s really nice because I find it kind of rounds out and complementary set of skills for the team working together, and once the pipeline is there will layer in the second strategic sales person which we’ve done it in couple of markets because as you can imagine at certain point, it’s hard for the VP to manage the people, and the partnerships and all the Sales stuff themselves. So we kind of go around the horn and allocate head count one at a time and once you come back around we’ll give them the next person depending on what they need that time.

What is your biggest challenge in sales?

I think it’s just keeping up with the pace of change. as we break into new categories, things move so quickly. For example we’ve put together one of the things that I do to try to support my team and make sure that they have collateral and presentation of things to share, and the speed at which those things become outdated, is just crazy. I’m hiring a graphic designer right now because if someone who will take a template and try to customize it and somebody tries to customize a customized one and then it becomes further and further from the original look and feel.

Trying to keep pace with the speed of the conversations that are happening and make sure they were also having a buttoned-up approach to putting our best to look forward in terms of the look and feel of those documents and also that we’re doing the best practice and sharing the communication across all the different members of the team at the speed of those conversations were taking place.

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


FULL TRANSCRIPT

Andy: Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of the Startup Stories. Today I’m super excited to be talking about another great Aussie startup that has been taking on the world in LocalMeasure and we’re joined by their COO, Sara Axelrod. Sara thanks for joining us today.

Sara:     Thanks for having me.

Andy:      Let’s get stuck right into it. Sara it’d be great if you could hit us with LocalMeasure’s elevator pitch.

Sara:     Sure. In a nutshell, the companies who were using traditional social media monitoring, we find our missing on average about 80% of the content that’s related to their business so they’re just using keywords and hashtags that’s missing at minimum 80% of all the post that customers are making from that physical venue.

By looking at that content through the lense of locations, so using all of those hashtags and keywords signals but in addition to that location signals such as GPS and check in, we’re able to uncover that additional 80% of content. LocalMeasure’s created a technology in a set of smart pipes that enables businesses to leverage all of those new pieces of contents and information to provide better experiences for their guests and for their customers.

Andy:     Awesome. So you’re really enhancing the power, what’s already out there and what’s happening that is giving people a much better understanding on how to just give value that. When did the team realized that this is a problem that needed to be solved?

Sara: Our founder Jonathan Barouch started the predecessor of LocalMeasure was called Roamz back in 2012 and he had a successful ecommerce startup prior to that and they wanted to get into the locations based business. Roamz when it was first founded in 2012, it was similar to Foursquare in a sense but it’s consumer-facing app, they gave you the ability to see what was being on posted on social media all around you from all the different social platforms not just Foursquare. so I guess in a sense the way that we figured out that what the problem behind LocalMeasure was so when they were taking Roamz to market and trying to get companies to buy essentially ad space within the app a lot of the businesses that we approached said, we’re not so interested in paying for advertising on a consumer app but if you able to re-skin this technology in kind of a B2B capacity then we’d be really interested in. Eventually we heard that what we did and so I guess it was a version of Market Research in a sense.

Andy: It’s always a great pivot when you go to people with the cash.

Sara: Exactly, if you want to pivot, you’re to pivot that way.

Andy: It’s a great story. I know that you guys are expanding internationally and you’re having a lot of great success in different international markets, could you tell us little bit about your revenue stories today?

Sara: Yes. We’re lucky to have a CEO who is sales focused. All CEOs are sales people at the core but he is I think more so than CEOs I’ve experienced in the past. When we came on board, we were lucky to have a network and a set of relationships and even some kind of early clients. It was fairly reputable names who were really willing to back us and that’s always nice when you’re getting started, so you have those reference points.

My background is in direct sales and strategic sales that was really where we were focusing at first – small but mighty team really focused on the strategic direct selling, building relationships with the biggest global brands in our key markets. Once we really started to just still down regarding who that ideal customer was, what our value proposition is, systematize the case studies and the collateral and all the materials that would help us better. We started to layering kind of complementary functions. Right now the Pod structure if for our sales teams in each office, is there we have a VP of each market who is the general manager and of course a salesperson but also looking after partner relationships, etc. In the last couple of months we rolled out an SDR programs or sales development program. We’ve got some great super smart people who are really looking more on the quantitative side of things and thinking about how do we generate interest at scale and what technologies do we use to help do that.

I’m a big proponent of Account Management and Client Success, that’s really really important especially in the early days making sure that everybody of course stays on but more than that they have only the best things to say about your product and about their experience of working with your team. So we have a VP, an SDR and account manager at the at the core in each market and that’s really nice because I find it kind of rounds out and complementary set of skills for the team working together, and once the pipeline is there will layer in the second strategic sales person which we’ve done it in couple of markets because as you can imagine at certain point, it’s hard for the VP to manage the people, and the partnerships and all the Sales stuff themselves. So we kind of go around the horn and allocate head count one at a time and once you come back around we’ll give them the next person depending on what they need that time.

Andy: That’s really cool. Have you taken any lesson from the pod structure in some markets to be able to understand the market size and segments that you needed to expand into other new markets?

Sara: Yeah definitely, it’s really funny actually because in a lot of ways because Australia is our home market and we have just a lot of initial momentum with this kind of bizarre home court advantage kind of a thing. We’re much more structured when we were looking overseas because we didn’t have a lot of the networks or basic things we have here. So in a lot of ways because we’ve been focusing more on the structure overseas, the structure there has been actually a lot more advanced than been even here, finally I’m returning my attention to our headquarters office here and realizing, because myself and our CEO and we have two sales guys here who have been here since the beginning and that’s worked for us. Now we need to add on the functions that we put in other markets so that we can replicate the formula that’s worked for us as we deploy teams overseas but to do that at home as well.

Andy: That’s really cool. So often that happens, look at our Head Office, it’s working alright. That’s cool. And what markets you’re guys in?

Sara: In chronological order, very shortly after we really got things off the ground and here in Australia, there’s a lot of interest from Asia, so move someone over to be the VP of Asia out of Singapore. Went to the US shortly thereafter and actually chose Miami as our headquarters in the America which is unusual choice which was inspired, I guess by the fact that the person that we had over there was a native Spanish speaker, we with felt like the location will set us up well at least from the outside to try to serve the North America and South America where we figured out where the initial interest was. Then coming up on a year ago we open our office in London for the first time and actually most recently we had so much interest in the Middle East that we ended up, we just oppose our first time head count for someone on the ground in Dubai to help us out there.

Andy: Great. When you’re going to a potential market, it sounds very sales driven, do you realize the opportunity based on response to your marketing activity or is it something that you do just to validating the market with branches of sales predominantly.

Sara: That’s a good question. Our marketing strategy isn’t fully baked at this point. We have been lucky that the interest has been there, so in a sense I guess we have been following the interest and now we’re really just starting to finish up our marketing strategy which I think will be great in terms of layering on to sales driven approach. But yeah, it’s just been more function of where the interest has come from and obviously we do a lot of events and conferences, we’re hosting our own events and lunches and those kinds of things in different markets. We just show a lot more promise than others, so we can just follow the interest.

Andy: Just looking at the split between how your sales team is generating leads at the moment? I mean how much what percentage would you say is driven by the sales team versus inbound activity or from the events?

Sara: I’d say it’ almost always driven by the sales team.  We have great inbound volume. We definitely get good interest from events. But it’s not necessarily the key companies and people that we’re after. For us, the event strategy is more about how do we make sure that we get some fixed time with somebody who we know is going to be there, who we know is going to be there, who we know as somebody that we really want to be talking to rather than kind of just pursing our net and hoping that if something falls into it that’s of Interest. We have key account list which I work with a guy in each region together. And it’s a function of working the network, so our team and our advisers and our board or an existing client just see if there’s even any way that we can get a warm introduction. But mostly they’re focused on not kind of lead generation at large, but really kind of trying to develop relationships with those key accounts.

Andy: Sounds like its’ super targeted approach, really focused on those key accounts. Brilliant. What’s the biggest challenge that you’ve got with your sales at the moment?

Sara: I think it’s just keeping up with the pace of change. as we break into new categories, things move so quickly. For example we’ve put together one of the things that I do to try to support my team and make sure that they have collateral and presentation of things to share, and the speed at which those things become outdated, is just crazy.

I’m hiring a graphic designer right now because if someone who will take a template and try to customize it and somebody tries to customize a customized one and then it becomes further and further from the original look and feel and so it’s kind of trying to keep pace with the speed of the conversations that are happening and make sure they were also having a buttoned-up approach to putting our best to look forward in terms of the look and feel of those documents and also that we’re doing the best practice and sharing the communication across all the different members of the team at the speed of those conversations were taking place.

Andy: I’m sure that challenge is only going to increase with the scale as well. You talked a little bit earlier, we’re talking about the SDR process, when it comes to document management, can you run down a little bit about the technology that you’re using to managing your client interactions and help create internal and external communications at scale?

Sara: Salesforce is obviously at the core of its CRM program that we’re using. The sales development team is using Salesloft. There’s a lot of Google Drive in there. And as we ramp up in our marketing side, we’re vetting different providers for looking at things like HubSpot and Pardot and things like that for marketing automation program.

Andy: Cool. You’ve got super narrow focus where about are you guys gathering your data from?

Sara: LinkedIn is a big one. In terms of industry information, because we are so targeted in the sense that you’ve described, things like Skift for example and a couple of other newsletters that are really really helpful in terms of getting market information and helping us stay across the news in the hospitality and tourism category which is really our primary focus at the moment, so just trying to make sure that everyone stays really up to date on the latest goings-on in the industry and in the market, so they can leverage those in the best way.

Andy: I guess that’s a good way to finish up on the technology piece. Sara, thank you so much for your time. Really appreciate you sharing more about the LocalMeasure story. Sounds like you guys are on an awesome track.

Sara: Yeah, thanks, thanks for your time.

Andy: Where people can go to learn more about LocalMeasure?

Sara: Check out our awesome new website it’s getlocalmeasure.com.  We’ve rolled up that new website a couple of months ago and it’s getting better all the time. So check it out.

Andy: I love new website. Sara, thank you very much for your time and keep enjoying the flagship that is LocalMeasure.

Sara: Thanks very much.

Andy: Cheers, bye.

Sara: Bye.

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