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Use digital body language to track and optimise your sales content

Traditionally in face to face sales you would be able to deliver a presentation or a document to your prospects and see their reactions. Did their eyebrows rise at the pricing page? Did they ask their colleagues opinion when viewing a particular case study?

These actions provided an early indication into the prospects potential pain points and helped to identify future objections as the deal progressed. Now that there is a huge amount of sales content being shared and consumed over digital channels all of these insights were lost. Attach is solving this problem. By providing sales reps, leaders and marketing with analytics on who is engaging with your sales content and what they are focusing on they are providing the customers digital body language to the seller in real time.

Attach is still a young product and are definitely drinking their own champagne. They use their own product to get a deep understanding of customer, tracking and measuring what they have engaged with and constantly evolving their messaging and positioning to optimise the sales funnel. This evolution has created new target personas and fueled additional sales channels that are opening up new opportunities for growth.

Like with all startups, this wasn’t a linear path and CEO of Attach.io Ryan Gum talks through the challenges of pivoting towards a new customer persona and the opportunitieis it provides. Ryan is a startup marketing guru, creating a community to support sales reps closingcall.com & blog to help fellow enterprenuers with their StartupMarketing. There is plenty of startup sales gold in this interview!

We hope you enjoy this startup story!

What is your elevator pitch?

Attach is a tool for salespeople to know what happens to their when they hit “Send”. So you think of it as a Google analytics plus Dropbox to Google. So it tells you who opens them, it tells you when that happens, what pages they read and how long and also let’s you staying control of it at all times. Actually you can access and update it even after you’ve already sent it. The whole idea there is to help you sale smarter by knowing when and how to engage your customers.

On another level, it’s a platform that creates a centralized content hub for sales and marketing teams so they can engage their customers in sync. So a lot of companies have a marketing team who creates collateral for the sales team to use like  pitch decks or presentations etc. designed so help them sell.  It sounds simple but the way it actually plays out is that they create a lot of content but they don’t actually know, even to connect to the audience or if it’s working or if the sales people are using it. And the sales people on the other hand, better know where to find it and keep it updated and they got to know that they have the right version. So when they end up doing this, they start creating their own content and with the basic PowerPoint skills, putting together some monsters of content which is not good for the brand, not good the messaging.

So Attach give these teams at one place to store these collateral and also helps marketers know how it’s been used so that they can optimize.

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

Good question. One of our founder is a Sales Director for a SaaS company, he found these problems that there was a lack of insights of what was happening on the other side of sales process with these guys with his team. So I guess, face to face, it’s a two-way interaction with your customer, over phone interaction or when it comes to email, it’s a great tool, it’s very convenient. But sending an email with these documents, you send them out into a black hole. So we realized of course, how important it is to stay in control of the sales process. But again with email, you lose that control. So I guess, Attach came out of that and we wanted to help people gain that control back and use their customers’ “digital body language” to  fill in that one-way sales process.

Can you tell us more about your revenue sales story?

I’ll say that it’s early days for us. We started writing our first line of code here in late 2014. So 2015 was a year of building things up from scratch and learning for us. So right now we’ve got two people focusing on sales full time, plus me. We’re definitely aware of the predictable revenue SDR type model. But we’re running full stack sales purchase, so everyone runs through the full funnel themselves. We use LeadFuze to get emails from LinkedIn and LinkedIn premium or something. And then we put those email addresses into SalesLoft. We’ve looked at few of the other ones but we went with Salesloft because they the ability to add calling into that cadence. Calling works better for us as part to of the double touch point – writing email and then follow-up call. That seems to work great for us. Of course we use attach to send our sales collateral and presentations. We use join.me for our demos. Then we sync everything in Salesforce and in Slack.

What is your biggest challenge in sales?

I think it’s an ongoing challenge and probably the best way to explain things is through some of the learnings that we’ve had in the last year. The first learning we had is, really identifying your ideal customer profile or your target market. When we started, we had this assumption that it was the sales people and use case, but what ended up happening was we struggled to start because we took a lot of people that we’re exactly right for what we’re trying to do. So it was good in the short run, we got people in, we got people testing, we got some revenue. But what it ended up creating a lot of problems around their actual need or their used case being different to what we’d try to achieve.

All of the above but also the adoption rate wasn’t great. So if we sell it into sales team of 20 people, it’s really critical for us that everyone starts using it otherwise they’re not going to renew. It’s as simple as that. So earlier on, our pitch was a bit different or we didn’t explain our values clearly and obviously the product wasn’t at the level that it is today. So for a combination of reasons, it didn’t have the adoption rate that we wanted to see. And then we’d use it to get that but ultimately it ended up not working out right. So that was the first lesson in that. But we had to start somewhere. So these actually did help us find the right direction. Everyone talks about product to market feed, but when you actually get that you can really see much difference. So what we did was, we started to see exactly from the people that we’re using Attach both inbound and outbound, who’s having the most success, who has the most activity and get best results. And then highlighting that area and interviewing them and finding out  why that is, why they using it for, how’re they using it, and then building up the profile around them and using that information to funnel up back to our marketing, into our sales process to really optimize that our sales funnel and start to go for the right companies and right people. So that was one of the challenges that took us some time to learn but I think there’s no other way to learn. You have start somewhere and have to take those learnings and use that as best as you can. It is the ongoing process, you have to treat it like it’s a marketing experience or iterative software process where you try something and then you take a step back every few weeks and analyze what worked and what didn’t and learn from that, and funnel back in to your greater market strategy. It’s ongoing process, we’ve made good progress but we’re still trying to learn from our marketer and use it as much as possible.


FULL TRANSCRIPT

Andy:     Hi everyone! Welcome to another installment of Startup Stories – series of interviews with B2B tech founders and entrepreneurs about their own sales story. Super excited to be joined by Ryan Gum the CEO of Attach, that is an Australian. He is the CEO of the company based in Stockholm. But thanks for joining us Ryan. I’m really glad because you could make the time.

Ryan:     Thank you Andy.

Andy:     Perfect. We start out these with the same questions each time. Now put you on the spot and ask for your elevator pitch there at Attach.

Ryan: Attach is a tool for salespeople to know what happens to their when they hit “Send”. So you think of it as a Google analytics plus Dropbox to Google. So it tells you who opens them, it tells you when that happens, what pages they read and how long and also let’s you staying control of it at all times. Actually you can access and update it even after you’ve already sent it. The whole idea there is to help you sale smarter by knowing when and how to engage your customers.

On another level, it’s a platform that creates a centralized content hub for sales and marketing teams so they can engage their customers in sync. So a lot of companies have a marketing team who creates collateral for the sales team to use like  pitch decks or presentations etc. designed so help them sell.  It sounds simple but the way it actually plays out is that they create a lot of content but they don’t actually know, even to connect to the audience or if it’s working or if the sales people are using it. And the sales people on the other hand, better know where to find it and keep it updated and they got to know that they have the right version. So when they end up doing this, they start creating their own content and with the basic PowerPoint skills, putting together some monsters of content which is not good for the brand, not good the messaging.

So Attach give these teams at one place to store these collateral and also helps marketers know how it’s been used so that they can optimize.

Andy:     It sounds like huge challenge and the one that I know personally very well, both from the sales perspective and also from the sales leadership perspective and not knowing what the hell my guys are using. When did you guys figure out that this was a problem that needed to be solved?

Ryan:    Good question. One of our founder is a Sales Director for a SaaS company, he found these problems that there was a lack of insights of what was happening on the other side of sales process with these guys with his team. So I guess, face to face, it’s a two-way interaction with your customer, over phone interaction or when it comes to email, it’s a great tool, it’s very convenient. But sending an email with these documents, you send them out into a black hole. So we realized of course, how important it is to stay in control of the sales process. But again with email, you lose that control. So I guess, Attach came out of that and we wanted to help people gain that control back and use their customers’ “digital body language” to  fill in that one-way sales process.

Andy:     Nice. I like the “digital body language”; it’s a good one which is really cool. I absolutely love the idea of being able to make a mistake on a document or not send out a perfect document and then being able to change immediately or adjust pricing on the fly, that’s of huge value for all of the sales people that I work with.  

Ryan:    Even if you have sent out a document event 6 months ago and your pricing is updated, you don’t want that old pricing out there. Now you can update that, so everyone now has the latest price.

Andy:     That’s awesome. Your company is targeting sales people, can you tell us a little bit about how your sales machine is running at the moment from that process, people and technology perspective?

Ryan:    I’ll say that it’s early days for us. We started writing our first line of code here in late 2014. So 2015 was a year of building things up from scratch and learning for us. So right now we’ve got two people focusing on sales full time, plus me. We’re definitely aware of the predictable revenue SDR type model. But we’re running full stack sales purchase, so everyone runs through the full funnel themselves. We use LeadFuze to get emails from LinkedIn and LinkedIn premium or something. And then we put those email addresses into SalesLoft. We’ve looked at few of the other ones but we went with Salesloft because they the ability to add calling into that cadence. Calling works better for us as part to of the double touch point – writing email and then follow-up call. That seems to work great for us. Of course we use attach to send our sales collateral and presentations. We use join.me for our demos. Then we sync everything in Salesforce and in Slack.

Andy:     Cool. So you’re using Slack for that. We’re they located – both the sales guys are with you in Sweden?

Ryan:    Yeah, which is a good and bad because the majority of our customers seem to be from the US. So we’re having a lot of midnight demos what we have to do to make it work. We’re happy to do that.

Andy:     Price you have to pay to stay living in that fairy tale place of Stockholm.

Ryan:     But it’s probably the same for Australia, you have to do 5 AM demos or something.

Andy:     Stupidly early morning, it’s generally how it happens. But as I’ve said, the price you have to pay to reach the market and the people are interested. But it sounds like a lot of from that sales approach, a lot of what you’re doing is still very much outbound as opposed relying on inbound activities, is that a fair assumption?

Ryan:    I probably left that out. We started selling from day one and at that point we’re all happy because there was inbound when we started, inbound takes time. we’re actually probably half-half, we’ve a lot people that come through when start to using it free and then really like it and sharing around our team. That makes an easier intro for us to reach out and expand. Also we have more requests for inbound. So we’re trying to move definitely more towards inbound. And outbound was just means to help us get by the time. Yeah, inbound is what we can get.

Andy:     Awesome. How’s that comparing between the sales cycles of the inbound leads from new customers versus your outbound approach once they actually may have that contact with the first customer?

Ryan:   It’s like night and day. It’s such an easy conversation, its’ an easy process. You don’t even have to pitch them on the concept or the idea because they already have the problem, they’ve identified that they have this problem, this is to solve for me. They come in like [Unclear 0:08:14] and like it. So the conversation is just more about getting to know them and helping them through their buying process as opposed to what Attach is. Because it’s a new concept for a lot of people. They’ve got a lot of sales tools; they’ve got the CRM, but may be something like Attach is in their toolkit. So lot more education around sales process when it’s outbound. If that takes a lot longer, a lot more skepticism until they actually get into it.

Andy:     It’s document via Attach

Ryan:     Yeah. This is why inbound is what we really wanted.

Andy:     Absolutely. Definitely makes a lot easier when people get in and try a product. It solves the problem first. When you’re going with your outbound activity and also with your inbound marketing activity, are you chasing just a sales persona or you’re also looking to engage people on the marketing side as well.

Ryan:   Exactly. This has been an interesting learning for us. Initially doing some interviews and have a bit of assumption of who your target market or your ideal customer is. And then you go out and you chase that out and then you revisit your initial assumptions and try to add your learning into that. So we started just targeting sales people but a lot of the conversations started having that went well, with product marketing directors at these companies. They sometimes own this field or they own the buying decisions within the company. So it was a great learning for us that both sales and marketing is something we could proceed on.  And we’ve changed our sales process to target a lot more marketers as well.

Andy:     Can you tell a little bit about how you do that? Because the conversations going to be very different when you go after a sales person as opposed to product marketing. You’ve got two guys – one go after sales and one go after marketing, how do you go about that?

Ryan: At the moment we have two different personas at our target markets. We put together, presentations and collateral and content for both of those personas. In terms of reaching out to them, we definitely find that the marketers have been more receptive and a little bit open to checking out new tools, where the sales managers are just focused on their numbers and forecasting and doing whatever they can do. So it’s looking like marketers funnily enough is actually our easiest in and then marketers help distribute that through the sales team and actually to come out champions and help pitch that into the team as well versus if we’re just going for sales people and working on way out or going to Sales Directors.

Andy:     Absolutely. As you said, sales people like to make busy time. And always try to be out there on the phones and marketers seem to be out there less more often.

Ryan: Yeah, but they’re still working hard.

Andy:     Working hard but picking up the phones a lot, at least you can get through more often.

Ryan:     Yeah.

Andy:     My last question, what’s your biggest sales challenge at the moment?

Ryan: I think it’s an ongoing challenge and probably the best way to explain things is through some of the learnings that we’ve had in the last year. The first learning we had is, really identifying your ideal customer profile or your target market. When we started, we had this assumption that it was the sales people and use case, but what ended up happening was we struggled to start because we took a lot of people that we’re exactly right for what we’re trying to do. So it was good in the short run, we got people in, we got people testing, we got some revenue. But what it ended up creating a lot of problems around their actual need or their used case being different to what we’d try to achieve.

Andy:     Can you explain a little bit about, not the profile of that wrong person but what they’re doing because I’d thought anyone using your product, but without giving you nonspecific feedback or providing a burden to your support organization?

Ryan: All of the above but also the adoption rate wasn’t great. So if we sell it into sales team of 20 people, it’s really critical for us that everyone starts using it otherwise they’re not going to renew. It’s as simple as that. So earlier on, our pitch was a bit different or we didn’t explain our values clearly and obviously the product wasn’t at the level that it is today. So for a combination of reasons, it didn’t have the adoption rate that we wanted to see. And then we’d use it to get that but ultimately it ended up not working out right. So that was the first lesson in that. But we had to start somewhere. So these actually did help us find the right direction. Everyone talks about product to market feed, but when you actually get that you can really see much difference. So what we did was, we started to see exactly from the people that we’re using Attach both inbound and outbound, who’s having the most success, who has the most activity and get best results. And then highlighting that area and interviewing them and finding out  why that is, what they’re using it for, how’re they using it, and then building up the profile around them and using that information to funnel up back to our marketing, into our sales process to really optimize that our sales funnel and start to go for the right companies and right people. So that was one of the challenges that took us some time to learn but I think there’s no other way to learn. You have start somewhere and have to take those learnings and use that as best as you can. It is the ongoing process, you have to treat it like it’s a marketing experience or iterative software process where you try something and then you take a step back every few weeks and analyze what worked and what didn’t and learn from that, and funnel back into your greater market strategy. It’s ongoing process, we’ve made good progress but we’re still trying to learn from our marketer and use it as much as possible.

Andy:     Awesome. The challenges that you’re going through sounds like exactly the same challenges that you solve for your customers. I mean, you’re figuring out what contents are working, what’re people engaging, hey you guys can continue, close that loop and continue to improve.

Ryan:   Exactly. Attach has been very helpful for us obviously as part of our sale process.  We need to be the number one user of our product.

Andy:     Awesome. Ryan, thank you so much for your time. There are plenty of startup sales go there, people going through their own struggles, if people are in need of documents to their prospect and better manage their inventory and collateral, where do they find you?  

Ryan:   It’s easy, it’s free to sign up at attach.io and you can reach me at ryan@attach.io. I’ll be happy to chat.

Andy:     Brilliant. Thanks again for your time. Really appreciate it.

Ryan: It’s always great to talk to you Andy.

Andy:     Cheers mate.

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