An hour interview with Jeff Booth, Product Manager at OpenDock
Kevin: Hey this is Kevin Mead from Scripts for Marketers. Today I’m talking with Jeff Booth, a Product Manager at OpenDock, and we’re gonna be asking questions about what it means to run a successful Product Team and how the product manager and a marketing manager can cooperate.
Kevin: Today, I’m gonna start off with you, Jeff, and asking you, what got you interested in the product management?
Jeff: I think the intro was pretty solid except for successful, maybe some opportunities still there, but I definitely do around the product team and trying to get better at that every day, and I think what really get me into product management is that I’m a little bit of a jack of all trades, master of none, and I’m really interested in a lot of different things.
Jeff: One of those passion points is customer experience, but along with that, I really, really love data and technology and the business side of how that works, and so I thought the product was a really great way for all those things to intersect and give me a chance to really make a great user experience, but understand how that drives business results. since everything’s using a technology platform in my role in a SaaS product, it lets me see a lot of data to make really good decisions about that, or give my best to try to make good decisions.
Kevin: Now, what are the skills that help you succeed in your role, you mentioned data a little bit, but I’d just be kinda curious about what helped you be much successful in product management.
Jeff: Communication and prioritization, so I don’t want this to be cliche. This is my first product manager job. It’s interesting. I’ve interviewed quite a few of them. And the most common feedback I received was, “Well, your skill set’s there,” whether it’s a background in analytics, comfortable technology, financial background. “We will train product managers, and so there’s less of the concern about that”, and now that I’m in the role, I can really see why because honestly, it’s communicating with customer-facing teams, marketing teams and my engineering team to really understand what each thing does for us and how much it costs to use, and then prioritizing, just being a ruthless, prioritize it’s… You hear some of the cliche stuff around, it’s not about what you say yes to, it’s about what you say no to, but it’s true, it’s so easy to get chasing down all these different rabbit holes, and then my job is really just to keep us laser-focused especially being a start-up, limited resources, I just prioritize ruthlessly. Will this matter how many people… Will it matter to how was the likelihood we fail or succeed at it next, and then just work the less… Not so, yeah.
Kevin: Now, why is product so important to venture backed startup?
Jeff: Well, I can only answer this through other lenses, so we’re not venture-backed, we’re backed by the founder, we do have an investor, but I think the big component of it is that it’s the football field. It’s the game. It’s what matters. You can have a great business model, but if you don’t have a product that engages customers, then what’s the point? You come up with all these great solutions, but if the product doesn’t connect the customer successfully to that solution, then what are you really doing? And I think venture-backed companies really looking for products that can scale, so what that means is you can get additional sales out of it without adding the same level of cost, so you’re actually scaling up, you’re keeping your fixed cost and your very minimized as you grow your business. And so I think that’s probably the big attraction from a venture company that wants to private equity company that was to invest money and so… And I just free them real quick. Okay, you got a… Yeah, so what the challenges have you said, so you’re kinda building the product an open dock, and what… If I was interested in the product management or may not anticipate about the role, I know that a lot of product managers might come from a user experience background from a Bentley different backgrounds, but it sounds like… From everything I’ve heard, communication is the most important thing, so I’d be curious what challenges kinda come along with that territory.
Yeah, and I’ll kind of lead with a caveat that in tech stupid, I don’t have any tech background, right. I’ve been in some analytics roles, I’ve done some basic things, but I am not a technical leader, I do have my undergrad in computer information, which turns out I was not good at… I did enough to get my grade and move on, but I’m not developed rotten, and so the communication thing really comes into play there because I need to ask thoughtful questions, that I need to learn enough to be educated on a topic to make a good decision, but… The real challenges you come up with, or just people’s lens as people’s context, so a great example might be, you might have a great customer success team, and they may work with two to three of your key customers, and those two to three customers might have a really similar message, and so in their world, it’s a 100% of the people want this feature, but then when you extrapolate that out or blow that out to everything, maybe they’re actually the vocal minority, maybe the rest of your users don’t have any interest in that, and so finding the way to balance that and really get back to data around… And a lot of times you’re working with imperfect data, so just coming up with ways to understand where a person is coming from, and like I said, that’s a real common one, or… We all have a perspective because we all use products every day, I think it’s a lot like owning a restaurant… Everyone thinks they can do it.
Jeff: I weigh in on people’s restaurant strategy, I’m like, Oh, pull, don’t do the meatballs, I’m eating a lot of meat balls, and it’s like, Jeff, have you ever worked in the kitchen? Have you ever made me… But no, you’re right, as I’ve only been a dinner at a restaurant, and I think a lot of people are like that with the product, they have built that they’ve been a consumer, so their perspective is valuable, but sometimes they don’t understand why you make the decisions you make, and it’s really easy to get caught into at a feature, at a feature at a future, and eventually you have 5000 features and you’re like, What are we… What are we even doing here?
Jeff: We’ve tried to be everything to everyone, so we’re no one to anyone, and I think fighting that, but still keeping your team engaged is probably the biggest challenge, no one’s like… “I love that Jeff guy, he says no to everything we recommend, so it’s, Hey, I don’t think this is the right way to go now, and here’s block… Well, I do think it leads us to this thought, which is great, let’s make that part of our strategy, and so I think it’s just constantly having that communication with multiple different teams.
Kevin: Gotcha, yeah, it seems like you gotta balance saying no to people, but also taking their perspective into account because they’re the people that are front-facing with everyone in there, the opinion that matters as you used to.
Jeff: You were in a marketing role and were you working tightly with your product team and your most recent role.
Kevin: I don’t. Not really, not too much.
Jeff: Okay, so that’s what I’d be curious about. So is that an area where you wish you did work more with the product team or you wish you had that funnel.
Kevin: I think where I see a big gap between… One was, every department, you think about great companies, they get rid of silos, but I think that where there’s kind of offset in the marketing product situation is that marketers can run into the ivory tower problem, right?
Kevin: I’m sure product managers can do, and so I feel like there’s a very big opportunity where marketing team may be out of touch or a product management team might also be out of touch with the customer, and I think with both those roles, the hardest thing is to be in touch.
Kevin: That’s why you do product interviews, but I think with the gap between a product team and marketing, sometimes it’s that I think a lot of… Something… Don’t think that technology has a place from the marketing department, I think that we’ve accepted a lot of markets, but we haven’t really accepted the fact that you can be an engineer and have something to say about what marketing is doing in a productive way, and same thing the other way, because the road map is the most important thing is really difficult for marketing to have an impact on a… I’ve talked to you about how onboarding is really difficult, and it’s something that requires both marketing and product, but that has some challenges to really overcome.
Jeff: Definitely, and I think that the biggest role is when people have a perspective and you hit on it, It’s… You’re an engineer, what do you know about marketing, and it’s like what you’re marketing, what do you know about engineering a product? You can play this game forever and in the end, none of us are as expert as we all plan, we are, we may have done the role for a little bit, we have a perspective, but I really see the value of the product. I talk about this and hopefully it doesn’t co of not… I say it loud, probably it’s gonna come a little pompous, but I think of myself as the Senator and everyone’s my constituent, and it’s none of my own ideas necessarily, hopefully I can add some value here and there, what I really wanna do is bring together the idea of hundreds of constituents customers and internal-facing and really remove robots, allocate resources and get those to move forward to a strategic vision of an improved product and whatever that means to us, but I really do… I try to play the senator, I go out there and I shake hands, I kiss babies, I go to their meetings, I wanna learn everything about them, I want to know where they’re coming from, so I can use that as context to help make really good decisions.
Kevin: Yeah, yeah, and I think… I’m talking about the ivory tower thing, and I think that with marketing teams, it’s also the same thing, is mental benefit from a product management perspective of, like you said, being the Senator, having constituents, I’ve rarely seen content marketing team, their team or the people that talk to customers, Hey, what I… All the customer is interested in.
Kevin: Are the questions that are interesting to them outside of our product, something that I’ve been really deep-diving into, which is the fact that when you’re selling a product, you also, in that I Efron marketing perspective, you need to catch those people across every point that they’ve been around just because someone is buying your product, they mean that they don’t have 20 other different problems that have to do with that, and if you can be in the spot where you are from a content perspective or from an advertising perspective, helping along the entire process of their business, you can really be at the top of mind, but I think it’s really easy for marketing deems to…
Kevin: I focus us on to just what do we do? And I really think about the life cycle of the customer entirely, I… I think something that’s really interesting about product managers and that role is also it relapse with design, but I think customer interviews is something that is really at the core of trading ENT, and I haven’t seen it be at the core of… Especially marketing, and I’d be curious, how do you enter the mindset of a customer to make those right decisions about what features, what goes on the ramp and what your product does at the end of the day?
Jeff: Well, and it’s interesting, you think you have all these customers and you’re like, Oh, I should just be able to interview whatever I want. And it turns out that that’s not the case. They don’t always have time for that. Sometimes they’re confused of why their product guy wants to talk to them, and so it’s far less formal in my role, whereas I just try to be a part of any conversation where the customer will be speaking, and so that can be success manager, follow-ups, Account Manager, Customer Support, solving an issue, a sales call, an onboarding call, wherever I can get into different stages of that journey, I always try to insert myself to just hear what the conversations are like, and thankfully, I have some really good teammates and partners where I’m at now, where they allow me to interject and ask a question, I try out to derail anything they’re doing, but they let me ask questions and things like that, and it’s hard to build direct relationships with customers from a product perspective, but I try to get involved and then my other secret sauce, TAC involved is trying to add value to my internal team who then went to bring me along. So a great example was, we didn’t really have a great format for TVs, and so I put together a quarterly business review using data and talking about our customers problems, and put together a nice little template deck they can review and our success teams and… Wow, this is great. We would love to use this. Can you help us present it into a went from not being on calls to now I’m invited and I’m even gonna get to talk, and during that conversation, I’m hoping to give value to them, hoping to help that success team demonstrate the value of our product.
Jeff: But that gets my foot in the door to say, Well, some of those things that showed you how do you do this today, or what are your thoughts, or is a surprising… And I can turn it into a conversation that helps me just glean more insights about how it can make a better product, that’s interesting, ’cause I know any time I’ve worked with a product manager or seen a product manager up cross, right and personal in the wild.
It’s been really formal interviews, and so I like the perspective of just interjecting into…
I’ve seen people… I even think about this from rest of a product manager perspective, but even on-boarding… Right, I’ve had onboarding as a new hire where I’ve gotten on a call, like a customer call, right. And a PiL demo where you listen to sales demos, and I feel like that still needs to be… Still needs to grow in that area of how do we understand customers, and we’re not the one that work with them every day, ’cause we’re not in success, whether that’s talking with the specific success managers.
Well, like you said, interjecting into these relationships, it’s something that’s still is a major problem across the board, and you see software project or software product, try to see Estonian… One company that I think of is called receptive, and what they do is they make it that your customer success and your customers can give feedback and about features they want, etcetera. But what I find out, and I find a way with software of the Board is that it’s really just trying to get us away from the hard things to do, which is not to your customer, at the core that you need to be there for those situations to learn more about customers is, I think that’s something that needs to be a little bit more adopted across the board, not being part of those conversations is huge too, because you can start to do a little bit of the root cause… I know often times I’ll kind of get what the customer thinks they need, but if they’re not product managers, so they don’t own our software product or they’re thinking about their world, that might not be what they need, they might be trying to solve a different problem, so a great example was we had a sales member on our team coming to me and say, I’d really like us to be able to export a custom PDF for this customer for a receipt for all their appointments and transactions. And it’s like, Man, why did they want that?
It’s a good idea, actually. We should have a receipt, but I don’t wanna make it for their custom PDF, and so the feature request is load all your data into a custom PDF that they deem fit, but to me, that solves the problem for one customer, but the real answer is they want data into this new system, so the receipts can be formatted their way, but also I think all of our users would benefit from some sort of receipt.
So instead of having that be feature, let’s actually make a receipt in our standardized format, and then let’s make our API really easy for them to consume, and so they can consume it, but in their system, they do whatever they like with it.
So that’s where a really good idea came in, but if we just took it verbatim, we would have probably built what I think is the wrong thing and not a very valuable thing for the company, but by floating out and understand what they’re really trying to accomplish, I think we can make two tremendously valuable things, but having that conversation as opposed to saying the immediate reaction might be like, No, that’s dumb. Why are we gonna do that?
No, that’s not dumb at all. It’s just this person’s thinking about their solution for one customer when I have 400 I need to make happy, so how do I take what they’re getting at and solve it and provide that solution for everyone who are a large enough… Yeah, yeah, something that strikes me there is, I think… I’m not sure the exact number, but it’s like the three wins, it’s like to get that three times before you really understand what it’s about, and that goes down to… Even comes down to marketing messaging like, Hey, why is this so important? Even going past the features, it’s like, Okay, oh, what can they do with this data, what the value here, what can they save in terms of time, money, effort, etcetera, and so.
Yeah, I definitely think I’ve run into some situations where I’ve had a salesperson come to me and say, you know, there’s one in one in on where we fix this one thing, I’m gonna get into my own hands and fix it.
He has to be thinking about how the core of the problem and not just like you were saying with the two customers, the minority being the lowest of the three, two customers out of 4000, and then I think we need this feature, the… It is a go-to, to probably spend all my resources on these two customers, the other customers are gonna be really pissed off with me and I’m going to lose all of them, something my old product manager said constantly and I wore them for it, but it was where I was not building to build us, and it goes to… Great question.
It’s great, it’s fantastic because it’s also a real way to say no, but it’s a way to really ask those critical questions of, Okay, we do have limited resources, especially in a startup, especially in a bootstrap startup, but how do we make sure we’re doing the right things and not spending those resources on something that’s just anecdotal data, so I definitely could see that being really valuable and it’s… It’s a game of telephone. You have one person interpreting down the line that they have their own bias that they can do it. We’ve all done it. We’ve all been there. Hey, boss, what do you think of this idea?
It’s Okay, hey, the box loves it. He said he wants this go forward, and then you circle back to, like I said, it was okay.
So we all do that, that’s just his human nature, if it confirms it, some of our bias or what we’re thinking, that language might change, like you said, we’re not gonna sign up if we don’t have this feature, when really they said, Oh, that’d be a nice to have… And then it turned into that, and I get it, ’cause everyone, the salesperson wants to close, the product person wants to build, the engineer wants to come, we all have the things that we wanna do, and if something subscribes of those, we want to follow that very linearly and I understand it, but it’s being able to back out of those while doing it gracefully, because what you don’t wanna do is make a whole lot of enemies by not being respectful and hearing all these things and listening… Yeah, yeah, something I’m interested about that you mentioned last time when we talked was it comes down to knowing the customer, right, and something you mentioned is like, I wanna hire people with experience in my industry, I had seen that a lot across the board, and it’s a really smart move, and I just like to hear it. What are the insights that you missed that that when you are America into the war house industry, and we have to put all these resources into saying that marketer into a warehouse industry.
I think it’s something that fell in software where sofas kinda seen is that we have to market the specific Safeway and we have to do it this specific way, but what I found is the industry, others more… We actually are at… If I’m assess marketer, I really would mess up for four months doing more as marketing because I’d be learning to advertising and they make all their decisions maybe from this one specific magazine that everyone read, and so I’d be curious what your thoughts were there and how much time and energy is saved by taking the strategic decisions and hiring… You hit it on the head, and that’s where I’ve always thought about. That’s how I’ve always thought about teens just broadly, conceptually, whether at the executive level or the product level or wherever you want…
I always think of the team of having this unique makeup where if I am a form person team, I want one person who’s been with the company for 10 years, I want one person who worked at the competitor of our company or somewhere else in the industry, I want one person who has nothing to do with any of this, they’ve never come from this, they work from a completely different industry, their skill set just translates like your SaaS marketing, and then the last one is, this person came from whoever we’re selling to, they were one of our customers are in a similar role, and I started thinking how all those positions together kind of form the unique thing that’s like my captain plan a scenario, right? All four of them together create the super thing.
I really believe in that. And so we were conserve a warehouse industry with our software is appointment scheduling software, but to be fair, look, I have some logistics experience working in some things tangential to the warehouse, but I’ve never operated a warehouse, and so while I have some good understanding from other roles, I haven’t done it, and we have a couple people on our team with some warehouse experience, but I would really like to get more people who understand that space because it just has so much value, insureds your learning curve as a SaaS market or… Right, they can tell you how this customer group behaves, where they shop, how they learn things, what they prefer, their type of content, they also can take a much more consultative approach, it’s so much better to get advice on how to solve their need or to understand their problem, when you could say… Yeah, I remember when I was doing that for 10 years, we ran into the same issue, is we work in telling that, Oh yeah, I’m an outsider. And well, you just do this and that, and they’re like, That doesn’t work. For so many reasons, I can’t even begin to describe to you right now, so I really think it’s important to find people in that industry, so you previously came from quick and they were at the restaurant space and the food service industry. So finding those roles, I would have thought that it be neat for your staff to be permeated with people who either did hiring for some of those roles, like they did hiring for a major restaurant chain, or they were a GM, some of those restaurants. And I feel like that helps you to create the secret sauce, and it helps or teaching your product, you’re engineering your marketing teams, the questions they should have asked that you could only know by truly working in that industry.
Yeah, that’s interesting. I know that… It was always a plus. I know that we had a couple of people who had been in the TV, the beverage industry. I don’t think we did on the marketing department, but I think it was definitely in terms of the sales and on the ground, like having that edge, I actually know it’s going on, I know what’s going through these peoples heads, somebody, I find interesting is that you did in your top Planet analogy, you got or are different people and not all them are experienced in that specific industry. I think it’s interesting to ask the question of What do fresh is come to this because what I find is I’m doing some contracting right now, and what I find is me as a contractor and me as an employee, there are two different things. They have different ways of changing your perspective to really look from an outside view and really question some things, I’ve maybe a stupid call as an employee because I have the bites in my head of like, This is how we should do things, this is… Or we only got it and then all… Let’s say, I think the same situation as an outside consultant, and I said, Oh, this makes no sense, let’s just tweak this and do it simple and we’re performing better.
What I find interesting is it this plug for scripts for marketers in the… That the younger side. Right, and it’s more on those people who are trying to be innovative and try to the on position, figure out what they can bring to the table, and I think what’s interesting is really thinking about not knowing things in some perspective are you… To not have biases, not have… We don’t Ave done it that’s… And so I think having that balance is like, Okay, this is… Let’s say the war horse industry is supposed to do this, and then having that counterpoint of like…
But that doesn’t make any sense. For marketing, yeah, that doesn’t make any sense from just a common sense perspective, and so it’s definitely interesting to have that mix of perspectives when you’re creating that team, being a consultant.
Awesome, because you can just work off things and see things that other people know, I can solve everyone’s problem, literally everyone except my out… But if I have all those same problems due, I’m a disaster, I’m like, How could you possibly figure this out and I won’t solve it or I’ll do the wrong wrong thing in 00 times, but someone else brings me a problem where I have no attachments, no emotional action, no. Anything I can look at and say, Oh, it’s really easy. And so part of a consultant, it’s job is just you can say things other people can’t… And there’s no bias. I look you… If you hate 10 from accounting, even if 10 has the best idea ever, you’re gonna be like…
Yeah, I don’t know, that’s kind of a Jack asks, and it’s like, No, how can you take that out of your brain and just see the idea, we all wanna believe we’re bigger than that, or better than that, but we’re just not… And when you’re a consultant, you can just highlight those things without being tied into everyone like that and have that perspective. Plus, the consultant, I always found consulting in very interesting because I’ve been at companies that’s far at one of them that spent… Raise the amount of money on consultants, and you know what they did, they said the same thing that the internal employees were saying, except the difference is you love to do a consult ’cause you just paid them a big blue sun… It’s weird, do you pay your employees more if you pay him for a long period of time, but then you just go to your consultant, so it’s interesting how that dynamic works, but there is a real value to it, and I think that translates well, the team of having someone with fresh eyes. Because if someone’s like, Hey, I’ve never been in the restaurant space. But I can tell you, it seems weird that you do this… Everyone can kind of sit back, but that is weird that we do that we should stop doing that, but sometimes you just need to be told by a teammate that you have trust in that… That’s the case.
Yeah, yeah, for sure. I know that in every situation I’ve ever been in marketing where I’ve done… Actually, is where I thought I do everything, and we have done amazing is because I tried something that didn’t make a lot of sense for how you’re supposed to do things, but it made perfect sense because I wasn’t letting the SIF vices… To me, from making the right decision.
Moving it on the more product manager direction is asking questions about what defines the product market fit and how do you determine that? I know this is a conversation that you and I’ve had off camera, but is a really complex question because I is… Yeah, it’s the same thing in marketing of saying, I just won this great copy or made this great landing page, it’s great, the input, my flag in the ground, we want each product market said, Our product is great, and I’d be curious other ways that you can either qualitatively or Constable, Track that and really say to that yet, I know I told you I wanna work for the person who says, Hey, I don’t think we predict market, so you had… But I think we can, and it’s because as that opener, it’s not arbitrary, this is something that really is more objective, but I… Because metrics that could… Hence a product market fit.
Yeah, so we definitely had this conversation and I’ve raised my hands up and said, Hey, I haven’t started anything in the software space or these things like that, I do have a small side startup that I did some things on, but I really haven’t done this at a high level, so I’m sure I’ll get admonish for this, but I think a lot of people… Speak to product market fit. It’s a specific science. Yep, I’ve achieved it. Whereas I don’t… I think it’s a little… Little lumber than that, I don’t think it’s as clear as it’s direct, I think you start to touch on it and you start to get metrics that point you to, Hey, do people really like our product because like I said, you might have made the greatest product, but maybe you did a really bad job marketing and so no one just really found out, so maybe you have the best product, but you didn’t find the market… So I think there’s a lot of things… One of the things that jumped out to me a lot when I think about product are fit, is customer satisfaction and thinking about how you really use that, because when I say customer satisfaction, I don’t need the little reviews at the end of the email that say if I did a good job. Give me five stars.
Okay, that might be a nice touch point, and I do think that has a value, but I don’t think that means product market fit. But do they put their money where their mouth is? When your price goes up, do they stay with you, they re… Do they expand at more locations, more functionality, are they referring other customers, are they bringing people on because they want their partners on this… So I think there’s a few metrics that jump out to me, churn being one of them, figuring out how your sales growth is happening if it’s organic, meaning word of mouth, however you want to capture that, maybe a blog talks about how great your software is, maybe you have great reviews on Cap Tera, but just are people doing things to tell other people about your service because there’s such raving fans of yours, so I think turn people not leaving, customers telling others about you and then I think your sales show it… The question is, What are your sales expectations… If you only thought there were 500 people who needed a product and you sold to 100 of them, I don’t know that it feels like a pretty good product market fit.
So what are your expectations? Is it when you’re selling to 20% of your market or maybe 80% of her from you, 40% are considering buying an 10% of your customers today, just coming up with a framework, but a flexible framework that you can adjust as you learn more.
Right, I look, I’ve scoped industries and market sizes, and I’m wrong every single time, just like every single other person is, but you have a range or a perspective and you start working towards that and You uncover a little bit more of the truth, you adjust and you keep going. And so I think those are some of the signals that you might have a product market fit, what are some of the things that you think you’ve experienced very… We’re on to something here. What are some of those other qualitative or quantitative… Yeah, I find it interesting ’cause I think you and I are both numbers people at the end of the day, but as I’ve done more experienced, I’m also looking into more of that qualitative world, big ones are obviously Sharon. That’s probably the one I look to personally the most… Something I think is been interesting to me that… I don’t know, it kind of jump to hold of me when you were talking is like you said the 100 to it near, you had a sense of the market. Second, as of the U, you’re doing something, right? Something that I find interesting is, I’ve had this conversation before, when you’re in startups, right. And you’re raising money, right?
You tensed a pretty big team, right, a across the board, you need to show that this market has rigged, it has enough people that you can talk to, but what if… I’m interesting about what you were saying with the 500 is like…
No, I don’t think there’s… Maybe if you’re an enterprise, there might be 500 customers, but you in… In certain companies, if you’re at usage-based company, it didn’t make a ton of sense, right, to… After some of these smaller accounts, and say, I think to a certain extent, it also comes down to how well defined is your specific target demographic, I find that it’s really tough to get start-ups to define that in a way that is… So their focus that they only go after those people that… Of those 500, but they’re gonna make them a ton of money, especially if you take a market approach there, a 500 people that make up a large amount of revenue in that city or in that… I wouldn’t say in the US, but even it was Enterprise Marketing, right? You’re after pro00 companies, if you’re doing enterprise marketing, but if you have four of them, you would be doing fantastic.
I, I think that’s a great thing to highlight there, if me and you were trying to sell a product to ERPS enterprise software, there’s probably hundreds of… That have some sort of ERP-like system.
But I mean, you landed Oracle and SAP, then somebody might be like, you guys only have two. Of the 500 were like, Yeah, but it’s one… And to do we have product market fit? If we represent 50% of the transactions or their revenue, there’s just other things to look at besides just raw customer account, maybe it’s… Like you said, usage, I thought it was a good call out, do what You have represent 85% of all transactions. I think those things are really important to understand the context of.
Yeah, yeah, and I think something that’s also interesting is you kinda mentioned… I’m a CRM guy, and a lot of the stuff I write about is to base… It’s interesting because in the revenue operations space, people are getting more advanced with how do we track that sales are… Still people are doing better or… That’s something I’ve tracked a ton, but what I find interesting is the idea of mixing it all together, right into the mixing pot, we talk about breaking them first, but on average, still sales process, let’s say seven calls, right?
So we are starting to get it in five because we have good word of Mount, we have better reviews online, or we’re starting to see that conversions increasing, I think all of this kind of combines, but it’s also I even… My self, people in the past, I hated me for it, but it’s the question of like, Can you please walk… People are going with our competitors in which Ron they’re going in to that you… We could reach out to them at some point, or we could even just know at the Bethany sign some were not… ’cause we… If they ever used the competitor and what they hated about them, no, I don’t think that data will either get logged ever in the in my line in A…
So why is it a painting as… Do you think it actually… Do you think it’s because sales people are afraid asking those questions will slow down or impede the sale, it’ll take it off the focus of selling, or is it just simply, Look, my job is to get as many customers on and adding any filler steps may make that more difficult.
I think it’s a both. Sales people are always worried about the coda at the end of the day. I think it comes down to… And it’s probably something I’ll do an interview about later on in everything, the answer what we incentivize… Right, if we make it that let’s… We want more content on a lot on is a the entire company, so we want more content that’s directed at our customers, right.
And let’s say my product manager has a lot of stuff to offer, so we give them an incentive of ever we can offer every employee, if you great content for us, we’ll give you a special extra… Like a bonus, right?
And I… Let’s take back to sales, right?
You want to show it across the entire company, and that makes us go into these rebate account-based or maybe even revenue-based is… And they estimate with that at all, but we want to set protecting important data that Artis the show, let’s say product market fit, and there’s a team isn’t privy at and your things… We had a to intention.
So we have to make it… See one, if we don’t do, I know of those. It’s not gonna happen. I know that we’re getting to the spot where this discussion is becoming really important and people are sending to do incentives and commission based on in a case you make rather than… And that’s not all you do, obviously, you still have to close at the end of the day, but we’re starting to get to the point where they like… So we… If you had a beautiful set that was us to really understand our customers, we’ll give you an extra bonus, right.
I think we’re getting to the point that that data is with its weight in gold, but it requires some creativity to correct it, but also it requires us to incentivize our sales people, but also to make it seamless that a written about before was, how do you make it that You… Asthma rods itself, and your sales person is just selling… I’m not sure you could do that with the stuff that we’ve been talking about, but if someone could, that’d be something that would allow you to create these reports that the Anteaters, that This is why people come to us, and this is why people leave us, and that is really valuable data, especially to add on to churn, because it’s really tough to just look at a chart and be like, yeah, our customers take this one future and they won this one feature… That’s it, that’s the end of the story. And say, I think it’s gonna be really important in the coming years to be able to say, This is more product sense that looks like… And this is how we get that data in there.
When you talk about incentive there, and that’s where I struggle, ’cause I’m a long game player, not a transactional, I think that’s what it really comes to the type of culture or building…
I think if you have a sales team that you think is gonna be with you for the long or… Your sell point is, Look, well, we have this data.
I think it allows us to sell more in the future, three months, six months, 12 months, maybe a year or two, so if we can increase sales through our marketing engine or our offerings by 20%, and you’re the salesperson who sells those, you will read the benefits of this… So it’s finding that balance of, how do I incentivize you? But all you have to understand as the company grows and you will be part of that success and you will actually receive the financial rewards of it, but it may not be this moment, so how do you teach people to think strategically instead of transactional?
And that’s really tough. And in my experience, most people just want what the most they can get to today, and sometimes the most you can get today is an absence of the most you could get in the future, so I think I see that happened a lot where somebody said, I will get 200 a month subscription, no matter what today, even though doing that might cost him 5000 tomorrow… No.
That’s harder to prove that. No, but I think that’s what happens when we get really transactional-focused or we need to shorten the sales cycle and close by today, where it’s like, You know what, if it takes another week or two weeks, if we’re playing a longer game, hopefully that shouldn’t matter and if it’s still creating… If that creates a better client experience or we uncover more… Where we can sell them more.
I think there’s value that… And it’s always the Bund, right? Fighting the balance, you don’t wanna drag a process out and make it six months when it can be one month, but on the same token, don’t make it one day when it should be one month, make sure you’re going through the steps, and it’s understanding that framework, knowing that the timeline of the framework can vary, if you were a really good framework where you’re hitting each step in it, the small business might go through all those steps in 48 hours, but it might take an enterprise business 48 days, but if you follow that game plan I think it’s really important. So I think those are just interesting things to know when you’re talking about getting good data, the strategic value, but then incentivizing behavior for today.
Yeah, yeah, for sure. I think it’s… There’s not a good answer that It’s up on, and it’s important to ask those stuff questions to actually move the needle on some of this stuff. Now, we’ve been talking a good amount on product-market fit and key metrics, right, that the success looks like for a product manager, is it being able to product-market fit or is it based on the amount of futures released, is it something that is connotation… Can you make a doctor out of… And I’ve been a good product manager today, and where is it just being able to say like, Hey, here these anecdotes of customers that are really happy with us, what’s kind of the balance there in terms of saying, Hey, this is me doing my role the correct way, it’s a crazy one because I don’t think… I’ve asked myself the same question. And it’s hard because I think a lot of it, although it’s science back, I would think of it as, how do you tell if an artist is doing a good job, is it the amount of paintings they put out, is it the revenue those painting self for… Is it the claim from the critics, how do you really understand and not that I’m an artist by the way, that that’s way over value who I am, but just using that kind of example… So no, I think I’m kind of a focal point that if the company succeeding, chances are I’m succeeding and if the company’s failing, I might be one of the pieces to look at, because sometimes look, features, that’s a great one, one of be released that people responded really well, to… And then you can tell me, responses, a blend of qualitative, lower churn increase sign-ups, anecdotal feedback, things like that, but then you can also look at… Sometimes I think my job is to be an NFL referee. I don’t want people to know my name or… No, I exist. It’s just every time you go in the product, you’re like, Oh, that seems a little easier… That just seems to make sense. There’s not anything brash or revolutionary necessarily, just every time you touch it, it just seems a little bit better and you think… You don’t think, Wow, the guy who designed this was brilliant, you just kind of… You’re going through and you’re like, What do I do this? Oh, yeah. there kinda makes sense.
Oh, that’s where I find that. And everything’s just easier, and it feels like every time we use it, it just understands you a little better, and you never know my name and you never say like, Let’s go find the guy who helped outline this, or Let’s go find the UX guy who made this you’re just like, everything just fits. Everything just feels right.
And so sometimes I think my job is a blend of that, and then the loud, Hey, we release this new feature, no one thinks like this, no one doesn’t like this, companies that’s a special, but it’s that blend of things that really make it… I think… Hard to define what success is. Because if you did features so that can crank out features all day, but it probably creates more tech debt and long-term problems than it’s worth, but everyone would celebrate ’cause technically more features needs more sales, except for if all those features mean we need to hire two more engineers, all of the sudden code, more complex, we have more downtime, more issues than you realize the features were very bad idea, so everything just a balance of finding good ways to move your product forward, thoughtfully.
Yeah, yeah, I find it… As we talk about what’s incentivizing all the roles inside of our company… And that comes down to culture, right?
And I think it’s really funny, you talking about features on list is the same way I think about leads for marketing, right? And it’s like, I could pray out a bunch of leads, you probably wouldn’t get any revenue out of them, but I can do it… It just depends on what you’re looking for, right?
And at the end of the day, I think it is some of those metrics. But that are the things of the… You can see most gigantic Manta in the world, but if you got one customer, he’d be set, but it just depends on what the specific customer is, and so I think there was Erin to sense some metrics are deceiving in that way of like… They don’t make things better, but they can be mistook their success in, at the end of the day, success in roles, especially in at least the startup space, it’s hard to define some of them… Something that I struggle with constantly is, what’s the value of a brand? Well, that’s impossible to decide, and so you kinda have to accept a little bit like you’re saying that some theoretic, sometimes it’s the stuff that is really tough to quantify, but that doesn’t make it less important, it just made… You still measure it, you don’t throw the metrics out the window, there’s still guides, there just might not be a definitive number and… Yeah, the TAM stuff cracks me up, I’ve looked at enough deck at this point to where if I added up the TAMS of 30 DEC, I’ve seen somehow it’s more than the US GDP, and I’m like, How is… Everyone’s has… So our gang on that, it actually is larger than… It’s absurd, I go with, I call it ring a realistic addressable market. It’s probably why no one would ever give me money because I’m just honest of… And I’ve actually not in the all too distant past have kind of been not for this, but Hey, I saw your total addressable market and I highlighted it and the couple hundred million dollar range, and you said You could probably achieve 30% of this, which puts you at a 50 to 100 million company, and it was like, Yeah, I think that would be really, really exciting. I think that’s great.
Yeah, or we look for TAMS and the billion dollars are like, Well, hold on, let me just do… Can like everyone else is.
People who buy stuff 5, 8 trillion dollars. It’s like now that you’re right, that’s… So it’s funny, people want these on the decks because it’s a sales pitch, you want to convince people that you can take over the world, this will be truly 50 times larger than it is, one in reality, I don’t want those people to invest in what I’m doing, I’m just not looking for dollars and not manner… What I really want is someone to say, Wow, that’s a really realistic, probable and actionable direction, and you showed me a path of how we could get there, and you do acknowledge upside and you kinda highlight the upside, but in a different bucket.
And so I’m investing you in you what you can build while acknowledging this upside, and I just think it’s a lot more thoughtful approach to saying, Here’s what we can realistically be, or even waiting it, Hey, we’re 90% gonna have this outcome and we’re 10% gonna have this outcome where everyone else is like, and for sure will be the next billion-dollar company. It’s like, Alright, here we go.
Yeah, and I heard the expression of, build a boring company, not the same one to do in me that at the end of the day, I think one investor that I taped to listen to a long time ago, and name was called from results chunking is… I think is the company. He says something, people use spreadsheets for and make a company out of it.
You’ll do great, you’ll be successful, people will use you, and there’s even articles about the undoing the spreadsheet, it’s variable Paris, there’s 16 different companies that’ve come out, Cristina companies, but at the end of the day is having those realistic goals that make it a little bit more reliable, now that he’s talked a little bit about me and I know that… That is it.
You’re mortal, but by having the tiring person, a product guy, a market are… Well, he’s a huge gap that the entire cross-fusion companies, and I’d be curious if I look like for marketing, product and sales to be in Rock Step, because like we were saying with the incentives on the sales side, right, in collecting data for a product to be able to have an input or… Have a feedback loop, right?
What does it look like for those three companies, two or three departments to work together…
I mean, said expecting you just say, Well, hunger on a zoom call, but really, what was that those departments can improve to work together because I know even see marketing, that’s like my whole job, that could be 15000 people, whole job that would be curious like, how… This market or that are watching this interview, how do they help their product teams more in the future?
From a product guy, I just try to put it in… Is generally how I run relationships. I try to put it way more debits, the credits, I wanna have such a good balance sheet, and so for example, I think the only way for those teams to work together, weekly touch, basis and things are some of the real tactical… But getting involved in what they’re doing helps build trust, and if you can add value to that, it starts to make a conversation and specifically what I mean, look, we have a marketing team, I volunteered the right content all the time.
I constantly say, You all write a blog. But I’ll post on my LinkedIn, what do you need? I will do it, and I will go track down case studies, and so I do that, and so my marketing team… Think of me, it was like, Wow, Jeff’s an invested partner. He trusts us when we give them content direction or we ask him for content recommendations, and he really engages in, puts forth all his effort in it, and I hope that… Is me some credibility?
Same thing on the sales side, Oh, you guys are going on a sales call, I’ll get on that to close with you, I’m not a world class sales person, but I’ll be on that call with you, and we can do this together and I will add value wherever I can… And I think when people see that you’re willing to get in and do their job with them and have their back, they’re much more willing to take feedback, so as opposed to being the product guy who said, Hey sales, I need you to collect these three more things for me, so I can do better at my job, instead they see it as, Man, that’s the guy who hopped on a few calls, help me close some business, constantly volunteers his time, it listens to me.
I think I can do him a solid by getting this, and also he’s built the trust that he needs it, if he says he needs this data, he’s not asking to put work on other people, he actually sees a value in it, but I think doing those things together, like… I don’t know if I rarely…
I don’t know if I’ve ever seen it.
Have you ever seen a sales call where a product guy and a marketing person and… And gurga, product sales and marketing, we’re all on the same call with a customer and maybe they were just listening to sales, so that way everyone had really good empathy and understanding of where everyone else was coming from, then after that call it’s like, Wow, sales… I see where it’d be hard to ask my product questions and marketing looks at… They’re like, That’s the customer persona.
Oh my Gosh, I totally thought it was something different, and then I tell sales, well, actually this product thing that we’re working on will solve that. And they were like, Oh my gosh, I never be that.
All those things could happen if you just had a regular cadence of what if we were just all on a customer-facing call together where we could hear how these things go, and then afterwards we had a recap, tell me a place that’s doing that, because I’ve never witnessed it, because it’s the culture of, too busy, I’m way too busy to do all that, I’m way too busy to build a good relationship, think about how to do my job better and be efficient in way too busy, you don’t even understand how busy I am.
Yeah, no, that’s funny. I think that what I found too is, in my experience, the things that I’ve done that has made me successful ever are the things I… Look, me about an hour to do. The amount of time it took me to come off of the idea to do it…
Oh my God, awful. It’s just so much time. I think about… I’ve been in the situation where… So I’ve been half way through being at a company and then I… You tell that the files. See, we don’t sell to that person A… We sell to this one person ’cause they’re eating the close, they have money, they have budget, we go after them a switch, I inept that the Natal in the…
If I go, Let’s get waiting the right… Because I’ve been going after the wrong client this entire time, ’cause I didn’t take the time, let’s say to onboard correctly and listen to calls to really ask sales people, and I think it’s pretty funny because you think about… We say like, What are we incentive to do… And part of that is to bring our drugs and say, Oh, I like the Star in May, and the ad, I do exact that. I would love to meet the marketer who wait and listen and let’s say something I’ve always wanted to do, but the only reason I have it is because I don’t wanna… Like you said, or we have been saying this entire time, it’s the same thing like customer interview, it’s really easy, but no one wants to do it. No, one of the fun… The work and something I advocate for is a market is wilding leads and they’re having their sales person, all of em, so I don’t take up the phone on… Les is the easiest thing in the world. It said during that process, you right here, I did not understand like this or this makes no sense. I’m not even in the waste industry, and so finding that cross, so where you’re really able to on those perspectives, but I, I saw it unites all the time of like, I want you as you eat to do that, I think that having some healthy crossover and some healthy entity, other departments is, it’s not the thing to do because it feels out of the way, but when you think with your… There are… You’re going to do a lot better. I’ve been in the situation where I had a healthy relationship with my self, then they performed incredibly well because they would call my lead because they knew I was working or putting in the work, I knew that they were working really hard and I wanted to make their life easier, and as soon as that trust disappears, they don’t collate, you don’t… You start getting upset and there becomes the sap in these silos that make it really hard to succeed, and so I think if I was to look at… There are the things that can be done that don’t require talent in marketing, right? It’s not just being a great copywriter, it’s not being a great designer, sometimes it’s bearings of growing up your sleeve and just picking up the phone, let’s say, Alright, niacin, you train me or We… Right it in this leadership to spend that time and resources and not grow the bottom line, that thing… You think about the same thing is, I think I talked to you about turnover, right, the company loses eight months of the person’s salary when they lose a person… Right.
Anything with… It takes five months, the ran somewhat of… Well, not take that extra time to train them, the right… The work with the soaring team or the pretend we build that. Like you said, it’s tragic, it’s not transactional, and that’s why people don’t do it, but when you make those tough choices and they’re easing things to do, but when you make those smart decisions of, Hey, this is really valuable, then you have a fantastic company to… Mild.
No, it’s huge in… A big part of it is humility. We’re all experts at our domain, but the only way I can be an expert at product is if I’m really good at understanding my sales and marketing teams and my customer success team, How could I claim to be an expert in product, but that’s such a broad overarching thing, I’m not the expert of product, I should be the expert at listening and translating into product, that really needs to be my expertise, I should be able to take everything everyone says and synthesize it into actionable items, but I don’t have the monopoly on ideas, and I think that’s regularly a problem with heads of departments, leadership in general, they think… A lot of people think when they’re the leader, that means they own the monopoly of good ideas, they run them all… All the good ideas come from that, that’s why they got promoted to manager that… Or direct or whatever that is, that’s how the case at all, in fact, you should probably the least ideas and be the best of fostering environment that creates the most ideas, and you remove roadblocks and then you help the team select which idea to invest in and focus on, but you don’t have to know everything, and when you think you do, or you even have the lion share of those, that’s when the problem start and so I… Not being a product manager before, I think for all my bad qualities, I actually think I’m fairly humble to think I don’t have the answers, I’ll always have a perspective based on information, but I don’t think I’m always right, it’s just… If you ask me, I’ll make a decision and it’s not a…
You can give me 1-1% of the data and say, “Jeff, make a decision.” I’ll have a decision for you, but I’m also very honest that I don’t think I know everything, and I want people to tell me what they think, so I can use that to make the best possible choice for our company.
Yeah, yeah, I find the best leaders are the ones that ask questions, open-ended questions like, Hey, like I said, What are we not building to get the site… Just that it ran… He is so… Because it’s the N innovation really on a thing, there is a 16-man answers to that question, and it makes people think and it makes people really… Question some of the things like, Okay, that makes sense. Well, focusing on these things, and like I said, it comes down to humility when you’re Iran, I don’t know, but there might be something that I’m missing in this entire situation, whether it’s this one message to the specific customer that I’ve never even proud of, let’s say that is my conversion? I like 50 person, and I was just not thinking about it. I wasn’t even considering that I could be wrong, but when you kind of question those things, I think you have the best results, and I think having that idea for anything definitely makes a big impact, but it’s hard to that humility, especially when you are supposed to… Of the answers. And I think it’s as a director or manager to say, or to try to front and try to say, Yes, I need to share.
You know why I’m here?
Jeff: In order to have a great functioning IT team, they need to feel like they have buy-in, that they’re able to come to you with those answers, otherwise, you’ll just get people who say yes to every single thing that you have to say and never give you any good idea?
Jeff: How many people do here say, Man, I love my boss, he knows everything, it’s the best. I ever heard that feedback a lot, but what I have heard is I love my boss, he always listens to me, and would it makes sense? Like we do it.
Jeff: I seriously, never heard anyone talk about how much they love how their boss is a genius and knows everything, they don’t even have to be there ’cause their boss is so smart, who wants to work in that environment?
Ah, so they don’t even have to be that. That’s funny.
Yeah. Oh, I see like we’ve covered a lot today, for sure.
We do on the tee, the setting, but together the…
Kevin: I appreciate you jumping in on one talk about product management and marketing.
Jeff: For sure, man, I love this. I can talk about product, business marketing, all this good stuff all the time, it’s great.
Kevin: Awesome, well, I think a lot of people would be really interested in watching this and they set out in then.