The Summit Podcast

Aligning your sales and marketing teams doesn’t have to be hard

October 14, 2020 Shawn Finder & Kyle Hamer Season 3 Episode 2
The Summit Podcast
Aligning your sales and marketing teams doesn’t have to be hard
Chapters
The Summit Podcast
Aligning your sales and marketing teams doesn’t have to be hard
Oct 14, 2020 Season 3 Episode 2
Shawn Finder & Kyle Hamer

Call my leads.  Give me something to call.  Sound familiar, if you said yes, then your sales and marketing teams are not aligned and likely driving your organization crazy.  How do you fix it?

In this episode we talk with Shawn Finder, CEO of Autoklose, and discuss just how easy it is to align your teams.  During this conversation he showcases the 5 simples steps to getting teams aligned and driving revenue.

If you need more help, check out the  How to Align Sales and Marketing article from Hamer Marketing Group.

About Shawn Finder
Shawn Finder has always been an entrepreneur at heart. At age 24, Shawn entered the entrepreneurial world after competing as one of Canada's top-ranked tennis players. He started out importing packaging from the Orient and selling to top retailers in North America. However, knowing he always loved selling and list building, he founded ExchangeLeads in 2013 which helps his company build quality lists for outreaching new prospects. This was followed by his new venture Autoklose in 2017 that combines both sales engagement and list building all-in-one platform.

About Hamer Marketing Group
Sales and marketing have been at each others throats for years.  Marketing only cares about brand, and sales only wants leads who are ready to buy.  This classic misalignment of teams has catastrophic impact on company moral and ultimately the revenue.  In this episode of Summit Podcast we sit down with Shawn Finder, CEO of Autoklose, and discuss what it takes to align these two bickering teams.

Shawn outlines the simple ways to improve communication across teams, get the most out of collaboration, and how he’s been successful at driving high volume growth when the sales and marketing leaders are on the same page.  As the episode progresses we discuss:

  • Understanding you audience
  • 5 Tips to aligning sales and marketing
  • Using outbound techniques to drive revenue
  • How to setup your teams for optimal production

For more insight on how to align your teams, check out our article on  How to Align Sales and Marketing.

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/summitpodcast)

Show Notes Transcript

Call my leads.  Give me something to call.  Sound familiar, if you said yes, then your sales and marketing teams are not aligned and likely driving your organization crazy.  How do you fix it?

In this episode we talk with Shawn Finder, CEO of Autoklose, and discuss just how easy it is to align your teams.  During this conversation he showcases the 5 simples steps to getting teams aligned and driving revenue.

If you need more help, check out the  How to Align Sales and Marketing article from Hamer Marketing Group.

About Shawn Finder
Shawn Finder has always been an entrepreneur at heart. At age 24, Shawn entered the entrepreneurial world after competing as one of Canada's top-ranked tennis players. He started out importing packaging from the Orient and selling to top retailers in North America. However, knowing he always loved selling and list building, he founded ExchangeLeads in 2013 which helps his company build quality lists for outreaching new prospects. This was followed by his new venture Autoklose in 2017 that combines both sales engagement and list building all-in-one platform.

About Hamer Marketing Group
Sales and marketing have been at each others throats for years.  Marketing only cares about brand, and sales only wants leads who are ready to buy.  This classic misalignment of teams has catastrophic impact on company moral and ultimately the revenue.  In this episode of Summit Podcast we sit down with Shawn Finder, CEO of Autoklose, and discuss what it takes to align these two bickering teams.

Shawn outlines the simple ways to improve communication across teams, get the most out of collaboration, and how he’s been successful at driving high volume growth when the sales and marketing leaders are on the same page.  As the episode progresses we discuss:

  • Understanding you audience
  • 5 Tips to aligning sales and marketing
  • Using outbound techniques to drive revenue
  • How to setup your teams for optimal production

For more insight on how to align your teams, check out our article on  How to Align Sales and Marketing.

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/summitpodcast)

Kyle Hamer:

Hello, and welcome to the summit, the podcast, where we bring you knowledge and insights from industry leaders and professionals, no fluff, just real people, real results in ways to help your business. I'm your host Kyle hammer , and I'm on a mission to find secrets to success in business. We're having real conversations to get you from here to there. Today's guest joining us on the summit is Sean finder. Sean , welcome to the show. Also, happy to be here with you today, And we're, we're really excited to have you for those that you don't know. Sean , Sean is one of Canada's top ranked tennis players , uh, and he took his game into the entrepreneurial world at age 24, started a packaging and what was important packaging and selling it to North American retailers. Uh , that wasn't enough. He got the bug of, I need to get into software and data and do some more things. And so in 2013 he founded a company named exchange leads that , uh , that company helped sales teams and businesses alike target and build lists to sell into. And then in 2017, he leveraged that into a new venture called autoclose to combine both sales engagement list building and go to market strategy. Did I miss anything, Sean ? Or is there anything you'd like to share with us? You got a pretty clear, it's a pretty wide range of stuff, but yeah, it started out in packaging more of my first entrepreneurial venture than auto closing , then parlayed that recently a few years ago now in Datto close . That's great. Today's today's topic that we're going to be chatting about is sales and marketing, getting them aligned. Why is it so hard? Sean recently wrote an article and posted it on LinkedIn called sales and marketing alignment, five best practices for best results. So Sean , can you kind of just take us through at a top level, first of all, why do you think it's so hard and what are some of the things that you think are best practices? Well, I think the best practices, as you know, I think you have to have, I'm more into that almost that revenue officer, chief revenue officer, the managing manager nowadays, where you need to have both sales and marketing, because you have to be a light because your marketing needs to know your message, but also your sales guys need to know that message when they're doing their outbound, that could be cold calling, emailing, et cetera. Um , so one of the best products that we've done is we've implemented like Slack, for example, where we can have our marketing and sales people publicly in the same, in the same kind of category. And they can all be seeing , okay, what articles are we posting? Okay, what does our, you know, what does our marketing doing? And then marketing it , see what our sales doing. So I think it's very, very important nowadays, especially that you do have that alignment between sales and marketing and they're not , you're not making them kind of two separate entities, you know, it's , it's , it's really interesting. Cause I think the smaller, the business you are, it becomes very, very, very important. And I think there's some point where businesses lose that and then it kind of becomes this, you know , fisticuffs, well, in my silo over here, we do this. Then letting your silo , you do that. Well, don't come over into my silo. Don't go over here. What, what point do you think it is for businesses as they grow, where that really becomes difficult to maintain that level of transparency, communication and keeping teams aligned ?

Shawn Finder:

Yeah . Well I think as soon as you have an SDR team, so a sales development representative team and account executives, you need to have that alignment because you know, one of the biggest things that I find is the biggest mistake with salespeople in general is they don't know their buyers for something. They don't know who's that person that's actually buying their product, but you need to make sure that marketing is marketing to that person that is actually buying your product. Therefore, you know, if you're selling to a CEO, a CEO is , you know, pains and gains. I like to call them might be different than a national sales manager, sales pains , and gains . You want to make sure that once your sales team has that niche, that market that's actually buying your product or service, then marketing is writing those blogs, writing those content, doing those tweets around that exact vertical or the exact persona. And I think that starts as soon as you start to develop. And you know, as you said, it, startups, small companies have been wearing a lot of hats, but once you get that SDR team account executive team, you need to make sure that is aligned between market .

Kyle Hamer:

So, you know, that brings up, it brings up an interesting question. Where does the SDR team reside? Do you think that the SDR team resides inside of marketing or it resides inside of sales?

Shawn Finder:

I actually don't put an , either one I put under the demand gen umbrella. Um , and the reason why is we have SDRs that are sometimes doing marketing tactics or marketing tactics. Um, but also they're still supposed to fill our account executives calendar with demos. Um, so we originally had them only under the sales umbrella and they weren't touching base with marketer or anything, but we'd actually slowly put them into that marketing , um , as well. So I would say it's still about a 70, 30 split, 70% sales, 30 some marketing, but , uh , that's great that you brought it up. Cause I think a lot of organizations don't have their SDRs going into the marketing bucket and they're more sting on the sales side.

Kyle Hamer:

So you talked about some of the things that are at least talked about, Hey, we realized that there are some things here that we need to have our STRs doing from marketing. Can you give us some examples without giving away your secret sauce?

Shawn Finder:

Yeah. So, you know, for marketing, for example, we have them online on LinkedIn a lot. Um , we have them, you know , posting all of our blogs, trying to engage conversations with our blogs because I think the number one thing you have to do marketing or sales or anything is building relationships. Um , so we have our SDRs , you know , on the sales side, they're trying to drive those leads, but on the marketing side, they're really trying to just build those relationships, get them nice and warm, get them to slowly raise their hand and then try and take them for more of that marketing MQL , 10 sales qualified leads .

Kyle Hamer:

It's it's, it's interesting because you know, when you look at, you look at the ecosystem that is marketing, it's a big, huge world. And when you're in, when you're in startup mode, if you're, if you've done anything as it relates to EOS and , and you know, maybe you've read the book traction, it's all about focus, right? Staying hyper focused on what's most important. And it sounds like for you guys, what's most important for your sales organization at this point is, is building relationships. When you, when you look at your ideal customers and you look at the activities that your, your team is doing, what are the items or things that your sales team expects marketing to do to help them build relationships ?

Shawn Finder:

Great question. Um, we've got marketing. So one thing that, you know, over the last four months since Kobe started is working really well as webinars. So what we expect us to do is we expect our marketing team to, you know, get some good people that have good analysts that can bring good qualified, you know, two, 300 people to a webinar that our sales team can after reach out to them , stressed jurors actually reach out to all the registers on those webinars. So sales is dependent on marketing to do all those webinars set up the landing pages, set up the zoom links, be a host, engaged with them and set all those up, try and get one to two a month. But that's basically what our team's been using to generate. A lot of our leads is going doing those webinars and then taking the rest of the yards or our STRs reaching out to those people that attended or registered. I'd try and get them to have a demo with our account executive . So there's a whole cycle. I mean, you know, it's , it's great that you brought that up and this , this conversation is going on with between sales and marketing is it takes all of those different teams to be aligned, not only sales marketing, but like content writing, everything has to be aligned , um , to make sure that your SDRs are going to be successful. And when your STRs look successful, your sales teams is successful as well.

Kyle Hamer:

It's interesting that you mentioned, you mentioned webinars because I mean, with the, with the global outbreak of the pandemic, people being ordered to stay at home, I mean, here, here in Texas, we're trying to reopen the state. We're not doing very good right now, but that politics and personal beliefs aside for a minute, when you look at it, it's, it is forcing organizations, sales organizations, groups that were historically shoulder, shoulder, elbow to elbow, pull up to the bar, go shoot, go shoot golf. You know , they would build relationships differently to look at their , um, their funnel, their engagement and how they build those relationships in entirely different, different light . One of the things that I've seen , um , historically being on the marketing side of things , uh , is that a lot of sales reps are resistant. Even SDRs are resistant to call folks after a webinar. Cause they're going well, I don't know what to say. What's the point. Hey , did you like it? Like so, so how do you structure, what does marketing give your SDRs or sales enable your SDRs? When you're calling those two, three, 400 leads afterwards, what are the talking points are ? Or how are they setting that up? So it's not just a show up and throw up, but it's actually that developing a relationship that you

Shawn Finder:

Amazing question. So our SDRs are trained to when they do reach out to the people from the is, we're not doing it in a salesy way. We're trying to call and say, you know, as you said, Oh , how did you find out how to find over ? If there's one takeaway from it that your company is currently not doing? And they're like, Oh, well, you know, we're not, we're not really successful in our lead generation. Oh, you're not successful in your lead generation. Well, this is what, you know, this is how people we know do it , et cetera. So we try and find out from that webinar, from that call, what is that one to two challenge? What are those one to two pain points that , that person's company is currently happening ? Is it filling the top of the funnel ? Is it the bottom of the funnel and gets to the bottom of the funnel? And it's not something we can help with. Well, then we're going to refer you to people or company that could help you. So I think one thing that people have to recognize nowadays is instead of the solution selling, you have to be more consultative selling . You have to get in and build that relationship. And if your product or service is not going to sell itself and they don't need it, help them in another way, because down the road, they will still become your client.

Kyle Hamer:

That's it ? You know, the , uh , Dan tire from HubSpot says this all this time. He's like, I don't, I don't call people up and say , uh , for a sales rep that it's now always be closing. It says now about always be helping. And it sounds to me like that's been, that's been put into your, into your mix. You know, when you, when you think about the SDR, it seems to me like there are specific elements you're looking for in that, in that person for you guys, as you, as you look at them, kind of being this hybrid in this bridge between sales and marketing, are there specific things that you like characteristics or traits or , or qualities you look in order to somebody to be successful in that position? You're going to ,

Shawn Finder:

I always tell this to people. They ask me why, when I actually hire an SDR, I look for two things. One, they've worked at a bank on their resume. Okay. And I'll explain why in a second. And number two, they played a competitive sport. And the reason why I do both is the competitive sport is because sales is competitive. You want to close the deal. You want to book those. You're telling me to get 16 demos. I want to get 25. So they've got to be competitive. And I always look for you . Have they played any high school, sports, university sports on their resume? Now the bank one people ask, well , why do you hire people that work to fake ? Or why do you look on a resume for banks ? Because a bank trains people to be the best SDRs . They train them on the phone. They train them to be Telemark. They train to the emails. So when they come to your company, you don't have to spend four months training them on how to make a cold call. You've already, they've already been traded on somebody else's wallet. The banks have already paid for them to be they're coming to you already trained. So those are the two characteristics I would say. I look at for any SDR , but not only STR I look at for any person on my sales team, I have a, I have a girl named Malisa . She played national basketball for Serbia. I always look for, have you played a competitive sport or have you at least worked at a bank?

Kyle Hamer:

That's interesting. So how does that with those two characteristics? How does that help? I mean, I know how that helps in sales, right? How does that help on the marketing side? So now that they're kind of sitting in this 70, 30 role, how do those characteristics play into what marketing is doing?

Shawn Finder:

Great question. So marketing's more something they have to be, it takes, it took a little bit of time. I would say for the first four months they were strictly doing the sales role. And then we slowly had to get them involved in the marketing because marketing is very different. You know, you got to be very creative and marketing and not every sales, you know, sales people , for example, I know personally, I'm , I'm a great salesperson , but I'm not the most creative guy and you need to be creative with different things in marketing. So I would say it's more of , um , and I always liked doing this in every company shadowing. Even though if you're in marketing, you should still shut out the sales team. You should still shuttle the support team, the operations team, same with sales. And that's kind of the way you learn . Now , you're not going to , you know, you might be able to find it's gonna be tough to find somebody , an expert sales person , an expert marketer, but you gotta try and find that balance that they're willing to learn. And that's another characteristic . So they're willing to learn and they're willing to give , they're willing to adapt. They can be in sales, but as long as they really want to learn. And I know this with one of our guys in our company, he started off in marketing, moved to sales because he's young enough, he's in his twenties. You got to , you always got to keep learning more and growing as a person. Um , so I don't think it happens overnight, but I do think it's something that if you could find somebody that's coachable and adaptable, those are two other characteristics I would look at

Kyle Hamer:

You've. Um, I mean, you've obviously been in sales, been successful cause this is company number three, right? You're building a team when you guys are, I think you shared with me, what are you, how big are you now? About 36 people. Okay . So, you know, approaching 50, 50 to 100 brings a different set of challenges, a hundred plus brings another set of challenges.

Shawn Finder:

It brings challenges.

Kyle Hamer:

Uh , well, I'm not, I'm not, I am not mitigating any of the challenges you're facing. Now. I just, you know, as the company grows, the kind of the benchmarks are at 50, from 50 to a hundred is an entirely different growth period. And then from a hundred, a hundred up, I think it's a hundred to 500 is another set of growth challenges. Um, and , and there's entrepreneurs that will argue with me that the, the benchmarks are different. But when you look at the, the marketing counterparts at U S so I assume you , the sales leader, right? Um, you are the sales leader, correct?

Shawn Finder:

I , I mean, I used to be the full sale there, and now I kind of jumped in just for the bigger deals and the negotiation in a baseball game. I come in on the eighth, the ninth. And let's just say that.

Kyle Hamer:

Alright , fair enough. So , um, you've been a sales leader. What are the, what are the things that you want to see from your, from your marketing counterparts that make you like, wow, they've really got our back. They really understand what we're doing. I mean, you mentioned shadowing and willing to learn and adapt, but the most successful marketing relationship you've had or the most successful ones that you've seen, what are you looking for in that counterpart?

Shawn Finder:

I think, you know , you know, nowadays you can't just rely on outbound. You can't just rely on inbound. I think one thing that I look at from our marketing team and we continue to improve this, the inbound leads, we always focused on being an outreach platform, reaching out and having our team call and email. But now we've kind of moved our rower . You know what ? Let's do the marketing stuff. Now that might help us five months from now where just because nest yard's getting 16, 20 demos, we'll have the website bringing 16, 20 demos. You know , so what we're looking for right now, and one thing we've doubled down on Kyle and I wish I did this two years ago, probably the biggest mistake as an entrepreneur was never focusing on SEO. I never focused on SEO. And now our website traffic increases when your website traffic increases, then we're getting the leads. But one more thing I would say for marketing is I always tell people I've told marketing and sales. This volume is not everything. If I'm giving you a quota to hit 16 demos a month as an SDR in my marketing team, I'm saying, bring in 16 inbound leads. I'd rather have eight that are quality than have 16 that are my account executives on, in within five minutes. They're not, pre-qualified, they're not even a good fit for our product . So I think one thing I do look at for marketing is not only to bring in the lead of bringing the right people, because not only if , if you bring in the wrong people, not only are you hurting our sales team, but you're also hurting the time our account executives are spending on non qualified leads. So I think that is a marketing and sales thing that we need to have higher quality than higher volume. Isn't it ,

Kyle Hamer:

Isn't that hard for you though, as an entrepreneur and somebody who's, you know, a leader in the business to say, I want you to be more focused and be , be more exclusive versus saying, well, yeah, we can serve everybody. I mean, at what point in your entrepreneurial career did you say, Oh, it's more valuable to meet higher target versus I'll do anything for anybody. Yeah .

Shawn Finder:

Yeah . So what I, what I did was I , at the beginning, our marketing and sales team, they would just love bringing in demos. They would bring demos in and we would get , we've got so many demos and then I would go on some of them because I would like to, I go into psycho into every aspect of my business . We're still small enough that I have to still not micromanage, but be involved. So I would go on a call and within the first 30 seconds, I can tell that it's not a fit and it's wasting my time. It's wasting their time and it's wasting our marketing's time and potentially your marketing budget. Um , so what happened was we really started to focus on quality and what we do now is , you know , we use, for example, an online scheduler like Calendly, but we pre-qualify with three to four questions to see, are they the right fit? So let's use, for example , say your right fit was companies that have 50 to a hundred employees. And the leads you are getting were preneurs. At least, you know that before you go on a call with them and spend an hour with them, that you're not wasting your time. And that's kind of what I'm trying to get out of my marketing guys and my sales guys right now, let's focus on the ones that we can actually prospect and close. Then just focus on, we'll get, guess what? We hit our KPI this month,

Kyle Hamer:

Move forward . That really, I mean, that in and of itself forces the two teams to align around a common persona, a common customer type, it forces conversation. What are, I mean, you said that you, you know, you have a hyperactive Slack channel, which I think a lot of, a lot of companies probably do right now, a weather or Microsoft teams or Google Hangouts, whatever, you know , pick your flavor. But what are the, I mean, what are the specific things that that marketing does or that sales does to ensure that you're always continuing to optimize and fine tune the fine tune, that quality, make sure that the quality is coming in at the target rate that you want.

Shawn Finder:

So we , we do a lot of KPIs, a lot of analytics, if our marketing team does a webinar to a hundred people, we'll tell them, you know, we rate, we rate that lead on the 10th and then they'll see a score at the end of the webinars saying, okay, the score, you know, to our qualified lead, the score was like a 71% or it was it 92%. And then from there we go, okay, who were the ones from the, from the registry that were really good? Oh, well look, there are people that were in California, in Texas that were in manufacturing. Well, then we cover Margaree team focus on those two States and manufacturing. So we really believe in a lot of analytics , but one thing when you mentioned Slack, another thing that really helped ourselves is everything is public. Even every sale that comes into our company is public and Slack. So if I sold something for a thousand dollars today , it goes in such everybody has full visibility of development, operations, marketing, sales, et cetera. And this goes back to the first set of we've been very successful as far as our team culture is like a family , um , because everyone's involved in every department, everyone's shot on each other and everyone knows a little bit about everything Mark, and there's a lot of a marketing, but they still know a very little bit of sales, operations and things . That's another thing that's very important to keeping everything at your company, very public and not having marketing hype stuff from sales and sales hire stuff.

Kyle Hamer:

Well, in , in , you know, it's , it's interesting in a lot of the conversations that , that I find myself in with, with different companies, there's an even bigger gap between sales and marketing and operations when it comes to, you know, what's the, what's the feedback loop or what's the, what's the customer journey like marketing will focus really, really, really intently on what's the customer journey until I hit submit. And then somebody hits, submit, and sales is like, I didn't even know I got to leave. Right. And then sales will focus really, really hard on, on sales velocity and pushing somebody through the sales funnel and getting it to close. And then they're like, well, I didn't know what happened when we go to invoicing or how they get set up on the system. Right? So as a small company at 36, you have the, you have the opportunity to create that visibility. What are some things that you might share as findings or, or , uh , wins things that came to the realization where , Hey, we've got to create this transparency inside of organization, as we grow that other businesses that are larger or other entrepreneurs that are struggling with things that I just, would've never thought of, that stuff that as you went through, you were like, Oh, wow. Yeah, that's really,

Shawn Finder:

Yeah. And there's a , there's a lot of different things that we do. Um, you know, for example, marketing might have a goal to get people on a 14 day trial. Um, or we might have to make marketing might have a global, where did that lead come from? So when our sales guys know that that lead came from a webinar, LinkedIn, our own platform, et cetera, it's just more knowledge. So when they get on that call, they can say, Oh, you were on the webinar with Kyle hammer. How'd you like the webinar? You know, it's the same thing. So tonight , no one really can become from Facebook or LinkedIn because the personality is something that from Facebook and LinkedIn and all the other socials are very different. So I think one , one thing is the insight. Also, for example, if somebody comes to a landing page, but doesn't fill up the landing page or they fill out the landing page and they download two books and three newsletters, everything is different. So I think the key is, you know, use your , your CRM and have marketing and sales both involved there that you can almost put where that lead comes from, how long they've been a lead hell, you'll even score them from a marketing perspective. Because for example, we use MailChimp for our marketing newsletter. And then what we do is we give our IRS DRS . Here's a list of our five star people from our MailChimp that have really engaged in our content every Tuesday. So I think there has to be that alignment. Everything has to be tracked and everything has to be put somewhere. So a sales team doesn't have to call Mark and go , Oh, so what about this? It has to be all in one place , um , and consolidated so that you can really focus on who that lead is, where they came from. How long have they been a lead? What source did they come from? What , where did they come from? What did they watch? How long did they watch? How long were they on the webinar, et cetera.

Kyle Hamer:

You know , it sounds to me like you guys spend a lot of time with, with KPIs data and looking at a velocity across all of the different, the different elements, a couple of questions about that. What are , what would you say are your favorite KPIs? So things that you're like, Hey, if I could only run my business on two or three things, it would be these three things. And I would know that we were going to be successful. What are , what are those numbers?

Shawn Finder:

Well , the obvious one first, we make sure our revenues grow every month, right ? But from a marketing , um , I'm all about growth. And from marketing, as I mentioned, SEO has been a very big contributor. We've been doing link building and SEO. I actually really liked looking on a daily basis on our website traffic it's it's, it has nothing to do with revenue, but it shows me that every single day that goes by more and more people are visiting our website more and more people are getting in front and article is getting in front of them. So those are the ones revenue obviously is the , um, and I always like to know , um, you know, our newsletters, how many more people are downloading stuff, are they downloading our eBooks or downloading stuff? Because I still think content is King and content and marketing is what's going to drive the future. Um , so I always look at how are our numbers going up? How's our website going up? And the third one is , uh , do we have enough revenue this month to pay our expenses,

Kyle Hamer:

The plight of every entrepreneur, right. Do I have to take on cash? Do I have to take on debt or do I , do I have enough revenue coming in to pay them ?

Shawn Finder:

Yeah, we we've been lucky. We've been profitable now for over a year. So no outside funding, we're still bootstrapped. And , uh, even during occupy, during COVID, we actually had our best three months ever, but , uh, I've been, I've built it very lean that if COBIT ever hit and we get zero sales, I can still hold the business for six months and be tired .

Kyle Hamer:

That's that's great . So I've talked to a lot of, I've talked to a lot of businesses that have , um, that are in what I would call the sales and marketing software space. Cause that's what I would, that's how I would classify auto close . Um, even though you're a data and a software company, it's kind of , I would classify , I've talked to a lot of businesses that, you know, they, they have a lot of the similar principles you , which is create transparency and what's going on with, are we booking business? Are we not? Um, where are we at? How long can we run? If , if, if we have zero sales and then ultimately, you know, building a lean team, that's creating this higher level of visibility. There's a lot of traits that we're seeing or that you're sharing with me that we're seeing in other businesses that are, that are bootstrapped, right? They didn't have to take on money. And my personal opinion about taking on debt in, or, or an investor is , is at the second in which it's no longer about your customer, it's about raising capital or , or taking off it changes. It changes how you think it changes how you behave and you're no longer, you're no longer 100% focused on the customer. It doesn't mean the customer is not important, but now you have two customers, right? You've got this, this idea of a shareholder or an investor or , or bank, right. A debt , um, and, and your customer and you have to balance, well, what's more important for this particular month. And what's more important for this.

Shawn Finder:

And you're , you know, you , you don't have somebody down your throat saying, here's the here's half a million dollars go hire 25 people in the next two months. You know? So I think it's definitely , um, it's, we've been boosted up, we know we're growing. Um, but I think, you know, especially with subscription models, now it accumulates month over month that , you know, it took us, I would say a year, a year and a bit before I can kind of pull away a little bit. Um , and we had like, you know, break even. Um, but , um, it takes a lot longer, but obviously it's a lot more that I don't have to answer to anyone then, then going into a board meeting every quarter and having to give a , a statement on why we're Croft, why would this area , you know , I stayed away from all that.

Kyle Hamer:

Well, you know, and , and I , and I think that's the, that's the beauty of what you've, you've learned. And you've parlayed since you played tennis, right? I mean, in many ways , uh , your competitive sports background and in your, your achievements in that there is some, self-reliance where it's like, Hey, I don't need a coach, but I don't need somebody to come in and save me. I don't need to do this. I can do this by myself, set this up so that it , you know, it will win or lose based on my efforts, my team's efforts, not, you know, whether there's a two and a half million dollar round of funding this particular quarter. Yeah.

Shawn Finder:

And , and you just, you know , to be honest, the reason why I'm kind of not the reason, but one of the reasons there's tennis, as an example, I always was a singles player. And the reason why is, if you go play doubles, you don't have to rely on your doubles partner to not have an off day for you to win that match where I like to be in control when you're, when you're playing singles. One-on-one, if you have a bad day, you lose your phone, but in doubles, you know, there's two of you up to rely on. So I've always liked to play the singles and not the doubles .

Kyle Hamer:

So , uh , out of curiosity, what's the most exciting thing for you as it relates to, you know , the pandemic? Not that there are , um, you know, you've had the best three months in the business, but entrepreneurs typically see changes in market shifts like this, that, that, that expose opportunity. And so when you look at the market opportunity, what are some of the things that are most exciting about the current market dynamics for you?

Shawn Finder:

Well, I think with the current market dynamics, I think that a w a email as a channel is continuing to grow. Um , I think a lot of people can't really call officer's that people start working unless you have a direct dial. But I think , um , the one thing I, well, two things I would say a is consolidation. So a lot of people now are looking at consolidating platforms, consolidating tools, consolidating finding a tool that other CRM sales all in one. But I would also have to say that, you know, really, really focusing on , um , how to always have a good top of the funnel right now. I think it's the most important because pandemic or note pandemic, you need that top of the funnel, your revenue might slow down during the pendant , but we all know it's gonna, it's all gonna, you know, it's going to disappear at some point, but it's all going to get back to normal. So the most important thing is to continue to fill your top of the funnel, even though you might have short term or revenue, when things do get back to normal sooner, hopefully, hopefully they still prospect to still make sales and to still grow your business.

Kyle Hamer:

You're one of the , um , I was talking with a second with Neil Benedict a couple, a couple of weeks ago on the show. And we were talking about the shift in dynamic for outside sales reps, field sales. Right. And I think one of the things that's most interesting about , uh , specifically what you do with auto close is, you know, in the past, they might've had a , a territory map or a list or a group of key accounts, people that they would go call on scheduled lunches or coffee or different things. Those, those particular sales reps learning a new in the business, learning that, Hey, maybe I don't need to pay, you know, a hundred thousand dollars a year to have this rep and have them on the road the whole time. They may not be true, but the dynamics and the shift that's happening, I think is really interesting for a business like yours and what it means for taking a field sales rep and having them be more targeted, having them be more efficient in, in the longterm impact of , uh, on the businesses being, Oh, wow. What was once a pretty expensive luxury? If you will, a necessity, that's a luxury , um, can now be something that we can fold in and we can do something that's splendid, it's more of a hybrid role and it's much more profitable or much more effective for our business to, to scale up. I think that overall, I , I video podcasts . Video is very important. Um, people won't be able to go for coffees with those potential prospects, like they used to , um, it'll be more video. So I think everyone has to adapt. And I think with all the new, you know , zoom, for example, you can just see how it skyrocketed, starting to get familiar. I get on video and build those video. Do video emails, do video, everything to really speak to that prospect is going to be the new norm for at least, I think at least a year, year and a half. And we have no idea how that will. I mean, you , you, you , uh, I think demand metric in vineyards, putting on a state of the union as it relates to what's going on with video and email, I think that's today or tomorrow, but from a , um , from a change, you do something for eight, 12 to 18 months to a market , uh , as it relates to being remote and shifting the communication channel, that's going to introduce all kinds of new opportunity, a hundred percent and , um, you know, go back to your point of it's all about building relationships. Sean has been great to chat with you on the show today. Uh , give us the, give us the high level, you know, two minute pitch about auto close , and then, you know , share with the guests, how they can get ahold of you. So auto closes and all in one sales engagement platform that has a built in B2B database. Therefore you can automate not only your prospecting, but search and filter through our database of over 30 million contacts for whom you want to email. Um , if you want to get in touch with me, Shaun S H a w n@autoclose.com and that's autoclose with the K um , follow me on LinkedIn. I'm very active on LinkedIn. Um , and you can reach out to me anytime there , um, and also visit our website autoclose.com. We provide a lot of content on marketing, sales, alignment , um , and different things. And we're more than happy to share that with you. That's awesome. Well, thanks again for being a guest today, for those of you who didn't know, Sean , you know him a little bit better, and you also have some really good insights on how to build a sales and marketing team that can talk to one another, tolerate one another, and is set up for hyper growth . This is Kyle hammer , and this has been the podcast of summit. We'll talk to you again next week.