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INTERVIEW WITH PERE CODINA FROM KOMPYTE : GROWTH, MARKETING TOOLS, OUTBOUND MARKETING

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INTERVIEW WITH PERE CODINA FROM KOMPYTE : GROWTH, MARKETING TOOLS, OUTBOUND MARKETING

What do you do when you have a new product and almost no dialogue with your market? When copying and pasting a strategy from the competition is not an option and you have to learn from your own mistakes?

Looking back over the past almost three years, based on the experience he had with Kompyte, Pere Codina learned:

  • “There was no technology that could provide a full overview of what the competition was doing. This is what we created in Kompyte.””
    SaaS and software companies in the United States, Northern Europe and Israel are identified to be the ones that are performing best, the ones for whom Kompyte is delivering the most value.
  • Something that turned out to be working quit good in the US, if you have to offer something new that needs to be shown to everyone, is cold emailing.
    One of the biggest challenges for Kompyte – how to educate the market. “Get the closest you can to them! Send them emails, talk to all of them, show them how to use it, learn from you first user, then teach these tactics to the next users coming to your platform.”
  • One of the most important things is to make sure that the user understands what the product is going to provide, and how can they leverage it, because “if you are not going to leverage it, it’s going to be worth nothing. ””
  • “Smaller companies turned. And they turned because they didn’t have the time to spend tracking what the competition was doing.””
  • “The market is going to show you where you have to go. It just needs some questions and get ready to have some turns. That’s it.”

The following is a script of the talk between Shira and Pere about what marketing channels work best for Kompyte, how they found their niche and what tactics they use to get leads into the funnel. You can also listen to the podcast above.Shira:
So Pere, I have been looking at your Linkdin background. You started with a web development agency?

Pere:

Yes, we started when we were still in university with one of the current co-founders. We were just students working and studying at the same time. Then still in our university years we quit our jobs and we started our first company and this is how it started. From there on we moved from a services model to a product model and we end up doing our first SaaS product, which was really local, but we learned a lot.

Shira:

Ok. So let’s actually switch over and tell us aboutKompyte.

Pere:

Basically, Kompyte is a service for companies to boost and improve their marketing performance by leveraging what’s working for their competitors. We realized that some of our best customers, that were having online shops or website to sell online B2B or B2C, they had big problems identifying what competitors were doing. It was really hard for them to understand when a competitor had a new feature or if they were changing the pricing. This was because they had tons of competitors and they didn’t have the time to check manually all of their websites, advertisements, social media and so on. Then we were looking if some other companies out there were offering this as a service and we realized that there was almost nothing. There were many tools in different areas but there was no technology that could provide a full overview of what the competition was doing. This is what we created in Kompyte. A software that is tracking all your competitors websites, advertisement, social profiles, online content and much more, so that you can identify not only what your competitors are doing but also what’s working for them – which solutions are performing best, what are they best at, and then leverage all this insights to perfect your value proposition or improve your campaign’s conversion rates.
Shira:
Would this work for a company that is selling to enterprise and has a long sales cycle or is this more for SaaS company that has a short sales cycle and much less expensive product and also maybe e-commerce?

Pere:

We have customers from 50 employees up selling B2B solutions for small companies in a lower price point, and we also have customers in corporate industries. We are currently selling to three of the top 5 tech companies in the US. I mean it’s useful for everyone. It’s about understanding what is the competition is selling, how are they selling it, then leveraging it – and then anyone can do this. It doesn’t depend on the size of the company.

Shira:

What is your sales cycle like?

Pere:

Basically once we have the lead generated it’s about 32 days until we close a deal. For corporate deals it may take a bit longer, because there is all this paper work before, but before that we get the leads from cold emailing or some inbound tactics. Especially bit of hacking using special landing pages and twitterbots. Then depending on where the lead is coming from we have two different processes. If it is an outbound lead, the first thing you have to do is show them the product demo and then after this demo you can reach them out again and start negotiating with them, if they would like to use it or not. If it’s an inbound lead then things are different. I mean they are registered, so they have something in mind. It’s all about contacting them, reaching them out and understanding if it’s something that will provide value for them or not. The first thing with inbound leads is to pre-qualify them.

Shira:

You are calling it inbound but it’s really ads isn’t it? I mean it’s ads to landing pages?

Pere:

Yes, we have ads to landing pages, we tried some content marketing like inbound content marketing. It wasn’t really working for us at the beginning. It may work in the future but now we are tracking something like million companies, so what we do is we generate landing pages for this companies and we mention them in Twitter for example. So they go to the website and then see what Kompyte is doing. They have a competitive report for one company for example.

Shira:

Is that through an Ad or is that through a twitterbot?

Pere:

It’s a twitterbot.

Shira:

Does it constantly get close down for spam?

Pere:

No. We have many different accounts. If you are mentioning all of them then – yes, but you can set a threshold and do not mention all the targets in all the tweets. Probably 20% of the tweets have a mention and the other ones are just using the domain name of the company. So basically what you are looking for is that they find themselves there and they identify their own competitive analysis report, which is what you provide inside, but for other companies. Then they can see what is the best content they have, which is the most engaging touch-base they have, which is the last advertisement or the last changes in their websites. It’s like a teaser of what they are going to find inside Kompyte.

Shira:

Back to the twitterbot. Did you programmed it so that, for example, one in every twenty tweets is going to be something towards the company? Where does the other content come from – basically quotes and things like that?

Pere:

So, it’s a bit more complex. We have lead generation machine that is identifying target companies and target persons in this companies automated. All is programmed in Google Apps, using Google Spreadsheets. What we do is, we extract the list of contacts and companies that are on our radar, then from here on we set Kompyte to track these companies automatically. Even if no one is registered in Kompyte, at least we are tracking their online activity. With this Kompyte is providing a list of companies that we have already pre-tracking information from, which means if they are registered the chances they are going to seek quality data and information are going to be higher. With this we generate the list of domains and their twitter identifiers and then we have a robot within a spreadsheet that is posting this tweets. They are like a set of tweet templates that you can A/B test and we A/B test them. Then we generate this tweets, which are like: “Hey check out what is this company doing today. You can see it here!” Then when they search themselves they find it. That’s it.

Shira:

So it comes up with the mentions and they don’t really need to search themselves. It comes up with their own mentions in twitter. You mentioned that you are tracking a million companies and you have also mentioned that you have sold to companies with size 50, to four or three of the largest five tech companies in Silicon Valley? Shouldn’t you be focused on one group that you sell to only?

Pere:

Yes, but we are still identifying this. We are in an early stage. One of the big challenges we had when we created this company is that we didn’t know who was going to be our target. At the beginning we thought it was going to be e-commerce companies in Spain. I mean, almost any company would be using competitive intelligence, but you have to identify which are going to be the first users. So one thing we did one year ago was cold emailing companies from all the industries and then we identified that companies in tech industries were the once that were performing best. Now, one of the things we are identifying is that SaaS and software companies are the once that are performing best, the once for whom Kompyte is delivering the most value. Yes, we are constantly trying to narrow this target and probably the next step will be narrowing it more to the size of the company.

Shira:

So you narrowed it to vertical first, then you tried in Spain and that didn’t work and now you switched over. You mentioned in our pre-recording chat that you are focusing on the US?

Pere:

Yes, absolutely! When we started selling to any country, what we realized is that the countries that are performing best were based in the US, Northern Europe and Israel and especially in the US.

Shira:

Why do you think that the US, Northern Europe and Israel perform so well?

Pere:

I think it’s something cultural. If you look in the SaaS innovation companies and the Saas innovations that landed in Europe you will realize that Southern Europe adopts the new technology five to eight years later then the north of Europe or the United States. So we have something that’s new, that has been there. If you have to start from scratch identifying your first customers, it’s going to be in the US. The thing we have identified here is that the feedback provided by companies in the United States and not only by companies, but also by investors or anyone, is more transparent, more valuable than the one you receive in Europe. It’s something coming with the culture. So if you really want to make something new, you will need a lot of feedback, because you can’t copy anyone. You need what your user says. Companies in the States and the people in the States are more used to adopt and start using new technologies than people in Southern Europe. That’s it.

Shira:

Ok. So it’s the States, it’s tech companies, and you are still deciding on what size company?

Pere:

One of the things we know, is for example, that when we decided to focus in tech we saw that we sold a lot to startups and then what happened is that most of these startups, which we sold to, just turned. That is when we identified that the size of the company is going to be higher and higher.

Shira:

That makes sense. You want your turn rate in a SaaS company to be ideally below 3%, if not even negative turn. What’s your sales cycle like?

Pere:

What we do is we generate this leads and then once they are registered we call them two or three times and we have conversation with them. What we try to do is make sure the lead, the contact, understands what Kompyte is going to do and make sure that their desired outcome is what we are going to deliver them. At this process if the lead is pre-qualified then it’s passed to another person, who is closing the deal. This is something I am currently doing. Then from here on it’s all about making sure they receive this outcome and once they decide to start we start with a customer success process. From when the lead is generated till we close the deal is let’s say four or five weeks and from here on they are three more weeks for onboarding process. This is basically couple or three learning sessions and making sure that this person, this user really understands how to use and how to leverage this technology.

Shira:
What type of goal setting do you do? How far do you go out? Do you set goals? How do you organize everything you’ve accomplished so far?

Pere:
You mean in sales?

Shira:
For sales and marketing, yes.

Pere:
So basically what we are using is technology. Once we get the lead interested we ask them for three competitors, and then we ask them for a call to show them how Kompyte is tracking the competition. It’s like: “Hey send me three competitors. I am going to track them for you for a few days, then I’m going to show you what happens.” And then they send the competitors and we get the first call. For the calls we are using a system tool. So for setting up all the calls we use Assistant Tool or Calendly. Then using, for example, Skype what we do is show them how Kompyte is working and we get them on board.” Hey this is your account you can use it from now on.” That’s it.

Shira:
Ok. Let’s talk about things that you’ve done in the past. What did you do that you thought would totally blow up, but it didn’t? It just died.

Pere:
We spent like one year trying to sell in Spain. Trying to sell to marketing agencies and it didn’t work.

Shira:
Did you try marketing agencies outside of Spain or did you try marketing agencies just inside of Spain?

Pere:
Some of them are outside of Spain. We were looking for multipliers, I mean clients that are going to sell your solution to tons of clients and we thought that the first one is going to be a marketing agency. Then we realized that marketing agencies are extremely focused in one thing. Let’s say they are going to be content marketing agency or a SCM marketing agency. They have their own tools for tracking this. When it comes to the strategy it’s provided specially more for consultant firms. One thing that we are doing is trying to get some consultant firms like strategy and business consultants using Kompyte. But, yes. We tried to sell to marketing agencies and we extremely failed there, because they didn’t care about what Kompyte was doing for their clients and as soon as we decided to focus in the final company then everything started going fine.

Shira:
What happened that you thought that wouldn’t do so well and ended up totally blowing up?

Pere:
Cold emailing was the best one. In Europe if you send an email to a company, especially if you do it in Germany, they are going to send you an email saying: “Hey do not email me anymore!” That’s it…and from the very beginning. And this is if you are lucky! If you are not lucky you will have to go to the court. But things in the US are completely different. We didn’t know that and what we tried was to email everybody attending this conference where we are going to be and then see if we can have some more people in the booth for example. It was a big boom. We send tons of emails and our booth was full all the days. We had 50 meetings in one day. It was something crazy. This was one of the things we thought is not going to work and we realized this cold emailing is working quite good. Especially if you have something new that no one is searching for in the internet and you need to show it to everyone.

Shira:

That’s another thing, you do have a new product that isn’t a familiar thing. It’s not something that companies necessarily have been searching for. They don’t realize it exists. How you have been going about educating your market?

Pere:

This is one of the biggest challenges we have right now. Imagine that a SaaS company that has a product and that they are a lot of products like that out there. Let’s say a CRM company. The market is aware of what CRM is. They know. They have been using CRM for the last few years. But when you have something new and no one is searching for this keywords it’s extremely hard. So we tried generating content marketing, generating content. And then the problem with the content was that our target is marketing managers in tech companies. So how much content is out there for them. You have to write awesome content! And if you really want to write awesome content from Spain for the States – it’s going to be hard. You can do SEO optimizing keywords because just a few companies are searching for your keywords.

Shira:

So with the keywords ‘best business intelligence’ or ‘competitive intelligence’?

Pere:

Competitive intelligence is too wide. If they are looking for competitive intelligence, they are probably doing some research and so on, so it doesn’t make sense to spend money with this. One of the things with the keywords that worked out fine for us, was for example hacking other processes, like optimize your landing page by tracking your competitors. That’s like landing page optimization hacks. This was good content that performed quite good, but at the end you are talking about landing page optimization. There are tons of content for landing page optimization so the problem you are solving is not doing competitive intelligence, the problem you are solving is optimizing landing pages, but in a different way, in a completely new way, for example.
So what did we do at the beginning to educate this market? What was best thing? Get the closest you can to them! Send them emails, talk to all of them, show them how to use it, learn from you first customer, first user, then teach these tactics to the next users coming to your platform. For example, we learned things from the first customers. Then we teach these tactics, these competitive intelligence tactics, to all the rest of our customers and it was a great way to educate this market. It’s quit hard starting something, you can’t copy anyone or almost anyone, because there is no content out there for this. So what you need to do is talk to all of them as much as you can and of course as soon as you get the fund just start with PR.

Shira:

Wait a second. You need the funds to start with PR?

Pere:

Well not necessarily. If you want to do it yourself, you can do it yourself. But when you are based in Barcelona and you have to do PR in the States you will probably need some help.

Shira:

We can talk about that. I am not sure if I agree with that statement. I actually thing that PR is not impossible to do from Europe and I have coached other companies on it, so I know that is possible, but that’s a whole other discussion that we can get into. What would you say it’s the biggest challenge for Kompyte?

Pere:

They are many challenges we have. I would say that probably the biggest one is making sure that you understand what the desired outcome is and making sure your value proposition fits to this. When companies on board are signing up for trial, for example, they want to know something for the competitors, but it is not that clear what they want. You have to talk with them and make sure that they really understand what is Kompyte going to provide them and how can they leverage it. Otherwise what is going to happen is that they are going to turn in a few weeks or in a few months. Let’s say this onboarding process, or to perfect the value proposition, to explain exactly what are they going to have with Kompyte and how can they leverage it, is the only way you can make sure that this customer is going to stay there. So the biggest challenge for us right now is explaining this value proposition. I mean you say something like “Hey you can track your competitors!” – this sounds sexy. Everyone wants to track the competition but this is just curiosity. At the end you need to use this. If you are not going to leverage it it’s going to worth nothing. You have to make sure that these users can not only see what their competitors are doing, but they can also leverage all this to improve sales conversion rates, to write better content, to change the value proposition, sell more or whatever.

Shira:

Now Kompyte is a tool for companies. What tools do you use, other than Kompyte?

Pere:

We use a lot of tools. In every single stage we use many tools. For example for lead generation we use Dux-Soup, FindThatLead, QuickMail, twitterbots, google Apps.

Shira:

Do you make the twitterbots or do you grab it from an outside source?

Pere:

We have awesome developers in Kompyte, which are very busy developing Kompyte. We, the founders, who studied computer science and are not the CTO, are no longer allowed to code anything in Kompyte, but we can code our own robots, our own twitterbots and so on. And this is what we do. So yes, we do it ourselves – “Homemade twitterbots”

Shira:

And to create your lists for the outbound? What are you using for that?

Pere:

The Dux-Soup is working quit good. Dux-Soup’s extensions that you add to your Google Chrome and then it is going to show you and download all the names of persons and so on. From here we have another kind of robot which is generating the domain names and with the domain names you can use it for find the lead for example, or you can extract the email of that person and then using tools like Quick Email you can send your cold emails and automate your emailing for all the members of the company which are sending the emails, all the sales people. They don’t need to do it manually. You can just automate part of this process until they come back to you and say: “Hey I want to learn more about your technology!”

Shira:
Did you find that the more you send out the harder was to get them through because you started to get put in the spam files?

Pere:
No. They are a lot of ways to avoid this. For example, using multiple domain names. I mean, if you send thousands of emails with the same account, with the same name, in your own domain then this is what probably is going to happen, but they are ways to avoid it.

Shira:
So you are using a different domain name from Kompyte to sell Kompyte?

Pere:
You can just name it for example “.net” or whatever and send emails with this, yes. There are tons of ways to do it. At least at the beginning you need to do this this way.

Shira:
Ok, so you are sending it from Kompyte.net, instead of Kompyte.com?

Pere:
Yes, for example. It works fine. When they reply it is automatically replied to Kompyte.com, so you can then process with the answer and so on. When we start with the sales process the tools we use is Pipedrive and CRM. Then we use some really useful technologies like Calendly and Assistant tool. With Assistant tool you insert that dates that are working for you in the email and when they click one time that works for them it’s automatically booking an event in both calendars, which is great.

Shira:
I know so many people who love Calendly and I just absolutely hate it. I think I am probably the only person on the planet who finds Calendly to be like the rudest app on the internet. I just don’t like it. And I know it’s doing really well. I seem to be the only one who feels this way.

Pere:
Good to know, because then I am going to send you always “Hey Shira, what time works for you?” and that’s it. This is why we use assistant tool. The assistant tool is inserting something like “Hey, here are some times that work for me, just click in the time that works for you and we are all set.”

Shira:
You said that you are moving up the food chain. How hard it was to move up in the food chain from smaller companies to the bigger ones? How did you do it?

Pere:
We started selling to all kind of companies. Smaller, bigger ones and so on… Then we just decided which once are we going to focus on. That’s it. It was nothing like: “Ok. I am going to grow the size of company” No. We didn’t know which was the right size. We just realized that smaller companies turned. And they turned because they didn’t have the time to spend tracking what the competition were doing. For startups and smaller companies growing and growth hacking tactics are more important than analyzing the competitors.

Shira:
I get that, but when you decided did you decide to go after the larger companies or did it just naturally happened? You just send out a cold email to a larger company and it clicked?

Pere:
They replied and then they decided to buy and this happened again and again and after some months the larger companies are still there using it and the startups are turning, because they don’t have the time to use it.

Shira:
So why not just focus on larger companies?

Pere:
The market is going to show you where you have to go. It just needs some questions and get ready to have some turns. That’s it.

Shira:
And you have been doing Kompyte for now three years?

Pere:
For two and a little bit more, yes. We incorporated Kompyte in May 2014 and from here on we started working with a product model. We tried selling to Spain. We had an initial version of Kompyte .Then one and a half year ago we launched this new version and we focused on the US market and from here on we started selling.

Shira:
And your tactics for selling? You call inbound ads or twitterbots to landing pages.

Pere:
Anything that is people registering in the Website – we call it inbound, inbound leads.

Shira:
Ok. Even if that comes in from an Ad? So you are doing ads, you are doing SEM?

Pere:
Yes. Well the only ads we do is search engine ads. We tried display and banners and so on and it’s not really working as retargeting. Conversion rates are way low and it’s too expensive. But for some concrete keywords, extremely targeted keywords, it’s worth it. At least if the market is new, there is almost none advertising for this keywords, so you want to make sure they are going to find it, when they search for it.

Shira:
Fair enough. So SEM primarily inbound, which would be bots going over to landing pages, outbound, outreach (that’s cold emailing). And traditional inbound as in blog didn’t really work out for you guys mainly because it’s just really hard to source good content from Spain. And what about events?

Pere:
We went to some events. For example one event that’s working great for us is the “Mobile World Congress”, where most of tech companies which are not really start ups well they are startups, but at least not small startups. At least here in Barcelona this is great! Then some other events are interesting, but in terms of lead generation most of the events, let’s say Websummit, for example, the companies are too small.

Shira:
They are not your target?

Pere:
Yes. And events where companies are not that small are extremely expensive.

Shira:
How about Salesforce, Saastr?

Pere:
Then you have to fly from here. You have to choose at the beginning what do you want to do and optimize the funds you have as much as you can. Probably sometimes you can achieve the same result with sending emails. You are not going to get this awareness, but you are going to get the customers. Once you got the customers you are going to start thinking of next steps.

Shira:
So you actually think that events are just unnecessary, for your price point at least?

Pere:
It may be extremely useful if the event is for example here in Europe. It’s a question of cost benefit. Only flying to the States and spending there several days is going to take you like 10 000 or 15 000, plus the cost of attending the event. With this money you can generate tons of leads.

Shira:
True. Fair enough. Is there anything you would like to tell the audience more than what we have already discussed?
Pere:
No. I think we talked about everything.

Shira:
Pere, thank you so much for coming in to the show! I really appreciate it!

Pere:
Great! Thank you very much, Shira!