Unscalable

How To Build A Company That Doesn't Rely On Ads & Sales Pitches

May 11, 2021 Gavin and Martine Hammar Episode 1
Unscalable
How To Build A Company That Doesn't Rely On Ads & Sales Pitches
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, we talk about why it's become so difficult to attract new customers using traditional marketing tactics and share some "unscalable" advice on how to build a company where the customers come to you. 

-- Help Martine answer this week's ice breaker question:
https://storyprompt.com/reply/ysfhqg3KHI2TSqu4rKLr

If you have any questions, we'd love to hear from you! Send an email to hello@unscalable.fm

Now you might think we've chosen a really unusual name for our podcast. Gavin, you want to give any background as to why we chose the name? unscalable? Yeah, so I guess after selling sandable, the company I founded about 12 or 13 years ago,

it was clear to me on reflecting on how we grew over the years, that's the things that really moved us forward. And the biggest way, were the things that were less obvious things were more kind of out of the ordinary or unusual, they made us stand out as a business, the things that I like to call unscalable, those things that you kind of say repeat easily over time, but things that create an impact on your customers and on your employees. I think also the things that you can't really measure, we kind of hit a few Crossroads where we wanted to do things, we wanted to launch it and things but there was no way to measure things, things like brand awareness, there was no way to measure the return, there was no way to decide whether it was a good investment. But we just kind of knew that we wanted to get our brand out there. So if if leads came from that, then that was great. But if it didn't, then it just helped accelerate our brand. Yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head the other day, one of the biggest things we did that are not measurable that is not measurable, that had one of the biggest impacts was where we took the time to kind of build the brand. This is about two years ago, where you know, I took the time to think about what our brand and what our values were, and kind of just reset where we wanted to be. So in this episode, we wanted to talk about why it's more important than ever to build your brand. And I'll be sharing some strategies with my team, just to show you how we've gone about establishing our brand at tenable. But before we begin, we're going to start every episode with a quick icebreaker. In this week's episode, I'm going to ask my team a quick icebreaker question from our box of prompts. So I'm going to go ahead and pull it out of the box. Now. She doesn't know what I'm going to ask her. And we're going to see how she responds. This is really being recorded live, I have no idea what's coming out of this box. Okay, so Martine, which of your personality traits, would you like to change? Oh, my goodness, what I like to change. And this is really interesting, because I've got my husband sitting next to me. So I feel like it's

my decision here, which would I like to change? I think sometimes, I think sometimes I kind of get very enthusiastic about something and I jump in all guns blazing. And I think a personality trait for me would be just to kind of take the time to think things through properly, I'm not a very risk averse person. So I don't mind taking chances. And just seeing what happens. It's the same type of thing when we went skiing one time, and I have no problem just flying down a hill. And if I fall I fall, whereas Gavin's a lot more cautious. So I think kind of, there's pros and cons of both. But I think for me, it would kind of be just to take that just to take the breathing time to think things through. I don't know if that's considered a personality trait. But does that work? So you think that you kind of jumped to conclusions too soon, or mighty about doing the analysis. But as I say, I've got my husband next to me so

he can use this

ammunition.

We're going to put a link in the show notes afterwards, we'd have to you respond to this one.

So which of your personality traits would you most like to change? So back back to the podcast. So obviously wanted to share with you why it's important to build your brand and why it's more important now than ever. Now, for sendible. For me, personally, you know, I never really focused on the brand in the company. For a long time, we had no brand at sendible. It was just, you know, a software tool, you didn't really get to see the people behind the company, it was you know, all very kind of, we kind of masked the fact that we were a small company, who pretended to be much larger than we were.

If you listen to one of the old episodes on the sendible insider podcast, you'll hear a story where I created a fake employee called Lisa, because I wanted people to think we were much bigger than we were.

So I went to SAS doc in about 2018 which is a big Software as a Service conference. And everyone spoke about you know, the 7000 other products in the market today. all doing the same thing offering marketing solutions to businesses. In order for you to stand out you have to build a brand you know if everyone is doing the exact same thing and you don't stand for anything different then know your customers won't know who to choose. I think it's just that classic kind of image of like I kind of think of this is like everybody standing on the rooftop of a tall building and saying Pick me Pick me I'm the best I'm the best how do you actually stand out as as whether you are the best or you aren't? How do you How are you heard and how are you seen in this this image of all these people standing there shouting Pick me Pick me on the best. Yeah, so after realising this, you know this is where things are headed. You know you need to build a brand. We decided to change our approach at sandable. I spent probably about a month drafting a brand strategy

rewriting our vision of values, building up a narrative like what does that brand stand for? What's the problem in the world that we're seeing? And I think I think the biggest thing was those those brand values, like what do we want our customers and our prospects to think of when they come across tangible. So every interaction with us needs to represent those values.

And one of them was authenticity. So being open, being transparent, being real, you know, sharing our learnings, our failures. And I think that was that was the pivotal moment. So authenticity, and being transparent, was one of the biggest things that transformed our business. So after drafting this brand strategy, that's when we launched our previous podcast, where we started sharing the behind the scenes story at sendible. We also introduced like new policies, where we would remove all of our stock images from the website, and only use images of real people, you know, real customers, real employees, so to really, really stand out and be unique in the market. And this has kind of continued to evolve over time. And ever since we started that change, we've seen that customers have been falling in love with our brand. Because if they've gotten to know us much better. So I'm going to pose the question, Martine, why is it so important to think to focus on building your brand these days. So I just think that these days, we're completely inundated with people who do the exact same thing that sell the exact same tool or service. And the problem is, is that we are completely consumed with all these people saying that they've got the best and they do what they do is the best, and the service that they offer is the best. And we're just completely inundated, and our brains are exploding with knowledge. And we actually have no idea how to sift through everything. I mean, even if you just go on social media, and you just see all the ads that you're being targeted. I mean, Gavin can go looking for something, and then suddenly, I'm being targeted on things. And just because he's in the same house as me. And it's just even if I like something, then I just carry on scrolling, and there's 25 more versions of the same product. And I just think we're completely completely consumed. No one knows what to choose who to choose. There's no way of filtering through all this information is all just noise, and we're just consumed with too much noise at the moment. Yeah, so I think you hit the nail on the head, I think, you know, as a business owner, your customers are spoilt for choice. Everyone is trying to steal their attention, you know, take their time away from them. And as a result of all this information overload, everyone trying to attract people's attention, our attention spans are shrinking. You know, last time I checked this set, it was like less than eight seconds.

It's probably even less than that now with so much content being produced. So it's really just getting so hard to attract new customers, not just eyeballs, but actual loyal customers. I was just gonna say I don't even think if I'm scrolling through social media feed, and I see all those ads, I didn't even think they give them eight seconds of my attention, because it's just too much of it. Yeah, I think people are just getting better at ignoring all things that are inauthentic like ads, as you said, even sales people. I mean, when's the last time you answered a sales call? I did the other day. And I told him that wasn't interested because I was busy. So sometimes I like to have a go at them. And I just test their sales skills. But that's a that's a different different scripts or an episode. And you know, our customers have access to all the information already, you know, we don't have to sell to them, you know, they can go look at reviews, ask a question on Facebook,

you know, that that's how they're getting the information to make buying decisions. I think also, I think nowadays, when people are coming, like to use a service, they don't need to be sold to as much I think they're they're coming 90% of the way there really, because they've done all that research. That's the thing, I think before with this cold calling mentality, like have, you know, many years ago, you know, you would be selling to somebody who had no idea if you think back to the people arriving at your door, selling books and things, you know, you've no idea about what's in them or,

you know, what, what they can offer us. So, you you going in blind, you're being sold to blind, and then they all the specials and everything. And then before you know it, you've bought, you know, 25 books in something cyclopean. And then if there's any in South Africa,

you know, it's on your doorstep. So I think now by the time the customer actually picks up the phone to the company, they're 90% of the way there because they've done all that research themselves. That's so true. But you know, businesses are still just investing in advertising. So people are still trying to get the eyeballs trying to get attention, you know, throwing money into Facebook ads, Google ads. But the thing is that people are actually getting much better at ignoring ads, as said before, and they're installing ad blockers. So we're seeing an increased trend in adblock is being installed. It's roughly like 25.8% of internet users were blocking ads in 2019. So it's even more now. So the ads are no longer a solution is trying to get people to pay attention to what you have to say. And it's interesting if that's the business strategy is to do ads and then there's all these ad blockers now How else do they get? Yeah, and even even if you do get a click from your ad, you know from this Facebook The problem is that Facebook is trying to keep their users in the feed for as long as possible.

Whereas advertisers are trying to drive people away. So it doesn't really work as a long term solution, there's there needs to be something else that businesses can invest in, to help them grow over the long term. Yeah, so all of this just means that businesses are becoming far less effective at influencing a purchasing decision. Customers can no longer be sold to, they make the buying decision themselves. So what does this mean? This means that's really the most difficult thing to do to get today, someone's full attention, people are skimming through content, accessing what was, you know, social media, ads, etc. And we need to earn their trust to get their attention. And I think the best way to earn someone's trust is to build a solid brand, not for what you selling, or what you you know, it's to get someone's money in return. But to really offer value for nothing else, but but just that having that trust. And I think to show who you are, as a as a business, I think that's a massive part of trust who you are, you're not just somebody who sells whatever service it is, or whatever tool it is, it's who you are, what you stand for how you stand out. So as I was saying before, like when I had this fake employee called Lisa, pretend we were this massive company.

You know, that actually did us a disservice. Because I was pushing people away from being able to trust us by being so fake and inauthentic. You know, I was just driving those customers who would have followed us, for our story away from us.

I think it's a very important kind of lesson. And I can see that people make that mistake a lot. And I'm not convinced that it's a 100% a mistake. But I think that you have to know what to what to embrace. And the thing is, it's very difficult if you think about right, so let's give the example of you want an estate agent for your house, you've got a really expensive house and you want the best estate agent, are you going to take the person who has sold 2000 properties that look just like yours in the local area, or you're going to take the person or you're going to employ the agent who's just started and who has sold one. And the thing is, you don't want that one person to pretend that he sold 100, because that's inauthentic and you're going to trust him even less. But at the same time, you want that one person to be like, I've sold one, I own that. I'm proud of that. And because I've only got one and not 2000 that are managing, I can give you x and I can give you why. And you have to take that what you would call a slight negative like Gavin being a one man band in the early days and having a fake employee, take it and run with it and use it to your advantage. So don't make it something that you're shying away from something that's embarrassing. Everyone has to start somewhere. But it's saying this is me, this is who I am. Because it's just me, I can give you so much more than the person who's managing Yeah, 1000 property. That's very true. I think just the way I like to look is you know, we're no longer selling a product or a service, we're actually selling trust. That's the new currency. That's how you get someone to pay attention to you. They didn't care about how amazing your service is, or your product is. They care about how much they can trust you, you know what you can do for them. And I think the other thing is how you can make them feel it's all about you know if you can make them feel good. It's another great way to build trust. People often think that brand is your your logo, your colour scheme, or how you appear to the public. But that's exactly your appearance to the public is your authenticity. It's like how real can you be no one cares about your brand or your colour scheme or whatever it is. They care about how you can make them feel when they come into contact with your business. And one thing I like to reflect on is Nike if you take Nike as an example, you don't see Nike cold calling people saying come by our shoes come by our shoes come to our shoes, like a typical salesperson would the brand does the selling for them. People know that Nike has quality shoes, you know, they trust the brand already. They go out to buy the product rather than have to be salty about the product. So and they've bought this brand because of the stories they tell and because of the athletes that have representing the brand and i think that's that's a good lesson and a good thing to aspire to as a as a business owner.