Guilherme Lopes van RD Station

Oprichter Koffie aflevering 012

Guilherme Lopes - Medeoprichter RD Station

Ik ben Jeroen van Salesflare en dit is Founder Coffee.

Elke twee weken drink ik koffie met een andere oprichter. We bespreken het leven, passies, leerervaringen, ... in een intiem gesprek, waarbij we de persoon achter het bedrijf leren kennen.

For this thirteenth episode, I talked to Guilherme Lopes, Co-Founder of RD Station, South America’s leading marketing automation software.

Guilherme en zijn 4 medeoprichters bouwen sinds 2005 apps vanuit een stad in het zuiden van Braziliƫ. In 2011 zagen ze een gat in de Zuid-Amerikaanse markt en begonnen ze RD Station te bouwen. Guilherme is van huis uit productmanager, maar nam al snel de rol van customer success binnen het bedrijf op zich en leidt nu een team van meer dan 200 mensen.

We hebben een interessant gesprek over persona's, hoe je goed klantsucces kunt doen en hoe je geweldige teams en structuur kunt bouwen.

Welkom bij Founder Coffee.

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Liever luisteren? Je kunt deze aflevering vinden op:

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Jeroen: Hoi, Guilherme. Leuk dat je bij Founder Coffee bent.

Guilherme: Hoe gaat het met je? Geweldig om hier vandaag bij je te zijn.

Jeroen: You’re the Founder of RD Station. I think RD Station is mostly popular in Brazil and Portugal. Right?

Guilherme: Ja, precies.

Jeroen: For those who don’t know what RD Station does, what do you guys focus on?

Guilherme: Well, RD Station is a marketing automation platform. So it’s similar to products like Headstart, Marcato and others. But we focus on SMBs from emerging markets.

So we lead the Latin American market. We’re also getting started in some other countries like Spain and Portugal as well.

Net als elk ander marketingautomatiseringsplatform helpt het bedrijven om online klanten te werven en hun bedrijf te laten groeien. Dat doet het door de klant manieren te bieden om hun publiek om te zetten in leads, met zaken als een planningsbank, forums en pop-ups.

Vervolgens helpt het klanten om de relatie met die leads aan te gaan, met e-mailmarketing en automatiseringsworkflows. De tool helpt klanten om leads te kwalificeren met lead scoring en andere segmentatie. Er zijn andere functies die dat verbinden met de verkooptrechter.

Dus maken we verbinding met het CRM en helpen we de verkoper te begrijpen wat er tijdens de marketingcyclus van die specifieke lead is gebeurd. En dat is uiteindelijk hoe bedrijven meer verkopen via hun online kanalen.

Jeroen: Dus RD Station gaat eigenlijk over het helpen van marketeers om leads te genereren en deze over te dragen aan verkopers. Toch?

Guilherme: Exactly. Yeah, more or less. It’s about tweaking the sales cycle and automating a part of it to shorten it.

Jeroen: You mentioned that it’s built for specific markets. What makes it better for, for instance, a Latin American market, or Spain? What makes RD Station different there?

Guilherme: That’s a great question. First, we started here. We know the market and its needs better. We know the maturity level of the market here in Latin America and other emerging countries is different from what we see in the west, or Europe.

Wat ze hier nodig hebben is ten eerste meer service. Dus we hebben een betere laag voor succes bij de klant, professionele service en ook een heel sterk partnerprogramma met marketingbureaus die onze klanten goede service kunnen bieden tegen een redelijke prijs.

Ze hebben ook een redelijke prijs nodig. Dus we hebben een prijs die veel lager is dan die van onze concurrenten. Ze hebben ook een eenvoudigere oplossing nodig; we proberen alles te bieden wat een platform zou moeten bieden, zoals al die functies waar ik het eerder over had, maar dan op een eenvoudigere manier zodat de klant begrijpt wat hij moet doen.

Dus een ander volwassenheidsniveau, andere behoeften, een andere broekzak en wij denken dat we de perfecte oplossing hebben voor al die verschillende behoeften op een specifieke manier voor de opkomende markten.

Jeroen: Ik begrijp het. Kun je een specifiek voorbeeld geven? Misschien over hoe jullie bepaalde functies toegankelijker maken in vergelijking met andere marketingautomatiseringssoftware?

Guilherme: First of all, we have less features – which is good because there is less complexity, for instance. In a more complex or robust company, you can have multiple funnels for different kind of projects, products, or personas. We only have one.

Voor sommige bedrijven zien we dat als een beperking. Dat zijn de grotere bedrijven. Maar we zien dat het onze software eenvoudiger maakt voor bedrijven die net beginnen met inbound marketing en andere online marketingaspecten.

Jeroen: Hoe is RD Station ontstaan? Wat deed je voor RD Station?

Guilherme: Well, we are five founders actually and we all have worked together before in 2005 in a company that used to build mobile apps. It was at a time when we didn’t have the iPhone yet. So we tried to thrive in this industry, but building mobile apps or using Java program language for those feature phones probably wasn’t the right timing and we failed because of that. It didn’t work.

Maar we zijn erin geslaagd om wat aandacht te krijgen van de Braziliaanse markt en de Latijns-Amerikaanse markt door gebruik te maken van inbound marketingtechnieken.

We are from south of Brazil. It’s not a big city. It’s a small capital in the south of Brazil and most of the bigger brands and companies are concentrated in south Sao Paulo. We basically got their attention by writing content. Having a blog, we had a way to manage a relationship with the leads we were generating. Later, the five of us were working together in that company, but we started different ventures because it didn’t work and again, every one of us failed in our new ventures. I for instance, tried to launch a company to build television apps, that also didn’t work quite well.

Jeroen: What does that mean – television apps?

Guilherme: You don’t even know, that’s why it didn’t work. When you turn on your TV, there are some apps like – the simplest one being the channel guide. But you can build apps on those platforms and even connect to the internet or social networks and things like that. But that didn’t work because now everybody uses Netflix and they use that on their app, which is packed with a lot of different apps too.

Weer verkeerde timing dus.

But again, I managed to get some attention from bigger brands and big companies at the time – like Sony and some different broadcasters. Again, all by doing some inbound marketing. Then we got together again.

I mean we had worked previously in that mobile apps company, and decided that we were starting our own ventures. We tried to create successful startups but it didn’t work quite well because of different reasons – maybe the timing or maybe the quality of the work we were selling.

Maar bij al die verschillende startups was er ƩƩn ding dat heel goed werkte en dat was het soort marketing dat we deden. We hadden altijd de mentaliteit om een unieke trechter te creƫren die marketing en verkoop integreerde, met behulp van inbound marketingtechnieken. We creƫerden gesegmenteerde werkstromen en maakten vervolgens marketingcampagnes. En dat werkte!

At the time, HubSpot wasn’t the number one platform because Marketo was bigger and I think Eloqua was bigger as well at the time. But they were growing pretty fast and had a more innovative way of thinking. We actually thought of reselling HubSpot and becoming a partner. Our CEO, Eric, actually approached them and they told him they weren’t looking at the Brazilian market yet so they weren’t interested. That’s when he decided to build our own product, get our own version of an inbound marketing platform which would be better than Marketo, Eloqua, HubSpot and is especially more adapted to the market we were in here.

He told us the idea and we all ultimately left the jobs we were at to work on it. I am an engineer or used to be, I don’t know. I had a well paying job; I was a product manager trying to run the television apps division and we literally left our paychecks or salary behind to start living on our savings. We did this to fully commit to the company since day one. And that was really the most important differentiator in making this company very successful. We have a very good team that had worked together in the past successfully without fighting each – that’s also a common reason why startups fail. We were fully committed to the bones to have no salary, to work 24/7 on that new venture. That was really important in the beginning.

Jeroen: Hoe lang heb je zonder salaris gewerkt?

Guilherme: Bijna twee jaar denk ik.

Jeroen: Twee jaar?

Guilherme: Yeah. Almost. One year and a half actually. We actually started paying ourselves symbolic money that wouldn’t really pay for the rent or half of the rent. So we spent our savings for one and a half years, and almost all our personal savings too. When we got the first round of investment, which was actually an angel investment one year and a half later, I think we decided to start paying us some money to help with the bills.

Jeroen: Wanneer ben je weer begonnen? Hoeveel jaar geleden?

Guilherme: We zijn begin 2011 begonnen. Dus zeven jaar geleden.

Jeroen: Okay. So, you’re in it now for about seven years.

Guilherme: Ja, ongeveer zeven jaar.

Ik denk graag dat we tot nu toe behoorlijk succesvol zijn. We zijn gegroeid van geen werknemers naar 600 werknemers.

Jeroen: Wow.

Guilherme: En nul klanten tot ongeveer 1.000 betalende klanten.

Jeroen: Hoe groot is HubSpot ter vergelijking?

Guilherme: I think they have about 30,000 customers and 1,200 employees or maybe 2,000 employees, something like that. I haven’t checked the numbers lately but I think they are double in size. Now they have a much bigger revenue.

We hebben onlangs de grens van 30 miljoen ARR overschreden. Als je denkt aan een bedrijf met 600 werknemers, denk je meestal dat de omzet veel hoger is dan dat. Maar dat komt omdat we een Braziliaans bedrijf zijn en een van onze belangrijkste onderscheidende factoren is het prijspunt en we verkopen in onze munteenheid of de munteenheid die we hebben in Latijns-Amerika. Die valuta's zijn veel zwakker en goedkoper dan Amerikaanse dollars. We hebben minder inkomsten als we aan dollars denken. Toch hebben we minder kosten omdat alles minder kost en we betalen onze werknemers en al het andere ook in die valuta, dus het klopt allemaal en het werkt echt geweldig.

Jeroen: Let’s say if you were to go to the US and start competing with HubSpot head on, then your cost structure would allow for much lower prices still?

Guilherme: Yeah but also we would have to increase our cost of acquisition. I don’t know, by 10 times maybe. They probably have a cost of acquisition that is 10 times more than ours and that’s our differentiator. We do not plan to go into the US. We are not planning to compete with those established inbound marketing platforms you have there because that’s our differentiator. We have a much lower cost of acquisition here because of the kind of market we are addressing and because of the maturity level we found in these countries. So the whole company is optimized to work on emerging markets.

On the other hand, HubSpot or others, don’t work really well here. For instance, if you look at Salesforce, they have got a really big chunk of the market here in Brazil. We still have more than 90 percent of the companies that don’t use ads to promote for instance. Among the 10 percent that use ads, you see a huge competition among Salesforce dynamics and other smaller CRM products like Pipedrive.

The problem is for those big brands, they optimize their machines, their acquisition machines, their retention machines for the US market – for bigger brands, for bigger companies. Those things don’t work in the emerging markets. So when you get here with the cost of acquisition of 5,000 or 10,000 dollars, even more sometimes, you have to have a really high price point and really high retention rate and definitely really high profitability. And all of that doesn’t work well when you have a market, where usually companies have much less maturity and depend more on service. So the whole model has to change. That’s why I think we would fail competing with them at least in the bigger markets. And those big markets, they will also fail competing with us in these emerging markets.

Jeroen: Begrepen. Dus je ambitie is om sterk te blijven in de opkomende markten en van daaruit te groeien?

Guilherme: Yeah, exactly. Our ambition is to solve the needs for SMB’s in Latin America first and foremost. I mean we’re focused on those companies and we want to make them really successful with our solution.

Jeroen: Gaaf. Wat doe je persoonlijk bij RD Station?

Guilherme: I run the customer success department. As I said in the beginning, I used to be an engineer. I think that every other young engineer that starts a company that you will write the code, publish your software and get rich. I too thought that it would work like that, but it didn’t. When we launched our software, we were really successful from a sales perspective. We sold like 20 accounts in one month and that was like a big win for us. We celebrated that. But even though we are selling like 600-700 or more accounts right now, that was a bigger win for us.

Toen ontdekten we dat klanten, vooral in de SaaS-wereld, voor de ene maand genoeg konden betalen voor de andere. Dat was moeilijk en we ontdekten dat ze dat churn noemen. In die tijd, het was denk ik 2012, probeerden we ook altijd naar Silicon Valley te kijken. We bestudeerden de nieuwste technologieƫn en we zagen dat ze het hadden over iets nieuws dat ze klantsucces noemden.

And customer success is not really much of a new thing. It is basically post sales reinvented in a new discipline – of course there are new concepts over that.

My first impression was that they’re trying to come up with a better name for support and I was skeptical at first, especially when my partner and CEO asked me to think about starting this customer support department here at RD and help our customers be successful. I was skeptical. I was an engineer, I used to build products! But then I started studying it. It has already been six years and I started as a customer success manager, who does all sort of things for our customers at the beginning. So I was this big team of one person in the building and now the customer success team has more than 200 people.

Jeroen: Yeah. It’s one third of the company then.

Guilherme: One third of the company, yes. So as I said in the beginning that’s part of the way we work with our customers. We want to be close to them, we want to serve them, even though we are not charging for the service sometimes. But we decided that we want to help them overcome their problems with knowledge, maturity and resources.

Op dit moment omvat de afdeling customer success de hele verkoopoperatie, en dat is inclusief professional services, die vooral bestaat uit de implementatie van diensten zoals onboarding. En dan hebben we een team dat zich bezighoudt met ondersteuning, en ondersteuning is snelle, reactieve ondersteuning, het ondersteunen van klanten, pauzes en oplossingen, en het gebruik van gedachten en dingen die men snel kan oplossen door bijvoorbeeld alleen een e-mail te sturen. Dan hebben we het customer success management team en zij helpen de klanten gedurende hun hele levenscyclus na de onboarding periode, en helpen hen bij het beheren van hun plannen op weg naar succes, en zorgen ervoor dat ze niet op een zijspoor raken. We helpen alle obstakels te overwinnen. Het team is het belangrijkste contactpunt binnen het bedrijf voor de klant.

We hebben deze drie verschillende disciplines onder customer success. Verschillende afdelingen onder de overkoepelende afdeling Customer Success hier bij RD.

Jeroen: Ik snap het. Zijn alle vijf de medeoprichters ingenieurs?

Guilherme: No. Four. It’s a company of engineers. One guy worked with business administration. He started the marketing department awhile back and he still leads the main agenda for the marketing team. From the four engineers, one, Bruno, became the CTO of the company. So he runs all the engineering. Eric, also an engineer, is the CEO. I’m customer success, marketing for Andre and Pedro, the fifth founder, works as an engineer with Bruno’s team.

Jeroen: En van alle ingenieurs, waarom denk je dat jij degene was die werd uitgekozen om, of werd besloten om de customer success afdeling te leiden?

Guilherme: That’s a good question. I used to do product management – building the requirements, the specs and design of what our product will be. At the beginning, we had to pay for our bills, so we started selling services as a consultant but we were afraid of becoming a service company. We had walked that path previously and it didn’t work well. We tried to build products and we were tagged as a software house or a service company. And those kind of companies don’t scale very well.

We desperately wanted to create a product that would scale. So our approach or way to sell service and produce service and still connect up with building a strong product was, to sell marketing services to companies and try to understand their needs. We would translate their needs into a product. So we would, for instance, create a landing page for them – coding the landing page. We would send email marketing campaigns, showing the exact results on an excel and anything like that. If the customers saw some value on that, it would be a green signal for us to build that feature inside of our software.

Nadat we het gebouwd hadden, verspreidden we het gratis onder die klanten en vroegen we hen om het te proberen, te kijken of ze het leuk vonden en ons feedback te geven. Dus we gebruikten die diensten om de klanten te begrijpen, om de klantontwikkeling te doen. En daar raakte ik bij betrokken, omdat ik het prima vond om de vereisten te creƫren en te bepalen wat onze software zou worden. Ik begon me dus bezig te houden met diensten en klanten en toen er iemand nodig was om klanten te helpen hun uitdagingen te overwinnen en succesvol te worden met ons platform, was ik degene die daar op dat moment beter op voorbereid was en meer kennis over had.

Jeroen: Zijn klantsucces en productmanagement nog steeds Ć©Ć©n afdeling bij RD Station? Of zijn ze opgesplitst? Hoe werken ze samen als ze zijn opgesplitst?

Guilherme: Nee, we zijn lang geleden uit elkaar gegaan. Eigenlijk zijn we destijds verhuisd naar customer success en hebben we een commissie opgericht om ideeƫn en specificaties voor het product te bedenken, maar later werd het onderdeel van het engineeringproduct en nu hebben ze het weer opgesplitst tussen engineering en product.

Jeroen: En die commissie waar je het over hebt, wie zitten er in die commissie?

Guilherme: In het begin was Bruno de engineer, ik de customer success guy en de marketing omdat we een marketingproduct verkochten.

Jeroen: Begrepen. Dus je betrekt het marketingteam bij productbeslissingen bij RD Station?

Guilherme: Zeker. Eigenlijk waren wij, voor een lange periode, onze meest geavanceerde klant.

As people like to say, we eat our own dog food. Nowadays, we can’t use ourselves anymore in a customer model because in some ways we have outgrown what our ideal customer looks like; they have different needs. We already are a big company and that doesn’t necessarily translate to what our customers need.

But at the beginning, we were exactly that – a SMB for an emerging market trying to be successful using an inbound marketing platform. So yes, marketing has always had a big say in the product.

Jeroen: Dus, toen je van je eigen personage naar niet meer je eigen personage ging, veranderde dat de manier waarop jullie werken?

Guilherme: Dit heeft in feite de manier waarop het productteam werkt veranderd. Dus als ze aan een nieuwe functie willen werken of een bepaalde functie willen verbeteren, gingen ze eerst naar het marketingteam en vroegen ze naar hun pijnpunten, wie die functies gebruikt, hun feedback en al die dingen. Dat doen ze nog steeds, maar het is meer een aanbeveling. Nu interviewen ze een aantal klanten die de meest voorkomende persona's die we hebben beter vertegenwoordigen.

Jeroen: That’s cool. What is your focus exactly right now in the customer success department? How do you spend your typical day? How do you go about growing things?

Guilherme: Well, our company has a big big challenge – my department particularly. It is to grow our retention rates and expansion rates for a product that is relatively complex and you’re selling to SMBs. When you think of that equation, you think of churn. You wouldn’t sell a complex software for SMB and expect a very good adoption and retention rate. But still we want to overcome the challenge with a very well instrumented customer life cycle that we try to map, to go along with what we call ‘educational methodology’.

Onze klanten hebben dus meer kennis nodig. Hoe meer ze weten, hoe meer ze onze software zullen gebruiken.

We created this methodology, called the ‘growth machine methodology’ and we have all these different success milestones. Like, the success milestone one is trying your first generation campaign. Success milestone two, is starting to build a relationship with your leads, and three is create accountant plan and so on. So we defined it into different steps based on the maturity level of the customer. And we tried to tie that together into the customer life cycle.

Succesmijlpaal Ć©Ć©n is bijvoorbeeld wat we proberen te bereiken tijdens de inwerkperiode. Daarom verkopen we een inwerkpakket dat daarop aansluit. En daarna zal DCSM de klanten helpen om het pad te volgen en elk van die verschillende mijlpalen te bereiken.

We also create a lot of content organized around that methodology. We think that with a very strong methodology, you need good educational content. That’s why we created a university called “RD University” and we are not only producing content for our customers, but also for our market leads and potential future customers. With that well orchestrated life cycle, we offer implementation specialists, customer success managers, support, and different specialist for different needs, different stages of life cycles.

We still need to instrument this better so that we are having only one conversation with one customer, to avoid being repetitive or confusing the customer. Orchestrating all of that together, we can create a success machine that will accelerate the potential growth, the potential success for the kind of companies we are selling to – SMBs from emerging markets. That per say, is an enormous challenge but we’ve had some success so far and we’re still improving.

Jeroen: Wat zijn enkele van de dingen waar je geleidelijk meer tijd aan hebt besteed?

Guilherme: I spend a lot of my time helping the implementation team to fine tune the tasks of the implementation so that they don’t end up delivering a project that does not tie to the overall goal, to the long term plan. We need to tie those things together.

Vervolgens breng ik tijd door met het customer success managementteam om hen te helpen de output van de klant te ontvangen, te implementeren en een zeer strikte operationele methodologie te creƫren waarmee ze de groei van de klant en het succes van de klant kunnen versnellen door middel van georkestreerde en proactieve contactmomenten.

We work with SMBs, so it’s a high volume operation. We can’t rely on the customer success manager talent itself to understand the customer’s needs, problems and then translate them into a plan and help customers stick to the plan. So, I need to instrument a system to show warnings and alerts to those CSN’s so that are able to quickly understand what is going on in a couple of minutes, call the customers, and be well trained using our methodology to help the customer understand what is the next best logical step for them to take and come up with some tactic for them to do that.

En dat moeten ze op schaal doen. Ze moeten dus dat ene uur bellen voor alle klanten. Het opbouwen van deze operatie is iets heel moeilijks. Je hebt hele goede systemen nodig en hele goede procesdashboards, individuele dashboards, prestatiebeoordelingen, met het oog op stroperij en al dat soort dingen. Ik besteed dus de meeste tijd aan het bedenken hoe ik deze strategie kan vertalen naar iets tactisch en hoe ik met de leiders van elk team kan werken om dit alles te personaliseren of te orkestreren.

Jeroen: Klinkt als een enorme uitdaging.

Guilherme: Yeah it is. It’s a good thing I’m engineer. I think of customer success with an engineering mind.

Jeroen: Ja, met een procesmentaliteit. Dus hoeveel uur werk je elke dag aan RD Station?

Guilherme: Hours? Well I’m a big fan of routines. I don’t see myself as a disciplined guy, but that’s why I’m big fan of routines because when I put in place a straight crew team it helps me be more focused, stay energized, put out today and deliver more in the same amount of time. And that means not only being disciplined about how many hours you work on, but also what you will work and your free time – your reading time, praying or meditation time, about the time you spend with your family. Because without those things, you will become an imbalanced professional and an imbalanced professional, cannot deliver results.

So, in terms of hours, I usually wake up at six, shower and meditate. I get some eggs, a nice couple of coffee, and I start working from home. I try to not step into the office until noon because I am much more productive in the mornings. I try to spare the time for ‘makers time’, where I work on projects – the most important objective there is for the day. I try to finish the most important object of the day by 10 at most or 11. And then I go to the office. My afternoons are full; usually fully booked with meetings, so I have like five meetings in a row in the afternoons.

When you have a 600 employees company and you are the founder, you know a lot how often things work, you don’t necessarily have everything well documented and instrumented. So people tend to come up to you to ask some things and I try to not have quick chats with everyone that steps into your office every 15 minutes. I try to schedule, even if it’s a 20 minute meeting. For every meeting, I try to have an agenda and objective and with that in mind, I will do things usually with the leaders of my team, so I have right now eight direct reports.

I do the same with my peers, other executives of the company and any other person on the inside. We often do these skip level meetings, we do talks, provided that they have an agenda or an objective – I schedule a meeting with anyone. It keeps the proximity with the whole team. So that’s why I come in to the office for a lot of meetings. So there is a lot of talking during the afternoon and by the end of the day, exactly 6:30, I go to the gym.

And as I said, that is also a part of getting balance in your life to become more productive. Everyone needs to exercise and my latest hack for doing exercise every day or at least three times a week, is hiring a personal trainer. Not because I need it, but because I am paying and I am committed because I’m paying. And second because he’s waiting for me 6:30 three times a week and I have to go and so I won’t let him keep waiting for me. That forces me to get back to the gym and home and that forces me to deliver whatever I needed to deliver within the hours I have in the office. So I go, I exercise, I dine, I chill out and on a perfect day, I will sleep.

Ik slaap vroeg, bijvoorbeeld om 10 uur 's nachts, zodat ik minstens zeven tot acht uur goed kan slapen. En natuurlijk is er soms nog een derde speeltijd, namelijk 's nachts. Als er iets gedaan moet worden voor de volgende dag, werk ik 's nachts nog een of twee uur door.

I try to avoid that because that prevents me from having a good sleep not only because of the number of hours I’m sleeping but also because I go to bed thinking of that thing that we’re doing because didn’t have time to chill out and everyone needs at least six hour of good sleep so they can be more productive during the day. That means that you can work 9-10 hours in a day, but it will still produce the same amount of work that a person might take 16 hours for.

Jeroen: Gaaf. Dat klinkt als een geweldige routine.

Guilherme: It’s quite simple actually. But you have to be disciplined.

Jeroen: Yeah. If you have this kind of routine, it provides some kind of stability I suppose. Like I read once, it’s a writer but I forgot the name, he said something like that you need to have some routine so that you can be more creative in your work because you create some stability through your routine which then makes it that you don’t have to focus on these things. So that when you’re actually creating things, you have the energy and the time to do it. I think I would try it once.

Guilherme: I’m a big believer in having a routine for things not related to work. If you are not disciplined about the quality time with your family, if you’re not disciplined about having quality time for praying or for exercising, then you just think that you need spare time and those things will naturally fit on that in the spare time. But it just won’t happen and you need all those things to refresh, rebuild, become more creative, do better with the stress and the pressure.

Jeroen: Yeah, definitely. Talking about writing and slowly wrapping up as well, what’s the latest good book you’ve read and why did you choose to read it?

Guilherme: The latest book was the Jocko Willink, the discipline playbook I think or field play book of discipline. It is actually a quite simple book but it’s related to some of those things we were talking about and how discipline means freedom. We can only be free if you’re disciplined with things you try for.

Jeroen: I found the title of the book. It’s Discipline Equals Freedom a Field Manual by Jocko Willink, right?

Guilherme: That is the one. It’s a good book to understand this concept.

Jeroen: Gaaf. Laatste vraag, als je opnieuw zou moeten beginnen met RD Station, wat zou je dan anders hebben gedaan? Dit is de moeilijkste vraag.

Guilherme: Yeah, it is difficult because of course I would have done a lot of things differently because you learn along the way. Still those learnings are important because of that cliché that ‘the journey matters the most’ is actually true. I wouldn’t learn the things I learned if I hadn’t made those mistakes. But since I already have the knowledge, some of the things I would have done differently, I would since day one try to create this success machine in a more scalable way, thinking of either a replicable operation and thinking more of a funnel. I would not do whatever is needed to make a customer successful, I need a very good machine that will turn that customer successful at a very good conversion rate. And that needs to work in a well oiled fashion. That’s one thing.

Ik zou succes dus niet als kunst zien, maar als wetenschap en op schaal.

The other important thing is thinking of our persona. In the beginning, you want to sell to someone who has a cost and a wallet. You still don’t know exactly what your product will become, who will be more successful with your product. It takes you some time to say no to certain kind of requests and certain kind of customers. So right now, we have a better understanding of what our persona is and know more of what is the kind of customers that won’t be able to achieve success with our product; we call them the bad fits. In the beginning we didn’t know that, but now we do and we could have gone or grown much faster if we had that knowledge in the beginning and if we had built a software thinking of that persona and if we had also not tried to pursue or sell or make those kinds of customers successful.

Dus dat zijn natuurlijk de dingen die ik anders zou hebben gedaan. Denken vanuit het perspectief van klantsucces.

Jeroen: Ja. Meer processen, meer focus en meer systeem.

Guilherme: Exactly. You can’t have success unless there is more science to a scalable machine and thinking of your persona segments.

Jeroen: Gaaf. Bedankt voor je advies en bedankt Guilherme dat je bij Founder Coffee was.

Guilherme: Jij ook bedankt. Het was leuk om met je te praten en hier te zijn.

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Jeroen Corthout