The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 4 years ago

Jay Gibb on How to Leverage Your Customer’s Network for Fast, Organic Growth


Stop wasting time & resources on Customer Acquisition - You may be missing a goldmine within your book of business. Your current clients might have hundreds, or thousands of untapped connections with your ideal clients.

This episode I’m joined by Jay Gibb, the CEO & Founder of CloudSponge, who’s an expert at helping non-technical entrepreneurs (like myself) build their ventures.

Early on, Jay noticed that people weren’t using referral systems to leverage their existing customer base for growth -- so he founded CloudSponge.

Their goal is to dramatically increase your existing referral program’s performance, giving your current customers more value so you can leverage their network for fast, organic growth.

And it’s a lot easier than you think!

These are happy customers that are paying you money and most of the time they're delighted to help you grow your business. If you just ask. You're listening to the BDB revenue executive experience, a podcast dedicated to helping the executives train their sales and marketing teams to optimize growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's accelerate your growth in three, two, one. Welcome everyone to the BB revenue executive experience. I'm your host, Chad Sanderson. Today we're talking about how to effectively leverage your customers network, not yours, but your customers, and which is critical for in sales and marketing today's everyone knows your network is your most powerful asset. So if you can expand that effectively, we definitely want to take time to explore how to do that. To help us, we have with US J Gibb, who's the founder and CEO of a B Tob Sass company called cloud sponge and a partner to distributed software engineer and consulting agency called Arizona Bay. He and his team of built hundreds of online businesses with entrepreneurs over the last twenty years and he's an expert at helping non technical it's probably me and quasi technical entrepreneurs build new software products and manage technology teams for their ventures. Jay. Thanks for taking the time and welcome to the show. Hid thanks for having me. Let's start with a quick overview of cloud sponge and your role there, and I would love to know where the name came from. It's kind of a cool story my role there. I'm the founder and CEO. It's a software as a service company that focuses on a dress book importing. So we make it possible for people to access their contacts from whatever website they're on. So our customers are other businesses that have things like referral programs or sharing interfaces or anything where there. They want their users to give them their friends email addresses or phone numbers or mailing addresses, and we just make it easy for their users to be able to get that information and share it with our customers without leaving the website and going to look it up and copy and paste it from a different window on their computer. accellent. So where did the idea come from? It's kind of the same story that is happens to a lot of people. Where we were building this software for ourselves, like for a client, for a project we're working on, and it was just really, really tedious, and we tried, we tried all the like open source packages that existed at the time. We tried everything that was available sort of off the shelf, and nothing worked well, nothing stayed maintain nothing sort of did what we needed to do. So we ended up having to build it and it just turned out that as we were going through the process of building it, you know, we were seeing all these other people just like us in the developer forums and stack overflow and everything, asking all the same questions we were asking. So we felt like there was a like a built in market for it for people that also didn't want to have to build this thing, and so we just kind of it's you know, it's long story short. Were Price Tag on and made a home page for it and I decide to see and went out to all those all those developers who are out there, you know, building this already and just sold it to them and they are all delighted that that they didn't have to do it anymore. So, you know, that was eight years ago and you know, since then, you know, we got thousands of customers and we've done pretty well with it and, you know, being just you know, integrations with dozens of Webmail address book providers on the Web and sort of a single point of integration that parses and normalizes all that data and makes it really easy for developers and product managers and growth people to get, you know, get all that data rate in their websites and give their users a good interface to be able to access their contact without having to switch between windows and tabs. Where did the name come from? You know, it's tough, man.

I don't know how many companies you've tried to name, but it's tough. I had so the company that the so the cloud sponge is the producting the company is called cloud copy and the idea, you know, this was back in two thousand and nine, when we started this whole thing. The original concept was to provide a beat of sea service to let people copy their data in the cloud and keep a local copy of it, because this is long enough ago that people weren't super comfortable with just leaving their data in the clouds. Now nowadays it's normal right, but back then we felt like there was kind of a market for somebody to copy data from cloud and put it on to dvd or onto, you know, local drives and things like that. And so we're, you know, we're cloud copy and and you know, I have these a couple rules when it comes to naming a company, and one of them is you must you must have thecom and the other one is the telephone test. You shouldn't have to. I shouldn't have to spell it for you if I'm telling it to you verbally. So English words spelled normally with Acom and you know, we went through whatever, dozens and dozens of them. And you know, we figured we were absorbing data from the cloud like a sponge sucks clut water out of a bucket, right, so we're sponging like a dress book data out of these webmail services, and so we kind of decided that cloud sponge was as good as it was going to get after spending a few months trying to figure it out. And you know, turns out lots of people like it. It's memorable people. You know, it doesn't really mean anything else. So, you know, it doesn't have any we're not like locked into this one product roadmap based on our name, and so, you know, I'm pretty happy with it and we're just going to keep it all with it. Yeah, they definitely stay. It definitely sticks out. I mean it was one, you know, it was not one that I forgot right with all the people that I work with or talk to always, it definitely stuck right away and it made me go, I want to you know, made me think. I wonder where the how that came from, like what? Okay, and if you can get something that's going to tap into that curiosity circuit and somebody's head, then that's a win. So well done, well done. Yeah, thanks, you know, and nobody's misspells and so what I think, you know, nobody ever gets it wrong. So that's great. And so help me understand you. Guys did the product, you threw up the web page, you know, started selling it. What kind of results, and I know we're a little off script here, but what kind of results have you seen that surprised you? Or War uses or ways that customers are implementing it? Well, it depends on how far you back you want to go, but you know, at the beginning everything was a surprise, everything was new and we were talking to all of our customers and you know, we originally thought that it was going to be mostly used for referral programs, but then it started getting used by invitations like e cards and evites types companies. Right go fund me as one of our customers, and that you know, they use it at the end of the campaign creation process where you know, you've just created a go fund me campaign and you want to send that thing to everybody that you know to, you know, start raising money, and so at the end of that process, you know, they let you upload your address book and Select People that you want to share the thing with. Right. That one was a surprise when it first happened, but now it's very common. Happens all the time. The find a friend feature. This is a thing that a lot of people have seen in the setup process of their social network, Count Yep, right. So you've probably seen in Linkedin or facebook or twitter, place where you can upload your addres US book to quickly connect with everybody that is already on the network. That's the use case that yelp uses cloud sponge for and a few other social networks out there. So it's nice to be a use case agnostic tool because then we get to sort of see how all of our customers are leveraging this software and and then create content and things like that for them. So it gives us lots of material to work with. Excellent, excellent. And so I have to ask, I know it's not specifically about cloud sponge, but when you say you know in your bio we were talking and you said you built hundreds of online businesses with entrepreneurs, can... give me a sample, give audience as a sample of one of two of your favorites? Yeah, sure, we've got one right now. That's a Canadian version of a company that you may be familiar with down here called makespace, your clutter, Yep, yeah, so they're doing it. They have a similar model up in Canada. Are called a luster all USTRCOM, and so that's that's one of the ones that you know. We've been working with them since, say one this is super sexy project that we were really proud to be a part of. Excellent, excellent. So okay. So let's get back to the networking stuff. So you mentioned referral programs and just so since we're not obviously doing video or there's no animations, or they can you just kind of run our audience through how cloud sponge would work or how they might be using it and maybe not even knowing it? You know, kind of what the flow looks like and how you would say it's extremely effective for the clients. Yeah, sure, I think. I think everybody's probably seeing in one of these fields on a website where you being asked to type in a comma separated list of email addresses. Right. Oh, yeah, you know, one of our sort of most famous examples is AIRBNB's referral program or super proud to be a part of their recipe for success and that one. And then you know they've got this famous referral program where if you invite somebody to air BNB, your friends going to get, you know, some discount on their first booking and if they make a booking, then you're going to get a discount on your next booking. And so you know, they've got a massive team of people that have engineered a beautifully balanced system there and and they've done a ton of split testing on it. So we can't take credit for those parts. But right on that one page, the page on their website where they're asking you to type in your friends email addresses, you're going to see a gmail button and an outlookcom button and a Yahoo Button and an alll button maybe, depending on if they show that one to you, and those buttons are powered by cloud sponge. Those buttons basically launched the cloud sponge product. We do our job. We go out and we think. We ask you to give airbnb permission to read your contacts from your dress book and you type in your Google Password or your Yahoo Password to do that and then we provide the interface that allows you to select your friends from your dress book and when our product goes away, that field is now stuffed full of a comma separated list of email addresses. And you didn't have to type anything, you didn't have to switch to a different window, ornything just got we're able to do all of that just rate natively inside the RBB website. And so that's the primary use case. And then we've got hundreds of examples of that with our customers. And what we noticed and what we've we've heard kind of adding anecdotally from the customers of ours that are very metrics driven, the ones the collect the data, is that even though a relatively small percentage of people will click on those buttons because, you know, maybe they're only referring one person, or maybe they don't want to give the company permission to read their contacts, or whatever the reason is. You may find that only five or ten percent of the people that fill in that field will actually select contacts. But even though it's only five or ten percent, usually the number of referrals that gets sent, more than half of them come from that five or ten percent who do oh wow, because it's so much easier for them to select more people. Like sure, it's super tedious to type in ten. So anybody who's going to type is probably only going to do two or three at most. But all those people that want to send ten or twenty or fifty, they need to be able to do that from their address books. Otherwise it's too tedious. Right. And so you know, a huge percentage of the referrals that actually get sent or from that small percentage of people that use this feature. It's an amazing proof point for things that we talked about a lot when we refer to frictionless experiences. Right. So, especially in sales today, because of investments in customer experience from Disney, apple whatever,...

...through optimize user interfaces and emerging of physical and digital. It's all over removing friction for the buyer and a lot of times what I find, you know, having done that for ten years before I moved into sales enablement, is that people don't understand where the real friction points are, and so I'm be willing to bet that the majority of our audience never thought through that as a friction point. But the results, I think, speak for themselves. If you make it easy, more people are going to be you know, you can reach out to more people, you're going to get them referred. I typically I'll click. Man, there's at least a set of fifteen people I'm always sending referral stuff to. They probably hate me, but because it's easy, because it's simple, it doesn't require arduous steps so that you know, list it out. Type of them in, cutting a paste in or do I have it right? Oh Crap, did I forget the first letter of the name on the email address? Right? Those are those are all little friction points that build up and they're the type of focus that we're seeing be tob buyers want to be focused on, want them removed. So it's, I think, it's a great use case for and supporter of that idea of creating frictionless experiences, especially in the digital realm. Yeah, absolutely, and especially if you've got a you know, an email template that goes out that it requires the recipients name. So now you've basically just multiplied the complexity by two because you're asking the user not only do I want you to type an email addresses, I also want you to type the person's first name or first and last name, and now, like good luck to get them to do more than two or three of those. Right, right. But luckily all that stuff is stored in your dress books so that it makes it a lot easier to make that a frictionless experience, like you say. So when we think about you know, your experience with clouds bunge and where there's on a bay and working with all of these entrepreneurs and you have a vast list of experiences to draw from, and I'm just kind of curious if you were to condense those into three key takeaways or points of value that you would really want our audience to walk away from this discussion with kind of what would those be? Three? There's a lot and let me see, that's just let's start with one. Okay, see if I can get one. You know, one of the things that I think not enough people do, enough entrepreneurs do and sales and sales marking people do, is they don't like systematize growing from their existing customers. Like I feel like a lot of people, myself included, we default to this place where we're concerned about customer acquisition, were concerned about everything it takes to raise awareness and what we're doing and get people to buy from us, and then once that happens, we celebrate and we sort of forget that these people are like people that we should be leveraging to find more of people like them. Right, we should always try our best to systematize things like referrals and if you can't get those or your business like if it's not appropriate for some reason, you know, your existing customers should be leaving you reviews on review websites, you know. So if you're brick and mortar business, maybe that's yelp right. If you're an agency, maybe that's clutch. If you're a SASS company like cloud sponge, maybe that's gtwo crowd or Cap Tera, and these are happy customers. That are paying you money and most of the time they're delighted to help you grow your business. If you just ask, if you just remember to ask, remember to say thank you, remember to ask again and again. You know, say hey, like you made that referral last year. Have you met anybody in the last year that you think might benefit from our service? I've personally forgotten to do that with my businesses and whenever I sort of put some energy into that and try to systematize that and train my people to do it and build it into a support conversation or build it into an MPs email sequence and things like that, it always just turns into natural, organic growth. And so I think one piece of advice that for anybody out there this listing is just look at...

Your Business and ask yourself, like, are we leveraging our current customers for growth somehow? Testimonials, case studies, reviews, referrals, those types of things, and I would bet that most people can do more. I think most people will find some ideas in the list that I just came up with, things that they can do that they're going to generate more growth for them. Yeah, it's a great point because it means sales. We always say you need to ask for the referral, but a lot of the reps or even marketing people that we work with they don't and some when we ask why, when we dig in try next why, there's this level of discomfort. But I think you hit on a great point. If you're doing good work for them and you're helping them be successful, why wouldn't they be willing to make that referral? And if they're not, might want to evaluate kind of the impact you are or are not having for that customer. Yeah, maybe. I mean we're just ask them why not and try to figure it out. Right, maybe they don't know anybody. Maybe they would if they could, but they just can't think of anybody. Or, you know, maybe you have to give talk about incentives, right. I think depending on Your Business, most people love the idea of being able to give somebody they care about a gift, like a deal. You know, some people are more motivated by their own gifts being given to them, but other people will say, look like anybody that you refer to me, I'll give them a discount or I'll give him, you know something. A lot of times that's all it takes to motivate somebody to get out of that Rut and actually do that thing that they said they wouldn't do or couldn't do? Yeah, without a doubt, without it. All right. So let's Change Direction here a little bit. We ask all of our guests kind of two standard questions at the end of each interview, and now would be simply, since you are CEO, that makes you a prospect for sales and marketing people. So you're probably getting phone calls and emails all the time with people who want to try and sell you something or get your perspective. Always curious to learn, when you don't have a relationship with somebody or it's not a referral, somebody's coming at you cold, what's the best way for them to get your attention, to build credibility and inspire you to take that call or have that first meeting? You know, I think the ones just just speaking anecdotally, like just trying to think back to, you know, the last time I engaged with a cold bell reach. It's got. I guess it's two things. One of them is warming up the relationship somehow, usually by being you know, having a conversation on social media. Is the easiest one because we're all kind of out there. That's not possible. You know, the thing that usually gets me to reply or to take a meeting is if I see that somebody's done some homework and they're actually like spending some time qualifying me and determining that I do have the problem that they can solve before they email me right, which is probably one out of fifty emails I get. Like it doesn't happen often, I guess, a ton of emails where it's just, you know, as a salesperson or a marketing system that's just sort of blurting out this is what we do, like, do you have fifteen minutes to talk? And that's not really helpful and those ones are never going to get a reply from me. But people that actually like look at my business or listen to a podcast like this one or take a minute to show me that they've tailored this message for me by hand personally, those are the ones that I kind of feel compelled to reply to write. I kind of feel like okay, like this is actually a really email that came to me. One example was g two crowd, I mentioned a minute ago. You know, one of their sales people, and this was several months ago now. One of their sales people made a little screencast. It was like thirty seconds. You could see her face in the corner and she sort of she's had gone to the cloud sponge page inside the g two crowd software and she was like hey, Jay, like I just wanted to show you what your page looks like and show you, like, the value that you can get by using our product. If you want the more like in depth demo, let me know, but you know this way, I just wanted to reach out and let you know...

...that, you know, this is what your account looks like. These are the people in their case, these are the companies that have visited the cloud sponge profile over the last seven days and you may want to reach out to these guys because obviously they're interested in your product. Right. And for me, like I had no choice, I was compelled to reply. Like she spent time, she said she sent me a spink as I never seen her before. Like you know, it was totally cold, but it was brilliant and it was done properly and after that we had a linkedin conversation and we had a phone call and I didn't ultimately end up buying the product from them. But that's definitely what got my tension excellent. So, okay, last question. It maybe not a little bit fairer since I asked, you know, three takeaways and we focused on one. But we call it our acceleration insight. And based on your experience, what you've seen in your career, if there was one piece of advice you could give to sales or marketing professionals, if they listen, one piece of advice that, if they listen to, you believe would be critical for them hitting or exceeding their targets, what would it be and why? Who? I guess? Yeah, man, maybe I use my best ideas on that. You know, a combination of those, right. I mean to get out there and take the time to basically focus on conversions. Right, it's quality over quantity. In my mind, sending out a lot of really bad emails, but we're making a bunch of really bad phone calls is not going to help you hit your ultimate number. I don't think. In my business, and in clouds punge in particular, we don't do cold outreach unless we know that the company that were reaching out to genuinely would grow faster by buying our product and then we feel obligated to get them to buy from us to help them grow. There's no situation where we just spam out some emails to people that you know are the right company size and the right geography in the right job title. You know that. For me that doesn't work. I would just say focusing on on those really high conversion rates and and don't stress out if that means that you can only send ten emails a day instead of a hundred. And it's interesting because that's a current topic of debate. You got guys out there, Yoh, set as many as possible, just play the numbers. I fall more into your camp. I believe that it's demonstration of respect almost if you're taking the time to really try and understand that person's perspective or what they're facing, kind of like you talked about, understand and do your homework. I think that has a much more authentic feel because then you've you know, you've invested, maybe it's not a lot of time, but a little bit of time, and you've got a genuine interest, whereas a lot of the stuff that just comes through and you can tell it was automated or all they did was change a couple of words and it just, you know, makes my eyes all back in my head. I'm not a big not a big fan at so day. I'm definitely in agree with with quality over quantity. Yeah, I mean, I think a lot of times depends on who your audience is here, but I mean a lot of times they're doing it because that's the metrics that the company is measuring right. So it kind of starts with potentially, you know, lobbying to the people above you and your organization to have them change the measurement right, because if they're just measuring activities and how many emails you send and how many eatings you book instead of actually that the bottom of the funnel of how many customers you actually close, then of course you're going to be motivated by the wrong things and you're going to be motivated just to blast out as much noise as you can. And so it takes some a lot of courage and maybe some creativity to figure out how to get, you know, your boss is to change the way your compensation is structured, you know, the way that you're being measured. Excellent. So, Jay, if the listener is interested in talking more about topics we touched on today, finding out more information about cloud sponge or other things that you have done. What's the easiest and most effective way for them to reach out with questions? The easiest way to learn about Claus spunge is just from cloud spongecom and I am very active on Linkedin, or at least you know I check it often, and so if anybody wants to find me there, it's just jy Gibb. I should come up first. I think I can be only one with...

...that name. And Yeah, that's Jay a cloud spongecom. If you want to just email me directly. Excellent. I really appreciate you taking the time to be on the show day. It's been great talking to you well. Thank Chad. All right, everybody does it for this episode. You know the drill. Check us out of BEB REV exaccom. If you like what you're hearing, give us a review on itunes. Please reach out to jail. Include some links on the blog post to cloud sponge in some other areas you can check out as well. And until next time, we have value prime solutions. Wish you all nothing but the greatest success. Imagine your board sets a target of twenty percent revenue growth in eighteen months. So something will have to change with your sales team. How do you beat your target? Value Prime solutions can help ensure your managers and reps are leveraging a sales framework that focuses on value, not price. Don't assume you have it all figured out. Don't wait until it's too late. Visit Value Prime Solutionscom and let them help. You've been listening to the BB revenue executive experience. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show and Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time.

In-Stream Audio Search


Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (256)