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THE IMPACT OF CHANGE INTELLIGENCE ON SALESFORCE INTEGRATION AND MERGERS

Ian Gotts, Founder and CEO at Elements.cloud

Dive into the world of Change Intelligence with Ian Gotts, the Founder and CEO of Elements.cloud. In this engaging conversation, discover how Elements.cloud empowers businesses to navigate the complexities of Salesforce configurations, streamline mergers and integrations, and harness the potential of Artificial Intelligence. Explore the impact of this innovative platform on Salesforce implementation, data security, and compliance. Learn how Elements.cloud is bridging the gap between business and IT, offering a competitive edge in the dynamic world of enterprise IT management.

Elements.cloud, which is a change intelligence platform that enables you to accelerate value for Salesforce.

Ian
Founder, and CEO of Elements.cloud

Hello everyone, and welcome to another episode of Wytpod. My name is Harshit and I’m the Director of Business Alliances at Wytlabs. We are a digital agency specializing in SaaS and e-commerce SEO, and I’ve got a very special guest with me today, Ian, Founder, and CEO of Elements.cloud, which is a change intelligence platform that enables you to accelerate value for Salesforce. A big welcome to you, and so happy to have you with me today, Ian.

Thank you for inviting me.

Ian, please start by telling us a bit about yourself and your background. I know you do a lot of things you’re a tech advisor, investor, and speaker you actively contribute to major publications, you have your own 10 books published and even in a band, how do you manage your time and, do so much?

First of all, how do I manage my time? I think if you’re excited and passionate about things, then you make time. Do I watch lots of TV? No. There are, so it’s about balancing the time that I have. And yeah, I play in the band I play in the band with my wife, she’s the lead singer, so we get to spend time together there.
We’re passionate about that. But the other passion is actually about educating and that’s why I like writing articles. I’ve written books. I love being on the speaking circuit, talking to people and all of that dovetails into the stuff that we’re doing around, around the product. I run a technology company, but I’ve got two awesome partners who I’ve worked with for 20 years, and who are on the executive team. And then we’ve hired a great CFO. So we can balance, I can, I, people talk about work-life balance. I think it’s about work-life integration is making the things that, that you, that get you up early in the morning, excited, make sure you’re doing more of those things.
So I’ve managed very luckily in my career to combine all of those.

That’s brilliant. And what exactly inspired you to create Elements.cloud? And how were the early inception days?

Okay, so I think I need to take you back a little bit before Elements.cloud. So I was a partner at Accenture. I used to run big change projects. And I always noticed that there was always a challenge in terms of how you document and drive change. And then some guys came to me with an idea for building a product. And that was the previous company to Elements. So the three of us, we set that company up, we grew it it was acquired by a big technology company down in Silicon Valley but that was over 14 years.
So, we grew it a lot out of cash with a little bit of investment. And that was really about how you understand, document, and manage all the operational business processes for highly regulated organizations. We were used by, 10% of the Fortune 500. So huge companies in oil and gas, food, and pharma financial services, the highly regulated organizations.
So that got acquired. We all retired and I said, I got the guys back outta retirement a couple of years later and said, what should we do? And we said, let’s do the same thing all over again. But in the course of our journey, we had been Salesforce customers. We’d been customers from when Salesforce was only two people in the London office.
So when they were tiny, they didn’t have very big clients but roll the clock forward to 10, 15 years. When we looked at it again, they then had big customers. So we said let’s see if we can do something very similar, but aim at the Salesforce marketplace. So I got the other two guys that I worked with for now, 20 years, got them.
So we’ve got the band back together. Started building the product out. And then when we talked to more and more of Salesforce customers, they said, yeah, understanding our business is important, but we’ve got this other problem, which is we don’t know what we’ve configured. We’ve made all these changes.
Salesforce is agile. We make all the changes, but over time, we’ve built so much. We’ve no idea the implications of making a change. Could you help us understand how to unpick that? So we extended the product to then go, let’s pull all the configurations into a database and then understand all the connections.
So we’ve essentially built all of the functionality you need to manage the documentation from an idea, capturing requirements, mapping business processes, drawing architecture diagrams, understanding what you’ve configured, and documenting that. And then ultimately building a user story and we stop there and you hand it over to development.
And we discovered that there’s a big gap here. No one’s doing that. And that all people may be doing little bits of it, but they’re not doing it. So it’s all connected. And the real power is having the connection. So we’ve, it was as a grand plan 2010 years ago. No, we’ve listened to our customers and they’ve taken us to where we are now to build a platform, which is valuable.

That’s quite interesting. And how exactly like the product has evolved because you’ve gone through, I think two rounds of funding as well. It was a seed funding and then a series back in 20, and 21. How exactly have you evolved especially like from your second round of funding altogether? I’m more curious about that.

I think one of the things people do is they take funding too early. They think they know what the product direction is and they start putting money behind it. And that money forces you in a particular direction. We were, we didn’t take any funding for it. It was self-funded with the three of us putting money in from the last exit, which gave us a chance to establish.
Okay, what was the market? We started thinking the market was all the price mapping, but actually, the customer was told that they wanted that, and they wanted an understanding of this metadata dictionary, and they also wanted architecture diagrams. The early funding came from us, so it wasn’t putting pressure on us to grow.
We could use it. We could grow quite slowly in terms of revenue to make sure we were building the right product. We were very fortunate in terms of the second round was actually from a family fund. And the guys running that have been fantastic. They’ve not again, they’ve been sick.
Build, we trust you, you’ve built products before, you’ve built companies before, build it at the right pace, rather than going, we’ve put the money like, hire more salespeople, you need to make sure you’re clear about the direction and you’ve built the product like that properly. This is a marketing podcast. And I think what’s interesting is people talk about product market fit. Okay. Everyone’s got product market fit. I think people often when they’re, they think they’ve got product market fit, they’ve got product marketing fit. Okay, they’ve built something which they can, a customer goes, yeah, that’s great.
And I’ll buy that which is not the same as when the customers then started implementing it going, Oh, it’s great, but it needs that. And this bit here doesn’t quite work. And that integration is a bit clunky. You’ve got to fill, and do all of that before you get product market fits. But again, I know nothing about B2C, but this is all B2B where you’re selling to big corporations.
You can get away with a lot more B2C because it’s individuals, but a corporation where someone’s committing to buying something and implementing it. So there’s a difference between most people who think they’re a product market fit because customers are excited and maybe you’re starting to do early purchases.
I think they’re a product marketing fit. So you shouldn’t necessarily be putting the foot down in terms of big investment until you’ve genuinely got product market fit, which means the product works, you’re doing repeatable deals customers will renew most of the major blockers in terms of product development, product features, they’ve been addressed.
And you’re now thinking about how you build on that and build on that. We’ve been very fortunate that we didn’t take funding from someone who was like, you’re on our plan, you need to grow fast. We’ve had the time to build it out at the right pace. We’re now at a product point where we have got product market fit, and things are starting to accelerate.
But now we’ve had the time to put the operational capability in place. It’s not just product, but have we got the right teams to support customers as we grow quickly? Six, six years in now, seven years in, it takes a while to build a company, to a point where you can scale.

That’s True, there’s a constant learning curve as well. At every stage, to be honest, like you mentioned product market fit is something that, took you quite a good amount of time to even recognize that this is something that now, works and that you are one of the OGs. So I’m sure like, a lot of other companies also make their way, take their time, and eventually figure it out. Yeah. Makes Perfect sense.

But, I think you need to be honest with yourself about you. You always want to be further ahead than you. You think you are.
You need to be quite honest and go, okay, are we ready? can we grow? And don’t be fooled by your marketing.

That’s true. Alright. Can you please share some of the key features and capabilities of the platform and what sets the platform apart from other related tools altogether?
What is the competitive advantage that you have?

No that’s an interesting question. So I think the first thing is we are in an emerging space. So the space is called change intelligence. Now, when we are looking for other companies who are maybe competitive, but they’re also our partners, we need them.
And it’s really with their frenemies, their competition. Yes, maybe we’re in deals where we’re trying to beat them. But, from a marketing perspective, we need us all to be talking about the same problems and call it the same thing to grow the awareness of the space. Whilst the competition might be, you might think is another company doing something similar.
The competition is nobody knows you exist. They don’t know a product like you exists, they don’t have the budget for it because they didn’t know that they needed it and they didn’t understand the benefits. So if all the other companies are talking about things in the same way, they’re raising the market awareness, they’re raising the awareness by buyers that they need to budget for it.
So it is quite interesting if you a great reading would be like Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore, or we wrote I wrote a book called Impact, which was a, you can find it on our website. So if you go to elements.cloud slash impact. Okay. There’s a book he wrote and it’s actually, it’s the summary of what it takes to run a company where you go to the left of the chasm where you’re in the early stages.
Okay. Sorry, I didn’t answer your question. I will answer that now. But the point is we’re building a category. Therefore a lot of the capabilities that you won’t necessarily have direct competition as the category starts to form, then you start to understand, okay, these are all the must-have features that are in a change intelligence platform.
So we think about CRM when it first started, it was it was SFA salesforce automation. So did you need marketing? Maybe that was marketing. But if we now think about what CRM means, we’ve got a better understanding of the capabilities. So for change intelligence, I think it’s, everything you need to have the intelligence to make changes to your platform quickly.
Now, yes, we are our go-to-market is Salesforce, but we’re agnostic. We can do this for any platform, just everything. Our website says Salesforce because that’s the first market we’re going after. One of the things about category creation is. Go and pick a market where you can start to be an important player.
What we do is relevant to any company on the planet, any platform, but that’s way too broad for marketing. So part of marketing is if you get to the market, but get it so you narrow the market down and go, we are changing intelligence for Salesforce at the moment. Suddenly, we know which conferences to go to, we know what product features to deal with, we know what integrations to build, we know what partnerships to work with.
So if you narrow the scope down to a market, then everything else becomes easier. If you said, we are changing intelligence for any platform, for any company, like which conference do we attend, which integrations, which consulting partners do we work with? That’s all, I think as a startup, you need to narrow it down and get focused on a market.
And then once you’ve got that market penetrated, you can move to the next adjacent market, move out from there. So you talked about the features, I think I ran through them earlier, which was everything to get you from an idea to a point where you can start building. We are not about helping you build.
There are, that’s DevOps. There’s an established place called DevOps. We’re not backup and restore. So we are everything from the idea. Requirements understand the process, understand the architecture, understand what you configured, document what you’ve made, the changes you’ve made, and then all of that together, the interconnections give you the intelligence to understand, okay, how is what’s the impact of making this change?
What’s the risk of making this change? How quickly can I make the change?

Got you. And since you mentioned that you can technically work with any other platform as well. Salesforce is just a marketing focus area altogether. Concerning the technical capabilities, I’m sure there must be another sort of integration that is required with other platforms as well.
So are you ready Go to market ready for the other platforms as well. Or is it something that you still take time to process altogether?

That’s a great question. So we’re completely focused on the Salesforce market. So if someone said they’ve now, they also have ServiceNow, and 80 percent of the product could be used right now for ServiceNow.
But in terms of. For some of the tighter integrations, we’re not working with any service now consulting partners necessarily. So when you think about you’ve got the product, but then the outer bit of the product, which is training, the integrations, the partnerships, they’re not there. So when you go into a new market, it’s not just about extending the product.
Yeah. And we’ve got some work we need to do in terms of the metadata dictionary for, say ServiceNow, but way harder is starting to build the partnerships, make sure you’ve got the right integrations, you’re part of the ServiceNow partner program, there’s all the other things you need to do to get established, we’re lucky that.
From a Salesforce perspective, we’ve been around Salesforce for 22 years now. So we, because we were customers from the early days. So the people we know that we’ve been around for a long time, the integrations are there, the connections are there, we’re well established. And, that takes time and money.
So back to keeping it narrow with a focus on Salesforce initially.

And even Salesforce is known for its flexibility and customization. How do your platform and all those unique needs and configurations for different organizations?

The heart of what we do is because Salesforce is so easy to customize.
The problem is that people. Go and make changes and they don’t document the changes they’ve made, which means I know you look at a year, two, three years of using Salesforce, and you suddenly realize you’ve got all this technical debt. You’ve made all these changes and have made the changes to the problem.
The problem is that if I make a change and maybe that piece of automation fires, another bit of automation, which then five, if you have no understanding of the implication of making a change, the way people currently work is they make a change and then cross the fingers and go, I hope nothing breaks.
That’s no way to run a strategic application. Elements give you that visibility to go, Oh, I can now see all the connection points. And then as they make changes, they document those changes inside Elements. The next time they go to make the change, they’ve now built more and more of that knowledge, that intelligence, which means that every subsequent change becomes easier and less risky.
So I’m British. I live in San Francisco in America, there’s something called Carfax. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of Carfax. Carfax aggregates all the information about a car, the accidents, the services, the smog tests the history of a car. We’re rather like Carfax for Salesforce.
You wouldn’t buy a car without Carfax. Yeah, that’s their marketing, which is why would you buy a car where you’ve no idea of their history. Why would you implement sales using Salesforce unless you’ve got some understanding of how it’s grown over time and where it’s gone? So we’ve now got I was at a conference the other day and someone came up to me and said, I’ve just taken over I just got a new job with a big Salesforce customer and I’m now responsible for the whole of Salesforce.
I told them that I wouldn’t take the job unless they bought Elements. Because why would I go and start using Salesforce where I haven’t got any way of managing and understanding what’s been built? Why would I be fighting with my hands tied behind my back? So I think it’s, that’s the power of Salesforce and configuration is important, but unless you can control it and manage it, eventually that agility disappears.
And we’re there to put that agility back in.

That makes perfect sense. And can you please share a few real-world examples of how the platform has made a significant impact on a Salesforce leveraging business altogether? And could be any size, to be honest, but Yeah.

Yeah. Okay. A great example would be quite often people have more than one Salesforce implementation, maybe because they spun up another one or they acquired a company so that they’ve now got two or three Salesforce instances.
And the difficulty is how they merge those. Because they need to understand what’s in each of them. And we had one customer who had two Salesforce instances because they’d acquired a company. And the CIO was like again, the risk of trying to put these two things together feels, I don’t want to do it.
And he kept on kicking the can down the street and I’ll delay it and delay it. He said, maybe I’ll just throw them both away and start again, which obviously, It’s huge, throwing away a huge asset there of all the work they’ve done. And a consulting firm used elements came in and said, look, let’s analyze both of these two instances.
Look, now we can see a path forward for how you could merge the two, get the benefits of not just merging them, but also as we merge them, you can take advantage of all the new features that Salesforce has got because you were locked in some old features. So what was a. We’re never going to do this, it’s too complicated, turned into a small piece of work by a consulting firm that then turned into them merging the two organs and they’ve got the benefits out of it.
So that’s one example. Other examples are, I don’t know, anyone’s about to go, a consulting firm is about to come in, and I had to make some changes to an org for consultants. The proposition is straightforward we are their x-ray, their MRI scanner on Salesforce. They can win work because they can understand what’s in the sales for their client’s implementation, and they can bid the right level of amount of work.
There’s the right statement of work versus someone who hasn’t got visibility. And I just guessing on how many mandates of work that has to be done. So we’re finding consulting firms, which is one of our markets. The consulting firms see it as a competitive advantage because they can number 1, get good visibility.
Number 2, they can understand what’s in the order more quickly. Number 3, they can then leave the client with a well-documented org and potentially run a managed service for them. So that’s a different market, but almost it’s independent, interdependent. The consulting firms are working with clients.
The clients love it because they’re getting a well-documented implementation. The consultants love it because actually, it’s making them more competitive.

Makes sense. And since you’re working with consultants are you also white-labeling the platform? Or is it something that, goes with your branding?

We’re not white-labeling it. No, it’s our branding. The consultants are happy to use it. Is it interesting? I’ve heard a couple of instances now where Clients are saying you can bid to do some consulting work for us, but you must need elements experience. So it’s becoming now a brand where someone’s saying because I understand elements, my consultants are more valuable.
We’re getting there. It’s early days, but part of this is building a brand where someone says. It’s almost as if you’ve got the Carfax stamp, then I’m happy to buy the car. If you’ve had an org that’s got elements in it, then I, yeah, I’m happy working with it. I’m comfortable that I understand that I’m not going to walk into things that I’m not expecting, which will blow my budget, which will make me overrun.
I know what I’m working with.

Makes sense. And because you’re working with so many enterprise clients as well and for them especially data security and compilers are some of the top concerns. How exactly does the platform address these issues?

Okay, there’s a couple of things here.
One is we’re not touching any customer data. We’re only looking at metadata, which drops the security levels down several notches. If we were, because we are on a run on AWS, we’re pulling metadata off the Salesforce platform so we can analyze it. And in fact, There are some things you can’t do on the platform because there’s so much data.
So being off-platform means we can analyze huge amounts of data, but because it’s not customer data that drops the level of security. Nevertheless, we still go through security reviews with every customer. We are ISO 27001 certified. So we take security very seriously and we go through Security health checks, and InfoSec reviews with every customer. Some are huge. Some are fairly small, but it is the same challenges. But I think we’ve now got to a point where we now have an AI capability. AI has suddenly raised everyone’s awareness of hang-on. What data are we passing off the platform or not?
Same issues. We’re not putting customer data out there, but I think AI is starting to get, is making people think long and hard about, okay, do we have our security controls in place in terms of organizations?

True, That’s been an alarming concern. Let’s see how it turns out. So I think there’s an opportunity in the market as well around it, to be honest. A huge opportunity.

Yeah. If I think about AI in our world, we’re all about how we help people build that body of documentation, do that analysis, get to, so make sure that before they start building, they are building the right thing. They’ve done sufficient analysis. If we can shorten the time to do that, there’s a better chance that they’ll do that properly.
So AI from our world is, if you can map out a business process, AI will automatically build the user stories for you. So user stories typically are they’re the specification for the piece of work that you’re going to pass to the development team. So it needs to be fairly rigorous. It needs to be, you can’t make it ambiguous.
But often as humans, we don’t write very good user stories. AI does a really good job. Okay. It doesn’t get bored. It doesn’t care. It just writes user stories and then the acceptance criteria, almost the testing that goes with it. It does a brilliant job of that. AI doesn’t need the knowledge of the world.
It just needs to know what the format is and be able to take the process maps and generate user stories. Once you’ve got those user stories we understand how your Salesforce. Instance has been configured and AI is good at going looking back through the 100, 000 configurations and identifying those that you might be able to reuse.
So what might take 8 hours of work is down to 5 minutes. Massive benefit. Now, that doesn’t mean you can get rid of the staff who do that because you need skilled staff to be able to write good process maps to validate the user stories and to think about. the recommendations. So we’re not saying AI can do your job for you, but a lot of that work is Mundane’s unfair, but is, you need, it takes a while.
You need to be very focused on it. You probably don’t do a very good job. Yeah. It does a great job for you. Because we are, we’ve been using it internally for our internal teams. And I, we went back and talked to them and said, okay. Okay. Can you rate the AI out of 10? They went, Oh, eight out of 10. It’s pretty good.
Eight out of 10, but it’s more, there’s more work to be done. Okay. Fantastic. Okay. Rate yourself. Four out of 10. Because AI is really good at just grinding through that research, which you probably wouldn’t do as an individual. Our teams are going, Oh, it recommended I use that automation. I forgot we built that.
That’s a really good idea. So we’re discovering that it’s reducing time, but it’s also helping us reduce technical debt. So I think I, and we’re at the early stages, there was a load of other things that we’re working on, but the ability to transform this whole, what we’re currently doing around analysis, AI does an amazing job of that.

Makes sense. Very interestingly put as well, and I do agree, for a lot of happy lifting people should leverage. Air solutions wherever possible to be honest yeah huge favor of air So yeah, let’s talk about any other niche trends that are impacting your new product development altogether.

I think the challenge if you’re a startup is there are so many places that you could go you’ve got customers going Could you take us in this direction and other customers going, I’ve got a great idea that’s so I think that the issue with any is making sure you have a strategic direction revision about where you want to go.
You can then validate the request from customers because every customer sees that what you’ve got is a spark of an idea and then takes it in a different direction. Some of those are gold dust, they are absolutely where we need to be going. Others are like, yeah, we could do that but is. Are you the only person on the planet who wants that?
So I think to get, we need, we take our own medicine, which is one of, we need to be very clear about what we’re building before and the need before we start building it.

Yeah, I think any smart SaaS solution gonna do that because I do agree that you have to see whether that new thing definitely like aligns with what you want, what you envision your product to be, and also within the market.
This particular feature could be used by, a lot of other existing clients or the new customers that you’re aiming to capture together. So the viability of the product again matters a lot so yeah, I do agree. I think.

It’s a balance between What customers are asking for and then there are other things which you have thought of so much of the AI capability Customers haven’t thought of.
So there are things which we’re thinking of. Sometimes they land, sometimes they don’t. So I’ll give you an example probably about 2 or 3 years ago, we were trying to get the idea that someone could sketch out a process. Draw a process on a whiteboard or take a, say a diagram of a lucid chart or Visio diagram and could we get AI to read it?
And then convert it and build a process diagram in our world. So huge. It is a time saver in terms of migrating. People have got, oh, I’ve got some process diagrams. Can we just dump them in? And you’d have to try and build. Like some complicated import facility that, for all the different platforms.
But if you could just take a printout of a diagram and import it, could you do it? And that was two or three years ago. It was a skunkworks project. One, of the guys on the team decided he was going to have them and it wasn’t good enough. It did it, but it wasn’t, it was like, there were, it didn’t quite finish it off.
Now. With GPT, with one of the plugins, you can now give it, an image and it will understand it and it’ll generate relevant text. So some things you have a vision and it’s too early. Yeah. And I think with AI, we, that we’ve got that problem at the moment, which is, there are lots of things you could do with AI and I spend time on the speaking circuit and one of the things I’ve been talking about recently is finding the AI sweet spot.
Okay. It’s a combination of, it’s the intersection of three circles. One Is there a strong ROI? Is there a massive benefit? Is there a 100x ROI, or 50x return on investment? But the second thing is, the second circle, is it achievable? If you can only get that ROI, if you’ve got a gigabyte of perfectly clean data, it’s probably not achievable.
In our world, could you draw a process diagram? Yes, you could. Okay, so that’s achievable. So, therefore, there’s an ROI and achievable. And then the last intersection circle is, are the results trustworthy and do you get a good enough result enough times? So you don’t have to check it.
So you have some confidence in it. So I think that intersection when you’re starting to look for where’s the AI opportunity, if you’re a, maybe they’re a product company out there looking for an AI place to put, make AI work. Is there an ROI? Is it easily achieved? Are the results consistent enough?
And can they be trusted enough? And I think it’s the combination of those three where I think we find the sweet spot. And again, we’re lucky we found that in a couple of places, in a couple of places where you’re using it. That’s very important.

Yeah, let’s do this thing. Let’s talk marketing a bit more. I would love to know what activities and strategies you have in place for your own B2B chain.

Okay, so the backdrop is we are an established, we’re a marketplace. We’re trying to establish. So we’re not playing into an established market and trying to say, we’re like that, but slightly better or slightly different, which means a lot of the work we do is thought leadership. So I, so that is speaking at events because we’re all about education.
So speaking at events. Writing blogs quite sometimes quite long blogs, thought leadership type blogs, not product. Writing books, so that education and some of the blogs we tend to write or the things we do. We’re trying to pick analogies. I gave you the Carfax analogy.
Yeah. Or, but I’m always looking I love marketing. I love. trying to find that angle that works. So I talked about, we do, one of our, part of our product is mapping processes. So I found a video of Ryan Reynolds, the actor, who owns Aviation Gin. And he put out a spoof video of him talking about the process of making gin.
Okay. And he the people in the vineyard meditate for 4 hours and then they walk to the vines and they caress the vines and then, use the tears of the founder to, to irrigate them and so on. So a spoof video. So I took that and I turned that into, okay, Ryan, I’ll interview you and I’ll map the process as you talk.
So I took his in, I took his video, chopped it into sections, and made it look like I was interviewing him and I was doing the process mapping as a live workshop. So we’re always looking for some quirky things, which bring things home and go, wow. That works. So I saw someone talking about process and it’s now turned into a process map.
So I’m always out there looking for the quirky angle, the one that people, that sparks people’s attention. Now that needs to be combined with regular beta, regular marketing, which is, we’re doing joint webinars running joint events, we are running our events and that’s driving Inbound leads where people have heard five or six times they’ve heard about change intelligence.
They’re now ready to go. Okay. Tell me more about this. I’m interested.

And yeah, tell me a bit more on the existing customer engagement in terms of that like how exactly you what activities do you do to keep them engaged and retained with the company?

Okay, so if we think about someone’s got to a point where they put their hand up and said, I’ve come to one of your events, or I heard you, or I read your article, I’m interested in how this could work for me.
The first is a proof of concept, where we’ll work with them with their system. It’s not just, that I’ll give you some PowerPoints or some slides. We need to go, let’s build a business case for you. I think the other thing about building a marketplace or building a new category is that the customer doesn’t necessarily have the budget for you because they didn’t know you existed.
So you need to help them build the business case and then find the budget. Typically we’re not, a customer might, our pricing is 5 percent of what they spend on Salesforce. So if they’re spending 10 million on Salesforce, they’re not going to go luckily I have half a million in budget lying here for just someone like you.
But for organizations even organizations spending a million, that’s 50k, they need to find that budget from somewhere. A couple of things. One is we’ll do a proof of concept with them where they’ll work. Using their data, their salesforce instance, so that they can understand the power of it.
But secondly, it’s land and expand. It may only be an area of the business. So phase one will be just this area, the budget they can afford, the budget they can find. And then subsequent years, it’ll be more. So it’s land and expand. And this is not specific to us. This is really about the way you build. I build a product, build a company in, an emerging category.
It’s keep it under 50k and look for evangelists, people who get excited. People, I said, several people have gone, I love the company. I love the company. Love the product. Can I come and work for you? And these are clients. So they’re evangelists. And then you need to help them build a business case.
And Sometimes it might be, that you work with the customer, and keep in touch with them for four or five years. Because they’ve moved first company, they weren’t senior enough. They loved it. The company wasn’t ready. They then moved to a new company. They’re more senior. They then bring you in. So this is a long-term plan.
At the last company, we were around 14 years old. This is not, how do I build something up and sell it to somebody? No, we’re here to build a big company and put the right people around us in terms of employees, partners, but also customers and build those over time. Yeah. Particularly because some of those customers are taking a huge personal risk working with us.
Yeah, I’ve seen this. It’s an amazing company. I hope you can be around in five years. We will be that’s the natural concern. They’re going, I’m taking my business career on. This is a really good idea. And it is, but they also need to have the confidence that you will, we’re not going to flame out.
We are going to build a business responsibly. We are going to be around in X years.

Ian, you do have a good number of customers on board. And with these strategies all together, how is that? I’m curious now, what exactly is the churn rate for the platform?

But it’s zero churn. Yeah. If you but the point is that it’s positive.
It’s companies who are not leaving the platform. What happens is companies are going, I’ve used it in this area, but I’ve got three other Salesforce instances. I need to use it in those as well. It’s. And if you had Carfax, why would you stop building that knowledge? When you go to the dentist, you go, don’t worry about my x-rays.
Every time I come in, I’ll have new X-rays. No build a history for me or build my medical records over time. Don’t throw them away at the end of every doctor’s appointment. No, I want those to go over time. So if you think about it in those terms. Once a customer has started building up that intelligence about the way their Salesforce instance works and their business works.
Why would you throw that away? You need to continue to build that over time because it’s a valuable asset that’s supporting your ability to use Salesforce well.

Yeah, that makes sense. Makes perfect sense. I think we’re coming to an end here and I would like to have a quick rapid-fire with you.
Are you ready for that?

I’m not sure I’m ready, but I’m certainly going to go for it. So off you go.

Okay, What one word do you want people to associate with you?

With me? Enthusiastic.

Suits you well. If you could change one thing about the word, what would it be?

I just want people to get on. I don’t understand why everyone makes life so difficult for each other.

What’s your favorite age so far?

So my favorite age. That’s an interesting question. My father is 94, and still playing golf twice a week. I think the thirties and forties when you’ve still got a big I played the bass now, but a big part of my life was sports. I was a very competitive dinghy sailor. I was, I sail world championships and European events.
I don’t do that now. I think in your thirties and forties you’ve got enough knowledge, but you’ve also still got the strength of fitness to do some of those things.

What was your last Google search?

You. In preparation for this.

Alright. Are you a spiritual person or not? Alright. Are you a spiritual person or not?

Am I spiritual in terms of religion? No. Am I spiritual in terms of caring about how life and life of others? Yes.

Okay. I’m coming to my last question. Are you more cautious or bold?

Bold.

All right! Thank you so much.

Oh, definitely. I don’t, that last one, I don’t think you would be an entrepreneur and run a business if you weren’t bold.
There, the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur are huge. Yep. I love it.
Our CFO was not one of the founding group, but she is amazing. But she says, I have no idea how you guys are optimistic, even though you have ups and downs and ups and downs. But you still have that vision, I think if you’re cautious the negatives of trying to be an entrepreneur would kill off all the passion and you need that, you need to be back to the very first question, which is about enthusiasm.
I was going to say, you have to be passionate. You need that, I think, and you need to be bold. If you’re going to make changes and make things different.

 

Yep, Sounds perfect, to be honest. And thank you so much, Ian. You’ve supercharged this episode for me and thanks for bringing the big smile. I enjoyed the conversation with you.

Thank you so much. Thank you for inviting me. Okay.

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