Our Outbound Sales Autopsy

This week The Founders talk about integrations and the fact they're spending more and more time updating Honeybadger because of partners' app changes. They also conduct an autopsy on the outbound sales initiative, discuss creating a fictional employee for customers to focus their ire, and decide whether to tweak Hook Relay's site or just ship it!

Show notes:
Links:
Saasler

Transcript:
*note - this is an unedited, automatically generated, transcript with only about 80% accuracy*

Ben
  
So I say we we just had a new customer signed up just like minutes ago and said that the reason they signed up was our podcast. So awesome. Good stuff. Good stuff. So pro tip for you says operators out there, put a little box and your on boarding, asking people how they heard about you or whatever. It's very, very informative. 

Starr
  
Yeah, it does. And then do a podcast and wait  episodes. 

Ben
  
Those steps are optional. I really do like they're having like those, those uh onboarding introductions is what we call them. We have a channel in slack for them and having those show up periodically is like a little little endorphin rush. Like I love seeing those show up in our slack channel and you know, we also have a cancellations channel has the same thing with cancellation messages and that's not quite as fun. But thankfully we see if you are those messages that we do the onboarding messages, but I just, I really like having those things in slack. It's nice to see that throughout the day. 

Starr
  
Yeah, definitely. So imagine this is gonna be a little bit of a shorter one because we just recorded um last week's podcast, like on monday in today's thursday. So I don't know if there's, there's not as much time that's passed to let um I don't know to let the hot takes regenerate themselves. Mhm 

Ben
  
Right, well, I have a hot date for you and it's the grape, I guess most hot takes are great 

Josh
  
what we're best at. 

Ben
  
Uh so I'm working on an update to the Roku integration. So, you know, we haven't a clue add on and Uh we started to add on like, I don't know, back early, early days, it must have been like , or so. A long time ago. Well in , apparently Hiroki released an updated version of their API for partners like us and uh it has a new provisioning thing and you can actually call back to their API and get some information about like supervision to add on and stuff like that. Which is great. Uh We haven't ever really gotten around to changing our particular add on because it works just fine. So why bother? 

Ben
  
But I've been looking at synchronizing the Heroku pricing with our current pricing because we've done a number of pricing variations since we launched the Heroku. And so now the two sets of pricing are pretty out of sync. So as I started to get into that I was like well you know well I'm here, how about I just you know update the A. P. I write classic classic rabbit hole. Right? And and and so I spent some time doing that and found you know some interesting quirks and so on about our integration and anyway it's all good like I got the work done and I did a pr and and josh and kevin like giving the thumbs up and I'm ready to deploy except 

Ben
  
I have two questions for the Heroku people about about the migration because the migration you gotta be careful right? Because like the V one A P. I. Is not compatible with the V three Api And so you have to store different sets of data and the I. D. S in particular are different like they used to pass what they call a ready and now they pass an add on I. D. And you gotta you know handle the transition carefully or else someone you know maybe they can't add on the thing. Maybe they can't start being customer, maybe they can't remove the adult which would be a problem because you know or maybe they can't log in that would also again yeah prop trading right? 

Josh
  
And so because they still get the emails 

Ben
  
so so my questions for harajuku around this migration revolve around this idea and like handling sso and making sure that we can still provisions and provisions properly anyway. So I put two questions to them and support two days ago and that's my gripe because that's the holdup. That's the holdup I can't deploy it because I can't get answers to these questions apparently. So I'm just like oh okay I understand like people are busy and stuff but uh I would like an answer some time you know and there's no like there's no auto responder there's no we'll get back to you in X. Amount of time. No it's just like off into the void and I'm just waiting 

Starr
  
did you maybe did you maybe use the legacy um support page Instead of the current ? 

Ben
  
No no use the current one. Okay good question though. Good like that 

Josh
  
this is just another example of like coding being the easy part. Uh huh. 

Ben
  
Yeah and also a good example of like rd party integrations causing you know uh technical maintenance burden like like um oh for example like clubhouse that recently renamed themselves the shortcut. Right? And so we had to, you know, do a little bit of work there and renamed stuff inside of our app wasn't a whole lot of work but it was some work but you you add, you multiply that kind of work by the number of integrations you support and all of a sudden like this is ongoing maintenance work that doesn't, it's just you're just treading water trying to keep up with what everybody else in the world is doing. Right? 

Josh
  
Yeah. And as new as new integration, you know, his new apps come onto the market and everyone wants to integrate with them, you just gradually expand until you, I mean you still have to support the old ones. Yeah, I think we're definitely getting to the point where every new little thing we add is like yeah, yeah, we're starting to feel it, we are starting to feel it. Yeah. And like the the depth of the integration is also I've noticed is like a big, big thing because like there's a few integrations that we like go a lot deeper with like get hub, you know, heroic. Who obviously is like a good example of that. We have a lot of issues with vera I've I've seen but who doesn't 

Ben
  
um 

Josh
  
but it does seem like the like I don't know, the more standardized something can be. Um and yeah, just I don't know when you're like integrating with a lots and lots of custom API's and stuff like that. They're going to switch it out on you at some point. 

Josh
  
Yeah. Support. It 

Ben
  
would be, it would be nice if there was like a happier plus plus, like a next level happier right? Where uh it just, it just abstracts away all these differences and you can just, you know, it's like a universal kind of thing and it's like, yeah, possibly be impossible. But 

Josh
  
are almost like the pitch I get to the pitch there being almost like an LTs, like like an LTs contract for for integration API is like, you gotta, you gotta contract. This API isn't going to change for like  years. Um and they'll just, you know, they'll do the and we'll do the internal migrations to keep the ap the same for you. 

Ben
  
Yeah, there you go. That's that's an interesting idea. I wonder how that kind of service would cost. 

Josh
  
I don't know, I know there's been a few um someone a micro, someone, a Microsoft had like a service that built like manage the integration side for you. Um was that Jonathan? Um Yeah, yeah, I don't know if that was like similar. I know it wasn't quite, that wasn't quite the idea, but like it was the idea that like, you know, they like give you  integrations, you know, for free or whatever, like much easier to integrate with them. 

Ben
  
Yeah, you just plug in and all of a sudden you 

Josh
  
have immigration. 

Ben
  
Yeah. Yeah. But the link in the show notes or see if it still exists. I haven't, I haven't 

Josh
  
talked to Jon tester. I can't 

Ben
  
yeah, sounds familiar. 

Josh
  
I don't know. I remember like having their like sticker in front of me at the table microscopes. 

Ben
  
Yeah. I haven't uh you know, having, having not gone a micro comp or business software or anything else for a couple of years now it's like it's going to keep track of what people are doing and because usually that's where I see Jonathan, 

Josh
  
you know, there was a Microsoft Microsoft local happened in Portland yesterday. I was kind of, I was kind of, I didn't go but in hindsight I kind of wished I had. But yeah, I saw, I saw a little bit of activity on twitter 

Ben
  
yeah look like they were having a fun time and I had the same kind of feeling. I was like, yeah I wasn't really thinking about going but then after seeing some of the tweets and like actually would've been fun to me, you know, 

Josh
  
wow I'm in the middle of like my kids are home from school this week because there was a covid case at the school and uh, so it's got yeah got that that's fine and in the school like was not as equipped as we hoped to like handle like the, you know right, just all the um coordination and stuff like the communication, I don't know, just they're still getting it together, it seems so it could be better. 

Ben
  
Did you sit there and think there should really be an app for managing this kind of communication between that would be family. That 

Josh
  
would be, yeah, that would be uh that would be something because yeah, it's like, like, yeah, not everyone seems to know how to use email. Uh huh 

Ben
  
That could be problematic. 

Starr
  
I've never gotten so many emails about like a specific thing is, you know, recently now that my daughter is going to school. Yeah, and they're not bad. They're just like, there's just so many of them about all these different aspects of things. 

Josh
  
Do they do they put urgent everywhere because like I've got a whole inbox of urgent emails. 

Starr
  
Oh no. Uh huh Like they seem to be pretty on top of it. Like they're kind of um like the whole covid stuff puts a whole another layer on top. Like, I'm sure opening school is already like a lot of work, but you know, they're scrambling around and like erecting tents in the, on the blacktop so the kids can eat lunch outside and you know, all this stuff. 

Starr
  
Okay. So they've created an official, an official channel for parents to raised their safety concerns with the school because I think they were just getting bombarded. Bye Everyone. 

Josh
  
Yeah, I think that's where we are and I'm hoping that's they come up with something like that like some sort of process for raising concerns. 

Ben
  
Yeah. I wonder if you start seeing like a a school board or maybe a school level position right? Like pandemic coordinator, right? And that's your point. I 

Josh
  
I really hope I hope it doesn't last long enough to like bake the position into society. But like I guess like yeah some sort of health coordinator. I could see that being a thing for sure. And I guess yeah I mean I could probably do other things when there's not a pandemic happening I imagine. Mhm. Still be useful. 

Ben
  
Wouldn't be a full time job is what you're saying. 

Josh
  
Yeah. Well 

Starr
  
I was like I was surprised at like um the school does offer like free um like flu vaccine drive through clinics and like they do a lot of stuff, it's just not just directly school and that was a little bit surprising. I mean it's awesome but 

Josh
  
maybe I need to move to Seattle. 

Starr
  
Um Yeah. 

Ben
  
Yes. Well um yeah 

Ben
  
we'll help you find a house. 

Starr
  
Yeah it'll only cost you like a million dollars 

Josh
  
on the low end right for a starter house. Yeah man. Well um we could talk about one of the things that I've that we were discussing this week um was the you know the hook relay launch. And I thought one interesting conversation we had was because we've we're making a few improvements to the sales site um before we sent out this email and um like published a blog post and do some basic like you know launch to our customers um sort of thing. Um And Ben you had you've been working with like a contractor or you found a contractor 

Josh
  
to do some website, like some redesign stuff because the website we put it together kind of like I don't know what is it, It's a tail end tail insight. Um Just like what like telling you I um fairly boilerplate and uh not really very polished. So we thought it would be cool to uh you know kind of polish it up and rethink some of the content and make sure like everything flows together in terms of like called call to actions and things like that. Um But we're at the we have a decision to make like do we do we kind of just like do a little bit of work to make it you know, launch Hubble and then launch or should we like go for this full redesign that the designer of course is trying to pitch us on. And 

Josh
  
I'm thinking that like ship it is the way to go. You know make make it make it ship herbal and then uh come back and and we'll we'll do the big the big overhaul. 

Ben
  
Yeah I I've heard smart people say that if if you're not embarrassed by what you ship then you waited too long. So 

Josh
  
yeah so we're probably making a mistake by not just uh shipping it as is, huh? 

Ben
  
So the current, like if you look at the, I mean there's only like four pages right? Of the sounds like uh and of those four pages, like the best looking one I think is the one that kevin did. That's the documentation page. Uh put a lot of good work into that. And then the second best I would say it's probably the guide that you wrote. So that's 

Josh
  
that's job because because I copied kevin 

Ben
  
copy, 

Josh
  
kevin's work. 

Ben
  
And then I would say the next the next in series is the pricing page. I think it looks okay, but that's like straight from tailwind ui Uh basically copy based, like we paid, you know what, $ for the components and then worth every penny, right? Uh And then I would say the worst of all the pages is the homepage. And that's the page. That's all me. Like I I put that together. So uh I think it's pretty clear who needs to stay away from design at honey badger. It's been. 

Josh
  
But in your defense, like you put that together, like when the product was like, like barely even alpha and we were like, we should just like, we should really like buy a domain for this. And so you like wrote a little letter and put it on there. Um And we haven't revisited since, so that's kind of what we're talking about is just revisiting um you know, making a few small changes and then then we'll get around to hopefully making something more um professional or I don't know. 

Ben
  
Yeah, but it's funny that, as I was, as I was working with that designer that we found to help us, as we were like, scoping out the project, it was, I felt a bit of deja vu but from the other side, because I remember as a freelancer, like, I was always, you know, pitching people on the project and I would give them the grand vision and, you know, and here's the price tag, 

Ben
  
and they'd be like, oh, out, could you, could you cut, you know, x, y and z could get the price down to whatever, you know? And uh it wasn't about the price, in this case, it was about time we wanted to get that homepage done faster so they could get this launch done sooner rather than doing a whole redesign, but I still felt kind of guilty going back to design and say, okay, that's that's great, but could we, you know, cut like all those pages and just do this one, it's not 

Josh
  
the it's not the price timeframe, so are they going to be able to you think they'll be able to do a quick ish turn around, like um so that we'll get to get to ship this thing. 

Ben
  
Yeah, I think so, I didn't made the mistake of not actually setting a deadline. So I'm I realized that after I agreed and paid the deposit and all this kind of so like I don't actually know when he's going to deliver stuff. That could be a problem, but I figured I'd just wait a few days because you know, I'm thinking it should only take a few days. What do I know I'm not a designer obviously, but I figured after a few days if I see nothing, I hear nothing then I'll be like, okay, so what's the timeline? And hopefully it'll be something like, you know, next week, but 

Josh
  
this project is just like is he is he already like is you just have access to the like get a repository or is he like working something up? Like some sort of prototype or 

Ben
  
or something like that? Yeah, you should be doing a prototype. So st, st thing is he asked us do we want how do we want to get the design part? Uh So like the choices were a PSD or stigma. So I chose stigma because we use stigma. Uh and then the second part would be okay. And there also was a question and the on boarding was okay, you want me to build this out in html CSS And of course, yes, like yes, I want you to do more work for me, thank you very much. So, so the first version is just a design and stigma and oh, actually three. So he gave us the option of just doing one, like I'll do a design and you accept it or not? Or doing three designs. 

Ben
  
I went for the three designs because I mean I'm a client now so I get to like, you know, be deciding and stuff. So that was that was slow us down a little bit obviously because there's gonna be three designs, that one, but we'll get those three designs. That's 

Josh
  
for that's for like the big project. Right? Or or is he doing three for the initial bill? 

Ben
  
Well, I think that I think for the further homepage Okay. I think that's basically, I think what I was trying to communicate, I think I communicated was we want to do is basically to stage project, like we want to do the whole design, but we want the first stage to be, Let's get the homepage set. So what I'm thinking is like the design that he goes with for the homepage will then carry through to the rest of the project. The rest of the pages. Gotcha. That's mine. That's my hope. 

Josh
  
I don't do you know, I it sounds like he's more like he's going to be coding if he's coding this up in html and CSS like I wonder he's probably not using like uh is he using anything to start with? Like could he use could he do this in tailwind for instance because that might be useful in the future if we want to like, you know, take over if we want to like do some, you know, of our own design in the future, which, you know what we're capable of is basically tailender bootstrap. 

Ben
  
Yeah, I didn't specify to use tailwind. I didn't really care at the moment. I just wanted whatever was fastest. Uh Right. And I figure if we decide to revisit and do some structural stuff, we can always adapted the tailwind ourselves, like that kind of thing I can do, you know, I can take an existing design and I can, I can rework it, you know? Uh so I figured just get it out the door, get it done as quickly as possible. I don't, I don't care what you do and then we can, we can revisit if we need to. 

Josh
  
Cool. Well the, I mean, once we get the whole thing redone that, that'll be nice. I don't know. We've never really done that. We've on our current on, on honey badger. Io we've never like, we've always just done it ourselves. 

Ben
  
That's new news. Something a new venture for us to try try this sort of thing. It's great. I like experiments. So we had, speaking of experiments, we had an experiment that did not work out and I suppose we should talk about that. Uh we, we decided that the sales, the outbound sales effort is not working out for us. So uh worked with Harris at interest there and we talked about this on the podcast before. Uh, and Harris is great interest. Um, it's great, % recommend Harris and his team. If you're thinking about doing some sales stuff and you want some training, some coaching or you want someone to help you do it. All those things are great. But after having done sales work with Harris, I just realized it's 

Ben
  
probably not gonna work for us. Maybe it's maybe it's me, maybe it's our business, maybe it's our customer segment, maybe it's a combination of all those things, but you know, Harris and I, so I told Harrison and it's just not working out, we need to, we need to turn this down and turn it off. And, and Harris was like, yeah, I was getting the feeling based on the response rate, like which is zero, uh, just wasn't working. And so, and we also like on Tuesday, I had a great call with Harris and we just did a post mortem basically the whole project and like why why didn't it work? Like we were hoping it would work and 

Ben
  
uh, and it was, it was a blameless postmortem, like I don't think there was a particular fault. I think there are factors like, uh, we sell primarily to developers and developers, primary that usually don't want to be talked to right, They don't want to talk to a sales person, they don't really want to get unsolicited stuff. Uh, And so that's a factor, I think also like the nature of our product, like you don't really need a salesperson to explain to you exception monitoring, right? Like it's, you know, it's like if you go to the car dealership 

Ben
  
and you're looking for an accord, you don't really need to spend a lot of time with a salesperson as he explains to you what an accord does, like, you know what an accord does, right? It's a car. Like if I know I want an accord versus camera, like I don't need any help, right? Just just tell me the car and I think it's kind of some kind of thing here is like we're not selling something that's really complicated or that needs a lot of education or it needs a lot of configuration or whatever. Like it's not a solution based sales, which I think would be a better fit for that kind of sales process. So, and, and there are other factors. Um but yeah, so that's an experiment that I think is just, uh, does it work out? 

Josh
  
It seems like we're really positioned to sell to the developers and it's not that we couldn't, I mean, we could try to sell ourselves too because it seems like, like depending on the size of team that's using a tool like this, like you get people in the organization higher up that get involved, like managers or product managers or uh, like engineering leads and stuff that are trying to do more of the like management and coordination um stuff and those are the people that like the dashboards and the samel and like all the more enterprise features, but we don't typically like lead, like that's not that's not how our um product is positioned to, we're not like we haven't positioned ourselves to sell to that level really, it seems. Um and 

Josh
  
yeah, I don't know, that's that's kind of interesting because, you know, you wonder at some point like if the developers are deciding what tool to buy, do they buy the same tool as like their bosses and we're trying to give the developers what they want, it may be more than we're trying to give their bosses what they want, and you know, and then we try to build those features too so that we can keep everyone happy, but like um it does, there's like yeah, it's kind of a different, like you could see like trying to take the same approach with like, you know, someone up the higher up the ladder or whatever, I could see that not being as interesting. Yeah, 

Ben
  
one of the things and there are other factors, like one of the things that Harris taught me about sales is uh he said the money is in the follow up basically like you need to keep reaching out to the same people basically until they tell you to go away and that's not what I'm about and I don't really want to do that to people. Like we email sequence and uh inherited like, well we need to do an email sequence like this and it's like in emails long and I'm like um how about two? We send one and then we send one more and that's it. And Harris was like uh so I think in many ways like I was tying his hands because I didn't want to do the kind of sales process that a lot of people do. Right? 

Josh
  
Well I imagine like putting your face on those emails probably like you don't, you don't want like to make a bunch of enemies of developers that you might have to work with in the future. But like what if you like, did you consider just like making a completely fictional sales? Just like salesperson persona? And it could have just been like, you know, we could have put them on the, on the sales page and everything. It's just like this fictional person that takes all the heat for sales. 

Ben
  
I never thought of that. That's a great idea. Name, bobby bobby, the badger. 

Josh
  
Yeah, um maybe that's like a side like, you know, kind of an Upsell offering that Harris can can add to to his product eyes thing. Like, you know, if you don't want to take the heat, like we can create something for you 

Starr
  
that's a 

Ben
  
that's an awesome idea should afford that on. Yeah. Yeah. So the and another factor is like uh you know, because there are there are companies, we have competitors that are selling into the enterprise and do that sort of thing and um, I think I think you hit on a point there. It's like are we, are we selling to me selling the typical enterprise solution where the buyer has to be happy or are we selling something where the user has to be happy? Right. And and sometimes that they're both happy but and often times it isn't and in our case we're focusing on that and user and it doesn't make that user happy if we're pestering them with emails or you know, getting in their way of actually just trying the product. And so anyway, I think for now at least we are 

Ben
  
Better served as a % inbound kind of company and maybe spend those resources on customer success or engagement or something like that. Yeah, 

Josh
  
it's interesting but it 

Ben
  
was fun while it lasted. 

Josh
  
Well, I'm glad, I'm glad it wasn't a complete drag. You got to, you got to learn a little bit about sales. Yeah. Yeah. Imagine. Yeah. Cool. Yeah, I think like uh like competition, just like the, we're in such a like a competitive space and most of our competitive, our competitors also go for those like enterprise segments. Um so it could actually be, you know, it could be good for us to stay, you focused on the on the smaller, like, you know, the smaller, the smaller end of the market in a way because they're probably somewhat underserved at this point, 

Josh
  
yep. 

Starr
  
All right. So um when is the hook really lunch 

Starr
  
or is this and how to fix fixed? Okay. So we don't know what to tell people 

Josh
  
we're meeting, we're meeting next next week to kind of finalize it. But I'm imagining like we're going to push it out the door as soon as we have, you know, some I think we're going to wait for a few updates to the homepage, but otherwise we're going to ship it. And who knows? Like if if this project ends up kind of dragging on at all or anything like we could just decide to, you know, kind of just go what we have. It's not, you know, it's not it's it's workable. So maybe we should just like stop procrastinating, right? But we'll we'll decide next week at our um hook really marketing meeting. 

Ben
  
Yeah, the good news is we already have customers who are using it who are paying us money to use it. So that's that's nice. Like it's not just burning cash with a bunch of a rack of servers doing nothing. You know, 

Josh
  
So I would say it's in the next couple weeks. 

Starr
  
Awesome. I'm sure when that happens we'll um be blowing horns and making all sorts of noise on this show and directing people to the right place. Uh huh. All right. Was there anything else you guys want to talk about? Should we should wrap it up? 

Josh
  
We can wrap it. We can wrap it. 

Starr
  
All right. Well, you all have been listening to um found request. If you want to go read us on apple podcasts or whatever the kids are calling it these days, go for it. Um And yeah, we'll catch you next week. Thank you. 

Josh
  
Yeah, No. 


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