Nov. 26, 2020

The Secret To Creating Winning Proposals with Kyle Racki

The Secret To Creating Winning Proposals with Kyle Racki

Most people send boring and uninspiring business proposals. In today's episode, we uncover what makes a proposal standout and actually gets you business.

CEO and co-founder of Proposify, Kyle Racki joins Katelyn Bourgoin to explain:

  • How He Turned A Pain-Point Into A Business
  • Why He Treated His Early Adopters Like Royalty
  • The Psychology of a Great Proposal
  • How To Understand the True Needs Of Your Customer
  • And So Much More

Kyle Racki is the co-founder and CEO of Proposify, a modern proposal writing SaaS platform. He's also the author of "Free Trials and Tribulations: How To Build A Business While Getting Punched In The Mouth"

Twitter | LinkedIn | Proposify | Book

----

Follow Katelyn on Twitter

Get your Free Customer Ranking Calculator

----

Episode Takeaways

Two Types of Business Failures

  • External: Build something that the market doesn’t want. 
  • Internal: Poor management, bad hires, financial efficiency

 

Treat Your $20/month Customer Like Your $20,000/month Customer

In the early days, you want to find product-market fit as quickly as possible. You do this by charging a low price but trying to get volume. This is when you want to figure out what problems your customers might have that can be automated. 

As you grow, you might want to move up-market. But you can only do so if you’re able to free-up your time to handle those bigger clients. Because once you actually have $20,000/month paying customers, you’ll want to have your $20/month customers fully automated. 

 

The Psychology of a Proposal

A proposal is really a written sales letter. You need to get your customer’s attention, nail their pain points, and package it up in a deal that they won’t be able to ignore. 

Make sure to highlight what results can be expected from your work. They will be much more likely to pursue your proposal if they know what’s in it for them. 

 

Turnaround

From Proposify’s data, they’re able to see that proposals that lost were looked at 3.5 times before being rejected. 

On the other hand, proposals that were accepted were only looked at 2.5 times before being signed. 

Make it a clear “Hell yeah” from your prospect that they should be doing business with you. If they’re beating around the bush, move on to other opportunities. 

 

The Timing of Proposals

Timing plays a huge role in the success of proposals. Often a prospect will request a quote or ask for a proposal because they feel an immediate need for the solution. This pressing need will not last forever. 

That’s why Proposify allows teams to reply with a full proposal within hours of receiving the request. (60% of proposals get sent through Proposify in 59 minutes or less). 

 

Know The True Benefit You’re Selling

Having a flashy product can help, but having clarity on the true benefit your product offers will ensure you’re selling to the right person. 

 

How Proposify Used Customer Discovery To Get Clear On Their Positioning

At first, Proposify thought that the value they offered new customers was the ability to make beautiful looking proposals. 

After speaking with their customers and engaging positioning expert April Dunford, they realized that the customer didn’t really care about that. 

What they really cared about was speed - how quickly they could respond to a proposal and how much time their sales team needed to spend customizing it for each prospect. They’re in the middle of rolling this out right now, so we don’t know exactly how powerful it’s been to their bottom line. But we do know that Kyle is looking to grow Proposify from a $8M to a $100M business. 

 

Transcript

Kyle Racki: [00:00:00] when you think about the buyer psychology behind that, if you have to wait two weeks for something.  you might have asked for it when  that problem was top of mind, but if you have to wait too long, eventually you, you get distracted or  another problem comes up. That's more high priority.

[00:00:14]So your proposal really needs to stand on its own when it gets passed around and forwarded to the person who holds the keys and holds the budget, to understand the, the value with what you're providing. It's not just here's how much it costs sign here. It's, , here's how we're going to solve your problem.

[00:00:29] Yeah. So I mean,

[00:02:39] a few years into running this agency, with about 10 employees or so. Kevin. And I, my co founder realized we really didn't want to be in the service game.

[00:02:48] And we wanted to find like many other people before us. And after us, we wanted to kind of create a software as a service product. And we had tried a number of different things. Social gopher was one. And that really came from that. Wasn't really my baby, as much as it was Kevin's who Kevin was going out and selling these social media analysis reports as kind of like a, a nice foot in the door offer for clients because it was unique and it was.

[00:03:12] Different. And, you know, there was a lot, a lot of demand for it at the time. So we kind of thought like, well, let's productize the service. Let's actually build like a crawler that generates these reports. so that was kind of the first idea. It didn't really go that far. Cause I think we just realized the investment required to do it properly.

[00:03:28] Was we just couldn't but there was that, and there was like a, a handful of other product ideas we tried before settling on proposal.

[00:03:36] Katelyn Bourgoin: I think that that is a great note because I think a lot of people look at the success that you've had with proposals, look at the success of other, you know, tech, startup founders, and assume that they just got it right out of the gate and that they figured it out.

[00:03:49] But as you said, you know, you have to have that one big failure to really kind of figure out how you want to play the game and to learn from those mistakes. And so proposal comes along. The idea for proposal comes along. And why did you decide that this was the one you wanted to pursue more? Like, why did you end up making the commitment fully to propose if I, what

[00:04:10] Kyle Racki:  led to that?

[00:04:11] So, I mean, just going back to the previous point, which I think answers this question, this kind of just struck me, but I think it would be valuable for your listeners is that

[00:04:19] Two Types of Business FailuresI think there's different types of failures in business. One is: I asked that the market wants something and they don't want it.

[00:04:27] And that's the kind of stuff you talk about all the time. the gospel that you preach is understand your customer, understand your market, know what they actually want, that's gonna solve their problem. But then the other kind of failure comes from just poor management. , you might have a business with customers and they might be buying, but then the actual act of , Being able to hire properly, being able to lead effectively, being able to manage finances and , keep money in the bank like that's different type of failure.

[00:04:53] And so I think that's really good to carve out those two, your distinctions of like, you can have a business , with revenue and still run it into the ground just by managing it poorly.

[00:05:03] Katelyn BourgoinOh, absolutely. And when you, like, you know, when you look back at the companies you did prior to propose, what kind of categories did they fall into?

[00:05:12] What, like, was it primarily the challenge of not having demand for the product? Did you have, did you learn a lot about management that you'd applied later?

[00:05:21] Kyle Racki:  I think for, for the service company, I'd say it was the latter about poor management. poor leadership, I'd say for the product ideas, those weren't really companies yet.

[00:05:31] They were just kind of more like, you know, MVP sort of, ideas. And that was totally lack of demand. It was lack of demand or lack of, yeah, it's proper execution of it because I think like we were working on an extranet, which I think probably could have been successful if we wanted to raise a pile of money and pour, you know, Millions of dollars into it.

[00:05:53]I think all of those products may be might've had some potential, like for example, site T was a little product that we made and it was really like a, a shitty Wix or Squarespace. It doesn't have to say like there wasn't demand for, but there was just no customer development at all. Other than like, Hey, we have customers who don't have budgets.

[00:06:11] I wonder if there's a way we could just programmatically spit out a site. Yeah, template for them, right. That they pay a subscription fee for. but if just like, there was, the execution was, was really poor, but I'd say in all cases I didn't do, I did almost no customer development proposal if was the first one where I started to kind of figure it out and I started to go like, okay, this is a big problem.

[00:06:34]Early Days of Proposify & Customer Research

[00:06:34] People hate writing proposals, lots of companies do it, but I started to get really tight on who we were selling it to. Which I never did in the past for any other business, it was always just like, Hey, whoever wants it, not I'm going after 10 to 20 person, digital agency companies and talking to their owners.

[00:06:53]Katelyn Bourgoin:  I love that.  can you walk us through how you went about doing that in the really early days? Once you thought that this was an idea that was worth pursuing, how did you go out and actually do that customer discovery to feel more confident?

[00:07:07]Kyle Racki:  So a lot of it at the beginning was organic local type of discussions.

[00:07:13] I knew a lot of agency owners being in the business myself. So a lot of it was just hitting up contacts that I knew personally. Funny enough. A lot of them didn't want to give me any information because they were worried or they didn't want to use the product because they were worried that I was going to steal their proposals and a

[00:07:30] Katelyn Bourgoin: small market.

[00:07:32] Kyle Racki:  What's that,

[00:07:32] Katelyn Bourgoin:  that makes sense. In a small market, when you're going to your competitors and being like, give us your proposals. They're like F no.

[00:07:39] Kyle Racki:  Yeah. I think a lot of them didn't realize that my head was completely out of the agency game and I wanted to get that they didn't trust that. So. Fair enough, the other, I mean, the other thing too, other than just kind of these, these discussions, like I sat in with one of the guys that extreme one of the, you know, directors or, or kind of top executives there,

[00:07:59] Katelyn Bourgoin: which is an agency here in Halifax for anybody who's listening.

[00:08:02] One of the bigger ones.

[00:08:03]Kyle Racki:  At the time I think they were probably like one of, if not the biggest and kind of show them what we were doing. Got some feedback on it. I don't think I ran customer discovery. The textbook way you should, it was much more of a kind of chat. There's probably a lot of confirmation bias happening.

[00:08:21]but at the end of the day, the bigger ones wouldn't use it anyway. Cause they are generally slow to adopt tools. They're usually not terribly well run businesses. and, and so I kind of realized like, it's actually the smaller, no, this was at the time things have changed, but at the time I thought, well, It's more like five, 10 person shops like mine that actually would use a tool like this.

[00:08:42] And I was right in that assumption. Then it was a matter of, you know, put out a, a website with kind of a, an email capture, run, a few ad words, campaigns build a little bit of SEO, start a blog, like just start to build some traffic and demand and then collect email addresses and start reaching out and trying to have those conversations.

[00:09:01]Prioritizing Content in Early Days Over Sales

[00:09:01]Katelyn Bourgoin:  in your very early days, I know you got some advice that was like, you know, you need to hire salespeople and you need to focus on sales, sales, sales, and proposals, and go that route. You guys really did more of a inbound approach and you created great content.

[00:09:15] You really knew the audience.  looking back. I know now you are very focused on sales. Do you still think that was the right decision to prioritize inbound? Not to get salespeople in the early days?

[00:09:28] Kyle Racki:  I think it was, I would still do it that way today, because I think when you have a SAS product,

[00:09:34] if you've decided to go to start downmarket and sell to really small businesses, or at least for very cheap stuff, description prices, or I'm talking 900 teen 30, even up to a hundred dollars a month, I think still fits within that category. It's it's much more of a volume play. So even though, yeah, you're gonna, you're gonna do a little white glove service on these accounts mainly to understand them.

[00:09:56] Cause at the beginning you basically have to treat your $20 a month customer. Like they're paying you 20,000 a month. and then , as you start to get product market fit and the product becomes more, tight and more sticky and customers are coming in on their own and signing up and paying and there's very little support needed.

[00:10:12] Like once you're kind of in that. Realm then you can start looking at how to scale it, but at the beginning, . You have to be very hands on with every customer. I think, yeah, the only other way to do it, if you wanted to start with an enterprise product from scratch. The way that I've seen it kind of done talking to others or anecdotally is that you more or less have to go work for a company and build them the product custom for them and make sure that you've got it in your IP agreements that you're able to then take that same product and sell it to other enterprises was actually really hard to satisfy an enterprise customer if you're an early stage startup, because you just don't have enough of the infrastructure built to support a big company.

[00:10:55]Moving Up-Market

[00:10:55] We're in a really interesting place in the business where we're kind of at a certain point of scale where we're.

[00:11:02] I guess it all depends who you ask, are we, are we really big or not? But I mean, we're about, close to 90 employees where, we just passed about 8.5 million in annual revenue in a recurring revenue, with the goal of course, to kind of scale up, you know, more than that and faster than that, but, that's kind of where we're at right now,  I like to say this. And I say to the, to the team as well, like we have two businesses. One is a more established self-serve business that makes up the majority of our revenue. And it's those kind of smaller customers who come in through a, you know, an ad or SEO. They, you know, they sign up to a free trial.

[00:11:39] They, they use it and then if they like it, they put in their credit card and pay. And there's very little interaction other than maybe customer support. And that is a really. W really steady, really predictable business. But if we want to be a hundred million air our business, then we identified, we have to move up market and we have to sell to bigger companies that, that have more of a need of our product.

[00:12:04] And that part of the business is almost like an early stage startup. It's only about, you know, a little under 2 million in ARR and still a lot to figure out, you know, building a sales team, building customer success, figuring out the processes, the positioning, the ad, you know, the, the marketing strategy to acquire those accounts.

[00:12:25] That part of the business is still feels very early stage. And it's difficult because at the scale we're at now, A lot of the employees think of us as a big business. When, when in certain aspects we should be thinking more like an early stage startup.

[00:12:40]What's the Deal With Proposals? Katelyn Bourgoin:

[00:14:12] what's the deal with proposals? Why should businesses even have proposals?

[00:14:16] Like what are they going to do for them?

[00:14:18]Kyle Racki: ] I mean, I think that the majority of businesses that sell a high priced product or service are going to use a proposal, You know, some people call them quotes or contracts or agreements. Like every organization has kind of a different word they use for it. But at the end of the day, a proposal is very much a utility that you, that you really need to close a deal. And, I don't know if anybody gets excited about proposals other than prospects, of course, waiting to receive them. But I mean, really at the end of the day, there's something that is going to communicate the value of what you're going to offer that particular prospect or customer.

[00:14:56] And if there's any amount of complexity involved in the deal or, customization in terms of the scope of services, add on services or products, things that are custom to that unique client, you're going to need a proposal.  It's getting harder and harder these days to, to involve every stakeholder and every decision maker throughout the sales process.

[00:15:18] So your proposal really needs to stand on its own when it gets passed around and forwarded to the person who holds the keys and holds the budget, to understand the, the value with what you're providing. It's not just here's how much it costs sign here. It's, , here's how we're going to solve your problem.

[00:15:33] And here's how we're going to show that we actually understand your problem. And that's what a proposal actually does.

[00:15:39]Viewer Journey of a Proposal

[00:15:39]Katelyn Bourgoin: for companies that are thinking about how they can create proposals, that persuade people who they may have not had any conversations with why this is a good project to move forward with for those companies.

[00:15:51] how should they be thinking about their own. potential customers. walk me through the typical viewer journey, because I know you guys have a ton of data on that.

[00:16:00]Kyle Racki:  Yeah. The viewer data.

[00:16:01] I mean, it's, it's so different depending on industries of course, but, What we, what we've found with our data has been that the average proposal has about seven sections in it, and a better even pages. So that just means that some of the sections are more than one page, but. Can being concise. Isn't incredibly important.

[00:16:20]there certainly are customers of ours. I have gigantic 50 to 100 page proposals, but I think what we often find is that customers just don't read it. So it's important to be extremely concise and to the point. there's generally a flow or kind of a structure that seems to work for most companies, which is, you know, you've got to have a great cover page.

[00:16:40] You've got to have a great executive summary, which is where most of the customization is going to come into play sales rep probably doesn't need to customize. You know, case studies, they can probably pick from a library of existing ones and choose a couple that are the best and most closely aligned to that prospect.

[00:16:58] But an executive summary is going to be probably the key thing that the customer is going to read and write sums up, that we understand your problem. Here's how we're going to solve your problem. And here's, the results that you can expect. and then from there, of course, it's, you know, it might be the exact service or products that you're.

[00:17:16]including, how they cost, of course usually comes around the middle and then you've got some of that, you know, a testimonial case study the about us stuff. That's really just going to back up and prove that you, you can do what you say you're going to do. And of course, a call to action is important.

[00:17:32] Next steps. Here's where you sign to kind of make an official.

[00:17:37] Katelyn Bourgoin: Gotcha.  I know when I've received proposals from contractors that are looking to win our business,   I'm going to be honest. Yeah. I tend to go very quickly to the page where it breaks down the cost. And that's my, usually my first impression, like I'm not reading the thing in the order that they presented to me and I'm checking out the costs first, getting a feel for whether or not this is where our expectation was.

[00:17:58] And then I'm going back and  reading through it. Am I weird?

[00:18:02]Kyle Racki:  No, not at all. I mean, most people do that. It's generally the, the thing you don't want most prospects to do. And there's ways to kind of overcome that problem. You know, like one of them could be presenting the proposal on the, on an actual zoom call where you don't even send them the link until after you've presented it.

[00:18:22] That can be one way. So you can actually guide them through the thought process. And here's why this is what we're, We're estimating, or this is, this is the strategy that we've come up with to help you. So you can kind of guide them along with a call is one thing that works. I mean, just sending a proposal, if it's a highlight value deal and just hoping and praying that they open it and they look at it.

[00:18:42] Is  a huge reason we created the product was because of that problem, right? Email, the PDF. You never hear from the prospect again. So there is also the way you, what you call the budget, right? If you call it budget or pricing and it's in the table of contents, then of course they're going to go right there.

[00:18:57] Whereas if you call it like your investment, then sometimes that positions it much less as a cost center and more of a, a value piece. But also, it's just a little harder to find it in the table of contents, that it is the budget

[00:19:10]Tricks of the Proposal Trade our data shows some kind of interesting things about how like images will improve a close rate by 23% like proposals that have images.

[00:19:18] Which I think really just speaks to putting some effort into the design videos. Also we'll have a lift on close rate if you're using like a V, which you can do in an interactive proposal. you can actually, again, you're not talking necessarily to the decision maker, but a video allows you to

[00:19:32] walk them through it show you, showcase your, your voice, your personality. So that has a lift on our close rate.

[00:19:39] Katelyn Bourgoin:  Very interesting. And so I know the proposal by recently released a new report and it's called the state of proposals in 2020. So what would you say was one of the most surprising things you learned from that research?

[00:19:52] Kyle Racki:  Yeah. So we, we released the state of proposals where we, we poured through our 2 million proposals to uncover those things, nuggets of, of data. and then we also updated it after COVID. So in may we looked at it again to see what's changed, you know, in. During the pandemic. and we also broken out across different markets and different industries, like SAS event services, janitorial, and so forth.

[00:20:17] So depending on who you are and what you're interested in, you can definitely search for those, reports and kinda take a look at it. But there's a lot of interesting numbers about a proposal. I think like one of the ones that I kind of come back to is if a customer keeps opening your proposal, Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

[00:20:39]Katelyn Bourgoin:  I would say that that's probably a good thing. Because they're, they may be evaluating it, based on other ones that they've received and kind of comparing and contrasting.

[00:20:50]I would think, well, maybe not though.

[00:20:53]Kyle Racki: [00:20:53] Definitely.

[00:20:55] Katelyn Bourgoin: Yeah, no, I'm, I'm, I'm questioning it now. So tell me the answer.

[00:20:57] Kyle Racki So the answer is, I would say I would. I agree with you if I didn't have the data, but the data actually shows that proposals that didn't close are viewed three and a half times before the viewer decided to not sign.

[00:21:09] Whereas winning proposals are only viewed two and a half times before they're signed.

[00:21:13] Katelyn Bourgoin:  Interesting. And so, you know that I'm very nerdy about buyer psychology and things like that. What do you think that that insight tells us about the actual read or the client who's viewing this proposal?

[00:21:24]Kyle Racki: My assumption about the, the psychology behind it is that.

[00:21:28]people who are don't need to look at the proposal as much, or as often, or as many times has already made the decision that they're going with with you. They're not confused by anything. They've probably been really well qualified during the sales process. They probably already had an expectation of how much it costs and, and, they weren't surprised by the pricing, whereas somebody who is a little bit.

[00:21:52] Confused about what they're getting. They have unanswered questions that they, they won't reach out and ask their sales rep. they're going to just kind of keep looking at it because they they're essentially unsure. Do I really want this? Is this the right time? Is it worth the money? They're just, they're just unsure.

[00:22:09]Katelyn Bourgoin: let's say that I'm writing a proposal and I want to obviously be the most successful that I can with this proposal. So you've said that, you know, photos can be helpful. Videos can improve the lift. What are some other tips that I should apply when I'm thinking about how to structure this proposal?

[00:22:25]Kyle Racki: So, I mean,  the structure is, is generally not what's going to make or break it, but there are things like, how quickly they get created.

[00:22:34] Is that a factor? Because, you know, I sought back in the days of the agency business where, you know, you would often take two weeks for somebody to get a proposal out the door. And when you think about the buyer psychology behind that, if you have to wait two weeks for something.  you might have asked for it when  that problem was top of mind, we need to solve this.

[00:22:55] I'm going to go to these companies and ask for proposals. But if you have to wait too long, eventually you, you get distracted or  another problem comes up. That's more high priority. So what we've seen in our system is that 60% of the proposals that get sent through Proposify created in sent within 59 minutes.

[00:23:13]Katelyn Bourgoin:  Wow. That's phenomenal. 

[00:23:15] Kyle Racki: generally, if you've got some kind of a consistent workflow setup going on, then you can really cut the time down. You shouldn't have to customize every piece of the proposal.

[00:23:24] Like there should be a content library, a template that you kind of start with. So, and the workflow is different depending on our customers. Some of them like to start with what we call the Frankenstein template, which is just, it has everything in it. And then you just kind of delete the sections you don't need for this particular prospect.

[00:23:42]you know, the, the ability to have those variables or those merge fields that kind of swap out, you know, client name and other data from the CRM just cuts down on that manual entry and the admin time. So I've watched the ways that people can kind of cut the time down, because you know, the, the faster it gets out, the faster it'll close and

[00:23:58] 50% of the proposals. are viewed within 80 minutes of sending.

[00:24:03]The True Benefit That Kyle Is Selling

[00:24:03] at the end of the day, the real problem that we're trying to solve for our customers is that it's not just about creating proposals faster 11 yet.

[00:24:11] Our PR our product can help do that, but it really is about the visibility piece of that. Most what most people are doing when they email a word doc or a PDF is they're getting very little or no visibility into how customers are actually interacting with it. And then that. Part of your sales process is a black box, and you're not doing anything to optimize that it's going to have an impact.

[00:24:32] Right?

[00:24:32] Katelyn Bourgoin:  Absolutely. I mean, for it being such an important asset, you think about your website and like Google analytics today. If you talk to a business owner that wasn't running analytics on their website, you think that they are just so outdated. Like how could you not be gathering this amazingly valuable data?

[00:24:48] And yet there's sending off proposals, which, you know, in many cases are the. Life force of the company's revenue and not knowing if people are receiving them. If they're reviewing them, how they're  interacting with them, it seems like a no brainer when you compare it to this other high performing asset, which is your website.

[00:25:05] Imagine not having analytics on your website. How can you not have analytics on your proposal?

[00:25:11]Katelyn Bourgoin: so I'm really fascinated.  I know you have your own sales team now. How is proposal using proposals in your own business?

[00:25:18]Kyle Racki:  So we, our sales team has a template that's, that's branded to propose a file that we send out at a certain stage in the process.

[00:25:26]we kind of eat our own dog food in that sense where, we have our own managed package that we use within Salesforce. proposals can actually get created within Salesforce without even needing to open a new tab and go into proposal phase.

[00:25:38] So a lot of bigger sales teams love that aspect of it. but really it's, it's a it's. You know, I think stage seven in the, I don't have the R process in front of me at this moment, but, there's a certain point where it's the right time for our reps to send out a proposal to the prospect.

[00:25:55], and we have the whole, you know, the whole template set up in our system so that we can track what our reps are doing and who's opening it. And then once it's signed off, and it updates Salesforce and the deals closed.

[00:26:05]How Proposify Is Using Customer Discovery In Their Marketing and Product

[00:26:05]Katelyn Bourgoin:  Can you talk a little bit about some of the things that you've integrated into either the product or your marketing messaging that really showcases.

[00:26:13] What your end user cares about? Like how have you taken the insights you've discovered through customer discovery and what does that meant for your product roadmap and what does that meant for your own marketing?

[00:26:24] Kyle Racki: Very interesting question. And I think you're, you're gonna find the answer pretty interesting too, which is that part of our struggle is the fact that the small customer, which again, makes up a big part of our revenue, what we found is that  the message that resonates with them is very different than the one that resonates with the mid market customer. That we're actually putting much more of our focus into building that side of the business. So it's been a little bit of a balance sing act to try to figure that out because we don't want to completely alienate small businesses, but we do want to make it really clear that we are helping larger sales teams and we're putting more of a focus on them.

[00:27:03] So, yeah. When we did a positioning exercise earlier this year with April Dunford, and then we tested that yeah, legend. Then we tested it. Then that messaging and that positioning out in the market with these ideal customer profile. You know, we tested it out in the market. We, we ran some outbound campaigns. We got customers on the phone, we ran the positioning with them and recorded it. and then we use that to then build out the rest of the messaging. So actually we're in the process of rolling this, this new positioning out across the website.

[00:27:35] And across all of our marketing so here's where it's different. Is that small customers, like you say, they care a lot about the image of. Looking better, creating proposals faster, really great presentation and really great design. That's going to make them stand out. And that is the kind of messaging that we always ran with because it worked mid market customer.

[00:27:57] We kind of finally had this epiphany that they actually don't care about. Any of that. They don't even really care at the end of the day, that much about the speed, because a lot of our competitors say like spit out proposals, you know, 50 times faster, or make your proposals look amazing and beautiful with, with great, you know, do it yourself for, you know, Wiziwig builders and all that kind of stuff.

[00:28:20] Then with the mid market actually cares about is control and visibility. Right. So the problem they have is that they've got 20 reps or 50 reps who are all doing their own thing, sending out their own documents. And, and a lot of times pricing goes out with errors or, or discounts that weren't approved.

[00:28:40]the client signs off on the pricing after a lot of negotiation, and then it doesn't get properly reflected in the CRM, which then doesn't get correctly applied to the billing system. typos wrong client names, outdated, copy and content. Like this is the actual problem that they have and because they have no visibility and because everybody's using word or their own tool, they, they, it's a big black box that they can't see into.

[00:29:07] And that is actually our positioning.

[00:29:10] Katelyn Bourgoin:  That's so good, like, and it's so great that, you know, you look at what the competitors are doing that might also be chasing that market. And clearly they aren't having those conversations and they're not working with somebody as brilliant as April to help them kind of crystallize that into a positioning because they're still treating them all as though.

[00:29:26] Speed and design is the thing that matters. Whereas you guys have clearly identified a different value proposition that is uniquely painful to that market, and then reworking your messaging. I love that.

[00:29:38]On Having Two Businesses Running Together

[00:29:38] Now. Can I ask, like when I know that you're moving towards that market and that right now, it makes up, it sounds like about 25% of your annual recurring revenue, but you want it to obviously be a lot more, have you thought about.

[00:29:50] You know, eating a little bit of your own dog, but in the sense of having two different web experiences, depending on where people are coming from, you know, like this ad set is sending to, we know that they're coming from here, so we're going to show them this. And if they're coming from here, we're going to show them that, is this something you've looked at doing?

[00:30:07] Kyle Racki:  I have thought about it. and I mean, I'm totally open for discussion about it, but, my kind of thinking is that. Companies that basically are saying like, you know, Shopify is probably a really good example. We're here for small businesses. You want to set up e-com stores. Well, there's probably a reason why Shopify created Shopify plus.

[00:30:24] Was for the exact same reason that churn is really high with small customers.  And so Shopify had to move up market. So they, you know, Created Shopify plus it's more for like larger enterprise businesses and they have almost a completely separate experience for them where. Where my belief lies is that you have to be very, very clear and honed in on who your perfect customer is and speak to them.

[00:30:51] And the chances are, if you do that, you're still gonna get a lot of people who, who want to use your product anyway.

[00:30:56] Katelyn Bourgoin:  Absolutely. Yeah. I'm a big believer in being super focused on that audience and at the same time, accepting that you're going to get some, not so perfect fit people who are going to be attracted to the message and they're going to want to use it.

[00:31:08] And sometimes they're maybe not going to get what they want out of it because, you know, it sounds like in your case, the product was initially built for that small business customer, but now you're moving up marketing, you're really adding new features and making it apply more to this mid market customer.

[00:31:23] But yeah, I'm a big believer in like casting your net variables and if you're getting in others, that's okay. But if those are the people that are dissatisfied that's okay too, because maybe they're not the ones that you wanted that you were trying to market to in the first place.

[00:31:38] so for anybody who's listening again, like if they're, if you can leave them with one tip to help them, maybe something that they could do quickly in their own proposal today to improve it in some way, like what might be the one thing that you'd say that people should think about to improve their own proposals?

[00:31:54] Kyle Racki:  Start using a tool like vineyard to record a video for every proposal you send out where you address the buyer and you present the proposal to them and embed that right in your proposal. When you send it out. Because it's proven to have a higher lift in conversion

[00:32:11] Katelyn Bourgoin:  and Vidyard is a free tool and it's so easy to use.

[00:32:13] So what a wonderful tip that anyone can take an action. Awesome.

 

Katelyn Bourgoin

Host of Customer Show & Founder of Customer Camp

Katelyn is the founder of Customer Camp, a training and research firm that helps growth-ready product teams to get inside their customer’s heads so they can market smarter.