The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

Ep 117: The Founder's Journey w/ Scott Britton

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Ep 117: The Founder's Journey w/ Scott Britton

Part of the "Is This A Good Time?" series hosted by Brandon Barton. 

Hello everyone and welcome back to the Pavilion podcast. I am your host, Brandon martin you're listening to. Is this a good time The show where I ask Pavilion members some really basic questions for 15 minutes. They have great answers. It's a lot of fun. We put shows out Tuesdays and Thursdays. Hit subscribe. So you don't miss hearing from our experts. Our guest today is scott Britain. He's the founder of Troops Troops dot ai whatever you wanna call him. And we're here to talk about the whole founders journey have been able to watch scott from the moment he started troops a few years back until now and they're having incredible success. So really fun conversation. This episode was brought to you by drift. More than 50,000 businesses use dripped to grow revenue and increase customer lifetime value. Professor drift helps their customers online sales marketing on a single platform to deliver a unified customer experience. Where people are free to have a conversation with businesses at any time on their terms, learn more at dot com. Alright, let's do this. Episode 53. Is this a good time? Alright, I am here with scott Britain. He is the co founder of troops killer company that I've been fortunate to be able to watch them build over the years. Is he is a very O. G. Revenue collective. A K. Pavilion member. We can't say that RC name anymore. Billion all the time scott. Welcome and love it. Hey great to be here. Big fan of Pavilion which you know I do have that revenue collective muscle reflex reflex. This is a good chance for me to kind of get used to the rebrand. Yeah, we gotta we gotta say this. This will probably go up in august so people be, it'll be old by then we're gonna sound like we have bad memories or something, we'll all meet. No filler. I want to jump right in with the questions. Tell me about your current role, tell us about company and then how you got here because I think your background is incredibly interesting. Yeah. Thanks man. I mean the story of troops is as follows. Usually when you start a business, it's like, well what do I know about like what problems have I experienced? I was that single platform.

If you're a new york revenue person, I mean, I feel like there's been just like so much sales talent that started out there and we, we were definitely hypergrowth company. We went from 5, 10 salespeople to probably 60 to 70 and in a year and a half I would say. And I just remember the biggest problem that, I mean there's a lot of problems, right? There always is, but a big one, a big one was is like, Salesforce was a shit show any type of like historical or, or forward looking view of the business, It was always like a whole thing. And uh, my business partner had sold his last business to Salesforce in a merger with Buddy Media and I mean it was kind of the same thing. We're literally at sales for us there, like if you don't update your pipeline by five, like you're in trouble and I'm like, you guys can't even use your own software, this is this is ridiculous. And so we thought like there had to be a better way. The whole concept of mobile enterprise was hot at the time, everybody was talking about it all these Vcs and so we were, we were just thinking about the fact that the first computer, like Most people are going to interact with that are going to enter the workforce in the next 10 2030 years is actually a cellphone. It's an iPhone. So what does, what does a data instrumentation interface for that look like? And what was funny is when we talked to a bunch of reps and managers and people who had these kind of more like outside sales people and field teams, they were just like, you know honestly I just text people were just texting and this was like pretty slack. This was pre all that like yeah, we're just texting all day. That was like kind of like an aha moment where I was like what if updating Crm was easy as sending a text message or any database for that example where people actually do it. So literally we would have our friends give us their calendars and we would have this tool where we could like it was called front app. People...

...probably know it. Yeah, they have a thing where like you can be like a commando of like conversations and so I had this like fake phone number and I was texting everyone after their meetings like, hey, what happened in the meeting and the updates you to make and people really liked it. And so that was kind of the concept and fast forward like 34 months after we had raised money on, on an idea and kind of team and some like phony like contracts that I sold before any product that was like, if we build this, you will pay us X. Everyone was kind of like slack launched and everybody is using it. Everybody's talking about slack and they were, someone was kind of like, hey, you know, our team lives in slack, could you just do this in slack? And that kept coming up and we kind of made the decision like, hey, we're gonna go all in on, on slack and We're going to go all in on, this was in 2015 Maybe really to like January 2016. Like we're just, we just like fundamentally believe that enterprise messaging slack now Microsoft teams, I mean at the time it was hit chat, chit chat, like that's going to be something that every single business going to use and it's going to be on the second screen of every business, it's going to be on everybody's phones. And so You should be able to do work and seeing, you know, interact with the data that you already have, where you're already working. Just makes sense. Like nobody wants to go around like 28 windows and logging things like salesforce. And so that was, the that was kind of the second big moment is like we're going to get people superpowers with already working and that's kind of that's kind of been our story. And so for a long time we were a salesforce slack company. I was the first salesperson, I closed probably our 1st 100 deals. I hired our first 34 reps, I hired her first BDR team, you know, I manage customer success, I kind of did it all did the founder sales thing and by the way,...

...highly recommend founding sales to anybody. Even if you've already done sales before by Peca's Angie, it's just like a really good kind of framework that was helpful for me. And then I think at this point in the business like I have an exact team more or less. Um so we have a cr oh we have a BP marketing, like all that kind of stuff. All the roles that I did, somebody else is doing now, which is, which is great and where I spend my time is supporting those people and then things that kind of like call it like swat team projects like what is the shit that needs to be figured out, what are kind of like new, new kind of things that need to be proven in the market. And so, so we've, we've evolved from, you know, we were like, if for a long time, like if you use Salesforce and you slack and you wanted some interactivity, like we were the company to do that. Like we do that for stripe and Shopify and Twilio and slack themselves. Sale sources about to become a customer. Like we are the best in the world at that. But we needed to make a, we needed to make kind of a jump to like the bigger vision which is like, and this was always our vision. We just didn't have the right team to get there on the product side for a long time where it was we want to be able to support any messaging platform and any system and you should be able to see the right data at the right time to the right people in action on it in context without where you already are today. We do that. So we we integrate with other systems like on the back end like gain site and outreach and zendesk and intercom and era and Microsoft dynamics and hubspot. Like all of this key go to market systems and then we also integrate with Microsoft teams. And so that's been a big shift for us over the past year. It's really opened up our tam. A lot of it sounds like a...

...lot of people on the team now too. Yeah. I mean, you know, I think we, we kind of did what everybody, I mean, a lot of companies that during Covid, we, we had a kind of a period where we had to let some people go and now we're building back up and so we're hiring, your hiring in, sales were hiring customer success, We're hiring an engineering. We're hiring and marketing, we're here, we're hiring, we had our best quarter ever. This past quarter are Our net retention was over 160% are net retention for this year is over 140%. And so our businesses is really doing well and really hitting their stride. And by the time this goes live, the salesforce lack deal is going to close, which I think will just further legitimize kind of what we've been saying for five years, which is, which is awesome because selling an evangelical product being early to market, like it's just a totally different ball game. Um, and we've been kinda, it feels like, like I always think of like a, like running with a weighted vest or like a salmon swimming upstream, like we haven't had the wind at our back then it kindly finally feels like that's changed. That is really, really cool. Well anyways, I'm gonna, I'm always feel like I'm gonna skip the question. You basically have described the entire journey of hard work that it takes to found a company and get all the way to like a company that started connecting slack and Salesforce is now has slack and Salesforce as a customer, right? Like that's insane, right? Like you brought this full circle, are there any parts of your journey that you would feel like we're like influenced by luck, right? Where luck really played a factor dude? All like all of it. I mean I'm like certainly right? Like like one of my favorite things in life is synchronicity where like things just kind of show up and it's kind of like...

...the world is happening for you and I feel like that's kind of like how I would like to live my life is like, like I'm kind of positioned in to certain situations and it's up to me once I'm in those situations to make the most of it and that's kind of the balance of of kind of like hard work and good fortune and so like I feel like, you know, I I was really lucky to meet my business partners. We're really lucky to have a thesis. We're really lucky to pick a market that ended up actually working out. I think that's a big lesson and takeaway for me is like I mean dude because what we do today where we started is is so radically evolved and it's really just about picking a market in space and then if you have enough kind of fortitude and persistence and actually listen like eventually you'll get there. And I think the name of that and I was just having this conversation with a founder or the founder of a company called Rapid there like a payments company. There is like a billion dollars on our podcast and we're talking about the importance of raising money as a skill as for a founder because I feel like if you have enough time and you have enough money and you picked something that's big and hairy, eventually you will get eventually you will find it. Yeah. I mean this is like the tiger global or even like you know this is the thesis is find a problem, pick a horse and give them enough money to go solve it right. Like totally be totally completely unprofitable, overspend try everything. Yeah. The whole, the whole, like the founder needs to be able to raise is uh, I understand why that is the top quality often evaluated of whether somebody is going to be successful as a founder. It's true and there was multiple times and I give a lot of credit to my co founder dan because he's, I've been kind of more like the call like operational execution person and he's like the money like raise the money, make sure...

...it's in, we have money in the bank and guy and you know obviously a lot of other things as well. But there were just times where we just opportunistically raised money and if we didn't do that when we did it, I don't know if we would be here today. Um so you just need to give yourself time for sure. Well look we're gonna we're gonna breathe through the rest of this. I know you were talking before, give us a tactic that you think people can kind of use. Yeah, yeah, that that's a good one. I think I think for me this is like so freaking simple but and it's very I'm not trying to do a troops commercial right now, but I think like one thing that is really important is to make sure that there is connectivity between the front lines and like the Ceo or the other C c suite team members a lot of times that this doesn't happen right? It's like it's the Ceo is not in Gangneung chorus, he's you know, just very high level whatever and so I think one really good thing to do is, you know, a company or your obscene your sales leader, get some alignment amongst the exact team, like what's like the one thing that we want to learn with like every customer or prospect that we talked to and then like get alignment on that make it a field in sales for us and then create like some type of way, I mean we're obviously all on the slack stuff but it could be an email, could be a report where every single time that question gets answered an input, the whole exact team has eyes on it and I think it just drives an immense amount of alignment and speed and velocity around the shit that matters and also connectivity to the market and I think the TCO Spotify said this and I think it's like such a great quote, like the number of businesses that are dead because of like the lack of proximity to the front lines is remarkable when I see it all the time and so this is a really simple...

...thing you can do, I mean do it make it a part of your discovery, call process or whatever and then, and then yeah, like I mean you'll, you'll see more engagement from your exact team if you set this up on the shit that matters and that's a win for everybody. I love that because even if I'm in a smaller company and as the Ceo, I still like I thirst for, what the hell is the conversation going on between my front line in my cut? Like I want to know, I want to, I just want to sit there and be a fly on the wall, but I can't because by being there, I make it weird totally. And, and, and, and look, I think the innovations and conversational intelligence are amazing. Like it's awesome. But like realistically like the amount of data that I can actually consume as a manager, a leader, an executive is like Less than 10% of what's happening. It's impossible to get a real time picture. It's impossible to get the full picture. And so you need some other type of, and this is why crm exists. Like you need a way to essentially document what's happening that scales and it doesn't scale to watch every converse to watch. You know, converse every conversation that happened, read everything right. You just figure out the one thing you want to know about everything. I love that man. That's a good one. What do you, what do you got for hiring your hiring anybody right now? You said you're scaling up? Yeah. Yeah, we are. We're hiring. This is kind of a cool thing that I think. I think one thing I'm seeing is I'm seeing a lot of companies like higher the role hire someone who kind of has done the job that they're selling to. That makes sense. That makes sense. Like a trusted advisor. Right? And so it's like we talked to rev ops people all day and so we're looking for a few folks on our customer success team that were basically like Salesforce Admins or...

...just like have done the certification or the course or whatever and like geeked out about it and are saying, you know what I want to get back on the front lines, I want to talk to customers. And so we're hiring some, some folks there were hiring on our marketing team, product marketing and content, always talking to good account executives, engineers. We have a retiring a bunch of engineers and so that's that those are the main those are the main ones. But um it's just like weird man, it's like I'm six years in on this business and I'm like six years. That's insane. And I can't believe it took this long to get here. But I would be lying if I said that this isn't the most exciting time ever to be a part of this business. I feel like I I understand that I I often I say this a lot to our team and I feel like, you know every quarter I'm saying the same thing, which is like this is the best, like we are in the moment and it's like it always feels, you know, there's always something great, it's like it's your building man, you know, like you build the first Floor, the second floor and then all of a sudden you have 10 floors and then you have 15. So totally makes sense whose content you follow and appreciate, who do you kind of listen to? And that's a great question. So I'll start off by saying that I mostly read books, I know you are already shouted out that one book. So I just like books and so like I'm not on twitter, I don't read blogs, I don't, I just I mean I'm on linkedin and I do that because that's where our audiences but generally I am not a huge consumer, like I kind of this is like kind of a hot take, but like I kind of feel like for most things, intuition is actually more important than more...

...information and I just have learned to really trust that and so I will shout out a few people that I like though, I mean I'm kind of actually more of a marketer than I am a sales person in many ways, like I just find the creativity around marketing to be just marks exciting to me and so I really like, I like Jake's content. Jake Dunlap, I think he's got a lot of interesting things, I like Dave Gerhard content, I think he does a great job. I mean I love, I love like what's cool is we have our own podcast is called built by humans. Used to be called businesses human, which I thought was the best name ever and then some trademark control like haunted me down but you know, I get to like kind of hear a lot of those folks talk and like a lot of leaders talking there and so like I love like nick metal, like I love this shit he does. I love the way he's built his company, David cancel another really, really sharp awesome guy. And so a lot of times I'm like china actually like find the guest of something and then like see what they're talking on other people's podcasts like that. Like that bad. Well look last one, this is, this is uh, this one's for me. Where should we eat man? You pick a place in Austin if you want, give me one of, one of your, one of your secrets. So Austin, it's got to be swear today. So I mean this place, it's like modern mexican. They have these brisket tacos that are absolutely insane. I mean, it's just, it's just as really good. So that's my, that's my favorite spot in Austin. Love. Sure. And I definitely recommend it. Awesome Dude, Scott. So great to have you on here. The story of troops here. Your your story six years in still day one man. Gotta love it always is. Stay with...

...mindset, awesome man. Thanks for being on. All right, take it easy buddy. All right, that's our show. Thank you so much for listening. If you like the show, send it to some friends really want to grow into the audience here we have such amazing content coming out, doing this all clearly for free just for you, send it to a friend and hit subscribe. That helps us. Soon reminder of this episode was brought to you by drift. The new way businesses by from businesses. You can learn more and get the conversation started at drift dot com. I had fun. Hope you did too. Now good, crush your numbers. Mhm.

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