The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 3 months 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 thePavilion podcast. I am your host, Brandon martin you're listening to. Isthis a good time The show where I ask Pavilion members some really basicquestions for 15 minutes. They have great answers. It's a lot of fun. Weput shows out Tuesdays and Thursdays. Hit subscribe. So you don't misshearing from our experts. Our guest today is scott Britain. He's thefounder of Troops Troops dot ai whatever you wanna call him. And we'rehere to talk about the whole founders journey have been able to watch scottfrom the moment he started troops a few years back until now and they're havingincredible success. So really fun conversation. This episode was broughtto you by drift. More than 50,000 businesses use dripped to grow revenueand increase customer lifetime value. Professor drift helps their customersonline sales marketing on a single platform to deliver a unified customerexperience. Where people are free to have a conversation with businesses atany 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 beable to watch them build over the years. Is he is a very O. G. Revenuecollective. A K. Pavilion member. We can't say that RC name anymore. Billionall the time scott. Welcome and love it. Hey great to be here. Big fan ofPavilion 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 gottawe gotta say this. This will probably go up in august so people be, it'll beold by then we're gonna sound like we have bad memories or something, we'llall meet. No filler. I want to jump right in with the questions. Tell meabout your current role, tell us about company and then how you got herebecause I think your background is incredibly interesting. Yeah. Thanksman. I mean the story of troops is as follows. Usually when you start abusiness, it's like, well what do I know about like what problems have Iexperienced? I was that single platform.

If you're a new york revenue person, Imean, I feel like there's been just like so much sales talent that startedout there and we, we were definitely hypergrowth company. We went from 5, 10salespeople to probably 60 to 70 and in a year and a half I would say. And Ijust 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 shitshow 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 hislast business to Salesforce in a merger with Buddy Media and I mean it was kindof the same thing. We're literally at sales for us there, like if you don'tupdate your pipeline by five, like you're in trouble and I'm like, youguys can't even use your own software, this is this is ridiculous. And so wethought like there had to be a better way. The whole concept of mobileenterprise was hot at the time, everybody was talking about it allthese Vcs and so we were, we were just thinking about the fact that the firstcomputer, like Most people are going to interact with that are going to enterthe 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 looklike? And what was funny is when we talked to a bunch of reps and managersand people who had these kind of more like outside sales people and fieldteams, they were just like, you know honestly I just text people were justtexting and this was like pretty slack. This was pre all that like yeah, we'rejust texting all day. That was like kind of like an aha moment where I waslike what if updating Crm was easy as sending a text message or any databasefor that example where people actually do it. So literally we would have ourfriends give us their calendars and we would have this tool where we couldlike it was called front app. People...

...probably know it. Yeah, they have athing where like you can be like a commando of like conversations and so Ihad this like fake phone number and I was texting everyone after theirmeetings like, hey, what happened in the meeting and the updates you to makeand people really liked it. And so that was kind of the concept and fastforward like 34 months after we had raised money on, on an idea and kind ofteam and some like phony like contracts that I sold before any product that waslike, if we build this, you will pay us X. Everyone was kind of like slacklaunched and everybody is using it. Everybody's talking about slack andthey 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 madethe decision like, hey, we're gonna go all in on, on slack and We're going togo all in on, this was in 2015 Maybe really to like January 2016. Like we'rejust, we just like fundamentally believe that enterprise messaging slacknow Microsoft teams, I mean at the time it was hit chat, chit chat, like that'sgoing to be something that every single business going to use and it's going tobe on the second screen of every business, it's going to be oneverybody'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 loggingthings like salesforce. And so that was, the that was kind of the second bigmoment is like we're going to get people superpowers with already workingand that's kind of that's kind of been our story. And so for a long time wewere a salesforce slack company. I was the first salesperson, I closedprobably our 1st 100 deals. I hired our first 34 reps, I hired her first BDRteam, you know, I manage customer success, I kind of did it all did thefounder sales thing and by the way,...

...highly recommend founding sales toanybody. Even if you've already done sales before by Peca's Angie, it's justlike a really good kind of framework that was helpful for me. And then Ithink 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 greatand where I spend my time is supporting those people and then things that kindof like call it like swat team projects like what is the shit that needs to befigured out, what are kind of like new, new kind of things that need to beproven in the market. And so, so we've, we've evolved from, you know, we werelike, if for a long time, like if you use Salesforce and you slack and youwanted some interactivity, like we were the company to do that. Like we do thatfor stripe and Shopify and Twilio and slack themselves. Sale sources about tobecome a customer. Like we are the best in the world at that. But we needed tomake a, we needed to make kind of a jump to like the bigger vision which islike, and this was always our vision. We just didn't have the right team toget there on the product side for a long time where it was we want to beable to support any messaging platform and any system and you should be ableto see the right data at the right time to the right people in action on it incontext without where you already are today. We do that. So we we integratewith other systems like on the back end like gain site and outreach and zendeskand intercom and era and Microsoft dynamics and hubspot. Like all of thiskey 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 openedup 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 ofcompanies that during Covid, we, we had a kind of a period where we had to letsome people go and now we're building back up and so we're hiring, yourhiring 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 quarterever. This past quarter are Our net retention was over 160% are netretention for this year is over 140%. And so our businesses is really doingwell and really hitting their stride. And by the time this goes live, thesalesforce lack deal is going to close, which I think will just furtherlegitimize kind of what we've been saying for five years, which is, whichis awesome because selling an evangelical product being early tomarket, like it's just a totally different ball game. Um, and we've beenkinda, it feels like, like I always think of like a, like running with aweighted vest or like a salmon swimming upstream, like we haven't had the windat our back then it kindly finally feels like that's changed. That isreally, really cool. Well anyways, I'm gonna, I'm always feel like I'm gonnaskip the question. You basically have described the entire journey of hardwork that it takes to found a company and get all the way to like a companythat started connecting slack and Salesforce is now has slack andSalesforce as a customer, right? Like that's insane, right? Like you broughtthis full circle, are there any parts of your journey that you would feellike we're like influenced by luck, right? Where luck really played afactor dude? All like all of it. I mean I'm like certainly right? Like like oneof my favorite things in life is synchronicity where like things justkind of show up and it's kind of like...

...the world is happening for you and Ifeel 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 meonce I'm in those situations to make the most of it and that's kind of thebalance of of kind of like hard work and good fortune and so like I feellike, you know, I I was really lucky to meet my business partners. We're reallylucky to have a thesis. We're really lucky to pick a market that ended upactually working out. I think that's a big lesson and takeaway for me is likeI mean dude because what we do today where we started is is so radicallyevolved and it's really just about picking a market in space and then ifyou have enough kind of fortitude and persistence and actually listen likeeventually you'll get there. And I think the name of that and I was justhaving this conversation with a founder or the founder of a company calledRapid there like a payments company. There is like a billion dollars on ourpodcast and we're talking about the importance of raising money as a skillas for a founder because I feel like if you have enough time and you haveenough money and you picked something that's big and hairy, eventually youwill get eventually you will find it. Yeah. I mean this is like the tigerglobal or even like you know this is the thesis is find a problem, pick ahorse and give them enough money to go solve it right. Like totally be totallycompletely unprofitable, overspend try everything. Yeah. The whole, the whole,like the founder needs to be able to raise is uh, I understand why that isthe top quality often evaluated of whether somebody is going to besuccessful as a founder. It's true and there was multiple times and I give alot of credit to my co founder dan because he's, I've been kind of morelike the call like operational execution person and he's like themoney like raise the money, make sure...

...it's in, we have money in the bank andguy and you know obviously a lot of other things as well. But there werejust times where we just opportunistically raised money and ifwe 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 gonnawe'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, thatthat's a good one. I think I think for me this is like so freaking simple butand it's very I'm not trying to do a troops commercial right now, but Ithink like one thing that is really important is to make sure that there isconnectivity between the front lines and like the Ceo or the other C c suiteteam members a lot of times that this doesn't happen right? It's like it'sthe Ceo is not in Gangneung chorus, he's you know, just very high levelwhatever and so I think one really good thing to do is, you know, a company oryour 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 customeror prospect that we talked to and then like get alignment on that make it afield in sales for us and then create like some type of way, I mean we'reobviously all on the slack stuff but it could be an email, could be a reportwhere every single time that question gets answered an input, the whole exactteam has eyes on it and I think it just drives an immense amount of alignmentand speed and velocity around the shit that matters and also connectivity tothe market and I think the TCO Spotify said this and I think it's like such agreat quote, like the number of businesses that are dead because oflike the lack of proximity to the front lines is remarkable when I see it allthe time and so this is a really simple...

...thing you can do, I mean do it make ita 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 youset this up on the shit that matters and that's a win for everybody. I lovethat because even if I'm in a smaller company and as the Ceo, I still like Ithirst for, what the hell is the conversation going on between my frontline in my cut? Like I want to know, I want to, I just want to sit there andbe a fly on the wall, but I can't because by being there, I make it weirdtotally. And, and, and, and look, I think the innovations andconversational intelligence are amazing. Like it's awesome. But likerealistically like the amount of data that I can actually consume as amanager, a leader, an executive is like Less than 10% of what's happening. It'simpossible 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 away to essentially document what's happening that scales and it doesn'tscale to watch every converse to watch. You know, converse every conversationthat happened, read everything right. You just figure out the one thing youwant to know about everything. I love that man. That's a good one. What doyou, what do you got for hiring your hiring anybody right now? You saidyou're scaling up? Yeah. Yeah, we are. We're hiring. This is kind of a coolthing that I think. I think one thing I'm seeing is I'm seeing a lot ofcompanies like higher the role hire someone who kind of has done the jobthat they're selling to. That makes sense. That makes sense. Like a trustedadvisor. Right? And so it's like we talked to rev ops people all day and sowe're looking for a few folks on our customer success team that werebasically like Salesforce Admins or...

...just like have done the certificationor the course or whatever and like geeked out about it and are saying, youknow what I want to get back on the front lines, I want to talk tocustomers. And so we're hiring some, some folks there were hiring on ourmarketing team, product marketing and content, always talking to good accountexecutives, engineers. We have a retiring a bunch of engineers and sothat's that those are the main those are the main ones. But um it's justlike weird man, it's like I'm six years in on this business and I'm like sixyears. 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 everto be a part of this business. I feel like I I understand that I I often Isay this a lot to our team and I feel like, you know every quarter I'm sayingthe same thing, which is like this is the best, like we are in the moment andit's like it always feels, you know, there's always something great, it'slike it's your building man, you know, like you build the first Floor, thesecond 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 youkind of listen to? And that's a great question. So I'll start off by sayingthat 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, Idon't, I just I mean I'm on linkedin and I do that because that's where ouraudiences but generally I am not a huge consumer, like I kind of this is likekind of a hot take, but like I kind of feel like for most things, intuition isactually more important than more...

...information and I just have learned toreally trust that and so I will shout out a few people that I like though, Imean I'm kind of actually more of a marketer than I am a sales person inmany ways, like I just find the creativity around marketing to be justmarks exciting to me and so I really like, I like Jake's content. JakeDunlap, I think he's got a lot of interesting things, I like Dave Gerhardcontent, I think he does a great job. I mean I love, I love like what's cool iswe have our own podcast is called built by humans. Used to be called businesseshuman, which I thought was the best name ever and then some trademarkcontrol like haunted me down but you know, I get to like kind of hear a lotof those folks talk and like a lot of leaders talking there and so like Ilove like nick metal, like I love this shit he does. I love the way he's builthis company, David cancel another really, really sharp awesome guy. Andso a lot of times I'm like china actually like find the guest ofsomething and then like see what they're talking on other people'spodcasts 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 youwant, give me one of, one of your, one of your secrets. So Austin, it's got tobe swear today. So I mean this place, it's like modern mexican. They havethese brisket tacos that are absolutely insane. I mean, it's just, it's just asreally 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 onhere. The story of troops here. Your your story six years in still day oneman. Gotta love it always is. Stay with...

...mindset, awesome man. Thanks for beingon. All right, take it easy buddy. All right, that's our show. Thank you somuch for listening. If you like the show, send it to some friends reallywant 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 hitsubscribe. That helps us. Soon reminder of this episode was brought to you bydrift. The new way businesses by from businesses. You can learn more and getthe conversation started at drift dot com. I had fun. Hope you did too. Nowgood, crush your numbers. Mhm.

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