#1 Startup Stories | with CEO of LeadChat – Gary Tramer

We are kicking off StartupStories with an awesome interview with Gary Tramer, CEO of LeadChat. Gary is an experienced entrepreneur who takes a great attitude of “sell first, build later” approach to creating a business which lends itself to some innovative sales tactics.

Gary provides some fantastic insights into his business and approach to revenue generation which you can watch in the video below, take the 15 minutes it is literally littered with golden nuggets!

For those that prefer to read there is also full transcript but here are the highlights;

What is your elevator pitch?

We provide a 24/7 live chat service to websites that are looking for customer leads or to increase their conversions. What we do is, we apply the traditional sales techniques to online sales, throw in some analytics, throw in neuroscience and copy scripting and we generally see that at 3% to 500% increase in conversions within few days of launching on somebody’s website.

When did you first realise this is a problem that needed to be solved?

My business partner had an audiovisual company that would do at the audiovisual hires, speakers, sound, lighting for conferences and expos in Melbourne and Sydney. He was spending quite a bit of money on AdWords when it was brand new to the market. All of this money was being spent on clicks but realizing that very few people were actually converting of those clicks. So being quite data-driven himself, ran a numbers and hang on a second, are you telling me that half a percent, maybe 1% of people that come to my website, spending all this money to get these people there and such a tiny fraction of converting into any sort of meaningful lead? And we were just looking for hacks and ways trying to fix that and that’s how LeadChat was born.

Can you tell us more about your revenue generation story?

We have this strong belief which is sell first, build second. I came from running door-to-door sales teams,you could have nothing other than a brochure effectively and you could turn it into something meaningful, so we’ve taken that approach to everything that we do.

Which has proved you can sell something with the least amount of collateral you need. Maybe just a website, maybe a landing page and then prove you can get sales off that. Once you do that, then you build the product to match the expectations.

With LeadChat, we’ve gone through a bit of an evolution for customer generation. We’ve tried marketing content – all the stuff that is antithetic to our mantra which is just hussle and sell. We try the inbound and you can’t predict it. You can’t run it like a door-to-door sales team which is, what is the output, what is the activity and what is the result and what is the conversion? The only way to do this is, through outbound. We believe a 100% in outbound for acquisition at the moment. We spend zero on marketing and everything is outbound, outbound, outbound, how do we do it?

For our outbound emails we use Growbots. We’ve been struggling with email outreach for a while because it’s so fragmented. spending time, doing the LinkedIn scraping and then going and trying to wash that against email addresses with like sell hackathon, you get the data and it’s half wrong and Growbots has just made it super simple for us. Yeah, it’s helping a massively .

Happy Selling!

Andy

 

Full transcript

 

Andy: The first one is, give us your elevator pitch there at LeadChat.

Gary: The funny thing about an elevator pitch is it usually takes me about 10 minutes to go to through. But it’s slow, it’s like stairs. Look, LeadChat we’re at Melbourne by startup. We provide a 24/7 live chat service to websites that are looking for customer leads or to increase their conversions. What we do is, we apply the traditional sales techniques to online sales, through [inaudible 1:35], and through neuroscience and a copy scripting and we generally see that at 3% to 500% increase in conversions within few days of launching on somebody’s website.

Andy: Awesome. That was a very very quick run.

Gary: That’s what we do. I have quick elevator pitch and I have a lot slower ones. When you’re passionate you can go down the path of just talking.

Andy: Absolutely, that’s the biggest thing that I fought for startups. Tell me a little bit more about what you do in sometimes under [inaudible 2:20] so passionate at that, take so long to get it out there. But that was good. You hit a lot of really great points. Huge variance though, in the potential output that you guys can have for people between sort of 3% to 500% increase in conversions.

Gary: Look, every website is different. When I said 300 to 500 hundred I actually meant like 300 to 500 to 800%. So we usually say the very at least we can double conversions and it’s usually a lot more than that.

Andy: Awesome. My next question is what was the problem that you initially wanted to solve, when starting LeadChat?

Gary: My business partner Michel who’s sitting over there, he had an audiovisual company that would do at the audiovisual hires, speakers, sound, lighting for conferences and expos in Melbourne and Sydney. He was spending quite a bit of money. This is many many years ago on AdWords when it was brand new to the market. And all this money was being spent on clicks but realizing that very few people were actually converting of those clicks. So being quite data-driven himself, ran a numbers and hang on a second, are you telling me that half a percent, maybe 1% of people that come to my website, spending all this money to get these people there and such a tiny fraction of converting into any sort of meaningful lead? And we were just looking for hacks and ways trying to fix that and that’s how LeadChat was born.

Andy: Ok. Awesome. How long ago was that, did you say?

Gary: It was back in 2011-2012 and we kept that as a bit of a secret for a few weeks and then we couldn’t really contain ourselves and said, there’s definitely a business in this. It was getting us such a great conversion by chatting to people with the view of selling not just customer service. There’s got to be other people with this sort of problems. we loaded up a bunch of customers quite quickly and then let it run as a bit of a side project and bit of fun on the side to some other businesses that we’re involved in. as over the last couple of years, we realized holy crap the SMB market, they are riding this way like your local [inaudible 4:58] is doing Facebook ads and Google Ads these days. The market size is so big. We really have to take this seriously and focus on it. That’s what we decided to do just about 6-7 months ago.

Andy: Awesome. That’s super exciting. The next question is, I’m sure that you spent a lot of your times optimizing how people coming to your website and converting the network. You tell us more about your revenue generation story there and how  you go out and find new customers.

Gary: That’s  a great question. we have this strong belief which is sell first, build second.” I probably shared that with lot of people but we’ve been through the lessons around, building a great product and then not realizing that nobody actually wants it. My backgrounds in Direct Sales, I run door-to-door sales teams and shopping kiosk sales teams for Citibank and American Express and these sorts of companies.

Andy: Hard core!

Gary: It was hard core and still is. You could have nothing other than a brochure effectively and you could turn it into something meaningful and so we’ve taken that approach to everything that we do which is proved you can sell something with the least amount of collateral you need, maybe just a website, maybe a landing page and then prove you can get sales off that. Once you do that, then you build the product to match the expectations. That’s the outlook. We do that with everything, everything that were involved in together. And with LeadChat, we’ve gone through a bit of an evolution for customer generation. What’s working for us at the moment, we’ve tried marketing content – all the stuff that is antithetic to our mantra which is just hussle and sell. We try the inbound and you can’t predict it. You can’t run it like a door-to-door sales team which is, what is the output, what is the activity and what is the result and what is the conversion? The only way to do this is, through outbound. We believe a 100% in outbound for acquisition at the moment. We spend 0.00 on marketing and everything is outbound, outbound, outbound, how do we do it? For us, it’s outbound callout, reach emails with Growbots, they have done a pretty ripping job! Their friends with a colleague of ours at work here in Revolver Creative a guy called Adam Stone who runs Speedlancer. He was in 500 startups with the guys from Growbots and said you should check that out. We’ve been struggling with email outreach for a while because it’s so fragmented. spending time, doing the LinkedIn scraping and then going and trying to wash that against email addresses with like sell hackathon, you get the data and it’s half wrong and Growbots has just made it super simple for us. Yeah, it’s helping a massively. So we use that. We do all the email, testing our own email scripting and we’ve got a really good performing system at the moment. Our sales development guys run that process. They book in demos for account exec and they then run the demos and close. That is a system. The idea for running that way, it’s not our idea, you read predictable revenue by Aaron Ross like most people doing. That’s the system that we run.

Andy: Have you tested that against cold email approach or using it on smaller scale individual rather than the brute force method?

Gary: It’s not really brute force. The way that we’re doing this is very targeted, it is cold, it is personalized. what we’ll do is we’ll and we will say, this week what we’re going to do, we’re going to choose two targets, we’re going to target education sector or we’re going to target roofing companies. We customize the cadence, the email sequences, they are highly personalized. We’ll send them out. We pre-research and qualify the prospects as best we can using the Growbots platform, load them into the cadence, into the sequences and send out 50, maybe 100 a day, for a couple days, test the response. Now we’ve got a bit of a working flow where we can almost bank on the results. If you look at the chart, it is going in that direction at the moment and all we need to do now is just throw more STRs into the mix and bring on more account execs or promote more account execs from STR team. And that’s the first quarter 2016 which is the view just scaling up that process.

Andy: All right. I like it. That’s really cool. It’s quite rare in speaking to startups to adopt it. The SDR, the sales development rep path which really grew to prominence last year. I still sense struggle why people aren’t adapting it as much because there’s a lot of collateral out there. What was some of the challenge that you faced when you were first starting this SDR?

Gary: You got to be fairly technical savvy to go through the process. Because a lot of the things that you do in SDR are very nonconformist. Let me go through some of those points. So the first thing is, just understanding that you can get data that is highly targeted and personalized and finding the right tool to do that. So you can think of all the tools that are out there now, the SalesLoft all these sort of stuff. And I found there are some problem with tools like Datanyze, unreliable platform and the cost is a big barrier for startup. No one’s going to spend 100 bucks month for this sort of thing. So there is these sorts of issues. Getting the right data and washing it against, using a bright verify to wash the data is going to cost you money. Using sale hack to find the emails. So you got to use like five bloody systems to just get the data, to then load the data into cadence platform like Cadence or PersistIQ or QuickMail. We’ve used all of these all. Oh my God, it’s so much effort. There’s so much effort just to get the system to be running and then you got to have somebody churning out more and more data. So we were always on the lookout for ways even just have it done for us. LeadGenius could probably do it for us, the whole piece. Then it’s a cost issue because it’s very cheap with them but it still far more expensive than doing it internally. Every word on the process is, I think we have control of what is being done, so we could scale it. We outsourced to SDR experts that we found at Upwork and they didn’t know what they were doing. They couldn’t get the results that we wanted. So we said we’ll build that out ourselves. I think that’s a bit of a challenge for lot of people to get the head around. Also the email copy you know, people that come from other industries that think that the emailing is not emailing anymore. It’s using cold calling sales techniques via email. Short, punchy, the subject, so you got to get your head around it. It’s very different to what people think is the right way.

Andy: Absolutely. The technical aspects really tough for a lot of people. That’s a huge barrier. But then once I find that can be prescribed. It can go through the steps and then you get to the point of, now it’s time to write your email, write your copy. And that’s sometimes the hardest part. I think it’s a really really good point. Is there a particular subject line that worked really really well for you from an open write perspective?

Gary: I’ve seen a lot of them and a lot are going around. The company and company, quick question, LeadChat and so and so. Using “Re:” and then whatever you want to say after that. There’s a whole bunch. I think the key thing is with all of this, making it look like it is an one-to-one email that you would send to a colleague or a mate and not something that looks like it’s marketing. Something that gives somebody the opportunity to stop reading if it’s not theirs, so it’s not pushy. Something that doesn’t look like it’s coming out of “the spam farms in India.” I was just told you all about their web design company and every feature and function they have in dot point all way down the page. I think that’s certainly the key and I think the shorter the better. If you get a good email, a good cold outreach, you’ll actually will be happy to read it, if it’s relevant. I think the key is a Joe job to make it relevant or the give them the chance to update if it’s not. And we’re always improving. We did a massive campaign which we launched to a certain sector to the US and the code of action at the bottom of the email says, “Have you got 10 minutes tomorrow between 2 and 4?” And we happened to send that out the day before thanksgiving in the states. We didn’t realize. And it’s like 99% came back saying you guys on drugs? We’re not going to do it tomorrow. You just learn, as you go.

Andy: I’m sure that could have been a little bit of a blessing as well sometimes engaging in conversation, you got sight, startups helping people and you got some good results out of it anyway.

Gary: Yeah, we probably did. The whole thing is learning journey and I think the other thing that I would say, with respect to the cold, the STR process is, trigger data like it is a golden territory. I mean when we do door-to-door, back in the day, if you had a new guy that would just burn through High st and don’t get any presentations out. They’ve just wasted their whole territory for everybody else. So you want to make the absolute best of every contact that you have and not treat it like a big list of data that’s infinite, because that’s certainly not infinite. There is limited data out there. So you have to treat it well.

Andy: Awesome, I love that. That’s a brilliant way to finish it off. Gary, thank you so much for your energy and enthusiasm and knowledge that you brought to the table. Anyone out there, is looking to increase the conversion on your website, please go visit leadchat.com and LeadChat to Gary. Gary, you’re on Twitter, where can people find you?

Gary: I’m on Twitter. The best way to reach me is email – gary@leadchat.com is the easiest way. I read every email and I respond to every one of them.

Andy: That’s a challenge?

Gary: It won’t’ be automated. I promise you.

Andy: Guys you can reach me at andy_farq and andy@sellx.global.

Thanks for your time. Gary, we’ll speak again soon.

Gary: All the best. Cheers.

Andy: Good Bye.

Gary: Thanks.

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