Adil Saleh: Hey, greetings everybody. This is Adil from hyper engage podcast, we have our co host
Taylor kenerson: New Jersey, and special guest named Ricardo, he’s leading customer facing team is Chief Customer Officer at Pulpo. Pulpo is a is fleet management software. You know, it’s serving a range of different industries starting from South America and jump in deep. Thank you very much, Ricardo for joining us today.
Ricardo Urrea: Thank you very much for having me. So pleasure to be here.
Adil Saleh: Likewise.
So, yeah, so Ricardo starting off, I would love to know why you started this journey. Like, back in the years, I’ve seen you, you serve some customer facing roles before as well. And, you know, what is your biggest why towards choosing customer facing role and how you as a person as an as a professional evolved along the time, and then why technology like Pulpo, you chose?
Ricardo Urrea: Sure, sure thing. So the first one, why customer facing, because I really want to work with people. And working with people means connecting with different backgrounds, different cultures, learn from each other. So that was the most important thing for me, I do not imagine myself working with my laptop, and just sending reports and numbers to someone else. I like to be close to a market, get some feedback, add value, and, of course, having conversations with different people. So that’s why I chose a customer facing role. I started by my career as a sales role. I was more lead new sales. And I was also thinking about maybe moving forward to customer success at some point. So I moved to Customer Success seven years ago. And it’s been a great journey, a lot of challenges. And and it’s nice to know, how difficult is to get a new customer. And now that I’m in the Customer Success side, how difficult is to retain them? And of course, they like them to give them the best experience so we can continue working with
Taylor Kenerson: them. You, you mentioned in there that you you know, law you got into customer success, you saw a few like the faced a couple obstacles and challenges. Can you kind of dive into those obstacles or challenges and what you’ve learned, and then what you did to overcome some of them? And are you able to find that.
Ricardo Urrea: Of course. And I think there’s something interesting when you think about customer success at the beginning of the years, we were thinking about churn and retention, we cannot lose customers, we cannot lose clients and we cannot lose. And that’s, of course that makes sense. One of the ways that I think about it is we have to be able to live with churn, as long as we can recover and add value with most of the customers. So this is something natural from any business, it doesn’t matter the industry, the SaaS company, whatever you’re working, you will have churn, the most important is learn that lesson, get some feedback, I learned this one, but do not close the door, leave it open. But make sure you get some feedback and learn from those mistakes or those opportunities to build with the new customers that you have. And keep retaining them delighting them and improving the customer experience. I feel that do not closing when you don’t close the door, you get a lot of chances to recover them in the future. So that’s super important. That was one of the challenges that I faced at some point.
Adil Saleh: Cool, interesting. So you also worked at HubSpot for about a year and a half. Is it how was that experience? Like you was that point they were not so self served. I remember. Now there, you know tell us more.
Ricardo Urrea: Of course, it was an excellent experience, it was probably one of the best companies I worked for. It was really good to get a little bit more of culture. They are super strong in culture, it’s super nice to work with different people, different regions and all connected trying to give the best customer experience and thinking about the customer first. So I really learned how important it is to think about the customer, no matter the level, your role, your your seniority, you always have to have contact with the market, get some feedback, surveys, interviews, and from there, get when you need to improve your product, your services, your tools, and of course your deliveries for them. So it was a really good experience. I joined the company back in 2020, just before the pandemic. And we managed to build a couple of CS teams in the region in LATAM. They were also opening the office in Bogota. So it was really good to bring a little bit of a massive and incredible company that they have in the US in Europe to LATAM. And of course understanding the differences in the market the difference in terms of the customers the challenges, but also applying all the knowledge and all the good practices that they had in different regions. So it was really good. It was an incredible experience.
Taylor Kenerson: Before we dive deep into like CS, I’m really glad you touched on the point of culture and you experiencing really great cultures and different environments and The question that I have is how do you take the good nuggets and the good experiences and emulate them into your current teams and Company?
Ricardo Urrea: Sure thing, I work with a couple of values and a couple of things. For me one of the most important communication and transparency, I would say over communication, that’s probably what I do. I try to give honesty and transparency to all my team members, I bring all the messages that way it should be, even if it’s thinking about burnout, changes policies, Commissions whatever it takes, I try to over communicate instead of missing communication. That’s the first one. And the other one is trying to bring remarkable humans to work with us and work with our customers, people that really have integrity, people that really think about the other one, and also bringing Win Win situations to all everything that we do, and all the activities that we do on a day to day. So the first one will be transparency and the other one bringing remarkable people, which means that I also bring people to my teams that they come from different cultures, different backgrounds, it doesn’t have to be the customer success experience from seven years no. It could be someone else doing something different. But maybe with that attitude and something really different, we can add a lot of value to our customers, and bring a new perspective to our team.
Adil Saleh: Love it.
Great. Great. So Ricardo moving forward with this. Could you tell us since we know about Pulpo, and everything that you’ve been doing for the last, I would say since 2017 2018? Is it right? Yeah. So I mean, since at somebody compared from that, as just figured out the product market fit and you know, trying to scale the team and customer base at this point, how big is your team? How, in what kind of industries you’re serving? Could you tell us more and then we talk more about the customer success operations?
Ricardo Urrea: Of course, yeah, we have team around 20 people and managing the whole customer success side, which means we have onboarding or implementation. We have account management, and we have support. And we have, of course, support reps, onboarding specialist and account managers or customer success managers working with our customers. Industries, we work with a lot of industries. To give you an example, any company that has been closed could be a potential customer. So basically, we offer fleet management software. So if you have two vehicles, or 4000, we can help you and we can do a lot of things with you. We work with, of course, last mile delivery, but we also work with banking, financial services, companies, we have insurance companies, we have car rental companies, any company with a vehicle, of course, the more vehicles the better, because it will be more difficult for them for to manage them. And that’s why we offer different solutions, different products for them to keep track of maintenance, insurance, drivers, of course, the status of the car, how do they operate everyday, and of course, trying to make their life easier.
**Adil Saleh:**Touching on the industries, like you said FinTech banks, like how potentially how a bank of let’s say, Barclays Bank or Standard Chartered Bank, they are going to be potential potentially using Pulpo as somebody to you know, monitor the information or transit information of all their fleet. Like how is it different than other platforms? We’ve spoken to swiftly? Are you familiar with swiftly? Yes, yeah. So they’re, they’re a public transit, data analytics business. So is that something related to that like data points that you’re providing?
**Ricardo Urrea:**not really we try to go in a different direction, our direction is more management of the vehicles and how to really work with them in the best way. I’ll give you an example. If the bank has 50 vehicles, and they are assigned to different executives of the company, this is a platform where they can bring all the information about the vehicle and the car and make sure that they know where’s the maintenance? When do they have to renew the insurance? When do they have to change the assignment to another executive? When do they have to change the car, make sure that we have all this information in the same place. And then you think about the expenses, tolls, you think about, of course, the day fuel the daily fuel, and what is the route that they are taking every day. And from there, we build kind of an AI customer intelligence platform where they can get all this information, getting insights, reports, and then manage in a better way. Our main point is to give the companies a lot of information for them to make informed decisions about their vehicles and the best way to manage them in their companies.
**Adil Saleh:**That’s super unique, like keep truckin stats motive, they have started with, with trucks like they were where they started in Canada and then they moved to and they were sort of working on electronic logging device expertly manage all the hours and climate schedule not You’re not doing that for for vehicles, but you are giving overall management of your vehicle. Like let’s say you have a group of 10 cars, the 10 executives using that car, and you need to make sure you as, as a business need to make sure. When is the right time for us to maintain that car for that executive? What is the cost on, you know, all of the information in one place, and based on the data that that I as a business owner will fill in the first place, you take the data from the customer, right? And maybe some data, you have your own insights on top, you know, based on that AI powered AI powered algorithms that you might have done in the past, the bank exactly based on that data, you bring insights, overall insights of all of the reports. Cool, cool. So what is your biggest, biggest customer that you’re serving right now and how big they are, let’s say in terms of vehicles, how many vehicles there,
their fleet could be around 8000 vehicles in different countries.
Wow, that’s, that’s big. And do you also do Do you also do like, of course, you will have to allocate account manager that does for you know, that all we know. But in terms of in terms of software, do you also do some sort of customization for them, or this is the same software just been managed. With a dedicated customer or convent,
Ricardo Urrea: I would say 90% of the time, we try to use our main product, our main size, and try to serve our customers with the functionalities that we already have. But of course, we’re always open to bring new new feedback to the product and new ideas. And especially when you’re thinking about those enterprise companies, they have so many needs, and so many challenges. So maybe there is something else to improve, to adapt, and maybe to the deploy and think about the growth of our product. One of the best things that I’ve seen in this industry and working in this company is that this is not something that you learn in the university. This is not something like marketing that you know, the strategy, and you have the academics and have a lot of books, this is a lot of experience. So these companies, they work and they have been working for years, we’d experienced from people that they worked in the company for 20 years, and they learn from each other, and they share best practices, but there’s not a manual in a way. So of course, there’s always room for improvement, there are always new ideas, they’re always and new ways to do this type of things. And also the industry and the challenges they change. So a lot of countries are changing their policies, now companies, they have to build their fleet in terms of electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles. So to manage those type of vehicles, it changes a lot this situation. So that’s why I feel 90% of times where we’re able to serve with our current functionalities and the product, but we’re always 10% open to building things and think about what’s next.
Taylor Kenerson: That’s super important that key about thinking, what’s next? And how do you get better? And you mentioned something a little earlier about growth, and like how you, you know, watch the growth of your customers? What are some indicators or metrics that you look for that determine, Okay, a customer is growing, or what are some signals that alert you that you know, are warning signs
Ricardo Urrea: sure thing, of course, the main one for us is the the adoption and the product usage. The more you use the product, the more I see that they are adopting the solution. When it comes to growth of the customer, I see the number of vehicles, the number of drivers, the number of expenses, the amount of things that are happening in the tool, this is more like an operating tool. And I see the day to day, the more they get into the day to day and the more data they bring everyday to to the more I see their growth, and of course, the amount of adoption that they have during the day. So it’s super interesting, of course. And of course, when you do QBRs, business meetings and follow ups, you get a lot of information. No, we just have a new policy in Mexico, and we have to change our fleet for an electric fleet between now and in 10 years. So you know what is coming, you know, get the feedback, and you start thinking about what could be the best solution to help them because this will be and this will apply not only for that company for for all of them in the region.
Adil Saleh: Yeah, so that’s that, then lets me think about external data points. Because this is something we asked and discussed with a lot of SAS businesses, and it’s not as important for them at his edits as it might be for you, let’s say some some business in Mexico or Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, or even Texas states, they are using your platform. And there is a state government at launch some sort of transit or public transportation or policy or some sorts. So how does your team get that information ahead of time and so you can forecast and let customer know Okay, we have pretty much something pretty much planned for you. So you don’t have to worry about it. Let’s sit and talk. So do you have any sort of external data source apart from all the project product users data filling to the customer facing team and you know are driving action and driving, you know, providing different insights, do you have anything external, because in the cases when these policies regulations they come across because they often do,
Ricardo Urrea: of course, and we have to, we are part of the ecosystem and we cannot be disconnected. So the main thing is to try to participate in every single company, government, even institution change or event, and we’re always present there. We are kind of partners with all the governments and in a lot of regions, and we get that information in advance, we know what is coming, we understand what are the challenges, and what are the changes that this will bring. And we start thinking, to anticipate the challenges for the companies and thinking about what is the best functionality, the best partnership, the best solution that we can create for them to get their vehicles right, or they comply with their their procedures and political things that are changing. So most important, understanding the ecosystem playing actively in the ecosystem, making sure that you present in every single government event or conference seminars, and we get the information in advance to start working on it and anticipate those challenges for the
Taylor Kenerson: company. Because you have so much information and data coming in from so many different sources, and in so many different regions and backgrounds, how does the CS team, monitor that and then even take action on that data?
Ricardo Urrea: Sure. So we basically use a one single product software called product board. And for us, this is the most important, one of the most important terms of product and the feedback that we can bring to the market from the market. Sorry. So we basically get notes of all the insights, ideas and new requests from customers, and also from the market and government. Any specific country out comes up with something else, we bring the information. And then together with our product team, we sit down and see what are the categories what is the impact what is the value of each and every single request. And we try to create our our product roadmap and prioritize thinking about the impact and of course, the vision of the product for our company. So that’s the best way we all have access to a tool we all have to take notes when whenever we see something new, and then we sit down to analyze, analyze this data, make sure that we have good decisions, thinking about the vision of the company, and of course how we can serve better our customers.
Adil Saleh: Absolutely, absolutely. So you’re a team of 20 that also that also includes support team is right through yes supports Okay, there are some account managers, how many of them we have an account managers for customers panic. Okay, so how do you segment let’s say customers for your team, let’s say books, how you divide the division of books or business for different account managers,
Ricardo Urrea: I think in this case, it’s really simple revenue based segmentation the enterprise segment works in a different way compared to small business or the market we have two segments; small business mid market altogether enterprise in a different way. And thinking about this of course, we have different ways of working with them, we probably have more business meetings, we have better interactions, we have of course, a lot of daily touch points, we have a little bit of let’s say relationship with CEO C level we use our CEO we we use our co founders to get more information from those enterprise companies. And then at the same time when it comes to small business mid market, we try to use newsletters, product marketing, one too many webinars, more product lead strategy. So of course we have some calories there we spent some time but we do it in a very effective way and we try to inform a lot of things using marketing and product instead of the CSM and and the customer success team.
Adil Saleh: Okay, so you I mean, based on revenue based segmentation, and apart from that, do you have any sort of standardized signals on the part that uses data that of course, these are the metrics once this these are met, this customer is on boarded. Now it’s to the adoption stage. So could you tell us more on how data driven your towards indicating or identifying different journeys?
Ricardo Urrea: Sure thing, KPI for us, I don’t know if we call it the same way in every single company, but time to value. And time to value is that critical event where we know that the customer adopted the solution and then we can move to the other face. That happens when they not only upload all the information, bringing data from vehicles, drivers and kilometers or miles, but also when they start putting maintenance, expenses and the operational thing on a day to day basis. So we track that information during the first week. And if we see that during the first week, we have continuous improvement and continuous interaction with the customer we see that there’s a time to value. They don’t only have the information but they start putting the information together for whatever happens during the week to that customer. That can happen in the second week, that can happen in the third week. But we know that is the moment where we can move to the next space.
Taylor Kenerson: And can we just dive a little bit? I guess actually, let’s backtrack. If someone wanted to get into the CS, what are some things that would you recommend that they look into or begin to familiarize themselves with or even reach out to, to help them get started in these kinds of companies and roles?
Ricardo Urrea: Sure thing, of course, I feel that the most important is that you have willingness to learn new things. You don’t want to get bored. I think that’s the most important when when I feel that we’re working in customer facing roles, you get so many conversations from so many different backgrounds, situations. So if you’re really willing to learn and get some some information from different industries and different companies, that’s the place to be. The other thing, and when I think about is, how do you convert a challenge, or a problem into a solution and a possible action plan? That’s probably one of the best things that I that I think you can learn. And of course, try to apply when it comes to customer success. And customer success. Happy scenario will be no, I want to buy something else. I’m super happy with the product. But the normal one is I have some challenges, I want to do something else, I need to change something to give a different result. So how do you understand the customer that you really have this active listening skill super developed, and then convert that into a possible solution and create an action plan for them? Something realistic, short term, so they can really appreciate and make it tangible for them? That’s probably one of the things recommendations, learn a little bit more about what are the tools that we use? We all have a CRM, we all have CS tools, think about a little bit of financial KPIs. What is MRR? What is arr? What is of course, revenue based KPIs, and the most important for me improve your communication skills, you will always talk to customers, you will always learn different things and of course, understanding and then bringing that value to the same conversation.
Adil Saleh: Absolutely. And evolving with your customer goals at all times during all the journeys, whether from onboarding, sales, to onboarding to adoption to you know, retention, expansion. And also now, before we set you free, one last question, you told us that you have some sort of centralized data’s data medium, which is like product board is the right
Ricardo Urrea: product board for the for to gather feedback and all the requests from the market? Yes.
Adil Saleh: Okay. So within for your internal teams. So that’s the account managers. Is there any centralized dashboard where all information flows in? And, you know, they analyze it? And then they take action?
Ricardo Urrea: Yes, we have, we have one we just implemented Vitally. CS tools, are familiar with, exactly, that’s the one that we use, we just implemented the tool and we’re trying to integrate all our data points on our our resources, thinking about financials, thinking about our CRM, a mix panel, where we have all the information about product adoption and the behavior of the customer. And we bring all this information together to create playbooks to really analyze data and from there, create the action plan for the segment for the CSM, and really understand what are the tasks for the day to day. in the past I used churn zero in a different company, it was really good as well. Same idea, centralize information, analyze data in one place, and from there create the action plan and the activity for the team.
Adil Saleh: Okay, so I didn’t notice that because I’m familiar with widely and the team, I didn’t notice, do they have do they have inside built in CRM, sort of like where you can not just see the data and take action? But also, you can communicate with the customer? Do they have any sort of?
Ricardo Urrea: Yes, yes, we can communicate directly from there. And we can use that or use the CRM, whatever you’re comfortable with. Okay.
Adil Saleh: Wonderful. And so you might have did, you might have one word, you’re taking all the data points in your mix panel, and, you know, pointing it back to the dashboard where you can see the 360 view and then you can create your own customized playbooks, extract, customize signals that triggers the table for different segments, then, right?
Ricardo Urrea: That’s correct. Exactly. And the best, the best thing for me is that I can use it, I can get all the information from the whole team and the whole customer base. But we can also use the segmentation and use the customer, the Book of business for every single customer success manager. You can customize a lot of things. So it’s easy to use, easy to operate and facilitate the day to day job.
Adil Saleh: Yes, I love whitely so much, versus a year back. I got to know about them. And as I’ve gone in deep into their documentation of their development side as well and their knowledge bases, and it shows that they have worked on a very specific use case for the leadership teams as well not just a customer success manager so they’re giving a bird’s eye view a smart bird’s eye view to the leaders. Just like we said, you have to get all the information for your entire team in one place. So because you are going to make high level decisions, it’s important for you to know, in one place that what’s going wrong on all these goals and all these customers and all the teams and everything. So great. Do you have any questions, anything that you wanted, want to leave open for our audience to answer anything that you want to discuss, you know, topics for our next episode, anybody that you want to mention as, as the guest, that is like, just like yourself, that is guest worthy. So we can we can look around and I can get the team to you know, reach of
Ricardo Urrea: course, I think we can, we can always invite people from from HubSpot, of course, there’s a huge leadership team in that company. And a lot of people with a lot of experience, they are doing great things. And one of the things that I wanted to mention, and this is important, hopefully we can we can keep it thinking about burnout and how the teams are getting to the stage when it comes to this unstable, really uncertainty situation that we have in the world. So I’m trying to work a lot on that, I think we have a lot of knowledge. And we can read a lot of articles and learn from that. That’s important because the productivity of the team comes together with how are they feeling their emotions, and in those safe spaces for them to share how they’re feeling. And, of course, he they’re working a lot, they’re giving their best, but the customer is having challenges you as a person, you’re having challenges. So it’s important to be in the best balance thinking about work and and your personal life. And of course, learning from those. And of course, understanding those challenges as a management team, and then applying solutions, creating better practices even motivating team to have some time off. That’s super important. I think we all need that in this environment.
Adil Saleh: Definitely, definitely. And working on people investing on people, we spoke to a team at CES with leadership’s CTO of Gong. So you know, we like we were so interested in, you know, learning their internal process, everybody knows what Gong does, we were not so into, you know, learning what the product does, and all that technology wise, we were, you know, more interested in talking about how they operate as people, you know, how they’re investing in people and mindset. So have their they have a whole bunch of, you know, training centers, and you’re doing so much into, you know, into people’s investing so much in the wellness and all that, and they have principles and values no matter what, like that guy joined seven years back. And even now he’s saying that we’re 10x big business, like in terms of team and customers, we still follow the same values, like we still have the same values. So whoever that joins, knows the value and Fitz plugs right into that those Valley bar that they have set in. And that says about it, you know, you need to work really closely on customers on their story on teams, their development, their mindset, their wellness, their mental health, even that was one one. That’s the best part about podcasts, we get people across all different cultures, and they’re doing different things. With people, there’s, there’s one friend of mine from lemonade, she’s leading us for success in there. So they actually, before making a decision on any new heart, they invite them for 15 days in Europe, in France, to live with them, you know, eat, sleep, everything, like they want to know them as a person first for 15 days. And then they make a decision. And they are so first 15 working days, they analyze and you know, to get to understand you. So it’s all about people, you know that you got it right your customers are people, your team members of people, everybody to the better you understand people, you know, empathy and all these elements come into play. So I love the conversation. Ricardo, really gentleman, really practical and very much concrete. When it comes to how you’re you’re managing team and Pulpo I’m a big fan of podcasts. It’s sort of a channel on YouTube, my first million so it’s there this, you know that so they’re the CTO of HubSpot was sitting with the Venture Partners. So he was also talking about initial team and I would love if you if you can help us connect with with the CTO of Oxford. I didn’t try it myself. But you know, you can you can help us get in because I love the way he is built the initial team, the kind of thought processes that he discussed that day. It was so inspirational, that can be a big help for our team in our audience. If you know since you’ve worked at HubSpot,
Ricardo Urrea: maybe I can try my best and I can tell you that we when we when you work at HubSpot, you learn a lot of things and you enjoy a lot of things that probably one of the things that you enjoy the most. When you see Dharmesh getting to a meeting and participating in a seminar or a webinar, or any management meeting. It’s incredible the amount of experience and his style and the way he communicates things something unique. So I definitely recommend his podcast, his YouTube channel his tweet, history account FOLLOW Him you will learn a lot. And if you allow me to say something that learned from them is same as we think about connecting with customers and the data points, connect with the human side of the business, at the end we’re humans doesn’t matter if it’s a b2b, b2b, b2c SAS tech company, it doesn’t matter. We have humans in the middle, we have a lot of emotions feelings, them, the more you recognize that you learn from them, and you apply better things for them. It will be better.
Adil Saleh: Yeah, so it’s
Taylor Kenerson: better. And it there can be a better
Adil Saleh: than we really do in any little way or none. We can you can initiate a conversation with the CTO of HubSpot, a big fan of his knowledge and all that he has done for decades. Even before prior to joining HubSpot. So we’ll definitely love to have him on board having featured here and for 2030 minutes, so I look forward to it.
Ricardo Urrea: I’ll try my best Of course.
Adil Saleh: Okay, Ricardo, take good care.
Ricardo Urrea: Thank you. Thank you. Take care