Episode No:81

Transforming Fintech in Africa with Stitch.money

Dewald Müller

Head of CS, Stitch

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Ep#81: Transforming Fintech in Africa
with Stitch.money ft. Dewald Muller (Head of Customer Success, Stitch)
Ep#81: Transforming Fintech in Africa with Stitch.money ft. Dewald Muller (Head of Customer Success, Stitch)
  • Ep#81: Transforming Fintech in Africa with Stitch.money ft. Dewald Muller (Head of Customer Success, Stitch)

Episode Summary

Today on the show, we have Dewald Muller, Head of Customer Success at Stitch, Africa’s first one-click payments API, enabling secure Instant EFT payments and easy access to customer financial data. In this episode, Dewald talked about how Stitch.io is transforming the future of Fintech across Africa. He also gave insights into their culture and how they approach problems around scaling and expansion. The conversation then moved towards the CS operations at Stitch, their onboarding challenges, and how they streamline the customer journey by using various reactive and proactive measures. He further discussed how important it is to give autonomy to the people in order to foster creativity and individual brilliance within an organization. Overall, it was a great conversation with lots of insights into the world of Fintech!
Key Takeaways Time
How Stitch is transforming the FinTech space across Africa 3:14
Their approach towards problems around scaling and expansion 5:57
Client onboarding process and onboarding KPI’s 9:30
Making the onboarding process seamless between the internal team and the client 18:30
What is a business relationship 22:10
What tools do they use for centralization 34:00
Team empowerment and collaboration at Stitch 37:16

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Taylor Kenerson 0:05 Hi everyone, it's Taylor here with Adil and Dewald. And we are going to dive in on stitch money. Adil Saleh 0:16 Great, nice to meet you. devolve, really appreciate you took the time today. And to be very honest, and the first side have found this platform really very interesting. Besides the fact that, you know, it's, there's loads of them in the US or in, in the market and Canada and Australia, but, you know, some platform coming from regions like South Africa, and tapping that market in a very, on a very big level is some some achievements. So thank you very much for you know, first off coming up and taking the time and also introducing this platform to us. Dewald Muller 0:48 Awesome. Thanks. Thanks for having me, Taylor. Nice, nice to also meet you guys. Adil Saleh 0:56 So, first off, like we normally do, like we focus more on asking questions about yourselves to tell us little bit about your journey into the customer success into stitch.io. And what's your why, like, what made you join SaaS platform and SaaS platform like this? Dewald Muller 1:14 Yeah, yeah. Awesome. Yeah. So I don't traditionally come from from a customer success background, I studied a course called actuarial science in South Africa, which is more on the insurance side, very data driven. Profession, which is around modeling and managing of risk, started in that industry, and then found myself in a bit of a fork in the road a couple of years ago, where I got approached to join a company called route, which is operations, a standardized operation platform API product first company to that basically bowls insurance products on top of this platform, and then exposes through a through a standardized API, I joined that business spend, probably for the beta of three years, at a very early stage of the business, we were on seven and then growing to around about 50. To really understand what it means driving like a customer centric business when it comes to b2b SaaS player, and then I joined stitch. And if you ask a bit more about stitch, I think you, you nailed it on their head. There's there's several other types of solutions similar to stitch, I guess, in the rest of the world. What we found in Africa specifically is, if you look at financial services, for so far, it's been very slow. This innovation in general, and financial services have been a lot slower than other industries. And we find like, you know, one of the two main reasons are, first of all, there's no standardized API that connects all of these ecosystems. So you know, software's changing the world. But at the end of the day, it can only change the world, if you can allow those innovators, the soft innovators to get access to the building blocks that's required to bring these new innovations to the forefront. And secondly, is the regulation aspect of it. There's so many cool ideas that we get to deal with at stitch with with people across the continent on an on a day to day basis. But often what we find is, because there's no easy way for people with these great ideas to execute on it, because of these regulatory constraints, we often see the process taking a lot longer. And essentially, it also kills a lot of the innovation in that process. So what stitch is is essentially this API. Currently we in South Africa and Nigeria, and it's built on top of the banks that allows people to do easy bank to bank transfers. And then on top of that, also exposing this rich data component that will people can utilize to the API itself. We've been running for around two and a bit years now and currently expanding quite rapidly within the rest of the space in Africa. Adil Saleh 3:44 Incredible, incredible. Just a quick question on that, since you're very penetrated into the African market. And, you know, I know that stripe is not well known there. The it's not, you know, it's not feasible for businesses can integrate stripe there. So how are you going to compete stripe in the Europe and, you know, American market going forward, so long haul for you guys. Dewald Muller 4:08 So I think at the moment, our focus is more on Africa, Africa has got a very unique set of problems that needs to be resolved. A lot of it is often also country specific. If you look at the dynamics in South Africa versus Kenya and Nigeria from from a financial perspective, from a regulatory perspective, they're very different. But also the target market is very different. The way people transact money in Kenya versus South Africa is also totally different. Kenya being for instance, mobile money driven wares in South Africa for a very large bank population. And that definitely, you know, from our side shapes and molds that approach should be taken these different markets. I think time will tell us terms of what the journey looks like here in the next couple of years in other markets, but for now, the sole focus is within Africa Taylor Kenerson 4:58 does the question On that how, as you're expanding, and you're you're you're growing, how are you able to, you know, keep up and keep tabs on your internal team and integrate that with, you know, the culture that you're trying to build and separate yourselves through, like, with so many different competitors in the market? Dewald Muller 5:19 Yeah, great. Great question. Taylor. That's a loaded question. Because I think it needs to be broken down into, into various aspects. There's, there's a, there's a component around operations and scale and how you manage that. And then there's an internal cultural perspective. And I think all of those things, especially if you're a startup, it's some of the most sensitive parts of the business because at the end of the day, you only as strong as this team, I think at stitch been extremely fortunate that we sit with, you know, one of the, the most intellectual, strongest teams that I've worked with in my life, so far, very data driven company. And that's also Mars into the approach that we take when we solve trying to solve these problems around expansion and scaling. So maybe to start off on the cultural side, we lucky at this stage, we still had a space where we Around 60 people in the company growing every month, when I started at stitch, which was around 10 months ago, we were around 20. And you know, that that's, that's a big change. But yeah, and that that just like picks up from the on forward, like, you know, the next thing you go from a company from 80, to 100, etc. And the systems need to adapt quickly enough. So that one, you have the level of appreciation for individualism, no company, at the end of the day, it's that diversity in teams that can allow you to, to bring the, I guess, product and service offering to the market in the most unique and competitive way possible, then what companies I think, that companies cant do, where you know, the structures are set and individual contribution are a bit more difficult to bring forward. In terms of scaling. I think one processes internally becomes extremely important, because you'll have within a scale scaling company where you started to serve more and more users in your operational systems need to scale up, you've got this interesting environmental dynamic, where you need to start structuring teams in different ways. You often find yourself in a space where suddenly you realize something is not working. And you've been using it met, let's say the past two, three months, and suddenly this is breaking. And that's like the refreshing part in a startup, you have this very strong feedback loop, I haven't very quickly, that tells you you need to change things. And I think if the leaders in a company have the taps on all of those bullet key indicate indications from from a system and operation perspective, they should use those feedback loops to very quickly change structures and iterate around processes to make sure that at the end of the day, the client service, the client experience and the product quality does not get impacted with this process of scaling. Because I mean, let's be honest, scaling is not natural. It's not always often not organic. And with large, more established companies, normally it moves. Now what what happens in a year or two year, they happens in sometimes even weeks in a startup? Yeah, absolutely. So and you know, you have to trade at all times, you have to trade for better at every step, and you need to navigate some, some mistakes. And that's a part of the game. Great. So tell us more about how big is your team. That is Daniel Post says operations like customer success. And also you can take talk about technical support. Unknown Speaker 8:29 Yeah, so so the way maybe I can speak a bit more about the construct of our product and then bring bring forward what that means like it looked like internally. So stitch is an API driven company, the way people use our product is to have to integrate it. So we b2b, we're not an end consumer facing product. large corporates, whether that be in the crypto space, or E commerce space, or FinTech space, will embed stitch as a service within the environment for any sort of specific use case that they need either if it's due for a technical onboarding, making that faster or doing seamless one click payments. All of that make is made possible through this integration. So our main product is an API. It's a very well documented API. And our engineers and product team puts a lot of focus on this on a daily basis to make sure that integration process is as low touch possible for for us in a team. And and you can only really achieve that when you've got a really well documented and clearly articulated API documents. So once the sale is made, on our side, the first point of call is to get a client to start integrating, and this whole onboarding process starts. So we've got a client solutions team. We the same as technical solutions engineer, engineers that understands the API and the product really well. And they will then be spending the next three weeks to a month with the specific clients that integration team or an external developers, if that's the case, to help them get this product live as quickly as possible. There's a lot of solutioning that happens in that process often because the use cases are very unique to each client, even though the tech stack and approach remains the same, but it's often a lot of solutioning, and quality and technical consulting and our team will put into that process. So during that stage, it's quite a dual processes, the sales team will handle over customer success, our team will kick off the process as a client, making sure all of the reason we stakeholders on board and then clearly articulating what the process would look like going forward with the first point of call is trying to get them live as quickly as possible. So over that time period, we spent, it becomes quite high touch depending on the type of client, importance of the client, and that will spend the next three weeks with them using various channels to make sure that they can get live as quickly as possible. I think we can maybe touch on this a bit later on, you know, what, what are the challenges in that process, because the end of the day, and in any SaaS businesses, you only start creating value once a client is live, once they once they are alive, our support team just before this process starts coming in, from a CS as perspective, we start putting them into make sure that one, they understand the client really well they understand the technical shape of the integration. So they can start preparing their processes and teams to align on the type of support that needs to be provided for these clients adhering to the relevant SL, A's etc. And then, in our world. You know, the real fun really starts once a client is live, because then it's all about adoption, our product, once it's switched on, there's a lot of iterations that needs to happen. Firstly, we need to understand how the end user, the clients end user interact with their specific service, and then start drilling into the levers that we need to pull to make sure that the client can start seeing rapid value creation using this product. So the next, you know, eight months is very driven from a customer success team perspective with account manager, would one map out what that success plan looks like? And then secondly, and start thinking about what are the other value creation areas that we can start executing with this specific account? Yeah, so that's more or less what the structure looks like. I think internally as well, you know, in any CS type of role, you're very much the eyes of the business. And you need to make sure that information needs to cycle through at the right start stage with the right format, often unfiltered to other teams, product team, engineering team, marketing team and sales team. So there's a lot of cross functional collaboration that happens. And, you know, as we grow those old structures that we continue iterating around to be able to put in place so that we at the end of the day, you know, achieve the main goals of what our customer success, like the first of all, is, you want to make sure you lock in long term value for any accountant that that decides to sign with you. And secondly, as you want to grow and expand that account. And I think this is why customer success is such a great environment. Because it's those two elements, those two objectives of CS that makes it creates this perfectly aligned environment where, you know, our sole purpose and goal is to make sure the clients are at when really, really hard to stitch. Because if they do that, like we went, and that's what why I'm so about. Adil Saleh 13:01 Loved it. Loved it. Could you also tell us more about because I'm getting so involved in this process, which is like post sales once the customer makes a transaction I'm trying to understand get my head around the onboarding process, can you can you touch us more on the onboarding? How does it look like for let's say one segment, let's say fit in FinTech? If you're doing it for any FinTech solution, or FinTech, SAS or product, how does that look like? The onboarding? Yeah, Dewald Muller 13:31 yeah, good question. So maybe that handover process maybe to start off the between Celts, and see us is very important. You know, it's, that's what the first step where you want to make sure that it's as seamless as possible that once is a client success team member meets a client. It doesn't seem like there's a lot of information that fell through in the gaps during that sales process, because often the sales process is quite involved in some level of solutioning also happens at that stage. So the first thing is like we've got quite set structures internally to make sure that the handover process is as smooth as possible. Then, in terms of getting it going. We've through been various processes in this, in this case, onboarding, a client to make sure that one, we have all of the relevant dates on the table as quickly as possible to be able to make the right decisions on the client's behalf once once they get to specific areas or points in their journey. Secondly, as you know, if you think about the client journey, you will want to set your KPIs immediately unlike the way we think about onboarding, the first thing is TTV like time to value how quickly can we get a client to see value from stitch. So first of all, from a client perspective, the more time they put into the integration, the more costly it becomes to them and we obviously want to avoid that as far as possible. So we would want to provide all of the level of resources support as far as possible so that that time it takes from the internal team to to launch stitch is as low as possible. In terms of T T V what we found in this process, once we kick off a client. Often, you know, the next sales process often happens because now client as a sign you but now there's this internal sell that needs to happen where this integration needs to be prioritized. And, you know, we've had cases in this in the beginning where we would sign clients, and then for two or three months, it's just goes quiet. And there's a lot of frauds and stuff, and you just don't hear back from them. And we had to dive quite deeply into this to understand why that's the case. And we got to a point where we basically opted thorough investigation, I could map out like, what are the main levers or action points that results in the optimal heartbeat key clients can integrate. And the way we thought about was like two accesses. The first one is urgency. Some clients buys a specific service, because they can't do without, right, like they can't operate without it. Other clients, it's an add on. And it's, it's not something that like, if they have it next month, or six months time will make the biggest difference, even though the value proposition might be quite clear from a unit economics perspective, or whatever the case might be. So So that's the first lever on the, let's say, the vertical axis. On the horizontal axis, you can think about like an Our world is the most key thing is the integration ability of clients. So that's like, how many developers do they have? Are they using external developer hours? What experience and tech stacks do they have? Do those align with what we use we use, for instance, Graph QL. And IPI sometimes clients are the developers might not have experienced that, that molds our approach in terms of how we how we, how we go about onboarding. So you know, that level of thinking and framework has allowed us to quickly identify what are the levers we need to, we need to identify and then execute on once a client signs to me and make sure that this integration process goes as quickly as possible. And based on that outcome, that's how we mold our approach during onboarding stage and the level of involvement engagement between our clients Solutions team and the team that that that has that's responsible on the client side, on the client side of the integration. The last thing that I'll mention is main stakeholder management, you know, it's like onboarding is this beautiful period where clients are getting ready to ramp up and go live your product. But it's also the best stage to slowly start understanding what the stakeholder map looks like within within, within the clients will. Often the people that made the decisions initially with signing the product is not going to be the people that will make the decision to renew the contract. And having a grip of that sooner rather than later. It's quite important. So customer success and the account management team would be focusing on that, rigorously. And during that onboarding process as a manager to make sure we drive for those specific onboarding milestones. Start slowly building up a view hypothesis around what the growth trajectory and playbook customer playbook should should look like for the squat. And then that essentially sets us up for this, or at least gives us a good foundation to kick off the account once they go live. A lot of words ideal, but Obama answered your question. Adil Saleh 17:54 Yeah, absolutely. You had it pretty clear for everybody, because whereas a lot of sometimes concrete questions because our listeners based on the different technologies that come and show up here, they need to understand the core of it. Like what is their onboarding? What does the CSM day to day look like? And all the you you want to have something taylor? Go ahead? Taylor Kenerson 18:15 Yeah, I just I'm really curious how you're making the process of onboarding seamless between your internal teams? And like, what are some key things that you're doing in order to help that transition along? Dewald Muller 18:34 Yeah, I think good question. I think what's important is one needs to have a call and your process in terms of what are the key deliverables that you want to have clients experienced during it, like there's a few key like non negotiables one, like when you kick off a client, you need to have joint KPIs and milestones that you put in place that they team as the client also commit towards? It doesn't make sense if you start allocating internal resources towards a client's go live date, but they themselves have not committed to any future go live date. And, and that often leads to postponements and like a lot of frustration and pain. So first thing is sit down those clear integration milestones with with with clients. That will be you know, first first integration level, then UI UX type of elements that needs to be in place, testing, QA, and then first production credentials. And then what that ramp up looks like before clients which aren't fully like that needs to be well documented, agreed upon and then manage and each of these two type of weekly or monthly type of meetings that happens with clients, depending on you know, this size and how quickly they want to move. So that's important, but you know, one thing that I've realized we can maybe speak about this later, it's just like the value of personal relationships during this process. At the end of the day, the people driving this process is a human being on a different site that's got a lot of the on the on the roadmap, they've got a family, they might have children that's like, you know, they have to drop off at school and like they've got their own wall of responsibilities. And the more you understand that, the easier it becomes to frictionlessly work with them. And that's where I'm quite passionate is, you know, it's like these individual type of relationships that you establish during this process often leads to success, because people quickly realize when you have a good grip on who they are, what's important to them in the individual roles as a Counterparty. And that often leads to creating little micro champions along the way, as you get a client to go live. Taylor Kenerson 20:31 I'm so glad you said that. I think you know, a lot of companies today are losing focus that there are people behind these roles and behind these titles and these responsibilities, and how are you creating that relationship so that you can do your best work, I feel like we focus so much on, you know, the work that we you know, we lose track that there's a person there, and if that person's not fulfilled, then your product is going to also mimic that state. And that's, that's really critical to understand and learn, especially in, you know, growing companies today. Adil Saleh 21:08 Yeah, just the same discussion we had with ziv from Appsflyer, that's also an integration platform for apps, like the growth plans for the next two years. And he was talking about the relationship capital, how they're investing, you know, they're, they're putting together training centers, they're working on people's mind, you know, make sure they are that specific mindset, talking to the customers and how they're evolving with the customer goals and sending them cakes. And so he says that the biggest investment that we are making today is on the relationship capital. So we are building relationship capital with our customers. So that was quite impressive, too. And yeah, it's it's all about it like your your customers, or people, your team members or people, everybody needs to feel human like real general. So Dewald Muller 22:02 I maybe I can touch on that because this, this blow flows into the customer success process as well. You know, we often, we often speak about business relationships as at a very high level, like what is a business relationship, if you break it down? It's essentially a combination of little micro linear relationships that exist. So you know, there's actually like a lot of science that's behind this, it's not this fluffy concept about what it means to have good relationships. You mentioned sending cake, like, I think, to some people that might sound fluffy, you know, what's the goal, but but it really is, because if you think about strong business relationships, the way you can visualize it is through a graph with nodes and connections, like each individual is a little node dots, and then the connection between them as this edge, the thicker the connection, the stronger the relationship. And a business relationship is the intersection of two clusters of these nodes. And what they found in research is that often what you find the strongest relationships is this at this intersection point where people have built relationships that employs both clusters. And that's the goal of partnership, how do you embed yourself into the two different worlds that is not two separate clusters of nodes, but basically, they intersect. And the only way you do that is through really deep engagement and creating these cross functional type of opportunities, where teams can connect, not just necessarily on a video call, and driving specific metrics and milestones to be able to meet a specific Income Statement figure at the end of the month, but then also looking at people realistically and something that I've been very passionate about, and I've just heard, over and over in my life, I've seen the value of really, like deeply caring about people, people are not stupid, they look through you straight if you just use them to achieve something and, and that's been very rewarding and exciting, exciting as well, because you can make a lot of friends in the process. Adil Saleh 23:48 Yeah, you love the journey and you're doing it for the journey. Regardless of the outcome, the journey is so beautiful that you know, you don't know how time is passing by. And you I mean, that's what passion is. Okay, this is you talked about building relationship you talked about working hands on on the onboarding, you talked about your account managers, they are you know, slightly technical too. So, they know what kind of technical scenarios that will come along the journey to make sure the value realization part is taken care of. So now I have to question what kind of course you cannot be relationship with like if I'm an account manager and managing 30 different books 30 different you know accounts I cannot make stronger relationships with each one of my my accounts. So I need centralized data source, I need some some data points that coming landing on my dashboard. So I get some integration, I create touch points and then I reach out. So how is how does that process look like for your account management team? Number two, number two, how do you think that they are able to translate that data let's say product use it did or maybe some of the activities inside the platform or some of the activities they have done using it API calls, like all the data that he's getting from the technical team, let's say product managers or, you know, tools like segment and Mixpanel. So how your account management team is, is able to translate that data to drive powerful actions to build the best relationships? And what kind of technology that's involved in there. Dewald Muller 25:20 Yeah, yeah. Both both good questions. So the first thing you spoke about, you know, how do you manage your own account manager, it was city accounts. One of the biggest I think, problems and challenges in any business and, and more even like echoed within the startup environment is prioritization. Where do you spend your time and why? And I guess, like the stage of the business, and this is often not the easiest thing, because often in early stages of businesses, you don't have the luxury to depend on existing structures and well work processes and platforms to just focus specifically on one client and just make sure that one key account do really well, because you often have to do a lot more than that. So you know, 111 thing that the way we started started thinking about it is like base a base level of service that all people expect. And we need to make sure we adhere to that. So there's a there's a base level of quality client experience and product experience that people would expect. And that like, that's almost a non negotiable that needs to be in place. But then the question becomes like, on top of that, where do you invest your time as a CS team? Like, where do you double down, which are the concepts you're willing to sit for 30 minutes or 40 minutes in a meeting to try and brainstorm solutions and help a client or go the extra mile for and you just can't do it today, everybody thinks it's just not possible, because you've got limited resources. So your account categorization will become quite important there. This often is a derivative of where the business is, and the type of business milestones that gets set. So some businesses have a milestone with all about growth, we just want to see specific high usage revenue is not necessarily that important immediately, because we take a longer term views on it at the time. So revenue is really important, and like the next three 612 months, that the revenue review is what a team needs to focus on and double down and, and that was set that type of priority list. So I think for any business, it's really important to understand across functionally, what are the most important accounts and why. And it's not always just usage and revenue. Sometimes there's a brand connotation, that's really important, a potential future partnership, and, and those are all things that needs to be unpacked across different teams. And it really doesn't just sit within within CS itself to make those calls. Once you've got that view, I think it's quite important to understand the ROI on each action that you take that you'll have an ROI. Again, it's not just money, it's its growth, its its adoption, its client happiness, and your approach needs to be molded in that way. I mean, I can give you countless examples where we've spent days with specific problems on specific clients, which at the end of the day, was just not that the most important thing to focus on that stage. And the reason was because this clear roadmap or map of clients and why they're important, and our approach just didn't exist, wasn't in place. So I think that's quite important. And, and it maps back to the type of commercial model that the business drives. Once that's put in place, it's a quite a simple game, you've got X amount of hours in the day, I'd be leveraged that to an app to which clients, you want to use it. And that should be reviewed, if not on a weekly basis, on a monthly basis with the teams to make sure that we're not just rinse and repeating specific processes, because that was decided upon a month ago or two. And then the feedback loop within that should suggest whether the effort that's been put into each account is actually leading to the results. Sometimes the effort is not resolved, as you'll see in a month or two months. But in the mind, when you come into six months, as long as the hypothesis, a clear on the why that works. Then I think, you know, in terms of what that playbook looks like in terms of cost management, often it works to be able to, for instance, categorize your clients in three or four groups and start having some sort of a base playbook for all four types of clients based on priority. And then you know, your your current management team can execute on that based on based on, you know, specific levers that you willing to trigger to be able to achieve specific outcomes with a specific part. You spoke about data and how you use that across platform, I think for a business like stitch just like core to the way we make decisions. But the end of the day, we're a usage business, a usage driven business. So the more transactions or data calls going through our business, the better it is for us, but then also we activate it for clients because often it results in more seamless end user experiences or cheaper transactions or getting people access to a service that they wouldn't have been able to because of other constraints. So the way we leverage data is like we've got very clear metrics that we track on a weekly basis to be able to ensure We are on track with achieving specific milestones. So you can imagine if you see a specific gap and use it for a client this week compared to this time last month, like they should raise warning signs, and then you should go and investigate why that case is. So you've got a level of proactive measures, and reactive measures that you use the data for. So so maybe do that the reactive me that measures are the ones that you want to make sure that the client health is in a good state, like is usage is the product, the service that they're experiencing? up to scratch. And then the other one is proactive is like, all the current levers and success plan that you are implementing for specific client leading to the desired outcome from where you would want the client to be. So in our world that might be you know, after five months, we expect this client to transact X amount of dollars through the platform. So where we are now, are we on track and achieving that? If not, why not? And that data is on within the data? And the answers is almost always in the data. The first way we look at it from a data perspective is are there any internal quality levers that we need to pull even before touching the client, but then often, we don't have that once, and then we need to reach out to our partners understand exactly what's going on. So it's a constant journey and iteration around it. And you know, those playbooks I think will be becomes more and more granular as you become more prominent in specific industries and start getting a feel, for instance, what is the experience look like in crypto like, we would have a month and we would see maybe Kryptos, don't like transactions. But that's not my thought was a product thing is just because the industry took a bit of a dive with commerce with one up and integrates what's healthy about the type of business we have is like, you start creating industry benchmarks, and you can help manage clients to that, and how they're comparing to it. And then we can help iterate around around the processes in the house to help them achieve better success. Great, Adil Saleh 31:55 great to hear that, that you have pretty much nailed on process. And it's so simplified, I believe you're not using any dedicated platform, customer success platform, because a lot of b2b SaaS platform, they're using customized, dedicated platform for their CS teams. And or maybe they have integrated custom objects inside Salesforce, which is the source of truth. So how does that play out for you guys? Dewald Muller 32:20 That'd be a question. I think you hit the nail on the head, there's no business like ours that is so criss cross functionally dominated in terms of what the outcome is, you need a centralized type of system that like brings everything together. I know in some type of SAS businesses or customer success team running on its own dedicated software makes sense. And you might have a few plugins with a Zendesk here and marketing today. I think an RS because, you know, holistically, if you look at a client's at an account, there are several teams touching account at the same time. And one of the key things that any account manager need to have is viewership into where we are, what are the touch points, what are the ongoing processes, being able to raise flags. So on our site, it's quite important to have that for your ship. So you know, we would look at software like Salesforce as an example, to bring that together that allows all of the other cross functional teams to still run their unique processes within a larger type of framework that still provides centralization for for a team like customer success. Adil Saleh 33:20 Cool, cool. So I'll put it this way that you're just talking about one account manager, your one account manager takes data from a couple of sources and map it and decides whether what actions to take whether it's reactive or proactive like that, that can take, you know, data from Salesforce from, you know, product uses data from Mixpanel, or sigma, whatever platform you're using. So is that the case or they have any kind of, you can say notifications, or reminders or task manager of any sort that gives them a centralized view of all of their accounts. So they decide, you know, what, when to take action and why. Dewald Muller 34:00 Yeah, so interestingly, we we actually, when we started the process, we started bringing our processes together, like just viewership into notion, which is not a traditional known CRM, right? It's useful for knowledge management, but notion has actually built quite a strong capability to have relational databases etc. And why that's useful is in the beginning is you just don't know You don't know what you need. You don't want to over engineer and optimize processes that, you know, down in a week or two months, it's just going to change. So like initially, we started building it up like that, from from what it looks like. Now from CES perspective. And sec, there's various data sources that needs to flow in. from a sales perspective. There's that specific sales funnel that runs the software that needs to acquire the information that it captured in that process needs to be flowing into this general client profile. But then you've got the usage that the platform data, error reports, being able to have usage data and on a daily basis, average data, all of that needs to come into some sort of a platform that we can then translate it into metrics, which gets set against each client. So you might, for instance, like by x month, like we expect the average transaction value or count to be X for each client. If there's a, if there's material change in that on a daily basis, like those are indicators that needs to flash red very quickly so that the account manager can look into it. The same comes from a support perspective, you know, like Zen this good example, you know, that a lot of support teams run on. But there's a really valuable data in there that should mold the approach on how the CSN account manager, one prioritize the account, but then also interact with that account. And that's not information you want to look for, it needs to be available in a centralized view. So the way you build up what customer health looks like, the data that you leverage across these cross functional teams, whatever platform you use, at the end of the day, needs to give you that ability to tweak, change that and have it available on centralized float, so that once you have account management meeting, you know, that meeting is very much driven by the red flags one but then also like some of the green elements, then understanding like how you should approach and not approach. Adil Saleh 36:05 Okay, so you have all the platforms in place that gives data ahead of time to con managers and they take action on their own on day, they might create their own calendar or of any sorts in notion we, by the way, be using notion for the last two and a half years. For everything. Like we have two SaaS platforms, one in the stealth one in the production, we have a podcast be used for everything, like we have like multiple workspaces on notion I love that it's so simplified, easy to understands, you know, and collaborative too, at the same time, although it's made for documentation and knowledge base, and mind mapping and all that, but you're still using it, it's working out. Great, great. So when it comes to you know, Taylor definitely wants to talk about more about people like how you're investing into into the trainings and towards people like what that process looks like, Do you have any set of like, DNA or some, some vision that you keep pushing them hard to, you know, just hit it every month? Or maybe have some meetings just about their their personal development? So theater, you want to phrase it in a better way? You can? Taylor Kenerson 37:12 That's perfect. Just dive into it. Dewald Muller 37:16 Awesome. I think quite a broad question. Maybe if I break down the way, stitches going about it. You know, like, first process hiring is really important. Like, I don't even have to say that when you start out. That's the makeup breaking part. And the journey starts there during the hiring process, that the expectation management that training even started during the hiring process. I think sometimes people think about hiring as, get the person in, and then start onboarding, like onboarding should start during the hiring process, because that's when people actually get a real sense for what they will do. They will get a sense of whether the company and the role will be a fit for them, and vice versa. So I think that's the first I think, secondly, from a management perspective, what I found in a world that is often very volatile, the risks that you have, in any situations tomorrow, make very strong and rigid assumptions that's not be willing to be tested and tested and tested and tested and challenged. And especially in a startup, what I find is, so far as being I think KPIs should be very clear what the outcome should be on our account level on a performance level. But then, in terms of the execution, and the way there needs to be a level of autonomy. Like I think micromanagement is, is a is a problem, like, I think anybody can fall into that type of hope. But if you want to give an account manager or a person, the level of freedom that they need to be able to live themselves into a role and then drive it in the approach that they see fit, like they need that they need those level of quality, trust, and then also just a playground to do that. So where's the process and the outcome and quality measures should be very clearly defined? I think specifically for account management and customer success. There's a personal flavor to it that you need to give somebody that autonomy to execute on it. As long as that person knows like you've got their back immensely so and and you'd be willing to dive deep in with them because sometimes, often things go wrong and, and CSS in one of those positions where you face the great side, but you also face like the hot bots when when things when when the balls do drop. So as long as people know, they've got that support structure in place. And there's totally alignment of what the real outcomes are. I think I think you start setting up a team for success. It's so easy to lose that individual brilliance in in the fluff and the noise of often like a specific environment and you want to make sure that you We'll have that autonomy to execute and bring out that flavor. And that's just going to create an environment where other people learn from it. Because suddenly you're gonna start realizing this manager is doing really exceptional job in a specific area. It's like why, because they're doing specific things that that they've always been passionate about, and they're really good at and, and the team can learn so much from that. So I think, I think that's, for me, one of the most important part is creating that environment where it really fosters the individual capability of individual members, but it still has that really strong unity that can bring it all together and help the team collectively, like raise one another up, as as the business grows, as we grow and learn together. Taylor Kenerson 40:39 Yeah, that balance is that balance is key between all those systems working together, that's, that's, you know, one of the most important functions is to ensure that your internal team and those that you're, you know, hiring are able to flourish and bring their passions and that spice that you saw in them, and help that flourish. And beyond the fluff. Adil Saleh 41:05 And I love that you shared that hiring is so critical. And it's so resonates with me, because, you know, I've made a lot of mistakes with hiring, I love hiring people. And sometimes it turns out good too. But I've made a lot of mistakes, like, the very next day, I realized that this guy is not a fit, I made a mistake. So it took me like three or four or five months to actually, you know, fired that guy. So, you know, that's why it's so complicated, like people are so complicated, they change all the time, you cannot get inside their mind. So they're people these days, like in the customer facing world, they're so good at presenting so good at, you know, so positive, you cannot gauge the interest and compassion and all of that in just a couple of meetings or interviews. So I love that, that you shared, and I'm sure you're working with people. So it's kind of challenge. Great. So it was really nice, taking time out with you today. And, you know, we would love to reach back maybe in some months, with some more interesting topics with some more stories, and how we can integrate how we can support a stitch. Because as much as I'm interested in interested in knowing more about stitch, I'm also interested in supporting it in any little way. We have partners, we have strategic alliances with recruiters that can help people SAS businesses get top notch talent, customer facing and all of that, we will definitely help you in any way that you guys need. And kudos to you and your team and all the journey that you expend to be a product that you are today. I wish you guys good luck. Dewald Muller 42:39 Thanks, Adam. Thanks, Ella. Great meeting you. And thanks for creating this platform to share ideas. Taylor Kenerson 42:44 Yeah, it was a pleasure, well, well, I'll surely be in touch. I'll connect with you on LinkedIn, at least on my end, so we can be in touch and keep this relationship going. I'm so big on you know, everyone that you meet in life is for a reason, you know, and how can you build and how can you help each other because it goes back to the element. Where we touched on is like, we're humans, you know, we all have shit, we all have stuff going on, you know, work is just an eighth of our day, you know, and how what are you doing with those other two eighths of the day and you know how you're leveraging that and building and becoming better for yourself so that you can put out amazing stuff and you know, lead the way for others to follow. And I think that's really important. So it was such a beautiful conversation to evolve. Dewald Muller 43:25 Thanks, Ted. Appreciate it. Thanks, guys. Have a good one. You too. Thank you

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