Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon are company giants. They are so prestigious and have a revenue of many billion dollars. Many startups ask themselves the question of how to compete with tech company giants over and over again.
Briefly, tell us how your journey took you to where you are right now
My journey began because of my mother. She found a tech career late in her life and has always been my role model. We were always the people that had new computers in our home before anybody had computers, and the internet before anyone had the internet. So, I was surrounded by tech! I went to business school, completed my degree in 1999, and have spent my whole career working in predominantly software technology sales.
I rose to be a Sales Director, and then found myself with two young children and not wanting to do the same amount of travel. So that I could do the nursery drop off and pickups and take my fair share of childcare responsibility, I decided to set up a Sales Consultancy business helping other smaller software businesses get their sales operations and sales processes off the ground, which I did for five years. Panintelligence became a client. It was a product inside a company called Pancredit – it wasn’t its own business at the time. It was Ken Miller, my co-founder, that was building that product in that company! We had the opportunity, having consulted with the business for several years to buy the IP and spin it out as a separate company. So I went from advising consulting this product inside another business to becoming a shareholder and owner of the business in 2014.
What was your aha moment which led you to create Panintelligence?
It wasn’t my aha moment at all. Ken Miller our CTO; it’s his baby! He’s the guy that saw an opportunity to build something that wasn’t available to him in the market. So out of frustration really, he decided to start building a different product, which meant that he could solve some of the problems for himself that he was dealing with at the time. Ken has built an intelligence out of a need for there to be a different tool to serve some of the challenges he was facing inside Pancredit. So not mine!
Tell me about your customer acquisition systems
We have inbound and outreach, and it’s mainly account-based marketing and outreach using a Sales Development Relationship (SDR) team. We make sure that our target audiences are very specific to our customer profiles and tailor our messaging, and follow up accordingly. The way we give our SDR team some engagement to follow up on is that we have a number of different channels that we surface a variety of content; based on our use of compelling reasons to buy our “crown jewels” – our value proposition. Segmented by sector, by pain points, or by problem, we use activities such as email marketing, paid social and PR with content featuring in podcasts, or presenting pieces of PR in specific media. So, I would say it’s quite a standard approach, but I very targeted.
What has been your biggest learnings in business?
I think I learn every single day. I think lifelong learning is critical to being effective. Technology moves so fast. If you’re not trying to keep pace with the change in that market you’ll soon fall behind. You have got to be really curious, inquisitive, interested. You’ve got to want to constantly challenge your own ideas, thinking and approaches.
At the end of the day,t’s all about people. People build a product, people sell a product, people support the product and people ensure that customers are happy. By making sure that your people are playing to their strengths and working in roles that really bring them joy, as well as delivering for the business, is the way to get the best out of people.
What do you wish more people knew?
Something I wish people knew is that it’s okay to fail! We fail to innovate in companies and cultures, and we fail to get the best of ourselves and the best of others without celebrating the effort of trying, as opposed to people feeling like a failure is a risk. I believe that repeatedly failing is better than repeatedly not trying.
How do you want people to remember you?
I would like to be remembered for raising the bar on diversity in tech and enabling a pipeline of female leaders and women into technology roles in the tech industry. If I can influence that, as my mum did for me, in any way, shape, or form, I’d be really proud of that.
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