THE CPQ PODCAST – INTERVIEW WITH MATTHEW DAY

Our very own Founder & Chief Architect joins Frank Sohn on the Configure, Price, Quote Podcast. Listen in to learn about the roots of Flexpricer, Matthew’s passion for rugby and what to expect from Flexpricer in the future.

Intro

Welcome to the Configure, Price, Quote Podcast. My name is Frank Sohn and I’m the founder of Novus CPQ Consulting. This podcast is 100% focused on Configure, Price, Quote, also known as CPQ and will provide you useful insights into this topic.

Frank Sohn:

My guest today is Matthew Day. Matthew is the founder and chief architect of CRM Team Global. His company offers some products with simple CPQ features and functions for Salesforce CRM customers, and was founded in 2012. Matthew lives near London. Welcome Matthew to the CPQ Podcast.

Matthew Day:

Well, thanks Frank. And thanks for having me on.

Frank Sohn:

Very excited to have you on and let listeners know about your solution. And let’s maybe start by telling us a little bit more about yourself and what you did before you founded CRM Team Global.

Matthew Day:

Well, Frank, I think I probably had a fairly unconventional or meandering way of getting to where I am at the moment with CRM Team Global. If I think back to where it all started, I’ve had four jobs in total. Three in the tech sector working in IT companies and two in commercial print. Now, probably the astute listeners of yours will go, “Hang on a sec, three in IT, two in commercial print. That makes five.” But I’ve only had four jobs. Those first two were in software development houses back in the early nineties. And after working in those software development houses, I kind of got a little bit of an entrepreneurial itch and thought, “Okay, I’m being paid relatively well, but I want to get some different experiences.” And I made the jump into a small print company, a commercial print company, which really taught me quite a lot about the way that businesses work in reality.

Matthew Day:

And shortly after joining that business, I then became a chief technology officer for a franchise print business. So that franchise print business brought together my IT background and my commercial print background. And it was after that franchise experience that I set up CRM Team Global, because I felt like I’d learnt quite a bit about what was going on in small businesses. I’d learned how systems worked from a franchise perspective and really the things that excited me was blending those two things together, working in a systemized environment, but helping small businesses think bigger, get bigger and think and behave a bit more like enterprise organizations.

Frank Sohn:

Hmm. That’s very interesting. And tell me, how did you get started then working on these sales improvement processes and/or CPQ solutions? Right? Because at that time that was not commonly used everywhere, right?

Matthew Day:

Yeah. And I think CPQ for me started, well, way back before it was properly CPQ and it really harks back to some improving of sales processes and systemizing sales and marketing processes. And when I look back in my background and think, “Okay, well, how did I first get inspired by this?” It kind of took me back to a time when I used to go to my granddad’s print factory, because our family had got a bit of background in this commercial print sector. And my grandfather had set up a business way back in the 1950s. And I remember going to his factory and enjoying the experience of working there in an operational environment. And the business that he built was providing for the family. It was working really well. And he would come home from work and just say, “Well, yeah. I’ve got this business and it just works. Work just comes in. It’s fantastic.”

Matthew Day:

But unfortunately after… Although his business did just work and he was able to process that work, the fact that he had work that just came in meant that he hadn’t systemized his marketing and sales processes. And unfortunately, long after sort of he was no longer with us, that really came to bite the business. And what we learned, what I learned was that you could have a business that operates really well and it really efficiently, but if you don’t have good systemized marketing and sales processes, then that business hasn’t got longevity. And it was really learning about the importance of there being a sales process, the importance of systemizing this part of your business that actually sort of started joining together all the dots after I’d had this sort of small business experience, I’ve had the franchise agreement. I could see the importance of doing that.

Matthew Day:

And that point is when I set up CRM Team Global and started working largely in the Salesforce sector, Salesforce CRM, and helping businesses implement the technology. And whilst working in Salesforce was obviously exposed a lot more to the way that Salesforce manages opportunities and quotes and the sales process. And it was from that that I started getting into CPQ.

Frank Sohn:

Excellent. But even that is 10 years ago now, right? And lots of things have changed since then. What’s the most important thing for you right now in 2022?

Matthew Day:

Well, things do change, but some of the basics stay the same. Businesses need to go out there and find their market. They need to generate themselves leads. They need to find problems to solve for customers, and then the customers pay them to solve them. And I don’t think that business in itself is difficult or complex or necessarily has changed a lot. Some of those basics we can always come back to look about how can we improve certain processes. Sure, tech is going to make it a lot simpler and allow you to run a lot faster with this. But the basics here about systemizing our sales processes and having a sales process and making it simpler and making it easier are as relevant now in 2022 as they were in 2012 or 2002 or 10 years before that as well.

Frank Sohn:

And where do you go to learn more about sales improvement, CPQ, and all kind of sales improvement related topics?

Matthew Day:

So, I mean, myself, I undertaken put myself through personal coaching and mentoring and stay abreast of what’s going on in the sector. But I do try also quite hard not to get too distracted by what’s happening with competitors and some of the areas of CPQ that can become complicated, and let’s be frank, a lot of CPQ systems are there to handle complex scenarios. And most of my time I keep coming back to how can we keep this simple? How can we keep the support that we give people? How can we keep the systems that they use as simple as they can, but be as effective as they can. And so when I’m looking and looking at what’s happening in the technology sector, in the technology approach, and how fast CPQ systems are developing, I do also look at, “Okay, is there anything that can be done to keep things simpler and easier because ultimately, for the vast majority of businesses that are out there, CPQ, well, even just the word CPQ sounds complex. Any acronym that’s got a Q in it has to be complicated.

Matthew Day:

We have to try and bring this back and go, how can we make this simple for people? And what I spend a lot of time doing is trying to find simple solutions for people so that they can support them. They can execute them. And they deliver results really very quickly and easily for them.

Frank Sohn:

Got it. Now, I want to ask you a question that I ask every guest on the CPQ podcast is what do you do when you don’t work, Matthew?

Matthew Day:

Ah, well, I’m sure like most of your guests, they spend a lot of time working. But normally, if you were to search me out on a Saturday afternoon, you’ll find that I’m a local rugby referee. And I’ve been involved with rugby for years, coaching my son through minis and youth rugby. And now on a Saturday afternoon, you can find me sort of overseeing 30 grown men enjoy a physical encounter on a rugby pitch every Saturday afternoon. So I particularly enjoy rugby. I love a bit of skiing as well, and just getting out in the fresh air.

Frank Sohn:

Excellent. So one thing I have to ask you in this context is what do you think about American football compared to rugby?

Matthew Day:

Well, I could give a very British approach and we came up with rugby first, before American football came along. But I like watching American football as well, but all of those helmets and extra bits of kits there, I think, obviously needed for the game, but a physical encounter of a game of rugby with 30 blokes just going hell for leather after each other, I find quite exciting to watch.

Frank Sohn:

Excellent. Very good. So now let’s talk a little bit more about your company, right? And it’s CRM Team Global, and you have this product Flexpricer for Salesforce. And please tell us a little bit more about the product and services that CRM Team Global offers?

Matthew Day:

So, yeah. CRM Team Global has actually got two arms to it. It’s got a professional services arm under the CRM Superstars brand, and we’ve got our Flexpricer app that is our CPQ app that is available for businesses to install and use in their Salesforce. And essentially Flexpricer has got three variants to it in the market. We’ve got Flexpricer CPQ, which is kind of like our top end product. We’ve also got some slightly smaller versions, Flexpricer 360, and Flexpricer Boost, which are all designed to help businesses sell more effectively, to automate some elements of their sales process, and to be able to configure their products and price their products very easily, but beyond the scope of what they can do with standard Salesforce out of the box sales cloud.

Frank Sohn:

And who is your audience for the three Flexpricer for Salesforce product? Tell us a little bit more about that please.

Matthew Day:

Well, the clue’s in the name there. We’ve got Flexpricer for Salesforce. So it is contingent on Salesforce being the CRM system that an organization is using. And what Flexpricer does is you basically install it into your Salesforce organization, it’s available on AppExchange, and that can then unlock the functionality that the app includes. So a lot of it is out the box. A lot of the features are out of the box and when you install Flexpricer, we can then toggle on to whether or not use the 360 features, the Boost features or the CPQ features. Now, Flexpricer 360, if we look at the core, is there really just to help a sales team make sure that they get the right product onto an opportunity or quote and get the right price for them. So it might include things like upselling and cross selling.

Matthew Day:

So being able to swap out one product or one line item for another, might include some automation in automatically adding online items or bundling products together. It’s stuff that a lot of organizations just struggle with out of the box Salesforce. And Flexpricer just installs and unlocks that capability. So irrespective of what they’re selling, it’s there to support the sales team. If we look at Boost, that brings in our simple product configurator and it is a simple product configurator. It focuses really on only going to one level of depth of option selection. So you’d select a master product and then one tier of options that are available to that particular product. We don’t go N levels deep, so it’s not huge complex, but it does allow those organizations, that want to take a step towards being able to have product configurations, to be able to do so really easily.

Matthew Day:

And then our top end product is Flexpricer CPQ, which takes that configurator and adds onto it’s subscription selling as well. So you are able to create contracts and auto-renewing opportunities and billing journals and billing schedules and see revenue attribution over time. The markets are fairly broad at Flexpricer 360 and sort of focus in when we get to Boost and CPQ.

Frank Sohn:

Excellent. And then you focus on specific industries for these products.

Matthew Day:

Well, knowing that I was going to come onto this podcast with you, Frank, I thought, “Ah, better go and have a look and see what our industry breakdown looks like.” And yes, largely the tech is being used by manufacturing businesses and tech industries. So the tech industries typically are the ones that are picking up the CPQ solution for the simple subscriptions. And the manufacturing sector, particularly picking up with the simple product configurator. However, we are not exclusive in those sectors. And actually we’ve got a wide range of industries that cover anybody from selling software through to selling pumps. We’ve got people that are building bits of machinery with it. We’ve got education providers who are using it. Basically any business that is using Salesforce to help them sell, could benefit from what Flexpricer brings to the table, particularly with regards to helping them sell more products or get the price right for those products.

Matthew Day:

So a lot of our organizations, a lot of our customers have come from a small to mid-size business base. They want to utilize some enterprise technology and we provide them the access to that. Equally, the enterprise organizations that are working with us want to behave a bit more like a small business and want to be able to get a rapid ROI, fast implementation. And so we’re appealing to those sectors as well, because we can tick boxes in both camps.

Frank Sohn:

And one quick follow up question from my side here, what’s a small medium business from your point of view and what’s an enterprise business?

Matthew Day:

So our small to medium sized business sector, we class up to about a hundred Salesforce users. So where you have an organization that has got more than that, we would typically put those into our enterprise pot. That said, when I spoke earlier about working for a franchisor, we’ve got franchise businesses that are rolling out Flexpricer to their franchisees. Each of those franchisees themselves are small businesses, but the franchisor you might consider to be an enterprise. So the number of licenses and the number of people is sometimes an indicator towards the size of the business. However, we feel that it’s a somewhat arbitrary line as to where you choose to draw it because you can have small businesses that have got very complex needs or have got very demanding needs. And you can have enterprise businesses that actually you’re helping them simplify, and they want to drive simplicity into their organization and actually an implementation for them might even be easier than that for a small business.

Frank Sohn:

And in which geography do you have most of your customers, Matthew?

Matthew Day:

So our primary markets are the US and Europe. We do have clients that are dotted around the world, but if we were to carve it up, I would say probably 80% of our business is split between the US and Europe. So we are a global business in that we’ve got clients in every continent. However, it’s probably not unexpected that you find that the US is quite buoyant and Europe too. Germany, I think is probably one of our more significant European countries that we seeing a lot of activity going on in.

Frank Sohn:

Excellent. Nice. You mentioned during our prep call that your solution is a really simple solution, right? So now the question is obviously what makes it simple and how do your customers confirm that it is simple?

Matthew Day:

Well, what is simple. And simple means different things to different people, but what underpins Flexpricer really is a drive for me to keep things simple and to make implementing and using technology as simple as possible. Now, I’m sure most of your listeners will already know to create something that is simple is actually quite hard. It’s very, very easy to create something that’s complex and difficult, but to try and create something simple does take a lot more effort to consider how people are going to use it in order to keep it simple. And we confirmed this really in a number of ways. Just last year, I did a little test and said, “Okay.” I went to one of these freelance platforms and said, “Okay, I’m going to hire 10 people at varying levels of experience. Actually, I don’t really care what level of experience you’ve got. If you answer the ad, I’ll hire you. And I’m going to hire you for an hour and give you one feature of Flexpricer that I’d like you to get up and running with and send me a video with your feedback.”

Matthew Day:

And part of this was to A, test whether or not that it was as simple as we thought it was to be able to get up and running. And two, it was also a great way of getting feedback of other things that we could do to tweak and improve the act further. So we see fast implementations, we see high ROI generated really very, very quickly. We get feedback from people in the sector, administrators that are sometimes hired speculatively just to give us this feedback as ways of supporting our view that actually we have created something that can deliver fast results, can deliver high quality results, and can do it in a way that is simple.

Matthew Day:

We don’t really want businesses to have to hire expensive people, to be able to implement the solution, because that just adds to their total cost of ownership. I don’t know about most businesses. Well, I do know about most businesses. There’s quite a high turnover of staff that happen in those businesses, especially for in demand skills like Salesforce. And what happens is we don’t really want an organization to be locked in to having to have expensive, highly skilled resource in order to be able to support the platform that they’ve implemented. And that’s another element that we drive with Flexpricer is that it is easy to support, and actually you don’t need to have specialist qualifications to either configure it or to use it or to maintain it. And what that means is that when people do change roles, the new recruits find it very quick and easy to get up and running and understand how it works and support it for the business.

Frank Sohn:

And talking about fast implementation times, tell me, please, a little bit more what a typical implementation time is for your solution?

Matthew Day:

So how long is a piece of string? We do have implementations that can happen in a matter of days. We had one consultant who approached us and had installed Flexpricer from Salesforce, his AppExchange, into a sandbox environment. Spun up one of the features and demoed it to their client and got up and running with that. And did that demo within an hour of an install and you kind of go, “Whoa, hang on a second. That’s really very quick, but being able to focus in on just the features that are going to make the difference in that organization, it is very easy to demonstrate and host a custom demo really very quickly with an organization. Now, one hour might be taking you to one extreme. That person actually did such a good job at demoing it, the organization then recruited them.

Matthew Day:

So they were brought in off the back of that, which is great. At the other end of the extreme. Actually, if you’ve got Salesforce organizations that have been heavily customized and are not using standard Salesforce objects, they’re not using standard opportunity objects, or quote objects, or they’ve created some custom product portfolio, not using standard Salesforce products, then projects can take a little bit longer. Because it becomes more of a change management process and moving and migrating back towards standard Salesforce from which Flexpricer can then improve their systems. So for an organization that has already heavily customized, it is a bit difficult to give you a fixed number. What I can honestly say is typically a business is up and running within a month. Often it’s a matter of days and weeks. Rarely is it a lot longer than that, unless they’ve got heavily customized systems that are using non-standard Salesforce objects.

Frank Sohn:

Mm. And one thing which is interesting in this context, I guess, is also which features and functions are in the highest demand. So if you could think of the top three features and functions that your customers are interested in, what these be?

Matthew Day:

Well, certainly a hot topic at the moment is subscriptions functionality and being able to manage contracts and ongoing subscriptions. I think, there’s probably three features that jump out as being our common request. One of those being subscriptions. The second is volume pricing and being able to adjust product prices based on quantity either of on a generic basis or for a specific client. And the third is for our simple product configurator, which essentially is a configurator that goes to one level of customization. So it kind of goes rather than being an N level where you can customize from a selection, then go and customize that selection, and then from that sub selection go and customize that sub selection. We don’t go to of that level of detail. Our simple product configurator is around selecting a master product and then having a whole bunch of options that might be selected for that product.

Matthew Day:

Sure. You can do things like if you check one option that it automatically checks some others or prevent some other options being selected, but we only go down one level. That’s what helps us keep it simple. It might mean that some clients, it’s not a suitable solution for them, and that’s absolutely fine. We’re not here to sort of oversell what the tech can do. What we want to do is try and challenge businesses to go, “What can you do to simplify? Because if you can simplify, if we could help you simplify the solution, then it is going to be easier for you in the long run to be able to maintain it, to be able to support it, and to be able for it to add value to the business.” And I don’t know how many times… In fact, I do know how many times. I think it was two or three weeks ago, I had the Salesforce consultant come through as a prospect and wanted to chat through with me their list of requirements for a CPQ solution that he’d been hired into to be able to help.

Matthew Day:

And I said, “Okay, all right. Take me through this list, would you?” And he brought up on screen, this massive spreadsheet with… Well, it looked massive, tiny font, loads and loads of lines scrolling down. Here’s the list of all the requirements and said, “Can you do this? Can you do this?” I was like, “Okay, well, send it over and I’ll take a look. But tell me, what is it? You said that you’ve been talking to your sales director. What is it that’s driving the sales director? What’s the challenge? What’s the problem that that sales director’s really got, if you had to really, really boil it down?” And he answered this by saying that the sales director was frustrated because he couldn’t see the amount of margin that was being made by his sales team, because they’d got products that were set up with a price of zero, and then they had to go to a spreadsheet and go and find out what the price would be, and then type that into Salesforce.

Matthew Day:

And it would add up all the prices, but he’d got no idea whether they typed in the right price, the wrong price, what the costs were that were associated with it. So finding out the margins for the sales was the crucial piece that this sales director was after. So I said, “Okay, here’s your list of requirements. Can you show me which ones of these actually point to the sales director and understanding the amount of margin that was created?” And not one of those lines on the spreadsheet actually articulated that. This was a requirements list that had been generated by going out to the business and going and asking for people what they’d want from a system. And they’d come up with this big, long list. When actually what it boiled down to was the thing that would make the difference to the business was the sales director being able to measure his sales team’s performance based on margin and how easily can we help them do that?

Matthew Day:

You don’t need to have lots of requirements. Sure. Coming up with lots of requirements, if they’re absolutely necessary, that’s cool. It might be that Flexpricer is not the right solution in that case. But the bottom line here was the business would have incredible value added simply by solving one of those problems and by helping zone in on that particular problem and shining a light on that actually then made the sales director’s life easier. It makes the Salesforce consultants life easier because it gives them somewhere to go and focus.

Frank Sohn:

Excellent. Now, my last question is really where do you see CRM Team Global and Flexpricer for Salesforce to go in the foreseeable future? Anything that you can share?

Matthew Day:

Well, we are going to go global, Frank. Yeah. I think the potential and the market for Flexpricer and the messaging around the simplicity is something that is appealing for a wide range of organizations. We see our market very much as the long tail of businesses. There’s always going to be businesses that have got complex needs, and that have got high demands of a complex system that we’re just not going to cater for. Where we see significant potential across 2022, 2023, and the foreseeable future, is the growth of those organizations that need to do more than just price book pricing that they get out of the box with Salesforce. But can’t quite justify stretching to a complex CPQ and that there’s hundreds and thousands, tens of thousands of organizations out there who want to be able to take the first step towards it.

Matthew Day:

And we’re there to give them that stepping stone to do so. And we’re constantly investing and innovating in the app. Just recently we launched a new feature into Flexpricer 360. So that’s our entry level version of Flexpricer called Greener Selling. And the whole purpose of Greener Selling is to help those businesses that want to take a step towards selling in a more eco-friendly way, the option to be able to recommend eco-friendly or sustainable alternative products when their client asks for one product, let the sales a person know what the eco-friendly or sustainable alternative to that product is.

Matthew Day:

So we’re not just focused entirely on price all the time. We’re also looking at can we use this tech to help give businesses eco-friendly options that they can offer their clients? And we see that as another area that… Businesses are going to, over time, become more and more aware. We’re all becoming more and more aware of the impact that we’re having on our environment. And if we can help businesses start to think that way, and for those businesses that want to do that, then we’ve got on an option to be able to help them do that.

Frank Sohn:

And unfortunately, we’re coming to the end of this episode. I have many more questions we didn’t get to today, but in case anyone has follow up questions for you, what’s the best way for them to get a hold of you?

Matthew Day:

Well, they’re more than welcome to contact me via email. You contact me at matthewday@flexpricer.com. By all means, check out the website, flexpricer.com, or you can follow us on LinkedIn. We’ve got updates on what’s happening on the app going on in there as well.

Frank Sohn:

Great. We will have all this information in the show notes. So thank you very much, Matthew, for making time for the CPQ Podcast today.

Matthew Day:

And thanks for having me on, Frank. Really appreciate it. Bye-bye for now.

Frank Sohn:

I’d like to thank everyone for listening and hope you learned something interesting today. If you like the podcast, please go ahead and rate it on iTunes or shared with your friends and colleagues. In the meantime, you can find us online at www.novuscpq.com. So long, everyone.