Recently, a handful of brave young Bachelor students submitted their business thesis to BI Norwegian Business School. Three of those students were Kenneth, Robin and Joachim from BI Trondheim. Of all of the organizations they could have picked from to study and do research on, they chose Dogu. We sat down to ask them about whether they had found our secret plans for taking over the world. Ummm… I mean, we sat down to chat with them about why they chose Dogu, what they learned from us, and what we might learn from their research.
Along with their recommendations, there was also some very positive feedback. Out of all the customers who responded to the survey, 63% rated us 5/5 and the remaining 37% rated us 4/5 and said they would recommend us. Also, none of the customers said that they were unsatisfied and were thinking of leaving Dogu. This means that we must be doing something right, although we are constantly seeking for ways to improve and grow.
The Research Data
Their research came to four primary conclusions of what we should focus on:
- Categorization of customers based on size and return on investment (ROI).
- Better and more structured methods to follow-up with existing customers.
- Increase our number of sellers in order to generate more leads and sales.
- Develop a comprehensive marketing strategy to promote our product.
All in all, we think they nailed it. Successful business development requires constant improvement and we are glad to see that our internal understanding of the situation is also backed by their research. As of the time of this thesis, we have already taken steps towards correcting these problems.
- Their suggestion was that we categorize customers into 3 categories based on size and revenue in order to maximize the use of our resources as a small business. This is a common business theory which aims to ensure that each customer is properly taken care of in terms of their value to the company. Large clients have larger needs, pay more money, and as a result generally expect more return from their investment in us.
Currently, we do offer a more dedicated support and service system to our Pro and Enterprise customers which ranges from basic technical support to advanced consulting. The cost of these services is included in their pricing plans and support staff will flag and handle their cases accordingly.
In general, we believe that we offer premium support to all of our customers when they face technical issues.
- The research suggested that we should contact our customers more often in order to check-in and ask questions about their satisfaction with our product and whether they have any issues that we can help with. The research even showed that some of our customers have received only limited contact from us in the last 6–12 months. If you are reading this, we are so sorry about the lack of communication.
We need a better feedback and reporting system, more regulated customer interactions, and an improved method for ensuring that we contact our customers on a regular basis and store the information from the conversations. This has been difficult with so much product development taking place and a relatively small number of employees, but placing customers first will always be a primary priority at Dogu.
Within the last month, we have implemented Intercom in our product and marketing websites. Intercom allows our customers to reach us both through an in-app messenger or from email. We strive to respond to all incoming requests within less than 15 minutes during the business hours. We also leverage Intercom in many other ways. We use it to announce new features, to analyze customer behavior or to request for customer feedback. Our entire system is based around user feedback, so understanding customer needs and quality creating solutions to them is an essential piece of our business model.
We have also recently started developing case studies to highlight some of our customers who use SalesScreen and to draw information about why they purchased our product and what problems we have been able to solve for them. At the end of the day, it’s all about increasing ROI for customers by helping them to understand their data and motivate their sellers. These case studies have been incredibly useful in helping us to design a better product.
- While the research data meant this specifically in terms of growing our seller base as the organization grows, it is also very true in the present. With more sellers, we can generate more leads and put more people into our sales funnel.
We have very recently hired a new Head of Sales, Kim Jakobsson, who is already burning up a hot streak by racking up several new customers and numerous meetings this week. In addition, we will be starting a powerful advertising campaign through search engines, social media, and retargeting campaigns.
Currently, we are focused on making some big improvements to our product so that we can offer an even better product. We have already implemented 14-day free trials and soon we will have an online payment system, new competitions, and an online web shop full of goodies so that customers can create the perfect packages to suit their needs.
- As the CMO at Dogu, I can attest to the fact that this particular research point is spot-on. Up until very recently, Dogu did very little marketing and still managed to turn millions of Kroner in revenue, which is nothing short of amazing. However, all of the customers who responded said they heard of us through word-of-mouth which means that there is definitely much work to be done still.
We have started by redesigning the website, launching a new product video, and writing numerous blogs on things such as data visualization, sales, and the uses of gamification to drive performance amongst sellers. As we continue to improve our digital presence, we will also begin a comprehensive advertisement campaign in order to draw new customers.
Proper marketing is key to the growth of any business and in the next several months, we will be implementing many new campaigns to launch SalesScreen to global markets.
When asked why they chose to research Dogu, the students replied “we wanted to choose a new company that has big potential to grow into something really big. We wanted to study a group that has high competency in their field and is working with new and innovative products.” They also said something that got a good laugh out of all of us: “I got a Facebook feeling when I visited the first time, like Sindre was Mark Zuckerberg and the company was really going to go places”.
The students also said that they really wanted to work with a team where their research and contributions could make a difference, “In big companies, all of the problems are solved already. We want to make a difference and we want to help you so that you can continue to grow and improve”.
We also took a chance to interview them and ask the following important questions: “What did you think you’d learn from this experience before starting? What have you learned? Which research insights do you hope that Dogu implements most? How has this experience prepared you for the job market? What skills have you learned that will make you an asset to your future employer?”
“I wanted to get a taste of what real working life is like inside a small company. I definitely learned about the importance of having a structured follow-up process to ensure that customers are happy. I hope that Dogu will implement the research on categorizing customers because spending efforts on the right process is critical for a small company when striving for continued growth. There’s a lot of things in sales that you don’t think about but are really crucial. Sales isn’t easy. It’s not just all a hunch. You need structured processes to get to know your customers and make them feel valued. I can bring value to my next employer because I understand better how important the customer relationship is and I really want to provide top-quality service to them because it makes me proud to always do my best to help the solve problems.”
“I wanted to learn the basics of starting and running a company. I wanted to learn about entrepreneurship and what it takes to succeed. I wanted to learn what it takes to be first and stay ahead of the competition. In this research, I learned a lot about the process of marketing and how to go through a pitch and a sales funnel from prospecting to meeting, offering, and closing. I also learned how to keep focus on customer relationships. I hope that Dogu does a lot of work on the marketing because there are such great products with amazing potential. I hope they also implement more ways to keep focused on the customers and build lasting relationships. This helped me to understand the sales process because I’ve worked in sales before but now I have a much deeper understanding of what the whole process actually looks like from the inside out. It’s not as simple as I thought and I learned a lot about the use of CRM systems too. I learned a lot about keeping customers happy and I think any future employer will benefit from that.”
“I wanted to learn how a company works with sales, what the whole process looks like, how marketing is done, and how to grow from a small start-up into a big company. I learned about the importance of having strong relationship strategies. Competitors are never far behind and customers are always your most valuable assets. You need specific follow-up methods so that you never let the customer forget that you are there to serve them. I hope Dogu implements the customer categorization model so that they properly allocate their resources and always make the customers feel valued. I work in sales now, so I know about the sales process some but this really showed me the importance of building lifetime relationships with buyers so I can sell to them again and again and keep them happy. I can definitely bring knowledge of building relationships to my next employer because I understand loyalty and relationship strategies. The goal should be mutual… you want to help them as much as possible and have them help you through their continued business.”
Needless to say, these are smart young men with a very bright future. We cannot say thank you enough to them for all of their hard-work and efforts. We are honored that they chose us to do their research on and we will certainly be striving to do more to take care of our customers, build lasting relationships, redefine our value proposition, and boost our marketing.
Thanks guys and we wish you the absolute best of luck as you head into the next stage of life. Cheers!