Navigating the Sales world from a non-sales background with Ryan Matonis

About This Episode

Ryan Matonis, the founder of Lead Engines, a software designed to turn any cold outreach system into a lead-generating machine. Stops by to talk about his journey through the world of SaaS sales.
With no experience in sales before beginning the journey, and after founding a SaaS company, Ryan had to teach himself the ins and outs of the SaaS sales world. Ryan explains to Brad those tricks he learned and more in his journey to where he is today.

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Navigating the Sales world from a non-sales background with Ryan Matonis

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Brad Seaman: So I’ll go ahead and let you kind of tell us how you got to where you’re at and we’ll go from there. Yeah.

[00:00:06] Ryan Matonis: Well, I guess my journey has mostly been characterized by not really even knowing where I want to go. So way back in the day I got into software because it was kind of universal. I didn’t know if I wanted to do like math or bio or something like that.

So I ended up in software because you can do it. And then along the way, after doing that for a few years, I was at Northrop Grumman and there was this big project. I convinced them they needed to do to make something automated that they had been doing manually ended up saving them like a million bucks.

And they offered me, it was like $62,000 a year. And I was like, Hey, wait a minute. That’s not a great deal. You already told me how much money I saved you. So I told myself that I was going to go work for myself and I was going to make a lot more. And that ended up being half true. I worked for myself and you know, I kind of learned doing that, that it didn’t matter what I wanted to do with my life.

As long as I knew that I didn’t want to be working for somebody, I needed to learn how to market and sell. Right. Whether or not I was going to be a software developer, I was going to go do some biotech thing. Somebody was going to have to buy it. Or it’s gonna work for someone. So. I started doing lead generation for companies.

And the idea was I would work with entrepreneurs and business owners that were already, you know, in there in the thick of it, trying to get their product in front of people. They knew they knew how to sell it. They knew who they were selling it to and like work with them directly to learn how to start sales conversations, and sell things to people and market to people.

And then, you know, by the end of it, the software developer part of my brain took back over and we ended up with the lead generation.

[00:00:00] Brad Seaman: So I’ll go ahead and let you kind of tell us how you got to where you’re at and we’ll go from there. Yeah.

[00:00:06] Ryan Matonis: Well, I guess my journey has mostly been characterized by not really even knowing where I want to go. So way back in the day I got into software because it was kind of universal. I didn’t know if I wanted to do like math or bio or something like that.

So I ended up in software because you can do it. And then along the way, after doing that for a few years, I was at Northrop Grumman and there was this big project. I convinced them they needed to do to make something automated that they had been doing manually ended up saving them like a million bucks.

And they offered me, it was like $62,000 a year. And I was like, Hey, wait a minute. That’s not a great deal. You already told me how much money I saved you. So I told myself that I was going to go work for myself and I was going to make a lot more. And that ended up being half true. I worked for myself and you know, I kind of learned doing that, that it didn’t matter what I wanted to do with my life.

As long as I knew that I didn’t want to be working for somebody, I needed to learn how to market and sell. Right. Whether or not I was going to be a software developer, I was going to go do some biotech thing. Somebody was going to have to buy it. Or it’s gonna work for someone. So. I started doing lead generation for companies.

And the idea was I would work with entrepreneurs and business owners that were already, you know, in there in the thick of it, trying to get their product in front of people. They knew they knew how to sell it. They knew who they were selling it to and like work with them directly to learn how to start sales conversations, and sell things to people and market to people.

And then, you know, by the end of it, the software developer part of my brain took back over and we ended up with the lead generation.

[00:01:43] Brad Seaman: Gotcha. Well, we’ll tell us, so we’re in the lead space with our calling, calling an email product. So I’d love to hear about, you know, tell us a little bit about lead engines.

[00:01:52] Ryan Matonis: Yeah. So lead engines is a B2B search engine. It integrates with almost 20 cold outreach platforms right now. So cold email and cold phone calling. And what it does is you plug in your search criteria. So you say, Hey, I want to go after besides company. These industries, these job titles, these keywords and lead engines adds new contacts to your cold outreach campaigns every day.

So they never run out of leads. And all you have to do is respond to the people that are interested or take the meetings, you know, if they just sign up now,

[00:02:23] Brad Seaman: do you have now, do you help? So you’re just providing the data, right? So you’re not dealing with any, any of the deliverables. Well, so

[00:02:32] Ryan Matonis: deliverability is a huge part or a, data’s a huge part of deliverability, right?

There’s bounce rates. There’s also just accuracy. So if you’re emailing people that don’t match the search criteria that you put in, or if you put in a bad search criteria, you’re going to end up on the spam list. Even if you write a great email and then have them bounce. Alternatively, you know, if you find all the right people, but you don’t actually find their emails and they all bounce in, you know, that’s not gonna work either.

So, yeah, it’s a, we don’t do like a deliverability products, but you know, data

[00:03:04] Brad Seaman: is a hundred percent. You send the wrong, the right message to the wrong people. You’re going to get on the wrong list right now. Do you consider yourself, like, when you think about the lead space where do you guys feel like you fit in?

There’s ZoomInfo is obviously growing. You know, they’ve gone, they’ve gone public discover zoom. However you wanna think about that. You’ve got seamless. There’s lots of other little players in the space like Lucia, where do you feel like you feel? Yeah.

[00:03:31] Ryan Matonis: So the thing you’ll notice about the lead space is people like to use a different tool for you know, finding the companies.

They want to target the people they want to target. They’ll go by their emails somewhere else and they’ll go do their verification somewhere else. What our approach was was were sort of an integration of all these different tools. And we niched in on cold emails specifically. So you could say we’re a competitor with ZoomInfo.

You could say we’re a competitor with seamless. You could say we compete with sales navigator even. But ultimately what we do is first and foremost, recalled cold email. And that means you know, if you have all the tools in one place, And the system is just geared for cold email. You’re going to get a better cold email list than if you combined a bunch of different tools that weren’t specifically,

[00:04:19] Brad Seaman: The thing about the data space, and you sort of said this is that nobody buys data from one place.

So it’s not, I don’t, I maybe someday it will be, but as of today, I don’t think it’s a winner. Take all. I think it’s a big market. I think there’s a lot of huge opportunities for a lot of different players. Maybe you see zoom become the standard in the winter, in the space. I don’t know. I th I, I don’t necessarily know that that will happen.

I think you’ll continue to have lots of continue to have lots of players and, and a lot of places where people can be successful. How did you come up with that? You have a COVID. And the lead engines. Did you have somebody that got you interested in sales or was it really kind of self self-interest?

[00:05:04] Ryan Matonis: No, that was that was hunger had bills to pay. I think there’s a brutal way to get into sales and I think that’s the,

[00:05:13] Brad Seaman: yeah, I, oh,

[00:05:15] Ryan Matonis: sorry. You know, to answer your question, the original idea for lead engines wasn’t entirely my own. So my first customer actually was reaching out, asking me to build a software dashboard, like an internal tool for their B2B lead generation agency.

And they were using a combination of these third party data sources to build lead lists. They were doing it manually. It was very repetitive and they wanted to automate it. Right. And the idea was basically lead engines. And so they reached out to me to build it. The only problem was they didn’t have enough budget, but I was pretty interested in the products.

It was, it kind of checked a lot of boxes, but I was looking for and so I said, okay, here’s what I’ll do. I can build it for what you’re telling me your budget is, but I’m going to own it. You’re going to have a lifetime license. And that means that if it breaks, you don’t have to pay to get it fixed.

Other people are going to want upgrades and you’re going to get them from. And you don’t have to worry about owning this piece of software, like you don’t code. Right. So yeah, like what would you do? You would just pay money if it broke. And so he said, okay, let’s do it. And so they became my first customer.

They’re actually still a customer today, I think almost four years later. And so, you know, they kind of had the original idea. I had the idea that it should be a B2B SAS product and not just some tool that they had in-house

[00:06:29] Brad Seaman: Awesome. Yeah, it’s always nice. When you have kind of the, as an entrepreneur, you have the proof that somebody is going to pay, you know, that you can sort of step out. You’re not, you’re not just making something up and, and peddling it. And I think most, I think most, we like to think about kind of smart ideas of napkins and, you know, guys sitting around drinking bourbon and coming up with business ideas.

But I think in most cases, things that. Are things that people have problems with that get brought either you specifically have a problem with, did you come up with a solution or somebody else has a problem and they evolve.

[00:07:04] Ryan Matonis: Yeah. Ideas of all is by being networked. Right? So these people were at sales and lead generation people, and they happen to talk to me who was like an automation and data science nerd.

And so I had my own take on it. And then, you know, along the way I’ve brought in other people to work on the team. The I tell them what I believe. And they come at it from a different perspective and the idea of all is a little bit more. But you always have to get the new perspectives or.

[00:07:29] Brad Seaman: Now a a hundred percent.

Did you have now when you started the business, was it, did you have any like, where, I guess, where are you guys at now? I’m assuming four years in. You’ve got some, you know, you’re technical, so you’ve probably got a product market fit. You’ve got you know, partnerships you’ve got you’ve got some scalability going on.

How many clients do you have? Yeah, so

[00:07:49] Ryan Matonis: we’re in the hundreds of users. Hundreds of paying users, I should say. And we start at 200 bucks a month, so that’s.

[00:07:58] Brad Seaman: So when I think about, so our tool, we have a dialing Juul, and we provide salespeople the ability to talk to eight to 12 people an hour. It’s essentially, what’s unique about it is that it has live agents.

So all the AI that exists in the world still can’t tell the difference between the. Kelly, the guy and Kelly, the girl, and they can’t tell the difference between you know, a voicemail and a gatekeeper. There’s a lot of things that even though AI is improved, at some point, it might be able to do this.

It still takes some context to be able to make decisions. And so our applications. As unique in the sense that it’s a dialing application, but when we need a human to make a decision, we’re going to bring the human into do that. So it might look like a human play dialing a phone prompt, or it might look like a human interacting with administrative assistant, but we’re combining dialing in AI technology along with human.

Not only to create a compliant experience, but to also deal with all the complexities that exist in the B2B environment. So with that being said, we spend a lot of time talking about data and it’s one of those things where it’s like, we’re, we’re probably as much in the we don’t sell data, but we’re kind of in the data space in the sense that we spend a lot of time talking about it.

Talking about it internally and talking about it with our clients. I’d say, you know, it’s, it’s a personal it’s kind of a personal interest for us. So this took a little bit of a different, usually we’re talking about the entrepreneur, we’re talking about your story. But this took a little out of the gates, took a little bit of a detour because we started talking about your product and the, in the market.

So so with that, with all that being said you know, what is your, you know, I guess I’ll just kind of let you go. Like what, what kind of stuff. Passionate about what, when you think about sales, you think about yourself as being equally passionate, like more passionate about software development or more passionate about selling stuff.

Yeah.

[00:09:42] Ryan Matonis: Wow. I have sort of come up with this conviction that I’m trying not to like put any of the roles on a pedestal. And so I’m, I’m in a, I’m surrounded by smart people. Most of my friends are smart people. They’re doctors, they’re attorneys. And they’re all talented people. And I’ve noticed that people really get focused on like what they do in their own interests.

And, you know, that’s a good thing. I don’t know if that’s a great thing in entrepreneurship. I know a lot of people that wouldn’t pay a lot of money for like web design, they think it’s a waste. Or they like, I’m not going to pay a graphic designer that much, or like copywriting because they’re putting all these other skills on a pedestal and maybe it’s like some sort of academic ha.

Hierarchy of like, well, you do philosophy, but I do astrophysics. I think there’s a lot of that. You know, sales is important in product development is important. It’s as a solo founder, it all becomes so interconnected that there’s a sales solution and there’s a customer support solution. There’s a marketing solution and there’s a programming solution to every problem you might encounter.

[00:10:45] Brad Seaman: Say that, we’ll say that one more time.

[00:10:48] Ryan Matonis: Yeah. So when you’re a founder and you know, I was in not to totally go on a tangent. I was in Mexico the other weekend, and I saw a guy selling sombreros and he was walking around with about 20 hats on his head. And he was trying to keep his head on straight.

And I deeply empathized with that. As a solo founder of sales, marketing software, developing accounting, you know, like just right. As a solo founder, There is a solution. There’s a, there’s a sales solution. There’s a marketing solution. There’s an engineering solution. There’s a customer support solution.

There’s a pricing solution to pretty much every problem that you can encounter. Right. It’s not, everything’s a tech solution. It’s you could just raise your price. And like, when I started working with a lot of other CEOs that don’t have a, don’t have a technology backup. It was interesting to see the way they would totally approach these problems.

Like if you know, your AWS budget is out of control. My first instinct is how am I going to use less server space? And, you know, my friend that is far more successful than I am is just raising his prices $10 and like not worrying about it. W

[00:11:53] Brad Seaman: well, I think that’s, this is such a fascinating, I mean, I think it’s super important what you said there, that there’s always multiple solutions to a problem.

Cause I think we like to think about. Just thing about emotions. Like w we like to think about things being singular, right? Like, so-and-so did this for this motive, but we’re, as people, we have lots of motivations and for problems, like, I think I read in a book one time. I wish I could remember the book, but the guy basically say w work, the guy who was working with large corporations.

And he said, when I talked to CEO what I have found is that there’s not typically one solution to ever problem. Like, we like to think about it as like, there’s one, we just need to do this one thing. And he’s like, that’s not the, that’s not the situation. There’s usually multiple solutions to the problem.

It’s a green it’s picky. And I think that, I think that’s why that’s so important is like how you come up with problems and how you think about it is like, we like to think about, Hey, there’s an issue and there’s one solution. But like you said, there’s a solution in each one of those buckets, whether it be pricing development.

I think that’s just a really interesting thought.

[00:13:04] Ryan Matonis: And then, you know, there’s also a problem with each of the solution that you pick, right? So anytime you change anything, it changes everything else. So you have to kind of think about the aftershocks of it too, especially when you’re, when it’s a software as a service product.

And it’s just a website people go to what do you feel

[00:13:20] Brad Seaman: like? The, so I really liked that wrote that down. You know, I try not to put my skills or try not to put skills on a pedestal because I think that’s true, right? If you break, if you, we have a tendency to solve problems from our strength. So if you’re a marketer you’re going to try to solve, everything’s a marketing problem.

That’s what you’re saying. You’re a sales guy for these. So when you hire people and I think this really comes into hiring, you know, I’ve learned to really try to pay attention to what kind of person you’re hiring and what their strong suits are. Because like, for example, if you bring in a marketing, let’s say you bring in a VP of marketing, depending on what that person marketing You know, kind of focus.

Is there going to really shape your company based on what they, their experiences? Right. So if they’re really good at podcasting, you’re probably going to have a marketing plan developed around podcasts. They’re really good. At email marketing. You’re probably going to have a marketing plan around email marketing because people have a tendency to want to solve problems out of their strengths.

What do you think the biggest challenge has been for you in terms of starting the business?

[00:14:23] Ryan Matonis: Oh man, that’s a good question. Because there’s so many,

[00:14:32] Brad Seaman: it’s hard, but it is, it is, it’s hard. It’s like you’re spinning so many plates. Did you have to be

[00:14:38] Ryan Matonis: consistent about things that you don’t get to automate? So like, especially with my background, I have like a personal religious. Opposition to doing things repetitively that could probably be automated. You

[00:14:52] Brad Seaman: know, like you’d like to do stuff repetitively, or you don’t

[00:14:55] Ryan Matonis: know if I’m going to do something two or three times.

Like if I’m going to send you an onboarding email after you sign up, I’m going to automate that.

[00:15:02] Brad Seaman: That’s

[00:15:02] Ryan Matonis: great. But in sales, like you got to call your leads and you can’t just robo dial them and play a voicemail. And my brain is just not geared to waking up and doing my dials. And doing the things that are repetitive, that might be a strength.

Maybe that’s a sign. I need to be hiring people for those things. But man, sometimes you just have to do it yourself and that’s just not what I’m built for now. Have you had to learn to sell? Yeah. Yeah. I certainly, I didn’t know how to do it before and I get sales now. Learning happened somewhere. What do you think

[00:15:37] Brad Seaman: the biggest challenge was like?

W so, so here’s what I think is really fascinating. I love and I don’t know if I’m sure there’s a word for this and you might, you might you might be able to know what word it is, but I love when somebody has a skill in one thing. And then they, then they rebrand or get involved in some other things.

So it might look like a developer who’s like really got an interest in sales or a sales person who really has an interest in development where you kind of have this skill set or background, and then you get interested or brand yourself in another way. So I find that really super fascinating. I think probably because of the evolutionary process, like watching people change is cool.

And so when you decided that you had start selling. Did you have like, walk me through that process. Did you have fears? Did you have concerns? I give you try, like what have you done to try to solve the sales problem? I mean, you see really articulate. So it seems like you’d probably do pretty good at getting on the phone and interacting with buyers, but take me through that.

[00:16:40] Ryan Matonis: I guess for me, it definitely wasn’t like being bashful about reaching out. I’ve done scientific presentations. I was Tom Sawyer and I was Harold Hill from the music man. So somebody somewhere,

somebody, some somebody at some point pegged me as the traveling salesman and we type gas and use that. So there were parts of that came naturally still software to salespeople claiming I don’t know what I’m doing when you have never sold anything and you didn’t grow up selling anything. And like your parents weren’t salespeople and like nobody ever really taught you about sales.

There’s this. Like weird, funny, moral feeling you get in your gut around sales that I think is probably what was holding me back at first. I wasn’t really afraid of getting in front of people. I went to a pitch event and I think the first investor I walked up to, he told me to go away before I even finished my first sentence.

And I went onto the next guy and like, it was fine. So I can handle those kinds of things, but it was always like, there’s that moment where you tell people what it costs. And it’s like, if you’re not experienced, like your voice changes and like, oh, well, you know, it’s 1500, but it could be 500, you know?

Right. Like

for me, the thing sounds really dumb. But one of the things that helped me was asking myself, like, if you look around and you look at all the people that are like super rich, right. And you look at all the things they could do in the world and you ask yourself, like, do you think you would do. Then, like the average, one of those people, if you had what they had.

And if you, if you do think you would, then you have like a moral responsibility to go out and try to do that, right? Like when you’re asking people for money or you’re trying to sell somebody something it’s not like, because I’m not telling myself it’s because I want to go buy a nice dinner and then go make a down payment on like a Lamborghini or something.

It’s like, I believe that I’m going to do more with it. And so that’s what kind of gets me through like, yes, I’m selling lead lists to people and I’m cold emailing people and I’m annoying them, but like, there’s a

[00:18:51] Brad Seaman: bigger purpose to it. You’re solving a real problem. There’s a bigger person that you’re solving a real, you’re solving a real problem for somebody.

What did your parents do? Were they scientists?

[00:19:01] Ryan Matonis: So actually I didn’t realize my, my dad was in sales until much later on. He was a business. And I don’t think I was in my twenties until I realized that that’s actually a sales role. So he sold products that don’t exist yet to the military. Basically you would help them design the, you know, they, you know, this fighter jet is going to need this computer chip in 10 years kind of thing.

[00:19:21] Brad Seaman: I probably thought about that more as like Prada. I mean, that is sales, but that probably felt well maybe a little bit more like product. Yeah. He called it.

[00:19:28] Ryan Matonis: He called it. And he raised me on Dilbert, which probably wasn’t good for me, but

[00:19:36] Brad Seaman: it’s really funny. It did it was your mom. You would see a teacher or

[00:19:42] Ryan Matonis: so my mom she,

[00:19:43] Brad Seaman: I don’t know why I thought teacher, but I just, through that, I just felt like working for selling to the government and being a teacher went together.

[00:19:50] Ryan Matonis: Oh yeah. So my mom, actually, she worked at the same company as my dad.

She was, she started out as an administrator. And then she had to stop working for a couple of years cause I got really sick and then she went back to college and she just recently retired. And when she retired you as the director of mergers and acquisitions at Kubik and she accomplished all of that starting like in her forties, which was very cool.

[00:20:12] Brad Seaman: Cool. That’s cool. And like really. Yeah, man, you just have so much it’s

[00:20:21] Ryan Matonis: maybe someday I’ll finish my college degree.

[00:20:25] Brad Seaman: Well, so you’re in good. You’re in good company. So I have, I have like a class to take. To be an official graduate of my university. And what happened was I came out of school. I was trying to take a summer school class and I started, started working and then I started in business and I just didn’t get, I just didn’t get to it.

So I’ve never had a now I feel like a moral obligation to finish. I feel like I’ve never thought of myself as like, not an actual graduate because I went across, you know, like I walked across the stage. You know, I got, they gave me the diploma just didn’t have anything in it. Right. So I’m like a little box, but it doesn’t have the, doesn’t have the diploma in it.

So my mom used to call me every week and tell me that I needed to like religiously would call me and say, you need to finish. And at some point she stopped calling me. So

[00:21:19] Ryan Matonis: So we’ll see. That’s nice when people

[00:21:23] Brad Seaman: either a, she didn’t think I was going to do it, or she thought I had surpassed my need for for, for a college degree.

I don’t know which I don’t know which one. So,

[00:21:32] Ryan Matonis: but Brad, Brad go to college and get a job brand. When did people start telling you

[00:21:39] Brad Seaman: that? I don’t know. I mean, I went right into, right into work of the build stuff, so nobody ever, but the two people that were really on. About the, about the degree where my best friend’s mom who worked at the university.

So she would call anytime, I’d see her. She’d be like, you know, Hey, I got your Tran. She was the words in transcripts. So she’s like, I got your transcripts. I’m all ready for you. You just have to take this one class. So her name was Kelly. Kelly was really on me to get the degree and my mom, but you know, that was a decade ago.

1520 years ago at this point. So anyways yeah, so you’re, so you’re in good company. So did you have a good college experience or did you just go straight to

[00:22:19] Ryan Matonis: experience? Yeah, so before I went to college, I worked at the research facility called the Salk Institute for biological studies which is one of the top five biology research institutes in the world.

It’s pretty much every single year. So I was able to pretty much just walk in the door at whatever lab I wanted to be at in college. And I was like, I was the kind of kid that would ditch class and go hang out in the lab and go get some research done. So I did have like a really good experience in that sense.

And I had a lot of fun. I, on freshman year, I got put on the same dorm floor as a girl and a. Bought a wedding ring or engagement ring for her. Like last week, it’s been nine years. We’ll probably say us.

[00:23:06] Brad Seaman: He done that. Have you ever proposed yet? We won’t release as a tell you proposed as the case

[00:23:10] Ryan Matonis: you happen to be Sunday, I’ve got the inner plan, less weight.

[00:23:17] Brad Seaman: Now when you were at north or Grumman, did you have. So what take you there for, you know, for four years? So you started as an intern and you just stayed, even though you didn’t have your degree.

[00:23:27] Ryan Matonis: Yeah. So my degree was taking a really long time because I got sick. And ended up, I got sick a second time actually.

And it ended up taking several years more than I expected in order to be resolved. And so I was in and out of school for a pretty long. But I was also kind of always working because, you know, money and health insurance are good and they let me work remotely. But I got to work on all sorts of really cool projects.

Went through. We did everything from manufacturing, electronic warfare, worked on a couple of fighter jets. At one point I got to fly the F 35 simulator. I got quickly removed from the F 35 simulator because. Went underground. And I showed everybody what it looked like from the world. This went wrong.

[00:24:09] Brad Seaman: You’re just like, they’re like, we got Ryan. like, Hey guys, I got this little trick, all the machine instructors a lot cut. They kicked me off and they put in one of the air force

[00:24:21] Ryan Matonis: guys and took orders better than I did.

[00:24:25] Brad Seaman: This is not a game run. This is not a game. This is real flood. That’s awesome. Oh man, you got, I love that story, dude.

You just got on there and went raw. You went rogue and all the military guys were freaking out.

[00:24:37] Ryan Matonis: I mean, it’s a stimulator, right? It doesn’t, it was wasn’t military guys. It was people that were trying to promote. You’re trying to do a promo video that was

[00:24:46] Brad Seaman: running. Okay. I just envisioned you, like, you know, you’re in the underground room, they got all these you know, super high, efficient military, and they invite you into that.

And all of a sudden you’ve hacked the video game and they’re all freaking out. I didn’t

[00:25:01] Ryan Matonis: have anything. I just figured out if you fly it into the ground, it just goes straight through.

[00:25:08] Brad Seaman: That’s awesome. Oh man. I feel like we could talk for, I feel like we’ve talked forever. So, so a couple of things I want to, that you talked about that I want to hone in on, you talked about this con the concept of like skill, try not to put skills on a pedestal. And I want to use that topic. And I, I want to ask you a question when you think about that, like not wanting to put skills on a pedestal.

What do you think about, are you thinking like when you’re solving problems, are you trying to think about it from as an entrepreneur? Are you trying to think about it from multiple different perspectives? Yeah. It’s,

[00:25:41] Ryan Matonis: it’s multiple perspectives and it’s really just like, you got to figure out what your options are.

Like, you wouldn’t go by the first for solution. You see? So a good example is like, if there’s a user experience issue on your website like on your SAS product, Do you want to do you want to fix it? Do you want to put a little tip button? Like a little question, mark and a circle? People can hover over.

You wanna write a blog article? It’s maybe kind of a really like lame example, but you know, you, you, you get those choices for everything. I guess a better example might be something like we were looking at the best way to promote the products and we had 18 integrations. And we realized that everybody that has a marketing automation tool in everybody that has you know, some kind of cold email platform, they need more leads either.

They need leads to get started, or they’ve emailed all the people on their list and they need a new list. And so we realized we can go tell those companies. People are canceling where they’re failing to sign up at all because they don’t have a list or because they’ve emailed all the people that they’ve emailed and you can either send them this guide on here’s the six step process to build the lead list.

Or you can send them a link to lead engines with a free trial promo code, and they can get, you know, 300 credits and they’ll stay on your platform. They’ll be retained better because you know, it’s easier to continue to use it. And it’s just kind of like thinking about. How do you access, like what skills are available to access the other players in the, in the ecosystem and like kind of use them to your advantage?

It brings me all the way back, actually the light you know, systems ecology is they have that picture of here’s these animals that eat these animals and they eat these animals. And if you make this animal that there’s more of this animal, there’s going to be less of that and more of these a hundred percent.

Yeah. So there’s, there’s kind of this. Interactiveness between what you do and what all these other products in the market do. And there’s a bunch of other people that have a business where you solve the problem that they create for their customer, right. Every solution creates a new problem. So I think you said you’re, you’re an autodialer right?

So let’s say I don’t have any leads. And then I discover that I can get leads through cold calling. Well, now I have a problem that I, I can’t cold call it off, right. So if you had, you know, you could obviously came up with like sales consultants and all sorts of this is a pretty typical pathway, but I think a SAS product takes people that, you know, create that need, you can come up with them and you can be an additional revenue stream for them.

And you know, you might have originally thought the solution is to write a blog article and tell people why they need an audit Isler. Right. Like I don’t know if that’s a great. No, I, I,

[00:28:18] Brad Seaman: well, I think so. Here’s what I think. Here’s what I, here’s what I like. So I like that you have, you know, I can tell you have like a scientific approach to things.

So I can just tell there’s like a general hypothesis created and then you’re working through the solutions they’ll high pop it. So I think that’s a great way to think about trying to solve problems, because I do think the natural tendency is to solve from your perspective, right? Like whatever your strike is, you’re going to try to solve problems from, from that And so I love, I love the idea.

The thing I love about see people that have you know, science, biology backgrounds is they typically think from the hypothesis state or point of view right there. Right. That whether they do it cognitively or whether they’re whether they’re conscious of it or not conscious of it, there tends to be.

Some kind of hypothesis and then they’re coming up with a solution. So I think that’s great for anybody to think, think about doing, doing that. I think that’s a great way to solve problems. Do you, in terms of you guys building partnerships, have those partnerships been difficult? Obviously integrations are easy.

Have you been able to get these partnerships to. To promote you or to, you know, it’s one thing to integrate it. It’s another thing to get somebody to be on your side. And if you have, what, what have you found has made that successful? Yeah. So every

[00:29:36] Ryan Matonis: SAS product has someone on their team that writes content and doesn’t really know what to write about today, or maybe they won’t know what to write about next week.

Integrations are always really easy. Low-hanging fruit. And a lot of the times they’re better solutions than whatever their customer support team is sending over now, which is like a blog article that says here’s a way to do this manually. So if you come at the channel partnership from a value position and you’re like, Hey, my existence is good for limbless users.

It’s good for reply IO users. It’s good for Mailshake users. And here’s why, and these are these types of your users that just need to know about our products. We get referrals and partnerships and co-promotion from companies like these, and we don’t even pay them. We don’t pay a referral fee or anything like that.

And it’s because part of the value of a SAS product, or like a tool is the rest of the things in the ecosystem. Like yes, a SAS product is $80, but, you know, right. For example, but what’s the cost of using it. Like if you have somebody sitting in. It’s, you know, actually using the tool, it’s almost universally going to cost more than the tool.

So you know, if you have integrations or you either there’s other products in the ecosystem that work together, like people aren’t buying, yes. People buy SAS, all the cart. They’ll go buy a product from you and we’ll go buy a product or somebody else will go buy a product from somebody else, but they’re not building the system all the cart.

And they’re not making that final investment decision on, am I going to buy lead engines or am I going to buy this it’s am I going to use lead engines and linguists in this? Or am I going to use sales navigator and ZoomInfo and outreach and Salesforce? And it’s, it’s, it’s something we don’t think about is like a startup founder, because we want to think it’s all about us and like our product and whatever.

But a lot of the times it’s better to just go after, you know, there’s all these people using this one cold email platform. Maybe there’s 5,000 of them all at the same time. And it’s a problem for the platform too. There’s a lot of teammates out in the world that are like very natural. You’re very naturally aligned with.

And there’s no barriers stopping you from crossroads?

[00:31:45] Brad Seaman: No, I think that’s a great, I think that’s a great, great insight. I love the idea of going to the content writer because you’re right. They got to write something and they’re probably running out. So

[00:31:53] Ryan Matonis: I’m going to get fired. That’s right.

[00:31:57] Brad Seaman: For sure. All right.

Well, well this was Ryan, this was awesome. I think, is there anything specific that a question that I didn’t ask that you really want to cover or anything that you’re really passionate about, you want to make sure you get a chance to talk

[00:32:08] Ryan Matonis: about? Yeah, it’s for me, the big thing my big sales angle is you know, if you want to do anything with your life, other than be employed, you have to learn how to market and sell.

If you want to learn how to market and sell, there’s probably no better way to do that. Do you lead generation for entrepreneurs and business owners. And if you want to do lead generation for entrepreneurs and business owners, there’s probably no better way to do that than.

[00:00:00] Brad Seaman: So I’ll go ahead and let you kind of tell us how you got to where you’re at and we’ll go from there. Yeah.

[00:00:06] Ryan Matonis: Well, I guess my journey has mostly been characterized by not really even knowing where I want to go. So way back in the day I got into software because it was kind of universal. I didn’t know if I wanted to do like math or bio or something like that.

So I ended up in software because you can do it. And then along the way, after doing that for a few years, I was at Northrop Grumman and there was this big project. I convinced them they needed to do to make something automated that they had been doing manually ended up saving them like a million bucks.

And they offered me, it was like $62,000 a year. And I was like, Hey, wait a minute. That’s not a great deal. You already told me how much money I saved you. So I told myself that I was going to go work for myself and I was going to make a lot more. And that ended up being half true. I worked for myself and you know, I kind of learned doing that, that it didn’t matter what I wanted to do with my life.

As long as I knew that I didn’t want to be working for somebody, I needed to learn how to market and sell. Right. Whether or not I was going to be a software developer, I was going to go do some biotech thing. Somebody was going to have to buy it. Or it’s gonna work for someone. So. I started doing lead generation for companies.

And the idea was I would work with entrepreneurs and business owners that were already, you know, in there in the thick of it, trying to get their product in front of people. They knew they knew how to sell it. They knew who they were selling it to and like work with them directly to learn how to start sales conversations, and sell things to people and market to people.

And then, you know, by the end of it, the software developer part of my brain took back over and we ended up with the lead generation.

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