Why a Buyer-Centric Sales Process is Your Competitive Advantage | Trevor Larson of Nectar
About this episode
In today’s episode, Melissa sits down for a (virtual) drink with Trevor Larson, Cofounder and CEO of Nectar. After Trevor pours his Monster energy drink and Melissa her San Pellegrino, Trevor shares his career backstory. He and his team had some major pivots and were bootstrapped for a couple of years. Nectar came to be as the result of one of these major pivots. The company is an employee rewards and recognition platform that focuses on helping to enable great company culture and make people feel valued, appreciated and trusted. Their ultimate mission is to build a sense of purpose and community in the workforce. The pandemic emerged just after Nectar launched their MVP. The overnight shift to remote work that followed helped lead the company to success.
In the beginning stages of Nectar, the company was focused more on employee benefits and perks compared to what they do now. Trevor launched the company with two cofounders, then brought in a CTO just out of coding bootcamp to build everything out. As bad of an experience as hiring out was, it was the only way they could have gotten something off the ground with their limited resources. Once they got a little bit of angel funding in the beginning, they were able to bring on an additional technical co-founder. Winning a university startup competition gave them validation right off the bat. He recalls their excitement of receiving their very first check in the mail after winning over some customers. From there, they felt comfortable knocking on different company’s doors to spread the word.
Once the pandemic hit, Trevor and the other co-founders decided that it was time to figure out how to bring customers to them, rather than putting in so much effort to seek them out. Their current revenue model was not sustainable and it was time for something new. First, they contacted review sites to amass a good amount of positive reviews and then began running ads against it. Then, they established online partnerships with relevant HR blogs. Right now, Nectar’s goal is to continue to thread the needle and grow quickly.
Being bootstrapped is both difficult and rewarding. Trevor believes it helped him be disciplined and strategic about every possible move. Being scrappy and resourceful is actually one of Nectar’s core values. It also helped the team adopt a customer-centric mindset which is now woven into the fabric of the company. Next, Trevor reflects on the things he wishes the company had done differently. As a founder, he learned, you have to figure out everything yourself rather than rely on outsourcing. Thus, a founder’s biggest strength must be a love of learning and the desire to figure things out and try new things on their own.
A startup entering a hot space can be difficult to differentiate. Trevor’s philosophy in this regard was to find areas in which Nectar could be 1% better than their competition. In their market specifically, he noticed the process of buying B2B software was excruciating. Thus, they aimed to be the easiest software for a customer to buy and clearly displayed prices on their website (something others were not doing). Then, they provided as many free resources to their buyers as possible so they could self educate. Sales no longer has to be the gatekeeper of information as it used to be. The swiftness of their process has proven to be very successful among buyers.
Before the episode wraps up, Trevor offers his best advice for other companies interested in adopting this strategy themselves. It all comes down to thinking about how you personally want to buy a product, then imitating that in your own sales strategy. Culture is another key element to the work at Nectar, which they believe is the ultimate building block for a great company. Though culture is the biggest competitive advantage, it is often difficult for companies to tackle. He identifies the 6 key pillars of culture: connection, recognition, empathy, alignment, trust and enablement. Finally, he advises bootstrapped companies on how to build their team.
0:55 - Welcome to this episode, in which host Melissa interviews Trevor Larson.
3:52 - Who is Trevor and what does he do?
6:02 - The beginning stages of Nectar.
10:13 - How they continue to build revenue.
16:50 - The bootstrapped mindset.
19:55 - Reflecting on the things Trevor would have done differently.
24:08 - Trevor’s philosophy around building a buyer-centric sales process.
31:10 - How this strategy has helped to build Nectar.
35:06 - Advice for companies who want to adopt this strategy.
35:26: The importance of healthy company culture and its core pillars.
43:42 - Advice for companies on attracting a team while bootstrapping.
Welcome to the ProfitLed podcast, where we discover proven growth strategies for bootstrapped entrepreneurs from the people who have done it before to help you accelerate your business! The ProfitLed podcast is brought to you by eWebinar, the leading automated webinar tool, and hosted by eWebinar Cofounder and CEO, Melissa Kwan.
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