One of the biggest challenges for companies with outside sales reps is the art of timely lead engagement. Here's how we're solving this problem.
Why I Joined Hatch and Where I Think This Could Go
It’s hard to believe it’s been five months since I sat down with our co-founder Chris Bache to discuss Hatch over a cup of coffee.
Next week is my five-month anniversary here at Hatch, but it feels like it’s only my fifth day - in a good way. Time flies when you’re having fun, right? Not to mention I’m expecting my first child in March.
Start-up life and parent life. Safe to say things are about to get very interesting.
For the first six years of my professional life, stretching back to my twilight years at Widener University, I built a sports ticketing start-up from the ground up selling tickets on the back of giants like StubHub, eBay, and Craigslist.
While I was still hustling on my own, I found myself falling in love with the start-up life. I’d frequently flip through start-up oriented publications like TechCrunch, Hacker News, and Techmeme - I knew what my industry calling was, but wasn’t quite sure where I’d fit in.
Around that time, I joined a relatively unknown start-up in DC called Mapbox as employee #28 and Mapbox’s first official sales hire.
I spent my time at Mapbox learning from various VPs that came and went. I was a sponge - I picked up everything that they passed along to me. The thing I love about start-up life is that there’s no such thing as making it - there’s always one more call to dial, always one more email to send, and always one more connection to make.
Working at a start-up sometimes reminds me of that myth about sharks - you have to keep moving forward or you die. That’s why there’s such an emphasis on culture at start-ups - we work hard, but the people in the trenches beside you are the ones who help keep you moving forward.
After six years having helped Mapbox grow well into double digits in ARR and seeing them raise a collective $228M in venture capital, I felt ready for my next challenge. I was ready to feel that initial rush and hustle again. I wanted to join something smaller and build again.
I connected with Chris Bache on LinkedIn and traded a few messages back and forth. I was intrigued with the product and with the leadership. Chris and his other co-founder, Bill Violante, were both former sales professionals who had transitioned to start-up life after a successful stint at Comcast.
Hatch was interesting - plenty of companies tout that they’re a “customer engagement platform,” but this one was different. It felt more real, and the more I learned about the origin of their story and the use cases, a light switch flipped in my head and I heard myself say out loud, “holy shit” when I realized how powerful this product actually was.
The fact that Hatch was accepted into Y-Combinator was just another sign that this product and leadership were different.
Seriously, think about how absurd it is - a small start-up based in Richmond, Virginia that specializes in the home improvement industry was accepted into an incubator program with an admission rate lower than Stanford University.
AirBnB, Stripe, Dropbox, DoorDash….and Hatch?
And on top of this - post their Y Combinator adventure, Hatch got backing by the amazing folks at NextView Ventures, Ludlow, and Dragon.
Hatch started four years ago. A friend of our co-founders came to them with a pretty huge problem. They had a high price tag for their product and they weren’t doing a very good job of communicating with their customers life cycle, pre-sale to post-sale.
Their immediate concern was, “how do I increase my close rate?” It was 30%. If we helped get that to 40% and their ASP was $14,000 we’d help them bring in a few extra million dollars that year.
Chris and Bill jumped at the opportunity to help this home improvement company. As they dug in and looked at what tool set the company was using, they both realized customer communication wasn’t happening. Why would it? They knew windows and doors, not customer engagement.
Turns out - the industry itself didn’t have easy communication tools from pre-sale to post-sale.
They realized SMS as a communication platform for consumers that were buying expensive stuff was important because the consumer was more likely to voice their concerns on price, talk financing and respond faster.
Hatch evolved and turned into the platform our customers love - powering the entire pre-to-post sale conversation platform for high consideration companies that plugs into our customers CRMs solving three main problems in the home improvement industry today - rehash & re-engagement, communication around installations and positive reviews for your business.
I knew we were on to something when we launched two product demos and customers were astonished - my favorite line? “Hold on one second while I pick my jaw up off of the floor.”
Can honestly say I’ve never heard that from a prospect in sales demo.
And that takes us to today.
We’re building an amazing team, from top-to-bottom. As our founder Chris puts it, we’re in “cautious hypergrowth” mode - the people we hire right now will make or break our long-term trajectory and we need people who are as passionate as we are - in fact, being passionate is one of the traits we look for, along with curiosity and coachability. For a growing company, culture can make or break you. Focusing on our people first and everything else second.
The cool thing also - high consideration products aren’t just in home improvement. It extends to all verticals like auto, insurance, mortgage, real estate, etc.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. That’s what’s so exciting about this journey.
2020 is going to be an exciting year for me personally and our team professionally. We’re building something amazing and I can’t wait to see how impactful it will be for Hatch and for our customers.