Can you share your background, and what led you to found InEvent?
I am a software developer since I was 11 years old and I always wanted to build things, mostly for my personal use. When I was 16 I started monetizing my skills by selling websites and CRMs for real-estate companies.
When I started college (computer engineering course) I met my two co-founders during an event I was hosting with a group of students, and during the event, we noticed things that could be automated and would highly improve our work, so we decided to start our first company — this was in 2014.
Bootstrapping from Sao Paulo you went from 0 to 1 million in sales in 26 months with 100+ customers, how did you grow your company?
We started as a mobile app for events, a container app, and our target was college events and seminars. Later on, a friend of my co-founder wanted an app for his company’s events, but a branded one. This was huge for us since we realized the value of having our customer brand on our products.
Since then we started growing our mobile app and building partnerships with event agencies, but there was a gap, most of our customers had bad experiences with registration software and check-in companies —sometimes they took hours to check-in a couple of hundreds of attendees, so we started building our platform and this created a great differentiation between us and our competition:
Our software was entirely integrated and built on top of our APIs – this helped us grow on Fortune 500 companies that needed integrations with their CRMs and ways to build solutions on top of our APIs.
This also led to expansion, different branches of large corporations began to request our solutions and our customer lifetime value started growing.
How would you advise entrepreneurs to approach B2B sales, would you mind detailing your process?
It really depends, are we talking about B2B or Enterprise sales?
On B2B (1k -10k / month) you want to have a quick sales cycle of 2 to 4 weeks, a bunch of inbound marketing and also outbound, cold emails helps a lot, and you don’t want your salesperson attending in-person meetings as it doesn’t pay off.
Enterprise, on the other hand, you will need to have a highly qualified salesperson with technical knowledge as most of the time they will be acting as a project manager and helping the customer to build your product on top of their company.
2 practical tips (it worked for us, but may not work for you):
Send 30 ~ 50 emails per day, to the right audience with the right content. It will start paying off in a couple of weeks. Be careful not to send junk email and make sure to follow-up at least 5 emails before giving up (unless they reply of course).
Create a content marketing team and write good content (things you’d actually read and enjoy yourself). Interviews are good, eBooks are the gold mine. Once your lead becomes qualified you can start sending emails to schedule a demo or start a trial. Trials are something that is working quite well for us, we are confident about our product and it’s great for our leads to try it before going through a sales call, it optimizes both of our times.
What went into building InEvent? Which part are you particularly proud of?
Well, the thing I’m most proud of is our check-in kiosk, mostly because of its story.
We closed a deal with a customer and we needed to deliver the solution in 3 weeks. We were deciding on how to deliver it since the budget was limited and the customer couldn’t spend much on the hardware side.
So we decided to go with a Brother QL-700 label printer and an Android tablet, but the printer didn’t have a Bluetooth connection, so I decided to use à Raspberry Pi as a connection layer, but the thing is that even though it was simple to install the open-source printing system, we needed a driver for the automatic cutting to work, however Brother drivers are closed source and not anyone could use them…
I ended up downloading their huge technical PDF with printer instructions and programmed the driver myself during that short amount of time!
You have offices in Sao Paulo, NYC, and London, how do you recruit new talents and manage a remote team?
This is a hard one, we are always recruiting because we know it is hard. We inspired ourselves after the Buffer way of working, so most of our team is remote and we are like that from the very beginning.
We always try to look for people that would perform great in a remote environment (it’s not for everyone), but we try to get together every time we can. We have two summits during the year that everyone attends. It’s a four-day event that our team has the chance to meet and know each other.
We also have people that live in one of the cities that we have offices, so they usually go there to work.
What trend do you in your industry right now? And what is the underlying reason behind it?
We just released an ebook for all trends for 2020 in our industry, so check it out, I don’t want to spoil it!
What should one know before doing business in Brazil?
It’s hard, but it’s getting better.
You need to know the language and be prepared for loads of documents to sign, long waitings from the government and more. We have highly capacitated developers and people, you just need to get adjusted on how things are done there!