Here's how Surfe (ex-Leadjet) grew from a side-project to a real company in less than 6 months.
February 13, Berkeley University north of San Francisco. Having just graduated from an exciting course on Go-To-Market given by a brilliant professional like Silicon Valley in countless numbers, I hurry to the library to meet up with Romain, my tech associate. Romain and I then work with two other people on the creation of a virtual phone, a pro app on the personal phone of the employees gathering all their apps and professional data.
Designated "Sales" of the team, I work on defining the processes necessary to set up an efficient sales system: Creation of a CRM (HubSpot), taking Sales Navigator licenses. In full customer discovery, I have to explain to Romain how LinkedIn and HubSpot work.
In front of my eyes, I see Romain discovering amazed the rough world of the salesman. Far from the clichés that salespeople are good talkers who succeed by their charisma despite a chaotic organization, Romain discovers that a sales person is an organized individual who has to respect a series of processes.
The world of technology meets the world of sales.
Heavy processes, too heavy for Romain. Tasks that seemed time-consuming but necessary to him seem unbearable.
Create and manually fill each customer interaction in the CRM? Never! Check the status of a lead in the CRM at each contact with a prospect? Never!
Having to manually complete every login request and message for each prospect to guarantee a degree of personalization? Too much time wasted!
These repetitive tasks, with low added value - Romain couldn't handle them. So he decided to write a "script", a bot capable of automating them all.
No more useless time spent filling out the CRM, contacting each person on LinkedIn, checking the status of the contact in Hubspot. A bridge between LinkedIn and Hubspot had just been created.
As a young and naive tech entrepreneur, I had just made a fascinating discovery: Thanks to people like Romain, the laborious nature of prospecting was no longer inevitable. Better still: If this solution solved such a stubborn problem in my daily life, why wouldn't it do the same for other people?
The world of sales meets the world of technology.
The next few days were hectic. The feeling that I was holding something of great value held me. What if it had high potential? I decided to contact a series of sales startups to make sure.
A week and 20 interviews later, the verdict came down: Is lead management a recurring problem? Yes. Are there solutions to address it? Yes (of course, it's good news: there's a market) Are they relevant? It all depends on the task and the market segment, sometimes yes and often no.
That's how Romain and I launched our side project.
2 weeks later, here we are in mid-March and about ten start-ups are interested in beta-testing our product.
The coronavirus crisis hits us in the face, our school pushes us to reach the French territory before the borders close. In this hostile economic context, we are postponing the launch date initially planned for early April.
We are working on the product, the website (https://www.leadjet.io/), and multiplying interactions with beta testers on the features.