Getting Your First 100 Customers with Salesflare CEO Jeroen Corthout

Jeroen Corthout

In Episode #673, Nathan interviews Jeroen Corthout. He’s the co-founder and CEO of Salesflare, the intelligent CRM that startups and small businesses love to use. Prior to Salesflare, he was helping companies to implement their new CRM, marketing and sales. Salesflare kicked off when he and his co-founder, Lieven, found a way to automate their CRM data. Salesflare’s mission is to automate everything in sales, but the irreplaceable human contact.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – The Alchemist
  • What CEO do you follow? – Jeroen has been reading the biographies of Tony Hsieh, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos
  • Favorite online tool? — Zapier
  • How many hours of sleep do you get?— 7-8
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – Jeroen wished he had started these bigger projects earlier

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:38 – Nathan introduces Jeroen to the show
  • 02:16 – Salesflare helps mostly startups to make their sales consistently productive, to have the right data, and to communicate and manage the pipeline better
  • 02:28 – Salesflare sells licenses
  • 02:40 – Salesflare’s price point is $30/month when you pay annually and $35 if monthly
  • 02:58 – Salesflare started halfway through 2013
    • 03:04 – Jeroen and Lieven were working in a software company
    • 03:20 – Jeroen knew there was no solution to keep files automatically
  • 03:28 – Salesflare basically pulls all the CRM data for you
  • 03:49 – On top of a lot of data, Salesflare is building automation and intelligence
    • 03:52 – There’s an automatic to-do list and body temperature indicator
  • 04:12 – Salesflare is largely self-funded, some from accelerators
    • 04:24 – Telenet Kickstart and iMinds are the accelerators from Belgium
    • 04:37 – Salesflare got $25K from one accelerator without equity and the other one had a convertible loan of $50K
    • 05:10 – Salesflare has raised a total of $700K
  • 05:28 – Jeroen was in the consulting field
  • 05:49 – Salesflare is currently building a convertible round with investors and has raised $250K; the target is $350K
  • 06:57 – Salesflare has over 100 customers
  • 07:14 – Jeroen believes that people don’t usually trust small companies, even if they have great products
  • 08:00 – Average revenue
  • 08:19 – Salesflare is based in Antwerp, Belgium
  • 08:24 – Team size is 6
    • 08:30 – 3 are building the product and the other 3 are sales and customer service
  • 08:55 – Jeroen likes people to think that they are bigger than they are
  • 09:02 – Nathan believes that some people like small companies because of their flexibility
  • 10:40 – Nathan tells Jeroen that his assumption of “it’s not good if it’s free” is a completely false assumption
  • 11:28 – Most people stick to Salesflare after the trial period
  • 11:40 – There’s currently a big market of CRMs
  • 11:46 – Salesflare is aiming at sales automation and there’s very little competition in that space
  • 12:12 – Salesflare is moving faster than their competition
  • 12:17 – Hubspot’s distribution channel is huge and Salesflare won’t be able to compete with that
    • 12:23 – But Salesflare can compete on the profit side
  • 12:37 – Salesflare has a low churn
    • 13:12 – Salesflare got their first customer at the end of 2015
  • 14:00 – Salesflare has a blog, does outbound emailing and builds their online presence for customer acquisition
  • 14:36 – Salesflare does content distribution through Facebook’s paid advertising
  • 14:47 – Most of Salesflare’s recent customers are from Product Hunt
  • 15:23 – Jeroen has no idea of the number of trials they’ve had since the launch
    • 15:45 – Jeroen tracks the conversion, instead
    • 16:05 – In the past week, there were 250 new trial signups
    • 16:15 – The conversion to paid customer is around 10-15%
  • 16:30 – Salesflare tries to show its value as quickly as possible
  • 17:10 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. If you’re still unsure of starting a new business, find other ways to get involved in that space to understand how it works.
  2. Some businesses offer a free product to show their value to the customer right away.
  3. Competing with a free product with a large distribution channel isn’t easy, but you can generate a higher profit margin.

Resources Mentioned:

  • The Top Inbox – The site Nathan uses to schedule emails to be sent later, set reminders in inbox, track opens, and follow-up with email sequences
  • Organifi – The juice was Nathan’s life saver during his trip in Southeast Asia
  • Klipfolio – Track your business performance across all departments for FREE
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • Host Gator– The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible
  • Audible– Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5-hour drive) to listen to audio books
  • Freshbooks – Nathan doesn’t waste time so he uses Freshbooks to send out invoices and collect his money. Get your free month NOW
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives