632: How Business Leaders Can Make Better Software Decisions w/ Brandon Metcalf

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode we talk to Brandon Metcalf, the President and Founder of Talent Rover.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/metcalf/

Are you struggling to come up withoriginal content weekend and week out? Start a podcast, interview your ideal clients, let them talk about what they care about most and never run out ofcontent ideas again. Learn more at sweet fish Mediacom. You're listening to theB tob growth show, a podcast dedicated to help you be to be executivesachieve explosive growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. I'm James Carberry and I'm Jonathan Green. Let's get into the show. Welcome back to the B tob growth show. Today we are joined by Brandon Metcalf. Brandon is the CO founder and presidentof Talent Rover. Brandon, welcome to the show. They Jonathan,thanks for having me. It's a pleasure to have you here. We're saytalk today sort of tap into your area of expertise. We are going tobe talking about how business leaders can make better software decisions, which I thinkour listeners are going to get a lot out of. But before we dobrand and maybe you can tell us a little about a little about yourself andwhat you in the talent rover team are up to these days. Yeah,so my background basically I came out of the staffing and recruiting industry. Priorto that I've been banking, but most of my career have been in staffingand really I get frustrated with all of the technology that either we were lookingat using in the system in the industry or or that was just available topurchase. So came up with this crazy idea, why don't we create abetter software for that space? And that though, Palt rover was created's whattalent rover really is. Were essentially the operating system for external staffing or recruitingterms. So think like temporary staffing, headhunters, all of those types ofthings. About a four hundred and sixty billion dollar industry, I think,globally for the massive space. Software is pretty terrible for the space. Sowe definitely foll the niche and we focus on really everything from the initial salesconversation through all the candidate recruitment and placing...

...pieces all the way through producing invoicement. That's perfect well and and you know, as you said, you guys,I mean you especially know about you know what sort of makes business softwarework or not work. So that's, I mean, a huge part ofwhy we were able to bring you on today and talk about these five thingsto consider before buying business software. So you know brand. I'm going tokind of let you take it away. Are we do? We just goingto start off jumping into to number one? No know how well your vendor understandsthe unique challenges of your industry, or there is there some preface,something that was some sort of groundwork we need to lay ahead of time?Well, I mean I think let's just get into it, and I thinkyou know that that first questions actually the genesis of why my company even existstoday. You know, stapping and recruiting. You may think is just like traditionknown corporate recruiting, when that's any ATS system would would meet for theband, but in reality the staffing recruiting business is just so different, becausepretty much everyone's a salesperson. So you're either trying to convince clients to letyou work on their job opportunities or you're trying to convince candidates to take theright job opportunity. So you're tracking all of this information and then you gotto turn around and be able to do things like time sheets and invoicing andall of these other operational pieces. So you know what I was spaced withwhen I was on the other side of the desk, when I was actuallyin the recruiting side of it, was most of the technology that was availablewould build for corporate recruiters and they really understand the internal corporate HR space well, but it didn't translate really to what we were trying to do. Sowe would have to look at a variety of different systems that would be tisbilled together that really wouldn't talk to each other and just led to a lotof dysfunction and a lot of disorganization and ultimately a lot of frustrations for everyone. So I think that that experience is not unique to the staffing industry.I do think the staffing industry storically those...

...than behind on technology, just likehr in general. But I think so many industries is the same thing.Where can you really find a software out there that's built for for what youdo or the the space you play in? And if you if you can,if you have to piece meal ten systems together, I think you're askingfor a lot of trouble. Yeah, yeah, now are there. Youknow, I don't want to put you on on the spot, but doyou think that there are maybe some key questions that you can ask to getto the heart of this matter, you know, finding out, you know, does my vendor understand my unique challenges of my industry, or is thatjust kind of a very specific from fire to vendor, industry to industry?You know, I think it ties into some of the other points we're goingto go over, but I know, I do think you can really getinto the weeds with the vendor in talk specific, talk and talk, youknow, whatever you're lingo is in your space, to see if they ifthey get it. And then, I think the proofs in the pudding rightasking them for other customers who are in your space who would be using thesoftware just like you'd be using it, and see see really what they comeup with it. If they can produce those those customers, then really takethe time to have a conversation with with those other customers and say, tellme how you guys use it, what's working, what's not working? Ithink for me, I know I've been in that situation doing that exact thing, and it actually steered me away from from purchasing a couple different solutions thatwe're out there. So all right, well, let's let's talk about numbertwo then. Is there an equal amount of value to both stakeholders and endusers kind of what do you mean by that? Yeah, this is athis is always an interestring one, because I found myself filled do this inthe past where your you come across the offware that just seems often it seemslike it could do so many different things and that it can change the business, that could help you out, it can really drive you in a differentdirection. But you know, my aspirations...

...of what that software would do didn'tnecessarily Aligne to what the you know, the associates would need something to do. It would be like yeah, that would be a great nice to have, but it doesn't really help me too much with my with my daily work. So, instead of investing in something that will add ten percent of,you know, potential value, why don't we refocus that excitement on a bettersolution that actually every one of the organization can take advantage of, versus justsome cool new toy which I think often times you can get shucked into,where I have in the past. HMM, and does that have a lot moreto do with sort of intercompany transparency, like communication amongst departments. Is that? Is that having an encompassing vision from the executives, you know,from a sort of top down so that everyone is more aligned and and thatcan help solve that problem? Or what are you thinking of that? Yeah, I mean I can use an example that we faced here recently a talentrover with communication tools. So we use Gmail and Google of our primary emailingsystem and all of that's of course you get Google hang out and then ourVP of tech, he love of Flak and his team love flack for alot of really, really good reasons. So they want to use flat.And then we have other vendors and customers that they're on Microsoft and they useskype and Linkin all of that. So then it then leads to a challengewhat to use. Also, we're, you know, we're built on selfforce, we you selfforce internally. So you have things like chatter and allof that. So all of a sudden you have all of these different communicationstreams and the whole point of this communication technology with the simplify how you're goingto communicate. So if you don't have an overall vision of saying okay,what's the best interest for everyone in the company? You can quickly get yourselfsiload into. Everyone's using different communication tools and now no one's effectively talking witheach other. Yeah, I think.

I mean it's a great point.You've got a million different ways to communicate. Everyone kind of is in love withtheir with their own, like he said, particular silo or their method, and there can, despite the innerconnectivity, there can be a breakdown and communication. But I think it's a very powerful example of being aligned for thegreater good, knowing where the where the real value is going to be comingout of when you're making that decision to buy a new type of business software. So that makes a lot of sense. It hits on some of the otherpoints where you know the driving underlying themes to all of this as youreally have to understand and know what you want and why you want it.Otherwise you can get persuaded by you know this VP of text is says,look at all the cool stuff flack can do, or you know your internalteam that says no, no, we put everything in Falesware, so let'sjust use chatter or whatever. You got to really decide on. You knowwhat is a must have and why do you need it? In that's you'redriving message from leadership down to say here's the box we need to play in. Let's make sure we stick in this, and then you can start to sellme on all the features and benefits that may help make the decision.But if you don't have that guidance, guiding principle, it's just too difficultto stay on track, getting getting a little distracted by all the shiny bellsand whistles. So, yeah, all right, let's well, let's talkabout number three, that knowing what's easily configurable and what's not. Yeah,and this actually ties beautifully into, you know, number four, which isare you hearing yes too often? And I'm a very strong believer in anytwenty rule when it comes to software, especially when you're looking at large enterpriseor business software, where you know these software providers, US included, makeit very easy to customize and modify and configure and make changes that are uniqueto your business. But there's also a level of responsibility that I think thatcomes with that, where you need to...

...keep things under control and I reallyfeel that when you buy a software it should at least meet eighty percent ofwhat the the need is, when it's nice to have up to a twentypercent flexibility. I can tell you from experience with talent. Over out ofthe gate we did not do a really great job of controlling the conversation withclients. As too you know, don't over customize, don't overengineer, don'tover automate, and it burned us a few times and it definitely burns werein the clients of by the time they were done, and I remember thisvisitly. Had One of our clients there, see, as I know really welland it speaks really frank with me, called me and said Look, yousold me a dream and now I have a Franks in start and thethings they don't like or are really the overly engineered, highly customized things.So we actually went back into a whole new deployment without doing all the customizations, and now they love what they bought. We failed as a software company withcontrolling our client and explaining why doing all of those customizations with such abad thing. So really diving in and having them having the vendor be ableto show you, you know, you can configure this, you can't configurethis, and for the things that you can't configure, being able to explainwhy. I think a really important question when it comes to configuring and customizationis tell me about your upgrade path. Tell me, if I make allof these changes, what happens in future releases? Am I still going tobe upgradeable? And really making some of that decision based off of that,because if you overly engineer some things and chances are when the software company comesup with something new and great, you may not be able to take advantageof it. Well, and we've had a handful of guests on the showand you know this idea of you know how much flexibility as a as abusiness, do you get into when it...

...comes to that customization? And youwant to obviously provide the customer with the best possible product, service, whateverit is that you do. So you want to be able to take intoconsideration their individual needs, but you know, balancing that against well, this iswhat we do. This is what we do very well. Consider whatour process when you're thinking about customization, because you know we have a lotof expertise. We can tell you why maybe this is a better idea,while the same time, you know, listening again to their individual needs.I think it definitely comes down to a little bit of communication, and thatwas one thing that you just talked about, sort of like talking to the tothe client about you know what is going on, what is it gettingcustomized and what maybe doesn't need to so you don't end up with, asyou said, a Frankenstein instead of a dream. Yeah, exactly. Imean it's really the vendor being able to know what really is going on inyour space and what's needed. And if they do, then they're really understandingthere's why their software is doing what it does. Like you know, we'vegrown at a crazy rate. We've grown twenty eight hundred percent over the pastthree years, and ink just right if rank as the night the Ninth Bassis growing software company in America, and the reason why we've grown is onewe really understand the space. But you know, we try not to haveegos. We try to really always listen to what customers are saying. Wehave the advantage of selling into one industry, so the customers are going to tellus way more than we could ever think of ourselves. What then becomesour responsibility, which ties back into the same type of philosophy around me,the twenty rule. It is great for a customer to say, Hey,talent rover should really do this. We go you know what, Talent rovershould really do that, but we're going to solution it. We're going tocome up with a way for talent rover to do that that fits into theoverall philosophy of the product, versus having...

...a customer say make it do x, Y and Z, which may be such a disconnect from everything else.So a vendor that understands the industry really well and who listens to what's goingon can, I think, have results like we've had with this insane growthh yeah, and it sounds a little bit like you're all like. Withthat open line of communication with a customer, you can hear, you can findout what are you trying to accomplish at the end of the day.You ask for these certain customizations, you know, but what is the what'sthe purpose? And with that communication you can maybe you can have a dialogabout well, maybe that's you know. In this would be our recommendation insteadof the over customization. If this is the goal that you're looking to accomptwish, we can help you get there and this is how we recommend doingit. So I think that's awesome important distinction and bring we kind of Imean we sort of knock three, four and five out with that one.Last question. Five being the result of hearing yes too often, is thisidea of it was over customization and and why to be wary of that.was there anything that we didn't touch on with those five points that you wantedto mention? I think the you know, point number four, are you hearingyes too often, is a big one. You don't want to betold yes, it can do everything under the sun, even though it can. Like I look at our technology and and the fact that we're built onsales force. We can pretty much do almost anything, which is it's acrazy statement to make, but you know we have the technology advantage of thatsales force engine under now that doesn't mean we can do everything easily, wecan do everything right, we can do everything for free. We can,you know, we really understand everything. So saying yes too much starts topaint this picture that you have this magical solution that is going to do everythingand then it's going to just lead to a challenge between you know, youand the customer later when it when it really does, you're setting from falseexpectation. So whatever I'm purchasing, not just software, but anything complicated.I like, for when a venders said,...

...now let me tell you why wedon't do that and get into the specific so I understand it, becausehearing yes too often. Do I really believe now what you're telling me?Are you just trying to get me to purchase? So I'm good. Shareof nose is always healthy. Yeah, I mean, at least you're not, you know, you're not just getting told what you want to hear.So that's a very healthy perspective. Now, Brandon again, as you said,you're running the ship of one of the fastest growing software companies in theUS right now, and we had prompted you before we started recording, butwe have been asking a lot of our current guests know what is what iskind of the legacy that you're hoping to leave behind, and this can be, of course, related professionally, personally, or a combination of the two.Yeah, I took all the when when I knew this question was coming. You know, I'm I try to be a guy that doesn't have abig ego and focusing on a legacy is just something that's not normal for me. You know, I think what what I do focus on the basics ofare we making the right decisions? Are we doing the right thing? Reallyexpecting more out of myself and more out of those that I work with.And then I think the biggest thing for me is to always think bigger.I always be pushing, always saying can we do something better, bigger,faster, all of that than what we're doing today. So I think,you know, if those things all Aligne then whatever my legacy is up beingwill be acceptable to me. But that's where I'm focused. That's fantastic.Well, again we've been talking with Brandon Metcalf, the cofounder and president ofTalent Rover. Brandon, if anyone in our audience wants to connect with youafter today's episode, you know they're interested in finding out more about talent over, they want to talk more about today's Today's topic. They want to connectwith you personally. What's the best way for them to go about doing that? Yeah, I'm a huge linkedin advocate, so finding me on Linkedin is probablythe easiest way. Of course, you committed talent overcom or, Iam on twitter as well, so I can be found there perfect well,brandon, thank you again so much for...

...your time today. It really wasa pleasure having you on the show. All right, donal than, thankso much. There are lots of ways to build a community and we've chosento build the bed growth community through this podcast. But because of the waypodcasts work, it's really hard to engage with our listeners, and without engagementit's tough to build a great community. So here's what we've decided to do. We're organizing small dinners across the country with our listeners and guests. Nosales pitches, no agenda, just great conversations with likeminded people. Will TalkBusiness, we'll talk family, will talk goals and dreams, will build friendships. So if you'd like to be a part of a BEDB growth dinner ina sitting near you, go to be to be growth dinnerscom. That's BobGrowth dinnerscom. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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