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 with original 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 of content ideas again. Learn more at sweet fish Mediacom. You're listening to the B tob growth show, a podcast dedicated to help you be to be executives achieve 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 president of Talent Rover. Brandon, welcome to the show. They Jonathan, thanks for having me. It's a pleasure to have you here. We're say talk today sort of tap into your area of expertise. We are going to be talking about how business leaders can make better software decisions, which I think our listeners are going to get a lot out of. But before we do brand and maybe you can tell us a little about a little about yourself and what 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. Prior to that I've been banking, but most of my career have been in staffing and really I get frustrated with all of the technology that either we were looking at using in the system in the industry or or that was just available to purchase. So came up with this crazy idea, why don't we create a better software for that space? And that though, Palt rover was created's what talent rover really is. Were essentially the operating system for external staffing or recruiting terms. So think like temporary staffing, headhunters, all of those types of things. About a four hundred and sixty billion dollar industry, I think, globally for the massive space. Software is pretty terrible for the space. So we definitely foll the niche and we focus on really everything from the initial sales conversation 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 software work or not work. So that's, I mean, a huge part of why we were able to bring you on today and talk about these five things to consider before buying business software. So you know brand. I'm going to kind of let you take it away. Are we do? We just going to start off jumping into to number one? No know how well your vendor understands the 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 think you know that that first questions actually the genesis of why my company even exists today. You know, stapping and recruiting. You may think is just like tradition known corporate recruiting, when that's any ATS system would would meet for the band, but in reality the staffing recruiting business is just so different, because pretty much everyone's a salesperson. So you're either trying to convince clients to let you work on their job opportunities or you're trying to convince candidates to take the right job opportunity. So you're tracking all of this information and then you got to turn around and be able to do things like time sheets and invoicing and all of these other operational pieces. So you know what I was spaced with when I was on the other side of the desk, when I was actually in the recruiting side of it, was most of the technology that was available would 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. So we would have to look at a variety of different systems that would be tis billed together that really wouldn't talk to each other and just led to a lot of 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 like hr 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 you do 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 asking for a lot of trouble. Yeah, yeah, now are there. You know, I don't want to put you on on the spot, but do you think that there are maybe some key questions that you can ask to get to the heart of this matter, you know, finding out, you know, does my vendor understand my unique challenges of my industry, or is that just 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 going to go over, but I know, I do think you can really get into the weeds with the vendor in talk specific, talk and talk, you know, whatever you're lingo is in your space, to see if they if they get it. And then, I think the proofs in the pudding right asking them for other customers who are in your space who would be using the software just like you'd be using it, and see see really what they come up with it. If they can produce those those customers, then really take the time to have a conversation with with those other customers and say, tell me how you guys use it, what's working, what's not working? I think 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 that we're out there. So all right, well, let's let's talk about number two then. Is there an equal amount of value to both stakeholders and end users kind of what do you mean by that? Yeah, this is a this is always an interestring one, because I found myself filled do this in the past where your you come across the offware that just seems often it seems like 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 different direction. But you know, my aspirations...

...of what that software would do didn't necessarily 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 better solution that actually every one of the organization can take advantage of, versus just some 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 more to 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 that can 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 talent rover with communication tools. So we use Gmail and Google of our primary emailing system and all of that's of course you get Google hang out and then our VP of tech, he love of Flak and his team love flack for a lot 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 use skype and Linkin all of that. So then it then leads to a challenge what to use. Also, we're, you know, we're built on self force, we you selfforce internally. So you have things like chatter and all of that. So all of a sudden you have all of these different communication streams and the whole point of this communication technology with the simplify how you're going to 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 yourself siload into. Everyone's using different communication tools and now no one's effectively talking with each 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 with their 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 the greater good, knowing where the where the real value is going to be coming out 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 other points where you know the driving underlying themes to all of this as you really 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 internal team that says no, no, we put everything in Falesware, so let's just use chatter or whatever. You got to really decide on. You know what is a must have and why do you need it? In that's you're driving 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 sell me 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 difficult to stay on track, getting getting a little distracted by all the shiny bells and whistles. So, yeah, all right, let's well, let's talk about number three, that knowing what's easily configurable and what's not. Yeah, and this actually ties beautifully into, you know, number four, which is are you hearing yes too often? And I'm a very strong believer in any twenty rule when it comes to software, especially when you're looking at large enterprise or business software, where you know these software providers, US included, make it very easy to customize and modify and configure and make changes that are unique to your business. But there's also a level of responsibility that I think that comes with that, where you need to...

...keep things under control and I really feel that when you buy a software it should at least meet eighty percent of what the the need is, when it's nice to have up to a twenty percent flexibility. I can tell you from experience with talent. Over out of the gate we did not do a really great job of controlling the conversation with clients. As too you know, don't over customize, don't overengineer, don't over automate, and it burned us a few times and it definitely burns were in the clients of by the time they were done, and I remember this visitly. Had One of our clients there, see, as I know really well and it speaks really frank with me, called me and said Look, you sold me a dream and now I have a Franks in start and the things 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 with controlling our client and explaining why doing all of those customizations with such a bad thing. So really diving in and having them having the vendor be able to show you, you know, you can configure this, you can't configure this, and for the things that you can't configure, being able to explain why. I think a really important question when it comes to configuring and customization is tell me about your upgrade path. Tell me, if I make all of these changes, what happens in future releases? Am I still going to be 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 comes up with something new and great, you may not be able to take advantage of it. Well, and we've had a handful of guests on the show and you know this idea of you know how much flexibility as a as a business, do you get into when it...

...comes to that customization? And you want to obviously provide the customer with the best possible product, service, whatever it is that you do. So you want to be able to take into consideration their individual needs, but you know, balancing that against well, this is what we do. This is what we do very well. Consider what our process when you're thinking about customization, because you know we have a lot of 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 that was one thing that you just talked about, sort of like talking to the to the client about you know what is going on, what is it getting customized and what maybe doesn't need to so you don't end up with, as you said, a Frankenstein instead of a dream. Yeah, exactly. I mean it's really the vendor being able to know what really is going on in your space and what's needed. And if they do, then they're really understanding there's why their software is doing what it does. Like you know, we've grown at a crazy rate. We've grown twenty eight hundred percent over the past three years, and ink just right if rank as the night the Ninth Bass is growing software company in America, and the reason why we've grown is one we really understand the space. But you know, we try not to have egos. We try to really always listen to what customers are saying. We have the advantage of selling into one industry, so the customers are going to tell us way more than we could ever think of ourselves. What then becomes our 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 rover should really do that, but we're going to solution it. We're going to come up with a way for talent rover to do that that fits into the overall 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 going on can, I think, have results like we've had with this insane growth h yeah, and it sounds a little bit like you're all like. With that open line of communication with a customer, you can hear, you can find out 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's the purpose? And with that communication you can maybe you can have a dialog about well, maybe that's you know. In this would be our recommendation instead of the over customization. If this is the goal that you're looking to accompt wish, we can help you get there and this is how we recommend doing it. So I think that's awesome important distinction and bring we kind of I mean we sort of knock three, four and five out with that one. Last question. Five being the result of hearing yes too often, is this idea 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 wanted to mention? I think the you know, point number four, are you hearing yes too often, is a big one. You don't want to be told 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 on sales force. We can pretty much do almost anything, which is it's a crazy statement to make, but you know we have the technology advantage of that sales force engine under now that doesn't mean we can do everything easily, we can do everything right, we can do everything for free. We can, you know, we really understand everything. So saying yes too much starts to paint this picture that you have this magical solution that is going to do everything and then it's going to just lead to a challenge between you know, you and the customer later when it when it really does, you're setting from false expectation. So whatever I'm purchasing, not just software, but anything complicated. I like, for when a venders said,...

...now let me tell you why we don't do that and get into the specific so I understand it, because hearing 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. Share of 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 the US right now, and we had prompted you before we started recording, but we have been asking a lot of our current guests know what is what is kind 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 a big 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 of are we making the right decisions? Are we doing the right thing? Really expecting 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 being will 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 of Talent Rover. Brandon, if anyone in our audience wants to connect with you after 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 connect with 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 probably the easiest way. Of course, you committed talent overcom or, I am on twitter as well, so I can be found there perfect well, brandon, thank you again so much for...

...your time today. It really was a pleasure having you on the show. All right, donal than, thank so much. There are lots of ways to build a community and we've chosen to build the bed growth community through this podcast. But because of the way podcasts work, it's really hard to engage with our listeners, and without engagement it'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. No sales pitches, no agenda, just great conversations with likeminded people. Will Talk Business, 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 in a sitting near you, go to be to be growth dinnerscom. That's Bob Growth dinnerscom. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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