779: How to Build & Manage a Global Team w/ Rob Rawson

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode we talk to Rob Rawson, Co-Founder & CEO of Staff.com & Time Doctor.

How to accelerate your B2B business with an offshore and global team

  • The benefits of thinking globally when hiring.

  • How to get an offshore team to research leads and promote your business.

  • Finding high quality offshore developers.

  • How Rob manages a team of over 80 people in 28 countries without pulling his hair out.

  • The "problems" of dealing with a global team and how to overcome them.

Want help developing your plan to become an influencer & thought leader?

Check out IMPACT SUMMIT on Oct. 13th in Salt Lake City.

B2B Growth listeners can get 15% OFF with the promo code: SWEETFISH.

Click here to connect with this guest on LinkedIn.

Wouldn't it be nice to have several thought leaders in your industry know and Love Your brand? Start a podcast, invite your industries thought leaders to be guests on your show and start reaping the benefits of having a network full of industry influencers? Learn more at sweet phish MEDIACOM. You're listening to be tob growth, a daily podcast for B TOB leaders. We've interviewed names you've probably heard before, like Gary Vander truck and Simon Senek, but you've probably never heard from the majority of our guests. That's because the bulk of our interviews aren't with professional speakers and authors. Most of our guests are in the trenches leading sales and marketing teams. They're implementing strategy, they're experimenting with tactics, they're building the fastest growing BTB companies in the world. My name is James Carberry. I'm the founder of sweet fish media, a podcast agency for BB brands, and I'm also one of the cohosts of this show. When we're not interviewing sales and marketing leaders, you'll hear stories from behind the scenes of our own business. Will share the ups and downs of our journey as we attempt to take over the world. Just getting well? Maybe let's get into the show. Welcome back to the B tob grows show. We're here today with Rob Rosson. He is the founder at time doctor staffcom and running remotecom. Rob, how you doing today, man fan testing? Thanks all right. Well, it is great to have you on the show. We are going to be talking about how to grow your BB business with a global team. More and more, you know, we're seeing people run distributed teams across the country and globally. You've got several years of experience of running distributed team, so I'm excited to have you share your expertise with our audience today. Before we do that, I would love for you to share a little bit with our audience who you are what your teams are up to these days. So...

I'm actually a form of medical doctor, of all things, but then I went into software and Internet businesses many years ago, and so that's what I'm doing now and I really love entrepreneurship and I also initially wanted to travel while working. So that's how I caught into the whole distributed team thing, because I wanted to work around the world and travel and so I didn't want to be tied down to an office. But since I've got into that space where I have a distributed team, I really seeing a lot of benefits of it as well. So now we have people in literally twenty eight countries, which is kind of hard to fathom, kind of imagine having that team in so many countries. But when we post a job we don't really even consider the country so much. We'd really just look at the talent of the person and do they fit our needs, and then the country is secondary to that. So yeah, it's an interesting experience. Yeah, and interesting to hear your story a little bit. To do what was the driver going from being a medical doctor to I want to run my own businesses, and now you know you've founded three and running multiple teams. Yeah, I was always entrepreneurial. So even during medical school I actually did various things. I tried to learn how to sell, I tried to learn how to market and started a marketing agency and all these kind of things that would not really medical related at all. So it was always passionate about entrepreneurship in creating a business and and I wasn't necessarily successful in the beginning. So that's why I was doing a bunch of different things, trying lots of different businesses, but I was always very passionate about it and I like the idea of growing a business and the challenges of trying to create a company. And in medicine, of obviously as an incredible career, but it's not something that you can do part time. You really have to devote your life to be gay tooked, otherwise you could probably kill someone. Right. So you've got to be the best you can be. And because I was devoting my focus too much, I just felt my picon the a halftime doctor. Yeah, yeah, tough for a medical doctor...

...to have that really growing side huse. All Right, yeah, Nice, all right. Well, Rob I would love to jump into this topic of, you know, how building a global team can help boost the the growth of your BB business. And the first thing I know you wanted to talk about, and I think this is a great place to start, or you know, what are the benefits of thinking globally, of thinking a little bit differently about building your team, no matter what stage of growth you're at, to take your team to the next level. So tell us a little bit about you know, what you think they're about some of the benefits of just starting with thinking globally as you build your team. I think the major benefit is that if you're hiring just in your city, is dramatically decreasing the number of candidates that you're going to get. So if you imagine just for the US, forget about global but if you're a US business and you're able to hire across the entire us, you're you're probably like thirty times the candidates because you've got if you even if you're in a big city, if you're in a small city, then you're talking hundred times the number of candidates that you could source for your company. So even it's not just necessarily going global, but within the US you've got a huge talent pool, so you don't necessarily need to go global. It's quite okay in a lot of cases just to have a distributed team only in the US because there's a huge amount of talent there. But if you restricted to just to your city, so for example, if you're hiring in silicon valley, you're competing with Google and FACEBOOK, etc. And you got to have engineer salaries that are two hundred thousand a year, whereas if you're willing to go to North Carolina. You might get the same person who just doesn't want to live in Silicon Valley or their family is there or the wife or husband is there and they're they're just as good or quite honestly, but they're not willing to live in Silicon Valley or move there. So that's that just expands your talent pool dramatically if you if you you can go to that step of going distributed. Is there a certain portion...

...of the team or certain, you know, functional role that you started with as you started to think of a more distributed team, or was it pretty much, you know, any role that you were looking to fill? Well, because we actually are completely distributed. We just hire from anywhere. But there are certain roles that are more difficult to find, say in an offshore low cost location. So we have a lot of people in the Philippines and Ukraine and then we have a few people in Canada and some contractors in the US. So we don't actually find some talent in offshore like in the Philippines, is much harder to find. So some examples might be some growth market is any kind of marketing. Really it's quite difficult to find the person off shore. There's a lot more talent in the US. If you're talking about actual sales, usually it's better, if you're selling to US customers, to be in the US. Development you can do around the world, I've found. But yeah, just depends on the skills there's. There's some things where the skill base is much better in the US and even compared to Australia. So I'm actually from Australia, and certain things it's quite hard to hide here compared to hiring in the US because there is a much bigger talent pool in the US compared to Australia. HMM. Yeah, and the other thing I know you mentioned as we were talking about the subject offline and exchanging emails figuring out, you know, what we were going to touch on here. You mentioned, you know, ways that that teams can can use offshore talent to help research leads and and promote their business. Tell us a little bit about where you found a good fit in that aspect of things as you build a global team. Right. So we actually have a research team in the Philippines and it's fairly low cost because that's the sort of thing that you don't necessarily need a huge amount of training, for you need to really let people carefully...

...and you need to make sure they're able to do the job and you need to give them the training to some agree to do it, although there are a lot of people in the Philippines who are trained in research. But we can get and research thousands, tens of thousands of leads, including the phone numbers emails are anytime I have something that I want to get researched, it's so easy for me and it's very, very low cost. And that's a specific example of where you might want to go offshore versus the US, because the cost to do it in the US would be like five to ten times higher, but potentially so. It's actually just an interesting thing to to consider that kind of thing and it just gives you a lot of capability if you've got this huge list of emails that you research, like all the things that you can do with that. I don't I don't necessarily need to spam them with cold emails, but to actually do cold calls, whether it's just for research purposes, to know you mock at the so many things you can do without research team that are very, very, very powerful. So if you if you have properly identified all of the leads that you really want to contact and you get it all handled hundred decent. That's really powerful. Free of business. It's story time, and this growth story is about search engine marketing. Okay, so the story revolves around e sub, a project management SASS company specifically for subcontractors. Even though e sub had incredible customer attention, they struggled with growth. Being a niche service, they discovered that there was little demand expressed for their solutions within search engines. To take on this challenge, E sub hired directive consulting, the BB search marketing agency. After refining targeting, pre qualifying clicks with an ad copy and developing custom landing pages, directive was able to increase e subs marketing qualified leads by seventy one percent while decreasing their costper lead by sixty five percent. I have a hunch that directive can...

...get these kind of results from too, so head over to directive consultingcom and request a totally free custom proposal. That's directive consultingcom. All right, let's get back to this interview now. What are some of the problems you've seen in dealing with a global team. You know, as you mentioned, you've been working in a distributed environment, leading a global team for some time now. A US, you know, twenty eight countries, which still was staggering to me as we were talking about this and you and I got connected over email. What do you think are some of the challenges you mentioned kind of, you know, matching the talent and the cost in the right way? What are some of the other things as far as, once you've got people, you know, seats on the bus and people on the bus, in managing that team on going to make sure that, you know, there is effective as they can be being distributed? Yeah, I think the most important thing is selecting and hiring the right people. So we usually put people through a very rigorous selection process where we test them with skills that are exactly related to what they're doing in the job. So if they're doing research, we actually get them to research in the test and if they're doing customer support, we get them to add a theoretical customer support questions in the test and then we have multiple levels of testing them to find that right person. Because if you're looking, especially if you're looking for the lower cost offshore locations you can be very frustrated with the skill levels. Like their lower cost, but there also the skill level is lower in general. So you're going to have some frustration. But once you've done that and you've hid the right people, another problem that people have is it then just not used to the whole scenario of communicating with someone that's not in the room. So a lot of businesses run their business by just bumping into the person right. They don't have any structure and they just go oh, hey, hey, Bo but I see you're doing nothing. Let's actually tell you what to do right now. So it's...

...just very happy hazard right. It's no, there's no structure, there's no thought about or who, when they're going to communicate, how it's going to work. So you need to have that structured communication, weekly meetings, daily calls to actually make them feel part of the team. If they're not in a daily call, and a should be really a video call, that feels very disconnected. I mean you're just working without actually seeing the person and talking to them. You just don't know who they are. You don't really feel like you can just immediately chat to them. So I think a daily video call with someone in your team is really important, and then having a constant chat open as well. The other thing is if you have a mixed culture where you have people in the office and you have people remote, that can be problematic because you can the person that's remote could actually get feel like they're not included and so you can just have this quick meeting but you don't include the remote person and that's just not all on the same level playing field. So some companies actually will even if they're having a meeting, they will all get on their computer to meet so that they won't actually go to the meeting room if they really are remote. First Company, which is kind of a funny thing for a person that offers to do like no, you'll let go to the meeting room. You got to stay in front of your computer and actually meet with people, even though you're in the same office. But that's that's what you need to do if you fully going remote and distributed. I guess they're with some like hybrid models to like you could have most of your team in the US and then you could have a little research team in the Philippines, and in that case it's not as much of an issue because you're just kind of like autsourcing some level of work. But when you get the stage where you've got everyone in your team in the US are all distributed like within the US, then you need to start doing that stuff where your your remote first, where you're communicating from a remote perspective and you're not letting those people that are remote like miss out on meetings, etc. Yeah, yeah, I think that's really good advice. Thinking about, you know, the...

...dynamics, kind of the quote Unquote Office Dynamics when people are in the office. You know, how do they feel included in writings? How do you you know, make sure that you know the normal things that you would think about if you were all in a physical location like you you wouldn't all walk into a meeting and leave someone out without inviting them. But thinking about those things very intentionally and doing things. I like your point. They're about adding structure to the communication when, when you're talking about a distributed team, not only are they not going to just bump into each other in the hallway, but they're working on different in different time zones, sometimes vastly different time zones, right. So you have to make sure that you find those times to to make dedicated for, you know, collaboration and putting everyone in the same spot when they need to be right. Are Some of the tools that you guys use, rob that you found really effective to make sure that you're adding structure to your communication, you're adding a human element making sure folks are included. Would love to hear just a couple of things that you guys are using or things that you've tested and found work well for you. Yeah, yeah, I'll took about a couple of the tools. I think the tools are fairly easy. But one of the things with the time zones that you mentioned, that actually the ideal slitch situation in my view, is that you've got everyone on similar time zone, so he's goes west coast in the US, it's only three hours difference. It's easy to get on in the same kind of conference room and for conference rooms you can use lots of tools. So you've got the zoom is my favorite at the moment, but you've got Google, which is a free tool, you've got you've got slack and Skype, so there's so many good tools available for that there's no excuse not to have that available in your company. So that's that's that's fairly easy. But if you've got people completely distributed, now you're talking about a different level of because it is possible to do that. By the way, there are companies that are doing that, completely distributed in multiple time zones. But you then have to change your communication style and you've got to go more to a written or...

...asynchronous communication. So when you thinkness, meaning you know one person talks and rights out their thoughts and then the other person writes out there fell up later on and that's a completely different style. I think most companies are probably not actually willing or able to go to that level. In my view. Some of them do the completely completely remote of done it for many years. They do go to that level and you have to if you've got people that are very, very distribute and many times zones. But if you're in just like east coast, west coast, like, there's no no problem, I think, to just have meetings. If you are someone in the Philippines, then you want to schedule sometimes when they're working early or when you're working late, and then you can actually coordinate the the right times that you do it, you're talking to them. Depends on the type of work as well. So the other tools. I really recommend that everyone uses some kind of project management tool to structure their communication, and there's so many options there as well. Base campass on a Trello, there's there's just the list goes on and on. Teamwork, I've just like there's so many good tools. There's no there's no excuse with that. And another thing that I recommend is recording your screen with little videos that you can send you people, and there's also a lot of tools for that. So you've got use loomcom, which is one, and then you've got quite a bit. Yeah, I use that one. Yeah, that's great, and then engeing and lots of other options for that. Yeah, and I think you make a good point of, you know, using some project management software like, you know, Trello and teamwork or two that I've used in the past that, you know, add some structure if you if you've got to deal with that asynchronous communication, you can't just rely on, you know, your own brain and your own tracking system of when you need to follow up with things and has someone gotten back to you. So that's all really good stuff. Rob I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts and lessons learned on running a global team. Again, Eighty people across...

...twenty eight countries. That is quite a feat to keep all that running. If folks listening to this, rob want to reach out to you with any follow up questions or stay connected with you or find out more about time doctor or any of your companies, what's the best way for them to reach out? So just go to time doctor, just search it on Google, time doctor, and then contact through the the contact US page and that'll come to me. If you say hey, I want to speak to rob. That's probably the easiest way. But also check out our conference running remotecom, which we actually do in bally. So it's a good excuse to go to bally and learn all about how to run a remote business, which is this new thing that's becoming more popular, I would say. I I don't know if you heard of GITHUB. That's the most popular tool, I would say, for developers right and it was recently sold to Microsoft for seven billion. So they are a completely remote company. So the similar to our company, just way more successful and bigger, but they're they're actually completely remote to everyone working from home and it's very interesting that this model is starting to gain a little bit more traction and the people going hey, maybe this actually does work, or because people do have this fear and resistance. I'm not saying it's for every situation, but at least it's worth experiment with if you expend the specially of you having to hiring the right people. Yeah, awesome. Well, this has been great stuff, rout thanks again for coming on the show. Okay, great to chat. Becoming a thought leader doesn't just happen. If you want to build a strong personal brand and extend your reach online and offline, you need a plan. Want help developing yours, check out impact summit. This one day event is bringing together best selling authors, professional athletes, influential CEOS and emerging entrepreneurs, all for one purpose, to equip you to lead, influence and inspire. Whether you're looking to build a lasting legacy with...

...your business or extend the reach of your brand. Impact Summit speakers will share inspiring stories and practical lessons to help you on your way. Did we mention a session on launching and growing a podcast? You guessed it. You'll hear from sweet fish media's own James carberry during that session. You won't want to miss all of these influencers and leaders coming together in Salt Lake City on October thirteen. Ready to learn more? Check out influencer INC DOT COO. IMPACT SUMMIT BE TOB growth. Listeners can get fifteen percent off the price of their tickets for this event by using the Promo Code Sweet Fish. Sweet Fish, so use that code, get your tickets today and get ready to grow your brand and your influence at impact summit. Two Thousand and Eighteen.

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