Today’s Core Connections Feature profiles good friend and incredibly sharp business mind, Tim Hill. With an impressive legacy from Blackboard, SAGA Software and Iomega, Tim is the kind of guy that is always thinking and when he makes a move, you know it’s on purpose. I recently asked Tim to share about his new project, Channel Rocket, and some lessons learned from the world of start-up.
Ten years ago, did you think you’d be doing what you’re doing now?
Not exactly! I would have thought I’d be at another mid-market company helping them go public or growing their top line dramatically. That’s been my track record – companies like Iomega, SAGA Software and Blackboard. Dramatic growth in revenues and market cap driven by product, sales and marketing innovation.
How did Channel Rocket come about?
My co-founder – Greg Sherrill – and I worked together at Iomega years ago during our hyper growth. Greg had founded and sold Circa65 – a Denver channel marketing agency – so he knew indirect channels cold. He started a SaaS company focused on sales enablement for indirect channels in 2013. I was consulting with him on the strategy and product direction and was so excited by the opportunity I joined the company in January of this year. We launched Channel Rocket in May have and been consumed by the opportunity ever since.
So this obviously came from a clear and present need, are sales teams really struggling this badly?
Sales enablement isn’t CRM or marketing automation. And sales reps in both direct and indirect channels are many steps removed from corporate marketing or sales leadership. How do you reach them with your value prop and secret sauce and equip them with content relevant to the buyer persona and their pain points? That’s where Channel Rocket comes in . . . we distill content down to what’s relevant and align that content with buyer pain points. In essence, tailored sales pitches right at your fingertips.
How have your past positions equipped you to really make a positive impact with Channel Rocket?
Having led large global sales and marketing teams throughout my career, I fully recognize the challenge of selling through both direct and indirect channels. I also have a track record of driving explosive growth and ensuring marketing delivers what sales needs versus what they want. There’s a difference, and sales and marketing alignment is paramount to success.
What has been the toughest lesson your team has learned during this launch?
With a start-up, you’re driving down a six lane highway, not a one way street. You must adapt, learn from mistakes and change lanes on command. Resources are limited and your ability to execute is a critical success factor. So Greg and I and our executives are in constant contact and make rapid-fire decisions all focused on moving the needle for the business.
What kind of reception have you seen Channel Rocket receive so far?
We were fortunate to have five clients before we officially launched and that helped with credibility for our solution. While it’s still early, we’re pretty psyched with our pipeline and the reception for our platform. And we’ve added two reseller partners with more in process which will help us extend our reach. Everyone we’ve demo’ed Channel Rocket to gets it immediately and sees how we can add value and accelerate sales in the channel.
Why has it taken so long for Sales Enablement Software to make it?
It’s a market segment still in its nascent stages. And it’s really heating up right now with venture capital pouring millions into the category. Sales enablement software and tools really fill the gap between sales and marketing automation platforms. It’s more than email marketing and partner portals too – it’s about the pitch, sales readiness and sales content that’s aligned with client needs.
What’s next for you?
We’ve poured every dollar of profit back into the software and building out the platform with added value features. We’ll be going out for investment in Q4 and Q1 to enable us to ramp up our sales and product roadmap. Greg and I have made the investment in the business to get us where we’re at – and it will require capital to leverage the business. It’s really satisfying to bootstrap a start-up and see it succeed. But we recognize the iron is hot right now in the category so we want to accelerate growth immediately.