It’s no secret: We’re hiring here at Drift. And we recently invested in an applicant tracking system to help simplify our recruiting process.
That’s when I was faced with a tough decision:
I had it narrowed down to two recruiting software companies, both of which offered similar functionality at a similar price.
Either option would have worked out — they were both great products. So I decided to focus instead on what direction the companies were heading in…What did they have in mind for the future of the product and the future of their customers?
Turns out, the two companies had philosophies that were miles apart: one was company-driven, the other was customer-driven.
One product was designed by engineers only, while the other was designed by people who actually did recruiting.
It soon became clear that only that second company had a pulse on what the recruiting world actually needed. They were closer to their customer than the competition. So, of course, we ended up going with them.
The Drift Difference
That buying experience got me thinking about how we differentiate ourselves as a company (and product team) here at Drift.
Because over the years, I’ve realized that when it comes to hypergrowth companies, the underlying reason for their success isn’t the tech: It’s the overall experience they’re able to deliver to their customers.
The biggest winners always have their customers’ backs.
And in the world of sales and marketing, let’s face it: The customer experience has been terrible — not only for the sales and marketing professionals using the software, but also for their leads and customers.
So that’s why I wanted to write this, so I could let all of our customers and potential customers out there know:
At Drift, we’ve got your back.
We see that the form and follow-up approach to generating and qualifying leads is broken, and that the tools most marketing & sales teams are using today no longer match the way people buy.
So we want to be the team that helps you reinvent your approach. We want to help you bring your sales and marketing process into the future.
Here are three key reasons why we’re the best team for the job:
- Our DNA
- Our Focus
- Our Philosophy
1) Our DNA
From Compete, to Lookery, to Performable, to HubSpot, and now at Drift, I’ve been building software for salespeople and marketers for my entire career.
And for a lot of that journey, my Drift co-founder and CTO Elias has been with me.
(Left: Elias Torres, right: David Cancel)
For years, we’ve had a front-row seat, watching how the sales and marketing landscape has been evolving.
For years, we’ve been having one-to-one conversations with salespeople and marketers. We’ve been going into their offices and studying their habits and figuring out where their pain points are.
And for years, we’ve been building software tools for these folks to address their problems and we’ve been listening to their feedback and refining our approach — year after year after year.
For the team here at Drift, creating tools that can help sales & marketing people deliver better experiences and grow their business is part of our DNA.
It wasn’t something we stumbled into or saw as an opportunity that we could exploit. It’s been part of our mission from the beginning.
As our team continues to grow, we’re paying special attention to the first 100 people we hire to make sure we’ll be able to preserve that DNA.
The “Drift 100” will form the foundation of the company and help plot our course for future growth. So we need to make sure that foundation is as strong as possible.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
2) Our Focus
The temptation many SaaS companies face is to go broad — to be the all-in-one solution for everything.
While they might start out addressing one market, a lot of companies inevitably feel compelled to expand.
Instead of focusing on serving the people they’re already invested in (and who have already invested in them), and making that experience as incredible as possible, companies abandon their roots in pursuit of new types of customers.
As a result, customer experience suffers across the board.
That’s why at Drift, we made the decision to be laser-focused on who we’re building our product for (sales and marketing teams) and what we want them to do with that product (capture, qualify, and connect with leads).
Our focus isn’t on building a platform that will take over your entire company and be integrated into every function.
Instead, we’re 100% focused on helping your sales and marketing team turn conversations into conversions. That’s it.
And because we have this focus, we’ve been able to go deep with our solution. We’ve been able to dig into all of the details and use technology to address the issues that matter most to sales and marketing teams.
Our intelligent sales assistant, Driftbot, is an example of this: It takes care of all of the mundane, repetitive tasks that were eating up a sales rep’s time — tasks like asking basic qualifying questions, scheduling meetings, and routing incoming leads to the right reps based on territory.
3) Our Philosophy
A decade ago, Elias and I were still struggling to differentiate between customer problems and company problems.
Because here’s the thing: Most of the time when we’re running around inside of our companies, we’re optimizing for the wrong person. We’re optimizing for solving our own problems internally, and pushing our own ideas, instead of optimizing for what really matters:
Solving customer problems.
At Drift, being customer-driven has been part of our company philosophy since day one. But we didn’t figure it out overnight.
It all started back at my earlier company, Performable, when our engineers began handling our customer support shifts. Once the engineers began hearing from customers directly, they felt urgency around solving their problems and making product improvements based on their feedback.
This evolved into a new, customer-driven model, where everything — from how teams were structured, to what features were getting shipped — revolved around the customer. And we became obsessed with shipping as quickly as possible so we could get out in front of our customers and start that feedback loop again and keep getting better.
When Performable was acquired by HubSpot, I then had the opportunity to scale our customer-driven approach while leading the product team there. And then when Elias and I left to start Drift, being customer-driven was one of our founding tenets.
In addition to guiding our product development process (we use our own, Burndown, instead of Waterfall or Agile), the customer-driven philosophy has shaped how we see Drift evolving:
Instead of being a closed platform, we want to be an open one.
Our customers value being able to take all of the tools and systems they’re already comfortable with and being able to plug them into Drift. (With our integrations, customers can send all of the leads they’re generating in Drift to the tools they’re already using, like Salesforce.)
Alternatively, by forcing customers into a closed platform and limiting their choices, you’re solving a company problem, not a customer one.
Remember: Hypergrowth companies don’t just create incredible products, they create incredible customer experiences.
From the copy people read on your website, to the videos they watch on your YouTube channel, to the onboarding flow of your product, all of that contributes to the overall experience someone has.
Whether it’s Netflix vs. Blockbuster, Uber vs. cabs, or Airbnb vs. hotels, it’s always been the same story: Whoever gets closest to the customer wins.