AppyBee is an online booking platform that helps sports, entertainment, and food companies to automate their booking processes. Jan Donmez, co-founder and CEO of AppyBee, joins us today for this interview.
The main challenge faced by AppyBee was that they outsourced their marketing efforts to agencies, some of whom would promise the world and under-deliver. The reports that were provided to AppyBee were not the reports and data they needed.
In this interview, Jan discusses how they used Salespanel to get a 360-degree view of marketing, analyzed data to identify the good agencies, find winning marketing campaigns, and route budget to winners from the losers.
Jan also shares his thoughts on visiting company detection and how he initially thought it wouldn't be useful and how his perception changed. Jan speaks about finding a user-friendly B2B marketing analytics system that does not need you to be an expert to get the necessary data and reporting (unlike Google Analytics).
We have a brief discussion on making large enterprise use cases and features accessible for all. Jan talks about Salespanel's pricing model and the quality of the support before ending the conversation.
00:00 Introduction to AppyBee
02:50 Role of Jan Donmez in AppyBee and Founder-led Sales and Marketing
03:45 Plans on scaling and expanding globally from the Netherlands
05:25 Challenges in sales and marketing while being a small team
06:00 Challenges with some marketing agencies over-promising and underdelivering. Need for real information and reports.
09:05 Trying out Salespanel and getting a grip on marketing
10:30 Isolating winning channels and routing budget
11:57 Using visiting company information to tweak Google Ads strategy
13:21 Using Pipedrive with Salespanel
13:48 Thoughts on bringing high-level enterprise use cases to the masses and using company data for nurturing
15:20 Two-way information sync with CRM
16:38 What you like about Salespanel
18:30 Thoughts on Reports (beta and what comes in future)
21:11 How are you finding our support?
Nilangan Ray: Thank you for joining me. First of all, I want to know, what is AppyBee?
Jan Donmez: Well, AppyBee is an online bookings platform and we facilitate the companies to get bookings automatically via the app adding web widget and manually also by phone and give all these confirmations. What distinguishes us is that we actually more or less provide all the resources. So you can, as a company, give the resources… like for a person to be booked, an object to be booked, a group session to be booked, or an event to be booked.
And, besides the whole booking and the confirmation emails and whatnot. We also have a loyalty program in the platform, a customer satisfaction module, and we have a marketing module, so we can give push messages to your clients and you can push videos of course, with their consent and.. specific promotions. And, so very briefly that is what AppyBee is.
Nilangan: Yeah. Okay. That sounds interesting. So your customers are mainly businesses.. those who deal with the B2C market, like, the food industry or the travel industry. Is that correct?
Jan: It’s more sport and entertainment. So personal trainer, wellness and beauty, a hairdresser, a massager. We have also flex workplaces. Right now we also work with restaurants, because you are obliged to have a booking system in the Netherlands because of the COVID situation. So everything that has to do with reservation of time…
We’re also currently working on some nice features. I don’t want to spoil everything on the backend to make sure that we help the companies that use AppyBee as a platform get new clients. So that’s also what we want to facilitate and we’re working on nice features and that, yeah.
Nilangan: What is your role for AppyBee? What is it that you do?
Jan: I am the CEO and one of the founders actually. I’m one of the founders andI decide strategically which direction we go, marketing wise and also partially for product. We also have some colleagues, but mainly I make sure that we have new business… business development. So, getting leads, setting up customer journeys, doing sales, getting the product to the market…
Nilangan: Okay. So you have the upper hand on sales and marketing. Like what we call founder-led sales and marketing. Is that correct?
Jan: Yes, that is correct.
Nilangan: So I have one question first. I see that your website is in Dutch. Are you interested in offering services beyond the Netherlands? Because I feel like your service can be helpful for pretty much everyone around the world since your software is digital… So, anyone can use that. Is that right?
Jan: Yes, absolutely. That’s the next step. We want to have a firm base in the Netherlands first and the preparations are already there… it’s now a semi-SAAS. So to say, our onboarding is not completely automatic. And this is done on purpose to be able to have an interview with every client that connects to see what they want… and this is done on purpose to understand their needs and implement all new features for them… but yeah, our goal, our mission is togo to the German, uh, English and Spanish talking markets.
Nilangan: Tell me, what are the challenges that you have been facing in your sales and marketing. Like, we also have a small team and there are a lot of things we face ourselves. Like, mainly with the scale and how we do our marketing and how we do sales. Like we can’t do things that the big players dp, of course. So, we kind of have to do our thing. What is it with you guys?
Jan: Our main challenge was, you know, we don’t have our own marketing department. We don’t actually want that. We want to outsource to a huge marketing company that does this for us and make sure we get leads the most. The biggest challenge we have, honestly, are a lot of bullsh*t talking companies.. promising everything, but not delivering. Everybody can do everything in the beginning. They say, “yeah,we’ll do this”. We paid a sh*tload amount of money as a startup. And then, we have maintenance, an absurd amount of maintenance cost.
And, in the end, we had zero reporting. Now, where does this come from? Because, we also do our own linking, you know, to social and our biggest challenge… we had no idea what was happening. We had leads, of course, it was not enough… but, we didn’t know where did it get stuck? How many people are on our website? Of course, you have these tools, but you have thousands of toolings… Of course you have analytics… but you need to have studied academics and whatever, to really understand what’s happening there.We wanted to have all the information we were actually looking for… a 360-degree customer journey… what’s happening? how often? So, this was our biggest challenge.
Nilangan: And so, yeah. Like you said, there are a lot of companies that promise a lot of things, especially if you have no idea on what specific things you want. Like, it has happened to us as well. Like if I, for example, if I say that I want leads from SEO, and I say that I want an SEO agency, then I go around and try to hire and people will always say, “I can do this for you” or “I can do that for you”. But once you find out what you want and how you can measure results, things get easier.
Jan: I see this whole marketing and sales.. and the leads… and the demos as a racing track. If you asked me, you go step into the car, you do one round and you look “okay, what happened? How fast was I? What was the plus-minus?”. You then change that and you go to the track again. But, if you do not know what happened, and we have a Dutch saying, “you’re walking like a chicken without a head”. That’s what we say.
Nilangan: Yeah. We also say that. Like, when we are talking within ourselves about what marketing we want to do in the future, and we keep mentioning that we don’t want to go with the “headless chicken” route… like not knowing, just building things and not knowing what to do. I think you are exactly saying the same thing here. So it’s not just a language difference here. We have common themes. [Laughs]
Nilangan: Why did you sign up for Salespanel?
Jan: Oh, we were looking for a tool. We were looking for something… What’s the biggest mistake you can make with the marketing companies? You can say to them, this is what I want. They will say, of course, we will give you statistics, but it’s not the same statistics we need. It will be a modified kind of a statistic. You have no idea where it comes from, and it’s not genuine. Of course, they’re not going to say I did a bad job. And, we had no idea where it come from. You know what I mean? So my opinion, we wanted a tool. We wanted something that we can measure what is going on. That’s what we were looking for. We want to know if a client bought, what was the first touchpoint?
Where did this client come from? Initially? How many times did he did visit? Was it only through social media or was it through adwords as well? Was it through a newsletter? We want to know more… Was it to an email we sent? and, we were looking for this type of tool, to be honest. So then, we can hire a marketing company and tell “you go ahead” and we can hire another company and another for social, or maybe we’re going to do our own social. We’re going to send out a newsletter, or we will send out emails to our specific clients that you have looked at because you get to a certain moment where you lose, you cannot track all of these clients… where they come from, but in the end, they are on your CRM. And they said, “yes, I would like to trial”. And they say, “yes, I want to buy.”
Jan: And, Salespanel made it possible for us to really isolate. We can say, “Hey, 90% or 80% of my clients come from this channel, we should concentrate on that.” And maybe, that was only 20% of our budget and 80% of our budget, we’re putting in something that doesn’t really deliver. So in the end, it will save time, in my opinion, because you know what you’re doing and you know, where it goes. You know where it goes from, and you can find something independently. I know I can get 20 (marketing) companies right now and know how they’re doing. And not only the analytics report or the report they made, and some don’t even make a report. They see how many leads you got but all the leads are not from the work they have done. I want to know which keyword, I want to know which campaign and in the end, I want to know if it’s a bot.
Jan: We have visiting companies. We thought before that it was less interesting for us. But then, we saw also really interesting companies actually checking our website without even filling out anything. So what we’ve done right now is on Adwords, we localize, and we do Instagram, Facebook. We can even identify different campaigns. This information also comes to Salespanel anonymously. And I know what they watch, I know how effective it is. We see if it has come from Adwords, we see if it has come directly, we see if it’s come from LinkedIn.
So all of these visits that are anonymous, and then at a certain moment, when we do a newsletter, where we of course have the concept of these slides, where we send it, we can even embed it there. And that was so easy. And then, you know, if they click, I immediately know who it is, identify it. And then I have the history.
Now, it looks like a little bit of a big brother watching from above. But it’s not, we want to know how we’re doing. And in the end, if the client is lost we analyze and all this information is given through to Pipedrive, which works fantastic.
Nilangan: So you are using Pipedrive with Salespanel. We have this very real-time integration where information is transferred to Pipedrive in real-time. So if you are having a sales team, they can find everything without leave their CRM. And, we are also building a few interesting things. Since you are mentioning about companies that are visiting your website… There are these high-level use cases. These were previously available to like large enterprises and others. But what we are doing is… bringing it down for everyone to use it because everyone needs it. So for example, what you can do is… you can shortlist specific companies that are interesting to you, let’s say (for example) that you want companies that are in the food and beverage industry.
What you can do here is you can mark them and you can then target them and show these companies… these visitors… qualified visitors, ads on Facebook or Google or wherever with low CAC. So like really targeted ads. You do not have to spend money on the bad leads. So let’s say, you are getting a thousand companies identified on your website, for example, and you identify that around 200 of them are good leads. So you can only specifically target them. And when they finally sign up, Salespanel will join the sessions. So you will know exactly this guy signed up from this company.
< Nilangan and Jan discuss the process of two-way data sync informally for a couple of minutes. >
Nilangan: To ask one more question. What is your favorite feature on Salespanel?
Jan: It’s not the one specific feature, but it’s the ease of use… to know what’s happening at a certain period of time. How good are you doing? How many leads are coming? what they’re watching? Comfortably and not going clicking like 25 times to get some kind of information. And, and to be able to identify in the end, this person, what he does, as we speak, I’m also checking out anonymous leads… what they’re watching and what size.
And, what I think would be great, actually, I don’t know if it’s feasible for you guys, is I have this part for leads, visiting companies, and anonymous visitors. So that’s the part I would really like to see… because we are SAAS solution… to also embed this information on our portal. So we know what are users doing… in the backend, which websites, how often do they come back? And we also have a segment of users trial and paying customers. So that would also be nice of course in the future, it might come.
Nilangan: Sure, I will hook you up with our product team.
< Nilangan and Jan discuss the reports informally for a couple of minutes. >
Nilangan: I have to ask you, how are you finding our support right now?
Jan: Fantastic. I get an immediate response… always. So, I’m happy with that. But, I also accept that, you know, if you ask a question, it’s not that within one minute you need to have an answer. We are also a SAAS company. So, we understand a little bit of that. But no, it’s good. It’s good. It’s an honest model because Salespanel is not the only tool we had a look at. It was the first tool that was easily set up, where no time we were up and running and with competitive prices. So yeah, an honest pricing model.
Nilangan: Thank you for that. Actually, yes, we do not do the whole scripted answers thing. We kind of get annoyed with it ourselves. So if it’s something that takes time for us to reply, that means we are finding out the solution for the client and then we get back.
A lot of our customers have made different requests that we have worked on. Basically, Salespanel is what it is today because of customer requests and feedback we have received. So when we launched first, we’d interviewed a few CRM users. And then, we came out with this… the initial lead tracking. Then we came up with segments and other things, and we are constantly improving the product. And I think you will also like what you see in the future as we are continuously working on new things.
Nilangan: This was great talking to you. Thank you for joining me.
Jan: Thank you very much. Bye.