fbpx Scaling Remote Teams, Maintaining Culture, and Growing Through SMS Marketing
On this page

Scaling Remote Teams, Maintaining Culture, and Growing Through SMS Marketing

Adam Turner 6:20

Yeah, me Colin and Alex. So this is what I would consider like a part of the special sauce or like one of the special things about PostScript. So early in the days, like, when we started, I was writing backend code, Colin was writing front end code. And Alex was there to help with like bizdev, sales and all these different things. And since then, as we scaled up, obviously had to grow and learn different things in kind of segment out those different parts of the business. And so where we’ve landed is that it what I believe is that founders in general should try and pair up with people that have complimentary skills, and then have the least amount of overlapping skills, because that will help you just tackle more ground at early stages. And that will define the ownership really well at the later stages. So where we’ve landed is that I focus on everything, product engineering, design, finance, fundraising, in Alex’s focuses on like, all things go to market. So all things customer facing, basically, you’ve got, you know, customer success, sales, partnerships, support, all that type of stuff Alex focuses on. And so in that way, like, I’m not a CEO that I believe, like, has a bottleneck for every single decision to be made, right? Like, Alex makes a lot of decisions that the buck stops with him. And then we also trust our teams to make a lot of those decisions. And so I find that that that helps with scaling. If you if you try and like hold on every single decision, it’s things are going to break. And so the more you can kind of divvy up those responsibilities, I think the easier it is to scale.

Joshua Chin 7:54

One of the the most challenging aspects of scaling a remote team that I’ve personally found, we have a fully remote team as well, about 80 plus people in different parts of the world. So the challenge there is kind of bridging different cultures and personalities towards the same core principles are core values that we live by. How do you keep up with the skill of growth, while at the same time? Making sure that your core values don’t, you know, go behind the scenes and make making sure that that stays top of mind?

Adam Turner 8:34

Yeah, that’s a good, good question. Before I dive into that, I am curious how many folks were you at when we started chatting because you’ve gone through this? This is a very similar growth spurt. It feels like

Joshua Chin 8:46

yeah, it’s a we were at when we met. I think we were closer to 40 people.

Adam Turner 8:52

There you go. Yeah, definitely not. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I’d even be curious to hear hear answers on this, because I’m bridging the cultural gaps as well. I can’t even imagine, every time I’m on a call with somebody, your folks, it just seems seamless and amazing. So after this, thank you. But thank you appreciate that. Yeah, but, um, so how we’ve done it, like all things, entrepreneurship, there’s a lot of luck involved. And if you hire great people, you know, there’s a lot of trust involved there. But there are some things, some processes that you can kind of put in place that we’ve seen work. And so first when you know, pre COVID, and before we were, you know, over 20 folks, we would onboard everybody in person, and so the founders would fly out and the founders would like onboard everyone, and that helps kind of like solidify the Yeah, just like the culture there. And so we did that till about 20 folks, and then with 2020 hit, you know, first COVID hit, and then obviously the e commerce boom during COVID was something just tremendous in during that time. Time the company grew, or like the amount of customers we had grew like over 400%. And so what we had to do is we had to say, okay, the market is demanding massive growth of us. And we can’t say we’re going to grow on our own terms, we’re going to grow with a few people, because we want to keep, like, take care of our culture, right, we had to have like a leap of faith and say, to support all of our customers, we actually need to grow a lot more than we originally anticipated in the hire a lot more. So what is like the process that we put in place to make sure things don’t break as we do that. And so what we’ve done is we’ve essentially tried to standardize a lot of the onboarding processes and documents in like, onboarding meetings that we have for the first two weeks of everyone, because that creates like a shared language, it indoctrinates them into the values, because the values are just a huge part of PostScript, everybody knows them. A lot of companies try and talk about values, but we try to make sure that the values really help everyone be successful within their first 90 days and beyond. And so we see it as like a toolkit that we’re teaching folks. And really like that involves, you know, some meetings with the co founders where I do kind of a CEO, welcome, I talk about the history of the company, I talk about the values I talked about, you know, where we’re going, the company vision, the product, vision, all that type of stuff. And we’ve got multiple of those throughout the first few weeks. And I think that, along with a great foundation of folks that will help scale. And so I think that, again, we’ve gotten very, very lucky. And we’ve got a lot of great folks that do that. Another thing that we do is to filter ahead of time, right? So while you’re interviewing, make sure that you are we have a an interview dedicated to the values explicitly. And so with that, we kind of have a rubric that everybody can go through that asks questions that map to the values. And so they’re, it’s one of those things where you can hire someone in on day 30, they can do that same interview, because they just have the rubric, they understand the values, and they’re able to do it. And so that’s something that scales pretty well, and can help make sure that you’re doing that one thing you want to avoid there obviously is creating, like a culture that that reinforces the wrong values or that like hires the same type of people. And so that’s where you, you make the rubric, very explicit in like what you’re trying to measure, in that you don’t want to have a culture that’s like all the same people because you want a diversity of thought, in diversity of people. So it’s a delicate balance. But yeah, it’s, it’s a constant iteration. For us.

Joshua Chin 12:33

That’s really interesting. So you started out just doing things that did not skill, although Well, with you flying out to meeting people all the way up to number employee number 25. That’s, that’s insane. Um, and then you move on to just standardizing the process and making sure that people understood what you were looking for, and trying to convey that throughout the hiring process. Yeah. Adam, you talk about luck a lot. But uh, I think that’s just one part of the puzzle. I too, believe in luck. I think a huge part of success comes down to luck. But beyond that, it’s luck. And luck is just opportunity meeting preparedness. I think they’re so how do you prepare for 2a lucky break?

Adam Turner 13:21

Man? That That is a great question. I love that that’s something that I’m Oh, man, it’s it’s one of those things that to even understand that you have a lucky break. I think that it takes a lot of mindfulness. Like I think that if you just grind out things day to day, and you have like a plan, and you have a machine and you just like doing things, I think that you’re less likely to see an opportunity that comes your way. And so I think it’s the combination of like mindfulness and curiosity that will help identify the opportunities. And so you know, if we got to the very early days, even when we were when we were starting PostScript, my brother and I were just like building a lot of things because we were curious, and we liked building things. And then the SMS idea kind of came our way through a friend of mine. And then we just tried it out because we were like, curious about what it might look like. And so I think that if you have that curiosity, where you hear an idea, and you just want to know more without any without any specific thing, you’re not actually like chasing money or chasing status or any of that you’re just like, I wonder how this works, right? Like, how does this work? How might I do this? I think then, and that’s have to do as you scale. But I think that you can also filter for curiosity pretty well. Yeah, but i think i think that that’s one of those things where they’ll help you understand that you’re you have an opportunity on your hands and help you execute it. Instead of

Joshua Chin 15:01

mindfulness and curiosity I like that, um, let’s let’s dive into SMS marketing a little bit. I’d love to hear about your thoughts and your philosophy and in SMS marketing and ecommerce, especially with the the past one year. It’s been insane. ecommerce has grown tremendously. What’s your philosophy around conversational marketing and SMS?

Adam Turner 15:26

Yeah, that that’s another good question. So I’m generally like, I’ll start with what what we’ve seen in the market and then go into our philosophy, because you’re right, in the last year, especially like, it’s become a very hot topic, it’s booming. I think that people have gone from the kind of like, will this bother my customers gap to? Okay, I feel that I might need to do this, how do I get started? And now there’s a lot a lot more people talking about SMS and a lot more adoption in general, it, I think that, I think that the easiest default thing to do is say that, you know, SMS is like email, in terms of the strategy involved, right? I in terms of Okay, you know, we’re doing some list building that’s similar to email, and then we’re doing some campaign sending, it’s making us a lot of money. And I think that that’s absolutely great. I think that I see merchants making a lot of money on that on a lot of different platforms every single day, and the value being created over the last year alone, because merchants are able to talk with their customers in the new channel, that alone is just absolutely fantastic. When it comes to like, how we see SMS, and actually what we’re building towards, you kind of mentioned it, but the whole conversational aspect, a little conversational commerce, vision that we have, has come out of just the native experience of SMS, right? If, if your friend texts you, if you never ever reply, there’s gonna be some like tension in that relationship, maybe. And that’s not gonna be like, great. And so if brands continue to text you and you never reply, or like we’re playing, it’s just natural for people to do, right, we’re playing this is natural for people when they get a text. And if brands aren’t thinking about that action reaction relationship, when they are sending SMS, then they might be losing out on like, a terrific amount of great interactions with their customers. And in general, I see brands using SMS as like purely a marketing channel, because it’s making them a ton of money. But really what PostScript is building is building all of the customer experience over the single channel, which is SMS, right? And so how we think about this is we see where things have gone in like a lot of other countries, right? So if you think about WhatsApp, in like many other countries, you might even people have like a WhatsApp number, instead of even a website, right? Like the US, like, skip that website, they go straight to messaging. And the reason for that is, it’s like it’s frictionless, they develop relationship with their customer. And they do everything through there, right? They’re setting appointments, they’re making purchases, they’re doing post purchase, follow up, all of that type of stuff. And that is like, what consumers want. That’s like a fantastic way to do things, right. And while I think that like, promotions, and one way text messaging right now is doing a lot, I feel that there’s a lot being missed out on that full service experience through the channel, right. And so that means like, nurturing customers as they come in nurturing subscribers, and teaching them about your brand, and conversing with them when they have questions about your brand. And making sure that like all of your automations are turned on for shipping notifications, or like post purchase offers, or collecting product reviews through SMS, I think that you have to look at every single stage of the customer lifecycle. And you have to account for that in your SMS strategy. And I think that that is where things are headed in general, right? I think that as I’m not naive in SMS, right, as as channels mature, there tends to be a little bit more noise, and potentially a little bit less ROI. And I think that the next big ROI jump in servicing the entire customer journey instead of just a few parts of that. And so when we think about conversational commerce, we think about those types of things. Good example is earlier in the year, we unveil PostScript pay, which is a product that lets people purchase through SMS, right? And so not only can you send to them now, but they can reply back and they can make a purchase through that same threat, right? And so that does a few things that creates that action reaction relationship where people can reply and have something happen on the backend, right? But what it also does is it takes away steps in the funnel, right? And so if there’s anything I know about Intel versus if you remove steps in the funnel, right? You increase conversion rate, right, single page Checkout, this type of stuff. And so when we think about different things to build on PostScript, We’re looking at that e commerce equation that I talked about before. And we’re saying what can we do? Can we increase traffic? Can we increase conversion rate? Can we increase repeat purchase rate by like having a great integration with recharge, right? And so we think about all these different things and how they affect the customer lifecycle, and really try and build them

Joshua Chin 20:18

with that, and so at the end of the day, it’s it sounds like, the entire kind of industry as a whole is shifting towards user experience, and end customer experience, versus just what marketing channel is highest ROI, or most effective. We’re seeing that with the whole iOS shifts, as well, user experience users come first, above all else. I’m curious about benchmark, you talked about kind of ROI norm normalizing towards some kind of a lower norm as channels mature, but at this point in time as as, as we speak towards the end of 2021. What’s a good benchmark that brands can expect from from using a platform like PostScript?

Adam Turner 21:15

Yeah, so in general, we see like across all of our brands, and there’s a pretty wide distribution here, we’re seeing 25x ROI, on average, right? And, yes, the channel ROI decreases over time. But actually, what we see is that certain PostScript customers are making like over 100x ROI, like over 100x ROI, in where that ROI is coming from is like the increased personalization in the messages that they’re delivered, right? And the best example that I like to use is, yes, you can install PostScript in one click, you can like turn on an abandoned cart, that’s gonna make you a lot of money, right? But what if you split that abandoned cart? And you said, Okay, I’m going to have two different segments of customers, one’s going to be VIPs people who have purchased more than three products, and the other is going to be people who have never purchased before. And if you just think of those two different types of folks, if you send them both the same message, one person is going to be very confused, right? One person is gonna be like, What do you mean, I’m a VIP, I’ve never bought from you. And the other is going to feel really special. If they’re the VIP, and you’d get acknowledged for that one of our brands will ask the other day, send me a text, and I’m not gonna say how many orders I’ve made for them, because it’s embarrassing, but they sent me a text me like, Adam, you’re like one of our best VIPs. Like, here you go, he’s early to access it, I felt so special, I felt so special. And so the brands that we see, taking the time to change their automations, to create segments of their audiences to make sure that the copy is right for each segment of the audience, we see their ROI skyrocket. And that’s why I’m so excited about the opportunity. Because if we’re, if we can do this at scale for our brands, over 5000 brands, we can help them personalize and segment and automate, then that 25x ROI, I believe, can even increase across the board. And so that’s something that that I think about a lot is how do we make it easier for brands to do that type of action to create that special experience for their customers?

Joshua Chin 23:16

I think personalization at scale is probably one of the most pivotal, I guess functions of using marketing automation platforms, more tech platforms in general. Moving into the new new new year, I believe, what are some of the most creative use cases of PostScript that you’ve seen personally?

Adam Turner 23:42

Yeah, so one of my favorites, is a customer of ours, all the pop, and they make a healthy soda for folks. And one of the things that they did is they were trying to figure out which flavor they should make next, right? And this is one of those things where, like, you could send an email, but it’s not kind of natural for it. But what they did is they sent out a text and they were like, Okay, do you want um, I’m not exactly sure it was like, like orange and grape or something like that, right? And they were like, reply orange if you want orange or apply great if you want gray. So they’re they’re using like the two way interaction, they’re using both of them, they’re having people vote on the next flavor. So they’re like, as a company, it’s valuable to them, because one, they’re getting all of that customer feedback in two, there’s actually like purchases that come out of that they’ve now built a list of the person, the people who want to be involved in like the beta for the new flavor or anything like that. And right, that is one of those things that’s just like so special and so native to the channel, like have just been able to reply and vote on the next flavor that you love, like, so cool. Yeah. So very cool. So that’s one of my favorites. And I think that there’s a lot of different use cases for this. And I think that not just that, but like replying for anything. Like I think that that’s what’s special about the channel and I’m excited to see how brands gonna lean into that as SMS becomes a core strategy for them and, and as they get creative with it,

Joshua Chin 25:04

it can also be used as a top of funnel entry point to getting to know a brand as well. For instance, for instance texting a phrase to a brand to initiate a relationship between like a certain type of pens or your texts, your text, your I don’t know, belt size to receive a free belt, kind of a thing. And that initiates a relationship from kind of top of funnel and that could also potentially be a potential paid ads funnel, if done correctly,

Adam Turner 25:39

right. Absolutely. There’s Yeah, I mean, see you You already have the gears turning right. It’s like, Yeah, can we do this? It’s incredible. Like, can we do yeah, like I choose your own adventure? Like Welcome to your yet right. That’s your thing, or, or like all of this is also people talk a lot about e commerce first party data, talk about like, a rich, rich source for first party data. Yeah, just like just goldmine, goldmine, right there.

Joshua Chin 26:08

Yeah, it’s a goldmine. What do you think is the future of SMS? And also on the parallel? What’s the future of PostScript in the next 5, 10 years?

Adam Turner 26:19

510 years? Okay, here we go.

Joshua Chin 26:23

Or maybe to figure out how far I mean, yeah, the industry is changing so rapidly, we don’t even know what the next year is going to look like.

Adam Turner 26:31

Yeah, it changes very rapidly. And when I think about PostScript, in two plus three plus five plus years, what are trying to envision is the experience that the consumer will have on their phone, right? Like, what do they actually want, right? Because some of what’s special URL, a lot of a special about like Shopify, and e commerce and all this type of stuff is that you’re building an own relationship with your customer, right? Like, you get to know who’s buying from you, you get to have their phone number, you get to develop this relationship. And so I think about what’s going to make that relationship the best what’s going to make the customer the most happy. And I believe that is, first, a platform that sends like the right message to the right person at the right time, right, we’re talking personalization, first party data segments, Ting, automating all of that type of stuff. But then the next part of it is allowing the customer to do whatever they want to do next, after that, right. And so what you can see inside PostScript are kind of blends to that. And we’re about to kind of go all in on that. And what I mean there is you see different things like our integration with a kendo, which is a great product review platform. And what it can do does is they use PostScript, to send out requests to write product reviews, right? This is something we typically do over email. But with PostScript, they plug into a thread that is already established with the customer. And the customer already knows that the brand is talking with them. And so what that results in is like over a 20% lift in reviews collected for that brand. You can so yeah, so we’re seeing that, as more ecommerce tech kind of plugs into PostScript, it’s like this rising tide that is lifting all boats, both for the consumer because they can do everything and write a review, they can make a return eventually, right? They can purchase the text, there’s more value being delivered to the channel and in that thread, which decreases unsubscribes, which increases LTV, right, giving value to the customer. And thus you’re increasing all these core metrics for the brain. Right? And so yeah, I believe that in the future, you’ll see basically a text read allows you to do anything, it’s smart, it’s got NLP in it, right? So you can say, I want to buy that, you know, new the new dress that you have, and we know like what the new dress is for that store and that type of thing, right? Yeah, I think that could be a combination of everything. Where in order, for example, in order to do NLP correctly, you have to understand context really well. You can’t just have an AI engine that can answer any question. You can No,

Joshua Chin 29:05

there’s no no key. NLP stands for natural language processing, right? Yes,

Adam Turner 29:10

natural language processing. Right. So this is something that we already do inside PostScript, a good example is Yeah, buzzy OPT outs, right? So when somebody texts don’t text me, that’s not like a compliant opt out. But we see that as an opt out, right. And so you’ve trained models to understand when someone doesn’t want to be texted anymore. And so that’s one example of like, NLP inside PostScript. And as we build out these different models, I believe that you’ll see just a more robust feature set delivered to the end customer, which increases all of those great metrics that I’ve talked about before but I think that that type of experience is what you’ll see in the SMS thread. And also I think you’ll see a lot of like other messaging threads as as those you know, those opened up a little bit more.

Joshua Chin 29:57

What are some of your personal favorite Brands it does SMS, right?

Adam Turner 30:06

Man, I’d say lollipop absolutely right. I’m ugly water, which I’m drinking right now I am just like, what I’m a fan of like, I just love their product. And I think they’re doing SMS great. And another product that I love is Money bytes. Which are, if you had like a Sunday ice cream cone from the store before, like the bottom part of it is just chocolate. The bottom part of the code is just chocolate. Oh, that’s so good. Yeah, yeah. And it’s just like a bag of those. So yeah, and so was one of my favorites. We have something really fun at PostScript, which is like a customer stipend. And so every single employee at PostScript gets a certain amount of money each month to spend with our customers. Because we want them to go through the e commerce experience, see how they’re doing SMS, just like enjoy their products want to support our customers. And so that’s the fun that you’ve always done. And it’s so cool. We have so much just internal UGC of people like doing reviews of customer products, and like, it’s just a lot of fun.

Joshua Chin 31:10

Oh, that’s so cool. So every PostScript employee gets a bit of a stipend every single month to just buy products from your customers to just buy products from a customer. That is so smart. That’s amazing. Um, has there ever been like a situation a situation where someone goes like, hey, actually, this process is experienced, could have been better for me. And as a result of that creates some kind of feedback or value to that end customer at that brand that you’re working with? Has there ever been a case like that?

Adam Turner 31:46

Where we’re giving feedback to the brand? Yeah, we’re

Joshua Chin 31:49

because you’re going through the shopping experience as well.

Adam Turner 31:54

Yeah. Yeah. This this type of thing happens all the time. And, um, you know, we consider ourselves experts. Do we call ourselves expert? Yeah, yeah, SMS is a new channel in general, I think that there’s a lot that we can do there. And because we have visibility over all these brands, we’re going through these videos, I think that that’s a result in like a lot of kind of a semi consultative approach. When customers have questions for us. We might say, Hey, I got your abandoned cart, I might tweak it this way. And that sort of thing. And so yeah, a lot of that a lot of that comes out of it. And a lot of great food and great drink and everything there to live in sheets, right.

Joshua Chin 32:36

Adam, what’s your best advice for companies and brands, scaling remote teams? I think that’s a big theme for last year and this year and beyond?

Yeah, what have you learned?

And what’s the number one? advice that you’d give someone? Like me? Yeah,

Adam Turner 32:56

I mean, I’d say that, like, you’re doing it right, in that my advice is like, lean in, right? Like, I think that I think that some of this transition, come a lot of people off guard. And I think that the people have leaned in and said, we’re gonna really do remote and here are like, rules for it. And like, we’re gonna actually make this fun. I think that those people, no matter what company inside e commerce outside of e commerce, I think that the companies and folks that leaned in, I think that they got the most value out of it. And so what what happens when you lean in, is you realize that it’s an entirely different way of working right? Like you. You are missing out on a few core things, and you’re getting a lot of core things, right. Some things that I think that you get that go very underrated are like, the micro interactions that people now have with their families and loved ones, as they’re like, getting five minutes in between meetings, or whatever it may be those types of interactions. I think you’re getting that. And I think that like, that feeds the soul, and that helps the culture. Absolutely. I think that what you’re missing out is a lot of that human interaction. And I think that you have to, you have to make up for that. And so some of the ways that I make up for that personally, and I think a lot of people at PostScript have leaned into our like loom loom is a fantastic product, recording videos, quick one minute videos to send to someone. It’s just like pulling them aside except you’re not pulling them aside. They can watch it on their own time. And it’s very personalized. It’s me, I’m right here, like this is what I’m saying. It’s avoids that whole problem of like slacking someone in that you don’t understand the tone and all that type of stuff. Like Yeah, it just gets rid of that. And another thing that we do is we’re making sure that people are able to have the opportunity to see see each other in the cities that they’re in. So we kind of have critical mass and a lot of different cities Boston, New York, Austin, Los Angeles, are giving people the opportunity to like meet up there. And then also we’re saying if you as a small team want to meet up somewhere Everybody feels comfortable. Let’s do that too, because you still need to pay down that debt. That human dad, like, I didn’t go fully remote. And I don’t think that people can just function without human interaction, right? And so make sure that you’re always keeping that in mind as you’re running remote company. It’s great, but you still have to pay down my debt.

Joshua Chin 35:19

That makes sense. Um, Adam, this has been great. What is the best way to get in touch with you connect with you and hear more of what you have to say?

Adam Turner 35:31

If you are an e commerce, probably just like, email me, I’m Adam@postscript.io. That’s probably the best like, I if you’re a customer, if you’re not a customer would love direct feedback for PostScript, we’re always trying to grow. We’re always trying to listen. And that feedback goes directly to our team, our engineers or product folks love to hear more from our customers. So I’ll use that as a CTA. And yeah, I mean, that’s probably the best way check me out on LinkedIn. That’s where I post some content about different remote type stuff as well. And it also we are hiring a lot check out our jobs board, if you are interested in any of our jobs.

Joshua Chin 36:13

And just a quick shout out here. The the people that we’ve been working with that at PostScript have has been incredible, incredible talent, people who are really kind really amazing. I’m very, very smart people. So if you’re looking for a career in in eCommerce, definitely go check that out. Go to Postscript.io as well, incredible platform. If you need help or if there’s questions around setting up PostScript right from the from the get go. Come to us at Chronos.Agency. Be happy to chat as well. And this has been incredible. Adam, thank you so much for being a part of the show.

Adam Turner 36:52

Absolutely. Thank you so much, Josh.

Outro 36:56

Thanks for listening to the eCommerce Profits Podcast. We’ll see you again next time and be sure to click subscribe to get notified of future episodes.

Other podcasts

Ready to get started?

We’ve put together a handy-dandy eCommerce marketing calendar to help you forecast all the sale dates you’ll need to watch out for! It’s chock-full of major and minor holidays, perfect for your eCommerce brand!
Book a call