Talent Hub is proud to introduce the fifteenth episode of the Talent Hub TV series in podcast format. Here, Talent Hub Director, Ben Duncombe sits down for ‘on the sofa’ chats with inspirational Salesforce professionals to learn more about their fascinating stories and market insight.
This month’s guests, Founder of Salesforce product owner, Resonant, Matthew Sutton, joins Ben on the sofa to share his own Salesforce journey, from 15 years in recruitment.
Matthew shares his thoughts on the future of the platform and his insight into the history of the Salesforce product landscape here in Australia, and what excites him about what comes next.
Listen here, or if you prefer to read, the entire transcript is below:
Ben: Welcome to Episode 15 of Talent Hub TV, I’m here with Matthew Sutton today from Resonant. Thanks for coming on the show.
Matthew: You’re welcome
Ben: So, we’ve got lots of different things to discuss today, I think there’s some really good topics that we’ll go through, but for the benefit of the viewers, what did you do before Salesforce?
Matthew: So before starting Resonant, I was in recruitment for about 15 years.
Ben: One of us.
Matthew: One of you, absolutely. A good 15 years.
Ben: Okay cool, so what then eventually brought you into the Salesforce ecosystem?
Matthew: So I got the opportunity to play with Salesforce, within the company I was working in at the time, and like a lot of people, found a new skill, my inner geek, became my outer geek, and things grew.
Ben: So if you had, like you call yourself a geek, but did you have an IT background at all, or a passion for technology outside of work?
Matthew: That’s a different story, that started at university, on an Engineering degree, and finishing not on an Engineering degree, and moving into sales.
Ben: Yeah, so sales and then your company implemented Salesforce, you got a chance to play around with it.
Ben: What was your kind of, how extensive at that point did you play around with it?
Matthew: So I got us onto the global trial for Cloud Flows, so that was 2015, and managed to start re-engineering workflows and processes using Cloud Flows, so it was pretty intense.
Ben: Okay cool, and then since then, since your company implemented Salesforce what roles have you played with the platform?
Matthew: So from moving on from there I moved into a contractor, Salesforce Admin, and then basically started working with multiple clients and grew Resonant from there.
Ben: Okay, and back in 2015, was Trailhead around?
Ben: How do you learn at that point, how do you get familiar with the system?
Matthew: So just Google and YouTube, and then you know, studying different materials available, a lot of it through Google.
Matthew: Trailhead’s made a big difference.
Ben: Yeah sure, and were there any particular sources back then, that were like, that you would pinpoint and say, “that was a really big help along the journey”?
Matthew: Yes, SFDC99.
Ben: Yeah okay, the guy in the States, right?
Matthew: Yeah that was a great help.
Ben: Okay, and then when you moved into the contract market, what were you? B.A? Admin? What kind of roles were you performing?
Matthew: A bit of everything, yeah so business analysis, project management, and hands-on admin.
Ben: Ok yeah.
Matthew: The only thing I don’t really do is code.
Ben: And at that point, were they implementations or support, like day-to-day?
Matthew: Implementations. So yeah, we’ve done about 150 implementations to date.
Ben: Okay and that’s obviously now moving away from the contracting?
Matthew: It was a very quick move.
Matthew: Yeah from contracting into Consultancy.
Ben: So you saw the opportunity?
Matthew: Yeah, it happened. It kind of came about on it’s own, I guess. Through people I know, recommendations, lots of people to thank for that.
Ben: Yeah for sure. So what’s the big focus for you now as it stands?
Matthew: So we’ve launched our first product in the AppExchange about five weeks ago, and so that’s actually going to change the way the business is operating, so purely from being an implementation partner, we’re now an ISV Partner.
Matthew: And it’s going to complement both sides, I think, of the business so I think we’ll see future growth, most definitely. We’ve got our team in Manila, and we’ve got our team in India, and we’ve got our local team in Australia and New Zealand.
Ben: Okay, so if we focus on the beginning of Resonant Cloud, and we’ll discuss the product and the AppExchange experience, but initially looking at that consulting piece, I initially came across the business because I saw that you were looking for people coming from a non-Salesforce background, and kind of cross-training, so why was that your, I guess, route to growth, but also how did you do that?
Matthew: So there’s a definite, you know, skills shortage within the Salesforce ecosystem, but from my days of recruitment, I’m also aware that there’s a huge source of skills within the sort of, working parent model, people who are looking to gain flexible work. So on a project basis, maybe you know, 20 to 25 hours a week, maybe less. Time going up during school holidays or down during school holidays, and so you’re capturing that source of skills, and then giving people opportunity to learn the Salesforce platform at the same time.
Ben: And how it difficult, because one of my frustrations is that people aren’t willing to do that. You know, aren’t willing to give people the platform to learn and grow, so what would be an example of who you’ve hired, their background, and how they make that transition?
Matthew: So hiring really strong, business analysts, who can work with our customers and understand the actual customer requirement. That’s generally around understanding of business process. Those people are then able to bring that definition back in-house, where we’ve got our Salesforce expertise, and from there we can actually design a system. By doing that, that person learns how the system is applied to a business case, can see what’s the power of Salesforce and how it can operate and then learns from that side, and starts getting their hands dirty with some Admin and upskilling.
Ben: Sure, and what’s the good and bad from the duration it can, and has taken, from someone to go from a Business or Systems Analyst, with no Salesforce experience, to them being comfortable in a hands-on role?
Matthew: I don’t think there’s any bad, I think it just depends on the person and different people have different aptitude for picking up a new system, but it’s such an intuitive way of building and configuring Salesforce, it doesn’t take long at all. There are the fun and games of security settings and profiles, and trying to get your head around who sees what, and that’s the piece that can take the longest, but I don’t think it matters, it’s just about gaining the experience and working through it.
Ben: Sure, so like a good example of someone that’s gone through that process, are we talking like months until they’re comfortable in a hands-on role or shorter, longer?
Matthew: I think it’s, I mean within days you can be adding fields, configuring page layouts, and having a sales process, so if that’s the kind of taking and understanding of business sales cycle, and converting that into a sales process and then data capture points of just what fields need to be on a page layout, really that’s done in a week or so. And then moving to the more challenging kind of security settings? And just building from there, it’s a never-ending circle of learning. Salesforce are always releasing something new so there’s always something new to learn.
Ben: Yeah for sure, and then you mentioned about flexible working, what challenges, because it’s obviously worked for you, but what are the main challenges with that?
Matthew: Trust. We work with a team of people who want to work, want to learn, want to provide good outcomes for our customers and as long as that’s everyone’s goal then I think it works.
Ben: So that I guess, that comes back to the initial interview, and I guess setting the expectations?
Matthew: Yes, and also the experience I got from recruitment means actually I probably don’t spend as much time interviewing as you would think.
Ben: Sure, but I guess people know from the outset well look, I’m being given this opportunity and trust is a key factor.
Matthew: I think that’s exactly it, there is a section of society of, you know, people who are, who want to work, and if you engage with those people correctly, you know you’re going to get the outcomes that you’re looking for.
Ben: Yeah sure. Why do you think more companies aren’t, because we really struggle with it, like we struggle with someone that can’t work from an office five days a week, just finding them the right opportunity, because companies just don’t seem willing to kind of adopt that way of working. I don’t think companies are open to taking that risk.
Matthew: You know, it’s a conversation that when it was just me, that kind of, I needed to get some help on board and it grew, and we found people we could trust, and it grew from there, and I don’t think bigger organisations are open to that conversation and thought process. I think everyone wants to be, but actually doing it is a different matter. You know, the idea of not having an office, and working remotely 24/7 is difficult.
Ben: What tools make it a lot easier? Salesforce.
Matthew: Yeah, so we use Salesforce with Google Suite, so we use Google Hangouts and then we’ve got GoTo Meetings, Zoom logins. So we’ve got an array of different video conferencing tools, and all around, because you never know which one is going to work, and then G Suite.
Ben: Yeah okay cool, and when we’ve caught up in the past, you mentioned one thing to me around one key aspect, is parents don’t miss anything that happens at their child’s school.
Matthew: Yeah, that’s my first main rule. There’s no difference between going to meet a different client for a project, than going to school, so just put it in the diary and go to school.
Ben: Yeah, and that’s obviously, that’s across the business, that’s a culture thing right, people like know, that that’s something they can do.
Matthew: I hope so.
Ben: Well yeah, you would hope so. But is it, because, do you focus on the hours that people are working or is it, like this is just the outcome that we expect, therefore you do it when it works for you?
Matthew: It’s all about the outcome, and the experience, yeah we look at the time that we’re spending for projects, naturally, but really it’s about outcomes.
Ben: Okay. So what do you truly believe the future of work is going to look like?
Matthew: I think there’s going to be a growing amount of flexibility that’s offered to the right people, with the right set of skills, I don’t see it’s going to change drastically, we’re always going to have CBDs, we’re always going have city centres and hubs of where people go to work, but I think that the flexibility on offer is growing. I read an article the other day on LinkedIn, of somebody posting about what it’s going be like in 20 years, and they actually just described my company.
Matthew: I did message back saying, “that’s not 20 years away, it’s actually now”.
Ben: Yeah and I think, obviously, there are pockets of companies that are doing it, but on the whole, people are just hesitant and hopefully, that will change soon.
Matthew: The debate is around the newer generation, the younger generations, and how they’re going to work, but actually, you know, as everyone goes through their career lifecycle it’s actually a stage in the career where people want to work, and need the opportunity to work, and I think that’s actually where it is.
Matthew: It’s not necessary at the beginning of a career, when you actually want to be in an office.
Ben: Yeah, it’s true.
Matthew: So it’s actually kind of, a mid to late-career opportunity.
Ben: Sure. So you mentioned the AppExchange product so, I think a lot of people will be interested in that, because a lot of people that we speak to, either want to set up their own Consulting company, or they’re interested in building a product. You’ve done both, so what have you learned through that product experience and getting things on the AppExchange?
Matthew: It’s taken, it took a lot longer than expected, and you never know where the next challenge is going to be, that you need to overcome, or the next change, and the next roadblock. I don’t spend enough time reading documentation on how to get through certain stages, if I’m honest, so I probably should have done a lot more research beforehand, to get ready for stuff.
Ben: Yeah, and end to end, how long has the process taken?
Matthew: Probably around 18 months.
Ben: What would you have done differently now, with it taking 18 months, is there anything that you feel you could have done better at the start, so it wouldn’t have taken it so long or was it just, that’s how long the process takes for the AppExchange?
Matthew: Well I think the, if I’d read the paperwork better, then I probably would have actually submitted a first draft of the product sooner.
Matthew: Rather than actually developing the product so we thought it was ready and then submitting, and waiting for security review to come through, we could have actually had a more streamlined version of the product, to have that initial concept in and tested. I think it was the initial, having the concept of the product go through it’s review, as well as the security review around the actual technical side of the product, that added quite a lot of extra time to it.
Ben: Okay, and had building a product been something you’d always wanted to do or is it just, you saw an opportunity and went for it?
Matthew: I think I’ve always wanted to have the product, there’s been, I think this is probably the third or fourth product I’ve been involved in, over my time. And this is the one I’m actually getting to market.
Ben: Okay and what’s most exciting about the future of this product for you?
Matthew: I think our products actually solve the problem that other people haven’t managed to solve, of how we can apply Salesforce to the recruitment industry. We’ve come at it from a totally different angle, and we’re using core Salesforce products, which makes a big difference to the outcome.
Ben: Yeah sure okay, and from the broader Salesforce ecosystem, what really excites you about the next 12 months?
Matthew: I just think it’s the number of options we have now to connect with other systems, by having our products embedded purely within Sales Cloud, means that virtually every product in the AppExchange, you know, is capable of talking to core Salesforce objects, so it makes life so much easier to have plug and play, and there’s features in there with products that we can really start generating new outcomes for customers, and new customer experience for our customers.
Ben: Sure, so within the recruitment industry, do you see any of the broader Salesforce products and features, that you don’t need to build, they’re already out there in the AppExchange that can play nicely with your system, is there anything out there that you think recruiters perhaps should be thinking about that they’re not?
Matthew: I think, so we’ve got all the marketing suites, so Pardot, Marketing Cloud, Social Studio, all of those pieces of how we actually engage with the market.
Matthew: Communities, Salesforce Communities for opening up the interactive experience with your candidate base. Analytics, all the analytics tools will actually work straight within the system as well.
Ben: And Tableau now.
Matthew: And Tableau now, which is the new one actually, I’ve got to do some reading up on that. Sure. So, generally yeah, it’s fully open, those systems are fully open, so actually realising the benefit of running a recruitment system on platform, without limitations.
Ben: Sure, and just as a final piece if you were to give one piece of advice to a company considering a remote workforce, what would it be?
Matthew: Just do it. Yeah, I think overcoming that fear of having to micromanage people and is it really happening, just focus on the outcome, look at what the work that actually gets produced and stop worrying about how it gets produced.
Matthew: I think that’s it.
Ben: Okay great, and if anyone wants to reach out to you to talk about your experience around building a product, running a consulting business, having a remote workforce, I think there’s lots of topics that will be of interest, so how should people contact you, what’s the best bet?
Matthew: LinkedIn’s the easiest.
Ben: Yeah okay, cool, well thank you very much to your time, it’s been a pleasure.
Matthew: Thanks Ben
Thank you for watching, and stay tuned for Episode 16, coming soon. Make sure you’re following Matthew on LinkedIn and feel free to reach out to him with any questions regarding the topics covered in the podcast episode.
Talent Hub is a hive of activity at the moment and so visit our Salesforce jobs page for up to date opportunities. If you’d like to become involved in Talent Hub TV as a guest, we’d love to hear from you.