Guest: Duncan McEntyre, Vice President of Sales Operations, Blueprint Equity
Duncan McEntyre knows a promising B2B SaaS company when he sees one. After all, identifying and investing in such businesses is his job.
At Blueprint Equity, building and maintaining positive relationships with investors is key to their success. They adopted Salesforce, the biggest name in CRM tech today, to achieve this goal.
Today, Duncan takes us through the investment process and how they manage millions in private equity on Salesforce. See how this powerful tech helps Blueprint add growth capital and resources to already successful businesses so they grow further.
Private Equity on Salesforce
Don’t have time for the full episode? Here’s what you need to know:
1:05 - Sure. A private equity firm manages investment funds. A fund is effectively a pool of money that's been raised for a specific purpose and that purpose is to buy equity stakes or percentage of a company's theoretical value into companies that fit our investment thesis. So you've got a company, we agree on the value, we purchase a certain percentage of that and invest in your company.
1:34 - So actually before private equity, I was working in car sharing and the skillset there was a hybrid between operations and sales. And then effectively the skillset, which was dealing with processes and people and a lot of data, very serendipitously, fit perfectly with an opportunity in private equity that has since turned into a career.
2:11 - Well, we're an investment company. Blueprint invests in the highly scalable B2B and tech solutions. Our mission is to add growth capital and resources to already successful businesses so they can continue their growth.
2:28 - So there's two things, our operations team which I'm part of, is a big part of that. What my focus is on top of funnel. We've got resources that do headhunting and talent search. We've got resources that are doing AI initiatives, budgeting, KPIs, finance, everything under the sun.
2:44 - Then the second piece is our outbound sourcing team is excellent. And we're getting in front of what we believe to be the best companies in our space in North America.
3:02 - So that's a great question. Getting into the right companies is the whole thing. And, we obviously understand that business leaders have a lot of better things to do when your company's on fire, growing, there's a lot of better things to do than talk to a bunch of knucklehead investors, and so we're very understanding of that. That's a big challenge.
3:17 - And the other one is it's never easy to grow at the speed that we want you to grow, but we believe that our experience and operations team are going to increase the chances of success there.
3:41 - Yes, of course. The resources are often the kind of things that when you're growing company or smaller company, you haven't not yet gotten to the point where you have folks that are dedicated to these things. A big part of it is help to fill the top of the funnel, help to find resources as your company is growing and then anything and everything you want to do on top of that, including support with finance, budgeting, KPIs — all the sort of nuts and bolts that need to get sorted out when your company is growing and things are wild and crazy in that regard.
4:13 - We work directly for the company. I work at Blueprint, Candy works for the Blueprint, Connor works for Blueprint, so we're all there and every day I work with portfolio companies. We all do.
4:25 - Many people say that they have that and the reality is that we are that and I'm here to say a living proof that's the kinda work that we actually do for the companies that we're invested in.
4:58 - Sheldon and Bobby chose Salesforce before I got there, and it was really focused on, because it's the most customizable, it has the most integrations with other software products that works with our tech stack, which has lots of different products in it.
5:11 - And then other part of it is again, we're a small organization and it was a big universe of companies that we're tracking over time. So the idea was to have a very functional CRM that's both going to manage the scale and a very long sales cycle for us in our business.
5:42 - The sort of nuance for me, Kat, is when, how we use these tools and how we work as an investment company is very different from an operating company. So for us, the value gets extracted over time and so, some of the ways I think that have been really helpful for us that I'll talk about today is leveraging the custom objects, custom flows, custom fields. As we've unlocked those things in Salesforce, it's made significant value for us as a small group of people trying to track a lot of different companies with a mission to try and find companies to invest in over the next 2-3 years, et cetera.
6:18 - Specifically, we use custom objects to help us solve timing issues, helping us solve territory management flows and fields, a sort of complex level of helped us to manage rules of engagement, more territory mapping, bespoke reporting. A lot of things help us extract more value from Salesforce than it has as a product you get off the shelf.
7:03 - I can't tell you specifically, but we have email automation tools and we've got other tools. Most of the stuff that we use is pretty standard. But the bottom line is you have different tools performing different functions in your sales funnel and those tools are going to spit out data and that data can integrate into Salesforce.
7:21 - I feel like a bit of a cynic, but I've always felt that no integration is completely perfect. And that can be for a myriad of ways that we have just more reality than anyone's fault per se on any of my rambling, but it's just not perfect.
7:36 - The value for us in particular is unlocking that ability to customize. As I've listened to other podcasts that you've been on, the common thread is that everybody's business is different and we're no different. You need to be able to customize this. And one of the things I want to talk about today is Salesforce, I've never found particularly user friendly as someone who's not particularly technical, which I think probably represents a lot of small, medium sized business users.
8:06 - What's cool to me is Salesforce, I looked at the market cap yesterday and Salesforce is valued at $214 billion. And what's cool about this is that's absurd. It's this incredibly democratic product where Blueprint uses it. We've got maybe 10 users. Banjaxed uses it. You've got 50. You've got clients that maybe have 600 users and everybody's got the same keys to this Lamborghini, this $214 billion Lamborghini that's the size of a cruise ship. And so the learning for me as I've worked with Banjaxed is if you have the budget, you have the ability to go and create a meaningful solution for you in-app, the value gets unlocked. I've been Salesforce user for six or seven years and the last year, I think about it differently because of the projects that we've done with you guys. So that's a big part for me.
9:10 - The way I think about a CRM is like you treat it like you would your house. There's some stuff that you can do DIY. And if it's cosmetic, you want to paint a fresh coat of paint in the kid's bathroom. No problem. DIY to save a couple of bucks, but you'd never go into the basement with a wrench and start messing with the electrical or the plumbing.
I feel like you look at your CRM the same way. And for a long time, I was always just too shy to call a plumber. Oh, God, it's going to cost this much. Who knows? And the experience of working with you guys is, we actually went through the process, the value gets unlocked incredibly quickly. Every dollar that I've spent with consultants and Salesforce has turned into an investment that has reaped value immediately. And so the learning for me is don't step over dollars to pick up pennies. There's some things you hire pros for if they're going to significantly increase the value of your home or your CRM. That's where you bring in pros. A bunch of things I did with you guys, I probably could have Frankenstein’ed myself, and it would have been the biggest mistake of my life. I’m an evangelist for hiring pros to make significant tools or apps within Salesforce for you.
11:05 - Exactly to that point one of the learning for me, especially working with consultants is if you can invest the time to really have a conversation with your consultancy—This is what I want to do and this is why and this is how this is going to fit in a bigger picture. It's really helpful and I know with my experience with Banjaxed I was briefing my rep on something and he came back and was like, “Hey, I got a couple of questions.” Got a call, we had a conversation and in that conversation, he said, “Do you think that you might want to do X? I can see we're going to do these things. Do you think you might want to do X, Y and Z at some point in the future?” And I was like, “Absolutely.”. . .
11:55 - And so having that relationship and having folks that give your consultants the best chance to help you, a big part of that is showing them the big picture.
12:03 - And then the last thing I'll say is in the process of working with you guys is, you'll talk about projects, but along the way I got to see and understand so many things about Salesforce just in the process of working with and talking to the reps and that was immensely valuable to me.
12:29 - I think we've been really fortunate so far in our history, but it only really adds more pressure to continue to bring them to keep finding great deals and working hard to help companies in the future. Our goal, short or long term is to continue to help entrepreneurs realize their goals in significantly scaling their businesses.
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