We’ve just completed 5 years of launch of RD Station and, at the same time, we’ve just reached the mark of 10,000 customers. Added to these two great moments there’s another one which is always very special for us: RD Summit, which is now in its fifth edition gathering 8,000 people in our home, Florianópolis.
These significant dates and marks end up generating a similar effect to what happen every New Year’s eve: thoughts about what we have done so far and a reflection on what’s coming next and which way to go.
This post has two main purposes: to thank and share what came from this reflection.
We start with the most noble purpose: thanking each one of our customers and partners who are on our side on this walk! It’s an honor to count on your trust to help with your growth and that motivates us do more and more.
Part of it is sharing more of what this journey has been for us so far and how we want to take the next steps.
These achievements only happened because a seed has been planted and cultivated for years
The beginning is never easy. There’s nothing built yet, nothing that helps us to breath or that can be used as a lever. You have to prepare yourself and put each brick in the wall: finding out the tone of voice across the company communication, the customer value proposition, hiring (and training, even if you don’t know how) the first employees and so on.
Most of the time, you do all that without knowing any clear feedback or if you are doing it well and with dozens of other options showing up as, maybe, a better or easier option.
When we started, it seemed little to close those 2, 4 or 5 sales per month after so much effort to make the gear start. At that moment, the results alone would not justify the return. But it was clear to us this wasn’t a 100-metre dash, but a marathon.
In the end, this is almost the default path for those who create a customer acquisition machine based on Inbound Marketing: at first it hurts a little to introduce new practices and processes, and it hurts even more to see that the results don’t come right away.
But when the bricks start to pile up and show results, they are “unstoppable” and will bring return back exponentially. That’s how we evolved from 2, 4 or 5 accounts per month to reach almost 1,000 and now that’s what we see our clients increasingly repeating.
Postponing the reward and having patience is not easy and that’s why few people do it. Those who do, however, can get very much above average precisely for that. This is one of the greatest learning we have to share and it is one of the core assumptions we’re using to plan and deliver the next steps.
How we see our deliveries until this moment
Part of this process of reflection is to perform a really in-depth assessment of what makes sense for us — the things we’re good at — for that to be at the center of our bets and investments in the future. Just like back there we planted a few things, we need to think about what we will sow now to harvest ahead.
Our mission is to help businesses grow. And, around this mission, we can identify 5 main pillars that will boost it. These are things we have been working over the years and which have been critical to get here.
Education is something that is in our DNA. From RD’s first day we started to create Digital Marketing content for educational proposes and it has become our starting point with so many people.
We wrote over 1,000 blog posts, over 300 Lead generation content (ebooks, webinars, kits, templates) which have been downloaded by almost 1 million contacts. More than 10,000 people have already studied with our online courses and other 30,000 have attended our events.
The level of discussions in the country and the digital maturity in the companies change significantly when this educational work is done and in the end it creates growth for companies that can take this opportunity.
We bet and invest a lot in the RD Station platform as a tool and we have a complete package of features to perform an efficient Digital Marketing management and automation.
There are more than 10,000 companies using our software, with more than 130 million contacts generated by the tool, which is the leader in Latin America and has more than 60 percent of the market share in Brazil. We have no doubt that RD Station is an essential catalyst for growth.
We found out that agencies are a great network for partnerships, and we support them through developing Digital Marketing techniques and business practices, so that we can get more customers together and deliver more success for those customers.
Today 40 percent of RD sales come through this program. We already have more than 1,500 partners, who make more than 250 million reais (about $80 million dollars) per year in services added to the tool.
Genuine concern with the customer success
We have a team of more than 150 people which is not called “Customer Success” for nothing. We state that understanding the needs of each customer and directing them the necessary support is a critical part of our job
That begins in the very process of sales, which is an advisory process, building a plan which makes sense for the customer. Then customers go through the transition with our customer service team, which carries out a structured onboarding, based on the analysis of thousands of customers to understand which are the most appropriate steps to success.
And our customers can also count on a support structure to handle any problems or doubts.
Getting the other 4 pillars functioning and boosting our customers growth is essential to have a talented team delivering everything customers need. There’s no strategy or good will that can help if the team is not able to deliver it properly.
Today we have 600 people in the company, we are hiring about 40 per month and we are not thinking about stopping it soon. More than hiring, it was important to provide the ideal structure for them. For 3 years in a row, RD has been the best company to work for in Santa Catarina. We have a complete infrastructure and a genuine concern for the development of those who work with us.
Where we are going to
Looking back to what we have done until now, we found, in each one of those pillars, opportunities to make a much more significant difference. We found the fights we want to pick and the bets we want to make to move faster in our mission.
What you see in this pillar are our plans and how we want to be increasingly strong.
Education: the launch of RD University
All the effort we have had until now helped in educating the market, but we feel we need to do so much more. There is a huge demand for people to work in the digital economy. Our customers and partners want to know how can they train a junior employee, how to hire the right person to manage this or how to hire at the required scale.
We are still expanding on content and events (including other formats), but we will be even more aggressive with education. We really want to make a difference training people using some of the main trends, such as online education, nanodegrees, and professional assessment and placement. Thus, our big announcement here in this pillar is the launch of RD University:
The launch of our App Store and RD Station as more than a tool, a platform
Our marketing tool is robust and our vision is to offer world-class marketing apps. We internally split the team in tribes, as if each one of them were a startup itself, competing in each vertical with the best products in the industry.
We have a developers team with more than 120 people focused on it, and we want to keep this pace. However, we have also seen another movement.
Driven by the demand of its own customers and potential customers that were using RD Station tool, many technology companies have begun integrating their software with us even when we didn’t have an appropriate program or set of APIs. We increasingly see tools which integrate with our own tool and it got us wondering if we should use this movement or if it would create a mess on the customer’s minds.
There’s a little bit of a duel between “all in one” vs. “the best of the category”. We think we can use the best of both worlds, provided that two points are developed:
- To provide a perfect experience for the customers, so that, when they use one or more apps integrated with RD Station it will be easy for them to configure it, it won’t break any flow of current work and, preferably, the work will become even easier with these different apps, with much more visibility and automation.
- We need to have a common set of data, what some people call system of records. It’s a database with all the records and interactions between them, so we don’t find any conflicting or duplicate information on Leads and customers.
We decided to embrace the idea and take the challenge of dealing with these two tasks. It’s not a big launch yet, but a first step towards a product view for the next 5 years. RD Station is now a platform!
Explaining what a platform is is difficult and can be quite complex, so let’s break into parts to simplify.
The marketing software, which our customers know and use daily, is now called RD Station Marketing. This is the simple, powerful, accessible and integrated set of marketing tools which helps them attract more qualified visitors, generate Leads and opportunities, close more deals and continuously optimize their funnel.
Now we have the ability to add more components to it, like pieces of Lego, and customize it the way your company wants and needs it. To do so, we launch RD Station App Store:
There we have more than 100 other softwares that can be integrated with our platform and the trend is that it keeps increasing and making easier and easier connections.
We have always had a customer experience culture based on a close contact, whether with the customer service professional, whether with the partnership program.
As part of our values and culture, we think about the customer before anything and we’re keeping it like this. We want customers for life!
We invest to ensure that our services are of the highest quality, that the customer count on a world-class back-office and with a better and faster service, and also with new channels.
Finally, we are also launching a Customer Consulting Board, with customers actively participating in RD’s strategic decisions.
Strong partner network
Having increasingly strong partners is a critical part of our path to deliver a superior customer experience and that’s why we want much of our delivery to be with our partners. We want partners that really deliver a higher value to the customer and not just resellers.
We are implementing the new partners program, with a lot of benefits. Other than that, from now on our partners also count on a dashboard to understand more clearly their own status in the partnership and the situation of each of the customers.
In addition, we are strengthening our market-place and seeking to give more visibility to the agencies with the redesign of the page:
As RD Station is becoming a platform and integrations are a fundamental part of this system, we are also building a new model of partnership specific for those who want to perform an integration.
We are going to help these software companies with something more than just offering the APIs. We want to support these partners in development, go-to-market strategies and even in sales and a deeper relationship.
You can learn more and become a partner of integration here:
None of this would be possible if we didn’t have a great team with us. We continue to heavily invest in hiring and in RD’s development, ensuring that the people we have are the right ones and are more than ready to seek out our big ambitions.
RD will only grow if the companies we serve grow. We will grow stronger together. “A rising tide will lift all boats.”
And, lastly, for the company to grow, you, as an individual, also needs to grow. Start now.
Count on us to grow!