Turning your early adopters into brand ambassadors with Allan Teng (Workato)

In this episode, Allan Teng (Workato) talks about:

  • How engaging in conversations allowed him to stumble upon the company’s MVP target segment 
  • Why personal touch is important for enhanced customer adoption 
  • How he focuses on net retention revenue and strategically targeting the right customers to grow the business 
  • How he keeps pace with the company’s growth
  • How creating opportunities for customers and prospects to interact improves sales

Podcast information:

About the guest

Allan Teng first worked at Workato, a small start-up back then, in Silicon Valley, as an intern for a year under a programme his university offered. This was 7 years ago in 2014. He loved the company so much that after his internship, he returned to Singapore to set up a Singapore entity while schooling. 

Within these 7 years, he had made great career progress and is currently the MD and VP of Workato APJ. In his current role, he leads over 200 people spanning 9 locations, including Australia and Philippines, and woks with partners and customers to achieve 300% YoY Business Growth in the APJ region.   




Find him here:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/allanteng/?originalSubdomain=sg

Books, tools, people, frameworks mentioned in this episode:

Allan Teng  0:00  

And so our challenge is how do we spread that word, that knowledge to our customers, and really working with our customers to help us to spread that word. To me, it is spending time with our customers, with the people that we know the best, with our supporters who have supported us in our growth journey, spending a lot more time with them, helping them to see success so that they will then share that success with other people, other customers, other prospects that we’re looking for. 


Ricky Willianto  0:28  

Having deep customer relationships help you get a better understanding of their problems, and also ensure you’re able to build a happy customer base. When Workato opened its first office in Asia, Allan Teng, now the MD of the region, personally met up with his customers to set up their accounts. Not only did this help ensure customer success, it is also a sure way to turn early customers into brand ambassadors for the company. Realising that their customers are the best growth channel, Workato made it even easier for their customers to share success stories with prospects by organising customer workshops and luncheons. In a b2b business, nothing beats raving reviews from your industry, peers, and Workato has masterfully tapped into their customer base to multiply their growth. Join me as Allan Teng shares more about how he’s set up, and scaled Workato Asia Pacific. My name is Ricky Willianto, co-founder of Ravenry and the host of the growth multiplier podcast. Through this podcast, I hope to uncover the pathways, startups and companies have taken in their journey of growth, share some stories from the trenches, and hopefully identify patterns and hacks that can be replicated by businesses in Asia and the rest of the world. I hope you enjoyed the show.


 Hi, Allan, thank you so much for joining me today on my podcast. Before we begin, can we get you to very quickly introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about a company you’re working at right now. 


Allan Teng  1:51  

Ricky really nice to be here today. So my name is Allan Teng, I joined Workato about seven years ago back in Silicon Valley when we were at 10 people.  Today globally, we have grown from 10 people to 400 people, almost half of them is based out of the Asia Pacific region. A little bit about Workato before I talk a little bit about my role and what I’ve done with Workato so far. Workato was started because you know, businesses today are drowning in a sea of fragmented apps and data, right, and this prevents them from becoming intelligent enterprises. So there are many legacy approaches to workflow automation and integration that really doesn’t scale. Right. And enterprises are using a lot of patchwork points solution that addresses some of the discrete answer, like integration and API Management. But they fail to deliver the holistic solution that you know, companies need Typically, these are very, you know, kind of complex products, right, that require very technical IT staff to implement, or they have to choose between that and some basic tools that are very brittle and break very often. So businesses today don’t differentiate themselves based on what kind of application they use. But what matters is really the workflows between how they leverage the applications, and this is why we believe that they need a unified platform and operating system for the future of enterprise that makes it simple to combine and connect application in a robust, automated workflow way. And this is what we call, you know how companies can automate at scale. So after working one year in Silicon Valley, I came back to Singapore. And this is where I first started our Singapore office. And in the initial days, we were a offshore sort of a Development Centre helping to fill our US office, right. So we hired quite a number of people here in the initial days, really to support our US operations. Over time, we started to grow the team here from one of me to 200 people across 10 different locations in Asia Pacific. And this was when we started to see a lot of customers in the region using the platform adopting the platform. And that’s why we started heavily invested in that region. 


Ricky Willianto  4:13  

So tell us a bit about the early days of Workato when you join them. How is it like working in such an early stage startup? And how did the company find its first customers and grow its business while you were in Silicon Valley?


The first customers are always the toughest one. When we first started there in Silicon Valley, nobody wanted to talk to us in the early days, we have to actively find the first champion or the first group of people to really kind of have different conversations with us. And so the very initial days, we were very lucky, we were in the Salesforce ecosystem, primarily because Salesforce was kind of growing very quickly at that time. And one of the areas that we looked at was can we help connect the CRM to some of the accounting system right?  Connecting Salesforce to Zero, Salesforce to QuickBooks. And so what we did was we had that hypothesis, we went into the Salesforce ecosystem and really looked at what the MVP is right? Or Salesforce calls them the MVP, who are the influencers in Salesforce? Right. So in the initial days, we had no booth at Salesforce, we just went there, and started to identify MVPs, who we can talk to. So in the early days, we went to the board, we had to kind of talk to people. And quite honestly, most people don’t want to talk to you. Right? They don’t know who you are, you don’t know what you do. And so the first set of customers was hard, right. But we found one really good MVP who advised that, hey, you know, this is what you need to do in order to capture this MVP community. And what we did was we organised a couple of very specific sessions for one to one. MVPs, you know, really spent a lot of time, right kind of nurturing the initial set of customers. And all these time, we were not charging anyone anything, we were just trying to understand, what were they trying to do and how Workato can help them in their line of work. And so that was how we actually got started with the first step of Salesforce MVP. And it started to grow there, right? You know, the word spread of Hey, Workato can connect Salesforce to everything else in your ecosystem, is drag and drop, is easy to use. So that community started growing. And you know, that was really where we first started our first customer and growing Workato.


You know, for a lot of startups and businesses, finding that initial segment, that is the right segment to target to become your early adopter is not easy, right? And I think for you having been able to target specifically Salesforce ecosystem, and within it, this group of people called the MVP by Salesforce, was like kind of a gold mine. How did the company initially identify that this is the right segment, and this is the right opportunity to pursue.


So I think one thing to notice that as as the company evolves, this kind of these changes, right, who you’re going to pursue, it changes over time. So what we did initially was we look at what are the top SaaS cloud companies in the world today, right, as an integration product and automation product, it is really all about connecting the biggest products out there at the time, Salesforce is the top fastest growing cloud says, you know, company in the world, they are driving a lot of the change in the ecosystem, they’re driving a lot of low code, no code. So that was where we first started, right. And we were very methodical in terms of choosing a small subset of use cases, rather than trying to do too many things. Right? Because today, there are 1000s of application that we can support. But in the early days, we picked, you know, the first 10 to 20 applications that we felt was not enough ecosystems for us to spend enough time and use cases that and that’s why Salesforce was selected. You know, we selected QuickBooks and zero because, you know, they have large number of customers, large ecosystems that we can potentially find good footing in.


And how about that MVP target segment that you identified within that ecosystem? Is that something that you’ve known all along and targeted deliberately? Or was it something that you stumbled on? And if so, how did that happen? 


Allan Teng  8:24  

Oh, we completely stumbled on. We didn’t know what MVP is at that point in time. So we knew the application that we want to go after. So in the initial days, we start, we tried various things being the Salesforce conference, attending the QuickBooks conference, attending the Zero conference, and so on. And so we actually learn a lot from attending this conference, because the more conversations you have the higher likelihood that somebody will tell you, hey, you should speak to this other person, you should speak to that other person, right? You know that that happens, right? And the more you get that, the more you understand the ecosystem. So the MVP community was really a chance upon encounter, right? where somebody say, Hey, you know, you really want to get to Salesforce, a few of the people who everybody look up to, right? And that was Salesforce MVPs. In Intuit, in QuickBooks, for example, they have all of these pro advisors, I think they call it all the accounting firms, right? That services, many customers and they say, hey, these are the people that you want to reach out to because they are helping your customers with their QuickBooks and Zero implementation. So finding the community I believe, it’s about hustling, really having enough conversation because if you spend enough time in an ecosystem meeting up with people, you will know who you should be talking to. Right. But why I think a lot of companies fail to get the initial finding out of which is the best kind of community to reach out to is because they don’t spend enough time. They don’t spend enough time understanding the ecosystem, understanding the community and speaking to enough people. 


Ricky Willianto  10:02  

So how did you translate all that into the Asia context? You know, this all happened in Silicon Valley right when the company just started. But I think fast forward a few years, you were back in Singapore. And I remember you told me that you wanted to still work at Workato and you propose, what if you open an office here? So how did you manage to replicate the success that they’ve had in the US back here in Asia? 


Allan Teng  10:24  

So I started in Workato, for those who don’t know, as an intern, right. So back then, you know, the National University of Singapore and Stanford University has a very strong tie up and relationship, right, bringing university students from the National University of Singapore, to Stanford for a full time internship in a high growth startup company, plus part time study at Stanford University. So that was the programme that I was in, after one year, I had to come back to Singapore to complete my study. So there was the the arrangement that the university had, right, you work there for one year, and you come back at that point in time, we were growing very quickly. And so that was a conversation that our CEO VJ and myself we had, right, we are growing so quickly, we need people to help grow the team. And so one thing is we had a number of intern batches going from Singapore to the US, I was the first after me, there were so many others. So one is that we set up a Singapore entity and set up a Singapore company, we would be able to allow for some of the interns coming back to continue working for Workato, that’s one and provide them a career path beyond an internship. And two, you know, potentially, we would be able to build a small team here, but primarily focusing on the US, right, because at the time, you’re still very small, right. And when you’re small, it’s not very wise to spread yourself too thin, you have to focus on a small subset of customers a small market right at a time, you know, we have the US market will focus on Salesforce and QuickBooks and Zero. So when I came back, I was sort of like a solution consultant, I was doing some sales or Workato. But working completely part time, right? So what I did was I took one year leave from school to help Workato to set up the business here in Singapore, you know, grow the team here from me one person here, I think, in the first year we grow grew to a small team of 10, you know, 15, 20 people, and really all about working night time at that time is probably the most challenging time, you know, imagine working from 10pm to 6am every day, but also the most exciting and fulfilling time, you know, because we have a small knit community of people where every night somebody will buy some supper or eat together at our office. And you know, we have a very small tight knit community back then all of us working that time. So our focus was really to drive the adoption of Workato, drive the initial set of customers that is going to adopt the platform. And we are in the early days, I will say that we’re probably giving out the platform for free to get more people to start using the platform. Now, fast forward one year after we had a small base in Singapore, I, you know, being somebody who cannot sit still started to reach out to companies, and say, okay, you know, there’s so many companies here in Singapore, why not start reaching out to some of them here. So I caught up with a couple of my startup friends in the community and say, Hey, will this new product be interesting to you. Some of them are using Salesforce and QuickBooks, for example, Salesforce and Zero. And that was was how we started with our first few customers. But it was me contacting a couple of my friends and say, Hey, you know, this is something interesting. One of our early adopters is beyond from PG lab, local, you know, kind of startup company here. And basically he was doing Salesforce and Zero integrations. But he called me up in the middle of the night and said, Hey, Allan, how can I do this? And I was still working in nightime. He was in his office I just walked down the street and say, Hey, let me help you and I really did the the actual enablement and that’s how you really get started right and over the years we had companies like great companies like SEMBCORP leveraging the product that really helped us to scale but the first set of customers are always the toughest one 


Ricky Willianto  14:14  

yeah, and I think the situation is simialr to the US, I think you look for customers that have some sort of a personal relationship to you right. But beyond that,  after the initial growth spurt and adoption from immediate connection that you have around you, how do you then scale that growth to different groups of people, different groups of customers to really help like grow the company?


Allan Teng  14:41  

So I think the initial days we were very focused on again you know, every stage of the company is a little bit different, right? You know, probably seed stage two series AP a to BC and now we are serious, the stage is a little bit different, right? every stage is a bit different. In the early days, we were very focused on customer adoption. So we were giving the products out for free, getting people to start using it, driving the adoption and then figuring out how we can monetize and convert later on. Right? So a lot of our time and effort was spent on customer success, spending time with the customers, helping them to build helping them to build more. Right. So that was really the early days of Workato, even in Asia Pacific, we were handing out the product and say, hey, let’s help you to build. Now, when we started to raise, you know, several rounds of funding, it evolves, right, we started to hire a couple of sales people who will be actively reaching out to customers, and then from our sales kind of other thing, a couple of customer base, then we look at, okay, how do we go earlier in the funnel, right? So we look at some of the sales development, folks. Right, so SDR, right? How can our sts help to drive up the awareness building, right, the demand generation side of things. And then the most could have been in the funnel, right, where right now we are building out our marketing team, where exploded up top of the funnel. So if you see that focus, as you start growing, the company is really getting closer to the customer at the start. And then moving backwards into earlier and earlier stages of the funnel, I see customer success as later stage of the funnel, right? Typically, after close by in the early days, you spend a lot more time with your customers helping them to see the initial success, initial use case, initial goal is really important. And then going back to earlier the funnel is people who can actually close sales deals, right? So the account executive, the sales folks who are going to be getting them to match the Workato value proposition with the pain that they’re trying to solve. And once we have that, then going further back in the funnel, which is figuring out marketing, right, you know, figuring out sales, development, and then marketing. 


Ricky Willianto  16:49  

So let’s talk about the early days, when you started by targeting people who have high intent, like they are ready to convert, they are already having the problem that your product can solve them, like what does success mean to your customers back then? And how were you able to build a team that’s able to deliver that? And at the same time, how do you scale that process? Because it’s not easy, right? I think oftentimes, especially with automation products, especially in the early days, there’s a lot of customization that’s required, like so how do you make sure that all of that is done scalably at the beginning?


Allan Teng  17:20  

I think just to answer your first question, you know, how do we measure the initial success is really, we look at time to value right? How quickly do we help our customers or early adopters to go live, right. And that means that if you have to build it for them, you build it for them? Right? If they’re not ready to learn the product, you help them to see the success path. Right. So in the very early days, we started hiring a couple of solution engineers. In fact, myself, I started off in helping our customers go live, you know, which means in the early days, we have this thing called recipes, right? And recipes are sort of like the low cost, low cost way of building our automation and integration. I actually build it for them, right? The person will say, Hey, I’m trying to do X and I say no problem, let’s get on a call. So we get on a virtual zoom call. And I actually show them, okay, you want to achieve this? Sure. Let me build it for you. So I build it in front of them, right? So they are seeing me build in front of them. And they tell me Hey, Allan, no, this is not right, you need to change this certain way, you need to change that certain way. So we actually helped them to build the whole entire use case, end to end, help them to go live, help them to see success, because when they see success, and when they go live, it becomes sticky for them. Right? And then later on having the conversation, hey, you know, you already like the price of this to continue using this is x, right? And what that means to them is that hey, you know, there’s there’s no risk involved in adopting that product. Right? So when customers buy a product, they’re really looking at how fast am I going to live, like what;s the risk of adopting a solution like that? And third and foremost, what is the ability for me to continue to maintain the product. And of course, costs will come in later on. So good, the initial demo and initial building up with them, we actually made the risk we meet how this works, you know, what you can do, if you how far you can go like because we are like, even before they get started with the product, you know, and that really helped us to solidify the way our customers adopt the and so there was really our initial metric, right? How do we help our customers go live as quickly as possible? Right, we build a team around them. T


Ricky Willianto  19:33  

hat’s great. That’s great to hear. I think it’s so important that your focus is in solving the customers problems early and removing as many obstacles as possible for them to get to the jobs to be done. Right. I think after that initial stage of very manually helping clients one by one going live and implementing the product. How do you then continue growing the business by getting new customers, you know, how do you market to the right segment? How do you figure out where to go from there. 


Allan Teng  20:01  

So today, fast forward kind of three, four years later, after we started our APJ team, we focus on two aspects. So one is our net retention revenue. So if we don’t do any net new business with new customers, how do we help our customers to adopt more of the solution? How do we help them grow their usage. So Workato our charging model is based on the number of automations that you want to make. So the more you automate, the more productivity you get, the more we charge you. And this is very much aligns to what customers are willing to pay, because they’re getting more value all of it. So from their angle, we focus on our customer success team, really helping to drive adoption in terms of understanding, right, what are many of the different use cases. So we organise a lot of webinars helping our customers to see what are the value drivers across the business, we get our customers to meet other customers, we ike to organise these kind of networking sessions, so that customer meet other customers to share one of the success stories and what they’ve done. So that’s really from the expansion standpoint, right. But as a business, there is so much you can do from an extension standpoint, because you also have to build your new logos, right? Who are the new customers that you can bring on board? So from a new logo standpoint, we focus a lot on demand generation, how do we identify accounts that will have high propensity, you know, for spend in automation, so we look at companies who are more cloudy, they have a lot of cloud service based products, we look at companies with a certain size, right, in terms of number of employees and revenue, we look at companies who are growing, you know, very quickly, we identify those companies and we methodically he reach out to companies with customer stories that we have built in the past. So how do we reach out to those companies, we have an SDR team that is focused on aligning the personas that we are trying to target in those companies and with the case studies and the customer stories that we already had success with today. 


Ricky Willianto  22:09  

And was that the main metric that you use to identify the new logos to bring on board? Or do you look at other elements as well, other variables from the client site that make you look at a particular client segment or particular client and say, that is a company that I really want to onboard as a client. 


Allan Teng  22:28  

So we use many different metrics. One, obviously, we want to figure out companies that we have previously done ground with, right, so we did a study on what are the customers have, that has adopted the workflow platform and has done well in the platform. And this is how we came up with some of that metric, they need to be cloudy, they need to have certain kind of growth size, and so on and so forth. And then we also look at some intent signals in terms of people who are looking at buying, you know, some of them are evaluating too. So we have an automation integration with jeetu crowd, for example. So we know that somebody is looking at a competitor on G do we automatically ping our a, our SDR and say, Hey, so and so company is looking at G to four people in this category of integration. And so our SDR team actually take a look at this and say, Okay, at this our priority accounts, if they are lets double down on them, if they are not, then we will figure out if that is a good signal that we want to go after or not, because in signal data, there’s a lot of noise, right, the last thing that you want is to go down the noise that have very low propensity to convert just because the noise, right, so really kind of figuring out the noise from the goldmine that you that you can target because as a small team, you can’t go after many accounts, you can’t go after many customers, you have to really focus on a fewer set of target accounts rather than targeting more accounts. 


Ricky Willianto  23:53  

So now that you’ve had experience looking at the business from the US standpoint, and also the Asia APJ standpoint, what do you see as some of the key differences in the way things are done in either of these countries? And also, what are some of the things that the clients in either of these continents care more about?


Allan Teng  24:13  

I think there are definitely nuances in the maturity in terms of different types of products that people are used to and different approaches in terms of in the US what we’re seeing a lot more now is that many it organisations are trying to empower their business teams to do it themselves. So they do it themselves. Citizen integration. Citizen automation is a growing trend is very strong in the US and so we ride on that really well in Singapore and in Asia Pacific context, maybe Australians will be different but every country is different, right? That propensity is a little bit different, a little bit different in the sense that in many a more conservative culture, it is usually seen as a they are the ones that should be doing all of this work right? You passing on the work to the operation team and chose to do integration automation? You know, that shouldn’t be the case, right. So in some organisations, we are seeing that, but what we are seeing is that there is a shift right over time there is a shift where organisations, you know, are shifting towards more of the empowerment week. And so we need to identify those kinds of companies first, right, because those will be the early adopters of your platform. So many of our customers today are those kind of early adopters. When we saw the workflow platform to school, for example, we have a customer story on our website, the people that bought it is not it, the HR team was the one that say, Hey, here’s our I want to, you know, be able to self support some of the integration automation use case. So he answered, okay, let’s adopt a tool like Workato to allow me to do some of these things myself. So I think there is a shift over time, there is definitely differences, you know, and there are some companies, they are more traditional in the way they conduct themselves in the business. But as a startup company, you know, it’s a relatively small company, it is about one, educating the people who are not aware, two the people with traditional way of doing things, how can we show them, right, this new way of doing things? And last but not least people who are already evaluating something, how do we meet your needs even?


Ricky Willianto  26:28  

Sounds great. Let’s, let’s talk a little bit about you. So you’ve done like some impressive feat in the short stint, you have at Workato? right. So you started as an intern, and then you went back to studying, and then came back to Singapore and started the Singapore office effectively, right? And now you’ve grown the team to quite a significant number, right? How’s that journey been for you taking on such big leadership roles and filling in some big shoes very early on in your career? How was that journey for you? What did you have to learn quickly to make sure that you’re always keeping pace with what’s going on the company? 


Allan Teng  27:02  

Well, I think as we grow, I had to change a lot from a seed company to series at every stage of funding. Now I see sort of like a milestone, you change because of the funding. But really, what is happening is that you are going through different phases of that growth. Right. And to me, I learned the most from the team and the people of that we have today, hiring people who are smarter than themselves. This is something that I’ve learned a lot of many of the people whom I work with today might be much older than myself. So I learned a lot from them in terms of how they have run other businesses before what we should be thinking about how we should structure the organisation and things. So the way I learned is through people, you know, I love to learn from people in my team of people from outside. And it’s a demanding role, right, many of the people in my position, much older in our organisation with a lot more experience. But I think the way we look at it is that how do we win our team with different kinds of experiences, so that every member of our team is strengthening the DNA of the team, right? So whether or not we are hiring somebody from a competitor, or we are hiring somebody from an industry that we have no knowledge of or we are hiring leaders who have more experience than ourselves, the more important thing I look out for in the team, in terms of how I grow individually, is how do I strengthen the team as a whole, which means one we need to hire for diversity. But people who think differently people who are different in terms of their skill set in terms of the way they think in terms of the culture, and to and more importantly, is looking at how each member of the team contributes to the bigger picture of knowledge, right, anything that we are lacking, or today, our time, I think we need to hire somebody with that kind of skill set. So when we hire, it is not about filling people in the roles. But it’s about really hiring people who can be part of that knowledge of the company. Because the way I see growing the team is growing the knowledge the team, but every new hire is hiring knowledge that I do not have to do that somebody else has knowledge on and we learn from them. And that’s how I fill up those shoes because I’m not filling up my own. My team is filling up the shoes. 


Ricky Willianto  29:24  

You know, you’re being super humble. I’m sure you’ve done great things as well. What do you think like some of the biggest challenges that you have to overcome so far in your role in work? 


Allan Teng  29:33  

So I think it’s really you know, today, a lot of my customers tell me, Allan, you are the biggest secret in Asia Pacific. Nobody knows who you are. So we had to overcome that right? There are many bigger players out there with larger team more experienced team with quite frankly, larger budgets to spend on marketing and disclosure on a lot more kind of larger things. So we are today the biggest secret in Asia Pacific, right? But what I know is that if people start using us, they are blown away, right? They’re completely blown away by what they can do with the platform. So the challenge for us is up you better, right? Where every company in the industry today takes the same message, right? A marketing message that is easy to use, it is simple, you can do things very fast. But when you actually use the products, you will start to realise the big, big difference, right? And so our challenge is how do we spread that word, that knowledge to our customers, and really working with our customers to help us get that work? To me, it is spending time with our customers with the people that we know the best with our supporters who have supported us in our growth journey, learning a lot more time with them, helping them to see success, so that they would then share that success with other people, other customers, other prospects that we’re looking for. 


Ricky Willianto  29:39  

In your experience so far, in growing Workato in Asia, what channels and growth strategies have worked the best for you and for your clients? 


Allan Teng  31:05  

When you say channels and growth strategy, help me to you understand a little bit more? 


Ricky Willianto  31:09  

Yeah, I’m trying to understand because you started off rely a lot on building really good experience for the customers, right. And I imagine, there might be some elements of word of mouth, as you said, Just now you try to build a community amongst your clients, for them to share how they’ve used the product. So that could be one channel, right? What a mouth. The second one could be maybe like with the webinar, or the events that you run by also be marketing, direct marketing, or maybe organic marketing. So I’m just trying to understand a little bit in your experience of building work out of all these different ways you can acquire and build good experience for your customers, what has worked best for you? 


Allan Teng  31:46  

I think every industry is different, right? But for Workato specifically, because automation integration is a complex product. Right? So what we have seen world is one, our community based approach, right? So you know, we have a community of users, we used to run a lot of these workshops with extreme consultants train people on leveraging the product. So we run some of these workshops, educational kind of events to help educate the market. In terms of usage of the product, we are trying out a couple of sales development demand Gen activities, we are building our SDR team today, the success of that is yet to be seen because it’s a relatively new, our team, we have seen quite a bit of success in the US. But I’m not sure whether this necessary into success in Singapore, because people may be less open to sharing with a complete stranger. We are doing a little bit more of digital marketing, whether is it running ads and things like that, some awareness campaigns and things like that. But what I think really has helped us in solidifying, you know, kind of our growth, is really helping our customers who would then share with our other customers, right? And why do I say this? Every month, we organise a happy hour, where one customers will share with other customers what they’re doing. And we invite other prospects to join this happy hour on sharing and learning. Right, the last session, we have a central group in Thailand, sharing about what they’re using Workato for in terms of chatbot, for example. Right? So every session, we have team members, sharing what that customer is doing, and the customer actually speaking on behalf of that. We also started community circles on CIO community, which is bringing various CIOs together. Right, so we have our customers like grab Louis CK from cities coming together, just having simple lunch session virture on in person, helping our prospects meet our customers, and using that as a way to introduce Workato, but more importantly, post event is really building the smaller community. So for example, we had a kind of lunch session where a couple of our HR professionals came together, talk about what they were doing, we tend to like to bring our prospects and customers together because they get to learn from each other one of the challenges they face and what they should be thinking about. And so the follow up from that is that hey, it sounds like you’re quite normal use case Okay, why don’t we organise a workshop, empower your team to do some of these things for themselves. So part of the marketing funnel activities are important. Right, you know, whether it’s running ads demand Gen campaigns, whether we leverage intent data to help us with our targeting, whether we outbound prospect of companies, I think those are important, but what has worked for us you know, in these initial days, especially when the brand is not known. Very few people know who will come in the Asia Pacific region is really building that community, that network, right, the personal relationship, the person in the initial days of building out you cannot lose that personal touch, you need to have the personal touch over time as you scale that may be more technology, touch or low touch model that may work. But in the initial days, really giving people that high touch personal touch model is important, especially to a company like us, especially because the new sites are a little bit larger, we are targeting more enterprise rather than SMEs, you know, and this is part of the reason why the approach that we have to take is a little bit different from other b2c companies. 


Ricky Willianto  35:21  

Yeah, I like what you said, I think in a very paradoxical way, a b2b relationship, oftentimes is much more personal than a b2c business. Because once you can do b2c, you have the volume is just much harder to provide that personal touch. But with b2b, it is evermore important to actually help people understand, especially if your product is relatively complex. 


Allan Teng  35:42  

Exactly, exactly. 


Ricky Willianto  35:43  

Yeah. Hey, Allan, thanks so much for sharing all that. Usually, we end the interview by short quickfire round. So these are just really short questions that you can answer, like, you know, with the first thing that comes to your mind. So are you ready for this? 


Allan Teng  35:55  

Okay. you’re testing me? Okay. 


Ricky Willianto  35:58  

It’s not difficult question. These are things that should be really easy for you. Okay, the first one is, what is the one metric that you care most about right now? And why? 


Allan Teng  36:07  

Customer adoption? 100%? Right. And the reason for that is because our customers are the most important metric that we have. The higher the adoption is allows us to have more use cases, more case studies. 


Ricky Willianto  36:20  

What is your favourite software to help you or your company grow? 


Allan Teng  36:24  

Oh that’s an interesting one. There’s so many of them are today, you know, as a salesperson one Workato, obviously, is where I spend most my time on, you know, but other than that, I think Salesforce has been a tremendous help in terms of helping us to understand the state of homelessness today. 


Ricky Willianto  36:38  

Yeah, I have to re record this interview If your answer is not Workato. So what is your favourite go to resources for yourself to grow? It can be a book newsletter website 


Allan Teng  36:48  

This is an interesting one. I don’t really like reading books, per se. But what I’d like is podcast. So right now, I’m listening to a lot of the SR podcasts on Apple that, you know, still require a number of them, I listened to quite a few of the sales podcast.


Ricky Willianto  37:05  

So Sasa is one of them. What is an example of a sales podcast you listen to? Feel free to take a peek at your phone?


Allan Teng  37:13  

Yeah, I am listening to this guy, Victor Antonio, the sales influence on black people by Michael, I think that one has been quite interesting to me. And other than that, I like to speak to other members of my team, especially because we’re kind of about 400 people speaking to people in the US and India, and all of them have different ideas. So I look up to them in terms of what they are doing, what factors they have seen, because my view is that not everything that other companies have done successfully is applicable to what we have to pave our own way. Right. And so we learn from the successes, but ultimately, we have to decide what makes sense. Yeah, that makes perfect sense. 


Ricky Willianto  37:50  

Who are some of your growth role models in Asia, when it comes to company building and startup building? 


Allan Teng  37:56  

I don’t think I have any one per se, you know, that has really struck me, but I like to look at other companies who have seen good success, you know, so it’s not a person per se, you know, but we should other companies that have seen some success in the Asia Pacific region, I wouldn’t name names, but some of our competitors have done really well, you know, they’ve been in the market for much longer than ourselves. And some of the modern sales companies like Salesforce has done really well in their region as well. So I can look at them and say, hey, how do we grow Workato to be the next to spot? Right, you know, what have they done, you know, to help them to get ready. And a specific personality or person that you think that that? Wow, like he’s done an amazing thing in Asia? And, you know, I really can learn a lot from this person. Not really, I mean, if you would ask me, who is my person that I look up to is probably one, our bucaro field leader. I think he has really amazing ideas, the way she kind of grow the team, work with people and sell the mindset that he has, and also our CEO, right in terms of his mindset around helping people to grow and and these are the two leaders in the company that I look up to in terms of how we have grown the business to where we are today, and how More importantly, we are the employers in Workato for the the growth mindset and really, how we help people in the company see success. Awesome. And final question is what is the best way to reach out to you and what kind of people do you want reaching out to you? 


So reach out to me on LinkedIn, we are actively hiring salesperson who wants to go into sales or have other software people before please reach out to me we are actively hiring in all roles, sales, marketing and HR finance. We are growing in every single team. I think there’s 100 open roles today. 100 open position rows, each row having multiple positions in half. So please do reach out to us you know you are looking for new opportunities looking for new areas of growth, interested in joining a pre IPO company, please reach out to me the best way to reach out to me on LinkedIn. I’m actually quite active. Anyone interested in exploring, I’ll point you to the right people to explore. 


Ricky Willianto  40:12  

That is awesome. Thanks so much, Allan, for your time. It’s been a great pleasure speaking with you, and I hope you have, you know, great luck finding all this people to fill the hundreds of positions you have opened right now in a company. 


Allan Teng  40:23  

Thank you, Ricky pleasure speaking to you and all the best of you as well. 


Ricky Willianto  40:27  

Thank you so much for listening to this podcast. Check out other episodes to hear more growth stories and hacks from experts who have been there. You can find our show on iTunes, Spotify, or via our website www.theravenry.com/growthmultiplier. See you next time.


Transcribed by https://otter.ai

About Growth Multiplier

The pursuit of growth is never-ending for any business – from a small startup all the way to a large global corporation. The Growth Multiplier podcast examines pathways, strategies, and hacks companies have explored and tested in their efforts to scale up their businesses. 

In each episode, host Ricky Willianto – co-founder of Ravenry – speaks with CEO’s, growth hackers, product managers, and marketers all around Asia to find nuggets of wisdom and insights from their journey multiplying growth. 

Ricky and his guests discuss viral marketing, community building, pricing strategies, channel development, and also company culture and people. Growth Multiplier explores not only replicable successes, but also phenomenal failures that we all can learn from.

Growth Multiplier is produced by the team behind Ravenry.

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