“Failure” is a loaded word, and not one that is often viewed positively. But it may be time to change that. Failure can, in fact, be on of the most powerful tools for your business. In this episode, Doug C. Brown speaks with Vispi Daver, the Senior Vice President of Sales and Partnerships at WhatFix, a SaaS company that focuses on productivity. They discuss Vispi’s experience in business, why flexibility is integral to your mindset, turning lessons into positivity, and much more.
Vispi Daver is the Senior VP of Sales and Partnerships at Whatfix and brings a range of experience in sales, partnerships, product management, and corporate development to his role. He leads a team responsible for new and expansion sales, revenue-generating partnerships, sales operations, and sales enablement. Under his leadership since 2018, the company has had significant growth and expanded its footprint across Global 2000 customers, systems integrators, and consulting partners. Vispi is also an early investor in Whatfix.
Visit his website: www.whatfix.com
I am bringing you another great guest. His name is Mr. Vispi Daver. He is from a company called WhatFix.com. They are a SaaS company. You should check them out because they help make your existing software more productive. They do it through accountability and measurement. We talk a lot about it is okay to fail. What does that mean? It is okay to fail because it is more productive if you do it in the right capacity. We are going to talk in length about that. We are also going to talk about how do you sell to a CEO and a person like Vispi in a company that has got hundreds of employees. We will also talk a little bit about what the software does, and how it makes your company and your offerings more productive. Without further ado, let’s go to Mr. Vispi Daver. Let’s see what he has to say.
Vispi, welcome to the show. I appreciate you being here.
Thanks a lot, Doug. I am looking forward to it as well.
I love your company name, WhatFix. Normally, what I do is tell people what it is, but what I have been doing is asking the person who comes on to explain what it is. Would you give everybody a background on what you do?
What we do at WhatFix is provide a software overlay that goes on top of a company’s software applications that they are using. It helps with making sure that all of their employees or customers use the underlying software, contextually and effectively. Imagine it as an overlay, so since we have a sales readers, let’s say you log into your CRM. You have got your CRM that shows up. WhatFix has an overlay that shows up in front of the CRM, guiding users contextually through what they need to do. A good example is let’s say I am a sales rep. I look into my Salesforce, and I am told by WhatFix what I need to do for the day. I need to update these opportunities. I need to create these opportunities or contacts, etc.
If I am a sales manager or a head of sales, then I will go into it and it will show me, “Here are the reports that you need to view in Salesforce.” The goal is to get people more productive in the software applications that they need to use on a daily basis because each of these applications have a different UI that is configured differently. That is what we do in a nutshell.
It is an accountability, measurement and productivity software when it comes down to it. Let’s take CRM, for example. CEOs are constantly telling me this, business owners are constantly telling me this about their sales teams, “I cannot get accurate information into my CRM system. I do not know what the forecasts are. Are they real? Are they not real forecast?” Your application actually solves that problem for the business owner and the CEOs who are managing that.
You should think of our application as a canvas, and the walkthroughs or overlays that get created are the paintings on that canvas. Those paintings can be basic, taking care of a new seller or a new manager that has come on board, showing him where everything is, relative and contextual to him or her in the CRM. It could be while you are closing a transaction, helping you get your CPQ in there, helping you get your contracts in there. It navigates through multiple applications, your pricing, your CRM, your conversational intelligence, your contract life cycle, eSignature, all of that navigating and helping the seller to close all of that faster.
In the case you described, something is not accurately identified. The forecast is inaccurate. Our overlays can come in, and the painting painted over there could be one that mandates that it is updated a certain time period or make sure the data is accurate. It is data integrity as well. There are many beautiful, highly-valuable paintings that have been created using our software.
I will share one of our customers. Fortune 500 uses us for a best sales team. This is applicable across the board, our small businesses, all the way to Fortune 10 companies as well. Their sales team is a field sales team. They had a very clear reason for having a field sales team if you need to visit customers more. They have, as they call it, a military operation, wherein when a seller wants to have a visit, that seller goes into their CRM, schedules that visit, and passes the handoff to their manager who then suggest things and approves it. That visit is much more than just scheduling a number of meetings, also what gets done during the visit, what do you do, what are the things that you need to undertake.
All of that military operation on their CRM is with WhatFix overlays, guiding them so that they can make the right visits. That is a painting that is maximizing sales for the company to make sure that those visits are done in the best and optimized way. It is an empty canvas. You can create what you like. The standard paintings are training and onboarding. There is something new released by the CRM provider or a new configuration that your Salesforce admin has done. Those are all general and standard paintings that are out of the box.
Let’s talk about accountability because, for example, we will take training and we will have somebody go through training programs. If they do not have an accountability coach, they get results. I have a client who did this, so I will use that client. We had one accountability session for a month. We tried different configurations, but we found that one-time a month, there is somebody checking in saying, “Is this done? Is that done? Do you need help with this? What is that?” We measured it over a one-year period of time. We did a blind study with a split test.
We found that the people who had one accountability touch a month were getting six times the results that people were getting without that accountability touch. I can only imagine with your software with the overlay that it is giving constant accountability to the person, because you cannot run from this. It is like, “This is what is due.” As you were saying, it is a measurement that people can see in the report side. This might be an unfair question, but have you seen that companies are far more productive utilizing this because of the accountability alone, never mind the additional benefits that come out of this?
If you look at what our overlay does for training, typically a trainer will create a lot of content, video content, webinar content, etc. A learner will get all of that information upfront and then they will have to use the application. They are getting training on something that they are not going to use for 3 or 4 months until they close their first opportunity. That disconnect is a major one. That is really important because that is something in learning called forgetting curve, which means 80% of the information is forgotten in a week.
In the flow of work, whether it is learning or changing user behavior in the flow of work is where we come in. When I need to do my first pricing is when I need to learn how our pricing tool operates within the CRM. When I need to close my first contract, that is when I need to know how our contracting crew operates.
For us, it is putting it in the flow of work, so it has adopted well. All of that training content, we create automatically as well because our walkthrough creates training content for the trainers as well. One of the trainers’ problem statements is, “We create content, and with one little configuration change made by us, that content is out of date now.” That never happens with us because when you create a walkthrough with us, you will automatically create a job aid, a video, a SCORM compliant LMS module, and all of that. If you change any step in that walkthrough, it will automatically change that.
The last thing, the accountability. I, as a trainer, know that, “Here is the number of people who have gone through this walkthrough through analytics.” Let’s say that walkthrough is, “How do I create my first opportunity or how do I set up my first pricing?” I will know as an admin that, “Here all the people who have done this walkthrough live in the flow of work with WhatFix. Here are the ones who have not or here are the ones who struggled to do it.”
We are even doing underlying analytics, independent of the walkthrough. We are seeing in that five-step process of creating an opportunity, who are all the people who are struggling with it, even with or without the walkthrough and get that data. You can do the manual accountability calls saying, “I understand. You have not been able to create an opportunity and you have tried a few times. Let me guide you through it.” It is aiding that accountability and validating your statistic there.
It is objective versus subjective selling when it comes down to it.
Explain a little bit.
Objective selling is you can measure it. It is quantifiable, it is factual. It is the truth. Subjective selling is, “I have been putting the stuff in the CRM or I have been using the pricing tool or I have been doing this,” but nobody is able to measure it. No one is able to hold accountability to that process. You can only see it in the outcome of the sales one way or another. I measure ratios all the time with sales teams. I look at them and say, “These many leads come in. These many calls are contacted or this first contact happens.”
I measure that. I know what the time is. That is objective data because I remember one time I had to say to a CEO, “Sixty-three percent of your leads are not getting contacted.” The moment we put in an accountability process, miraculously within three days, that dropped from 63% down to 22%. We worked on the other 22% as well to get 100% contacted. What I am hearing is that you folks give that objective data back to people in real time. Is that accurate?
The sales operations can look at it in real time, but for us, that objective data is all around what the users of the software that you have bought and configured, all of them, what the users are actually doing with it, and where they are struggling, so that objective data comes in.
A big complaint amongst larger or even smaller companies are, “I am not really utilizing my CRM to its components. I am staying with sales, but I am not utilizing it.” For example, I have a client who has Salesforce and I am looking through it. I go, “What about this? What about that?” They are like, “We are not using that.” We could have a lot of tools in our box, but if we are actually not using a screwdriver to unscrew the screw, and we are trying to use a screwdriver as a chisel, so to speak, it is not going to be as effective. You might get the screw out of there, but it is a heck of a lot more labor intensive and costs more in the long run.
That is what I love about your software. It comes in and says, “We are going to make you way more productive utilizing the same tool you are already using. We are not going to ask you to change, but we are going to help you be far more productive.” We are speaking with Vispi Daver. He is with WhatFix.com. Check out the software, folks. It is really cool. Vispi, I wanted to ask, how did the company start in the beginning? What was the origin? How does it even come up?
The two founders of the company were based out of Bangalore. They were working with a large tech company, Huawei, in the networking group on the product and engineering side. They wanted to spend themselves out and start a company of their own. They had an idea. That idea did not materialize, but in the study of it not materializing, they heard from prospective customers of that idea, the concept of what WhatFix is. They said, “This is what we are struggling with. Can you build something around that?” That is what they went ahead and did. There was no category involved at all. They went ahead and did this, and then a category evolved out of it with vendors.
The category is called digital adoption solutions or digital adoption platforms. It is applicable to any software, whether it is desktop, web, mobile, any applications, CRM, HR, whether internally built or externally. It has grown since then. Now, we are at over 500 customers, 100 Global 1,000, all using us for multiple software applications. That is the interesting thing that you usually start with something, and then it is, “I need this for everything.”
This is the mental UI and the direction that I want for all my end users to be able to navigate through the software. Gartner has this statistic that says, “An average employee at a company has to know some portion of fourteen different software systems.” We are that contextual guide that allows them to only learn the portions they need to because no one needs to know all of it.
Even with basic Microsoft suite, I probably use 2% of it in what we utilize. I find this fascinating because a lot of times companies are born out of what some people would call failure, mistakes, and things like that, “We went into this direction and it did not work out. We find this new thing.” That is what I hear the origin of WhatFix has happened to. I remember we had a landscaping development company. We went out and we did not really tap the market to figure out what they wanted because we thought we knew better. We would go out and we did it. We bought all this new equipment and then we are running up against this.
What we found out is people wanted what they call clean-outs, which is a company like 1-800-GOT-JUNK? in the United States and Canada, which now does very successfully. We have brand-new landscaping equipment at the end of year that we had never used. We had a good clientele of clean-outs business. What I love about WhatFix is they went through a similar thing. A lot of people view that as failure though, Vispi, but the two founders seem to not view this as failure. They said, “We are going to pivot from point A to point B.”
It is not just at that moment in time. The reality is every day, we are dealing with these successes and failures. The best companies are the ones that are the most flexible and able to identify these very early. Our path, Doug, is to create a billion-dollar revenue company. There are only 31 of them. We study them and we study books written by the CEOs of them. There is one called Amp It Up by Frank Slootman. It lays out what to do here. Some of it, we have been doing for awhile.
One is to have what we call open transparent. He calls it intellectual honesty. The way to go about it is that there should be complete freedom and psychological safety for anyone to experiment with anything, fail in it, and move forward in it. If you keep having that and you have that culture, you should have lots of many pivots along the way that is going to help build something great. The antithesis of that was there are only 30-plus of these billion-dollar revenue companies, but there are thousands of others, and they are intellectually lethargic and mediocrity is tolerated.
You have that mindset. I often open calls internally with, “What is not going well? That is what I want to know about the project. There is another good quote from one of my colleagues that says, “Good news is no news. No news is bad news. Bad news is good news, so you can get to work on it.” If you start being in the problem-solving mode, rather than the, “Let me tell you all the stuff that is going really well, whether it is or is not,” that is a path to changing that. That pivot culture is there.
We have in one of our cultural principles that says, “Fail fast,” which is a similar thing. Also, if you look at the academic postulates around growth mindset and fixed mindset, growth mindset is what entrepreneurs and startups need. It is all about risk without the cloud or label or anything associated with failure. There are many examples of that throughout. We tried, culturally, to model that. There is no negative to failure that we see here internally.
I want to unpack that a little bit because there was so much brilliance in that statement. What I got out of this is your company is flexible, and you focus on problem-solving versus the problem itself. You work at it through a growth mindset with an open mind, just like when we were children. We look at something and we go, “Look at this butterfly. I wonder how it flies.” We try to figure things out. Is that how WhatFix operates throughout?
The reason I am asking you this, it seems like this is a big success point for you. A lot of companies, whether it is a billion-dollar corporation or somebody who has got an $80 million company or $5 million company, I see many times people get into more of what I would call a fear stuck point. They do not keep that concept in mind, but to me, that is where the growth happens. Is this what you do and continue to make your company successful doing so?
It is not easy because we all come with our DNA. That DNA is a combination of nature and nurture, “Where were we in the last company?” To penetrate all this, “Do not worry about failure. Do not worry about the report card. This is new. We are attempting to go after it. We will take care of it appropriately.” Those are all things that constantly have to be propagated, voiced and echoed internally, so that people get that.
Depending on the house you have come from, you do not necessarily change immediately. You have got to see examples of it. I am constantly opening statements or calls or emails with, “I made a mistake here. Here is what it was. Here is the path forward. Let’s fail forward on it and move on.” That is all normal culture. Ideally, that is what we want to happen there.
Why do you think people do not do this on a regular basis? It seems so easy when you said it. It is like, “That makes a lot of sense.”
One is your inherent nature and nurture that I just described. The other is you hear it, but you do not see it, so you do not see examples of it. You want everyone, especially senior people, to be talking like that and to be acting in that form. Those would be some of the big ones. The flip side, Doug, is that some people whose nature and nurture are born with growth mindset, you do not need to stop them. They will take any challenge without the fear of failure. Those are the people who succeed the most, to be honest. They are the ones who are the most flexible and the most accepting to receive goals that are high. It is okay to fail, but you’ve got to attempt them.
When I talk with many owners of companies or people who are running companies, the majority of the ones that are successful and continue to keep growing is they adopt that mindset, “It is okay to fail.” When we look back through time, even in the United States, you look at companies like Home Depot. They were both fired from their job. To them, it originally was a failure, but we have a major company player out of that. 3M had a product that you stick on the wall, but it was a failed chemical experience. That happened. I like the fact of you are driving this through your whole company. Are you finding that you get more out of your employees by allowing them to embrace that concept?
We get more productive. I will give you an example. Sales managers are constantly doing off reviews. I will give you the two bookends of an off review. One bookend is the sales manager has not reviewed the op inside of the CRM. They are asking for an update and they are now inquisitioning the seller. It takes 30 minutes to get through one opportunity. The other bookend is sales managers are well-prepared and gone through it. The seller leads with, “Here are the red flags and here is what is not going well. Here is what I am worried about.” It ends with everyone taking an action item to fix that.
As little time on, “Good news is no news,” and as much time on, “What are the red flags?” Everything has the red flag all the time, even the minute before signing. Those take five minutes per opportunity. That is the practice. That is how it should ideally go. It is not as easy as that, Doug, as you well-recognized. At the end of the day, you can hear examples from leadership, but you do what your manager does. That is a cultural reality. On an everyday basis, your manager does certain things and that is what you do. Those are some of the challenges as you grow bigger, how do you penetrate that culture?
One time, I worked for a company and it was in the telecommunication space. I thought we could do something, and I sold it. I sold it to six major companies. Then I realized we did not have it as a product set. Originally, the engineering staff was very upset. However, eventually, they adopted that into a product set and they made tens of millions of dollars in sales off that product set. We can fail. I like what you are saying. It is like, “It is okay to fail. It is more productive that way, so we figure it out through the process.”
Vispi, I appreciate you being here. I could speak with you for hours, but I know you do not have time to do so. What I want to know, if you do not mind sharing with the people reading because I am sure they are glued into this. A guy like yourself, running a major company, seeking to be a billion-dollar company, and be in the top 31. If somebody wants to sell to your company, if they are looking to be like, “I have got this great fix for WhatFix,” but they want to approach you. A lot of people have challenges trying to figure out how to approach a guy like yourself. What do you look for in a buying relationship from somebody who is on the other side, looking to initially make the relationship?
Our marketing team, our BDR team often asks me this as well. I will share a mine and I will add what we found as well from our research and our practical experience. In general, the more quality and contextual the research is, the better. That should get to as detailed as possible. I will give you a few examples of how this has worked for us. We have about 900 people in the company. We have several people all over the world, including a young and very successful team in India, selling globally. That is a little bit unique. There is another maybe 20 to 40 companies in India doing that, but there are a few like us that are bellwethers.
The very contextual research that this reached out was a sales enablement and training consulting company. They mentioned what they had done with our laterals, which will be other companies like us who have 60% or 70% of their sales team in India. It is very contextual. Here are usually the things you want to solve. People learn very fast and are very intelligent, but they do not have the enterprise selling experience. Here are the three things we did for ABC that gets a call back immediately and a call tomorrow.
The second is also related to and which in reality is a little bit of a, “My competition is doing it. I should be looking at it.” We do it a lot at WhatFix, but not in a negative way. If we are calling into retail, we will tell them our biggest retail customers and what they are doing. That elicits interest all the time. It has to go a level deeper. This is the most important. It cannot be, “You are in retail and we have got the largest retailer as a logo.” That is not enough. People need to know what problems you are solving for them and, “Does that pertain to me?” I have got several like that from BDRs as well, and that has worked really well.
The third that is not as attractive to me but it is in general, and it is in all the research and practical examples. It is personal research on the individual, what they talk about, what they have posted on, and finding something to compliment them on, a post or something like that. It validates right up on what the individual is doing and it works. I like the, “I have got problem,” then you figure those out. What does not work is very high level statements like, “Do you want more leads?” That is a really hard one to react to, but how? We will get into the details.
If I can boil it down into my language, it is meaningful, relevant and valuable communication on what matters to you in business and in your personal side of your life.
“What has someone like me done? What problems have you solved for someone like me in an existing situation, in as much detail as possible?” To me, that is the big one. Training sellers when you are hiring one and a half people a day is a big thing. What have you done there, and an example of it with as much detail as possible. The time it is going to take to get that out of you is an ROI that one has to think about. If, at the end of it, it is not there, then it is not as good a fit. It is better to find that out earlier.
If somebody wants to get a hold of WhatFix or know more about you, how do they do so?
You can go to our website, WhatFix.com. If you are interested in looking at a demo, getting a quote, just fill out a form on there. You can also email Sales@WhatFix.com. We have no hierarchy or any of that. Vispi@WhatFix.com, reach out directly.
Mr. Vispi Daver, thank you for being on the show. I am very grateful you were here. I know people reading will feel the same.
Thanks a lot, Doug. Thanks, everyone.
Flexibility into problem-solving, into growth mindset, it is okay to fail, it is more productive when you take it to that extreme. I do not mean extreme is a bad thing. When you are hyper-focused on problem solving, it is hard to have problems that are not solved because most people focus on problems versus the solution. You are never going to solve a problem by trying to focus on the problem. You are going to need to remove the cause of the problem, and that is what gives you the solution. When you have your mindset in that place, it is like, “No matter what happens, it is okay to feel. It is more productive. You will be moving your business along the path of growth.”
When you push it through the whole organization like he does, and people are allowed to make mistakes and they are not beat up for that purpose, they are like, “How do we make this better?” You are going to run into problems. Problems are guaranteed. It is death, taxes and problems that are going to be there in our lives no matter what. Check out the company at WhatFix.com. If you want content, specialized or general, and you have a subject matter you want us to invoke for you or put in play for purposes of you learning, reach out to me at Doug@CEOSalesStrategies.com. Let us know what it is and we will find the talent if we do not already have it up there ready to go for you.
As usual, if you want to grow your company, grow your revenues, grow your sales team, get A-Players on how to hire, manage, train and retain them, or yourself or someone you know, or your sales team, you want them to be in the top 1% globally of sellers. Reach out to me at Doug@CEOSalesStrategies.com or you can have DougBrown123 on LinkedIn, or reach out to us at the company direct at (603) 595-0303. Please go out and sell something today, sell a lot of it, make it profitable, make someone happy, and in turn, make yourself happy as well. Until next time and to your success.