From The Editor | June 20, 2017

How An ISV With 200% Growth Tackles Partnerships & Trade Show Marketing

Abby Sorensen July 2017 Headshot

By Abby Sorensen, Chief Editor

Aseptic Packaging Market Growth

Spendgo, a digital customer loyalty software company, was founded in 2010, just two years after founder and CEO Ivan Matkovic graduated from the University of San Francisco. Today, the company has earned a 200% growth rate and has customers like Jamba Juice, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, and Cold Stone. Spendgo’s software helps businesses create digital customer loyalty programs and marketing campaigns for in-store, mobile, and online businesses. Companies can send offers via email or text, and integrate offers with the POS system so a customer can redeem incentives on the spot. Spendgo partners with industry leaders in POS, tech support, mobile payments, ecommerce, and mobile marketing. I asked Matkovic to share advice on ISV partnerships and trade show marketing.

On ISV Partnerships

ISV Insights: Spendgo recently announced a partnership with cloud-based point of sale software company Revel Systems. With all of the cloud based tablet POS software on the market, what criteria did Spendgo use to narrow down their choice to Revel?

IvanMatkovic: There are a few reasons, but at the end of the day what set this opportunity apart was existing relationships. Revel is based in San Francisco (as are we), we already knew many of their team members, and we had multiple mutual clients, so it was easy to choose Revel as our initial partner.

ISV Insights: From an integration standpoint, what challenges did Spendgo overcome while finalizing their partnership with Revel? What did you learn from the implementation phase of this partnership that you will apply to future ISV partnerships?

Matkovic: Fortunately, our solution is specifically designed to overcome technical integration challenges so there wasn’t much to the implementation. In general, the challenge with most partners is aligning on business growth opportunities. With startups, partnerships seem to work better when you are adding new clients together vs. trading introductions existing ones.

ISV Insights: Revel partners with several other customer engagement solutions (LoyalTree, LoyaltyPlant, etc.). What is Spendgo doing to make your solution stand out from the crowd and make this new partnership successful for both parties?

Matkovic: It comes down to how frictionless our solution is for everyone involved. Revel has to do no maintenance to support Spendgo since its plug n’ play to set up, and it’s easy for the end shopper to use.

ISV Insights: How can you ensure ISV partners fit with Spendgo from a culture, sales, and technology standpoint? What factors are most important when it comes to fit?

Matkovic: We focused on making the technology piece easy for our partners to the point where it is almost a non-factor. This has allowed us to build custom sales processes to fit each other’s organization.

ISV Insights: What goals does Spendgo have for ISV partnerships beyond the obvious advantages of increasing sales and expanding/enhancing your technology offering?

Matkovic: We really try to make the technology piece easy were they can start selling and seeing the benefits immediately. It’s hard to get a partnership off the ground when there is a lot of upfront time or capital required.

On Trade Show Marketing

What best practices/advice can you share with other young software companies regarding trade shows?

  • ISV Insights: Advice on controlling costs?
    Matkovic:Trade shows (with some exceptions) are usually like buying a car or a mattress which means you can save by negotiating either a lower costs or asking for something that will deliver more value.
     
  • ISV Insights: Advice on how to select the right events?
    A :Start with niche shows vs. the big ones. You can practice what works best for you and you get more time with clients.
     
  • ISV Insights: Advice on following up with leads?
    Matkovic:
    Try to schedule a follow up during the show. The next meeting is all that matters as most of the people you meet will politely ignore you and the 100 other vendors they talked to, but only the truly qualified leads will set firm follow up meetings.

ISV Insights: How do you measure ROI from a trade show?

Matkovic: Most people look at badge scans or lead lists, but we find that it incents high quantity, but low quality engagement. This may be ok for people selling to SMBs, but in the mid/enterprise market we measure ROI by the client size and the amount of time we spend with them.

ISV Insights: Where do trade shows rank on Spendgo’s overall list of most effective marketing activities?

Matkovic: They are top 3 on our list given how relationship driven most sales are.