As our Side-Hustle Series winds down, we’re featuring one of the products that keeps us going - coffee! This week, we sat down to chat with Colin Meagley, co-founder of Hustle Bean Coffee.
Like many of our team members, Colin is a student of Binghamton University’s School of Management. While he was stuck inside over the summer, Colin took some time to reflect on his passions. As a hustler and coffee lover, he realized that no one was catering to his network. As he describes it, “I really enjoyed coffee and the culture around hustle and entrepreneurship. But no brands were targeting that market. No one was making coffee just for us.”
Colin got to work alongside his roommate and co-founder, reaching out to suppliers and manufacturers to build their coffee company. Together, they found high-quality beans, hand-roasted in small batches in Buffalo, NY. Even though Colin has so much on his plate, he has no issue juggling his roles as a student, salesperson, and entrepreneur - in fact, he said that working remotely has made it even easier for him to balance his time:
“I can go immediately from work to class to managing my business - I’m not losing 15 minutes or more traveling between my home, school, and work.”
Colin credits Bandalier with their quick success in launching the business, too:
“Bandalier made it much easier for me to communicate with other businesses. Since I’ve worked with business-to-business marketing it was no problem to get in touch with different suppliers and manufacturers for our beans and packaging. I’ve also been lucky to keep growing my network, connecting with people over 2 commonalities - entrepreneurship and love of coffee. As you get to know people, they introduce you to people they know who love the same things.”
If you’re looking to step up your coffee game, check out Hustle Bean’s website for tips on making your daily brew - Colin uses an AeroPress. Regardless of how you make it, Hustle Bean’s Brazilian roast makes a “darn good” cup of coffee, according to our CEO, Jeremy Ruch. Head over to the Hustle Bean website to get your coffee today, and use the code “BANDALIER” for a 15% discount on your purchase!
Abagael Rudock - Jr. Associate Sales Manager at Bandalier
Outbound Sales Cycles - Part 1: How Long Do Outsourced Inside Sales Programs Take to Generate Results?
Start-ups, by definition, need to move quickly. Companies that have raised capital to prove out an operating model only have so long to prove product-market fit, and are under significant amounts of pressure to demonstrate to investors that there’s a healthy and growing market of customers that need what they are selling. Many are optimizing for the all-critical LTV : CAC ratio: that is, how many dollars in lifetime revenue they are generating for each dollar spent on marketing / sales.
No surprise, then, that prospective clients regularly ask us how long our outsourced inside sales programs will take to generate results. Unfortunately, it’s a question that is impossible to answer in one broad stroke: beyond the obvious role that luck plays (particularly early on with smaller sample sizes), there’s a significant number of variables inherent to each product and industry that impact the pacing of results.
One of the most significant of these is the length of a client’s outbound sales cycle. We sell SaaS products ranging in average sales cycle from one week to up to a full year or more. Because spend on our inside sales programs is the same irrespective of sales cycle length, clients that have sales cycles of several months or longer will often find they are significantly underwater in the early days of an outbound sales campaign - even in a case where it is performing well. This is made even more complicated by the fact that inbound sales cycles aren’t always the same as outbound sales cycles.
At Bandalier, for example, we find that clients who find our services via search engine or referral tend to close significantly faster than those we prospect, because they are already actively interested in launching an outbound sales program and have a timeline for doing so. This makes measuring the relative effectiveness of the different channels complicated: if, as is often the case, a client we prospected a year ago comes back to us now and launches a large program, it can significantly change the performance of our outbound SDR program relative to other channels.
Let’s explore this with a specific example. Below is an illustrative case of an LTV : CAC ratio for an imaginary client that has a 6 month sales cycle (which is on the lengthier side, but not unusual for SaaS clients) selling a $2,500 / mo SaaS product.
In this case, for six months, the program isn’t generating revenue at all: the CEO and investors are probably getting nervous, looking at a program that has cost over $40,000 with nothing to show for it. Deals start trickling in once the first six-month cycle has passed, but not a pace fast enough to recover the investment. But with results compounding month-over-month (since each deal is generating incremental monthly recurring revenue), the program slowly claws its way to profitability. Still, even 10 months into the program, we’ve barely generated enough total revenue to cover the costs of the program. Investors are looking at competing channels, like search engine marketing, and seeing significantly higher ROI. In many cases, they might decide to reinvest their marketing dollars away from outbound sales.
But the year 2 results show why that would be a mistake. Monthly recurring revenue continues to build over the course of the year, and by mid-way through the year, we’ve crossed a 3x return on cumulative marketing dollars invested. We end the year above a 5:1 CAC / LTV ratio - enough to double down significantly on the investment. Meanwhile, other channels might find a natural cap on results, since there’s a much smaller number of folks actively searching for the product online and significant competition with other vendors bidding on the same digital ad space. By the end of year 2, outbound sales appears to be the most profitable marketing channel available.
Of course, this begs the question: if it can take that long to show significant ROI, what are some early signals we can look to to ascertain whether the program is worth continuing to invest in? More on that in Part 2, to follow next week.
Welcome back to our Side-Hustle Series! This week we’re featuring Leighton Blackwood and his bubble tea business, 2nd Heaven! You may know Leighton from past social media features - he’s been a key member of our Sales Ops team since joining Bandalier in February of 2018.
Leighton has always had an interest in entrepreneurship but gives credit to Bandalier for inspiring him. As he describes it,
“A great part of the inspiration to build my own business has come from watching Bandalier grow. When I first joined the company, it wasn’t even a year old and we were a handful of people in a small office room. It’s been an amazing journey. Now, there’s an active entrepreneur community that exists within Bandalier. The opportunity to learn and grow with other people on similar paths as me is great, and I am excited to network with other entrepreneurs!”
Between his work at Bandalier and his experiences as a student at Binghamton University’s School of Management, he has a diverse knowledge base to work with. As a frequent diner at BU’s Marketplace, Leighton noticed a conspicuous lack of specialty drinks:
“Coming from NYC, bubble tea has been one of my favorite drinks. In Binghamton offerings of the drink are limited both in quality and location, especially for students without convenient transportation. I identified bubble tea as a great drink that many students like me with a taste for it would benefit from having access to it on campus.”
Once he recognized the need, Leighton reached out to the university to propose a new business. Inspired by the success of Chick’n’Bap, he suggested the development of another student-founded and student-run business. After a year of work with his friend Darren Shi, things didn’t quite pan out for an on-campus business. Business plan in hand, Leighton started exploring other avenues to bring bubble tea to the Binghamton area.
“We placed a lot of work into our concept, especially in creating our recipes from scratch. Our current recipes are a result of about 7 months and hundreds of cups of data-driven trials where we tested everything from the perfect temperature to brew tea to the perfect recipe for cooking boba. Each trial went through a rigorous process of taste testing via focus groups and surveys. With all the work that we put in and my drive to explore entrepreneurship, we decided to keep pushing towards a new launch, this time at the local farmers market on a small scale to test the market.”
After meeting with the managers of the Farmer’s Market in August, Leighton went to work obtaining the licenses and funding he needed to start serving tea. He sold his first cup of Bubble Tea in October, and though he admits that there “have been growing pains… it’s been an incredibly rewarding experience!”
You can catch Leighton every Saturday at the Broome County Regional Farmer’s Market every Saturday from 9-1. If you don’t want to make the trek out to Front Street, you can also get 2 Heaven’s bubble tea delivered via Grubhub or UberEats! You can also connect with 2nd Heaven on Facebook and Yelp.
Abagael Rudock - Inside Sales Associate at Bandalier
As our team makes their last few calls before preparing for their Thanksgiving celebrations, we took a moment to ask them what they’re most thankful for this year! Here’s what a few of our team members had to say:
Jasmine said “I'm thankful for the ability to work remotely and do school online this year. I would never have been able to balance full-time grad credits and full-time work had it not been all remote.”
Romilly is “thankful to work for a company that values my opinions and wellbeing.”
Laura says that is “... thankful for Bandalier! It sounds a little silly, but I lost my job September and I had no idea what I was going to do. I was really concerned with how I was going to work when my daughter wasn't in school. To have the ability to work from home as a mom during this crazy year has been a HUGE blessing for me and our family.”
Kennedy is “thankful that Bandalier gave me the opportunity to join a strong team in a time where millions of people are struggling to find jobs. I'm excited to grow within this company and hope everyone enjoys the holidays!”
Maria says “I'm seriously thankful for Bandalier, because I've never worked for a company with such a positive vibe that boosts each other up as we do! And, considering the state of the world right now, having a place to work like this is really great and comforting.”
Lydia, one of our ASMs, says that she is “grateful for a warm home, my cat, and the new season of The Crown on Netflix. And The Sims. And the Great British Bake-off.”
Bandalier is thankful to all of the team members who have helped us survive and thrive throughout the tumult of 2020. Whether you’re spending the holidays learning about the history of Thanksgiving or just enjoying a great meal, we’re wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday season! We’ll see you all next week for the newest post in our Side Hustle Series.
Abagael Rudock - Inside Sales Associate at Bandalier
At Bandalier, we’re always looking for new ways to break down old perceptions of what it means to be a successful salesperson. As part of our commitment to constant improvement, or kaizen, our team members are always looking for new ways to reach more prospective customers for our clients. We’re always looking for new and innovative ways to book demos and reach prospects, whether we’re testing out video outreach or testing our email deliverability!
We’ve written blog posts previously about how Bandalier differs from traditional call centers, and our team members have consistently shown that they aren’t your stereotypical salespeople. Our team includes a range of introverts and extroverts with all levels of experience, living from coast to coast!
We asked Alex Boucard, this year’s Kaizen Award winner, to talk about his experience as someone who got his start with outsourced inside sales on the Bandalier team - here’s what he wrote:
“All my life people have told me I would be good at sales, but I didn’t think it was for me. One day a friend told me about Bandalier, an inside sales company. At first, I was reluctant to apply - the last thing I wanted to be was an annoying salesperson making cold calls, sending cold emails. But Bandalier has shown me that sales is so much more than cold outreach.
Since I’ve started working at Bandalier, my views on sales have entirely changed. As a sales development representative, my job is to connect with people and offer them a solution to make their lives easier, and I love it. Of course, not everyone sees it that way, and that’s normal! Most people won’t need your services, but for the customer that has a need, you can change their lives for the better.
Unlike the movies, sales in real life isn’t a zero-sum game! It’s a team effort - you’re working alongside your customers to find the best solution that fits their needs.
If you’re thinking about starting a career in sales I would say go for it! Through sales, I have been fortunate to connect with people from all walks of life and industries. No two days are the same, and your results are a direct reflection of your efforts. Sales is not easy, it’s an industry that requires grit, determination, and hard work to succeed but it’s also the most rewarding industry.”
If you’re ready to build a career with Bandalier, head over to our website to submit your application to join our team! If you’re just looking for tips and tactics to step up your sales game, check out Bandalier University.
Abagael Rudock - Inside Sales Associate at Bandalier
Up next in our Side-Hustle Series is Teddy Boucard and Read Rose books! Based out of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Read Rose hosts an impressive collection - there’s a little something for everyone, from Russian literature to historical fiction. We took a few minutes to chat with Teddy about his experiences as an entrepreneur on our team.
Teddy describes the founding of Read Rose as equal parts love and luck. While walking through downtown Lancaster earlier this year, Teddy and his partner, Elizabeth, found an old acquaintance selling his business. As book lovers with an entrepreneurial drive, the two decided to take the leap and buy the store. They chose the name Read Rose Books in honor of Lancaster, the Red Rose city, and for all of the books that will be read. With support from their community, Read Rose has grown, and recently diversified their inventory to include work from local artists, as well as fair trade items from Peru.
As a chef, inside sales rep, and co-owner of a bookstore, Teddy always has a lot on his plate! Time management has been key to his success, but as Teddy describes it, things were “.. quite tricky, especially when I was starting out at Bandalier. I had to be in and out, and there were some days that I’d Zoom into a team meeting while still wearing my chef’s uniform. Fortunately, I work more in the background at the bookstore, handling the accounting, applications, and working with new authors.”
Read Rose has already benefited from Teddy’s experiences with Bandalier, too! As a member of one of our outsourced inside sales teams, Teddy has had the opportunity to showcase his business while working with other entrepreneurs. As he builds relationships within our team, he’s looking towards the future, when he’ll be able to leverage his people skills to build new relationships with business partners at Read Rose. Plus, there are some more immediate benefits that he’s noticed:
“I have a habit of speaking too quickly. So when taking calls from people from different areas. I have to make sure I adjust my speech patterns so that I slow down for people to understand me. That is something that I focus on when speaking to people at the bookstore, especially tourists that come to the city.”
We’re glad to have Teddy on our team, and we’re looking forward to watching him and Read Rose grow in the future! To get in touch with Read Rose, head over to their website, and follow them on Facebook and Instagram! If you’re interested in working with entrepreneurs like those featured in our Side-Hustle series, head over to our home page - we’d love to hear from you!
Abagael Rudock - Inside Sales Associate at Bandalier
Our Founder & CEO Jeremy Ruch recently sat down for an interview with the host of the 'Grind & Gravy' podcast, Joe Barhoum. They discussed a variety of topics including Jeremy's background, his reasons for starting Bandalier, as well as a variety of industry-relevant topics including commissions and ethics in sales.
Joe Barhoum is not only a podcast host, but is also a professor, author, trainer, and consultant. He's created an online sales training course titled "Great Sellers Training" through his website Conduit Construct, which aims to help established salespeople hone their skills in the modern workforce.
Feel free to check out the full-length interview through the embedded link above, and visit the Grind & Gravy Youtube channel for access to the entire podcast catalog!
James Boedicker - Client Delivery Associate at Bandalier
Up next in our Side Hustle Series is Jarrod Pine and his apparel company, Vector Apparel! Based out of Long Beach, NY, Vector Apparel offers high-quality athletic clothing to fit all of your work-out needs. We sat down with Jarrod this week to ask about his experience as an entrepreneur among entrepreneurs!
Jarrod had a busy summer! Without his classes at Binghamton University to keep him busy, he decided to pick up new projects. In June, he founded Vector Apparel! During his spring semester, he realized that his friends and classmates were on the hunt for high-quality athletic wear to stay comfortable and fashionable while working and studying from home. As Jarrod describes it,
“There wasn’t one specific reason for starting the business. I was in the middle of quarantine and I had wanted to start a business for a while. I thought that a clothing company would be good to start because I feel like I can make comfortable clothing with sleek designs that people would like. I know a lot of people across so many different areas and groups, and they were all looking for something different.”
Once he had a handle on his business, Jarrod started looking for more opportunities to grow. At the end of August, he joined one of our outsourced inside sales teams as an Inside Sales Rep! As a member of Dylan Smith’s team, Jarrod has been able to polish the sales skills that he learned from our Inside Sales 101 training course. Plus, he’s had the opportunity to apply those skills to his own business! Similar to the other entrepreneurs on our team, Jarrod has seen a lot of benefits to working with other small business owners. For him,
“Bandalier has helped me work alongside eager, entrepreneurial-minded individuals who drive me to work harder. Working with other entrepreneurs allows me to gain additional knowledge and ideas from others in similar roles. So many other entrepreneurs go through similar struggles and issues, which leads to helping each other out whenever needed.”
We’re excited to keep building up our team of entrepreneurs! If you’d like to connect with Jarrod and Vector Apparel, you can find them on LinkedIn and Instagram. To learn more about how you can work directly with driven young entrepreneurs like those featured in our series, head over to Bandalier’s website!
Abagael Rudock - Inside Sales Associate at Bandalier
At Bandalier, our mission is to connect talent in small to medium sized towns and cities with growing tech start-ups across the country. As part of our recipe for success, we give our clients the opportunity to hire the team members who represent them. (If you’ve been following our blog, you may remember the example the Rob Rangel set over the summer.) Today, we wanted to feature our most recent direct hire, Christian Finch!
Christian joined our team in October of 2019. As a full-time student at Binghamton University, he was looking for real-world experience. With a major in business administration and a concentration in finance, Christian was excited for the opportunity to test his skill in the sales world. He joined our team with no previous sales experience, but hit the ground running once he wrapped up the Bandalier Bootcamp.
For Christian, stepping into a sales role felt natural. Like many of the extroverts on our team, he looks forward to connecting with new people every day. Every introduction felt like a victory, even if it didn’t lead to the conversation he had planned. When calls went awry, Christian knew he could rely on our team for constructive feedback. Christian was one of our most tenacious team members, always grinding towards his next success. As he describes it, the role of a sales rep “isn’t always instantly gratifying. Sometimes you’ll make 250 calls in a week without getting a demo. But once you get one, it’s all worth it.”
After almost a year with Bandalier, Christian was offered the opportunity to join his client’s team directly. He had worked with DADO for several months as a Bandalier rep through our Talent as a Service program, so when DADO needed their own internal rep, Christian was their first choice. As a Sales Development Representative on DADO’s growth team, Christian is able to leverage the sales skills he built up during his time at Bandalier. As Christian said,
“Without Bandalier, I probably wouldn’t be working full-time now, nor would I have a part-time job in college. I owe a lot to Bandalier. Taking a college kid, teaching him sales, and letting him go into another start-up is tremendous. I really owe the team a lot.”
Though we miss having Christian on our team, we’re excited to watch his career with DADO! If you’re interested in working with our team, head over to our website - we’d love to hear from you.
Abagael Rudock - Inside Sales Associate
We’re pleased to introduce our Associate Sales Manager, Dylan Smith, for this week’s installation of the Side-Hustle Series! Dylan is a co-owner and coach at Apex Combat Sports, the premier martial arts academy in Binghamton.
Apex Combat Sports was founded in 2018 by Dylan and his partners, James and Alex. The three were lifelong martial artists looking for a place to train with their friends. Together, they offer classes for all levels of expertise in Boxing, Kickboxing, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu! At Apex, everyone remembers what it’s like to be a beginner. While their members may be tough, they pride themselves on creating a welcoming, beginner-friendly environment. Whether you are looking to learn a new skill, improve your health, or compete, Apex’s programs will provide you with the framework to succeed both on and off the mats. Here’s how Dylan describes his classes and students:
“All of our classes are beginner friendly, and we always have a range of members. Some people are looking to get in shape, some are learning a cool new skill, and some are training to compete. Our coaches deliver expert instruction to ensure you understand the movements, then our community provides you with the support and inspiration to crush your goals.”
Dylan carries the same sense of community into his work with Bandalier! He’s always working behind the scenes with his team members to help them improve their techniques and results. He helps his team build new communities, too - they share news about their work as the calls happen, as well as details of other projects. After hearing about all of his team-members side-hustles, Dylan created a group for the entrepreneurs on our team. They meet periodically to talk through the issues each business is facing and brainstorm solutions. Dylan has seen a lot of benefits to working with entrepreneurs:
“Having Jeremy, our CEO at Bandalier, and other entrepreneurs here to bounce ideas off of, or issues I am facing has been amazing. Jeremy has always been available for me to get advice from or to just lend an ear to vent to which has gone a long way. We actually opened the gym a few weeks before I started my time at Bandalier, and being able to balance them both has really helped me hone my time management skills, too.”
Dylan is an integral part of our Banadlier team, and is always available to give tips on how to fight through your worst calls. If you’d like to learn more about Dylan and his work with Bandalier, you can find him on LinkedIn along with the rest of our team. If you’re interested in training with Dylan and the rest of the Apex team, you can get in touch with them through their Facebook and Instagram pages!
Abagael Rudock - Inside Sales Associate