Podcast S2 Ep.10 – Tom Ryan

Yes – it’s almost always about people.

I talk to Tom Ryan ☁, CEO of MarCloud: Expert Marketing Cloud Consultancy – a #Salesforce partner about a range of topics including how to create a strong culture.

We agreed that it’s the human element in everything that counts, and why MarCloud has a Head of Culture when so many companies do not.

It’s absolutely critical that your consultants love working for you.
Otherwise, with such a hot job market out there – it’s so easy for people to walk out the door.

He also managed to create a lifestyle career out of consulting way before it became fashionable, and he did it with a friend while enjoying life in exotic locations!

Listen in for some tips on how you can do that for yourself too. 
Enjoy 😊

You can listen to the podcast on Spotify here!

#podcast #OnThePeiroll



Pei Mun Lim 0:05
Hello, and welcome to another episode of OnThePeiroll, my podcast where I talk to my guests about leadership, Salesforce consulting, project delivery, creating great teams. And also one of the things that I enjoy best is asking my guests to tell me about the journey. The stories, the decision, the turning points that got them from where they were to where they are today. And in today’s episode, I talked to Tom Ryan, he’s the CEO, and founder of Mark cloud, a marketing cloud specialists, Salesforce partner. And I enjoy the story about how he created a lifestyle, working and traveling around the world and the things that he did, the decisions that he made, and the learnings that he gained during that journey. And I really hope that you enjoy listening to this as much as I did, making it. Thanks a lot.

Hi, Tom, welcome. And thank you for making the time to come on my podcast OnThePeiroll. How are you today?

Tom Ryan 1:29
I’m very well, very happy. And also very excited to speak to you again, it’s been been a little while and it’s always nice to talk to you.

Pei Mun Lim 1:36
It has it has we met and Evers panel platform on the marketing cloud instead of consulting. And you currently run your own company. And what I’d like to do is to hear about how you got how you got started, or better yet to take you back. If you can go right to the beginning of your journey and just talk to us about you know, just tell us your story about how you got to where you are today.

Tom Ryan 2:08
So go a long way back. So obviously, when I was a kid, I always loved playing with computers and things like that I studied a degree at uni, was going to do business administration. But they the course that they put me on was called Business Enterprise Systems. Very, very technical. And around the data flow diagrams and enterprise level systems, we focused on SAP at the time. And my initial direction was going to be to go down the SAP consultant route. And I was going to do one of these ERP certifications. And it was all very technical, I was about to pay for a course. And then I ended up getting a job in IT sales. I don’t know how that happened. But it was local, and I ended up getting the job because I thought I was gonna be an IT account manager and the way they positioned the job. It was very much you look after accounts, you help them and it’s very customer service II, I get there and it was cold calling. So I quit straightaway, my mum was shouting at me because I quit my job. And I’m not going to do that, um, you know, I know I’m clever. I can get any job I want pretty much, quite arrogant at the time. And then I ended up getting a job at a marketing agency off the back of one of the girls who I worked with, she made some flippant comment about, we’d get a job in marketing. And I was quite competitive. So I was like, I’m gonna get a job in marketing. And that genuinely is how I got into marketing. So worked at a marketing agency for a year, roughly a year. And they were really, really good intense, learn a lot. It’s brilliant. When client side met part up and then spent a year doing that we were really good was it was fintech. So the space was quite small at the time for what we were in. And me and my manager sort of joked about setting up our own consultancy and doing Pardot for FinServ. So it’s written nice within a niche. And then we were going to travel. And then the company moved to a place called Basingstoke and had a nickname called Amazing Stoke, which is sarcastic because it’s not amazing. And we didn’t want to travel. So we just did it. And you know, we jumped in, we had all these letters of local companies that we were going to reach out to about Pardot not knowing anything. Got our first client huge project than how we did it. And then we moved to Bali. We went traveling all around Europe, went to Prague, all these different places. Until eventually sidestep. The downfall of the company was was a really weird time because a volcano went off in Bali. So it erupted and all the smoke went over Denpasar, which is the airport. We had to fly to Switzerland to get to a meeting with a client there. So we acted had this horrible journey go across barley. We had To get a train, stay overnight with mosquitoes everything fly, try and get to Jakarta to try and get to Geneva. And then that’s where the company kind of came to an end, we both agreed we didn’t want to do it anymore. We both went our different directions. He’s doing really well now, which is great, but I still wanted to carry on. And that’s how Mark cloud was formed. So it was all very much accidental up to the point where Mark cloud started, if that makes sense. But ever since I’ve absolutely loved love marketing, love Pardot. And I love the space just because the people are so nice.

Pei Mun Lim 5:35
So I’m just going to take you right back again. Because there were a few points that was really interesting that I wanted to kind of explore a little bit. So going back to the point where you, you know, you were doing the, your course you were going to take the SAP course, what was it just there was a decision point. It’s like, okay, I kind of notice, I assume at that time, you probably realize being a sap consultant probably would have been a fairly cushy job. And so you had this decision point where you go, Ah, okay, very technical, but probably going to be quite pushy, or stable, and sales. What made you decide on this one, as opposed to that one?

Tom Ryan 6:23
I think it was, I’m not sure precisely, exactly what happened. I think it’s probably a series of things that happened. But ultimately, it was a very intense course that would have had to have done or would have had to have paid for it. But I think the ultimate decision was potentially the easy route, if you like. So it was do I pay 1000s of pounds for the CRP course, that I may not love. And I went really far down the road where I was about to pay, or I can get a job, get some experience, meet, some people get paid. And it was kind of, Okay, I’ll go that route, and go down the career path rather than immediately invest in something that was potentially a risk. I think someone on my course is actually now NSEP consultant and doing amazing. So that potentially would have happened. But I quite liked the route that I took. It was more fun.

Pei Mun Lim 7:18
You know, just listening to you talk about your, your journey. It does sound like you tend to err on the side of fun slightly, because you were talking about traveling and everything. So how did that actually work? So you and your partner was traveling around the world, seeing clients implementing stuff, or working remotely how

Tom Ryan 7:42
working remotely it was, it was, it was a lifestyle business. We weren’t. We weren’t in Bali to meet Indonesian clients. We were in barley because barley is cool. So it was literally a lifestyle thing. And we dipped our toe in by starting with Europe, it go into Prague, for to Spain for a bit, we went all over can’t really remember all the places we went to. But it’s so much fun, so much fun. And the fact we could do it remotely, was the best part about the job. It was testing it. Because our end goal was originally to move to Vancouver. We wanted to just do all of our traveling go to Bali. It was Tom, the guy who did it wherever he wants to go to South America, I was a bit unsure of that. But we just sort of did it together. So how it played out. And the end goal was was to end in Vancouver and settle there. But obviously things didn’t play out that way. We got close. got close to where we wanted to go to. But yeah, different directions.

Pei Mun Lim 8:42
Okay, so it sounds like there was a close friend, as well, as a business partner. How did that work?

Tom Ryan 8:51
Well, he was he was my manager for quite a while, but then we made friends. So that was really fun, honestly, really fun. But I think when you crossover too much, obviously we’re really good friends work together really, really well. He’s brilliant at project management. But when you eventually live so close together, you’re kind of living in the same space, then you’re working together, you still want to be your own people. But then it’s so closely together that you can clash. And I think that that can that can grind on you after a while. So I think that that was ultimately the downfall is that eventually you just want to be yourself rather than this other person who you’ve so closely embedded with. It makes it a little bit tricky. So sometimes it doesn’t doesn’t work out but it did for a very long time. It was it was really positive for ages. It was just that final decision.

Pei Mun Lim 9:48
So let’s Okay, so we know the past that you’ve gone down this road. So I’m a Marvel fan. And I love my thinking about Dr. Strange and all the alternative So let’s say a sliding moment was you talking about that Zurich trip? Right? So let’s say, you walk down this path and you think, oh, you know, at this point when the volcano erupts, things are just going to, you know, and they’re, so if you could, you know, rewind a little bit and say, that’s going to happen, I’m having loads of fun traveling with Tom. What can I do, right to make sure that sledding moment doesn’t happen. And, you know, prolong the adventure a little bit further. So you, you, you have a friend that you’re really close with, and you’re working, living together. And as you say, Your lives are kind of intertwined quite a bit. What might you change? So the angle I’m coming from his partners, as you’ve described, do happen. Friendship, sometimes husbands and wives and things like that, and they go into business. What do they think about to kind of like preserve that relationship? Let’s say it’s a husband and wife. So obviously, for you and your partner, you were able to amicably you know, split up and go your own way. But if you were, you know, committed in relationship, marriage, maybe with kids and things like that, and you want to carry on this adventure, what would you suggest you might have done differently to just, you know, carry on that a little bit longer?

Tom Ryan 11:25
What Yeah, I think, just initially, I wouldn’t have changed anything at all. But if I had to give advice to someone, it would be to plan before, unless you’re one of those people that have has a personality where you can kind of adapt to new situations, you’d like risk, you’d like the unknown. If you’re not one of those people, you need to plan before. And by that, I mean, you need to have a conversation before you go into business with someone. And you just say, right, if this happens, if this event happens, this is how we’re going to respond. This is the plan. And then when that happens, we just revert back to our kind of playbook. And we can just respond in that way. Because a lot of the stress and frustration comes in, I think this, you think this and there’s a disagreement between the two, if you were, if you’ve already pre planned for that, at least the kind of foreseeable common scenarios, it makes it a lot easier. But if you’re one of those personality types that just likes to adapt, then just go all in and just just do it because it is fun. And it is worth the worth the pain at the end if it does go go wrong.

Pei Mun Lim 12:28
So would you say that you and the other team were very much aligned in what you wanted out of this particular endeavor? Did you plan where you would go? Or did you

Tom Ryan 12:40
we were both the personality type where we just went all in. I think I was particularly more on the side of I wanted to not particularly grow a business, but I was very much reputation. I was like, very marketing, I’m very, you know, I want to build a brand. I want to build this, you know, thing that people respect and love. Because he was more on the side not to say that he didn’t want that to, but he was more on the side of lifestyle business travel, have the best time ever because he was really fun. So it’s very much a, you know, pleasant or the way he was I was kind of happy to go through a bit more pain to go for things that people don’t really see much value in but long term, it does have an impact in my opinion.

Pei Mun Lim 13:24
So it just naturally just kind of like in terms of what you wanted. But it sounds like you had a great time. Oh, it’s

Tom Ryan 13:33
great. It was fun.

Pei Mun Lim 13:34
Probably stacks of stories to tell in different places that you’ve been. What were some of the challenges that you found doing that? Traveling and servicing clients all around the world?

Tom Ryan 13:51
Well, well, actually. Because we were quite committed. It wasn’t that hard. Honestly, to Indonesia. We’re in barley, specifically, the time zones played out really nicely, because in the mornings, you just do what you want. You know, I used to get up, go to the spa, I used to go and have a cold plunge pool and have breakfast, I’d go see some friends go to the beach, have a coconut. And then you start work about two o’clock. But the only problem was when it got to say like 1011, you get really tired, you’re still working because the eight hour day crosses over into like sometimes 10 to 12. If you do an extra, I think it’s four o’clock start can’t remember now, but either way, it was really late late days. And that was the only real challenge being in that time zone. But otherwise, it was actually really manageable.

Pei Mun Lim 14:44
How did you find your clients? So it sounded like you were freelancing, basically because that is what you were doing. How did you find clients?

Tom Ryan 14:51
Good question. So we’ve always, always gone down the route of SEO. So we’re very really good at content. Really good at position ourselves in a way where we can actually get our own clients. And we that that’s what marquel prides itself on is the fact that we don’t necessarily need leads from Salesforce. In it, we get them, we’ve got great relationship with Salesforce. But we also get our own leads. So we get organic inbound marketing leads, so we could survive, if Salesforce didn’t send us another deal today would still survive and actually would still grow. Because we’ve got that presence and we’ve dominate the Pardot space, you search for Sprint Pardot, you’re probably going to end up on the mark out site at some point. We want to replicate that and build marketing cloud and do the same for that. But we’ve got quite a big presence online.

Pei Mun Lim 15:42
Obviously, you’ve got your plan that is just accelerating where you are now. So talk to me about Mark cloud then. Right? So you are big in the product space. And now you move into marketing cloud.

Tom Ryan 15:59
Yes. So growing that, but we basically want to position ourselves now as the marketing automation consultancy for Salesforce is marketing automation. And it’s Salesforce, then, where your people, we do Pardot, do marketing cloud do analytics, we do Sales Cloud to an extent. So what I mean by that is whatever crosses over into the marketing automation side of things, even if it is a new service, cloud sales, cloud, will pick it up. If it’s a sales, cloud only implementation, we’re not going to touch it, it has to have that kind of marketing element, because that’s what we find fun. The whole team is very much marketing. And that’s what we love to do. So we wouldn’t pick up work that isn’t related to our sort of passion, if you like.

Pei Mun Lim 16:43
So talk to me about your team, how many do you have

Tom Ryan 16:47

So in my mind is massive now. It’s yeah, not compared to like the windows of the world, and so on. But 20 is more than I thought we could get to, which is, it’s really cool. And we’ve got some amazing people got antonito, PhD in computer science, we’ve got some background, we’ve got Ian, he built his own CRM. At one point, he looked from the ground up, he just built a CRM. And then some of the other people that some of the things they’ve done the solutions that the way they think I am officially probably one of the worst people in the company now when it comes to when it comes to expertise. But I like to think I’ve still got the paddle angle. So I still help from time to time.

Pei Mun Lim 17:31
How big is the delivery versus the non delivery and operational side?

Tom Ryan 17:35
Good question. So you’ve got the head of cultural nonbillable, since our leadership team is non billable, although they do creep in to billable roles, for example, sort of the project manager or client Delivery Manager side of things. It’s kind of like 60%, non non billable, 40 billable. So we’re trying to keep our leadership team non billable. But in some instances, when it comes to Anton, his passion is you know, marketing, cloud, MVP, system systems and integrations. So he naturally gets Yeah, it becomes a little bit more billable. So yeah, it’s it’s I don’t know, the numbers split, but it’s better than it was because before it was all, everyone needs to be available. We’re small, we need to grow kind of thing.

Pei Mun Lim 18:16
So yes, you mentioned head of culture. And for a company of your size, that is a very unique position that’s been created. Tell me what made you think, oh, I need that of culture, as opposed to say head of delivery or operations or?

Tom Ryan 18:32
Yeah, so when we’re not the most commercial company in the world, which is a good thing. I think, you know, me, when you say not commercial, when we’re not hell bent on getting the best utilization out of everyone. We’re not trying to sort of have a word I don’t I’m not trying to milk everyone for what they’re worth. We’re very much of the view that if we’re going to bring in the best people, and if we’re going to more importantly keep them, then we need to make sure it’s a good environment is positive. It needs to be a culture of learning, collaboration, getting things wrong, learning from it, sharing stories, and that that kind of collaborative approach where there’s a different feel to the company. And we’ve we’ve done really well to get to that point. And we’ve got a Slack channel called kudos. And it is, it’s probably the most active channel in our in our Slack group, where everyone’s every day just pinging. This person did great on this call. This person’s done great documentation. This person came up with an idea of x y Zed. This person just is an all round Proactiv great person to work with. There’s really positive and it and it creates that kind of, you know, pride to work at Mark loud, because it’s all well and good being the best externally. Okay, great. We got good CSAT good. Trustpilot be bringing great clients. But if we’re not the best internally, then that’s gonna fall apart at some point. And, yeah, I’m very transparent about the fact that previously we didn’t have a very good structure. And this was back in, I’d say September. Tobor last year, we had a company restructure. Since then it’s been brilliant. Everything works. It’s all seamless, people are happy. And we track happiness. By the way, we’ve got a tool, it’s called Friday pulse. And then everyone fills it in on a Friday, right rates their week out of five. And we can track happiness across weak and weak, and essentially means that we can then see if the company is doing something wrong. And if it is, we’ll find out what it is, and we’ll correct it. Hence, the company restructure. Because our scores were getting really low, we found out that some people actually wanted to leave at one point. And because we fixed it, they stayed. Because and that was a really, really big sort of learning point. I mean, one or two people did it end up leaving. So we did lose some people off the back of it. But some people said, Actually, we’re working on it, we’re improving, we’re gonna stay, to we’re doing doing loads of things for consultant internally to make it just a great place to be

Pei Mun Lim 20:56
able to share when you say structure, what was it that didn’t work that works now?

Tom Ryan 21:01
Yeah, so my, my original vision was just to replicate me. So for example, it was to have a lead consultant, they do everything. And then you’d have like people supporting so we call them execs, execs would support like the lead consultant if you like. And we’ll just replicate that over and over again. But what that leads to is essentially a team of freelancers. And what happens is, the lead consultant never gives work to their execs, because it’s asked quicker, if I do it, I know what I’m doing. I don’t want to spend 20 minutes explaining it to you, I’ll just do it. Certainly, execs are really empty in the more junior roles are just kind of not learning, a bit frustrated, because that person is doing everything, then that person gets really frustrated and stressed and burnt out, because they do in free jobs. So we have to restructure. Now we’ve got like a client delivery team, we’ve got the project managers, essentially, the functional team, and they do all of the out of the box, you know, Pardot, marketing cloud solutions, we’ve got a technical team. And then they are the API’s integrations, the code, the development, the deep, dark stuff. And that works really well in this collaboration across teams, there’s support, if one person’s on holiday, then a team picks it up. It’s a company now, rather than just a group of people trying to do their best.

Pei Mun Lim 22:21
It sounds really, really, really listened to you, your team and take them on their feedback.

Tom Ryan 22:29
Well, they’re so smart. It’s we were hiring, competent and passionate people. And they are the best people to listen to. So for example, like in marketing, it’s very much interview your customers know what your customers want, listen to your customers, they know best they know best. It’s the same internally, okay, they’re on the ground doing the work. If the project management tool doesn’t work, okay, cool, we do need a new one, because they’re telling you, we need a new one. And it’s very much a case of just listening and tweaking and making it better. Sometimes, they’ll ask too much, and we’ll get it wrong. Or sometimes they’ll ask for something that isn’t feasible from a commercial perspective. But we just explain that we sell it, we can’t do that, because there’s no frustration, we’re very transparent communications very open. And that’s where you get the nice culture, because they know it’s not just a very commercial business where I’m here making them loads of money. It’s a case of No, we’re doing it all together, we’re gonna grow this company, we’re gonna have a really nice culture, and we’re going to do it properly. And that that’s what we want.

Pei Mun Lim 23:28
Talk to me about your hiring and recruitment process, because right now, everyone knows that Salesforce is the place to be and resource it good resources are like gold does, basically. So you mentioned you’re growing. Just talk to me about how your interviewing recruitment process is like.

Tom Ryan 23:52
So me and Jake, reach out to a lot of people like personally, but we’ll proactively pick people who we know in the space. And we’ll just ask them, you know, sometimes it’ll be you looking for a role or have you ever been interested in Mark cloud and that type of thing. The reason why we do it is because we can give them all the information they need. If they’re considering it, they’re not considering it. Okay, speak to you seen. So we do a lot of that it is time consuming, but worth it because we only want the best people. We don’t want, you know, just numbers. There’s no point doing that because it affects the culture. So we try and handpick the best people. We’re part of the Talent Alliance as well. Salesforce Talent Alliance, which is really helpful we’re putting more emphasis on that as well. But yeah, our approach is to find the most passionate people and you can kind of tell you know, one conversation on a zoom, Google meet whatever it is, you know if they’re right fit and obviously me and JP are the owners of the company, we can tell pretty quickly if they’re going to be a good fit or or or not.

Pei Mun Lim 24:52
So you handpick the more senior roles and for for the junior ones you do

Tom Ryan 24:58
both we do all of them. first interviews always have us because we need to know if they’re a culture fit is the most important thing. If we bring someone in and they’re not a culture fit, if they’re new, a mean person, or if they’re overly aggressive, overly, you know, too much, it’s going to impact the team and the team are the most important, the highest priority. So we always interview the first no matter what role, and then we do a second stage, and that’s with the line manager or wherever. So we’re kind of like the culture filter, you’re fine, you’re good. And then you go through to the next stage. Or if we absolutely love that person, we’ll just, we’ll just hire them on the spot, which you have done before.

Pei Mun Lim 25:36
So when you say culture, is it just a vibe or feel? Or do you articulate what your values are in how?

Tom Ryan 25:45
Yeah, our values are on the website. Our values are posted on the website. So we, you know, if we know, common sense, team player, proactive and passion, that the most important things, if we can tell if you’re passionate, we can tell if you’ve got drive, if you love my car, because you know that we’re the marketing automation people, you’re not just applying because are, you know, I want to leave my consultancy, because they’re not very good. I just want to find another one, you’re probably not going to get in MyCloud. Whereas if you’re like, Nope, I want to know Pardot. Or even I want to learn marketing cloud, any of those kinds of goals and passion and drive, that’s going to help you an interview with Mark Lau because that’s the type of person we want, and we can help you get to get to that goal.

Pei Mun Lim 26:27
Okay, so tell me again about your head of culture. And what, what’s their role? What did they do

Tom Ryan 26:35
the question, so that’s Chloe, Chloe heads up that role. She used to work at the county, which is pretty cool. There are good consultants in the US. But yeah, Chloe’s role is pretty much all people if there is a very operational element to it, because all of the operational sort of processes tie in with culture, the way we communicate with each other, the way we do things, the way we present documentation, the way we word it, our emphasis on the client saying we rather than you, it’s not your account, it’s our account, if we’re working on it, we’re doing it together. And it’s that collaborative element to it. So in every touchpoint communication that we have internally and externally have focus is to make that as best as it can be. So for example, big frustration internally was not being able to find documentation and, you know, certain things that people wouldn’t be clued up on, whether it be a nice part of part or whatever it is, her job is to go, okay, cool. We’ll work on that pain point or that frustration? Here’s some documentation centralizes it. Okay, cool. That now makes that person alleviated less stress, and that affects sculpture as well. So it’s quite broad role is an important role for any consultancy or agency. I think it’s very misunderstood, especially in corporate places, where they think it’s very fluffy, no ROI, kind of role, but there’s actually ultimate ROI from IT people being happy and fulfilled in their role. So it’s a really important job.

Pei Mun Lim 28:03
So what is the does she have a KPI for example?

Tom Ryan 28:07
Not currently, no. And I don’t And as we’re growing as you sit in the early stages of, of Mark cloud, if you like, you know, certain people have only been in number of months rather than years. So it’s all very new, but we will introduce those at some point. Not to the point where it’s corporate, we don’t really like corporate feels. That, yeah, there will be eventually.

Pei Mun Lim 28:33
Okay, so let me ask you about what advice you might give to someone who’s thinking of because marketing client product, they’re not cheap. They’re not cheap products, but they do have a lot of reputation, Salesforce has a really strong reputation. And you’ve got, you know, let’s say a company’s thinking about, you know, they’ve been doing doing it themselves using their own, you know, mail chip, and all sorts of other plethora of products. And they want to come on board and say, Hey, what do I have to get in place correctly first, before we engage you and that’s true for a lot of any other projects, basically, I’ve only done maybe two marketing cloud projects, most of mines like in the marketing space and everything else but generally, when we get engaged, the if the clients got the house in order, it’s generally a good project to get in, you know, the data is clean, for example, you know, they’ve got an internal project team in place, they’ve got their lines of authority, communication and ownership, sorted out, governance board and change control boards, etc. Putting that aside from a marketing point of view, what are the things that in organize He needs to think about plan or prepare before they begin engaging mark. Now, let’s say to think about putting marketing automation.

Tom Ryan 30:11
Well, number one really is that they actually want to go down that road is they just need to make a decision. Okay, well, we know this tool is right for us. But having said that, literally, yesterday I had a call of a global company. And I’m going to be helping them map out their Mahr tech stack. And if they haven’t decided on on Pardot as a solution, yet, they’re using it one of the other sort of email marketing tools, a cheaper one. And this is relatively straight, straightforward. It’s a case of just mapping out all of their martech stack, working out how it how it all integrates together, how it could look with Pardot, and Salesforce. And in this instance, it’ll be with Pardot, through to marketing cloud, because an ad studio element to it, it’s going to be quite fun. So in that instance, it didn’t come up too often. But that’s a really, really, that’s a pre sales kind of step, that we’re going to workshop it map it out, and then we’ll probably be the consultant of choice for implementation. So really, there isn’t really a perfect time to engage with us. But the most common will be, we’ve decided on Pardot, we need you to implement it from there, we can help them as much as they like, if their house isn’t in order, it’s going to cost them more, we can still help them. But they will get turned off by how expensive it could be. I mean, if you outsource anything like that, it’s going to be expensive. So the ideal situation would be to, for them to have the teams on board have champions internally to turn it on. Okay, great, but who’s going to run it when we’re gone? Have you thought about that. And if they haven’t, okay, you’re gonna have to outsource it to us. And that’s going to be expensive, over the long term. So thinking about those things, is very helpful for them. But in any case, at any point, since it’s touching, marketing automation for Salesforce, they can engage with us at any point. And we will sort of guide them through the process, we do free reviews as well. So if you’ve got pod or if you’ve got marketing cloud will go in review it for free. Main reason being again, a thought leadership piece, we show you we know what we’re doing, when you have a project, you’re probably going to come to us. So we’ll just review accounts for free. And we do that quite often.

Pei Mun Lim 32:18
Can you delve a little bit more into the getting your house in order bit? What I’m trying to get to, mainly for my own curiosity is Is there anything apart from the normal stuff that I would get any company looking to do a transformation, basically, it’s a transformation, when you do a project, you’re going from state A to state B, from having no CRM to having a CRM or having you know, a hodgepodge of stuff that you call marketing to product or marketing cloud. So generic ones will be champions and data quality. Is there anything over the normal stuff to get your house in order that you think would set them up for success more easily do they need to have, let’s say, hire someone with marketing cloud certs?

Tom Ryan 33:14
It’s helpful. So that it depends a couple of things. So it’s all it’s almost always about people. Almost every time I mean, sometimes it’s about like data, K, IGN, and things like that, and processes, but it’s not almost always about people. So when you say get their house in order, it’s very helpful. If they have a company wide, you know, direction, everyone’s sort of going towards the same goal. If you have sort of certain departments where they’re like, I don’t like new system, I’m not going to adopt it, you’re gonna have a problem straight away, because you’re immediately you’ve got barriers. So the first thing everyone could do is try and get everyone on board. This is educate them on how this is going to make your life easier, or educate them on, this is how the company is going to grow. And this is how you’re going to benefit. And then try and align everyone in the vision. Because if you do that, the implementation is much cleaner, everyone’s aware of changes, it gives you a little buffer of time for frustrations. So for example, if you implement a system, it doesn’t go to plan straight away, there’s some mistakes with emails going to the wrong people and that sort of thing. That’s fine, because you’ve got that buffer, everyone’s aware, you can fix it. And that definitely helps and that alongside the champions, and, you know, saying, we’re gonna go through a rocky period, it’s gonna get better. And here’s the new way of working, and it’s better for everyone, that kind of thing. So yeah, I think that the people side is the most important.

Pei Mun Lim 34:35
Do you have a favorite kind of industry that you like, working with?

Tom Ryan 34:41
I’ve always liked financial services. For some reason, I can’t quite put my finger on why it might be because of my original client side job. It’s just something about it that I quite like, but there’s been some really fun ones. I mean, events tends to be quite complicated and quite interesting, especially from a marketing cloud perspective. And But yeah, there’s been a wide range have been some companies that I’ve never, never even heard of. And they’ve come out the woodwork and said, Okay, this is interesting projects and we don’t work with certain ones, just from an ethical point of view, we turned down a gun company in the US, just because we didn’t like the thought of that, obviously being, you know, I’m vegan. I tell everyone all the time. So obviously, I don’t want to work with a gun company that kills animals. So certain things like that we have a line. But on the whole, it’s very stiff industries.

Pei Mun Lim 35:36
So you mentioned earlier on that you were being you were heading for a niche in a niche where you are today? Are you still like that? Or is it just anyone who’s looking to do marketing automation?

Tom Ryan 35:49
Anyone? Yeah. Honestly, it’s it’s doesn’t matter your industry, we’re we’re very much aligned to the products, although we do have experience in certain spaces. So we’re pretty good at 3d printing. But in that a couple of times now. So yeah, part of marketing cloud, the analytics for both bit of sales clouds and smart automation, doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. Because we’ve got at least some sort of experience, especially with the people we’ve got with we’ve got insane experience now.

Pei Mun Lim 36:20
Fantastic. Looking, thinking back about the projects that you’ve been on, what has been some of your most fun projects? Yeah. I’d like to hear how it went. But you don’t have to provide details of who if you don’t want to?

Tom Ryan 36:35
Yeah, I don’t know if I can share this one, the name of them. But there was a charity that was really fun. I actually worked in this one. And it was, so the year prior, it was very manageable. And it’s very much manual. So everyone was signing people up, they had three layers of people. So you had the top people who were kind of enrolling these two people on the courses, this person here was on had to join course, one, two, and three, this one had to join 123, or 456, there was lots of complications around the courses. So the gist of it was, once they were on boarded, we had these engagement studios and Pardot try and push them through each stage of the journey, we had to listen to custom objects in Salesforce, to understand when they’d signed up to course one, and course four, for example. And we have to introduce those with dynamic content to say, okay, cool, we can see that you’ve accounted for this person, we can see that you’ve signed up 10 people, but only seven have registered. So are you going to catch up with those three people that haven’t signed up, and all of that has to be really heavily personalized. And then these people have to search certain courses, but send reminders about the courses you didn’t attend, you did attend. Now you need to join your next one, login, blah, blah, blah, really complicated process. But we managed to nail it, we’ve got we’ve got it up and running, the deadline was hit. And ultimately, it allowed them as a charity one to work more efficiently. So it kind of saved them money and saved them any mistakes because they get funding from the government once they sign people up, and so on. So the whole onboarding process was automated, and it worked really, really well and save the teams from manually sending emails to like 400 people. So yeah, absolutely love that projects. I don’t work on projects as much anymore being in the role that I am. But I still like to get involved in complicated ones every now and then just because it’s fun. It’s fun.

Pei Mun Lim 38:33
Absolutely. So while you’re talking eyes, I wanted to ask something. But it’s kind of gone now was really interesting when you were talking about the Yes, sorry. So I understand that salesforce.org are free, or number of licensed and suffering charity. Do you provide different rates for charities as opposed to corporate clients as a consulting partner?

Tom Ryan 39:01
Yeah, we discount that slightly. How big is 20% offer or similar? We’ve just, we’ve just had our application accepted the.org, which is really exciting. So yeah, we’re gonna be doing a lot more work in the.org space, which is cool. But yeah, it’s discounted slightly when we work with nonprofits since that partnership.

Pei Mun Lim 39:20
Thank you. Okay. So if you were to look back on your journey, what do you think, are some of the lessons you might impart on the younger you?

Tom Ryan 39:35
Good question. So I think structure is important. Also, understanding the role you’re in, because I’ve always been very friendly with everyone we work with, which is good. I mean, especially now, it’s, we’re in an environment where that’s kind of allowed and everyone’s cool with it. I think previously, you know, people didn’t really respect it too much. And, you know, they wanted me to be more senior, or they wanted me to be different. I don’t know. had a couple of bad reviews in our company off the back of that approach. And it was simply just where we were really young, as a company, a really small company, not really knowing what we’re doing just yet finding our feet. And as a result, you do make mistakes, it’s hidden that you’re never gonna get it right first time. Now, I can still say this. I’m 29. I’m still 29. I’m almost a 29. So of course, I’m not going to be perfect just yet. So the younger me, I like to think I’m still quite young, younger me. Yeah, probably suggest, you know, just appreciating where you are, from a position point of view, I guess, rather than just being really casual. Because sometimes people don’t want that casual approach they want what a leader. Even if no matter how small, you are even at like eight people, you still need to be in that position of okay. Right? Where are we going? That kind of thing. But I wouldn’t change anything at all. It’s all part of the loading process, which I know you like you like you enjoy the learning process?

Pei Mun Lim 41:01
I do. I do. Yeah, it’s, there’s, there’s very few mistakes that are horrible, irreversible, and, you know, where lives were at risk? Anything else? I think is it’s it’s learning. So on that note, do you have any? Have there been any events? So it doesn’t have to be kind of project related? Is it throughout your career? Has there been anything that changed? who you are? Or your outlook? Because it wasn’t something that went plan?

Tom Ryan 41:43
God’s good question, I think thinks up. I’ve always been pretty much myself. And I think I think it depends which way round you go. So my attitude has always been if say, for example, quitting that job, that sales job, it didn’t align with my personality, so I quit. I didn’t let that job then change me. And it’s, obviously I work with you, me and Jake, Omar class, we’re best friends. So we can just literally, we don’t have to be corporate, we don’t have to be like that, because we are just friends. So it’s really nice. So I don’t think there’s been an event that’s kind of changed me, other than there’s been like really good tips, things like the sales guy in that job that I quit. Sales Director, he said that you need to create your own personal brand within the company. So for example, any communication you have with colleagues, you should treat your colleague like your client. Because internally at some point, there’ll be some sort of thing that happens, where all of your colleagues need to see you as a very competent professional. So don’t make like inappropriate jokes don’t like mess around and do things that aren’t, you know, aren’t particularly what you want your personal brand to be. That makes sense. So every touchpoint, whether it’s external or internal, you should always be the best, best you can, because at some point that’s going to need to use some favors.

Pei Mun Lim 43:05
Have you ever had to let someone go?

Tom Ryan 43:07
Yes. Yes. And it’s it’s unfortunate, but the way that I see it is it’s best for them. You know, would you rather keep them and they just fail to fail and fail in a particular role? Or do you just say, look, like, it’s not working out, it’s fine. These things happen. part ways. And that does happen happens in every job, that not just Salesforce space, but it may it may even be sometimes it’s just not, my code isn’t the right place. For them. It could just be another consultancy is because the way we work is a little bit unique. So it’s not an I don’t particularly see it as a negative. It’s just one of those things, but okay, cross paths. Okay. All the best in the future, we might speak again. But yeah, it doesn’t have to always be negative.

Pei Mun Lim 43:57
What do you think is unique about Mark cloud? The people,

Tom Ryan 44:01
the people and the way we work? I think, you know, the collaborative elements, honestly, that the happiness scores are so good. So it’s my dog. We have dogs in the office are very much laid back. Yeah, it’s the collaborative element. It’s the learning everyone’s passionate, everyone’s got this drive to like, do better and learn more about the space and it is quite exciting. I mean, the coolest chat again that’s the best part about Mark had in my opinion is it’s just so like Jake took a week off which he needed works too hard. And he came back and he gets to read all these messages in this kudos chat. Just read message after message after message of everyone just being nice to each other. Yeah, that’s one of the favorite things when we meet up as well. So this first day we’re going out for beers in Liverpool. So should be nice.

Pei Mun Lim 44:53
Okay, is it how are you handling the remote situations everyone remote at the moment? Are you Thank you

Tom Ryan 45:01
very hybrid so got Delphine who’s in Spain, Georgie just got back from Bucharest. People are dotted all over. So some people are office space to meet me and Jacob was come to the office, we enjoy it. And it’s flexible. You know, if you want to work from home, but from home, all we ask is just get the work done. It’s pretty much common sense approach. But we’ve got about 556 or seven people in today. Got a new puppy. So everyone’s quite happy.

Pei Mun Lim 45:32
And always answer happiness up. I

Tom Ryan 45:34
think it does. Yeah, it does. Yeah. We have a dog Slack channel as well for photos about dogs. And cats and cats. We’re not We’re not specific to one. But yeah, it’s called branch managers, which is quite funny.

Pei Mun Lim 45:51
Yes, so you mentioned? Sorry, Delphine, who is not not in England? Is it because they’re on holiday? Or because you have a more global reach? Now what?

Tom Ryan 46:07
Now? We always hire UK based employees. But she’s got dual citizenship, very lucky. So she said, Yes, you can spend some time there sometime in the UK. It’s an hour away. So it’s absolutely fine. It’s easy. Yeah, she’s great.

Pei Mun Lim 46:24
You have any clients who ask for face to face workshops and stuff?

Tom Ryan 46:30
We used to up before the pandemic? Yes. People asked him I think now people don’t really ask it. I mean, they might suggest it sometimes. But we’ve got one coming up soon, me and Jake, with a client, but we’re looking forward to it. We’re trying to some people want like traveling. So for example, someone wants to go to Singapore, or someone wants to go to the US to see the client. So we’re proactively suggesting it like, can we come see you? Can we want to come visit? But yeah, it’s very much a, again, laid back common sense approach. It’s like, it’s not really feasible, or, you know, if it’s the local area, Liverpool, yeah, we’ll probably go in. But otherwise, it’s, you know, case by case, not going to push it

Pei Mun Lim 47:13
sounds like, so I’ve worked in a lot of partners, rather than partners before, generally, they unless you’re much bigger, not the clients are a little bit more local. So, so to hear you say things like when you were freelancing, for example, and having overseas clients. And so from a consulting point of view, there’s expenses. So when the client wants to, you know, bear the expenses of your travel, is that is that more common in the marketing space? Or? Or is it so small that there’s not that many of marketing cloud partners that you could have clients all over the world? And the expectation is that they will fly you out to do workshops?

Tom Ryan 48:07
At this point, at this stage in our business, no, we have not come across that expectation. Because we are quite efficient remotely. I don’t know if it’s because we’re good. Or if it’s because it just hasn’t come up yet. I’m sure it will come up. But if in any case, the team would would want to do that. But But yeah, I mean, the expenses are kind of, you know, part and parcel of them wanting the face to face. And if anything, there is an ROI on that. Because doing anything face to face is just so much better. No, there’s no ad hoc questions, so easy to answer when you’re face to face with someone, even on a call. It’s very two day, that resume I mean, you can talk back and forth now. But in a room, you can have that 3d kind of fill where people are speaking and there’s eight people to can talk to can talk to kind of, yeah, nothing beats face to face, I prefer it but our clients are global. So they’re all over the place. So traveling would be quite would have a commercial impact if we were to just send everyone everywhere and it wouldn’t really work.

Pei Mun Lim 49:10
I am totally on board with that. I think there’s so much about in person in proximity events that you know, the energy is just not replicate at all. So my next question which we might snip out? What you want to answer are you answer? So in terms of aid, you know, the markets really hot right now in acquisition is, right? It sounds like you’re heading towards a position where you might look very, very attractive. Is that something you think about as an ending? Or

Tom Ryan 49:54
I’m a Product consultant. So I’m very much I love the space. I mean that that’s to be honest. It’s not really a priority for us right now the priority is, there’s certain there’s certain things that me and Jake just fundamentally want to do. For example, we’ve got our business, your business card scanner app, we need to get that off the ground, get it go in fight, finalize it. So it’s on the app source working, which is very, very close. There’s ISO, we’re making steps towards ISO 27,001. And there’s just so many things in the way marketing cloud, get off the ground, build a team, great culture, get to 30 people. All of that stuff’s more important to us right now than then thinking about any of that stuff. So to be honest, no, not a priority. But we’re just enjoying what we’re doing. To be honest.

Pei Mun Lim 50:44
I think, you know, the projects that you’ve just highlighted seems to be the kind of stuff that will keep you interested and busy, and your team for quite a while. But I wouldn’t be surprised if someone comes up and say, Hey, what’s that number?

Tom Ryan 51:04
Well, many men can’t even say me and Jake, now I’m 29. He suffer too. But she’ll hate me for saying, but we’re so young, we could do this for another 20 years if we wanted to. So I mean, that number would have to be stupidly high. For us to even think about it, because we are just enjoying what we’re doing. So and we’re good at it. So it’s, it’s all working.

Pei Mun Lim 51:29
Amazing. Thank you very much for spending time I’m very mindful of I want to be respectful of your time. I do appreciate you talking to me and sharing with me your journey and this your learnings along the way. I’m sure I’ll my audience and your fans will find it very interesting to hear about our chat. So I do appreciate it. Thank you so much, Tom.

Tom Ryan 51:57
Amazing. It’s always lovely to speak to you.