e42 Gareth Evans

42: From Cold Calls to $150M of Renewable Energy: VECKTA’s Journey with Gareth Evans

In episode 42 of the First Customers podcast, we’re joined by Gareth Evans, the dynamic founder and CEO of VECKTA. VECKTA’s marketplace has made impressive strides in the renewable energy sector, recently facilitating $150 million of renewable energy projects. With clients like Raytheon and Honeywell, Gareth sheds light on VECKTA’s journey, its mission, and the future of renewable energy. Dive in to hear about VECKTA’s humble beginnings and its vision for a sustainable future.

Highlights

  • Introduction to Gareth Evans and the inception of VECKTA.
  • The inspiration behind the name “VECKTA” and its play on the word “vector.”
  • Discussing the challenges VECKTA faced launching during the onset of COVID-19.
  • VECKTA’s recent achievement of facilitating $150 million in renewable energy projects.
  • Insights into working with major clients like Raytheon and Honeywell.
  • Discussing the significance of thought leadership in building relationships.

Mentioned in this Episode

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Show Transcript

Paris Vega:
Welcome to the first customers podcast. Today we have Gareth Evans with us. He’s the founder and CEO of VECKTA. Their marketplace recently facilitated $150 million of renewable energy projects. They also work with clients like Raytheon and Honeywell. Gareth, glad to have you on the show. Thanks for making time for us.

Gareth Evans:
Awesome to be here, Paris. Thanks for having me.

Paris Vega:
So VECKTA, that reminds me right off the bat of Vekna from Stranger Things, but I’m guessing

Gareth Evans:
Haha.

Paris Vega:
it’s totally unrelated.

Gareth Evans:
Yeah, it’s a play on the word vector, which a lot of people even say

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Gareth Evans:
comes out of, I think, the Minions, which was not the intent either, but to provide

Paris Vega:
Right.

Gareth Evans:
magnitude, direction and scale to the energy transition.

Paris Vega:
Okay,

Gareth Evans:
And you can

Paris Vega:
nice.

Gareth Evans:
maybe…

Paris Vega:
All right, so how did VECKTA get its first customers?

Gareth Evans:
Yeah, it’s actually been a wild ride. Honestly, we launched right as we didn’t know COVID was about to kick off, but we definitely launched as COVID kicked off. So I think all those aspirations of running around the market, hustling, closing some deals, as you know, the whole world shut down for the first pretty much year and a half of our existence. So we had to take a bit of a step back and reflect on that. And we ended up just spending a huge amount of time just building brand awareness through good quality. content, educating the market, building awareness, building our product in the background. And then when the world started opening back up, our first customers were largely actually won through the biggest one actually, Honeywell came out of one of our webinars, which was unexpected. These big corporate customers normally come through very warm trusted relationships, which is how we went most of our work to date, but that came from someone. listening to our thought leadership, liking what they were hearing, realizing the opportunity in the market and then it reaching out to us. It still took many months to convert, but that relationship was initiated through that process, which was pretty exciting.

Paris Vega:
And that was the very first customer was through the webinar.

Gareth Evans:
Yeah, like first big one, you know, we’d want some

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Gareth Evans:
smaller, you know, assessment style work. And that was, you know, almost door knocking style, cold call engagements, you know, focusing on smaller customers, uh, microbreweries, wineries,

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Gareth Evans:
businesses like that. So a lot of our work early on was, um, definitely trying to build relationships, but through cold outreach and then also trying to lean on our network as much as possible, I think. A lot of us underestimate who our network knows and particularly the likes of our board members and people connected to the business and being really valuable and making those initial connections.

Paris Vega:
Okay, so back up a little bit and tell us a little bit more about what VECKTA does and maybe the idea and how the company got started and how long was it before it started until you got a customer.

Gareth Evans:
Yeah, yeah, quite a unique situation actually. So I spent the first 15 years of my career working for a large multinational corporation called Wally, the largest energy engineering firm in the world, and I was leading their global consulting practice for the energy transition and we had the idea of Vector and we kind of intrapreneurially tested it for several years. So we got, I suppose we had the luxury, but also the challenges of trying to test. a structure like that within a corporation with rules and bureaucracy and processes. But what we were seeing was energy is this mythical thing to most of us, you know, it shows up when we need it. Up until now, it’s been largely affordable. And beyond that, people don’t think too much about it. But now a lot of the infrastructure that we rely on in some cases is up to 100 years old. So it’s becoming less reliable, more expensive to maintain. As a result, our rates are all going up. The outage rates are also going up. And a lot of businesses now have to meet emission reduction targets or sustainability targets. And so we started to see the writing on the wall for these things merging together, these kind of new market opportunities. Meanwhile, the cost of solar and storage and things like that were dropping quite dramatically, making what we call onsite energy solutions more competitive. So we realized that businesses around the world could deploy energy solutions right at their business facilities. Like you put solar on your roof of your house, you know, supercharge that out across a major commercial or industrial facility. And so a combination of all those trends led us to believe that there was an opportunity, but we also saw that the market was uneducated business leaders didn’t know what was possible, who to turn to, where to begin, because they’ve just never had to think about it. And then when they did want to go and try and find someone to do it. They were sort of overwhelmed by the complexity and the options and being sold to by suppliers in the market. So they didn’t know who to trust, which leads to indecision, which leads to inaction. So then nothing happened. And so Vector is designed to be the energy transition platform that streamlines that whole process. How much energy you consuming, where are you consuming it? What’s your mission profile? What are the targets you want to hit? And then what are your options for getting there? And then we help them configure the right solution using technology. and then we connect them with firm competitive bids from suppliers in the market. So we’ve really tried to take out all the pain and process of going on this journey.

Paris Vega:
Okay, wow. And so did the company start from like a group of people at your previous company?

Gareth Evans:
Yep,

Paris Vega:
And then

Gareth Evans:
so

Paris Vega:
did

Gareth Evans:
yeah.

Paris Vega:
you kind of bootstrap it on the side or was it like, did you have to raise VC investment to start doing this or?

Gareth Evans:
Yep, all the above. So definitely had an awesome team within the corporation initially, who we incubated the idea with, we got corporate support. So that almost took two years of, you know, it was almost like fundraising, but within a, within an organization itself. So building the, the confidence in the idea, convincing people that we should try it. And then ultimately we realized to do what we wanted to do. We couldn’t do it within the corporate structure. So we, they agreed to give us some money to. start the company initially. And then about two years in, we did our first fundraise. So we’ve done two VC fundraisers to date. So.

Paris Vega:
Okay, so why wouldn’t your parent or your original company, why wouldn’t they just do this as another extension of their business?

Gareth Evans:
Because Vector is a solution agnostic, independent marketplace platform. And so because they’re one of the biggest players in the market, it would, it would kind of remove that independence and agnostic nature. So we want to be able to represent the customer’s best interests. So we have no affiliation to whether it’s solo, battery storage, gas turbines, which constructed to use, what capital. So we’ve built that ecosystem of all the people who can provide those services. But at the front end, we support the business to really understand what is it that’s right for their business needs. So we didn’t want to have that conflict of interest in the market, which is why we needed to be independent.

Paris Vega:
you. And so your previous employer could use your marketplace themselves

Gareth Evans:
Exactly.

Paris Vega:
as a participant

Gareth Evans:
They,

Paris Vega:
or whatever.

Gareth Evans:
they actually compete for work in the marketplace. Yeah. Um,

Paris Vega:
That’s

Gareth Evans:
and

Paris Vega:
cool.

Gareth Evans:
they’ve competed and, and actually been being out by other people, which kind of proves the independence of it.

Paris Vega:
cool. And so, and what’s the business model? Is it like you guys get transaction fees or

Gareth Evans:
Exactly. So

Paris Vega:
some other kind of… Okay.

Gareth Evans:
at the front end, you know, particularly for a corporate customers, you know, I know you have a huge interest in commercial industrial business owners are perfect customers, someone with a portfolio of facilities. And so they’ve gotten more facilities around a local region or globally even. So for them, we have a platform access fee where they can consolidate all our intelligence, prioritize where they get the greatest return on investment. and then manage their whole energy transition strategy within our platform. And then, yes, we take a success fee on the back end. So only when a supplier wins work in our marketplace do they then give us a small clip of the total contract value. So they can be in the marketplace for free, they get to see the opportunities, but once they bid and win, then they pay us a fee because for them, the attraction is they’re now not chasing. work randomly, you know, their biggest competitor is the indecision from the buyer. And so we’ve already teed up the buyer. It’s bankable, it’s viable, it’s proven. They know that the buyer wants to go. So now they’re just competing on merit. They’re not wasting all that sort of sales and marketing and cost of sale. We’re doing all that origination work.

Paris Vega:
So let’s do a hypothetical that you can kind of run through the process of using your system. So let’s say I’m a manufacturing company that designs and builds semi trucks or parts for semi trucks for the trucking industry. How would they benefit from using your system?

Gareth Evans:
Yep. So they’ve probably got multiple sites across the country to meet their, their needs. They’ll be under multiple pressures right now. One is the supply chain is demanding that companies like that now have a sustainability plan in order to win contracts to sell their product. So that would be first of all, secondly, they’ve probably got some sort of corporate objective to reduce those emissions anyway. So they’ve got to figure out how to do that. Third, They’re seeing their energy costs going up and their margins being eroded as a result. You know, in some cases we’re seeing rates going up 10 to 40% year on year. And you can imagine as a business trying to manage that operational cost escalating within the business with no visibility of how much it’s gonna go up year on year is very hard to manage. And then lastly, manufacturing facilities like that when they experience outages, it can be quite painful because not only do they have the direct downtime of the facility. They’ve got safety issues, but even then trying to ramp the plan back up to where it should be at from a production perspective can take days, weeks, or even months in some cases. In the U S alone back in 2021, businesses lost $150 billion worth of productivity as a result of power outages. Samsung themselves lost $270 million in one outage in Texas over a week. So you can see the impact on businesses. And I’d say most businesses don’t think about this until they get hit by it. And then they go, I wish I’d done something because I’ve wasted way more money trying to recover from it than just building a system in the first place. So what we

Paris Vega:
Right.

Gareth Evans:
do for that manufacturer you described is ingest some information about where the facilities are located. And then we’ve got huge amounts of intelligence from the market, from our marketplace, from publicly available data that we are able to determine. what the solar potential is at that site, what the energy costs are, what the wind opportunities are, what the utility tariff structures are like. And then we’re able to very quickly help them prioritize where across their portfolio an energy system will make the most sense, how much it saves them, what their emission reduction potential could be. And then from there, we actually design the specific. solution that would meet their needs. So we look at all the commercially available technologies, electric vehicle charging stations, solar, wind, storage, gas, diesel, fuel cells, and we configure the right system to meet their desired objectives. And then we create a request for proposal that goes into our marketplace that makes sure it asks the questions in the right language, in the right structure, with the right contractual expectations of suppliers, such that then the customer gets. highly competitive apples for apples, bids back. And we see by doing that, they can reduce the cost of their project by up to 30%. And when you’re talking about one to $20 million projects, that’s quite significant. And then lastly,

Paris Vega:
Right.

Gareth Evans:
what we support them to do is also access the incentives and tax credits that are available on the market. And that’s hugely significant

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Gareth Evans:
right now, especially with the inflation reduction.

Paris Vega:
Okay. So that initial assessment, getting it into the marketplace with the RFP and all that, are you guys only paid on the transaction fee side? Or do you,

Gareth Evans:
The

Paris Vega:
is there some

Gareth Evans:
customer

Paris Vega:
kind of fee

Gareth Evans:
pay a,

Paris Vega:
for all that assessment?

Gareth Evans:
yeah, exactly. They pay a nominal platform access fee. Because what we realized, candidly, Paris, is we tried that for free, but it just turned out there wasn’t enough skin in the game for the customer. And so from a tweaking our offering perspective by ensuring that there is some transaction and some fee, then there’s a lot more commitment to go on that journey. Or you get to wean out those that are committed to it. and you can focus your efforts accordingly.

Paris Vega:
Okay, so when you initially started the company, how long was it with all the, you said you were building content and authority kind of educating the public. How long did that process take before you actually landed a customer?

Gareth Evans:
Yeah, primarily because of COVID, it is pretty much a year and a half. So that was pretty challenging times in terms of, as you recall, I think a lot of people have short memories when it comes back to that time, but for almost

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Gareth Evans:
a year, a year and a half, like no, you couldn’t meet anyone in person for sure. And then most people were just so distracted that they weren’t even taking calls. So, um, so yeah, that’s why we primarily focused on building the product, making sure we’re ready. for the market once it started opening back up.

Paris Vega:
How is that managing investor expectations and whatnot?

Gareth Evans:
Yeah, it’s definitely been a good learning process. I think first good learning is to make sure you got the right support as an investors and those that understand the industry, because as you know, selling into enterprises and corporations is already a challenging process and it’s a long sales cycle. So one knowing, having investors that understand that patience game. Um, but to also realizing that we’re trying to disrupt a new industry. Or just create a new industry, like disrupting an industry that’s been operating the same way for the last hundred years. And so, um, yeah, taking people on that journey and building the confidence and trust is a slow, but very sort of valuable process.

Paris Vega:
Is there any other marketplace like this that kind of does this full solution in the

Gareth Evans:
So

Paris Vega:
industry?

Gareth Evans:
it’s been done in the residential space for largely solar

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Gareth Evans:
only. There are other people talking about aspects of what we’re doing. There are, there is no sort of direct competition from the markets that we’re targeting with the ability to consider all the different technologies we look at, as well as the complexity of the likes of the industrial process, like industries with both heat and electrical needs.

Paris Vega:
Okay, cool. So did you use on the kind of the tactical side of building that thought leadership, educating the public? Can you go over some of the ways you did that?

Gareth Evans:
Yeah. It’s, um, I’d say early on, it was a lot of blog writing, um, articles. Um, I’m really trying to educate the market that way through social media. So a lot of LinkedIn content, specifically for B2B content. Um, Twitter then came on a little bit later in terms of us just building a presence there. And then we, we started then building that into webinars, which is now progressed into like Dan and I are head of sales, we are podcast goes live actually next week, so, you know, like

Paris Vega:
Okay,

Gareth Evans:
what you’re

Paris Vega:
awesome.

Gareth Evans:
doing, trying to educate the market, build that. build that following, build that trust, position yourself as being a thought leader, as well as bringing on people who’ve gone on the journey themselves. So celebrating those that have navigated the energy transition. And so we’re calling it renewable rides. It’s all about their ride and going on the journey. Um,

Paris Vega:
Nice.

Gareth Evans:
and then, you know, something cool I’ve been doing in the last year is I train my own AI assistant to create some of my own social media content. So all my Twitter feed is now AI generated. I still review

Paris Vega:
That’s cool.

Gareth Evans:
it before it gets released, but I’ve been kind of slowly training it over time and making sure it speaks like me, sounds like me. So that’s been super cool. And then I’d say the other big

Paris Vega:
What

Gareth Evans:
thing

Paris Vega:
do you

Gareth Evans:
is

Paris Vega:
use

Gareth Evans:
just,

Paris Vega:
for that?

Gareth Evans:
um, there’s a cool, uh, team called you AI, why are you AI?

Paris Vega:
OK.

Gareth Evans:
Um, and they’ve got this, uh, neat technology that they, it ties into the legs of chat GPT, but It allows you to populate it with all your previous content, whether you’d be able to take all your past podcasts and pull the scripts out of them. You’d take your old Twitter feeds, your LinkedIn articles, you populate it with all that. And then you can even populate it with other people’s content that you really like the sound of, but you want to mirror and then it’ll start kind of learning the languages that you want to use. So that’s been a really cool experiment. And then I’d say the other big area that we’ve had a lot of success from. is being a part of some of these startup incubators. So we’re part of Plug and Plays, Cohort, Plug and Plays, one of the biggest startup incubators in the world, Launch Alaska, and then we’re gonna join another one called Engage later this year. Engage is connected to one of our investor, TechSquared ventures investment arms, so bringing corporates and startups together. So… those opportunities to get those natural connections, build that trust, build that relationship in person with people through a third party affiliated network is being really important.

Paris Vega:
Yeah. Um, do you do any events? You do webinars,

Gareth Evans:
So we’ve,

Paris Vega:
you mentioned

Gareth Evans:
yeah.

Paris Vega:
in person events.

Gareth Evans:
So we’ve attended them and we’ve spoken at them. And as you can see, now I’m guests on podcasts, which is all good for building that awareness. But yes, I’d like to actually think about how we’d host more of these events to be positioning ourselves accordingly. What we find, and I’d love to get your feedback on this, is we find the energy industry events. become an echo chamber of everyone trying to convince each other that we’re all doing the right thing. Whereas what we want to do is be in front of customers, having those conversations. And so it’s trying to find the right events where the manufacturers, the real estate entities, the wineries, the breweries, where, where are they hanging out? Where are they getting their content?

Paris Vega:
Right. Now that’s, that’s good. That’s, uh, one of the past guests on the podcast. They ended up creating an event that was just for their customers. So it was kind of like they had a certain amount of customers at some point. And they created this event that was just, you know, customer only kind of invites, and they were saying that the customers would end up upselling each other. on their services

Gareth Evans:
Yeah.

Paris Vega:
because they learn how the other ones were using the product or service or whatever and they would end up selling each other on more uses of the service.

Gareth Evans:
Yeah, that’s brilliant. Yeah, it’s really

Paris Vega:
Yeah,

Gareth Evans:
good.

Paris Vega:
that was John Darbyshire, I think is who did that. And that ended up being his only marketing channel or sale. Like they didn’t do

Gareth Evans:
Oh

Paris Vega:
any

Gareth Evans:
really?

Paris Vega:
advertising or anything and you know, company sold for hundreds of millions of dollars later.

Gareth Evans:
That’s super awesome. Yeah. We’re actually thinking about doing a little bit of advertising ourselves now. We’ve, it’s all been organic up until this point, but I think it’s time to really start pressure testing a few of these channels and, and we’re talking about, you know, big, big savings for customers who go on this journey. And I think that’s,

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Gareth Evans:
we, we definitely need to educate more people about the sheer opportunity. You know, I think we just

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Gareth Evans:
looked at a, uh, an industrial defense contractors project. And they’re able to save, you know, what, $96,000 a month on energy costs, as well as reducing their emissions by 49%.

Paris Vega:
Wow.

Gareth Evans:
So you, once you start stacking that up over a 20 year project, you’re looking at millions and millions

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Gareth Evans:
of dollars worth of savings and that’s just one facility. That’s not across a portfolio of hundreds of sites. So the businesses that kind of see that opportunity really get excited.

Paris Vega:
Yeah, it seems like as soon as you record a few client testimonies in

Gareth Evans:
Mm.

Paris Vega:
some format, I mean, sharing those across your social channels and, you know, getting them in front of the right audience, it seems like an automatic kind of decision. Like, why wouldn’t you use this process to, you know, get bids on projects or whatever, instead of some other method. Do you

Gareth Evans:
exactly.

Paris Vega:
guys use client testimonies in some kind of format as content?

Gareth Evans:
Like we’ve got a few on our website, but I think you’re spot on in terms of we haven’t like recorded any physically with our customers and sort of shared it that way. Um, I think we definitely need to be celebrating more of the case studies and those testimonials.

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Gareth Evans:
I think that’s an awesome idea.

Paris Vega:
Yeah, that’s a lot of money. Now, I guess, what would you say is more of your target? Is this people who’ve already decided to transition their energy structure or maybe are being pressured politically, you know, government regulation-wise? Or is this more for people that you’re trying to convince

Gareth Evans:
Yeah.

Paris Vega:
to go that direction?

Gareth Evans:
But I suppose the convincing we feel like we do through the kind of general brand building process, hopefully, we prefer to have people who already have a pain point where we know they’re in a high cost utility zone, California, the Northeast of the U S these are kind of very expensive energy areas, Hawaii, Alaska areas that suffer major power outages. So Houston. Texas in general, Florida because of the hurricanes, Texas because of ice and heat, California because of wildfires. So we’re trying to target specific regions where we know customers have very specific pain points and then layering on top of that, the customers that we know sit within zones that attract very high inflation reduction act tax credits, as well as them having set some sort of emission reduction target. That’s like a really perfect customer that ticks all those boxes.

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Gareth Evans:
So we try and use a bit of AI and a bit of our data and our platform ourselves to really try and pinpoint who those perfect customers are and where they’re located.

Paris Vega:
So where do you think or where do you see most of your leads coming from at this point in the company? You said, first of all, early on, it was more from the content you were putting out there and then your personal relationships. What’s it looking like now?

Gareth Evans:
Yep. I’d say the two primary areas today still are direct outbound. So we’ve got some really talented sales individuals who obviously leverage their networks and build those great relationships and are part of the likes of those industry groups. And then I’d say the second one, which is probably more exciting is the channel partners and the referral relationships that we’re building where. So we’ve got, because these projects have such value associated with them. There’s a lot of opportunity to share in the upside with people who want to refer work our way. So I’d say to any of your listeners, if you know, businesses that are thinking about this and they want to refer work and actually earn a huge amount of money, we’re really excited to do that. Up until now, it’s mostly been other businesses that already have trusted relationships, but they don’t do what we do. So maybe they’re an energy efficiency company and they’ve already gone in and changed out LED lights and. changed out of their equipment, but they don’t know how to do solar and storage and things like that. So they refer a customer away or the consultants who are in this space. But the reality is I’d say any salesperson out there who’s selling into a commercial industrial business, as long as there’s no conflict of interest for them, they probably know who is experiencing some of these pain points. And that’s the area that we really want to kind of double down on it. Let’s get more of those inbound referral leads.

Paris Vega:
Okay, so how does that referral program work?

Gareth Evans:
Yeah. So primarily there’s, you know, for us, there’s two revenue streams. There’s the platform access, and then there’s the success fee on the backend. So if say one of your listeners knew a manufacturing facility and they referred to work in, they get the revenue on the first three months, a hundred percent of the revenue first three months for the platform access fee, and then they get a percentage of the ultimate marketplace transaction. And if you’re talking about, Oh, you know, hundreds of thousands of dollars success fee potentially on the transaction. That becomes really sizable check for the referrer.

Paris Vega:
So give an example, can you mention specific numbers of what a referral fee could look like?

Gareth Evans:
Yeah. So, um, let’s say that manufacturer that you described earlier, say they came in and they agreed to pay 25 to 50 grand, depending on how many sites they’ve got in their platform, their portfolio, they typically pay between 25 and 50 grand a year. Um, and that’s an order

Paris Vega:
That’s for

Gareth Evans:
of

Paris Vega:
the

Gareth Evans:
magnitude.

Paris Vega:
access key.

Gareth Evans:
Yep. That’s an order of magnitude less than what they pay a consultant today, typically for one or two sites. And now they’re getting that for an entire portfolio. So our referring agent would get 100% of the first three months of that platform access fee. And then on the marketplace transactions, so say they’ve got 20 sites and they decide they want to do two this year and they become $2 million each, we typically take 3% to 5% of that. And then our referrer gets 5% of that.

Paris Vega:
Okay, so what can that be? I guess you can start getting potentially thousands of dollars

Gareth Evans:
Yeah.

Paris Vega:
in monthly fees

Gareth Evans:
You get

Paris Vega:
there.

Gareth Evans:
thousands in just the platform access alone, and then you can get into the thousands to tens of thousands, depending on the number of marketplace transactions, you know, and if you introduce us to a customer that’s got hundreds, if not thousands of sites, that becomes a long tail revenue

Paris Vega:
Got you.

Gareth Evans:
stream because they’re not going to do all those

Paris Vega:
Right.

Gareth Evans:
projects in one go. They’re going to spend years and years kind of developing that opportunity.

Paris Vega:
Okay, cool. Yeah, I’m definitely going to look at that referral program because our agency works with several manufacturing companies on the like manufacturing marketing side of things.

Gareth Evans:
Hmm. Yeah. Marketing

Paris Vega:
That’s cool.

Gareth Evans:
agents actually is another good one. Probably insurance companies,

Paris Vega:
Mm-hmm.

Gareth Evans:
you know, all these sort of entities that already have a relationship and for them, there’s a downstream

Paris Vega:
Right.

Gareth Evans:
benefit, you know, marketing agency, the company deploys an energy solution. Now the marketing agency’s got something to advertise clean, green stock price increase, cost savings, you know, all these benefits to the community and society and to the customer profile for insurance companies that probably having to pay. a lot of money every time a company loses power and has an outage and is claiming against that so they can minimize that risk. So there’s all these adjacent opportunities for people who gain benefits by businesses doing this.

Paris Vega:
That’s really cool. And is that you just go to your website and there’s a referral link somewhere or is

Gareth Evans:
Today

Paris Vega:
that

Gareth Evans:
it’s just direct,

Paris Vega:
directly reaching

Gareth Evans:
so

Paris Vega:
you? Okay.

Gareth Evans:
yeah, connect with myself or Dan Roberts, but yeah, it’s something that we’re formalizing now and that’s the view is that we can have just a really streamlined process to ensure that people can transparently see where their leads are at, where they are on the journey, what it’s worth to them and how they get paid out. So actually talking to a provider who does

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Gareth Evans:
that right now. Yeah.

Paris Vega:
Awesome. All right. So you said you’re not advertising yet. You haven’t spent advertising dollars yet.

Gareth Evans:
not today to know.

Paris Vega:
OK, what about on any other type of lead acquisition? Like, do you buy lists or any kind of buying of leads?

Gareth Evans:
We haven’t bought any leads, but we pay for things like, um, zoom info. So we get access to a

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Gareth Evans:
database of people’s contacts, which is a very valuable resource gives us the ability to screen who we want to speak to and get their contact details. So we use that often has been super valuable. Um, and then we have all the usual suspects, the, the LinkedIn’s and things like that, so obviously, uh, make sure we’re building the awareness as individuals. We occasionally

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Gareth Evans:
use things like the disc profiling tools to see who we are talking to and what sort of tone of voice and approach we should take with that individual from a sales perspective.

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Gareth Evans:
So yeah, we definitely try

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Gareth Evans:
a bunch of sales specific tactics to refine who we’re talking to, how we’re talking to them, how we communicate the value prop.

Paris Vega:
So what did you say there? You said disc?

Gareth Evans:
Yeah, there’s,

Paris Vega:
What was

Gareth Evans:
there’s

Paris Vega:
that?

Gareth Evans:
a bunch of different apps that you can either plug in directly to LinkedIn or other. And so you can look,

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Gareth Evans:
you know, I say, go to your LinkedIn profile. And if I have the, there’s, there’s multiple apps. It then pull up alongside it and say, Paris needs to be communicated. Um, in a, in a direct way, you know, no bullshit in, he needs to hear it straight.

Paris Vega:
Thank

Gareth Evans:
If he

Paris Vega:
you.

Gareth Evans:
asks a tough question, you can’t dance around that you need to address it like this. You know, so it talks you through almost your

Paris Vega:
Oh, okay.

Gareth Evans:
persona for making decisions.

Paris Vega:
Huh.

Gareth Evans:
So at least then you

Paris Vega:
That’s

Gareth Evans:
can walk

Paris Vega:
really cool.

Gareth Evans:
into the meeting going, I know roughly how to approach Paris and I can’t play any games. I’ve got to give it to him straight. I’ve got to talk, talk numbers,

Paris Vega:
Interesting.

Gareth Evans:
not vision. So it really tees you up.

Paris Vega:
Yeah, that’s really cool. I haven’t heard of that one. Gonna have to check that out. Okay.

Gareth Evans:
And then we use Fireflies and things like that. Do you use any of your AI note taking tools? We use Fireflies, other people use Fathom, but

Paris Vega:
Yeah,

Gareth Evans:
we’re finding that really

Paris Vega:
Fathom

Gareth Evans:
valuable

Paris Vega:
is

Gareth Evans:
for,

Paris Vega:
one of these.

Gareth Evans:
yeah, for recording the conversations and seeing what worked well as a sales team, digesting, why did that deal close? What were the questions that were asked? And then we try and use a bunch of those questions or objections that come out of meetings to then create the next round of content. Do you know what are people asking? Why are they asking it? How do we… overcome those objections in the market.

Paris Vega:
Okay, really cool. All right, I think we’ve covered pretty much what you guys are up to, the story of how you got your first sales. It sounds like the very first were just cold outreach, personal network, and then you scaled into content, building that thought leadership, landed the huge Honeywell client from a webinar, which is crazy, because you’re right. You know, you don’t expect an enterprise client to fill out a little online form. You think you’d have to take them to dinner first or something. Uh, so that’s really cool. Um, just to see that almost like the discipline of the different digital marketing tactics, you know, it’s worth it because you never know where, where a leader sale is going to come from. Um, let’s, let’s imagine you’ve got a thousand manufacturing companies here listening, uh, maybe give. quick pitch on why they should use your service. And then we’ll wrap up.

Gareth Evans:
Yep. I’d say to the manufacturing listeners, um, I know you want to save money, I know you want to avoid any power outages and there’s a huge amount of value in being able to justify that you’re doing, you know, operating your business in the most sustainable way possible. Um, whether you believe in that or not, there are huge benefits for companies who demonstrate that from a marketing and employee retention perspective. a customer acquisition perspective and in the future, a lot more contracts are going to be completely tied to that performance. And so we know today that you’re being sold to by solar developers in the market, but you don’t know who to believe or what to do about it. And we know you don’t want to spend a fortune hiring in-house teams or consultants. And so we’ve combined all those capabilities into one technology platform that will help you navigate the energy transition. And we are firm believers in increasing your profitability. And so this is all about driving cost out of your business and increasing your ability to convert more deals and do so in a really efficient, reliable and as a good stakeholder in the community way.

Paris Vega:
Awesome. All right. I’ve got one last question. It seems like you’ve built a successful company in a short amount of time. What’s a book recommendation that you would make for someone kind of in this moment of their company of trying to go from zero to one customer or, you know, going from an idea to turning it into a business? Is there any book you recommend?

Gareth Evans:
I think there’d be two. I really like Gary Vaynerchuk’s 12 and a half. I don’t know whether you’ve read that one. And then the other one is they ask you answer. So that’s all around

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Gareth Evans:
what are your customers asking and how do you answer them such that they don’t have to keep asking. So I’d say that two, two really

Paris Vega:
Awesome.

Gareth Evans:
good

Paris Vega:
I’ll

Gareth Evans:
books.

Paris Vega:
put links to those in the description. Yeah, I was gonna say I’ll put links to those in the show notes so people can easily check those out. But, uh, but yeah, go ahead. Summarize what you got from those books.

Gareth Evans:
Yeah, so I’d say the biggest takeaway for me is, We often realize without realizing that our customers have a bunch of objections. And if the objections may be about what you’re doing, it might be about your, you know, whether you’re the company that they should trust in, whether it’s about the market conditions, there’s a huge amount of questions are in people’s minds as to why people are trained to say no. And so how do you overcome those objections through preemptive content? you know, making sure that your website, your deck, your whole kind of content stream is educational, informative, and it’s not trying to constantly sell. This is about making sure that people see you as the thought leader and the experts in your field. And when it comes to actually making the sell, it becomes a no-brainer for them instead of trying to go through the slog of convincing someone to do something that maybe they’re reluctant to do.

Paris Vega:
That’s good. Well, this has been really cool. You guys are doing a service to society. Your business is good for everybody. If we get cleaner energy, cleaner air from it, helping these companies transition to better sources of energy. And it seems like more reliable energy if it’s onsite, less likely

Gareth Evans:
Exactly.

Paris Vega:
to suffer from power outages. So it just seems like it’s better for the economy in general. So appreciate what you’re doing. It was good to meet you. And We’ll see everybody next time on the first customers podcast.

Gareth Evans:
Awesome. Have a good one.


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