SlapFive Helps B2B Companies Showcase the Voice of their Customers
“Throughout my career, I’ve always been known as ‘The Customer Guy,’” said SlapFive Co-Founder and President Jeff Ernst. “I’ve worked with user groups, held customer voting polls, and conferences. Each of these is all customer-focused.”
Ernst also has experience in job recruiting with his first startup, talentReef, where online content played a large role. The company’s platform assisted employers in attracting top talent by showcasing their company culture and voice of employees.
Ernst’s current startup SlapFive keeps with this theme of ‘content and customers.’ SlapFive is a content hub that Ernst compares to Pinterest, as it captures stories from customers in many ways, and displays them as video, audio, text, and pictures. Users of the platform will easily share their knowledge, advice, and experiences with a company’s product or service using one, or more, of the aforementioned content types.
While it sounds simple, SlapFive is allowing companies to capture their customers’ voices and personalities to create customized and personalized responses. The use of personalized content that can get right to the point of what this particular product did for a company eliminates writing pages of use cases, which is something Ernst has extensive experience with.
“When buyers are making a major buying decision, they want to hear from other customers themselves and not have to read a sheet of paper,” said Ernst. “The mindset we are trying to get over is to stop having an over-reliance on those.”
By hearing the experiences firsthand, it gives sales and marketing teams insight in a much more efficient fashion. Using one of their clients as an example, the virtual workplace provider Sococo has its clients’ users using SlapFive’s video features to describe what it’s like participating in a virtual workplace. Using this information, Sococo can promote these experiences with potential users.
Currently, SlapFive’s own users include high-tech companies from the Greater Boston area. As mentioned before, Sococo is one of them, as is Datawatch and Carbon Black. Datawatch has used SlapFive for capturing customer’s stories and own uses cases with Datawatch’s Monarch platform.
“Carbon Black has been using SlapFive to create urgency with CSOs [Chief Security Officers] of their clients,” Ernst said. “It’s important for them to recognize the advanced threats they’re exposed to and the benefits of next-generation anti-virus.”
The initial founding “A-ha!” moment for Ernst came from his time spent working at Forrester. In 2010, Ernst was employed by Forrester, where he would work directly with CMOs to research and analyze data regarding customer engagement and B2B buyer behavior.
“One recurring theme I noticed with customers was how they trust their peers and colleagues rather than a vendor’s sales team,” Ernst said.
Further into his career at Forrester, he began to work with their own marketing team and had a chance to interview customers in what he described as an “eye-opening” experience.
“I learned the questions, fears, and doubts of buyers of research on a more personal level,” Ernst remembers. “And I thought, the only way to get to the bottom of these issues and actually answer these concerns is to let those buyers hear about the experiences and initiatives of Forrester clients.”
In 2015, Ernst set out to answer those questions, and created an interactive infographic prototype, testing it with a few Forrester customers. Their initial feedback was positive, and Ernst saw this as an opportunity to do something with two fields he worked in. So, he left Forrester to found his newest venture with Tim Leonard, his Co-Founder from talentReef.
After testing the concept in the market and refining an finalizing the product, Ernst met his other Co-Founder and CTO, Sean Langford, who also had a similar, customer-focused background.
SlapFive was recently nominated as a Finalist for Innovative Technology of the Year for Sales and Marketing at the MassTLC Leadership Awards. Ernst, who has done a lot of work over the years with MassTLC, considered it an honor to be one of five companies nominated out of 35 entries.
The company’s offerings extend into several levels of customer service, from lending a helping hand to teams that may need it once in awhile to run a company’s customer voice program for them.
“Sales and marketing teams are busy. They want customer stories and case studies, but don’t have the bandwidth,” Ernst said. “It’s the opposite of the old saying. Many would rather buy a fish, rather than buy a rod and learn how to feed themselves for a lifetime. With SlapFive, they can buy the fish or the rod.”