Ep#101 How NerdRabbit Accelerated Co-Selling with AWS

November 2, 2022

Episode Summary

You don't have to be a nerd to understand the importance of entering information into AWS ACE, or your favorite CRM platform, but what happens when you have to manage two systems? Which one is the single point of truth? What if I told you, you could work where you work? Spend less time in AWS ACE, and more time focusing on customers and opportunities, Or better yet, gain more visibility with ACE and help with a click of a button. Joining me today is Claire Edwards from NerdRabbit to talk about how she went from spending hours a week in AWS, her CRM, and verifying data to just about 20 minutes a week using OppSync from Labra.
Nerd Rabbit's increased AWS ACE co-sell opportunities using OppSync by Labra
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Claire Edwards Headshot

About the Guest

Claire Edwards

As the Lead NerdRabbit Account Executive, I act as a personal concierge and experienced specialist for IT and cloud support. I am equipped with the resources and knowledge to assist you with your cloud staffing needs. I won’t only act as your personal liaison for top talent, but will also:

-Provide You With Market Insight
-Significantly Reduce Your Hiring Workload
-Be your go-to resource for any and all questions pertaining to AWS, cloud staffing, and NerdRabbit

Connect with me to propel the success of your business with NerdRabbit’s Top AWS & cloud Talent at claire@nerdrabbit.com

NerdRabbit’s mission is "To connect a colony of AWS professionals to share ideas and propel careers in a cloud 1st world.”

#jonmyerpodcast #jonmyer #myermedia #podcast #podcasting

Episode Show Notes & Transcript

Guest: Claire

I was introduced to OppSync. And it has changed my life. When it was just me it was a very manual process. I was manually putting it into Salesforce as well as the ACE portal and making sure that the information was correct on both sides. It was time-consumption-consuming and grew, we went from having, I think, 90 opportunities to today, over 500. So <laugh>, we used to download it into a Google sheet and send it out to the team and they would check it, and then I would have to double-check it to make sure. It was not the easiest process. OppSync, I love it because it's all the same fields and buttons and looks like Salesforce. So there wasn't a huge learning curve for me or anyone on my team. Nerdly is our software platform. It's available on the AWS Marketplace, so it's a free software platform where customers can go to connect with our hourly part-time resources.

Host: Jon

You don't have to be a nerd to understand the importance of entering information into AWS, ACE, or your favorite CRM platform, but what happens when you have to manage two systems? Which one is the single point of truth? What if I told you, you could work where you work? Spend less time in AWS, ACE, and more time focusing on customers and opportunities, or better yet, gain more visibility with ACE and help with a click of a button. Joining me today is Claire Edwards from NerdRabbit to talk about how she went from spending hours a week in AWS, her CRM, and verifying data to just about 20 minutes a week using OppSync from Labra. Please join me in welcoming Claire Edwards, lead account executive at NerdRabbit to the show. Claire, thank you so much for joining me.

Guest: Claire

Thank you for having me today, Jon.

Host: Jon

All right, Claire, first I gotta talk about NerdRabbit because I love the name. What is NerdRabbit? What do you do?

Guest: Claire

Yeah, so NerdRabbit is an ISV accelerate partner with AWS. and we are a staffing and recruiting firm with a software platform where customers can go to connect with AWS consultants, developers, and solution architects by the hour,

Host: Jon

Wait by the hour. Are those on-demand technical services like AWS does on demand?

Guest: Claire

Absolutely. We try to mirror AWS as much as we can. So it's all in pay. You go terms, you're only gonna be buying the hours that you use with some of our resources.

Host: Jon

Oh, I love that about that. I love that product offering, mirroring AWS. Do you also offer reserve and spot instances? Just kidding,

Guest: Claire

<laugh>? No, we leave that up to the professionals, <laugh>.

Host: Jon

Oh, but you guys are professionals. And speaking of that as a lead CAM executive at NerdRabbit, what does that entail?

Guest: Claire

Yeah, so I manage the sales organization here at NerdRabbit, and part of our job is to meet with AWS to kind of go over our offering and show them how we can support their customers. So we meet with the reps, we meet with customers, understand their project initiatives, and then we show them the nerdly platform. We can also support them from a full-time hiring perspective. We have a sole focus on AWS resources, so that's where we derived what we derived from and how we can help 'em out.

Host: Jon

Okay. So, you work directly with AWS on the opportunity. You’re working within the AWS APN or ACE portal, correct?

Guest: Claire

Yes, we are.

Host: Jon

For everybody on the show, do you want to tell everybody what the ACE portal is or about?

Guest: Claire

Yeah, so the ACE portal is where the AWS reps input their opportunities for partners. So I would get a notification from the ACE portal, and it’s just a portal for us to input information about the customers, the projects, and the progress on these opportunities.

Host: Jon

Okay. I know you called it out. What is NERD

Guest: Claire

NERDLY is our software platform. It's available on the AWS Marketplace it's a free software platform where customers can go to connect with our hourly part-time resources.

Host: Jon

Okay. First of all, I'm getting a kick out of the name here. Do you have another name for the folks or the skills that are behind all these solutions?

Guest: Claire

We do. So, with a name like NerdRabbit, we have a lot of fun with the branding and you will see a lot of puns within the platform. So, it's essentially a two-sided marketplace. We have our nerds, which are companies seeking AWS support, and then we have our nerds. They wear that as a badge of honor. They do not mind being called Nerds. And these are all of our AWS resources. So like I said earlier, the developer's solution architects, we have some fractional CTOs on there offering their skills and services.

Host: Jon

Okay. I'm enjoying all the puns you guys are doing. Keep it up. I can't wait for the next one that you come up with, and I'm sure there's some behind the scenes. How long have you been at NerdRabbit?

Guest: Claire

Yes, so I've been here a little over a year and a half. So I started last February. I was essentially the first salesperson that they hired. I've been given a great opportunity to build out this sales organization from the ground up.

Host: Jon

As the first salesperson that they hired. How many are on your team now?

Guest: Claire

So we have four account executives and two BDRs at this point.

Host: Jon

Okay. So I want to talk about the process that you were going through. You're using a CRM tool, and you are also using AWS ACE Portal to import these opportunities. Can you walk me through what the process looked like when it was just you inputting these opportunities? Was it a manual entry? Were you duplicating the stuff and it was all right probably for you to handle just as a one-off, right?

Guest: Claire

Correct. When it was just me it was a very manual process. I was manually putting it into Salesforce as well as the ACE portal and making sure that the information was correct on both sides. It was time-consuming.

Host: Jon

All right. So let's talk about the time-consuming thing as a person of one. In that role, it's kind of already to manage and easy because you knew the data in the CRM, you knew the data in a, so you knew, but you had to go into two different portals to a kind of do this. What was the time consumption for you for both of these entries that you had to make?

Guest: Claire

When it was just me, I mean, it was probably two hours a week just checking to make sure all the information was in there. It was easy because I was the one that was meeting with all of the reps that were inputting the opportunities or I was in putting them myself. But as soon as I started growing the team, they started meeting with people that I'd never met before and didn't know, and I started seeing all these new opportunities come in. It got a little harder to handle.

Host: Jon

Okay. Let's talk about that because how much was it for you to not only get the rep's input for the CRM, but did you also handle the information that had to go into ACE from the reps, or did they do that themselves?

Guest: Claire

So, I would input all of the information for the team's best practices in kind of a smaller environment just to have one person manage it. So, it was me inputting everything into an ACE at that point.

Host: Jon

You don't want too many chefs in the kitchen, as they say, and you get to manage the entire, but as these, your team kind of grows, the data grows and the number of opportunities grows, and now you have to track everybody down. How did you accumulate the data and make sure that it was correctly input into an ACE?

Guest: Claire

So, when it was just me that it was not as many opportunities in ACE, it wasn't too much to keep up with. But as the team grew, we went from having I think 90 opportunities to today over 500. So <laugh>, we used to download it into a Google sheet and send it out to the team and they would check it, and then I would have to double-check it to make sure. So, it was not the easiest process.

Host: Jon

The process that you were going through before utilizing another platform was you're talking with your sales reps, and they input their stuff into CRM, and then you gathered the data from the CRM to put into ACE, or how did you get the data from CRM? You went through each opportunity and did it or walk me through that process and then the process of getting to ACE?

Guest: Claire

Yes. I would have to look at the CRM and ACE separately and manually put in every piece of information. There was no way that we could just have that automatically sent over. So very manual.

Host: Jon

How much time and effort do you think it took for you to do these tasks, not only to input the data but the go through the Google validation

Guest: Claire

<laugh>? Well, when my team grew to the size it is today, I mean that was probably taking about three to four hours out of my week,

Host: Jon

Three to four hours of your week to do that. Now, do you think there was any chance of the delay of opportunities throughout this process?

Guest: Claire

For sure, yeah, it delayed some of the opportunities. And there's room for error too when you're inputting them manually like that, especially when there are numbers involved. So there definitely could be some that would fall through the cracks.

Host: Jon

All right. So we talked about the process of going from your CRM to ACE. Buts also send or send you leads or opportunities, right?

Guest: Claire

Yes.

Host: Jon

<affirmative>. So how did you handle that when they sent you that you got the email notification, did you put that into the CRM and then contact a sales rep and then go through that process, and when they finally got it, I mean, there is a time until it gets entered?

Guest: Claire

So you have a certain amount of days to accept these opportunities. So I would get the email and then I would have to either send it in out in a channel or do some searching in Salesforce myself to figure out who the opportunity was for. Again, very time-consuming and during the day, people are in their meetings, they might be delayed in their responses, so I had to track some people down for sure to figure out whose opportunity it is and whom to assign it to, and how to get information.

Host: Jon

Claire, let me ask you this question. How did you resolve this problem?

Guest: Claire

Well, I was introduced to Ops Inc. And it has changed my life, <laugh>.

Host: Jon

This seems to be one of those stories where they've changed my life. Well, talk to me about Ossy and how they helped out with this process.

Guest: Claire

So, I met with Kyle Heisner months and months ago, and we quickly became friends. He does a lot of ISV consulting and we're an ISV partner, and he was kind of helping me out with internal processes as a newer company. And I was meeting with him one day and he was like, Claire, I gotta tell you about this software platform that I found. It's gonna change your life. It's gone, it's gonna save you so much time, no commitments or anything. I'm happy to just show it to you and then we can go from there. So I saw one demo of it and I was like, yes, this is something we need and I need to save some time for sure.

Host: Jon

Okay, so I've met Kyle and I'll tell you that he genuinely wants to help. He's kind of focused on the solution on how it can help you. And I want to talk about Ops Inc. A little bit more. <affirmative>, does OppSync, integrates into your CRM tool, right? How hard was that to get set up and running?

Guest: Claire

It was extremely easy. They had one meeting with our Salesforce admin and we were pretty much ready to go OppSync. I love it because it's all the same fields and buttons and look of Salesforce. So there wasn't a huge learning curve for me or anyone on my team. So we had that one kickoff call. It was an hour long with me and my entire team on the call, went through some training and then I met with Gabriel for 15 minutes for three weeks, once a week after that and we were good to go.

Host: Jon

All right. So you're saying this wasn't even a hard setup process? There was like this easy button where they said, Bam, there you are, your set-up, ready to go

Guest: Claire

Pretty much, and they do all of the customizations for you and there are limitless opportunities with OppSync. And it was great because we made sure to get connected on Slack, and if I slacked the support team, they would be on it within five minutes. I mean, anything that we would need to be resolved or questions on it would be within the same hour.

Host: Jon

Okay. Let's talk about OppSync a little bit more. It integrates and it's a plugin into your CRM tool, but what does it do and how is it helping you with ACE? Because we talked about how the setup and how quick and easy it was for the integration, but OppSync in general is just a plugin that helps you with ACE or

Guest: Claire

So OppSync is meant to make it so you don't have to go into the ACE portal anymore, <laugh>. It can. It's a lot to go through and it essentially connects your Salesforce instance with the ACE portal. So anything that is input from the AWS reps into the ACE portal will automatically show up in your Salesforce. No missing information, no missing digits. It's exactly what they put in the project description, the customer, the ID numbers, everything is there and you only have to access it through your own Salesforce.

Host: Jon

Okay. Claire, I gotta clarify something because I used to be the person in the CRM tool. I was the alliance lead, right? And you, you're in the CRM tool, you go and dig out all the sales stuff and you're like, You, a salesperson, hey, what's this information here? I need this. I need it for my opportunity and to ACE, so I don't have it, and it's a back-and-forth thing. Oh, I gotta email him, I gotta slack, I gotta wait for this. And then it could be days before the information's entered into it. Are you telling me that it seamlessly integrates with ACE and keeps my opportunities up to date and I don't have to do it myself? My salespeople just have to click a button

Guest: Claire

Exactly as well as I do. It can be pulling teeth sometimes to get a sales team to input things into Salesforce. So yes, it's, they just log in, they click and accept button, it's all ready to go, everything's updated, all the reports are in there, and I do not have to chase anyone down. <laugh>.

Host: Jon

Now the integration happens from my CRM, right? So say Salesforce because that's usually a big one, but they also integrate into other CRMs like HubSpot and everything. And there's an integration that allows you to sync your opportunities directly to ACE. Meaning that you, Claire don't have to log into ACE and manually input their sales opportunities. I used to run a report and then have to do as much as I can, but then I had to do specific Salesforce fields so that you could make them a requirement so that you can input that in because AWS required that into, as you're telling me, you don't have to chase down salespeople. All you have to say is listen, just click the button. That's it.

Guest: Claire

Exactly, yes. And the S sync team can make anything, any information you require just in your own sales force, a required field on the opportunities as well.

Host: Jon

Does OppSync also handle it as if I don't want to sync with ACE? I mean, some things are not ready to be sent.

Guest: Claire

You can put input some information and have it in there and not have it automatically sent to ACE. There's just one simple sync button for when you are ready to move it to the next stage or update the project or something like that.

Host: Jon

Okay. Claire, we talked about it syncing from our CRM to ACE. What about AWS leads? What about sending information back or responding to information that's required? Is it bidirectional?

Guest: Claire

Oh yeah, definitely. We work more on the opportunities than the leads. So I can't speak too much about the leads, but it works by direct directionally for the opportunities for sure.

Host: Jon

Okay. AWS maybe update some information that's required for your opportunities within ACE. Does that traverse back to your CRM that says, Hey, this information is needed? How does the notification work?

Guest: Claire

When you go into accepting it, it won't let you accept it until all the required fields are in there.

Host: Jon

Gotcha. Nice. All right, so now we have this new process and when I say a new one, you're thinking about they click a button, you do not have to be the person in the middle making sure opportunities go back and forth. And with your team growing, how much time do you think this has saved you in just maybe a week?

Guest: Claire

I probably spend 20 minutes in the ACE portal if I even have to go to the ACE portal during the week.

Host: Jon

Well, wait for a second, wait a second. So now you went from doing everything manually, probably spending hours a day or a week because you were the only person or on a team your size, you were entering in both and verifying the data to maybe 20 minutes a week <affirmative> of in the portal. How has this increased your engagement with AWS, though?

Guest: Claire

It we've definitely, our opportunities have gone up exponentially. It's a way faster process. And there are also these other features of OppSync that can help with getting more exposure to AWS. Cause when I first started, our name wasn't out there yet but the oping software, it can build out reports based on segments of different teams, how much revenue is going through the Marketplace partner referred ops, and how many were AWS referral ops. And those are some things that we can use as tools to send out to leaders and say, Hey, this is how many opportunities we have with your team. This is how much Marketplace revenue is going through. Let us know how we can help.

Host: Jon

I think that AWS and this new way of doing things utilizing OppSync have increased the visibility of, and by the way, you said you weren't known within, I think the name NerdRabbit is gonna make you known. I have to tell you because all of us weird and quirky folks are going to enjoy the name and be like, I want to be part of this. But it has increased your visibility because your opportunities are up to date or more opportunities are being input automatically rather than manually.

Guest: Claire

Yes, yes. And it frees up my time to meet with more people at AWS instead of inputting information into ACE <laugh>.

Host: Jon

How important is it for you to meet with folks at AWS? Because I know AWS is huge, but there are small pockets of folks that you meet with. This pocket might not know about you, but this pocket might. I think that having those chances or inputting more opportunities, do you think it's increased your visibility.

Guest: Claire

Absolutely. The more people I meet with too, our names kind of get around and I think we're just kind of building our presence out more and more, but monthly. It’s helped with that visibility aspect.

Host: Jon

You mentioned the support over at Labra. How has the support helped you with not only the ongoing setup maintenance or things that you need to change within your environment?

Guest: Claire

Yes. You meet with our Salesforce admin for 30 minutes tops every time. But they help with customizations. If I have a question, they're responsive within 15 minutes they have a full engineering team that's working on the back end. If I need customization done, they have it done that day and they're extremely responsive and a great group to work with.

Host: Jon

I agree with you. First of all, I love the folks over at Labra that I've worked with who have had Kyle and Sri on the show. And we've talked not only about OppSync but their upcoming platform or product that they release FlyOut. I'm gonna be talking about that in the future, but we'll also see them at Reinvent. And in fact, I heard NerdRabbit is gonna be at AWS re:invent as well.

Guest: Claire

We are, yes. We're gonna be teaming up with Tech, our sister company, and we're excited to be there again this year.

Host: Jon

That's awesome. I'm hoping to see you, folks, out there. I'm gonna meet a couple of nerds.

Guest: Claire

Yeah, there's gonna be a lot of nerds there. So <laugh>

Host: Jon

A perfect event for it, right?

Guest: Claire

<laugh>? Yeah, I'm

Host: Jon

Sorry. It's a huge learning conference for it. Claire, talk to me a little bit more about NerdRabbit and how does one contact you or get involved?

Guest: Claire

Yeah, so you can contact me. We are available on the AWS Marketplace, so you can contact us there. But we want to become the number one place companies go to find reliable qualified cloud resources. Whether it be from an hourly standpoint, a full-time or a project-based.

Host: Jon

Okay, I want to jump to that just really quick because I know that you're on the marketplace Is that specifically for customers looking for your resources?

Guest: Claire

So there we have two options. You can go through the AWS Marketplace and what we can do is connect our software platform NERDLY to your AWS instance. Many of the engagements that happen through our platform will then just show up on your AWS monthly bill. Or people can go through our public website and it's free to access for everyone. You just, it's a very quick login and you will then get access to our database of all pre-vetted US-based AWS professionals.

Host: Jon

We talked about NerdRabbit, right? And the on-demand services, the skills that are needed and required. But we talked about the AWS ACE portal and how Labra OppSync. Has integrated the value of Ops Inc. And the value of NerdRabbit and the Better Together story that's out there on how it has saved you time and focus for your customers. And I know I just stole a little bit of that, but I just wanted to give you a little headway into what else you want to lead with the audience.

Guest: Claire

I mean, I'd recommend OppSync to any company that is looking to save time, that has to work through the ACE portal. I can't imagine what it would be like if there were thousands and thousands of opportunities coming in throughout the months. I mean, if I hadn't had OppSync, we probably would've needed to hire a full-time person to handle <laugh> all the information coming in

Host: Jon

That way you wouldn't have to use your Google sheet to verify all the information coming in and a manual entry between those. Now, wait a second. You said you would have to hire a full-time for that. So not only is this full-time person, the hours spent, the time and money spent just to manually do data entry work and to track down folks to enter this information rather than click a button,

Guest: Claire

Click a button, it's that easy.

Host: Jon

<laugh>, I think we, you know what? I've got a suggestion for Labra for their thing. Instead of that plug-in, that little button that says Sync, it just says easy, right? Just click it

Guest: Claire

<laugh>. It's a literal easy button.

Host: Jon

<laugh>. I like it. I've seen a lot of demos the hands-on of the product and I'll tell you what, I don't know why more people are using this. It is a no-brainer because we've all been in those situations, those aligned leads who have to do and manually track down every single person just to miss it and all the opportunities that might not make it into ACE promptly. That's very key. Speed is key for a lot of companies. Drop 'em in there, get 'em in there as quick as possible because AWS will assign some resources to help you out with these opportunities. They'll see the value in it. And it's not only good for you for NerdRabbit, but it's also good for your customers.

Guest: Claire

Exactly, yes. And I was lucky because I knew Kyle for a while before we knew about OppSync, but it was genuine. He genuinely wants to help people and OppSync genuinely does help the environment. So

Host: Jon

I agree with you that OppSync is awesome. The folks over there I think are very key. The product is one of a kind, but the folks over there, they're customer obsessed. I enjoy working with them.

Guest: Claire

Yes, I do as well.

Host: Jon

All right, Claire, thank you so much for joining.

Guest: Claire

Thank you for having me. I hope to do this again soon.

Host: Jon

Aw, I enjoyed it. Well, I'm gonna see you at Reinvent. Maybe we can squeeze in our quick 15-minute podcast over our live stream.

Guest: Claire

I'd love to. That'd be awesome.

Host: Jon

All right, everybody. Claire Edwards, lead account executive NerdRabbit. My name's Jon Myer. Thanks for joining the show. Don't forget to hit that like subscribe, end, notify, because guess what, We're outta here.

 

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