written by
Harry Whelchel

Stefan Pretty from Subbly is using our system to get 18 demos crammed into his calendar every month.

11 min read

Harry Whelchel: All right. Everyone, my name is Harry Whelchel. We got here, Stefan Pretty with me, CEO of Subbly. We've been working together for the last couple of months. Just was pulling some data, and it looks like the last 30 days we've gotten them 17 appointments, and in the last 60 days we've done 33 appointments. Does that sound about right to you Stefan?

Stefan Pretty: Yeah, I think that's pretty accurate.

Harry Whelchel: Nice. All right. We've been getting some good results so far. A lot more good work to be done. But before we get into that, why don't we start back at the beginning. Stefan, tell me a little bit about Subbly and what you guys were doing before we engaged?

Stefan Pretty: Sure. Yeah. Subbly is a bootstrapped startup. We are a subscription e-commerce platform. It's a pretty tall ask trying to build an e-commerce platform from scratch, bootstrapped. But, yeah. When Harry and I connected, way back originally, we were doing literally nothing. It was just all pure products focus. Some minor marketing activities, but I knew deep down that there was another level, another gear, and we weren't nearly ready to start accelerating from a walk to a jog. That's when I saw Harry's message and it resonated with me.

Harry Whelchel: Nice.

Stefan Pretty: When I say message, it wasn't that he messaged me, it was that I saw his website actually, and it resonated with me.

Harry Whelchel: Yeah. How did you first hear about ConvoPanda and what peaked your interest then?

Stefan Pretty: I believe I saw your comment somewhere. I can't remember, it was so long ago now. But I clicked on your website and I read it, and I was like, "This guy gets it." It was the first thing that came to my mind. I was like, "This guy understands it, and that's somebody I want to work with period." In fact, at that point, I didn't even have a plan for what we're doing now. There wasn't. It didn't exist. Then we had oversea multiple conversations and yeah, I was excited. I think that, where we are now is a testament for that natural progression. It was a natural evolution from those initial conversations. Obviously, what also excited me was that you were excited because we were a fit for you as well. I think that's emphasized my excitement even more. It was like a perpetual loop.

Harry Whelchel: That's really cool. That's awesome. What made you decide to want to do business with us? What ultimately made you pull the trigger on working with us?

Stefan Pretty: Over time, it became not so much a decision as much as it was a need. Actually, it became a need. There was no way we couldn't. I think that, I had no doubt in ConvoPanda's capabilities. I had, as I said, I was excited about it and I had ... It took some back and forth to eventually get to the point where it was clear on what needed to be done, and that was a collaborative effort. And then, it went from, "We want to work with these people.", to "This is how we're going to work together, and this is the right solution to ..." I guess you could call it the problem. I don't think it was necessarily a problem. It was the desire to get to the next level. There's only so many different ways you could do that, and we identified one of the ways of doing that. That was where the decision was made.

Harry Whelchel: Cool. Tell us a little bit more about what we've done working together. What's it been like working together? What have we specifically done? What's been most valuable to you?

Stefan Pretty: Yeah, so basically in short, we've been doing outreach. The process itself has involved coming up with a structure, hypothesis, an actual framework, and also a message that resonates with the audience. Also, we even went through the process of finding an audience that we didn't even know existed within our audience, which has a lot of those two. The really big take away is not just sales opportunities, it's actually a learning that's come from it, which has really been quite informative for allowing us to realize what needs to be done for the long run as a business, as well as presenting opportunities for today as well. That's been a huge, huge part for us. But yeah, it's been outreach, setting up demo calls, and the process at the beginning was very involved to get to that point, which was awesome.

Harry Whelchel: What sort of learnings have you taken away? We're talking about now like broader learnings that the outreach process has generated for you.

Stefan Pretty: Okay. Broader learnings specific to the business or better learning in terms ... Yeah. Okay. I think we found that, although we have this general product, which addressed a problem back at the beginning five years ago, that as the industry has matured, that there are these specific pain points that speak to specific realms or realms of customers and our targeted customers, the ones that we actually really, really want to work with have these very specific pain points, that we can now double down from product perspective and address. From all sorts of different metrics inside of their businesses. But, it's been really interesting. Does that answer the question? I think it does.

Harry Whelchel: Yeah. More about the process of working together, what's been most valuable to you in the process of working with me?

Stefan Pretty: Where I am as an entrepreneur on my journey right now, I'm like a sponge. I feel like I'm back at school. I've learned so much from you. A lot has been confirming things that I may have known, but in other words, multiple data points that work with a connected device, that point of like, "That makes so much sense because you've articulated that exceptionally well." The education that has come with it has been super, super important for me as an entrepreneur on my journey. So, yeah.

Harry Whelchel: Yeah. It's almost like, I try and obviously get the result the client wants, which is the appointments and the new relationship with customers. But I really also think that I try and change the DNA of the founder or the people that I'm working with, and help them get educated and start getting new skills and new superpowers.

Stefan Pretty: Absolutely. I can attest to that because it shows that you care. I mean, that goes without saying, but the fact is that you take the time to explain something, and even push me. I said right at the beginning of the engagement, "You're going to have to manage me." That was made clear when you were like, "Okay, cool." And you have. I hope I've been a good sponge in this process. There's certainly going to be things that take a couple of explanations, but yeah, I mean that's been hugely valuable, the educational component.

Harry Whelchel: Nice. What results do you feel like you all gotten both tangibly, intangibly so far working together?

Stefan Pretty: Tangibly, we've had some trial signups, we've had some verbal yeses, from the ideal customers that we want to work with. Intangibly, insight ... Actually, it's still kind of tangible to be honest with you, but that's a point for a different conversation. Intangibly, we have informed our roadmap for the next quarter or even six months. It's going to help us position our products, and also that too. Positioning from the marketing messaging, and the direction that we're going to be going with our marketing is now very clear. So, yeah. And as I mentioned already, the education component.

Harry Whelchel: Yeah. How about for you personally, has your personal life changed at all and improved?

Stefan Pretty: Yes and no. Yes. Because, I know that somebody who's very capable and responsible is managing this side of our business needs, but also, not too much because ... There's so many calls. Because I want to [inaudible 00:09:51]. That's painful sometimes, but hey, that's a really good problem to have.

Harry Whelchel: There's some opportunity for growth around, more excitement around having the demos versus being-

Stefan Pretty: Yeah. Oh, yeah. There's also the ... There's so much [inaudible 00:10:15] already and it's like trying to ... I'm getting better at it and this is something that you've actually coached me on, but structuring as much as possible, but you can't falter on that. There was no time to take a moment and be like, "Okay. Now I can let myself digest." But there's no time for that when you're just, "Next thing. Next thing. Next thing." That can be quite challenging, but again, it's a good problem to have.

Harry Whelchel: Yeah. I feel like I've noticed with you that, your capacity to handle more has gone up, but as we push more on you, you feel at the brim. It's just the brim is getting wider. You have more capacity.

Stefan Pretty: 100%.

Harry Whelchel: You're staying at full capacity each month. Does that make sense?

Stefan Pretty: Yeah. Exactly right. It is and that's the thing that, I guess I was trying to say like about the education, that's part of that. It's like a muscle, you just got to strengthen it. After all that is said, the other thing as well is learning coping mechanisms or ways of setting boundaries as well as an entrepreneur. Like to say, "Okay. You know what? I'm just actually ... I'm not going to do that because I can't." That's been really valuable as well. The whole process has just been a massive education.

Harry Whelchel: Yeah. Because, you've been doing so much with the products, and now you've been able to hire new people on the product side, you're putting in new processes around there. You're still involved, but you're delegating more. Then now with that, you're able to do the sales calls that we're booking for you. All of a sudden it's like you're wearing these new hats that the education and the demos have enabled for you.

Stefan Pretty: Yeah, exactly. All of it cumulatively has been awesome, so thank you.

Harry Whelchel: Nice. Well, I guess, how likely are you to recommend us? Would you do it all over again and work with us again?

Stefan Pretty: I wouldn't recommend you because you're my secret weapon.

Harry Whelchel: So, yeah. You're borrowing that.

Stefan Pretty: No. I would recommend you. Absolutely. I guess, that last statement says it all.

Harry Whelchel: Yeah. If someone else is listening and they're on the fence, why should they take action now and go ahead and sign up?

Stefan Pretty: You know what? I think, as I said, the big value point has been the insight and education. For that alone, you can't really put a price on it. Because this whole concept of R&D, putting yourself on courses, the cost is so astronomical in the long run and you're not really being held accountable. But working with somebody like you who cares has been extremely important and critical, in making sure that we are marching forward because you're invested in the results. Harry knows this stuff, I'll tell you that guys.

Harry Whelchel: What's next for Subbly?

Stefan Pretty: World domination. No, we'll get to double down on the roadmap and then accelerate the sales and scale it up.

Harry Whelchel: Right. Yeah. We're working on a sales process, scripting, increasing the closed rates, and making that part of the sales funnel dialed in now at this point. Now that we've figured out regeneration and demo booking.

Stefan Pretty: Yeah, exactly. And applying that to marketing as well in a scalable manner.

Harry Whelchel: Nice. Awesome. Well, thank you so much. This has been great.

Stefan Pretty: Yeah, very welcome. Thank you.