How Michael Devellano Helps Founders Grow via Founders Pack

How Michael Devellano Helps Founders Grow via Founders Pack

Michael Devellano is top dog at Founders Pack and author of Automate & Grow.

Building in the best of times—let alone those of immense uncertainty (that is, right now...)—can feel daunting for the most resilient of operators.

Luckily, Stonks CEO Ali Moiz sat down with Michael to discuss his advice for current founders, his predictions for the new year, and his thoughts on automation's outsized role in business.

For the audiophiles out there, listen, subscribe, rate, et al (you know the drill people) on either Spotify or Apple.

The ocularly-inclined can scroll down for some conversational highlights.

(nota bene: The below conversation has been lightly edited for clarity and Stonkyness.)

On The Early Days of Automated Growth:

You had to focus on business logic, that's how I got started in the world of CRM and marketing automation. Unfortunately, what I noticed was there were a lot of messes out there in that world. People would just throw developers at a problem, give them money, and hope that would solve it.

There wasn't really a logic or a strategy around how you automated marketing, sales, and support. That's where the idea behind automated growth came out. So I wrote my blueprint for going into a company and understanding their business from the point where they think they have a customer. They have someone that is starting to think about becoming a customer, then they're a customer and helping them think through that process and translating that into something that automated that business.

On the Core Principles of his Book:

Look, you need four plans in any business before you build or buy in technology.

The first plan is that you need a digital product plan that really says whether you're delivering a service or a product.

So that's the first part of it. And then the other three plans are: you need a marketing playbook, a sales playbook, and then a customer success playbook. What that takes you is from when someone doesn't know about you to where they become aware of you, where they might become interested in you, managing whatever your sales process is, whether it's digital-direct or a hybrid of the two.

So really what the automated growth says is the key is to have these four plans and then you'll understand really clearly, what do you go out to build.

Namely, what are you going to buy technology-wise or what are you going to fix and how do you fix it?

On Founders Pack's Intro Feature:

Every week any member of Founders Pack gets introduced to another member of Founders Pack in their inbox based upon mutual interest and matches. We also have a directory of 9,000 investors, and we're really just trying to build a macro community across all accelerators and startup. We exist to further the most important gig in the world: being an entrepreneur.

That said, it's also the loneliest and one of the toughest.

We want to enable creators, makers, and doers, right? So I really just want to work with as many as I can and help them on their startup and growth journey.

On Growth through Community and Partnerships:

I think automation is even more important than it's ever been. So too is the ability to bring your cost of acquisition as close to zero as possible. The way that you do that is by going back to community and partnerships.

I have conversed with a lot of startups and I think they're all trying to get under control of two key questions:

  • How do I market to the right person and get the right message at the right time?
  • How do I push potential leads more deeply into the sales cycle, whether via a digital or direct sales model?

In my head, the key to these is how you facilitate referrals and introductions at scale. What this does is if you actually have a customer that looks like my customer and we have a complementary solution and you recommend me, I've probably skipped about 60 or 70% of the difficulty of them trusting me, getting to know me.

Advice for Founders:

We've interviewed about fifty people on the Founders Pack podcast since June. One of the key questions we have asked each founder is what advice they have for their fellow founders.

What I keep hearing over and over, honestly, is don't quit and grit it out. It’s not that you want your startup journey to be difficult, but it's going to be challenging.

There's always going to be the ‘we're a master of many things’ and sometimes you have challenges and you don't know the answer and you got to keep battling through it.

The most important quality that I keep hearing from VCs, angels, operators and founders that we have interviewed is don't quit. Just stick with it and work through the difficulties.

That seems to be the characteristic that is consistent with most successful founders.

I don't know about you, Ali, but I think that's the toughest thing: getting through the tough times.

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