Ususally, the process of recruiting a new agency works the other way round. So why have we decided to reverse it? To find out, I spoke to Anders and Stellan about the idea behind the application to establish a partnership with Zooma and what the benefits of this approach will be. Our discussion became the episode of The Onlinification Pod you can find below. Hope you enjoy it - and if you want to work with Zooma, apply here!
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Alexander Evjenth: [00:00:09] Hi and welcome to The Onlinification Pod, a podcast produced by Zooma. I'm Alex, your host, and in today's episode I'm going to talk with Stellan and Anders about a new application that was recently published on zooma.se. If you haven't seen the application, it's a form that companies can fill in in order to apply for partnership with us during 2021. So I am going to talk a bit about the idea behind this and why we are publishing this application. Enjoy.
AE: [00:00:48] So Anders, a while ago, Zooma announced that we are accepting one new customer. What's the story behind that?
Anders Björklund: [00:00:56] Well, the story is, it says that it's a new global company as a customer. Traditionally, we work with 10 to 12 international and global companies, and most likely we have a possibility to add one from Q2 somewhere, so what we have done is, to be fair, usually our customers come through recommendations. We never, ever participate in pitches. We get a lot of questions to participate in pitches. "Hi, we are a global company and in this industry, we want you to participate in a pitch where you going to do this and that." And we always say we don't do work for free. So it sounds a bit weird, but it's difficult to become a customer to Zooma. And then I don't remember who in Zooma that said, "hey, how come when we make it possible for people to apply for jobs, that we don't make it possible for any company to apply to become a customer?"
So then we said, oh, let's do it. Let's give everyone the possibility to fulfill an application to become a customer so that we don't act like a golf club where you need to put your name on a list when you're one year old to possibly become a member when you're twenty-five.I have no idea, when I was young, which was mid 18th century,then it was like that in golf clubs. Most likely it's not like that anymore, but Zooma is not a golf club.
AE: [00:02:44] So in announcement we mentioned that we have some criterias. One is that it's important that the executive management will be deeply involved in our cooperation. Why is that so important Stellan?
Stellan Björnesjö: [00:02:59] It's really important from the perspective that it needs to have the highest priority. So if we start working together, we seldom reach success unless we have executive management on board, being part of setting the roadmap, setting the agenda for what needs to be done. And the reason is stuff we talked about earlier today, when it comes to how you prioritize employees workload priorities, who should be involved in that? It means that you have to do less of something else in order to be successful at your digital transformation.
AB: [00:03:46] And I also think - I agree. And a while ago when we worked with one of our customers, their CEO said, give me three things that I need to do to be successful with our ambitions. And in that case, it was both with sustainability and digitalisation. And the general and very, very simple answer is clear ownership in your EMT, your executive management team and among the decision makers. That's one. Number two is it needs to be thought of as a core part of your business. You can't think about it as something sort of, "Oh, we have another thing to consider." It needs to be a core part of your business. And thirdly, all remuneration models must prioritize business success through online and digital.
Of course, there are many more things we can show you, models of the sort of nine to 11 decisions that we think everyone needs to take. But if we pick one, it doesn't matter the size of the company, doesn't matter the type of industry, doesn't matter any perspective, clear ownership from EM team and if not one person is involved, then nothing happens. Usually it takes one person plus the CFO. If the CFO doesn't think that it's prioritized - problems.
AE: [00:05:18] Do you agree, Stellan?
SB: [00:05:20] Yeah, I agree 100 percent.
AE: [00:05:23] So this way of being selective when it comes to collaborations between companies, I haven't seen this clear, selective definition before. During the 20 years Zooma's been been operating, have you been selective choosing the collaborations you go into?
AB: [00:05:46] I like to think so and I hope so. And very important that like for example, like we put in this possibility and in the application we put, if I remember right, that we have put an amount that you should commit to a yearly budget when you start working with us. And as you said, at least one member of executive management deeply involved and that you should know why your company needs to change, and need, want, require help with deciding what to do and how to do it. That we have always been thinking about.
But most importantly, you internally in a company like Zooma, you need to make sure that everyone internally understands why you work with someone. And Stellan said, so that no one interprets that in a different way, Stellan said, so that we succeed then I know that Stellan talks about our customer because if Zooma succeeds, that means that our customers have become better in understanding how it is to be their prospective customers and their customers and their stakeholders, that's how ambitious it is.
And some someone internally in Zooma, one Zoomer said yesterday, or if it was today, that "Anders, I looked at the criteria for the application. We do work with other companies as well." Yes, but not international and global ones who don't guarantee that amount of budget. But we are very clear on the "why", and it's very often a personal relation with a decision maker or EMT. That is the reason why we started working with them.
So always, no matter what size, industry, ownership, whatever it is, you need to know someone, then, you know sort of the expectations, then you know, other things. That's way more healthy. So that broad bit of background of why we have formulated it like that.
SB: [00:08:08] And what they want has to be aligned with what we can bring.
AB: [00:08:14] Yes.
SB: [00:08:15] So not working together can also be a decision on Zooma's part, that we say "we are not going to be the right partner for you because we cannot assist you with what it is that you want to achieve, or what they want to achieve can be very sort of vague. And therefore, it's also difficult for us to go into a co-operation because we don't know what kind of commitment it is to what kind of future state. So it's also, I think, a very important sort of notion, that it's two ways.
AB: [00:08:49] I fully agree. And sometimes you can get a question from existing or potential customers about something where you can be honest enough and say, "whoo, this sounds fun! We have absolutely no comparable experience of this, but maybe you should approach it like this." That's a very important thing, that you never pretend like you haven't done it before, which I still, generally speaking, think is a sickness among prospective suppliers, that you should claim that you have done things that you don't even do internally in your company. If you, let's take a simple example, if you sell content creation and the content that you produce for your own company is shit, the credibility is pretty low.
And if you sell marketing automation tools and I would be a prospective customer, I would say, "show me your numbers and show me what you do and how you do it. I understand why you sell marketing automation tools, but show me the results so that I know the level of expectation that I should have on your knowledge. And please show me experiments and failures that you have learned from and how that affects the process on how you will deliver for me."I think all suppliers that want to help industrial companies, B2B companies, make sure that you live by best practice.
So if they ask for a partner portal, show them your partner portal. If they ask you for knowledge content creation or you speak about conversion and how fantastic you are expert in ecommerce - "OK, show me your numbers, show me what and how, and show me all the failures and experiments that have affected how you work with me." That's a fairly simple approach. Maybe we should package that and provide that approach to how you pick a supplier. Generally, not only in our part of industry. Maybe we should package that. Because I think it would work whether you sell forklifts or trucks or whatever you do.
AE: [00:11:07] Definitely, yeah. By being selective on your collaborations, you increase the success rate on your projects and the likelihood that your customers will recommend you for other companies increase as well.
SB: [00:11:23] Nobody loses on that approach. Everybody wins.
AE: [00:11:26] Yeah, great. Thank you both for participating in this podcast. Do you have anything to add before we end this episode?
SB: [00:11:36] That's a dangerous question to ask Anders!
AE: [00:11:37] I didn't ask Anders, I asked you Stellan. Do you have something to add Anders?
AB: [00:11:50] No, I'm not going to respond because most likely this will come back to me in video or in something else.
SB: [00:12:02] Thank you Alex!
AE: [00:12:10] Well, thank you for listening to this episode, if you're curious to see how this application looks like, you can go to zooma.se and you will find it in The Bulletin, the news section. So thank you for listening to this podcast. If you find it interesting, please subscribe and we will make sure to create more episodes. Bye bye.