Since 2010 CED has helped over 150 companies grow and develop through our Venture Mentoring Service developed by MIT, a unique service that approaches mentorship from a team perspective. ZynBit, a company that makes using Salesforce effortless, found success through CED’s VMS program. We recently buzzed Phil Dixon, Founder, and CEO of ZynBit, and asked him to answer 4 short questions.
What problem were you trying to solve when you started ZynBit?
With ZynBit we saw a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between sales and marketing technologies, specifically the CRM and marketing automation gap. Sales teams need self-service, lightweight marketing automation and analytics capabilities – think email templates, calendar scheduling automation, email tracking, web visitor tracking insights. Marketing needs sales pipeline data to validate campaign spend to revenue generation. Sales Managers need better visibility into sales activity data for performance management. Executives need reliable, real-time forecast data and updates. Like any start-up, our vision has evolved as we’ve acquired customers and incorporated their feedback so now our collective vision is data-driven sales and looks more like what we call, “machine guided selling”.
Why did you apply to the VMS program?
I applied to the VMS program because in the early days it was myself, a developer and a handful of customers. We needed objective, 3rd party advice and guidance on everything from naming the company, defining our target market and customer value propositions to funding and prioritizing all of the above. The VMS program was appealing because it was an interim board of advisors who were willing to spend the time with us to grind our rough and jagged ideas into smoothly rounded, colorful pebbles.
What’s the best advice your mentorship team gave you?
Hmmm. Best advice? The process itself is invaluable. Every month there is so much advice that helps you filter questions and thoughts into distilled priorities and actions. I’d say the one piece of advice that has continuously reverberated as we’ve navigated startup to scale up is… “You’ll never be ready to field as a startup. That’s ok. Don’t wait until it’s perfect. Do the best you can with the resources you have and put it out there. Get feedback from your customers often and continuously improve your product, service.” – Gart Davis
What would you compare starting a company to?
For me, starting a company is like having your first child. You have all these grandiose ideas about what could be for this thing you’ll love so much. You finally commit and step off the ledge and you start to realize all of the things you don’t know; how naïve you were. There are a lot of sleepless nights; whining and even crying are involved. You find yourself changing diapers at 1am. You start to wonder how in the world anyone ever thought this was a good idea! You wonder why no one told you how hard it would be. Yet, you take great pride in the fact that you’ve breathed life into something and sustained it! Major win! You watch it grow. It starts to feed itself, dress itself, even bathe itself. The next thing you know it’s challenging you to be a better teacher, role model, coach and friend. As it matures through one stage with specific victories and challenges there are new, uncharted territories you’ll face in the next. Eventually, you think you’re smarter, wiser for it all and the second one will be much easier… Let’s have another one!
CED’s Venture Mentoring Service is a proven system that gets results. After presenting at one of our monthly meetings, a team of 3-4 mentors will help you with major business challenges like: making key hires, finding new customers, developing channel partners, seeking licensing deals, perfecting pricing models and more. For more information on our Venture Mentoring Service contact, Miriam Wilson, and find the right support to accelerate your success today.