We interviewed Viktor Underwood, CEO at Quickchannel. He tells us about professionalising their business operations and changing their tech stack to the HubSpot ecosystem.
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Just funded: Ludus Global
A conversation with Victor Ogbechie, Finance and Strategy Director
In this series, we interview experts from recently funded companies about their experiences in marketing, sales, and customer success and find out how they use tools and data to grow their B2B business. This series of interviews gives you the chance to gain insight into how some of today’s successful and fast-growing B2B companies operate.
What does your company do and for whom?
Ludus is a company that assists in the training of professionals in health and safety matters. We help companies’ operators to train and educate in virtual simulations in health and safety matters. So what we have is a platform with a suite of virtual reality-based trainings. These trainings are in the area of Health, Safety & Environment (HSE), such as risk detection in plants, working at heights, fire fighting or electrical risks – everything that is related to occupational risk prevention. The key today is virtual reality, because it is the technology that can be used for this, but we are really technology agnostic: if other technologies come along in the future, we will adapt.
We have four main categories of clients: in-house prevention services and external prevention services, training centres and health centres:
- Prevention services’ objective is to train operators: when a company has a certain number of people or carries out certain activities, its workers have to be trained. So if it is a very big company, it will have its own prevention service in-house, a team in charge of training the people of that company internally. Companies like Coca Cola or DHL for example have their own training team, but if a company is not this size they will outsource this service and this outsourcing is done by external prevention service companies.
- Then there are vocational training centres, for example a vocational training institute whose students who are learning performing tasks in a certain field, there they do all the training focused on the work environment.
- Health centres that have to train their employees, for example first responders.
Virtual reality CPR training.
What is your role in the company?
I carry out the tasks of a Financial and Strategic Director within Ludus, but I am also very supportive to the Ludus structure in the area of operations. My day-to-day role is focused on the one hand on the financial side of the company, reporting to investors, supporting the CEO’s in the search for investment, and communicating the financial and strategic status of the company. On the other hand, from a more strategic point of view, together with the CEO’s I define and analyse where the company is at, what opportunities there are now and in the future. I focus on helping them to develop the strategic plans that we then transmit to the different teams in Ludus.
How do you use data to succeed in your role?
Data for me is vital. I am not in the operational side, I just analyse data in a cold way and I report on that, to facilitate internal meetings decision making. For me data is of vital importance, especially from a financial point of view and from the point of view of the business itself: evolution of customers and how much they pay, who renews, who doesn’t renew, how they are using the platform, and so on. This is all summarised in different data mining suites. We also analyse CRM data, everything that has to do with pipeline analysis, sales forecasting, cashflow, everything that connects the financial world to the business development world.
And how do you connect these cold figures to the qualitative knowledge that exists in the company?
For example, we have meetings on Mondays in which I transfer the cold data of how the MRR and some other main KPIs are evolving. The big metric is MRR, as we are a company with a SaaS B2B business model, the MRR together with the cash flow runway is what counts the most.
All the objectives are set according to the company’s MRR, and for investors we also have all the objectives set around MRR. I analyse the MRR of the company, and I have my data tables, and then I look at all the opportunities in the CRM with an X% probability. I have the average conversion rates by type of customer, and then the sales team is the one that qualitatively has more sensitivity as to how far they can really go and if the objectives we have set are going to be achieved or not. So that’s where we discuss and have this feedback loop where we put the quantitative data together with the qualitative knowledge.
And then financially, the thing we analyse is the deviations against the budget from the point of view of the evolution of cash flow and expenses and then on a monthly basis when we get the results of that month. When there is a deviation, both for better or worse, we analyse in more detail why these deviations have arisen. We always set a budget that we present at the beginning of the year, and we fight against this budget every quarter.
Inside Ludus' virtual reality training.
What is your main objective this year?
The MRR target is set, we have a strong growth target this year, 230% MRR compared to the previous year. Then from this MRR target, all the other objectives of the company are set: the marketing and sales objectives are set accordingly, but also the company’s objectives in terms of data, technology and product are set against the MRR goal. With this objective and the investment we have received and the investment we have ahead of us, we have seen opportunities to implement a better technological stack and we hope to make an important qualitative leap from a tech stack point of view. Before, we were working with tools that were not connected to each other, and therefore visibility was very complicated. Now we have everything more centralised and we can work on one data source connected to all parts of our operations that we can use as the singular source of truth.
How do you capture data at Ludus?
My main source of data capture is the company’s accounting. We have an accounting programme called AIO that captures a lot of information from an PNL and invoicing point of view that we use for reporting, and on the other hand we work a lot with Excel where I integrate data from the website, WooCommerce for customers who have entered through the payment gateway, emails in which I receive notifications of new customers who have entered through the Ludus team itself, and I also work a lot with the CRM. At the moment it’s Pipedrive, but we’re switching to HubSpot. In the CRM I look at everything to do with forecasts and sales analysis and we also connect this information with PowerBI that pulls data in from the Ludus platform itself, where we can see usage data and customer intelligence. With this cocktail of data we assemble all the reporting of the company.
And what do you use this platform usage data for?
Well, for me personally I don’t use it much, but the customer success team makes use of product usage data. They are not so much interested in how much a customer uses it, but whether they use it, if they have turned it on in the last month or not. The biggest indicator for us to monitor the health of clients is if they have usage in the month, as long as they are coming in and performing training we know we are doing well. We don’t look as much at the time of use but more the number of sessions. We now have 16 training sessions and every time we start a training we count it as a session. For customer success, these data already create a very useful direction to work with clients in terms of retention and expansion.
Finally, what is your favourite metric and how do you use it?
Of course our favourite metric is the MRR and we use it for everything. The MRR is divided into MRR at the start of a period, new MRR achieved, expansion MRR, churn MRR and new MRR during the following period. This gives us all the visibility of activity on existing customers and new customers and other important metrics such as churn, LTV, CAC, ARPA. So this is a suite of metrics that the investment funds work with and that we adopted in our reporting in the company.
We analyse the pipeline, the average time in the sales cycle, and then the conversion rates, and with that I make the forecast. Knowing the conversion rate and the average number of months to convert, we know what number of pipeline we have to build each month to make sure that there is a sufficient pace to be able to feed the MRR. This then turns into the marketing targets: how much pipeline they have to generate, and sales: how much they have to close. And so we always fight against and measure everything against the MRR.