What’s the secret to mastering adaptability that leads to long-term growth? As Chris Federspiel, CEO of Blackthorn sees it, it’s becoming the connoisseur of the larger, all-inclusive picture.
Blackthorn, a tech firm building Salesforce-native apps to make processing payments and managing events for businesses a breeze, is all about bringing key tools and features like automation, configuration, and customization to thousands of Salesforce users. And that bigger picture? It all comes down to holistically solving the unique needs of their customers, giving companies the power to successfully manage their businesses as they see fit.
“If we can build something that’s remarkably easier to use while delivering far more value to customers, that’s a great thing,” says Federspiel. “We’ll love it, customers will love it, and we’ll all benefit.”
Excited to share their story, we caught up with Chris and Kristen Hicks, director of marketing and partnerships, to learn more about how customers can use Blackthorn to customize Salesforce for their unique needs and build stronger processes.
Tell me a little bit about Blackthorn’s mission and services.
Kristen: Our mission is to create innovative Salesforce applications that let businesses focus on their customers by making payment processing and event management easier.
As mentioned, you sport two awesome apps — one for processing payments through Salesforce, and the other for organizing and capitalizing on in-person and virtual events. What are your thoughts on the future of event hosting in this changed age, and what should companies looking to transition their previous in-person events to an online space consider?
Kristen: Make sure to focus on engagement between your virtual event participants. A fancy virtual conference showroom experience or event tool won’t help if your participants can’t personally connect with each other.
I also understand that you guys integrate and work with some major technology players of today like, Zoom, Stripe and, of course, the platform you’re built on, Salesforce. What advice would you give to companies that want to begin adopting new technologies but aren’t sure how?
Kristen: Identify your goals and talk to other companies who’ve adopted new technologies. We often suggest that our prospects talk with our current customers about the adoption of our product. And there are a lot of ways to make multi-phase or large adoption efforts across organizations easier, like hiring an implementation partner who can champion the transition.
Turning to another major player in any company’s success (finances), what has been the best part of working with a completely virtual accounting team? Have you seen your business grow in new ways because of this?
Chris: We don’t currently have a CFO or full-time accountant, so we rely on Acuity to help us keep our finances documented and organized. The biggest benefit is our private Slack channel with the Acuity team. Our team uses Slack for all daily communications, and Acuity’s team members on the shared channel (Nicolette Green especially) help us streamline questions around payments and invoices, for example. Shane Klima is also impressively fast to respond to our needs.
And finally, what do you think is the most important part of making virtual relationships work?
Kristen: Our team is 100% remote, and it works wonderfully for us. It’s important to joke and bring the personal side of life into virtual conversations. We’re all people with lives outside of work and families. In Slack, we have a photos-and-videos channel where our team shares memes or photos from their trips or weekend adventures.
Chris: Honesty and transparency are even more important in a virtual workplace. It’s easy to hide behind a screen and let your problems fester. If you want to talk with someone about something, use the virtual communication tools you have to start an open and honest conversation. Treat it just like you would walking into each other’s offices. Cameras on — so you can read each other’s faces and body language — and set the stage right in the beginning for an open dialogue.
Interested in knowing more about what Chris and Kristen get up to at Blackthorn? Check them out on Twitter and LinkedIn to learn more.