Maz Nadjm is the founder of SoAmpli, a web and mobile platform which helps turning sales teams into social selling stars. SoAmpli has recently been acknowledged as a Top 5 UK finalist by IBM, BT Infinity Lab finalist and prize winner (competition sponsored by the UKTI), winner of Red Herring’s Top 100 Global and of Harvard Business School Alumni investment competition.
Q1: It is always fascinating to learn about the origin of innovative ideas. How did the concept for SoAmpli come about?
Well, it all started with my passion for social media and my belief that is a truly revolutionary form of communications. In fact I have been involved in the world of social media from the very beginning setting up one of the UK’s first social networks (2Bmates) in 2004, followed in 2006 by Rareface, one of the UK’s first social media agencies. What I soon realised is that social media is here to stay and it is bound to change the way we relate to each other both on a personal and professional level. We are witnessing something very similar to what happened with phones a few decades ago; at the beginning only senior managers were allowed to have a phone because their business potential was disregarded, thinking it’d be a distraction from employees’ and salespeople’s daily tasks. But over a very short period of time the perception changed completely. The idea for SoAmpli was born from this awareness that something very similar was about to happen with social media – these days, platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook are places where sales teams can connect not only with friends and family, but also build stronger relationships with prospects, existing clients and industry experts based on common interests. SoAmpli, as a tool, aims to optimise the sharing of information within a business or organisation (and specifically between the sales and marketing team) to start more conversations, generate interest and leads on social media and, ultimately, benefit both the individual and the brand he/she works for.
Q2: SoAmpli has been in business for a year and a half now. What are some of the biggest challenges you had to face as a start-up founder?
As it’s often the case with enterprise technology, one of the main challenges we have faced was the one of adoption. How could we make sure that the usage is in line with clients’ expectations and stays constant once the initial hype has passed? In a sense, it’s something very similar to what happens to a lot of us when we sign up to the gym; at the beginning of the membership we are super positive, but then “life happens” and we forget about all our good intensions. Once we pinned down the challenge, we were able to quickly understand our user journey and found a way to seemingly impact behavior by improving our user experience and in-app training, while also becoming more mature in the way we communicate the benefits of the tool to the individual who is using it.
Q3: From the very beginning, SoAmpli had the opportunity to work with some amazing global brands, including KPMG. What are some of the most important lessons you feel like passing on regarding working with enterprises?
In general, when it comes to providing a service or a product to a company much larger than yours, the ultimate lesson is to be prepared as much as possible. Working with more than 100 brands from a variety of industries has really taught us a lot about how to approach on-boarding and user retention in a structured and sustainable way. Since our platform is extremely industry agnostic, we can support any organisations where there is a need/want for innovation in the way communications are carried out, and that has been a rewarding experience to say the least. Being a young start-up, having the opportunity to work with global and established brands is extremely exciting and the learning curve is usually really steep. KPMG in particular has been incredibly supportive of us as a start-up, inviting us to great events and making introduction to possible investors and relevant people.
Q4: Finally, what are some of the things you are most excited about regarding the future of SoAmpli and the digital communication landscape it operates in?
There are a couple of elements that make me very excited about the future of SoAmpli and of the digital communications sector. First of all, social media for business is becoming a lot more mature, finally focusing on specific metrics to really showcase the impact that social selling – when done right – can have on a company’s bottom line. Here at SoAmpli we provide integrations with a company’s CRM system, monitoring which and how many deals are generated from conversations started on social media, ultimately demonstrating once and for all the ROI of outstanding brand digital content we all consume on a daily basis. If you think about the fact that traditional cold calling only has a 2.5% success rate (Keller Research Center), it is clear that this kind of technique needs to be integrated with elements of social selling to stay relevant and effective.
The second aspect of our current situation that makes me extremely hopeful is that interest in our solution has never been as high as it is right now. Although the post-Brexit situation in the UK is leaving a lot of businesses wondering about the future, there seems to be little doubt that investing in digital communications and social selling is the way to go.