The Salesforce Career Show

Build a Top Boutique Salesforce Firm: Strategies from Flok Consulting Founders

May 28, 2024 Josh Matthews and Vanessa Grant Season 2 Episode 46
Build a Top Boutique Salesforce Firm: Strategies from Flok Consulting Founders
The Salesforce Career Show
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The Salesforce Career Show
Build a Top Boutique Salesforce Firm: Strategies from Flok Consulting Founders
May 28, 2024 Season 2 Episode 46
Josh Matthews and Vanessa Grant

Unlock the secrets to building a successful boutique consulting firm as Drew Benson and Jimmy Glynn from Flock Consulting join us on the Salesforce Career Show! Discover how Flock's unique company culture not only attracts top talent but also fosters an environment where employees feel like they're working with friends. From their early days meeting at Dreamforce to becoming a trusted name in Experience and Service Cloud solutions, Drew and Jimmy share invaluable insights about leadership, employee engagement, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

Prepare for a packed schedule at upcoming conferences like Dreamin' in Color and Dreamforce with our exclusive tips on timely abstract submissions and exciting road trip plans. We'll also address the frustrations of dealing with uncooperative clients during the hiring process and explore the qualities that make for ideal new hires at boutique firms. Vanessa Grant gives us a glimpse into her recent adventures with the admin Trailblazer community in London, reflecting her deep involvement in the Salesforce ecosystem.

Dive into the entrepreneurial journey of starting a Salesforce partner company from scratch as Drew Benson recounts his experience of launching Flock Consulting in 2015. Learn about the importance of regular communication, effective onboarding processes, fostering a supportive work environment, and working on oneself. Plus, discover how balancing employee utilization with ongoing training and certifications can lead to satisfied employees and better client relationships. Don't miss our light-hearted moments, including a special nod to Jimmy's impressive mustache, and our chat with the author of "Destination Employer.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Unlock the secrets to building a successful boutique consulting firm as Drew Benson and Jimmy Glynn from Flock Consulting join us on the Salesforce Career Show! Discover how Flock's unique company culture not only attracts top talent but also fosters an environment where employees feel like they're working with friends. From their early days meeting at Dreamforce to becoming a trusted name in Experience and Service Cloud solutions, Drew and Jimmy share invaluable insights about leadership, employee engagement, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

Prepare for a packed schedule at upcoming conferences like Dreamin' in Color and Dreamforce with our exclusive tips on timely abstract submissions and exciting road trip plans. We'll also address the frustrations of dealing with uncooperative clients during the hiring process and explore the qualities that make for ideal new hires at boutique firms. Vanessa Grant gives us a glimpse into her recent adventures with the admin Trailblazer community in London, reflecting her deep involvement in the Salesforce ecosystem.

Dive into the entrepreneurial journey of starting a Salesforce partner company from scratch as Drew Benson recounts his experience of launching Flock Consulting in 2015. Learn about the importance of regular communication, effective onboarding processes, fostering a supportive work environment, and working on oneself. Plus, discover how balancing employee utilization with ongoing training and certifications can lead to satisfied employees and better client relationships. Don't miss our light-hearted moments, including a special nod to Jimmy's impressive mustache, and our chat with the author of "Destination Employer.

Announcer:

And now the number one audio program that helps you to hire, get hired and soar higher in the Salesforce ecosystem. It's the Salesforce Career Show with Josh Matthews and Vanessa Grant.

Josh Matthews:

Okay guys, welcome to the show. Vanessa Grant. Okay guys, welcome to the show. I want everybody to close their eyes for a minute and just imagine. I want you to think and imagine the perfect SI company right, small, agile, does big, amazing things. A place where people are attracted and want to work there, a place where all the people who are working there want to stay there, and a place where you can work with people that literally just feel like your friends. That place actually exists and it's called Flock Consulting and it's founded by Drew Benson and Additional Leadership, jimmy Glenn, ceo, and they're both on our show today. Welcome Drew, welcome Jimmy. Thanks so much for having us show today. Welcome Drew, welcome Jimmy.

Drew Benson:

Thanks so much for having us. Wow, that felt good. I appreciate it.

Josh Matthews:

You got it. Look everybody. We'll just say it real quick. They're a boutique firm, okay, and they focus on experience and service cloud. Their team's delivered some of the most complex, largest by volume help sites in the entire ecosystem. They're also a customer of mine and I love working with them. In fact, it's a fun little story because we all met along with Fred Cadena. Fred, by the way, wishes he could be on the show today. He can't, he's at some sort of banking finance conference out in Vegas. But we just ran into you on the street on Wednesday night of Dreamforce last year. Remember that.

Jimmy Glynn:

Yeah, we were at the Accenture party, which we were invited to attend. We do some work and collaborate with Accenture, and Drew and I had shut down that party and we're walking out trying to figure out where to go next and we ran into you and that snazzy shirt you were wearing.

Josh Matthews:

Yeah, I can't remember the shirt, but it probably was snazzy, I believe that.

Drew Benson:

and then I think it was a whole outfit.

Josh Matthews:

It wasn't just a shirt oh yeah, it was my hair, my herringbone, yeah, yeah, houndstooth actually. Yeah, that's awesome man, and it was fun. And then we went back into the party, crashed it for a little bit and then it was the concert and lost track. But we caught up a few weeks later and started communicating, talking about some of the needs that Flock had, and fortunately, stephen Greger did an amazing job of identifying a great candidate for you, who's now a great employee for you. So, welcome to the show.

Josh Matthews:

I've been wanting to have you guys on here for quite some time, and the reason why is because over the course of these months when Jimmy and I have engaged and we've talked about well, first of all, we had to learn a lot about you so that we could find the right candidate for you, and I was always impressed consistently because, jimmy, you just talk about the business and you'll talk about the way employees are treated and the way the things that the organization does for the community, and so much of it makes sense. And then there were also a lot of things that I thought were fresh, things that I hadn't heard before, and when we spoke a little bit earlier today, just when we were doing our own tech check. We had some technical challenges this afternoon I did. Anyway, you kind of shared like you don't think that you're doing anything that much different than what a lot of companies are doing, but I would challenge that, I would challenge it and I would say that you guys are doing some exceptional things. So that's what we're going to talk about today.

Josh Matthews:

So if you're tuning into the podcast just now, stay tuned. We're going to just do a quick check in here with Vanessa and find out what's been going on, because my memory is imperfect and I can't remember all the things she's doing, but I do remember a ton of posts and things about all the stuff that's going on the last couple of weeks. So, vanessa, what's up?

Vanessa Grant:

Oh gosh, yeah, Yesterday I spoke to the admin Trailblazer community group in London, so that was a lot of fun. Right now I'm preparing two sessions for Dreamin' in Color taking place in June, and also starting to prepare my Dreamforce abstracts which, for anybody listening, are due on June 6th, if anybody's interested in speaking at Dreamforce.

Josh Matthews:

Right on. Yeah, I'm working on one myself. I'm going to see if we can get that negotiating skills session in there for some of the folks. We'll see if it happens. I don't know if it will, but we'll see if it happens. That's great, and you've got a lot of friends that are going to be down there at the Dreaming in Color too, I think right.

Vanessa Grant:

Yeah, and also planning a road trip from Dreamin' in Color to Southeast Dreamin'. So starting to might hit Graceland and Dollywood, and so I'm working through that.

Josh Matthews:

Well, you better hit Graceland soon because it's about to be bought or foreclosed on by some investors, so you better run. Oh yeah, that was in the news today or yesterday. Yeah, oh gosh. Yeah, there's a whole legal battle between who is it. Is it Lisa Marie? Is she the granddaughter? I can't remember.

Vanessa Grant:

The granddaughter is, I think, Riley Keough.

Josh Matthews:

Yeah, I think maybe it's with Lisa. I don't know. I like Elvis. I don't know his whole family, but yeah, it might be closing soon, so run along. And Peter, what about you, my friend? What's been going on the last couple of weeks? Just keeping busy, putting in time and waiting to hear if our esteemed SI guests here have a pair of white gloves, because I think that's pretty much standard for every SI in the ecosystem, is it?

Josh Matthews:

not yeah, I think everybody needs the white glove touch right now. And Janine, what about you? Any events going on?

Janeen Marquardt:

Yeah, I mean, like Vanessa, I'm buried in abstracts and prepping for a number of speaking engagements at upcoming conferences, trying to keep track of them all and getting ready to try to figure out if Drew and Jimmy are hiring, because, well, if they are, you'll know it from me.

Josh Matthews:

Yeah, it's an awesome place. Guys, I can't wait to talk to Drew and Jimmy about what they've done for their work culture and a little bit more about their business. But first I just want to air a grievance. Is that okay? It's got nothing to do with anyone on this show, but I think the audience, I think it's worth them hearing this out.

Josh Matthews:

About two weeks ago, I just recently signed a client bent over backwards for them a little bit on the agreement Interesting client. We liked them, it seemed like it was going to be a good fit. We'd already proactively identified some top candidates for the unicorn and it was a unicorn they were looking for and we happened to found one. And after signature, the next step is always within 24, 48 hours. You want to have a conversation as a recruiter, you want to have a one-on-one conversation with the hiring manager and it's the absolute only way you can ensure you're getting someone close to the fit. You learn more about the company as you work with them, but at least initially, that's always a requirement.

Josh Matthews:

I can't tell you I've never had so much pushback on not wanting to have a meeting in my entire life. It was an absolute nightmare and anyone who listens to this show with any sort of regularity knows that I can be sometimes a convincing person and sometimes a pushy person and sometimes, once in a while, I'm a nice person. But those other two can stand out quite a bit and maybe I got a little bit too pushy. But they said that they, oh the person was traveling not on vacation, by the way, traveling to clients and couldn't spare 15 minutes over a two week travel schedule to take a job order for the person that they absolutely needed. This is a director level person that they're hiring.

Josh Matthews:

And I said, look, that's really difficult. And all I did was say, for real, like 15, this part, she can't spare 15 minutes to hire the right person. And the next message I got was we don't want to work with you anymore. I've been dying to say something about this, just to pick on the idiots out there in the world who look around their team, wonder why they don't have the staff that they want, wonder why people have left their company to begin with that's why there's a hole in the first place and then absolutely just botch it up from the get-go. How do so many of these idiots get into leadership, drew go.

Janeen Marquardt:

I was going to say it's a question I've been asked, oh not. Janine Drew, I'm calling on Drew Janine Settle down I want the answer too.

Josh Matthews:

Good day, drew. What do you think? What's up with people man?

Drew Benson:

I may be one of those idiots that made it, but it's the culture or the environment built within the company right. That's what breeds those kind of individuals making it to the top. Yeah. And, yeah, it makes it tougher for people underneath them and be satisfied with their day-to-day work or with the individuals that they're working with. So I think that it does.

Josh Matthews:

I are actively trying to try to do a different job and trying to make it feel different within our organization yeah, well, that's smart, and I think the only thing that was missed there is that they make it more difficult for themselves, because when we surround ourselves with doers, people who get it and get it done, we have a better life. So let's, with that, dive right in. Jimmy, we've talked a little bit about your hiring profile. I think that this is a good message for all the folks out there, whether they're hiring people or managing people or looking for a new job. What are some of the key traits that you're looking for when bringing someone on?

Jimmy Glynn:

No, absolutely.

Jimmy Glynn:

I'd love to dive into that and we're a boutique firm and every organization has different traits and qualities and characteristics.

Jimmy Glynn:

But for us at Flock, we find the most success with candidates who have worked professionally for a few years, who have worked at smaller SIs and larger SIs and are at the point in their. That really comes down to not micromanaging, empowering our team to make decisions and, most importantly, is allowing them to live their life. Do their job but also live their life. So if they need time on Tuesdays to take their daughter to dance, or they have a volunteer commitment or they have other things as we all do in our lives, we ask them to make time to do that and, most importantly, not to feel bad about it. Again, higher professionals treat them that way. We trust them to get their work done, to collaborate, be part of the team, to deliver on their responsibilities of the project, but we don't need to have them at their desk at 8 am and there till 6 every day. That's not the environment that we want to be a part of and therefore we don't ask the team to be a part of that.

Josh Matthews:

Yeah, absolutely, man. It's a very different style of hiring. It really is. Tell me, you guys allow for people to adjust to the company, don't you? Like you actually have onboarding to the?

Jimmy Glynn:

company, don't you Like you actually have onboarding? We do have onboarding and we believe in hiring talented professionals and we may get it wrong, and we often do. We slot them into a role and once we get to know them and understand what motivates them and what they want to do and what they're good at being small and boutique we can flex and move them to a role that aligns them to be their best selves. So, yeah, very flexible. I think flexibility is something that is critical to what we do as a boutique firm.

Drew Benson:

And we also speaking of motivators are a big piece of hiring for us because we, being a boutique firm, as far as comp package goes, we generally can't compete with the Deloittes and the Accentures and the PWCs of the world. It's not possible for us and if somebody is 100% financially motivated, that may be a difficult pill to swallow. But when we find the right motivation of work-life balance, of compensation package being treated like a professional and there's that kind of secret blend that fits really well with our organization, like the one that you helped us find, josh, that creates it, helps continue to stabilize and grow the environment that we are trying to build and the supportive group that has similar motivations.

Vanessa Grant:

Yeah, can I just ask real quick what do you mean by a boutique firm, just so folks in the audience that might not be familiar with what a boutique firm is.

Drew Benson:

Smaller in size right, generally, and focused in a specific area right, if you look at many of their larger companies, they have business groups that will be all over the ecosystem. They'll have their MuleSoft group. They'll have their Service Cloud group. We are specifically narrowly focused on what we're really good at, which is Experience Cloud and Service Cloud. We do work in other areas when we feel like we can be successful with the group that we have, but smaller and very focused on our key experience and expertise. I think are the two main things. I don't know, jimmy, if you feel differently.

Jimmy Glynn:

No, I think that's a good description of that, and a big part of that is some smaller SIs, and I've been a part of those is that they have to be, or try to be, everything to everyone, which, as a smaller organization, you sometimes have to do to manage revenue and cash flow. That puts a tremendous strain on the team members. Not everyone wants to be consistently cutting their teeth on new clouds or new aspects of the ecosystem, and so we are narrowly not narrow, but we are specifically focused in certain areas and we stick to that, and it's important that our team knows that we have their back and that we're not going to go out and chase something because we have to, and a lot of that credit goes to the foundation that Drew built prior to me joining in creating trusted partnerships and relationships with some of our clients. That has helped us stabilize our revenue and our cash flow and allowed us to be lack of a better term somewhat picky about who we engage with and what types of projects we work on.

Josh Matthews:

Yeah, it's critical, I think, for small businesses to be able to differentiate themselves, and when you're small, you better be good at the thing that you do, like you really do. I've talked about this a little bit before, but when I opened up this shop, which was about five and a half years ago, my experience covered everything in tech engineering not not civil technical engineering network. You know every tech stack, web dev, software development, it infrastructure and, uh, my partner in crime was Steven Greger. Back in those days. We could do it, all you know, but we had the resources of a I don't remember what they were, Stephen, what were they at the time? A $5 billion company, something like that. So, yeah, like we could handle it. Yeah, yeah, the million people in the database.

Josh Matthews:

But when you're small, that's who your competition is and there's just no way you can do it all you can't. And if you think that you can, someone's lying to someone it might be to yourself, right about the quality of service that you can actually render for the clients that you serve. It's a challenge for real Guys I want to hear more about, and what I really want is the audience to hear more about what you do for employees. What is your time off policy? How are you contributing to the greater community? What are some of the nuanced benefits that those of us, that all the companies that aren't necessarily on the left coast, aren't doing right now? Talk a little bit about that, if you can, please.

Jimmy Glynn:

So, like a lot of organizations, we have an unlimited PTO policy and one of our corporate goals and we do our corporate goals on a half yearly basis is to ensure that our team actually takes that time, because a lot of the research on unlimited PTO actually results in people taking less time than if you have a structured, accrued plan. So, moving to unlimited, we wanted to make sure that the team was actually doing that. So we have weekly team meetings and every few weeks we look at how are we tracking against that? Are we actually taking the time that we've asked the team to take? And we're all unique snowflakes. Some of us have families and we have spring breaks and summers and our vacations somewhat more structured.

Jimmy Glynn:

Other people are really good planners. They're planned out through 2025 when they're going to take time off. But then I find a lot of people and I was like this way earlier in my career where I would take time when it was optimal, right, I'd wait until things got less busy, and what tends to happen is that time never comes. So I think we have a different intentionality around our PTO than I've seen in other organizations. We do little things like a quarterly volunteer day. We ask the team to take one day per quarter to find an organization or a group within their community that they want to support, and that's a day off. We take our birthdays off. That's nice when it makes an already special day feel a little bit more special.

Josh Matthews:

What if it's on Saturday?

Jimmy Glynn:

You know what? That's a great question we give them the option of Friday or Monday, and that's funny. You bring that up, Josh, because we have a question of the day during our weekly team meetings and the question today was if your birthday falls on a Sunday, are you a Friday or a Monday person? Or a Monday person, and it was the team like. As usual, the team was split kind of 50-50. Some people want to get started early and some people want to have a day to recover.

Josh Matthews:

Yeah, yeah, that's funny. That's funny. I remember being in grade school and I was always bummed out because I was a summer baby and people would have birthday parties in class. Their moms would bring cupcakes and stuff and that didn't happen for me. And then one year my mom brought in a bunch of cupcakes to celebrate my birthday in May, which my birthday wasn't for two or three months in May, and I just thought that was the most awesome thing and it's basically the seven-year-old's equivalent of getting that Friday or Monday off. So I think it's very cool that you do that, thanks mom.

Jimmy Glynn:

Yeah, absolutely Well. One other important thing for us it's as important as to when you take the time right so you could be putting in long hours and be on an awesome project with a great team, client team, project team and it doesn't feel like a lot of work, but you could be working 40-hour weeks or slightly less, and it's a tough project and a tough relationship with the client, let's say, and it's even more exhausting. So we ask a tough project and a tough relationship with the client, let's say, and it's even more exhausting. So we ask a lot of questions during our one-on-ones with how are you feeling? Where are you at? How full is your gas tank?

Jimmy Glynn:

And we encourage our team to take time off when they're at half tank, because a long weekend or a few days here or there can get you back up to full. If you wait till you're a quarter tank or an eighth of a tank left, you may only fill up a little bit. You may be at a half tank after a week off and then you're in this vicious cycle of constantly feeling like you're getting to that point of burnout. So I think it's important to talk about with our team how are you feeling? What's your sentiment around the projects that you're working on as much as it is? How much time you take off?

Drew Benson:

Yeah, obviously, being in professional services, utilization is the key to everything, and that's every organization is focused on how utilized are their resources, and I was just hearing from one of our recent hires of the organization she left that just started this great competition that the the management's so excited about, where they're just doing how many hours can you possibly bill in a week's period of time?

Drew Benson:

And that stuff is great for the organization, right, it's great financially, but over the term you're just burning people out and you're going to lose people and the gas tanks are going to get closer to empty. And that's something that we are actively focused on and caring about is how full are you? How much are you enjoying your day to day? What can we do to help improve that if it's feeling like it's imbalanced? And in that way, we are also caring for the business, because we are retaining our people. They're going to work harder for us, they're going to keep our customers happier, and so it's a two-way street and we really feel like making sure our people are cared for and their tanks are full and enjoy what they're doing will inevitably help us grow the business too.

Vanessa Grant:

So how do you balance the tanks of your folks, as well as the utilization, but also how do you bake in with Salesforce? It's always the need for ongoing training, certifications, going to events. Is that also baked into the PTO plan that you have? Is that also baked into the PTO plan that you have?

Jimmy Glynn:

Absolutely so. When we look at utilization, we look at a PTO-adjusted utilization right, because we can't tell the team to take time and then penalize them for not being a utilization target right. It would be speaking out of both sides of our mouth. We also try and set a realistic target because we do enjoy having virtual team building events. We do enjoy our weekly team meetings. There's admin time. So it's not really fair or, I think, the right approach to ask people to do 40 billable hours and then they have eight to 10 hours to study for a cert, to do a maintenance exam, to do the internal team meeting. So I think the other side of this coin is not just utilization overall organizational profitability and that there's a lot of things that go into that and utilization is part of that but also selling our value right. So best way to drive margin expansion is selling at a rate that is fair right. We don't ever want to gouge our customers, but a fair rate where both another party is happy is most likely the right rate. Then it's utilization is a part of that and we encourage our team to.

Jimmy Glynn:

If they're ever stuck somewhere, if they ever need help, spend some time trying to solve it on your own, then feel comfortable raising your hand asking for support. I think everyone's been at a point of their career where they had someone who was also busy take a few minutes to help direct one of their team members in the right direction or help them get there on their support them to get to where they need to be, and that's a culture we're continuing to try and push, because some people don't ask for help enough, some people may ask for it too much, and there's a fine line there. So it's important that one of our core principles at our organization is respect the whole person right and now. That's their life outside of work, their life in work and their unique and individual path to what they're trying to achieve as a profession.

Josh Matthews:

It's a beautiful thing, I mean what you guys have been able to develop. Starting Drew, I think you started the company in 2015. Is that right? Yep, that's right. And how many people did it launch with? Did it launch just with you doing consulting, or did you grab a few folks you knew and off you went?

Drew Benson:

It was just me and I just started as a 1099 contractor with other organizations, slowly trying to build up my own book of business, essentially Ended up getting very lucky with a large contract and was able to bring on some other contractors. So it was for the first three years it was just me and some other 1099 contractors working together, and then our first hire, kelly Pedrick who's actually listening right now.

Josh Matthews:

Hey Kelly.

Drew Benson:

Yeah, he was a few years in. So the thing about us is we haven't, to this point, taken any outside investment. It's all been through organic growth. We also haven't really done a lot of marketing. It's been a lot of word of mouth, just doing really good work in the ecosystem and people hearing about it. And now we are starting, because of our velocity, to talk more about ourselves and go out and get Salesforce more involved in who we are and what we're doing. All homegrown and that's a very. It's a much slower, uh growth pace, but it's comfortable for us and it allows us to maintain control of the business and do a lot of the things that we're talking about is about creating a really healthy environment where people enjoy coming to work, because once you have outside influences and outside money, they have some expectations that you need to try to meet.

Josh Matthews:

That's right. And look, nobody wants to wind up at age 50 with heart problems from 20 years of stress, right? There's just no point in that. And business owners, I would think, experience higher levels of stress than the average bear, but at the same time, they are business owners because they can handle it. Right, that makes sense. I'll just say a stupid thing here, really a dumb thing. But I read a study about people who smoke cigarettes and what they found is that people who smoke those pachyders actually have a more sound, stable constitution. It doesn't mean they're healthy, it's not a healthy thing to do, but they're only able to smoke because they have these strong constitutions. So it's somewhat like that with being a business owner. What do you think? I don't understand the question? Okay, so look. Do you think I don't understand the question? Oh, okay, so well, look, do you think that you're an accidental business person? Like, was your goal always to start your own bit, your own SI?

Drew Benson:

Okay, Not start my own SI, but at eight years old, if you asked me what I was doing, I was starting a business.

Josh Matthews:

Okay, okay. So it was, you were in it no-transcript.

Jimmy Glynn:

I learned to use my voice and negotiate and be heard, and so, and then, playing sports all through life, I I always say that I either want to have the ball in my hands at the end of the game and make the game winning shot, or set up a team member to be successful. I just I don't want to be on the bench, I don't want to be watching.

Josh Matthews:

Yeah.

Jimmy Glynn:

Even if I miss it. I'm okay with missing that shot or having a turnover and not winning the game, but I can't not be part of it.

Josh Matthews:

Right.

Jimmy Glynn:

So, adding to one thing that you said earlier around, like some of the benefits and the things that we think we may be doing a little bit different than others and this is prior to me joining is the team has surveyed our company around. What are your motivators? Like, what motivates you to come to work every day? And they vary. Some people are more experiential, some people are a little bit more financial, a lot of people are flexibility or time off right, so everyone's different and we survey the whole team, but then we take it a step further, which is where are we at as an organization in meeting that right? What are we doing? Are we? Your biggest motivator is getting experience in different clouds or getting an opportunity to grow your career. Where are?

Jimmy Glynn:

we at? Are we helping that? Is that part of the focus of ours? Are we setting your individual or corporate goals in alignment with that? And it's very interesting feedback and I think that if we didn't have that vehicle to structure that task, it would be hard to extrapolate that from the team. So it's been part of our reviews, not on a weekly basis, but it's an opportunity for some of our managers to check in with the team. I know you said this was a motivator and we were average like how are we doing? Are we trending in the right direction?

Jimmy Glynn:

around that, which I think is critical, because it opens dialogue and it makes sure that we understand. The last thing anyone wants is a team member just coming in on a Monday and giving their resigning from the organization and they say, well, I've been all these signs, all these things that I've asked for, that haven't happened and we're busy and sometimes we don't pick up on everything, but that's, to me, the most impactful thing that could happen to the organization, and it's not just about finances and supporting clients, but that's a true testament to leadership and communication and taking the time to understand if your people are happy or not, because at the end of the day, we are a people business and so I think we can always be better. But it is a focus of ours to try and ensure that we understand the individual and we understand what motivates them, and then we're actively trying to meet those motivations or exceed them.

Josh Matthews:

Sure, I mean, you talked about respecting the whole person, and that's absolutely part of it. I'm really curious what the tempo and frequency is of these meetings that you have with your employees.

Jimmy Glynn:

So we have a weekly team meeting and we cover various topics that can range from today we talked about hey, let's just do a refresher on expectations around tracking our time right, and we have some. We have all different types of structured engagements. Some of them are TNM. The ask is that the team submit and keep track of their hours daily. Right, there's an expectation around the amount of information that's tracked there, and a big thing around professional services is we don't want people to not track their time right. It's called ghosting their hours.

Jimmy Glynn:

That doesn't give us line of sight into how Drew and I are doing at estimating projects, because we need to be able to estimate projects based on not only the client type, the cloud and, to the extent we can, who we think we're going to staff on it, because we could estimate based on what we think it takes an average developer, an average consultant, to do these tasks. But, being boutique, we can estimate it based on the staff that we have available to work on the projects, and so we cover a topic like that. We go, we take a look at hey, in the next month or two, who's going to be out? Do we have the right coverage plan in place Are we supporting and respecting the whole person while they take their time off? And, as I said earlier, a quick question of the day. So it's a quick 30 minute call, but it's important that we do that. Then, from a one-on-one perspective, it really depends on the frequency that a team member may want. I like a weekly one-on-one check-in, but some people may want it every other week and again, we respect what works for the individual team member and their preferences.

Josh Matthews:

It's really important and I think, look, when companies don't have these meetings, when companies don't have these meetings, where people have a voice, there's a group of folks that are on the losing end of that. The outspoken, vocal, extroverted employees generally will let you know, either Either directly or through passive aggression, like you'll know, right. But then there are the folks that are not necessarily confrontational personalities, right, right, and they suffer. They suffer in silence, without having that platform.

Jimmy Glynn:

Well, I'm going to interrupt you, josh. They don't have to if you give them the avenue to submit feedback in an anonymous manner. Right, so that goes back to yeah, I will interrupt you on your own podcast and tell you what I think Not everyone will do that.

Josh Matthews:

And now I'm going to interrupt you. No, I'm not Go ahead.

Jimmy Glynn:

And now I'm going to interrupt you. No, I'm not Go ahead and I'm not a smoker, josh, by the way. So, yeah, we have that. We have to take that into consideration, which is with. Then they have a platform or they have an avenue to express their thoughts and I alluded to it earlier like the motivators, so sometimes people aren't as vocal and just having a conversation, but if you put it into a structured format, it eases the discussion a little bit.

Drew Benson:

Right, and it also takes Jimmy and I as leaders to self-reflect and understand that we aren't perfect Jimmy may think he is. I am definitely not Just that ability to allow the team to speak up and us being able to consume that and make changes and say, hey, maybe we didn't go in the right direction here. Maybe we need to look at this piece of the organization because our people are telling us something feels off and that is really important. In that self-reflection, I feel like you were saying earlier with some of these managers that you're speaking of may not be there and then people don't feel heard and that's obviously the first step of them wanting to find something else.

Josh Matthews:

Yeah, feeling misunderstood or not heard is just an absolute nightmare. I'm right, like it is, it's nobody likes it, it's super uncomfortable and then we feel like people will feel like they can't be themselves right. So because, for whatever reason, them being themselves is sending mixed messages, wrong messages or not getting helping them to get what they want. I love that you guys do these meetings with regularity, because one thing I noticed back in the day when I was a new manager was when I was a new manager I would have meetings when there was an issue, Right, and that was it. If I needed to see an employee in my office, they were like crap. Oh, it's literally like getting called into the principal's office Not a good way to manage. I'm glad I not like that anymore, but not a good way to manage.

Josh Matthews:

But if someone has a reliable one-on-one time whether it's scheduled or ad hoc, it doesn't matter. But if they've got that one-on-one time and you're asking the right questions, then there's that platform for them to pipe up. You get to grow as a leader, you get to serve them, understand them as that whole person. I think you guys are doing a really great job. Is there anything else that you think that you've done as a company, as a business or as leaders of staff. That is, let's just say like you tried something and it didn't work. Is there something that you're like, hey, let's try this, let's implement this, let's see how it goes, but it didn't work out? Or has everything just morphed and adjusted and worked out well?

Jimmy Glynn:

Well, it's a fail. Fast mentality, right. It applies to project work and owning it. Oh sorry, we tried that, that didn't work. We're going to go ahead and make it right.

Jimmy Glynn:

The same thing with managing and leading an organization and being accountable to hey, well, we tried that and appreciate everyone putting thought and effort into it, but obviously the outcome wasn't what we wanted.

Jimmy Glynn:

So, yeah, absolutely, and I'm in by no means perfect, drew, so just for the record, but it's. We are very aware that even though we want it to be a flat organization and everyone to have their thoughts and heard and we are able to everyone can speak openly and honestly. We know it's not always possible, so we've even talked about that's how you're an independent third-party consultant to come in and and ask the questions and provide the feedback to leadership and we're trying to create it. We don't want to look back and say we didn't do enough to get the voice of our team members because even though we do the motivators and even though the motivators are discussed with managers, there's still a manager, individual contributor relationship there and, known or unknown, we may be still saying what we think that our managers want to hear, and that's. We can't be perfect, but we can spend a few thousand dollars to get real feedback from our team to see if we can be better.

Drew Benson:

Well, yeah, I was just going to say no, go ahead, buddy.

Drew Benson:

One of the areas.

Drew Benson:

We just had an offsite last week with our team and one of the things we were looking at is the projects we've had over the last year and just looking at things we've done right and things we've done wrong and as we start digging into them, it's like one of the areas that we've had to grow and not only for our people satisfaction but for our organization's stability is trying to put in gates when selecting projects and being more selective and saying is this a good cultural fit for our business? Will our people work well with this organization? Is there a budget? Is this our core competency? Really starting to put in solid gates to ensure that the projects we're bringing in, we're setting our team up for success and I think that is something we have not done very well in the past six, eight months and just like trying to grow the business, bringing more projects on and not looking at those gates and that's created a decent amount of hardship and so that's, yeah, it's an area we've had to say, all right, cool, we've got to look at this before we sign on any project Because, yes, bringing in the revenue, bringing in a new client, is great. Does this fit within our team's competency to actually be a long-term successful customer of ours.

Jimmy Glynn:

Yeah, it's so smart.

Jimmy Glynn:

Yeah, it's responsible, responsible growth is another core principle of ours. So it's very easy to. Salesforce has a really big quarter. A few weeks to a few months after that, those projects are starting to kick off and everyone's jamming, hire, hire, great revenue, growth. But if there's any slowness in the sale of licenses then it's the ebb and flow of professional services and consulting and we would rather not have to reduce our team or that's a huge impact on the organization and the sense of security and comfort with the organization. So if we can grow responsibly and not get overly excited and be continue to be selective, as Drew said, then that puts us in a position to maybe not capture as much growth as we could during the uptimes, but then we're not as negatively impacted on the when things slow down. So don't, we're not doing it perfect, but we're being intentional.

Josh Matthews:

It's a super critical thing learning how to say no, whether that's someone who's out interviewing and gets a funky sense of from our company. Say no to the offer right. Say no to the potential client, the prospect that protects us, because the truth is, everybody knows this it's the 80-20 rule. 80% of challenges that we have are going to come from 20% of our clients, and you don't want that 20% to go to 30 or 40 or 50% of your clients, because now you've got 160% problem right, which is too much to handle. So I think putting those gates in is super intelligent, and I just want to apologize too. There are lags using X spaces, so sometimes it sounds like people are interrupting. It's always non-intentional. It's just because of the lag that we have on here. Drew, I want to check in with you on something.

Josh Matthews:

There are a number of people out there that I know, and maybe you know, that are attempting to go the same route that you went.

Josh Matthews:

They're doing 1099 work. They're hoping that they land a big project so that they can bring on some folks that they know and they can start earning an hourly rate on top of that and so on, and then eventually scale that into a full-fledged business and a company and do some great work for a number of years and then sell it and retire and have a good life. So I'm curious, when that point, when you went from doing being a single 1099 solopreneur on your own, what was the thing that happened? What was the activity you did, the relationship you made, whatever it is, there's a moment in time and you made some different decisions. Something happened and you landed that large client which allowed you to bring on other contractors. Do you recall that moment and do you reflect on it? Or, if you reflected on it, could you identify what some of it was? Was it getting lucky but being prepared for the luck right? Was it through networking? Was it just doing an amazing job and getting a referral? I'm curious.

Drew Benson:

Yeah, there's a lot to that question. We could talk for an hour just about the experience been over the last eight or nine years. Absolutely, there's some luck involved. I take that back.

Drew Benson:

There's a lot of care and intention that went in early on to ensure that my brand as an individual meant something and because that's all it was when I had a name flock it was me, but I cared a lot about my brand and I worked incredibly hard to make sure that that everybody knew that I could, that I was the person to go to when they needed help. Now that was a lot of years of just me and a few other contractors and then this kind of goes into a different realm. But I had to actually do a lot of work on myself in order to get to a point where I could feel comfortable growing the business, because this was my family's wife and kids. This was my family's source of income and I was constantly afraid of losing it and not putting food on the table and not being able to travel and do all the things that we like to do, and I had to get out of that scarcity mindset that this could all crumble at some point and try and just be confident that it was all going to work out and I was going to make the right decisions and that things were going to work.

Drew Benson:

And once I did that work and I got through, got into more of a lot of people call like the abundance or the feeling that things are going to be okay.

Drew Benson:

It started to grow naturally and people started to be more interested and work started to come up more often and things like talking with jimmy and having him come on board to help me do this came alive. So it was a lot of, for anybody interested in this type of thing is on this path Like there. It's not just knowing how to be a good business person, it's also knowing yourself. It's also growing as an individual in order to be a leader and be comfortable that that you can create this and that it'll happen and it's not going to, it's not going to fall apart. That was my experience, at least, and that was that inflection point that you're asking about. Once I got out of that kind of scarcity mindset, of being afraid of not having money and not having all the nice things that I've created and just going into the feeling that it was all going to work out and that I could make this happen, everything started to change.

Josh Matthews:

Thank you for sharing that because it's a deeply personal experience that you've gone through. Right, and it gets easier with time, right To say, yeah, I had to work on myself. But I want to go just a little bit further. You, you said that you had to work on yourself so that you could go from that scarcity to abundance mindset. But you didn't just sit there and say a mantra, Maybe you did Like. What did you have to do to change that style of thinking, which, of course, I'm sure affected your attitude and and the laws of attraction and so on? What did you have to actually do to break out of that?

Drew Benson:

Yeah, well, there's a lot there too.

Janeen Marquardt:

Well, if I, if you don't mind for one moment, I actually recognize some of the words you're saying and that may actually be an even more personal question that you're asking, josh.

Josh Matthews:

Which is totally fine. Yeah, I'm aware, janine, that's why I asked it.

Drew Benson:

I know it's a personal question. I always tell Jimmy I'm an open book. So if you don't want to know, the answer.

Drew Benson:

Don't ask the question. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I love outside of it. This is. I love talking about this stuff because I've seen such a huge change in my own personal life through it. So it's yeah, it's still totally okay. Hey, I had to find some mentors, okay. So I found a mentor, a guy that I used to work with at a company I worked at that. He had an exit and and is living a nice life now, and so I found a person or a professional mentor to help me see my blind spots, because that's a lot of it, right is sure, go to this world and with these blinders on thinking everything's okay, and if you don't have somebody poking at your blind spots, then you may not know they exist, and so yeah, then you're blind?

Drew Benson:

Yeah, exactly, and so I have found a professional mentor and I also worked with therapists, worked with healers and started looking at my own personal blind spots and my own personal trauma and things that created the environment around me. And as you start recognizing that stuff and putting attention to it and understanding it, it can start to morph and it's an evolution. It is for all of us. I'm still evolving as a person constantly, but yeah, but yeah. That was a for me personally in my growth within this organization. That was that inflection point I can point to, to say that is when things started to change, is when I started trusting that this was all going to work out and that and that and that I had it. That was, it was comfortable with uh, with not knowing and not controlling every aspect of the business, right?

Jimmy Glynn:

Yeah, thanks for doing that, man. I appreciate that. Drew, now that we're diving into all these things about you in an open forum, I wanted to ask you how was it relinquishing some of the day-to-day control of the organization when I came on board?

Drew Benson:

Oh you will.

Drew Benson:

Anybody who has done this Jimmy and I know another individual really well who's in a similar boat who goes from delivery into running a business has a very difficult time, because you're used to being into delivering, work day to day and controlling the projects and knowing all the customers, and then the side part of that is running the business, and so that gets very little attention, while delivering successful projects gets a lot of attention, and that's where I came from.

Drew Benson:

I was a solution architect for many years and a project manager, and so that was one of my big blind spots is that I was so focused on delivery and was so exhausted delivering projects that I needed some space. I needed some space for the business. I needed some space for delivery. I needed I just I had to step away for a little bit in order to be able to come back in a much more, in a way, where I actually had some energy towards the business, because after at the time I hired Jimmy, I was, I had no energy left, and so it was amazing and there's for anybody who's in that spot I'm not the only one I know for sure Jimmy is one of a kind. So good luck finding yeah, right but he is, yeah, good luck.

Drew Benson:

Good luck with that but but yeah, finding somebody that you trust that can come in and start taking over the day to day and give you some of that breathing room and that space to reflect on who you want to be within the organization and not what the organization is forcing you to be. And I took a few months off when Jimmy started to be honest and I just hung out with my kids and just took a breath. And then when I came back I had the energy and the focus and the interest again and got to work on things that I really like doing Sales and strategy and leadership and could trust that. Jimmy had just the day-to-day operations. And for me, one of our employees when I told her what I was doing, I was like hey, jimmy, who she knew really well before. I was like Jimmy's going to come on as CEO and she goes wait, people do that, yeah. And I was like I don't know if people do it, but I'm doing it, it feels great. So, yeah, it's absolutely there's.

Drew Benson:

There are many people in that boat, I know Cause I've talked to them and finding it is an overhead cost and it's not. It can hurt, but I guarantee finding somebody that can help just focus on. The business isn't a billable resource, right? Don't care about the utilization, just care about making sure the business isn't an available resource, right? Don't care about the utilization, just care about making sure the business is being run successfully and has a strategy for growth will change things immediately, so true two quick things.

Jimmy Glynn:

True, I think I want to give credit to the team that was in place when I came on board, because I think it wasn't as if I was 100% critical to the success of the organization when you needed to take a breath. The leadership team that was in place was doing a fantastic job. They supported me, got me onboarded right. So I think that it was good timing from how far you had grown the organization, because there was considerable growth in 23. And then I was able to come on board when everything was in a good spot Maybe not you from a burnout perspective, but the organization and the support team, individual contributors and management. So I do want to recognize everyone on the team prior to me joining. Secondly, is we talk a lot about putting people in positions to be successful and, yeah, we would all. I'd love to do podcasts all day, right, but that's not going to drive value to the organization. Maybe it will.

Jimmy Glynn:

We have to be honest with ourselves. What are we good at? What do we enjoy doing? Can I delegate? Can I ask? Can I have a relationship with my team members to know what they like to do and figure out how we can be more harmonious in our execution as an organization. So I think it's critical to find complementary team members. I think it's critical to say I'm not good at this or I don't like doing this and trying to align with other team members who maybe like doing that or maybe are okay with taking on a new responsibility or growth. So I've got to give a lot of credit to Drew for taking the time that he needed and then coming back refreshed, recharged and trying to figure out how we complement each other and not just Drew and I, but how we complement each other as an organization.

Josh Matthews:

So really it's a really beautiful story, and I mean that sincerely. It really is. It's a beautiful story. You guys are a dynamic duo. You've got an incredible company. It's Flock Consulting F-L-O-K. For those of you who are listening and want to check them out, make sure you're following Jimmy Glynn, g-l-y-n, and Drew Benson on well. They're not on a lot of socials, but certainly on LinkedIn you can follow their firm as well. And, of course, if you're in need of service cloud work or exceptional work done in experience cloud, you'll know who to call.

Josh Matthews:

This has been a really wonderful conversation. We'll just open up the floor briefly to questions. I'll check in with Vanessa if we've got any asks. Thank you, jimmy, thank you Drew for being on the program, thanks for being wonderful clients to work with Great guys, and I just want to do a little shout out to Jimmy's mustache, because Jimmy has the most magnificent mustache that I think I've ever seen. It's pretty, it's pretty remarkable. I know I broke his heart a little bit when I shaved mine. I hope you're over it. But thank you Jimmy, Thank you Drew, thank you, jimmy's mustache. You guys are awesome.

Jimmy Glynn:

Yeah, I appreciate that, josh, on behalf of myself and my mustache. One thing to call out, that is, it's getting more gray, which I'm sad about. So just to let you know that's happening.

Josh Matthews:

There's an app for that. I think you can fix that if you want Searching now.

Vanessa Grant:

Can I get one question in before we?

Josh Matthews:

Yeah, this is question time. Go for it.

Vanessa Grant:

So it's not a question from the audience. This is more for from me to Jimmy and Drew. So Josh had mentioned a little bit earlier about how, wow, you guys actually have an onboarding process, for I think a lot of consultants, especially ones that are new, wouldn't even know what an onboarding process for a Salesforce consultancy would even look like, let alone a good one. So what does your onboarding process look like?

Jimmy Glynn:

Yeah, absolutely so. I think onboarding actually starts with the first conversation we have with a candidate firm believer that a potential new team member needs to want to join us as much as we want to join them. So it's about being open and honest around what we're doing well, what we're not doing well and what we're working on. Obviously, we talk to a lot of people. We're constantly evaluating talent. We have to because, again, we want to grow, but we want to grow responsibly and anyone that knows the consulting space. Sometimes you could not need a new team member today, tomorrow. That changes with an opportunity that's moving quickly, and so I really look at onboarding as starting with the first conversation you have with the organization in terms of transparency, with who we are and what we're doing.

Jimmy Glynn:

Then the actual onboarding. I call it very supportive onboarding. There's a formal onboarding checklist and documentation and learning how our coding standards and our development process and everything else, but ideally we like to get someone onto a project in a listening and watching capacity. Again, we're not talking utilization the first week or the first month. We're talking about getting to know the team, getting to know how we deliver. Every organ, every SI delivers slightly differently. But again back to my earlier comments, we try and hire professionals, people that have done it before, so we're not doing anything so different than the standard deviation that it should be pretty quick for them to pick up on.

Jimmy Glynn:

I think that the difference is how we engage, how transparent we are with our customers, the trusted partner role that we play with a lot of our clients, and then unbreaking some of those habits of feeling like you have to be at your desk, feeling like you have to do certain things, and giving them the space they need to become a team member as we operate and work. So I could go through a checklist of things we do. One of them is again, this is not unique to us, but we ask everyone to schedule a one-on-one with everyone on the team the first week they join, have a conversation, just get to know the team. So yeah, again, the recurring theme is intentionality. So we're very intentional, we support the whole person, we get to know them and we work through project work and the non-project side of things.

Vanessa Grant:

Do folks shadow projects first, or how quickly are they utilized? It depends on their experience level their comfort right.

Drew Benson:

If we're hiring a very seasoned solution architect and experienced cloud and we have an experienced cloud just project starting, they'll jump right in. If we have a BA who's coming in a little more fresh, they'll definitely have more time to feel more comfortable. So it's like Jimmy said, it's case by case basis. There's no one defined rule on how much responsibility they'll have on their first projects.

Jimmy Glynn:

Conversation we had today. Vanessa was a new team member starting and our delivery leadership will flex right. So Drew was a new team member starting and our delivery leadership will flex right. So Drew was a solution architect. I was a project manager. Our Kelly and Julia were solution architects and PMs and still participate in some capacity with projects, depending on where we are and how many projects we have. Ideally, projects start and end sequentially, but we know sometimes projects always take a little bit longer than expected and we're always anxious to get started on projects. So we support each other by flexing, and not one-on-ones are important, but if we're super busy because we're trying to wrap up a project, get one started. We'll do check-ins and see if there's anything critical to talk about. Oh, we don't need the meeting this week, great, well, let's make sure we get it done next week. So again, flexibility and intentionality, again underlying recurring themes that we talk about.

Vanessa Grant:

Cool. Thank you guys.

Josh Matthews:

This has been a lot of fun, folks. If you're listening live and you missed the first part, we should have this out, I would think, by Tuesday or Wednesday on the Salesforce Career Show on your favorite podcast platform. What I ask folks to do is, if you enjoy the show, if you enjoy the podcast, go ahead and give us a thumbs up on your favorite podcast platform. What I ask folks to do is, if you enjoy the show, if you enjoy the podcast, go ahead and give us a thumbs up on your favorite platform that helps us and share it with friends. We love these conversations, we love having wonderful guests like Jimmy and Drew, and we love serving our audience. You guys are fantastic.

Josh Matthews:

A lot of you send me messages throughout the week, messages of gratitude for things that you've learned on the program. If there's something that you'd like to learn that we haven't covered or something that you'd like to learn more about, I definitely encourage you to reach out to me directly, either on LinkedIn or on Twitter, or you can email me directly. It's josh at thesalesforcerecruitercom, and you can check out our website, where we have lots of videos, and you can check out our website, where we have lots of videos. I've got the expand exchange, which is a directory to help you, help, basically help you. Actual final edit. But if there are any dates that you're going to be at, what are those specific dates? I think you mentioned Dreamin' in Color and East Coast Dreamin', is that right?

Vanessa Grant:

Oh, I won't be at Southeast.

Josh Matthews:

Dreamin' oh, Southeast Dreamin'.

Vanessa Grant:

I'll just be road tripping with pay there, but I'm gonna be at Dreamin' in Color and Janine will be there as well on the 19th to the 21st of June in New Orleans, which is a wonderful spot, I imagine, to have a conference. So very excited about Dreamin' in Color, that's the big one, and the other one I'll throw out there Tahoe Dreamin' is going to be out there in July. Let me grab the date.

Josh Matthews:

It's the 25th, I think. Yeah, it's right, by my birthday.

Vanessa Grant:

Yeah, 25th and 26th, yep, yep 25th and 26th and so folks that are interested. If you can't get the budget to go to Dreamforce, Tahoe's a really great conference to go to. It's really intimate and there's so many like heavy hitters that end up in Tahoe because they're so close to San Francisco Also close to San Francisco. Also, if folks are interested in sponsoring Tahoe Dreamin, that's also definitely a great thing to look into. Support your community. So just want to throw that out there. Reach out to Bill Greenhauer and the Tahoe Dreamin team. It's a great little conference and we'd definitely love to see more folks.

Josh Matthews:

It's a lot of fun. It really is a lot of fun.

Janeen Marquardt:

And it's the most affordable conference around. Honestly, hotel rooms $89 or $69 a night, so you can't beat that. Most of these places you go $200 or $300 a night location.

Josh Matthews:

Because it's subsidized by gambling. You got to love it. All right, folks Listen. This podcast is going to come out next week. We've got another one that I did that's going to be on the Josh Force YouTube channel, probably going to change the name to Salesforce Career Show YouTube channel or something like that. We had the author of Destination Employer on. It was a wonderful conversation and if you get a chance to listen to it, I think you'll recognize that Flock is absolutely a destination employer. It's the kind of place that you'll want to go and you'll want to stay, yeah.

Salesforce Career Show With Flock
Planning Events and Hiring Strategies
Work-Life Balance and Professional Development
Growing Company Origin and Strategies
Effective Employee Engagement and Feedback
Personal Growth and Business Success
Effective Team Onboarding and Collaboration
Affordable and Fun Conference Promotion