in Business

A day in the life of GoCardless support

Kicking off the day

It’s 7am and I’m already up bright and early this morning as today is our pre-work morning football match. Luckily I live closer to work than most so I get a little extra of a lie-in than the others. I’d like to think this will translate into a performance comparable to Ronaldinho vs Peter Kay in those John Smith’s ads. Unfortunately my two left feet are likely to say otherwise.

A much sweatier version of myself makes it into the office at around 8.40am. Fortunately the GoCardless office has showers so there’s time to freshen up before work officially begins. A few of our team have been in for a while; with the recent rapid growth of the GoCardless customer base it’s fair to say that the support team are a hard-working bunch!

By 8.55am I have my computer on and my coffee in hand - now it’s time to officially start the day. As always there are several things that I need follow up on before getting down to today’s workload. Whoever invented post-it notes was a genius… my desk is nothing short of a shrine to them!

Customer Happiness

As a team we split our days into segments, rotating between them depending on priorities, volume, any specific cases or projects we’re working on, and simply to avoid the monotony that may otherwise ensue. For the next few hours I’m on calls. Perfect, as I’ve just finished my second coffee and probably couldn’t keep quiet if I tried.

By around 12.45pm I’ve finished my last call of the morning. A lovely retiree needed some help navigating the dashboard to manage payments for her rambling club members – I love taking these calls!

Anyway, now it’s time to put a dent in that seemingly endless cycle of emails.

It’s a busy day for the team - our Slack channel notifies us that we are on high alert due to the amount of calls and emails coming in. Today is office lunch day so we grab something delicious from the huge buffet laid out on the long wooden table by the kitchen. The food is supplied by Cookoo, one of the startups working out of the GoCardless offices. It’s great to sit down and eat with my colleagues but as support is having a busy period I pick up a kebab wrap and salad and decide to eat it at my desk.

At around 2.30pm the phone calls begin to slow for a little while and so I take this opportunity to fit a proper break in. A colleague and I decide it’s time for a quick FIFA rematch on the huge work projector in the office. I still have yet to beat him (despite a shamefully large number of attempts), but I’m feeling confident that my luck is about to change.

15 minutes later… no change. With my tail between my legs, back to emails it is.

Time for a change of pace

I’ve got an accounting partner training session scheduled in with our three newest recruits - two new sales joiners and another in support. With GoCardless being integrated with a number of popular accounting platforms it’s good to know the fundamentals of how these packages operate, especially when in a customer facing role. Having taken on the responsibility of learning these when I joined, I now get to pass on my ‘wisdom’ as and when required.

The further I go through it, the more I’m reminded that the presentation needs a bit of updating. Wunderlist is great for keeping notes on little tasks like this.

It’s 5pm and there’s an hour left of the working day, our email feed is still looking a little on the larger side than we’d like. Our team manager has decided to rally the troops in the best way possible – a competition! Who can respond to the most emails in the next hour; rules being that we must take the next oldest email each time, (and not sacrifice quality for speed, obviously) - Game on!

At 6pm time for our “all-hands” team meeting. This is where the whole team gets together on the office bleachers and our CEO and company VP’s ensure we’re up to speed with what’s going on across the company. Of course, there’s office beers to help our focus.

Once the team meeting is over it’s time to finish off the last couple of emails I’d rather get sent this evening while the issues are fresh in my mind… Ah, one more beer won’t hurt to help see me through.

The emails are finished and I’ve made my notes for tasks first thing tomorrow morning. Now, time to go home and catch up on some Homeland!

Interested in joining the GoCardless team?
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Improvements to your dashboard - May 2016

Since launching our new dashboard in April, we’ve had lots of great feedback on the additional features you’d like to see. We really appreciate all of your thoughtful comments and are pleased to share some of the improvements we’ve made over the last month:

1. Get your payout breakdowns by email

It's now even easier to see the transactions included in each payout. Your confirmation email now contains a list of the payments included. And for more information, you can click the “View in dashboard” button for a detailed breakdown.

2. Schedule a future start date for plans

You can now set a specific start date in the future for a plan to begin and for payments to start being taken.

3. Improved filters and sorting of your customer list

Find your customers more easily with filtering and sorting. See your active, inactive or pending customers at a glance. You can also see a list of your customers in alphabetical order by surname.

4. See your estimated payout dates

From the payments tab, you can now see at a glance when payouts are due to arrive in your bank account.

We really appreciate all of your thoughtful comments and suggestions so please do continue to share them with us via the ‘Leave feedback’ button in the bottom-left corner of your dashboard.

See the changes we've made
Sign in to your dashboard
in Business

Report reveals growth and cash flow are priorities for UK agencies

A new report by The Wow Company has revealed the biggest business challenges that agencies currently face across the UK. The sector is currently worth billions of pounds per year to the UK economy with 94% of agencies expecting to grow in 2016.

The annual report, which surveyed hundreds of agencies from across the UK, looked at a variety of topics from pitching to pricing. Agencies said their biggest challenge was figuring out how to grow their business. This included winning new business (55%), increasing profitability (42%) and recruiting new talent (41%). Feeding into this, poor cashflow (20%) and getting paid by clients (13%) were also listed amongst the top challenges faced.

This year’s BenchPress report had an interesting section on payments, and we thought it would be worth sharing some of the most interesting results.

The majority of agencies questioned (95%) were using bank transfer for payments, and over a half (51%) were using cheques. Both bank transfer and cheques depend on the customer deciding when to pay an invoice. With the majority of agencies relying on these payment methods it’s unsurprising that so many are concerned about cash flow.

Direct Debit is becoming an increasingly popular option with more than a quarter of agencies currently using it. Using GoCardless to take Direct Debit payments means agencies can have full control of payments, making sure they get paid on time, thus helping to maintain a healthy cash flow.

Interestingly, those agencies taking payments by Direct Debit also benefitted from shorter payment terms. More than half had a payment term of 14 days or less. This compares to just a third of those using other payment methods.

Growth over the next 12 months

It appears that having more confidence in cash flow gives agencies the freedom to focus on growth. According to the report, over half of agencies using Direct Debit forecasted growth of over 25% over the next year. In contrast, less than a third of agencies using other payment methods reported the same growth expectations. Getting paid on time can lead to an increase in business confidence, thus giving agencies more time to concentrate on running the business, rather than chasing up payments.

The report found that digital agencies are most widely utilising Direct Debit for their payments. Known to be early-adopters, it’s no surprise to see those working in tech are embracing the benefits of Direct Debit more than any other industry.

Agencies using GoCardless

GoCardless is already working with almost 4000 agencies; helping them to maintain a healthy cash flow. Using Direct Debit can have a huge impact on how quickly agencies get paid, and with GoCardless it has never been easier. Linking with all the major accounting packages, including Xero, GoCardless makes it really easy to get setup & manage payments.

In the report, Claire Love of digital agency LWS Marketing shares her experience of using GoCardless:

“In just four months, we moved 50% of our recurring payments to Direct Debit after we discovered GoCardless. This has had the biggest impact on the company I’ve seen in 8 years - boosting cash flow, morale and ease of admin. Our average debtor days have reduced from 122 days to just 7 days.

We are about to start phase 2 of the rollout, with a goal to reach 80% by explaining to clients how it will make their lives easier too. To help with this, we now always mention at the outset that our fees are based on signing a Direct Debit and state this clearly in our proposals. I can’t imagine life without GoCardless now - it’s made a massive difference.”

Using GoCardless to process payments adds a whole bundle of benefits to agencies and their customers, adding to the value and quality of service being delivering. GoCardless’ simple, automated payment process takes away the hassle of late payments, helping agencies to overcome the challenge of cash flow. It’s also quick and simple to get set-up online and there are very low fees saving agencies (and their customers) both time and money.

GoCardless has transformed cashflow for 4,000+ agencies
Find out more

How we hire Inbound Sales Development Reps

Following our $13m Series C funding round to improve our UK offering whilst continuing the quest for global expansion, the need to effectively scale and ramp the sales team has become more important than ever. As a result, we've revisited the way we prepare, interview and measure prospective Sales Development Reps (SDRs) hires.

Within the Sales Development team, prospective reps typically have little or no experience in a sales environment. This is awesome: we can hire people with tonnes of potential who haven’t picked up bad habits and are super keen to learn. But hiring people without experience requires a different type of interview process.

Sales Development at GoCardless is made up of two teams: Inbound and Outbound. In this post we’ll focus on the Inbound hiring process.

The aim of this blog post is twofold:

  1. To give an insight into what we’re looking for in new Inbound SDRs
  2. To equip interviewees with all the tools they need to succeed throughout the interview process

How do we interview?

Our interview process is designed to give you as many opportunities as possible to flourish in real life scenarios. We want to find out about you as a person to ensure that we match your goals and ambitions. It also gives you a practical insight into the day-to-day tasks associated with the role. A typical interview process involves:

1. Phone screen

This is our chance to get to know you a bit and your chance to make a great first impression. The call will last for 20 minutes, during which we'll ask you a few questions and answer any questions you've got for us. The specific questions we're looking to answer are:

  • Are you excited and passionate about working in Fintech and startups?
  • Do you want to work in sales?
  • What do you want to get out of the role?

2. On-site

We'll bring you into the office for a:

Background interview. We use this time to find out about your previous experience and assess your skills against our key competencies. We’ll also drill deeper into your motivations about working within sales and more generally how you communicate.

Role play. Here we’ll conduct a mock sales scenario where you’ll play the role of an SDR getting in touch with a prospective client. We’ll give detailed feedback after the role play and ask you to repeat the exercise (tweaking the situation, slightly!).

Five tips for the on-site interviews:

  1. Research SPIN Selling. This forms a great foundation on how we do sales here. Try and do some research of the SPIN structure and prepare some questions that might come up in the role play.

  2. Be structured. Good communication is really important in sales. Read about the pyramid principle and apply it in your answers.

  3. Be prepared. It’s always useful if candidates can demonstrate some product and industry knowledge. Our Recurring Payments Guide gives an insight into Direct Debit vs other payment methods, whilst signing up for an account is the best way to understand how our dashboard works (don’t worry, it’s free to sign up!)

  4. Keep things simple. One of the hardest skills in sales is explaining something complex in a simple way. Think about why you want to work in sales?

  5. Listen. Good questioning and good listening are two of the most important skills in sales. Listen carefully to what we say and use it to ask intelligent questions.

3. Final round

We'll bring you back in for a final round consisting of:

Email feedback session. In between the on-site and final round interview stages, we’ll ask you to construct a follow-up e-mail to the customer you spoke to in one of your role plays. You’ll be given “perfect notes” to work with, including key information such as contact details, pains and sizing. We’re really looking at your written skills and how you approach and construct a client facing e-mail.

Executive interviews. The final stage of the interview process is your opportunity to meet our CEO and VP of Sales. Come armed with questions and bags of enthusiasm.

Who are we looking for?

In order to consistently stay ahead of the curve, we regularly sit down and review who we’re looking for and how we interview prospective SDR hires. Whilst we have refined our processes and priorities over time, the key personality traits required have always remained. We firmly believe that prioritising these five characteristics have shaped the great culture, team and environment we work within:

Smart. Our product can be quite complex and technical. To succeed here, people need to be smart enough to learn the technical aspects of the product in detail.

Driven to learn and improve. Your drive and motivation to improve are key to success. We strongly believe that how good you are in a year’s time is more related to your attitude than your current ability.

Likeable. Building rapport quickly is essential to succeed as an SDR. People don’t like to buy from people they don’t like and typically make judgement within the first 30 seconds of any call or meeting.

Communication skills. The ability to explain complex ideas simply is absolutely crucial for our salespeople.

Coachability. Giving and taking feedback is one of the most important aspects of our company culture. The quicker you are able to act on feedback, the faster you learn.

If you’re unsure, please apply. We'd love to hear from you!
We're hiring

New fundraise - $13m to support our new payment network for the internet

We're excited to announce that we’ve raised a new $13m funding round led by Notion Capital and supported by our existing investors Balderton Capital, Accel Partners, and Passion Capital. We’re particularly pleased to have Notion Capital on board as their team will bring additional expertise and experience to our board having built and exited three highly-successful businesses including MessageLabs.

This is key for us to succeed in our vision to build a new payment network for the internet. It allows us to improve on our existing product in the UK and Europe, as well as expand our global footprint.

The fundraise is not the only milestone GoCardless has reached over the last few months. Today, we’re also pleased to announce that we are processing more than £1 billion per year - collectively, our 16,000 merchants are collecting over 10 million payments each year through our bank-to-bank network. Our solution has opened up access to the Direct Debit system for small businesses, and has helped multinationals meet the needs of their customers with a Direct Debit solution built for the digital age. We’re proud that this has contributed towards the 5.8% annual growth in Direct Debit payments that Bacs reported last year.

In addition to opening up Direct Debit to small businesses, we’re also creating new ways for customers to pay for products and services. For example, we now work with Thomas Cook to offer their customers the option to spread out their cost for their dream holiday.

Our expansion into new markets is also picking up pace. We are now serving businesses in Spain, the Netherlands and Sweden. They add to our growing presence in France and Germany. In France we are growing four times faster than when we launched in the UK, driven by customers like Habitat & La Fourchette, and partnerships like Mangopay. In Germany, we are picking up traction with some great customers including rankingCoach, betahaus Hamburg and the soon to launch partnership with accounting software Debitoor.

Whilst I am immensely proud of all of the above, our ongoing growth and success is all down to you, our incredibly supportive and loyal users. This is why my highlight of the year so far is the launch of our new dashboard next month. We’ve used your feedback to make it more intuitive than ever and given it the power and flexibility to grow with your business. It’s been a huge company-wide project and we hope you enjoy using it as much as we enjoyed building it. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Want to help us build a new payments network for the internet?
We're hiring