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The Secret to Understanding Your Customers Fears and Motivations (Episode 88)

Aggelos Mouzakitis is the CEO and Growth Product Manager of Growth Sandwich.

He is among the first Customer-led experts in the world, leveraging advanced, Jobs-to-be-done customer research to orchestrate and guide Growth for B2B SaaS companies.

A and B series SaaS companies are hiring him to organize, design, and execute programs that infuse the whole company with qualitative data, empathy, and the necessary knowledge to address any growth dilemma.

In the last 4 years, he has worked with more than 100 SaaS companies and trained literally, thousands through his physical and online courses.

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What you will learn

  • The importance of detailed growth and marketing strategies
  • How customer research can help you deeply understand the needs, problems, motivations, and fears of customers
  • How proper positioning improves your conversion rate, reduces growth rate, and eventually makes more money
  • How to find out what your customers want (interviews, surveys, client touchpoints)
  • Three learnings in Aggelos Mouzakitis’ entrepreneurial journey: 1. Don’t obsess about what other people are doing, 2. Embrace your vulnerability, 3. Take care of yourself

Transcript

Jeff Bullas

00:00:06 - 00:00:54

Hi everyone, and welcome to the Jeff Bullas show. Today, I have with me Aggelos Mouzakitis. Now, from that name, I guess he is actually greek if you have well-read. Intelligent, which all my guests, all my listeners on the show are, of course, so they would already work that out. So just a little bit about Aggelos, he’s among the first customer-led experts in the world. He is the CEO of GrowthSandwich has helped more than 100 software-as-a-service companies, and that is popularly known as SaaS as the acronym. He’s helped 100 software-as-a-service companies grow. Software-as-a-service companies are hiring to organize, design, and execute programs that infuse the whole company with qualitative data, empathy, and the necessary knowledge to address any growth dilemma.

Jeff Bullas

00:00:54 - 00:01:11

Aggelos has mentored more than 1,000 Software-as-a-service marketers and founders, and today we're gonna talk about detailed growth and marketing strategies and how he has helped them, and also his entrepreneurial journey. So welcome to the show, Aggelos.

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:01:11 - 00:01:17

Jeff. Thank you for having me, and I'm actually very surprised and honored that you managed to pronounce my surname. Thank you very much for that.

Jeff Bullas

00:01:17 - 00:01:24

I practiced in the bathroom 100 times. That's why.

Jeff Bullas

00:01:24 - 00:02:19

Okay, so the other thing that I didn't mention about Aggelos is that he talks a lot about data, but he also has got a master’s in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. So anyone here needs a bit of help, just hang in there, and we might do some good counseling for you along the way because he's not a trained psychotherapist as in practice, but obviously, the intersection of data and science meets empathy. I think it's a pretty happy place to be, frankly. So and I'm looking forward to your insight. So Aggelos, a big question here is: how did you get into consulting and doing the numbers and qualitative research for software-as-a-service companies? How did this happen?

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:02:19 - 00:02:48

Okay, thank you for that, Jeff. So I started as a marketer. I was working as a marketer for six or seven years until I reached senior positions and head positions. Well, at some point, I started realizing that my efforts weren't working as they used to work at the beginning.

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:02:48 - 00:03:52

That led me to start thinking and wondering what is it that makes a marketing strategy or a marketing campaign work versus another one that hasn't worked that failed. What is the element that makes my marketing work at one time and the same person doing the same marketing failing the other time? So that led me to product and how products are designed and product-market fit. And I started going very deep into how we can create products that actually fit with the market that they are built for. And again, the one thing led to the other, and that drove me to customer research, which is basically the science of deeply understanding the needs, problems, motivations, the fears of consumers in order to deliver the solutions and the products that answer to these.

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:03:52 - 00:04:45

So that's why customer research, that's why consulting SaaS companies. And also, that's why psychotherapy because at the end of the day, it's the human mind, it’s how the human mind works and everything that we do in product design. And customer research has a basis on psychotherapy. And psychology. Just a very quick example is behaviorism. Behaviorism is one of the most popular um psychology frameworks if I may say, and the whole gaming industry is based on that rewards and punishments based on something. So how the human mind takes decisions and does stuff is something that excites me, and that's how I mix it with uh software companies.

Jeff Bullas

00:04:45 - 00:05:10

That's very interesting because a lot of social media platforms are built to be addictive. And they actually hired neuroscientists to make sure they're addictive, and they do a damn good job, as we've noticed over the last 10 or 12 years. So does that ever creep into your product design? ...a healthy addiction for something is going to help someone does that part of what you do sometimes?

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:05:10 - 00:06:09

Yes and no, there have been uh there have been times where we tried to make a product more sticky, but the level of stickiness that the online gaming industry creates goes up to, in my point of view, up to unethical levels and up to levels that need to be regulated at some point because they resemble the gambling industry. So if someone actually faces the threat of losing all of his money, we need to regulate that just the way that we regulate smoking alcohol and everything else. So no, I wouldn't go there, but creating rewards and punishments and using behaviorism in psychology to make a product funnier to use and stick here to the minds of the customers. I don't think it's negative. In fact, it's a good product design. So why not?

Jeff Bullas

00:06:09 - 00:07:00

Yeah, I agree. I think there's a fine line between pleasure and pain, and also between. I suppose a focused, positive obsession, and also I suppose a deadly or bad obsession. And it's true that the products like Facebook design interface, user design, user interface, a lot of social media platforms, they certainly have used that made stickiness to a whole new level and you can even see it with something like even appears on your text. Like so you put an answer in response to someone else's text, then you can see the little dots happening at the bottom of the text response, and they're responding back again. What are they going to say? What are you going to say? These are just little things, but when you add a whole lot of little things up, then it can make a product quite sticky and invoke the elements of being human that make the product is a cell and also stop churn. So before we get into that sort of topic to talk about some case studies and churn because it's one of the biggest issues with software-as-a-service companies and subscriptions, you would sign them up and then lose them too high churn rate. So you're working for some other companies as a product manager in the marketing sphere, you're finding that wasn't working as well as you used to. So what made you step into the unknown, start your own business? What was that? Was there a moment? Can you remember? Or was there something that motivated you to do that step to do? As they said in um in joseph Campbell's across the threshold.

Jeff Bullas

00:07:50 - 00:08:01

In other words, move to start a new initiative. Was there a moment that you can remember, or was it just a creeping motivation?

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:08:01 - 00:08:54

The circumstances are not really the ones that can become a billboard, are not really motivating. In fact, the region is that I realized I'm unemployable uh that it's my just destiny to do that, to have freedom and to work on things that I like because I get bored extremely easily because I'm uh I don't enjoy being forced to work with people that I necessarily don't like and that makes me very cranky. So it's not a good thing. I realized I'm unemployable. Exactly the way I'm saying it, and that I will be a way better person, a way better colleague, a way better professional if I just do whatever I like.

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:08:54 - 00:09:51

Now the future was different because I realized that when you actually have a business, you have more bosses and more people to work with that you necessarily do not like. But I can guarantee that if you reach a level of seniority and respect among your community, that you can pick the people that you work with, it gets crazy interesting and very and very enjoyable. So I'm very, I feel very good that I have reached that level now that I can say, look, I won't work for the next three months. I will just rest, I will crush an island, a greek island, and then I will work during the winter to get some money, and you know, save for next summer. So when you reach that level, it's great. It's awesome. Do it.

Jeff Bullas

00:09:51 - 00:10:44

I totally get that. I did. I pretty well work my own hours. I do what I love at any rate. So and yeah, I did a digital Nomad, a Europe trip for three months two years ago before Covid hit, luckily got that in and just experimented with living life differently and let continue to run the business, learn a lot from that and I will do it again. But I'll do a little bit different because it was an experiment. It was basically I was testing to see what worked and what didn't. And would change it next time but that's what you can do. I think it's just stepping into trying something you get out of your comfort zone or maybe chase your comfort zone. Really. That's what I was doing, I suppose. But yeah, so you made the decision to go and work for yourself and

Jeff Bullas

00:10:44 - 00:10:54

What do you go into that and you've chosen software-as-a-service companies. Why did you choose them as a market segment?

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:10:54 - 00:11:41

I didn't start with SaaS companies; it wasn't my first decision, to be honest. My first decision was any company that would give me money because I had to live. I was uh I left my morning job, so I had to put food on the table. And so the first few months, or if I may say even the first year or even more than that, we're very difficult, and I wasn't very picky, and I didn't have the time and the luxury to think positioning. So the first clients were just clients that were, and I knew my stuff, but it's totally different to market for a company your whole life to be a market and in-house marketer and totally different to be a marketer of yourself.

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:11:41 - 00:12:30

Things change. You have to be you have to approach things differently because it's your wallet. Your wallet, it's your results. And it's uh it's a matter of paying your rent or not at the end of the month. So I didn't start with B2B SaaS, B2B SaaS came afterward, especially B2B SaaS, because I loved doing customer research and improving products. So the best environment for me to do what I love was built to be for certain reasons. First, because most of them are, all of them are subscription businesses. And second, because the success of a bit B2B SaaS in the commercial success isn't connected anymore to a good punch line or a good marketing campaign, as things used to be ten years ago or 15 years ago, but it's very well connected and dependent to the quality of the product. So the stakes are very high. The level of uh the level that you have to work is very high when it comes to B2B SaaS you have to be stellar surgically accurate in what you do. And that's why I picked it.

Jeff Bullas

00:13:02 - 00:13:53

Yeah, and it's um, software-as-a-service companies have an advantage in the sense. And I think we're in the middle of a huge shift in the business world. That’s some of the biggest changes in the business world we've had in centuries, frankly. One, we've got access to global markets like we've never had before. Number two, we can do it remotely. Uh, number three, we're dealing with a whole different profit and business model that never existed before. Yeah. The great thing about software-as-a-service companies that are run well is that they've got very high margins. Because I can scale to see, that's the other thing that's great about software and service companies. So do you deal, software-as-a-service companies that can uh, that are just starting, are they sort of, got a product that's selling, they're making money, They're still making big losses and need to be, making sure that they win? You know, I suppose there are two battles that SaaS companies, especially they're chasing global domination. Number 1, they're gonna win a technology war. In other words, they're going to be the leaders in tech for their industry. Number two, they're going to win the sales and market share war. The other two battles, those software-as-a-service companies have to have to win it because quite often, the end of the day is only two or three at the top that really are making serious money, and the rest are fighting for scraps. So, do you work for any particular stages of software-as-a-service companies?

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:14:33 - 00:15:33

I work for software-as-a-service companies that have reached product-market fit, which practically means that they have proven that they are building and working towards a product that has found a reasonable amount of users to resonate with. So have reached and have product-market market fit. Um, and they are going towards the growth stage practice from an investment point of view that means a series B series And some big seed level invested companies um from a team size point of view, I would say at least 15 people, but up to 200 people, so not too small, but not too big uh for a start-up either just reaching the growth point and this is my, my favorite stage because this is the most dangerous one.

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:15:33 - 00:16:27

When you are an early-stage business, you have to prove that you have a reason to exist, and that makes sense. Okay. Some companies fail that some companies succeeded, but then the stage that you raise the big money is the stage that you make the most costly mistakes. The stakes are very high at this point in time, and every decision, every wrong decision that you make, will cost your survival, and people watch you. People see you. People see what you do. You don't have the luxury to make big mistakes, You have to change your mindset, and this is the time that you know the big castles fall apart. That's why I love working with them because my work has a has an impact: a big impact towards what they do. Mhm.

Jeff Bullas

00:16:27 - 00:16:55

So that makes me think about what drives you and what keeps you get you up each day to do what you do. And I think I heard the word curiosity is one of those. You are curious to see how you can make them work. What are some of the motivations for you as an entrepreneur that really get you up to do what you do? And was that still the same as when you started?

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:16:55 - 00:18:09

Oh, not really, definitely not. The first, I would say, three or four years of this journey, we're basically superficial. I just wanted to make money and be successful and just chasing success the way that we see it in LinkedIn and Facebook quotes and magazines and all this nonsense. I was just copying other people just trying to do to be one of these success stories, but then everything changed. Things happened in my personal life. I just wasn't; I felt insecure about my health at some point. I had a very serious burnout, and if you ask me now, I'll tell you what motivates me is quality of life and science. So it's all about the science of things. Every penny that I make, I invest back to the quality of my life and my science, and I'm happy with that. I'm super happy. Actually, I don't worry about copying anybody, I don't care about other people's success, and I only compare myself with my yesterday self. And I think a lot of people struggle with that impostor syndrome. Trying to copy someone trying to be influenced by the success the way that Western society tries to perceive it and pass it around, and I think that's very wrong, and it's the source of depression and low self-esteem and such stuff.

Jeff Bullas

00:18:55 - 00:19:01

So you mentioned the word before, which was the word freedom.

Jeff Bullas

00:19:01 - 00:19:16

And so, what do you mean by freedom? Because you mentioned a lifestyle where you said you could choose to work hard during winter and then escape during the summer. So is that freedom for you?

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:19:16 - 00:20:18

Freedom is to be able to travel and work. Freedom is to be able to say I won't work today because I want to spend time with my kids or with my wife or see friends or rest because I need to rest now. Freedom is to be able to fire a client because he or she is making your life miserable and not feeling stressed that this will compromise your quality of life. Freedom is to be able to prioritize luxurious things like your rest over work. And also, freedom is to be able to prioritize science over commercial success sometimes to be able to say no. I want to do that because it's not really scientific, it's just for the money, but I prefer doing science. All these things are freedom.

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:20:18 - 00:20:51

Freedom doesn't come if you have if you're so successful that you have a very fat bank account that you don't care. In fact, it's not the opposite. But it's not like that freedom comes when you have so much success, but not too much success. You still have the motivation to wake up and try, but you're not on the other side working to survive. I think that's the best state to be in. What do you think?

Jeff Bullas

00:20:51 - 00:21:41

I think that's fabulous. In fact, I've created a framework for what I've called the freedom Code, and we'll talk about another stage, but I basically work how I want to work. I can take a day off if I want. I've got a team that supports me. So I buy time. They do the things that I'm not good at. I've got the freedom to go and work in another country and explore that while I work, which I did very focused way too much two years ago. I love what you're saying. I think you revealed what freedom should be for most people. The other thing that and thinking about what you're doing is... in other words, you said you want to do more science rather just make more money. Does that mean that you are so curious about what the science is going to show you that you're just curious about the results? So that's enough. Is that is it sometimes just being so curious is that also what drives you to learn?

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:21:59 - 00:23:01

Oh, Jeff, how the human mind is one of the most fascinating things that I have encountered in my life. That our minds are so irrational. That every day, it fascinates me. Let me give you a very small example from my work, not my work but my field. Twenty years ago, there was a Thai team, a team from Thailand, that invented a new energy drink, and they tested it with testers, and 97% of the Testers said that the drink was horrible. They launched it anyway. And this drink is Red Bull, and it's a multibillion-dollar business. And the reason for that is because when you drink Red Bull, you don't expect it to taste great because you, the consumer action resembles when you buy medicine.

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:23:01 - 00:23:52

If it tastes very well, it probably means that it doesn't do the job that it promises. Look, isn't that crazy and building products by unpacking these forces in our minds and these instincts and then building products that satisfy them is the most satisfying thing that I have done in my life. And gives me this pleasing, controlling feeling that I know is my narc part of the narc part of my personality. But it gives you this very, very satisfying uh and addictive control feeling over others which isn't really applicable to anything, but it just gives you that feeling, and I find that extremely satisfying.

Jeff Bullas

00:23:52 - 00:24:56

So what you find satisfaction from is experimenting with products and growth hacking or marketing tactics that touch people's hearts and souls and minds because it's, the human mind is fascinating. I'm in the middle of reading a book at the moment, which is talking about the intersection of, of physics and consciousness. And yeah, I'm one of the big things that I'm certainly curious about is what drives us. And that's why I asked you what motivates you when you started with the external things might have added me money—success as seen by the outside external. Then you're saying now that the really powerful thing for you now is internal motivation. And make sure that's the easiest 1 to sustain. And I think what you've shared is just fascinating. And it's an area for me that I asked that question every day on reflection.

Jeff Bullas

00:24:56 - 00:25:42

And yeah, it's, it's such a fascinating part of being human is our mind, which you can sit down, you can read a book, and what happens just random, whether it's random thought generator, just stuff comes in and going, where did that come from, and then another thought pops up. Sometimes I find that I'm getting a notebook and my phone with the notes factor. I'm just, I'm catching the thoughts that come in because I'm going, I can use that for that, or I can use this for that. So we're random thought generators. We don't know where that comes from, but it comes from consciousness. What's consciousness. We're still trying to work that out.

Jeff Bullas

00:25:42 - 00:25:51

Anyway, so let's move on to another topic.

Jeff Bullas

00:25:51 - 00:26:18

So you started this journey, and you're helping people. What are some of your best success case studies that companies that you work with? What are some of your best success stories? You mentioned a company that I noticed we mentioned before whereby maybe tell me about that because one of the challenges is that you can get a customer as a software as a service company and you typically software-as-a-service companies typically go into a subscription model, is that correct?

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:26:18 - 00:26:21

Most of the businesses are working on a subscription model. Indeed.

Jeff Bullas

00:26:21 - 00:26:22

Okay.

Jeff Bullas

00:26:22 - 00:27:12

So the challenge for that, isn't it? That you get them on board, and if they're not quite happy, in other words, the product fit isn't good, or they're not happy with the product or service or platform, they leave, that's called Churn. Now, so before we get to whereby, what are some of the best, I suppose sales marketing stories you have, and then we're going to talk about where by and how can you stop them leaving? So let's talk about maybe a good success story in terms of sales and growth may be, and I think the term you may have used in some of you read about from you is growth hacking. In other words, what platforms work and what don't. So what's one of your successful, most successful sales marketing clients,

Jeff Bullas

00:27:12 - 00:27:18

if you can mention them, That’d be great. Otherwise, they can just remain anonymous. That's fine.

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:27:18 - 00:28:17

Generally speaking, I prefer to stay far from the term growth hacking, not because it's a bad term, but because it's misused by a lot of people from growth hackers basically. And the problem with growth hacking and the way that is used at the moment is that it creates the expectation of a silver bullet, of an easy solution. And so for me, being a researcher and a product researcher that helps go to market such businesses go to market better. The term hacking is like my Kryptonite because the word research sits on the other side. It really gives the perception of something that takes time costs and has a negative connotation. That’s the negative connotation that it gives. So I stay away from that.

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:28:17 - 00:29:20

But to be honest with you, if I may use the term growth hack, I think research is the only growth fact that exists at the moment. So if I would share a room, a very quick story about a commercial story about a company that I worked with would be a software company that would build a solution where agencies and freelancers would be able to share Their HTML file content and banners with their clients and then their clients would be able to pinpoint feedback within this HTML. Now, this might sound a little bit boring. What is HTML? What is all that? HTML is code. And the problem behind that is that the only way at the moment for a company or a designer that builds HTML stuff to share them and get feedback is to zip them.

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:29:20 - 00:30:23

I think everybody knows what zipping is. Attach the zipped document within an email, send the zip document, then the receiver needs to unzip open and then write a long email describing the feedback instead of showing the feedback. So it's quite a difficult process. So this company came to me and asked me to streamline their position to tell them what's wrong to help them improve themselves. They had a lot of different requests. They didn't really know what was the problem. They just knew that they wanted to research. So we did research, and something fascinating happened. The company's positioning was the solution to pinpoint on HTML. And after research, we realized that nine out of ten customers were not using the pinpointing system. So the company was a successful company that had a lot of power users, but most of them didn't stay within the product because of the flagship feature of it. The founding team thought that their biggest success was a feature that almost nobody was using when I went back to the founder and told him that your flagship feature is not really used. He told me that “I'm straight crazy.” He said that “I don't know what I'm talking about?” And then I showed him videos, videos of people, collated videos of people actually saying that the reason that they are using that is because it helps them display the HTML and then the feedback process keeps happening within emails. Because when a customer receives that and doesn't really understand the commenting system and the pinpointing system straight ahead, they don't really disturb him the client by forcing him to use this picture. They just continue exchanging emails. And then another reason is that some of these customers told me that, you know, when our client uses a little bit of the feature and a little bit of email, we actually stop using the feature, and we just keep using the email. So we realized that their whole positioning was wrong, and going back to your question about churn, sometimes the reason churn exists is because we have a wrong positioning because we give wrong expectations. That was, that was one of a very fascinating, uh, story and case study because the founder wouldn't believe, and that's a very common thing in my work. I go back to the businesses, and I tell them what their customers say, but in the way that I managed to get the inside, and they don't believe me, they need to see evidence, and they see videos, and it's crazy. And it's also a very satisfying moment when this comes. Yeah, lots of these satisfying moments of truth for the founders.

Jeff Bullas

00:32:32 - 00:32:36

So did you increase their sales?

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:32:36 - 00:33:32

We did a couple of very specific things that didn't straight ahead increase their sales. But put balance into their funnel when, I mean, balance into their funnel, I mean, they might have a growth rate that is very high, but then they might have a very high churn rate at the same time. So what did that, did that increase their commercial success? Know if lots of people come and then lots of people leave, it's wrong. It shouldn't happen. So by fixing their positioning, we made sure that the people that get into the product convert at a very high conversion rate and stay makes sense. But when you streamline the positioning and when you say the truth about the expectations that people need to have from you, that also might discourage people. So it might reduce your growth rate, it might show that you onboard less customers, but in reality at the end of the month, you make more money because the customers that you board, they know what they expect and they stay. So these are the imbalances that we might face that, uh, that sometimes creates misunderstandings because I think of that think of having a product that oversells an expectation that doesn't deliver it. You have a very high conversion rate at the beginning. But then lots of people get discouraged and live that might create the misunderstanding to the team that marketing work works great. But products under delivers while it's the exact opposite thing, you see these are imbalances that cost a lot, cost into attention, costing to return resources, cost into effort, energy and we fix them. And then the whole thing works more smoothly.

Jeff Bullas

00:34:37 - 00:34:48

So basically, your approach is to ask the customer and find out how you can find the product. So it meets their expectations rather than underperform.

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:34:48 - 00:35:06

My job is basically to go back to the founder and tell him exactly in surgical accuracy what his customers want so that they can build the thing that they want and communicate it in the way that everybody will understand.

Jeff Bullas

00:35:06 - 00:35:08

That's great.

Jeff Bullas

00:35:08 - 00:35:31

So what's your approach to that? Is that one on one with individual customers? What's your approach? Can you, is it sort of in the trenches or is it research? Is it testing? How did you find out what's your approach to finding out what the customer wants?

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:35:31 - 00:36:30

It's a mix of tactics. My favorite one is undoubtedly user interviews. I use a lot of user interviews because the level of empathy that you can create from 1-to-1 conversations cannot be compared with anything but user interviews aren't scalable. You can really have a scalable research project only with user interviews. And at the end of the day, when you, when you use a research tactic, such as interviews you need to have another research tactic that validates the other one. So within simple words, when you do interviews, you need to have some form of a survey at the same time and then compare the very hard findings of the one. If they resemble the hard findings of the other, it's like a guardian, it tells you if you're doing a good job.

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:36:30 - 00:37:12

So here are the tactics that I'm using. Typically interviews, number one. Second, surveys, ad hoc surveys. Third, I use the actual client touchpoints—either human touchpoints or digital touchpoints as feedback sources. For example, you have a salesperson that way the questions that the salesperson is asking and I take the answers as feedback. You have customer support and customer success. I trained them into doing different questions that will actually become feedback for the rest of the team. You have an onboarding flow with a couple of questions, such as what is the size of your business,

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:37:12 - 00:38:03

What do you do? You might influence the questions that you ask there so that it helps me a little bit as well as a researcher. You have a cancelation experience. I will definitely influence the cancelation survey so that it gives me information as well. The very good thing about that is when you do interviews you that gives you depth. When you do surveys or you influence the client touchpoints, that gives you scale. We need both. We need both scale and depth. So these are pretty much the tactics that I use along with just observation with user recordings or observation of what the user is doing with our product. Makes sense?

Jeff Bullas

00:38:03 - 00:38:24

So what sort of software-as-a-service companies do you mention, B2B SaaS companies. Are you typically working with software-as-a-service companies that are working in a certain sort of monthly subscription or product price point is a high-value mid-value, low value?

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:38:24 - 00:39:31

I prefer not to work with enterprise-level businesses. And the reason for that is because when a B2B SaaS enterprise B2B things are a little bit different. You have less customers. It's a very sales-driven process. The reason there is not the same level of transparency when it comes to your product roadmap big customers, big clients influence what you build and how you don't address a big market. You have different contracts; you might have year contracts, not monthly contracts. So the nature of enterprise-level enterprise-level B2B resembles more a stable business if I may say. So yes, there is also research that can be done there, but it's not as fascinating and it's not the same. So I prefer working with companies that they're they're the second B is a small business, B to small business because lots of people are coming in, lots of people are coming out, there is like a, like a variety of data, scientifically speaking, I have material to work with, that's why I prefer them. And also because there is so much, so much material to work with, there is so much impact, so high impact of my work towards what they do,

Jeff Bullas

00:40:00 - 00:40:22

That's great, so I'm curious about, are there any mentors or resources or books that you've read, training you've done, or people that help you, mentors who have helped you in your journey as an entrepreneur?

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:40:22 - 00:41:09

Oh definitely, definitely, I will mention a couple of names and a couple of books, the first name is Clayton Christensen. Clayton Christensen is basically the person that wrote the Innovator's Dilemma, but this was one of the first people or the first person that mentioned the term Jobs-to-be-Done. We lost Clayton last year, the very big loss for jobs to be done research and science overall. But Clayton Christensen was also working with some people is like I consider him like Jesus and his students, so one of his students, his right hand Bob Moesta is a living legend at the moment of Jobs-to-be-Done.

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:41:09 - 00:42:07

He has written a lot of books. Just check him out, and you can find a lot of material about Bob Moesta. Another person that I'm following, another great scientist, is Tony Ulwick. So what is the difference between Bob Moesta to Tony Ulwick, Clayton Christensen? Jobs-to-be-Done is a very big thing. And there are schools of thought. The one school of thought is the outcome-driven innovation school of thought. This is Tony Ulwick's school of thought that says that when we buy a product, we basically expect a specific outcome. On the other hand, we have Bob and Clay who speak about the forces, the Jobs-to-be-Done forces the Jobs-to-be-Done timeline, and the customer journey. And they speak about specific jobs. It's in my view. It’s just an academic. These are little differences, little details that happened between the academia when it comes to the actionable application of what we do. Those differences are not really important, but both schools of thought have very important things to share. The fourth one is Alan Klement. Um, and his book When Coffee and Kale Compete: very nice book. One of the first books that I read about that, and actually I was surprised with Alan. He’s a best-selling author. But I had a question about what he was writing in the book. So I found him on LinkedIn and just messaged him. And he replied after 30 minutes, and we jumped on a call to explain to me what he meant within his book, and I found that exactly what I want to be in life, this guy? Alan Klement is a scientist at heart, so he wouldn't bother jumping into a conversation with the random dude that just spoke to him on LinkedIn, just to explain the science.

Jeff Bullas

00:43:14 - 00:43:16

So what was the book?

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:43:16 - 00:43:40

When Coffee and Kale Compete. And another book, Tony Ulwick's book is What Customers Want by Tony Ulwick. Great book. Another book is Demand-side Sales by Bob Moesta. These are all of them are great books, and all of them are great authors. So check the other books that they have written. I definitely trust that they are great.

Jeff Bullas

00:43:40 - 00:43:44

So, Alan Klement was When Coffee and Kale Compete, is that correct?

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:43:45 - 00:43:45

Exactly. Yes.

Jeff Bullas

00:43:46 - 00:43:47

I love the title

Jeff Bullas

00:43:47 - 00:43:49

and What Customers Want, is that correct?

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:43:49 - 00:43:52

Tony Ulwick. That's Tony Ulwick.

Jeff Bullas

00:43:53 - 00:43:54

And the other one was

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:43:54 - 00:43:57

Demand-side Sales by Bob Moesta.

Jeff Bullas

00:43:58 - 00:44:00

Demand-side Sales.

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:44:00 - 00:44:01

Exactly.

Jeff Bullas

00:44:01 - 00:44:52

Great. All right, you might mention those, the notes. Fantastic. So, I'm always intrigued by what sort of educational resources and motivation inspiration comes from, and I think thank you for sharing that. That's really, really cool. So, um, just to wrap things up on where your time is, what are a couple of top tips that you'd love to share with our audience and listeners and viewers. What you've learned as an entrepreneur and leaping into the unknown and starting your own business and creating your own freedom, even though you answered too many bosses now, instead of just one. They're your customers. So what are a couple of most important things you've learned along the way that you can share with our audience and their journey and what people can learn from your experience as an entrepreneur? What what are the top two or three things you'd like to share with them?

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:44:59 - 00:45:18

I have to think about that, definitely. The first thing is, um, don't look at what other people are doing. Only look at what you are doing. I mean, that's I'm not sure if that's definitely realistic because you have to check your competition. But don't obsess.

Jeff Bullas

00:45:18 - 00:45:20

I agree with you. It's fantastic.

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:45:20 - 00:46:19

Don't obsess about what other people are doing, and that I see that in B2B SaaS companies as well. In lots of cases, we see a little team obsessing about another team building exactly what they're building, focusing what they do or, and you know, thinking that this team knows what they do and we don't so let's copy them. While the reality is that on the other side, there is another little team that doesn't know what they do, and they obsess about someone else. Another thing that I have realized and supports the statement of don't watch. Don't obsess about what other people do. It’s that, you know, on LinkedIn, everybody pretends to be successful and great. Most of these people, including me. We are people. We’re just people at the end of the day. We have personal problems. We might have financial issues at some point in our life, we have a family, we have a mom and a dad that we love, and we care about a girlfriend or a boyfriend that makes our life difficult. So when you start being personal with people, you realize that they drop these, I'm a successful professional shield, and they also become personal. And that's one of the second, what's, what's one of the most important things that I realized lately that I can make friends out of this community by being vulnerable. So the second thing, embrace your vulnerability. I mean, LinkedIn is a great space for us to pretend to be successful for clients, but we have to be vulnerable within people and be true. And that has a return on investment. That's a good business decision as well, trusting that.

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:47:17 - 00:48:07

So that's the second thing. The third thing I would say, take care of yourself. Taking care of yourself doesn't mean being very, not pushing yourself towards the limits, but not pushing yourself in an unhealthy manner, not pushing yourself to perform just for the sake of performing just for the obsession of being the first or second or third. Push yourself to perform. Eat well, crash the gym. Rest your mind, have a vacation. Just push yourself to the limit in a healthy way, not in an obsessive way. I used to do that in an obsessive way.

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:48:07 - 00:48:56

And I got burned out. And when, I mean when, when we say burnout, it's not like the, it's not like the common phrase that we might use in daily life, Like a serious burnout. A legit burnout includes you not being able to work at all because you are psychologically and mentally uh um on the floor having digestion issues, having serious headaches. So it's, it's an actual thing. It's not like I'm tired. Oh, I'm burned out. No, it's being tired, doesn't mean that you're burned out. So I wasn't taking care of myself. So these are my three tips. I just thought of them. Sorry if they don't sound very structured, I hope you get the point.

Jeff Bullas

00:48:56 - 00:49:52

I love them. And guess what, I think questions that come from the heart, in other words, and from the gut, which is what you've shared. I think that they are the most powerful ones at any rate. So thank you for sharing that. That's fantastic. Thank you, Aggelos, for sharing. You know Aggelos, sorry, I've called your name wrong with me. Thanks, Aggelos, for sharing your journey with us. It's been absolutely fabulous. And looking forward to maybe visiting you in Greece one day and seeing some more of your beautiful islands. I have been to Mykonos, and I've been to Athens, and I've been to the coliseum and it's fabulous. So thank you very much before we go, how can people find you? What are the best contact details?

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:49:52 - 00:50:21

If you wanna, if you want us to geek out about research, you can find me directly on LinkedIn and send me a message more than happy to discuss research. You can also find me on my website, growthsandwich.com. You can find me on Facebook as well. But that's pretty much it. I'm not a big fan of social media except LinkedIn. So prefer LinkedIn.

Jeff Bullas

00:50:23 - 00:50:30

Thanks, Aggelos. That's absolutely fine. Thank you for having you on the show and sharing your stories, and showing your humanity.

Aggelos Mouzakitis

00:50:30 - 00:50:34

It was my pleasure and my honor to be here, Jeff, with you.

Jeff Bullas

00:50:34 - 00:50:36

Thanks for your time. Thank you.