SalesStryke Software, creators of the TrashBolt Software Marketing and Sales System, understands what haulers need. The company grew from the success of its garbage hauling company, GarbageMan, Inc., which launched in 2008.
One of the fastest growing companies in the country, GarbageMan was sold to Waste Management in 2017. Now, with its proprietary software platform TrashBolt, SalesStryke helps to drive the sales and marketing operations of its hauler clients, while also working with them to streamline their business practices.
CEO K. Ryan Hasse recently spoke to Waste360 about how SalesStryke taps into its experience as a hauler to help its clients grow rapidly, increase efficiency, lower sales costs and expand strategically.
Waste360: How does SalesStryke’s history as a hauler help the company better understand its clients’ pain points?
K. Ryan Hasse: We are the true rags-to-riches story. We started with an idea and very little in the way of resources. It was tough in the first couple years. Even starvation was too expensive! But, we honed our methods, refined our technology and before we knew it, we were breaking into new cities and states, sometimes adding 30,000 customers in six months. We made 71st in Inc 500’s fastest growing companies. In just nine years, we sold to Waste Management. It was a helluva ride!
Not to brag, but we were very good at acquiring customers while maintaining solid operations and high customer satisfaction. We’d open new markets and new routes, and we’d enter new states and succeed. We worked hard and put a lot of time and effort into designing our systems, later to become TrashBolt, so we could ramp up and dominate.
As such, we’ve experienced the challenges haulers experience for ourselves. This positions us uniquely in the waste services software segment. We designed our sales and marketing methodologies and products from practical experience, and we find innovative ways to introduce and integrate technology into traditional processes that haulers use.
Many sales software tools are not hauler specific; therefore, they do not address specific problems that haulers face. Because we provided residential and commercial hauling services, we did roll-off, we brokered services ourselves and we really did all aspects of the business. We know how to face these issues affecting haulers, and we know how to solve them.
Our methodology includes analysis of a client’s website, search engine optimization, social media presence and development of easy ways for a customer to click “buy now” and purchase services. Then, we combine all that with an analysis of the client’s operational efficiencies. This can include an in-depth look at route density and the process for creating work orders to deliver carts to new customers. It also can include the integration of new sales into a hauler’s current billing and operations products (e.g. Soft-Pak, TrashFlow, WAM, etc.). We seek to provide our haulers with the expertise required to reach their goals.
We offer the Trashbolt sales and marketing platform, and because the sale is the beginning of the entire billing and operations process, we work with the client to create more downstream efficiencies that can streamline the business. Our goal is to strategically improve that client’s business and to create an integration between the billing and operations processes and sales and marketing processes.
All of this combines with my personal resume and the resume of our amazing team. I’ve been in software since 1998, having worked for, run and sold software companies. Our Chief Technology Officer Martin (Marty) Euerle has been in software since 1986 and has remained current on various technologies. I’ve worked with Marty on multiple projects for 16 years. Our Chief Financial Officer Wayne Molck has worked in finance for 45-plus years—he’s the guy our client’s rely upon for growth finance and who shepherded GarbageMan from ragtag to a multimillion-dollar sale. Andy Sorensen, a founder of GarbageMan, is a genius who makes everything he touches sing. The rest of our team, too many to mention, are dedicated industry professionals who take personal joy in watching our clients succeed. I’m very lucky and grateful to be the head of such a talented team.
Waste360: How does SalesStryke help haulers grow?
K. Ryan Hasse: We work with haulers to identify their goals. Some haulers want to position for sale/acquisition. Some haulers want to grow. Some want to pass their business down a generation. Some haulers want to maximize their density and capacity within their existing operational footprint. Some haulers need lines of credit or even investment dollars. Some haulers need to maximize data efficiency between their sales/marketing and their billing/operations systems. We have operations, financial and technology experts on staff who know how to do all of this and more.
After we establish our client’s goals, we lay out a plan; we analyze their market, identify where their growth potential is and pinpoint where the competition might be weak. [Those are some of the ways] we help haulers to grow. We are not a company that sells software and says, “good luck!” Our team is passionate about our clients’ success. It’s amazing. And I’m very proud of that.
If we have a hauler client who says, “I want to add 5,000 customers this year,” we will ask, “what does that mean operationally?” It might mean two or three more trucks. It might mean changing your route strategies. It might mean that your operational mapping is different from your sales mapping. Whatever the case, we lay out a plan with performance indicators, and then we work that plan.
We work with haulers to develop marketing and sales polygons—a shape on a digital map that outlines where you are going to market and sell. We also look at the operational polygons/map. How do these maps align? Does the client need to increase density in the current operational area? Do they need to expand the operational area? If so, where should they expand? How many addresses do we have to work with? We can pull a list of those addresses within the marketing polygons and then create marketing campaigns. If new trucks are needed, what do the books look like? Is debt/financing an option? We can find the lender. All of these questions affect the cost of sale and the growth opportunity. And, as former haulers, we get it. We can help because we did it, and we did it in multiple markets.
We help our clients think about how to scale up without just adding bodies and increasing overhead. We can help haulers identify how to shift current personnel from sales activities to marketing activities because TrashBolt’s buy now button allows buyers to self-service (which is what they want!)—this frees up sales staff hours to focus on top of the funnel activities. We work to integrate a hauler’s technology solutions and even connect to equity partners or other types of financial options. We look at the total business, not just one piece, and help haulers win.
As a hauler, we started as a small business—literally two guys, a well-used old truck and a couple dogs—and grew to 65 trucks, three states, tens of thousands of customers and ultimately sold our business to Waste Management for millions of dollars. We can help other haulers grow because we know how to do it. What other software company in the waste services market can say this?
Waste360: How did your own hauling company experience such fast growth?
K. Ryan Hasse: We grew so quickly by giving customers the buying experience they wanted, and we identified where our scaling inefficiencies occurred. Scaling is expensive, so when we did a marketing initiative, we made sure that we already had the funding lined up to purchase a new truck(s), the terms lined up to make a new order of carts and the ordering in place for those carts to replace our inventory so that we could sell the same amount next week. We delivered those carts the same day if we had to earn the business. Rapid cart delivery requires rapid data—from sales to operations. TrashBolt can text or email that information directly to the operations person(s) responsible for cart delivery the moment an online sale is made. This is what today’s customers want—now, now, now! Not wait, wait, wait.
We were always looking several steps ahead before even launching a new marketing campaign. We call it polygon-based sales and marketing. Our mapping was done by route. We would look at each route and the truck’s pickup capacity to determine if we were maximizing the truck’s capacity for a geographic area.
We would then create a marketing campaign to get the customers needed in that route area to maximize the truck’s capacity. If the campaign was so successful that we sold beyond that truck’s capacity, we would have to reconfigure the routes. Density and capacity is where a hauler becomes profitable. You don’t want to drive by six houses on your way to your next stop. You want to focus your marketing on those houses so that you can pick up three of them really quickly. Our CRM system, our marketing map polygons and our operations calculations would help us identify breakeven costs. We could advertise very low rates right down to the specific house we were driving by, knowing we were breaking even or making a profit. It knocked the socks off our competition.
Many haulers do not understand how to effectively market and sell in their current service areas. In the hauling space, there is a huge technological hole, and with TrashBolt, SalesStryke is positioned to fill that hole.
Waste360: How does SalesStryke use technology to help haulers work smarter?
K. Ryan Hasse: You have to identify who your exact customers are. If you have a route polygon with 1,000 addresses in it and you are servicing 280 of them that means 720 of them aren’t your customers. How do we get those 720? Why are we driving by those houses? What’s your breakeven on a house-by-house basis?
Who are your competitors in that service area? When you can identify where competitor A’s houses are and where competitor B’s houses are, you can focus your marketing efforts on what each one of those competitors is offering because you know their weak spots. We’d create services, like walkup/concierge service in areas that had a lot of snow or areas where there are elderly homeowners. They gladly paid the premium for this service.
Haulers also are missing the boat on understanding how buyers buy and what today’s buyers want. Buyers want a seamless transaction that doesn’t involve a salesperson. Think about it. How do you buy? Expedia/Priceline have 95 percent market share because people want an online buy now experience. That buy now experience is why Jeff Bezos [Amazon’s founder] is the richest man in the world—because he has a buy now button.
Haulers are content to make their customers call in or fill out a flat form on their website and then wait for a return call from someone at some point. Today’s buyers don’t shop that way. They search, view a quote, sign, pay, done—24/7/365. Haulers that use TrashBolt’s buy now functionality will have a leg up on their competition. Trust me, we’ve done it.
We do more than bring sales to a hauler. Because of what our technology is capable of doing, we are also capable of bringing in downstream efficiencies—from PCI compliance to more streamlined work orders and other types of efficiencies that our system creates. [PCI compliance refers to Payment Card Industry compliance regulations regarding how companies accept, store, process and transmit credit card data]. It’s amazing how few haulers are actually PCI compliant. Many of them have no idea that the fines for noncompliance can be in the hundreds of thousands—even millions. They don’t know that a human being collecting a credit card number on the phone is noncompliance. Later this year, TrashBolt will launch its Sales and Marketing Best Practices. PCI compliance will be part of that initiative.
Because we were a hauler and we faced all of these issues, we are basically just sharing our lessons learned and knowledge base with the industry. Our goal is to move the needle for the waste management industry by helping companies grow, while simultaneously becoming more efficient, technologically savvy and profitable.