Founder Stories: Greg Reffner On Building Abstrakt
In today’s Founder Story, we feature Greg Reffner, Founder/CEO of Abstrakt!
Read on for lessons he has learned from launching and marketing his business.
1. Please introduce your business and share your role.
Hello! My name is Greg Reffner, Founder/CEO of Abstrakt. The genesis of Abstrakt really started during my time as a Sales Representative nine years ago. I was exposed to what was at the time the pinnacle of call coaching and conversational intelligence software.
It was only after experiencing that software as an end user and then as a manager, that I realized everything was reactive in nature. With Abstrakt, we wanted to bring help to reps and agents while they were on the phone. Not after the call was over.
2. How did you prepare for, and go about your launch?
Our launch happened kind of accidentally. We started writing content to build legitimacy around our brand when folks visited our website almost eight months before we even had a product. I didn’t even know our forms were active on our website when our first Demo Request came in. We met with them, they asked to purchase our software, and a week later when they were live using Abstrakt. It happened so quickly.
3. Since launching, what types of marketing campaigns and designs have worked best to attract and retain customers?
With digital marketing being so competitive, we knew we had to stand out. We took a chance on running meme ads that directly related to the pain points our target audience was experiencing. With the endless scroll happening on social media, most people didn’t even realize these were an ad. The engagement was great and it boosted awareness of real-time call coaching software.
We’ve also seen success with competitor campaigns. Showing how Abstrakt stacked up against the competition, allowed us the opportunity to get in front of decision makers quickly.
On the other hand, we focused energy on building our organic presence and becoming thought leaders in the space. If we could “own” certain keywords when prospects searched on Google, it would allow us to educate and showcase why our real-time software was the fastest on the market.
4. What have been the most influential brands for your business? Whose branding and marketing do you aspire to and why?
It’s interesting. Running a B2B company, one would think that I should/would be influenced by B2B companies.
However, I do stand behind the idea that all companies, whomever their target market is, are still human to human. Brands like Rogue Fitness, Apple, 1st Phorm, and Ridge Wallets are at the top of my list.
They not only crush it on the marketing side, but they have an incredible customer experience from the initial ad through the entire customer journey. Plus, each of these makes it seamless to integrate into my daily life.
I want Abstrakt to be like this for business leaders one day. Purpose-built to fit seamlessly into their world and be indestructible.
5. What are your favorite marketing platforms/tools?
For a startup with a limited budget, our marketing tech stack needs to directly assist in driving opportunities.
Hubspot is our go-to CRM. From newsletters to marketing drip workflows to landing pages, Hubspot allows us to accomplish multiple tasks simultaneously while saving us time.
Canva is a no-brainer. It allows us to remain on brand with every creative piece we produce.
Grammarly is our second set of eyes when writing content.
For podcasts, we utilize Riverside.FM for recordings to get the highest quality video and Spotify for Podcasters to distribute the episodes across multiple platforms.
6. Looking ahead, what are you most excited about?
I am really excited about our very near-term roadmap. We are doing some things that will make it so every other company in our space is fighting for second place.
7. Who or what inspires and motivates you?
What motivates me?
All the people who told me that Abstrakt could not be built or said I would never be anything more than a salesperson.
What inspires me?
My two boys, my amazing wife, our kick-ass team, our supportive investors, and everyone along the way who decided to join us on this journey.
8. What are some lessons you’ve learned along the way that you would share with entrepreneurs hoping to launch or who have just launched?
Have the ability to regulate your emotions. To me, this is more of a skill and definitely a learned one at that. It feels good to get excited when you get a win but trust me, you will get knocked down shortly thereafter. You will get kicked on the ground for months on end, and then you will have a streak of wins. To avoid being emotionally exhausted you almost have to become numb to the rollercoaster of emotions you will undoubtedly ride. Don’t get too excited, don’t get too upset.
The second would be to develop a short-term memory when it comes to losses. You will lose customers, you will have demos where the product doesn’t work, you will have system outages, and you will be told by investors that your product can’t be defended. You have to learn from this quickly, and then put that memory in a box and throw that box away. The only way to show up every day, knowing you will lose exponentially more than you will win is to be able to quickly forget about the losses.
9. What do you believe are the qualities of a good entrepreneur? And what makes a team successful?
Just as I said above, the ability to regulate emotional response and the ability to quickly forget.
You almost have to have an unhealthy level of optimism and perseverance.
I would say this applies to the team as well. When it comes to the team you want to only bring on people who take ownership of every failure and want no recognition for every success. Those are the type of people who put the needs of the team above their own needs. Find people like that, and your team will flourish.