It's just 20 days to IIBN OpportUnity

In the world of email, messaging and feedback there are a few well known names such as Mailchimp, Constant Contact and SurveyMonkey. Holding its own with these behemoths is Irish tech company Sensorpro which was founded by veteran Irish tech entrepreneur Chris Byrne.

Byrne took some time out to talk to IrishCentral about his company, the challenges of scaling an Irish tech company in the US as well as the forthcoming IIBN Opportunity conference. Sensorpro kindly offered to create and supply the OpportUnity Conference attendee-feedback survey.

Byrne is very proud of the fact that his Irish software team built the Sensorpro platform in Ireland and the same development team are still involved with the company. Since he founded the company 12 years ago Byrne has built up an impressive client list including; United, TimeWarner Cable, The Container Store, Ben & Jerry’s as well as Irish brands MicksGarage and Arnotts.

“One of our key partners is Epsilon Interactive, they run a service called Shoppers Voice. They use our app to communicate with this group. They communicate with 52 million US and Canadian consumers, finding out about what their likes and dislikes, gathering data and they use our technology to do this.”

“We’ve been in the messaging and email business for the past 12 years. Last year I decided we needed to rebrand as it was becoming too difficult to maintain multiple branding. We believe our platform combination is better than Mailchimp and Constant Contact”

One major challenge that Irish tech companies face according to Byrne is that while the Irish are really great at building technology and have built some of the best software products around, they are not as good at selling as they could be. For Irish tech companies getting money in the door is really difficult. Byrne has some great advice for entrepreneurs about selling in the US and other issues around scaling your company.

Byrne tells companies and entrepreneurs he meets that they don’t have what he calls the MAN (Money, Authority, Need). He goes on to explain that for companies they are not talking to the right person who has the authority to make a purchasing decision to buy their product. Or that the target company don’t have the need for their product.

Byrne believes that Europeans have a particular view of the US - that it is New York or Silicon Valley. One of Sensorpro’s most important US partners are Epicor and their core customer is a conservative consumer in the mid-western US states. Byrne says that these consumers are almost German-like in their purchasing prudence and conservatism. Selling to this demographic is a lot different than selling on the East or West coasts and yet these are huge potential markets for Irish tech companies. Byrne accentuates this point by using the success of ‘boots on the ground versus random airstrikes’.

Another lesson Byrne imparts is that for a large amount of services people still want to pick up the phone and talk to someone. And when an American picks up the phone to talk to customer services they want to talk to someone on the ground in the US.

According to Byrne, Irish tech founders should get specialized sales training such as the Challenger sale or Solution selling.

Chris Byrne, CEO Sensorpro, IIBN Ireland member and Future Leader Mentor was interviewed as part of the IIBN Opportunity series.