#018 Revolutionizing Construction Sales with Erroin Martin

Exploring Sales Strategies and Automation in the Construction Industry

Guest & Host

Erroin Martin & Steven Morell

Welcome to Speak Revenue, the podcast where we emphasize that revenue is not just a goal; it's a result. In this show, we shift our focus from the output to the inputs. We engage in conversations with sales leaders and entrepreneurs about their remarkable journeys. Our mission? To uncover the true root causes of success. In this episode of Speak Revenue, Erroin Martin, VP of Sales at Dusty Robotics, takes us on a sales-driven exploration of construction technology. Discover how Dusty Robotics is transforming the sales landscape within the construction industry with their innovative field printers. Explore the impact of their technology on sales strategies, client relationships, and overall revenue growth. Join us as we uncover the cutting-edge advancements in construction automation and how Dusty Robotics is revolutionizing the sales process in this sector.

October 11th, 2023


Steven Morell: Welcome to our new episode of Speak Revenue. Remember, revenue is not a goal. It's a result! But a result of what? In this show, we turn our eyes from the output towards the input. We speak to sales leaders and entrepreneurs about their journeys. So join us on our quest to uncover the root causes of success. Let's unpack what works for them. And what didn't. Today as my guest, I have Erroin Martin from Dusty Robotics. 

Erroin Martin: Correct, Dusty Robotics. Yep.

Steven Morell: Erroin, thank you so much for coming on my show. Very much appreciated. Very excited to talk to you. I'm very excited about the product or at least what I think the product is, but we are gonna hear a little bit more at the moment. For our audience who do not know you and who can't really think what a dusty robot is, real quick, who are you? What are you guys doing, and what makes you so successful? 

Erroin Martin: I'm Erroin Martin and I am the VP of Sales for Dusty Robotics. Dusty Robotics delivery is an end-to-end hardware / software solution that enables construction crews to build the digital world into the physical world, reducing risk and increasing efficiencies. In the construction space and why we're successful is we're solving a problem that our customers have been desperately trying to solve for the last thousands of years, and we found the right tool, the right place, the right time to make it possible.

Steven Morell: Now I've been, of course, I've been sniffing around. I've been on your website. I know that for the layman, this is a robot that rolls on the floor, looks a little bit like a robot, vacuum cleaner. And it prints blueprints on the floor. Is that correct? 

Erroin Martin: That's correct. At the end of the day, it's just a printer on wheels. So, we call it a field printer, and it takes drawings, architectural drawings, schematics and the like, and lays them out on the floor, what was normally done by hand in chalk line by two human beings, sometimes more than that. Is it now done by a field printer and an operator?

Steven Morell: So how is that different from taking some chalk and chalking it that up on, on the floor is, does it reduce the error rate? How? Where's the plus? 

Erroin Martin: Well, so the plus comes in the accuracy. We're about one 16th inch, accurate. So it's more accurate than what most human beings can deliver. It's speed and efficiency. Obviously it's faster than human crews, and it provides communication and coordination. We're able to do things that human crews don't necessarily do. We can take, basically take what's in this, what's called this BIM model, and pre put a lot of that information on the floor. Most teams won't do that. They'll do the bare minimum or what's necessary to get by. The fuel printer could do a lot more than that, and then its efficiencies that we're bringing to the end at scale. So the ability to do, say what's called a multi trade layout, so all the different trades at once, allows the teams that are building these buildings to really see whether they're trying to coordinate digitally in the physical world and reduce conflict, reduce rework, and reduce errors.

Steven Morell: Let me ask you, I like to understand products in the, in kind of second and third and fourth degree thinking, okay, so this thing can print better than any chalk. It's more precise. It has more information. But what are the impacts of this? What is the result of this? Are they saving time? Are they avoiding mistakes that are costly? Is it more safe to work there? What is the impact? 

Erroin Martin: So the impact is time, time is money and construction. Skanska, one of our customers, was able to save three months on a project here in the Bay Area and $3 million for their customer by just being able to use our product. It saves, reworks when there's inaccuracy or inefficiencies. It prevents that from happening that usually could happen down the line, which could be costly for everybody involved. And then safety wise, it actually creates a safer environment because now if there's any sort of conflict that wasn't, seen, and the in the digital model, can now be seen on the physical floor, and by conflict I mean conflict of where walls and piping may be going together, where they shouldn't go together or of that sort of nature. We can reduce that, and that those errors could have consequences down the line.

Steven Morell: It is amazing. Tag all the listeners, all the viewers. Please check it out. Even if you're not in construction, it's just amazing. You should see this thing in action. Remind our audience, it's dustyrobotics.com. 

Erroin Martin: That is correct: dustyrobotics.com. 

Steven Morell: Fantastic. Okay. Now that we understand what you guys are selling. When I was 16, I was working for an engineering office writing software for them, but that's as close as I came to construction. How do you sell to, who is your target group? Do you sell it? 

Erroin Martin: So there are a lot of individuals who are engaged in the journey of a building from the owner or the developer to the general contractor to the subcontractors. We want to engage with all of them. Primarily we talk to general contractors and their subcontractors. And the subcontractors are primarily talking to the framers, MEPs, which are mechanical, electrical, and plumbing. On the GCs we're talking to the project managers, the superintendents, and project managers also as well too for the subs. And then we're also doing the operator in the field. So the carpenter, the tradesmen as well as the foreman. The journeymen out there. We're working with all of them. So we touch a lot of individuals in order to get us a dusty field printer on the site. 

Steven Morell: I understand that you need the buy-in and the acceptance of all of those people, but at the end of the day, who is the economic buyer here? 

Erroin Martin: At the end of the day, the economic buyer is primarily the project manager, who's wanting to run that project. And what we're solving for them is not just getting the layout correctly and accurately on the floor, we're solving for a business outcome. Business outcome could be they need to get the project delivered at a certain timeframe. They may wanna be seen as being innovative and they wanna win more projects. Or the outcome is that the project is complex. A good example would be a hospital or a medical laboratory where there's lots of different information that needs to be printed on the floor, and they want to get it right the first time because any rework or any delays are incredibly costly.

Steven Morell: And that project manager works for?

Erroin Martin: That project manager could work for the general contractor. That project manager can also work for the framer, or for the sub trade as well too. So, their job is to obviously manage that project to completion and to, and they're not just coordinating what we're bringing to the field. They're also coordinating their crews. They're coordinating contracts, they're coordinating change orders. They actually have a lot of power, because they're the ones who are spending the money, as well as trying to make the money for the organization.

Steven Morell: I'm a total stranger to that market. Help me understand, it sounds to me heavily that your lead generation move would be account-based marketing. There's probably a finite amount of companies, .That are potential buyers of this? Is that how you approach it or just share with us how you start conversations, to avoid the nasty word of generating leads? How do you start conversations? How do you find people to start conversations about your product that might end in them procuring your product? 

Erroin Martin: Lead generation isn't a dirty word, , just, it's the nature of the business. So we're lucky in the sense that we have a lot of inbound leads. We have a very strong community of followers, and high level. So when the co-founder, Tessa Lau and Phil, started working with construction companies very early on to really understand the business. And, when we launched our first field printer, it wasn't like big fanfare or anything like that. It was to local sites here in the Bay Area and people were taking videos of it and word spread that way. So we have a very viral marketing and it's not influenced by us, by all, it's really influenced by all of our users. And individuals who see the field printer, on a site. That's where it starts. Now, when a lead comes in, my team is being discerned. We have certain criteria for what would be a good fit for our products and our services, and that then does fit into an account based sort of approach. We are targeting the top GCs, the top framers, the top meps across the entire country. And they're different in each region. And we're engaging with them. And the lead comes in. We're benchmarking that lead against, do they fit that criteria and being in the top of their region?

Steven Morell: Does that mean you have a list of potential customers and if you're not on the list, you can't buy.

Erroin Martin: Yes. There's a list of potential customers. If you're not on the list, . You have to kind of prove yourself that you're worthy to buy. There's a little bit of a velvet rope strategy that's there. We will sell to obviously, you know, individuals who put this is a good fit for them. But you're right in the sense that it's a very, it's not a finite market. It's not selling something to branded auto dealerships, that's a finite market or to say insurance companies, that's also a finite market. It's named, but in those, and I'll use Skanska as an organization, you know, Skanska is the largest GC or one of the largest GCs in the world based outta Sweden. Their US headquarters in New York, they operate at regional offices. Those regional offices are almost all independent business units of themselves. And so now what you have is, okay, well, I have one large organization. I would just do, and if I was selling SaaS, just do a big push towards like the CEO top down sort of approach. But you really can't do that here. You've gotta be able to understand what the regional impact is for that region. Who the decision makers are different from, say region A to region B. And the national organization won't necessarily push things all the way down then, 'cause they're a general contractor, You've gotta understand which subcontractors they work with as well too. So it's a big interconnected community. We're not just relationships that matter, but business outcomes. And then also macro economics of those regions also impact the ability for those individuals to deliver their product at the very end of the day, which is a building. So very nuanced in that sort of thing.

Steven Morell: yeah, but... I want to dig a little bit deeper here. I know that, if I'm not mistaken, you started this position earlier this year.

Erroin Martin: Yes, it did. Correct.

Steven Morell: I like to think of lead generation and marketing and getting started in the following terms. There are only four ways you can tell somebody. What are you selling? You can talk to people who know you and you can talk to people who don't know you, and you can do this one-to-one and you can do this one to many. So if you want to talk to people who don't know you, and you wanna do this one too many billboards on the street…

Erroin Martin: Yeah.

Steven Morell: …ads, if you wanna talk to people who know you, one too many, then you post on LinkedIn. If you want to talk to people who don't know you one-to-one, then you send them cold emails or just tap, dial them till they finally pick up because they think something awful happened. Or talk to people one-on-one who know you, and this is usually where you start. Sounds to me. When I listen to you, you're. still harvesting this. People know us and we talk to people who know us. Where are your thoughts and plans to expand the total number of people who know you so you can have this nice one-to-one conversation with somebody who knows you and who is qualified? 

Erroin Martin: Yeah, so that's a great question. I'd say we're almost at the, I think the second example, people who know you, but too many, almost like the LinkedIn sort of posting example. So what we are doing is we're leveraging, so we're leveraging our CRM to coordinate. For example, I say, I sold to you Steven, a field printer, and you're a general contractor. You're using our field printer on a project. We start to gather who else we're working with, and we start to picture together your universe. And then what we're asking for you to do is make introductions to those individuals, or more importantly, we'll try to make sure the field printer's on site when all those other individuals will be there so they can see it in action. That's a way to do one to many. as well as going to trade shows. We are doing some LinkedIn ads. Our customers gratefully do testimonials. Without even asking us about how great we did. That's the Skanska case study, which was actually published by Skanska. It wasn't even published by us, which is fantastic. And they're mentioning us when they talk about innovation in the field. So our brand name is carrying itself without us having to put a lot of gasoline into the tank to make that possible. We are doing an outbound campaign in particular regions. We never really penetrated. and what we're finding is as we engage with some of these individuals, and we're not triple dialing them or doing spam cannons with 'em, but when they engage us, they've actually already heard about us. And now we're engaging with them on a, I would say a light, lukewarm interaction versus a hot lead or a co-lead, you know, outbound sort of approach. 

Steven Morell: I mean, it helps that you have freaking robots who print stuff on.

Erroin Martin: It does help! 

Steven Morell: Flying cars would be maybe even better, but…

Erroin Martin: Yes. 

Steven Morell: …very close. 

Erroin Martin: We're not that close. We're little ways to go. Yeah. Yeah. It does help. It does help having robots on the floor. Yeah, it does help. Yeah. 

Steven Morell: Yeah. So you mentioned your CRM and it sounds like you're leveraging the people who know the people that know you.

Erroin Martin: Mm-hmm.

Steven Morell: Which is a very smart approach. And I would limit the, you know, the four ways that I mentioned is how you can Tell yourself to other people what you do. 

Erroin Martin: Yep.

Steven Morell: Of course other people can tell other people what you do and you can foster this. Let me understand a little bit, let's walk a little bit through your sales process. You have given us a rough picture of how it starts, who know you mostly. Start the conversation, you qualify them. Is this an SDR job? BDR job? Is this a full cycle AE? How is your team set up? How big is your team? 

Erroin Martin: So my team right now is 4 AEs and I have 3 SDRs, and Inside Sales, a manager and a RevOps person reports in to me. And this organization, sales is just the team I run. And we do use SDRs. So SDRs do a prequalification, they do a bit of vetting. We have a scoring mechanism we put in place. Basically, you have to get x amount of points out of 10 for a lead to be qualified. And then they set the meeting, the AE takes it from there. The velocity of my deals are roughly on average right now, 37 days. And that doesn't matter. Obviously the smaller the ticket price is a little bit faster, the larger ticket price is a little bit slower, but we're moving at a pretty quick pace. So the sales process starts with . I'll do the inbound lead. Inbound leads come in, if they're in North America, North America being in Mexico, United States and Canada, they get routed to an SDR based off of territory. And then that SDR qualifies and goes to the AE that the SDR supports, if they're out of. In North America then, we're not right now in EMEA, LATAM, or APAC. So we basically put them in a holding pattern until we're ready to go overseas. On the outbound motion, we engage with very specific targets. It's a top down, bottom up approach. The AE takes what's called the PX or the VP, or director level, in the organization. They identify the targets they're going after. The SDR will engage the PMs. And the PEs PMs or project managers, PEs or project Engineers, and engage them at that level on the, bottoms up approach. And we're using tools to uncover what projects are going on, in those regions and who's bidding on those projects, and what the stage of those products are. One of them is that Dodge Data has a lot of that information by state. E&R is another one we use as well too. And then we've got some other really clandestine means to uncover some stuff, which I won't share 'because it's proprietary. And that helps us get into an engagement rather quickly with the individual. What's awesome about construction is, they do pick up the phone on just one call, and, and you can engage them primarily in the afternoons 'cause they're usually off the job site and they're very talkative. And then the other thing we do to pick up leads is my CS. My CS team, they're on site with a lot of the customers and their eyes and ears are open as they're doing delivery. And when they hear things, they report it back up into a Slack channel for us. And that also uncovers leads for us as well too.

Steven Morell: Real quick, mentioned SDRs. What are they measured by? It's an ongoing debate. Are they measured by appointments scheduled? Are they, is their North Star metric? 

Erroin Martin: During North Star Metric is qualified opportunities. So they are compensated on my team by both meetings booked. And then opportunities means that are converted into opportunities and we are going to institute later on an additional payment for opportunities that make it too close, that they'll get a certain dollar value for that to have a higher quality. But right now, the quality of my opportunities isn't bad. So, there's measurement on meetings and qualified opportunities.

Steven Morell: Okay. You mentioned proprietary tech, but from the standards, Salesforce, HubSpot, what is your tool stack? 

Erroin Martin: So, the tool Stack has, Salesforce is our CRM. HubSpot is our marketing automation platform. We're using Gong Engage, which we're gonna launch as opposed to our automated sales automation for the SDRs. We have a LinkedIn Sales Navigator. We're using Gong to record calls and do coaching. And then for reporting metrics, we use Salesforce native and also Tableau. Because Tableau can pull together my HubSpot information and then information from NetSuite so we can see the full financial picture of that customer lifecycle. And then, Standard tools, you know, Google slides, PowerPoint for presentations. And then most of the time we're out in the field actually demoing the field printers. That's usually how it works.

Steven Morell: How. Do you use anything specific for your field force? Sounds like you have a lot of people out in the field. 

Erroin Martin: So the CS team we use, Odoo or doo, which I never get correctly as our ERP and fleet management scheduling tool. We're actually bringing them into Salesforce as well too, to manage the Salesforce inbox, so the Salesforce app to manage cases and then, tie that back to our Jira tickets for case resolution. Uh, other than any sort of other field tools, their iPhone and an iPad, that's pretty much it.

Steven Morell: As a frame of reference for our listeners. What's the average ticket size? are we, how much is it? If I want to print stuff on my floor...

Erroin Martin: So we, we don't sell the…

Steven Morell: …to scrap together? 

Erroin Martin: Yes, that's a great question. So we sell subscriptions. So robots as a service. We have two means of doing that. Core meaning in our most popular means is the annual subscription. It's $240,000 a year. And then we also have the ability to do an annual agreement with us. The entry point of that annual agreement is about 10 k, for an entire year. And then you can bring on projects as necessary with a minimum of two months, lease time. So the project based leases, as we call 'em, is roughly around 70,000, you know, per project. Averaging price with discounts and the whole caboodle. My customers who are on annuals are roughly averaging 2 38, so we barely discount, which is very fantastic. And then, for the project base leases, we're roughly around 60 K, so we're roughly, again, within the same ballpark figure of the 70 K number.

Steven Morell: So you're saying I cannot buy a printer. I can just rent a printer.

Erroin Martin: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Correct.

Steven Morell: Very smart. That bears the question you mentioned briefly, customer success managers, do you have a land to expand motion there? 

Erroin Martin: We do. One of our greatest examples is we landed with a company that does industrial automation for logistics. So think of it. They build, they build and then they install . Like the racks that move like your boxes for Walmart or Amazon, stuff like that in their distribution centers. We landed there with a very small proof of concept, that converted into an annual, which is now, they're at six robots and they're on a three year contract, and that's a seven figure deal.

Steven Morell: Nice. Let me ask you something. And by the way, if I may say so, I get to talk to a lot of people in your role in all kinds of companies, different sizes, different stages. It's impressive how well everything is set up given that you just took over that role, you know, a couple of months ago. I know a lot of companies where they've been building this for a way longer time and they're not on that level. So respect, head tip. Nicely played. Speaking about, nicely played. If I would have a time machine and I don't have robots, I don't have time machines, but I would have a time machine. 

Erroin Martin: Hmm.

Steven Morell: Where I could send a postcard to the five year younger self with a warning of what not to do, what to avoid, what would you write on that postcard to the younger self? What to do differently ? 

Erroin Martin: I would say clear your mask better when you're diving in Hawaii. Had a dive incident. 

Steven Morell: Scuba diver? 

Erroin Martin: Scuba diving. Yeah. Yeah. So if I were to go back to my five you really look at, go back to looking at the fundamentals, the businesses that you want to join, and ask the question like, who are your customers? Like, how do you serve them? You know, what's your margin? Right, it's most important. And then, what's your velocity? And what I mean by velocity is like how, not how many days it takes you to get a deal closed, but how many deals is the team booking? And why? And the reason why I would say that and that prospect, 'cause it's what all businesses really need to be successful. And not every business has it all quite figured out, especially in startups. A lot of founders will say that they really understand the team or they really understand the customer. But if you can't conceptualize how big the market is and you talk to your friends and they can't conceptualize how big the market is, then the market probably really isn't there. And there isn't a team. And you may have, you may be joining an organization where, the founder and then the VCs behind them, they think they have a good idea, but they really don't. Understanding what the margin is, if they understand their business, they should know what their margins are. They should be able to articulate it very easily, because it's all about how you make your profit and how you make your money. And then the velocity of how many deals are they actually flipping and turning. And now, that latter part really depends on how early they are. If they're very new, it's gonna be onesies and twosies. But can you see a pathway to get there and are they thinking about that pathway to get there? One thing I've done . And my career is, and now so much more so. I not only talk to the founders who I'm gonna be working with or the CEOs, but I also start to backdoor in through their customers and really find out what the, what it's really like. And, also look at their pedigree. You know, have they been successful before? Do they take a lot of people with them? Do a lot of people follow them? These are all really good signals about culture, about, you know, vision, all those sorts of things. That's what I'd put in the five year postcard. That, and, you know, clear your mask. And then, the last piece is, I would say, don't get wrapped up in the latest sort of trends where everyone's going after. I think you and I both talked about, the prep to this, before this, our call is like, you know, we both worked in the AI space. Now it's back again, AI's back, you know, and, you can get wrapped up really easily in that, and I know I did, I wanted use the latest tools to make my job easier as an ic, as a vp, and the reality is, You still have to put the grind in no matter what. Because you have to be able to connect with other human beings and that takes time. It takes persistence and takes a lot of nos to get to a yes.

Steven Morell: I love how you use "Clear the mask". But I like the emphasis that you put on actually talking to people. I think, is something that in our space is done, not enough. We love ab split tests and we love to become dashboard warriors, but sometimes you just have to get up, get off your butt, knock on doors, talk to people, and you're gonna learn so much faster. And, so much more that you cannot possibly find out, you know, from a dashboard or from an analytics tool. 

Erroin Martin: Yeah.

Steven Morell: All right, everyone. That brings us to the end of this episode of Speak Revenue. I want to thank our guest, Erroin Martin, for joining us today and sharing his valuable insights about, robotics, about, sales, about construction. Thank you very much. A huge shout out to our listeners, your support means the world to us. Remember to check our website : speakrevenue.com for a full transcript and additional resources. And if you enjoyed the show, please like it and give it a good review on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, or wherever you go for your listening needs. It really helps to get word out. Also, follow us on LinkedIn, on Instagram, on YouTube, and wherever you can find us. We'll be back soon with another great guest. Until then, stay curious. Keep learning. Stay safe. you soon. Bye-bye.​

Copyrighted © 2022-23 Jaxx Technologies, Inc.

Copyrighted © 2022-23 Jaxx Technologies, Inc.