SalesTechStar Interview with Simon Yencken – Founder & CEO at Fanplayr
Simon Yencken, Founder & CEO at Fanplayr joins us in this SalesTech Star interview to share his thoughts on the importance of the tech industry, his biggest learnings as a tech entrepreneur and how he feels the sales and salestech landscape will evolve in the years to come.
Catch the full interview:
Can you tell us a little about yourself Simon?
I enjoy being a technology entrepreneur and also helping other companies as a board member and advisor. On the personal side, we organize family holidays at various times of the year and have family members join us from all over the world, such as U.S., Australia and the UK.
It’s a great way to keep the family together in times when the business world has become very global.
I’m very passionate about Fanplayr as it such an exciting opportunity. It is very motivating to be surrounded by a team that feels the same way.
What’s a typical day at work like for you at Fanplayr?
Fanplayr is very global and yet has a relatively small team of people, and as a result I am often travelling especially to meet customers. When I am in Palo Alto, CA, I work with the product team, the sales team
and the finance team.
It would be great if you can share some of your biggest entrepreneurial learnings from your journey so far.
First and foremost, I think the technology industry is of pre-eminent importance for business and civilization.
I remember post the dot-com bubble that technology was so out of favor with investors, and yet now 20 years later we are now seeing the realization of the value that has been created by this industry.
What I have learned over the years of working in technology:
• Focus on delivering value for your customers
• Listen to feedback and never be afraid to learn from your mistakes
• Focus on building a really great product
• Never stop believing, never give up
• An individual is very unlikely to develop a great company on his or her own, you need inspirational co-founders and a first class team
We’d also love to know what have been your biggest career takeaways from your years being in the legal industry?
I loved working in the legal industry. I was one of the youngest people to be made up as a partner in one of the leading global law firms. I found my work rewarding and challenging.
What I learned from my career in law:
• Focus on understanding your clients’ business, what are their business objectives, how can you
help them achieve their goals?
• Don’t be afraid to ask the ‘Emperor Has No Clothes’ type questions
• Use your common sense
• Deliver value to your customers
How did the idea/inspiration behind Fanplayr come about?
The three co-founders of Fanplayr worked in the fin tech industry. We developed technology products to distribute massive amounts of data around dealing room floors, to distribute OTC products to institutional and corporate customers, and analytics systems.
We believed that the future of commerce would be driven by technology and ecommerce and that the techniques and data-based techniques and analytics
from the finance world would come to be used by the broader business world, including retail.
Since we founded the company, we have seen an incredible shift in business to online, and a commensurate growing demand for the Fanplayr Services.
What were some of your biggest challenges when initially developing the concept and product?
Some of the biggest challenges were:
• Finding a product market fit
• Raising capital at various stages
• Hiring the right employees
• Staying focused
We’d especially love to know how you overcame one of the most common challenges in tech today – sourcing and hiring the right candidates!
Interviews are obviously very important. In certain situations, we have developed standard testing to screen applicants. We have found LinkedIn to be a good source, amongst others.
Given the evolving salestech landscape, what according to you will drive demand for specific tools and technologies (what kind of technologies do you feel users will need more of, to enable better sales activities).
We feel that boards will realize that the CIO, CDO, CTO roles are of paramount importance. Also, the investment in driving traffic to a site will need to be matched with technology and solutions to better
convert visitors and traffic.
What are some of the common pain points you observe in technology sales and how would you advise sales teams optimize/overcome these challenges by optimizing use of their sales tech stack (and how)?
• Sales cycle times
• Geographic diversity of business in the USA means that it is very difficult to meet businesses in
• General noise in the sales tech space makes the USA a more difficult market than in other
• Management changes often lead to ‘knee jerk’ changes in technology
Overcome challenges by:
• Web marketing programs
• Industry awareness including use of events
• Try to meet your customers in person and establish a relationship
How according to you will the typical roles of tomorrow’s B2B/Tech sales person evolve given the
dynamics and innovations in SalesTech?
I believe that the future leading tech salespeople will be those that establish lasting relationships with their customers by delivering ongoing business value.
Tag (mention/write about) the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read!
Elon Musk is the ultimate salesperson and is also an inspirational leader.
Could you share your favorite Sales/SalesTech quote and also some of your favorite entrepreneurial / leadership/ sales books that have been a valuable read!
‘The Significant Problems We Have, Cannot Be Solved at the Same Level of Thinking With Which We
Created Them.’ ― Albert Einstein
Tell us about some of the top sales/salestech/fintech other events that you’ll be participating in (as a speaker or guest!) in 2020!
We’d love to know a little about your future plans!
To build a Billion Dollar Company!
Enrico Quaroni, VP of Sales at FanPlayr joins us on the SalesStar Podcast to share interesting tips and insights to elevate your B2B Sales Strategies! Catch a quick listen!
Fanplayr’s mission is to make ‘behavioral data actionable’. Its breakthrough approach consists in analyzing site traffic and providing intelligence and real time segmentation to improve and personalize every interaction with users. Fanplayr’s patent pending ‘Segmentation as a Service’ provides a powerful real-time segmentation engine across the enterprise to multiple data bases & applications. The Fanplayr Service is a cloud- based platform that combines machine-learning and big data analytics to generate significant uplifts to revenue by delivering real-time personalization to visitors.
Simon Yencken has had a lengthy career as an entrepreneur, investor and corporate executive. Currently, he is CEO and co-founder of Fanplayr.