Smart data Digital transformation

Startups in Stockholm: How we experiment with customer data to get more customers and partners

02 May 2017

When a new company starts up, they test everything. They all want to improve their services for their customers and generate more business. How can these startup companies use smart data to refine their business development? Bisnode visited two startups in Stockholm to find out.

Like many startups, UNjobfinder and Palaver are in a phase where they are orienting themselves to determine the best way forward.

  • UNjobfinder offers a recruitment platform for jobs around the world in international organizations such as the United Nations and the World Bank (unjobfinder.org)
  • Palaver offers an app for iPhone and Android that makes it easier for self-employed people and employees of companies to work in places like cafés, restaurants, hotel lobbies and real estate companies (Palaver.nu)

We met with these startups to talk about the challenges of finding the right target groups and developing their businesses, and about the importance of listening to customers and users. We also asked one of our experts to talk about how these two companies could use smart data in the development of their businesses.

“The more accurate your matches are, the more content your organizations will be. It’s about meeting the needs.”

Alexandre Fleury, UX-manager at UNjobfinder.

 

“The more accurate your matches are, the more content your organizations will be. It’s about meeting the needs.”
Alexandre Fleury, UX Manager at UNjobfinder.

UNjobfinder: “We want to be more accurate in our matches”

UNjobfinder’s vision is to be the obvious platform for jobs in international development organizations worldwide. UNjobfinder helps organizations such as UNICEF and Save the Children find candidates for everything from management positions to field assignments, and 150,000 people have registered on the site as potential candidates.

UNjobfinder gets paid by spreading knowledge on organizations and actively seeking candidates via social media channels who match the profiles the organizations are looking for. Their business development primarily entails acquiring new partners, finding good candidates and making their matches as effective as possible.

“So far, we’ve cooperated with 84 organizations, 12 of which are regular partners,” says Alexandre Fleury, UX Manager at UNjobfinder. “One of us works solely with trying to bring in new partners. To get more people to register on the site, we advertise on Facebook and other channels. Then we try to present jobs in a way that make them as relevant as possible for each person. We bring up various topics in our newsletter, and analyze interests and what works using Google Analytics.”  

Continuous testing is essential. Like most startups discover during the often-convoluted journey toward success, assumptions are sometimes made that later prove to be completely wrong.

“We thought, for example, that our registered users would find it valuable to have access to the organizations’ social feeds on our site,” says Fleury. “But when we ask the candidates themselves, they request completely different things: how long it will take to get an answer when they apply for a job, if they can put their kids in school if they move to Timbuktu, and so on. The ones who want social feeds go directly to the organization’s website.”

One of the greatest challenges for UNjobfinder is to make sure that each candidate actually meets the criteria that a certain organization deems important. 

“The more accurate your matches are, the happier your organizations will be,” says Fleury. “It’s about meeting the needs. This is something that went well, for example, when one of our organizations was looking for women who speak Arabic to work out in the field. We are considering how we can improve matches, based on for example soft values, such as if a candidate has a passion for helping vulnerable children or combating disease or hunger.

Expert: How UNjobfinder can work with smart data

Anna Stål at Bisnode, who helps small and medium-sized companies use smart data, offers some ideas on how companies like UNjobfinder can develop their business.

  • Use analyses to find your best target groups. Newly started companies often test their way forward to determine what target group has the most to win from a partnership. Should you devote resources to cultivate everyone or should you focus on a specific selection? Bisnode can assist with data and analysis to determine which organizations will actually be profitable and satisfied customers.
  • Become even more accurate in your advertising. By collecting and processing large amounts of data, Bisnode knows which personas are most willing to work for non-profit organizations, and which are in a life phase where this is more relevant. If you understand your target audience, it’s easier to know what channels you should use to reach these people. 
    *Bisnode Personas is our method for describing archetypes of individuals. It does not describe any individual in detail, but provides an understanding of attitudes, values, drivers and lifestyles that can be used to communicate more effectively with the target group.
  • Streamline your search for potential partners. There are global databases available today that can provide companies with information on organizational level, relevant executives, group structures and more.

Palaver: “Our target group is extremely sporty... but which people are the most profitable?”

Palaver has dedicated itself to collecting customer data from the outset.

Their first survey dealt with the question: Who are most willing to pay for their service? Palaver has partnerships with cafés, restaurants, hotel lobbies and other cozy premises. Users can start out by using filters to find a temporary workplace based on the criteria they deem important, such as if there are electrical outlets or Wi-Fi, and then sit down there — without feeling “guilty” for using the premises as a workplace for several hours.

So... who are willing to pay? 

“We did 150 interviews with people who went to cafés to work,” says Peter Henning, one of Palaver’s five co-founders. “We were convinced that it was primarily freelancers and self-employed people who did that. But that was completely wrong. Sixty percent were employees at large companies who just sat down there to work for a while.”

The same customer survey also answered the question of why people worked in this environment.

“We expected answers like ‘Because it’s nice’ and ‘Because it’s relaxing,’” says Henning. “But what we learned was that many people from organizations worked there because ‘It’s cool’. Being able to work from this type of workplace, or having a meeting with a customer there, is thus a matter of employer branding.”

Anyone who uses the app now can enter their debit card number in the app and invite in colleagues or customers on the same debit card. They can then use the app to pay for a coffee at a slightly higher rate than usual (the surcharge is about €1-1.50) and then sit for hours without a guilty conscience.

In a next step, companies can connect their employees as users, so that they can work outside the office, with the expenses compiled on a monthly invoice. Simplicity is the key word for Palaver.

Palaver has continued to collect customer data.

“Through new interviews,” says Henning, “we know, for example, that many people in our target group are sporty and ‘early adopters’ and we get more and more insight the more we listen to our customers. We listen and try to reason it out. Could we get money faster from certain target groups than from others? Is there a type of target group that is more profitable than another? Maybe travellers from out of town who are just in Stockholm for the day? Or maybe self-employed people who usually work from home, but who have just had a child and who look forward to getting out into the city for a while?

Experimentation has been in full swing since September when the app was launched. 

Bisnode: How Palaver can work with smart data  

Anna Stål has some thoughts on how Palaver can use smart data:

  • Systematize the processing of desirable partner companies. You can streamline processing through accurate information on the company and relevant executives. 
  • Make sure that partner companies are reputable. Checking creditworthiness, tax debts, etc. is a good way to protect your own brand. Check out all partners in depth and sign agreements with reliable and reputable companies. 
  • Get clearer profiles on your customers. Bisnode can do analyses of your current customers. Is Palaver’s picture of its customers accurate? In step two, Bisnode can help Palaver reach more of these customers.
  • Create even richer customer insights. You can do quick surveys, for example, that transform unstructured textual data into insights that can be analyzed and acted on. One tool that does this is Bisnode’s “Voice of the Customer,” which can be integrated into contact points with the users.

 

 

 

 

“The more accurate your matches are, the more content your organizations will be. It’s about meeting the needs.”
Alexandre Fleury, UX Manager at UNjobfinder.

UNjobfinder: “We want to be more accurate in our matches”

UNjobfinder’s vision is to be the obvious platform for jobs in international development organizations worldwide. UNjobfinder helps organizations such as UNICEF and Save the Children find candidates for everything from management positions to field assignments, and 150,000 people have registered on the site as potential candidates.

UNjobfinder gets paid by spreading knowledge on organizations and actively seeking candidates via social media channels who match the profiles the organizations are looking for. Their business development primarily entails acquiring new partners, finding good candidates and making their matches as effective as possible.

“So far, we’ve cooperated with 84 organizations, 12 of which are regular partners,” says Alexandre Fleury, UX Manager at UNjobfinder. “One of us works solely with trying to bring in new partners. To get more people to register on the site, we advertise on Facebook and other channels. Then we try to present jobs in a way that make them as relevant as possible for each person. We bring up various topics in our newsletter, and analyze interests and what works using Google Analytics.”  

Continuous testing is essential. Like most startups discover during the often-convoluted journey toward success, assumptions are sometimes made that later prove to be completely wrong.

“We thought, for example, that our registered users would find it valuable to have access to the organizations’ social feeds on our site,” says Fleury. “But when we ask the candidates themselves, they request completely different things: how long it will take to get an answer when they apply for a job, if they can put their kids in school if they move to Timbuktu, and so on. The ones who want social feeds go directly to the organization’s website.”

One of the greatest challenges for UNjobfinder is to make sure that each candidate actually meets the criteria that a certain organization deems important. 

“The more accurate your matches are, the happier your organizations will be,” says Fleury. “It’s about meeting the needs. This is something that went well, for example, when one of our organizations was looking for women who speak Arabic to work out in the field. We are considering how we can improve matches, based on for example soft values, such as if a candidate has a passion for helping vulnerable children or combating disease or hunger.

Expert: How UNjobfinder can work with smart data

Anna Stål at Bisnode, who helps small and medium-sized companies use smart data, offers some ideas on how companies like UNjobfinder can develop their business.

  • Use analyses to find your best target groups. Newly started companies often test their way forward to determine what target group has the most to win from a partnership. Should you devote resources to cultivate everyone or should you focus on a specific selection? Bisnode can assist with data and analysis to determine which organizations will actually be profitable and satisfied customers.
  • Become even more accurate in your advertising. By collecting and processing large amounts of data, Bisnode knows which personas are most willing to work for non-profit organizations, and which are in a life phase where this is more relevant. If you understand your target audience, it’s easier to know what channels you should use to reach these people. 
    *Bisnode Personas is our method for describing archetypes of individuals. It does not describe any individual in detail, but provides an understanding of attitudes, values, drivers and lifestyles that can be used to communicate more effectively with the target group.
  • Streamline your search for potential partners. There are global databases available today that can provide companies with information on organizational level, relevant executives, group structures and more.

Palaver: “Our target group is extremely sporty... but which people are the most profitable?”

Palaver has dedicated itself to collecting customer data from the outset.

Their first survey dealt with the question: Who are most willing to pay for their service? Palaver has partnerships with cafés, restaurants, hotel lobbies and other cozy premises. Users can start out by using filters to find a temporary workplace based on the criteria they deem important, such as if there are electrical outlets or Wi-Fi, and then sit down there — without feeling “guilty” for using the premises as a workplace for several hours.

So... who are willing to pay? 

“We did 150 interviews with people who went to cafés to work,” says Peter Henning, one of Palaver’s five co-founders. “We were convinced that it was primarily freelancers and self-employed people who did that. But that was completely wrong. Sixty percent were employees at large companies who just sat down there to work for a while.”

The same customer survey also answered the question of why people worked in this environment.

“We expected answers like ‘Because it’s nice’ and ‘Because it’s relaxing,’” says Henning. “But what we learned was that many people from organizations worked there because ‘It’s cool’. Being able to work from this type of workplace, or having a meeting with a customer there, is thus a matter of employer branding.”

Anyone who uses the app now can enter their debit card number in the app and invite in colleagues or customers on the same debit card. They can then use the app to pay for a coffee at a slightly higher rate than usual (the surcharge is about €1-1.50) and then sit for hours without a guilty conscience.

In a next step, companies can connect their employees as users, so that they can work outside the office, with the expenses compiled on a monthly invoice. Simplicity is the key word for Palaver.

Palaver has continued to collect customer data.

“Through new interviews,” says Henning, “we know, for example, that many people in our target group are sporty and ‘early adopters’ and we get more and more insight the more we listen to our customers. We listen and try to reason it out. Could we get money faster from certain target groups than from others? Is there a type of target group that is more profitable than another? Maybe travellers from out of town who are just in Stockholm for the day? Or maybe self-employed people who usually work from home, but who have just had a child and who look forward to getting out into the city for a while?

Experimentation has been in full swing since September when the app was launched. 

Bisnode: How Palaver can work with smart data  

Anna Stål has some thoughts on how Palaver can use smart data:

  • Systematize the processing of desirable partner companies. You can streamline processing through accurate information on the company and relevant executives. 
  • Make sure that partner companies are reputable. Checking creditworthiness, tax debts, etc. is a good way to protect your own brand. Check out all partners in depth and sign agreements with reliable and reputable companies. 
  • Get clearer profiles on your customers. Bisnode can do analyses of your current customers. Is Palaver’s picture of its customers accurate? In step two, Bisnode can help Palaver reach more of these customers.
  • Create even richer customer insights. You can do quick surveys, for example, that transform unstructured textual data into insights that can be analyzed and acted on. One tool that does this is Bisnode’s “Voice of the Customer,” which can be integrated into contact points with the users.

 

 

 

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