Ep. 436 – CRC 2021 Highlights: Raj Manocha, CEO of Methodify

Welcome to the CRC 2021 Highlights Series. Recorded live in Dallas, this series is bringing interviews straight to you from exhibitors, speakers and attendees at this year’s event. In this interview, host Jamin Brazil interviews Raj Manocha, CEO of Methodify.

More about CRC 2021: https://www.insightsassociation.org/conference/crc-2021 

Find Raj Online:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/raj-manocha-8616397/ 

Website: https://www.methodify.it/ 

Find Jamin Online:

Email: jamin@happymr.instawp.xyz 

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jaminbrazil

Twitter: www.twitter.com/jaminbrazil 

Find Us Online: 

Twitter: www.twitter.com/happymrxp 

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/happymarketresearch 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/happymrxp 

Website: www.happymr.com 


“Clap Along” by Auditionauti: https://audionautix.com 


Jamin Brazil: Live from CRC here in Dallas. I’ve got Raj Manocha. Head of Sales CEO?


Raj Manocha: CEO of Methodify. CEO of one of our companies, yes.


Jamin Brazil: Of Delvinia.


Raj Manocha: Of Delvinia.


Jamin Brazil: That’s right.


Raj Manocha: So Delvinia is- owns a lot different things, holding company. We own a company called Asking Canadians, which is data collection. Methodify, which was a research automation platform. And we do some consulting for data collection for weird and wacky stuff as well. So my role I’m CEO of Methodify, but I look after all the revenue across the organization as well.


Jamin Brazil: Across the whole organization.


Raj Manocha: Yes.


Jamin Brazil: So dual role?


Raj Manocha: Dual role yes.


Jamin Brazil: That’s a heavy burden. For sure.


Raj Manocha: For sure. For sure but keeps it interesting. The world is moving at such a quick pace. And I think the industry itself is, particularly after COVID it’s just become so fast. So people want sample, they want automation, they want what’s the next big thing. So for us, it keeps it really interesting. For me, I love it. So there’s something new every single day, particularly with the Methodify business. COVID’s had this resurgence for research technology. You are seeing people buy it at unprecedented levels. Relooking at the research process, trying to get better, tighter, faster. And this word agile gets thrown around like crazy. But it’s not just about speed, it’s not just about cost, it’s about process, right? So how do we get better, more efficient? Our industry hasn’t really looked at process for such a long time. COVID was a great catalyst for that. So it’s been interesting for us. We’re up massively compared to last year and the year before that. So we expect big things, but I think the industry has really turned for a lot of this stuff as well.


Jamin Brazil: Right at the turn of the of the pandemic I had Adam on the show, and we had talked a lot about the transition that had taken place from in person to digital. Specifically around the workforce. Which has been pretty big. What sort of things are you guys taking out of that in terms of managing your workforce? Are you, now that things, are you retrenching back to in person or are you guys?


Raj Manocha: That’s a great question. So we believe in the right framework for what we need to do. And so that, for a lot of our US staff, they are remote. We finally had our entire US team in the same place yesterday. Which was great.


Jamin Brazil: Here in Dallas?


Raj Manocha: Here in Dallas, we had – we flew everybody in. We did a couple meetings, but we haven’t had the entire team meet everybody until the first time today or yesterday in person. So that was fantastic because that energy you can’t replace. Our head office in Toronto, what we end up doing is having people come in for the right types of meetings. So innovation, ideation, any sort of training, any onboarding, but some stuff, Zoom is very helpful. I think some folks, they have a lot more- They’re much more calm in their days when they’re working from home. But that doesn’t always mean it’s the best environment either. So we want this mixed hybrid role. Typically people are coming in one or two days a week, but it’s for the right types of things.


Jamin Brazil: It’s purpose built right?


Raj Manocha: Yes.


Jamin Brazil: Let’s get back to the business. Tell us about Methodify.


Raj Manocha: Methodify, so we’re about five years old. Now we’re around 60 people when it comes to staff. And we’ve just been on a tear. Weren’t the first in by any means. Lots of great companies out there. The Quantilopes, the Zappis, the Momentives, all these companies. Qualtrics is all focusing on that type of stuff. The difference for us is we’re trying to play more operating system, connector. So there’s a lot of stuff that’s closed looped, we want to be more open looped and connect to everybody and to everything. So if you have 10 different platforms, someone’s going to play connector. Someone’s got to be that sort of windows for this industry. You’re not going to have 10 sign ons to 10 things. Well we have a lot of products and we originally went down this path of marketplace. Very much like a Zappi. We learned as we went, that wasn’t the play. And if we were going to do products they have to be interesting and innovative. They can’t just be concept tests or value props. It’s got to be stuff like AI, machine learning, like what’s the next big thing? And on top of that, people have this view of what their insights hub. They’re, where they log in, in the morning and then where they log up at night. We don’t have a CRM in our industry for a lot of reasons. Like a Salesforce or QuickBooks, someone’s got to play that role. That’s what we really want to do.


Jamin Brazil: I love that and I’m completely aligned with you on the thesis. Who’s your ideal customer?


Raj Manocha: Our ideal customer is someone who is, well I’ll give two different things. Our ideal customer is actually sometimes not even the insights professional. The marketer for a couple of reasons. One, a lot of times they control the money. And they’re not looking- What sometimes we get stuck in our own way, we’re looking for a perfect sort of thing. Sometimes it’s about being close enough. And agile has kind of shown this way. Marketers have less of a time worrying about that, versus the insights professional. But we have some really future forward insights professionals over the last two years who have really bought into what we want to do. So we look for that medium sort of size company. We love the large guys too, but it’s a lot of red tape to sort of go through everything. But the medium ones are the ones who can quickly react to vision. Change the way they want to do things, adjust their stuff, manage change management really well. That’s ideal for us.


Jamin Brazil: That makes a lot of sense. So you’re a little bit like customer type agnostic and more about like their speed to, sort of the agileness, is that it?


Raj Manocha: Yes. If we were ever doing a customer journey mapping, we’re not looking for the most valuable insights group in the world. We’re looking for folks who can do the right things, change management, have a vision for research, want to create change, have their team believing in it, but also that their internal stakeholders have bought into this as well.


Jamin Brazil: Totally. That makes that makes a lot of sense. I have so many questions about that in terms of, because it is more purpose built or purpose- Funny the second time I’m saying that which I haven’t said it at all in this conference so far. But identifying those people from a sales perspective would seem like a potential challenge.


Raj Manocha: It is and it’s been difficult. I think Canada was a bit of an easier play across the board for a lot of reasons. The companies just aren’t as large and even the big ones are not as big as global ones. US what we found is more if you think about like the Russell 2000 index. It’s those small cap kind of companies who might not have a massive insights group or maybe the marker is the one running the research. So we’ve identified more companies in that space than we have anywhere else.


Jamin Brazil: Well congratulations on your remarkable success over the pandemic period.


Raj Manocha: Thank you.


Jamin Brazil: Thinking about the lessons learned and kind of the state of the industry coming out of the pandemic, what is a trend that you see carrying us into 2022?


Raj Manocha: The biggest thing I’ve seen is the amount of appetite for change. And what by that is, some have been forced but others have just really started to buy into what’s around them. Even if you look at this conference, in the old days I would have seen all the traditionals sponsoring. Now it’s a lot of the nontraditional as well, the tech companies are here.


Jamin Brazil: There is no- You have maybe like Murray Hill. But you look around the room and I’m like I don’t know you.


Raj Manocha: And other than Ipsos, the big guys really aren’t here. But it’s all tech, people are buying. And what’s interesting is people are buying multiple technologies. They’re not just buying one thing, they’re buying a bunch of things. So the big trend I’m seeing is someone’s got to figure out how to play connector. We are ripe right now. There’s about 1200 research technology companies in space. Almost $18.5 billion globally. Now most of that’s driven by Qualtrics and Momentive, but you’re starting to see a trend 30% growth in the category for research tech over versus 10% of the category in general. So you’re seeing propensity here right? And you can probably infer most corporate clients are buying more than one type of thing. Transcription or automation or whatever. So someone’s going to have to help them stage that across.


Jamin Brazil: Do you see that, then your business like from a strategic perspective and this might be a question that we have to not answer on the podcast. But it feels like from a strategic perspective there’s a huge roll up opportunity for you. Because you have a view in terms of what customers like from an add on platform perspective. Like maybe emoji surveys is like something interesting or maybe a survey that leverage video. Do you know what I mean? Like whatever.


Raj Manocha: And what we- We call them boosters. So we think of quant or qual, let’s call that a platform in itself. You want boosters along with that. Everything we- Everything around us can be platforms. Our phones, this conference, it’s you’re finding things around right? Surveys for a long time were in a construct in which this would be how we operate, straight line. Yes, basically 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Now, it’s more choice based. It’s what do we want to add on to get the right opinions from people? And so if we’re going to create better experiences for the respondent, including qual, quant, whatever this tech is. Someone’s got to stitch it all together. And that’s how you get really, really slick and scale. And so for a lot of our companies, it’s or the kind of corporate clients we work with, it’s not about just implementation, but it’s the change management over time, what that vision looks like over three years. So it’s become much more strategic. And for a lot of reasons the industry has not moved that way because we buy in an ad hoc fashion. We buy about the project we see in front of us. And sometimes that’s budget related. Sometimes it’s just we don’t have the resources to manage it. But you’re seeing more strategic buys now into bigger things.


Jamin Brazil: And that was, and it’s interesting you used the example of like closed looped versus open. And because I think that’s exactly right. And Forsta now was FocusVision. One of the challenges I experienced there was, we were a closed loop framework, which then you have to do innovation categorically. Which was like eating an elephant. Pardon the expression. It’s very, very hard and it’s not just one elephant, it’s lots of different elephants. And so like the R&D, the focus, all that kind of stuff can really have a lot of challenges. At least when I was there in managing that kind of thing. Whereas your framework is one where because it’s open, I can plug in the, whatever the trending survey platform is today or whatever the qual-


Raj Manocha: And a lot of that’s come from companies like Uber because you’ve created this Uberfication of our lives where we want what we want the way we want it. So as a company now you want to create the loop you want to have, maybe you don’t want the video stuff we have, you want somebody else’s. We have to be OK with that. As an industry if we’re trying to become better and get, we always talk about a seat at the table, forget that you want to control the whole entire thing. If you want to do that, run the thing you want to run. Don’t get stuck in the paradigm we’ve created in the past. That’s the big change we’re seeing. That people are starting to think about vision much more frantically to kind of catch up either to their peers or they know they’re going to be in trouble if they don’t. So they want to create systems that make sense for their companies.


Jamin Brazil: Perfect. Exciting, really exciting stuff. Well congratulations on your success, look forward to hearing from you again.


Raj Manocha: Absolutely, thanks for the invite.


Jamin Brazil: Everybody have a great rest of your day.