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What could Airtable offer to improve its functionality as a CRM or content pipeline tool?

COO at marketing agency

COO at marketing agency

Guest: Yeah. I think like one, just more space per base. So if we could just get more data and not have each base slow down so much. Two, I learned a lot talking with the UiPath team after their S-1 filing. They did a phenomenal job working through consulting firms to grow their business.

I do think that for any software that's going to touch a wide variety of teams and that is going to be best used in conversation with a bunch of different applications, having someone who has a ton of experience in how to best use the tool, who can make recommendations for your specific use case is helpful. Right now, Airtable is kind of like, "Okay. Just use it out of the box. Figure it out. Here's Airtable Universe. There are templates."

I think that works well at a small scale. At the size we're at, I would be happy to pay twice as much for Airtable if they gave me X hours of consulting per month, where they helped advise us on what we need to do next because I don't feel like that's accessible.

At the size we're at, I would be happy to pay twice as much for Airtable if they gave me X hours of consulting per month, where they helped advise us on what we need to do next because I don't feel like that's accessible.

And maybe that's not actually the case so I should research after this call. I think we would instead move to a platform that's built for those specific jobs that we need to accomplish. So yeah, I guess size and then expertise. Kind of like you see all these Notion maestros popping up that teach people how to use Notion do you know whatever, I could see that working well.

Is this part of my feedback though to like every vendor that we work with. I'm like, "Please be the expert and teach me how to be better at this than I am currently so that I'm not just spending all this time reading your how-to documentation to try to get up to speed."

I'd much rather pay someone for an hour of their time than take 10 hours of my time to do something so we could get to a solution faster.

Sacra: So it sounds like the big issues are speed. Like the product is just slow, this lack of extensibility. So it doesn't do a lot of stuff out of the box, which means you need other tools, but then there's a lack of kind of integration between them.

Guest: Right. Like you said, there's a really high ceiling, but I think that we're at a point where it's like, "Okay, I feel like we've taken Airtable"... Because we've already kind of figured out the, sorry, the data scheme, I guess, of our Airtable, we either have to rework it from the ground up or figure out how to build on top of it. So to get to that next level, even if the ceiling is a lot higher than where we are now, I do feel like we need someone to advise us.

I think it works for an enterprise company better maybe because they have ops people that spend all of their time thinking about how to best use this tool. They create process around it and then they have process to maintain it too. I think at my last company, once we got to 50 people, say, we had a Salesforce admin, like a dedicated person whose job was to get the most out of Salesforce.

I don't see us doing that for Airtable alone, but I totally see why it makes sense. That said, and I think this is why some some companies will actually hire a Salesforce admin if someone who already has a ton of knowledge in that tool.

Sacra: One of the potential issues we know with Airtable is that you have the folks who have that institutional knowledge of how a base works, and when they leave, you have a bunch of people using that base who didn't build it, and there's a big disconnect.

Guest: Totally. I think that's right. The institutional knowledge and then just overall, familiarity with tools. I think a lot of the people that come in and see our CRM, like, "That's not a CRM. A CRM is a," and they have a very specific mental model for what that is and should be, not necessarily understanding it... Like Salesforce does not work out of the box. There's a whole implementation process. So it's also very customizable and not perfect and always evolving.

I mean, I think Airtable is great. It really wasn't necessarily built for our use case. It works really well. Like I've talked to so many people who use Airtable as individual sales reps or solopreneurs. It works so well or smaller teams.

My dad uses it. I can even talk to him. He uses it to run his agency. There are a lot of people that really like it. I think that it could work really well. Again, we would just need to invest. We have to invest regardless. And like I said, I think it's the mindset shift and then also knowing, well can it grow with us in the way that we need it to? And I can't confidently say yeah. So I can't recommend that we continue long-term with it.

And maybe we're not worth enough, as a customer to... And if they invest in helping us solve our problems, they're still only going to get X amount of money out of us. So maybe it makes more sense to focus on the free, easy self-serve and then the bigger enterprise. I can kind of see that.

Find this answer in Marketing agency chief operating officer on Airtable use cases and alternatives
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