Serent Snapshot: Amy Brandt, CEO of Docutech
Meet Amy Brandt, CEO and President of Docutech, a SaaS technology provider for the mortgage industry. We sat down with Amy to learn more about her experience with Serent Capital.
We had to look to other SaaS companies in other industries to see how they had organized product and what kind of leadership they had. We had to start from scratch.
Growing a GTM Engine at Docutech
Amy is an experienced CEO and former board member for a number of organizations. In 2017, she became CEO of Docutech, a dynamic document generation provider, electronic signature, and compliance solutions to leading banks and mortgage lenders.
“Serent said, from the beginning, ‘We’re here to help. We’re not going to get in the way of you running the business. We’re going to help you grow the business.’ From building out project plans to executing on these strategies, they were there to help. Not in a way that made me feel like I had to defend what we were doing, but in a way where we really partnered to figure out how to solve tough problems and to execute the solutions.”
Building a Faster Sales Process
The first project Docutech worked in partnership with Serent was improving the sales enterprise strategy and playbook — with a focus on reaching more large financial institutions.
“Executing more effectively on sales was important. We sell to large banks and institutions that we call ‘whales’ because they’re large and complex. Serent helped us institute a whole new set of tools, reports, and sales structures to address this segment of the market. As a result, bookings accelerated and revenue grew 40% year over year, driven by the success the sales team was having.”
Serent’s Strategic Operations Team, which is part of Serent’s Growth Team, brought the tactical expertise to sell effectively to larger clients, from developing a multi-touch sales process to creating effective sales assets that helped Docutech close deals faster.
“We developed a strategy wherein Docutech would have multiple salespeople reaching out to different contacts within the prospective company. We may be selling to the CIO or the operations leader, or the compliance lead, but we knew we should be selling to all three at the same time. We developed a complex process for timing the touchpoints and pushing content to get them across the line and get sales completed. And as a result, we dramatically reduced our sales cycle.”
Building a Product Team
When Amy joined Docutech in 2017, she joined a stellar team — but soon discovered that she needed to fill some key functions as Docutech scaled. For example, while Docutech had a strong team of developers in place, they needed an experienced product leader to guide the product vision.
“The world of mortgage was evolving to a digital close or otherwise known as e-close, a product that allows you to close on a mortgage transaction without having to go physically into a title company and sign documents. It allows the entire transaction to be done digitally and remotely. We knew we had to develop a suite of products around that.”
“We had to look to other SaaS companies in other industries to see how they had organized product and what kind of leadership they had. We had to start from scratch. The Serent Human Capital Team helped connect me with those profiles with reading and research. I had a better understanding of what I was trying to build and what I could hope to achieve with it. Then we defined the candidate that we wanted, what skill sets that we wanted them to have.”
By identifying the profile of successful product leaders early on saved Amy time and energy. “The Human Capital Team took this approach of, ‘Hey, this is how we see it. This is what we see at other places. What do you want? What works for you?,’ Amy recalled. “It was by no means prescriptive or a mandate.” Amy and the Docutech team were able to find a product leader to help them achieve their vision for an e-close product.
The new e-close product helped Docutech achieve significant growth. “We were ultimately successful in building a product organization that has now built the e-close product. Others tried to enter the e-close space, but not everyone’s e-close worked. The e-close was a compelling growth story. We’ve had a 267% growth in e-close revenue.”
“They’re fun to work with. These are really smart people. They’ve seen a lot of different situations in different contexts. They have a lot of value to add. They are people that help finish whatever it is that you start and make sure that the results that you expected happen because that’s how they measure success too.”
Working With Expert Advisors
While Amy brought years of experience to Docutech, she notes that getting an outside perspective was critical in unlocking new opportunities for growth.
“You know what you know, but you don’t know what you don’t know. When you’re working with colleagues that bring to your attention, ‘Hey, there’s a way to develop this entire product organization and something you maybe haven’t even considered. Here’s how you can do it. This is what the results are. Here are a few people that helped us,’ that’s just a huge benefit.”
“I didn’t have to go to the drawing board and figure things out entirely myself. I said, ‘What kinds of things have you helped get done and had success with?’ They had several tangible examples. That sparked in my mind, “Okay, that is something we need.'”
And as Amy discovered, the Growth Team wasn’t satisfied with sharing ideas — they focused on delivering results.
“They’re fun to work with. These are really smart people. They’ve seen a lot of different situations in different contexts. They have a lot of value to add. They are people that help finish whatever it is that you start and make sure that the results that you expected happen because that’s how they measure success too. They don’t feel successful just telling you an idea. They feel successful when that idea is successful for you. They wanted success. They want it to be measured. So they’re all willing to go in and help you figure that out — so that you drive actual, measurable results.”
“You have to pick the right capital partner. That is critical — ensuring that there’s an alignment on ideas on how you want to run the business and what you think the outcomes should be.”
Finding the Right Fit
By working with Serent, Amy and the team at Docutech found what they were looking for in a capital partner — a collaborator who helped them execute to move the company forward. “I had been accustomed to different styles, where I would have to go to board meetings and prove all the things we had done,” Amy recalls.
“Serent had a different approach. They were like, ‘We know you’re executing. We want to talk about strategies, things that can move the needle.’ I had to figure out a new style, a new way to present, and a new way to interact.”
“Ultimately, the board meetings were so much more effective. We were able to move the needle on strategies very, very quickly. That got us to an outcome more quickly, but there were great discussions along the way because we were so focused on strategies.”
“You have to pick the right capital partner. That is critical — ensuring that there’s an alignment on ideas on how you want to run the business and what you think the outcomes should be. But once you have that, there’s nothing better than having that partnership. When things are difficult, or the problems are hard, having a good partner helps you overcome those in a way that you can’t do when you stand alone.”