One Tech CEO Takes A Different Approach To Growing Her Business

We caught up with founder and COO Summer Crenshaw at Dreamforce to learn about the vision behind tilr and how the company is driving growth by thinking differently.

Q: Online job postings are hardly a new idea. What’s different about tilr?

My co-founder Carisa and I both previously worked at CareerBuilder.com, where we learned that traditional job posting technology is biased. It maximizes results for people who write resumes well, or college students who know how to stuff them with keywords. People who have gaps in education or employment are often eliminated, even though they are fantastic candidates. But there are a lot of companies who aren’t looking for the swankiest resume; they value workers based on the skills that they have. We created tilr to focus on the skills that a company needs — and a candidate has — not on their resume writing skills.

Q: tilr has a unique approach to understanding customers that you call empathy mapping. How do you do it? Is it hard?

Empathy mapping is super easy. My team is constantly thinking about our buyers and talking about their personas — but we take it to a whole new level. We think a lot about how a potential customer is impacted from an emotional standpoint. For example, we might know that she always commutes by car. What is she listening to? How does she feel when she gets to the office and opens her laptop? Going an extra level deeper helps us build products and experiences that will surprise and delight customers.

Q: You have a unique model for engaging with community organizations to help drive business. How does that work?

We’ve been partnering with community organizations, working together to provide them services they need. We’ve found that’s an effective way to get the word out about what we are doing for companies and individuals looking for work. For example, tilr is empowering workers to get back to work. And so is the United Way. We go about things in different ways but the end goal is the same. Community organizations have been a very, very important channel for us and that’s a playbook that we hope to replicate in additional cities.

Q: Has technology contributed to your success? What’s your advice for companies that are choosing and implementing it?

We’re a Salesforce shop, but although we’re a tech firm we don’t just use technology for the sake of it. Small businesses always have resource constraints, so you need to think long and hard about what success looks like. You have to do a cost-benefit analysis and examine what happens if you take a lower-cost solution now but have to retrofit it down the line. You have to be very proactive about scaling and planning for business success. Look 1 to 2 years out as you make decisions.

Image: Salesforce/Summer Crenshaw

Source: Small Business Trends