SureSwift Leadership Highlight: Catching Up with Matt Wood of Ghost Inspector

Highlighting SureSwift portfolio business Ghost Inspector

Just over eighteen months ago, SureSwift acquired Ghost Inspector, an end-to-end automated testing solution. This summer, the business welcomed a new General Manager, Matt Wood. We caught up with Matt to talk about his journey with SaaS leadership, experience since joining the team, and all things Ghost Inspector.

Thanks for chatting with me today Matt. Can you start by sharing a little bit about how you came to SureSwift?

It’s a bit of an interesting journey. I’ve been a geospatial guy for most of my career, but I left my last job to do two things – one was start a consulting business for geospatial companies helping technical founders craft a go to market strategy, and the other was a reselling business. I met a lot of cool overseas SaaS companies when I was doing international business development work in the geospatial industry. I found that many of these companies were really successful in their local markets but weren’t currently available in the US. Seeing that need, I set up my geospatial business to work with some of these companies to bring those products to the US market. SaaS was totally unlike anything I had done in the past, but I learned a lot in the process.

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Then one day I was preparing for a sales call with a pretty large business. I was doing a bunch of research, with 10 or 12 tabs open in my browser, and it was a total pain. I literally said to myself, “there has to be a better way”. So, after that call, I started poking around to see if there was a company out there that helped sales people do research. It turned out there was, but they were in the process of shutting down. So I bought the technology, spun it back up, and learned SaaS by rebuilding the product and selling it to customers, dealing with all the different metrics and challenges that come with that. I later joined a private equity company as SVP of Product, running a portfolio of SaaS companies from a product perspective. Eventually that company shut down, and I saw the GM position open at SureSwift. I had always known about SureSwift from being in the SaaS space, so I immediately thought this is where I want to be. I liked the mission and vision, and here I am.

We’re glad to have you! When you came on board, was there anything that surprised you about Ghost Inspector?

I was a little surprised by the complexity. Ghost Inspector has been around for about nine years, so it has a pretty long history for a SaaS business. What it does is really very complex, so there’s a lot of cool software engineering behind it that makes it run. I didn’t really think about that beforehand, but there’s a lot to what we do.

The simpler it is for the customers, the more complicated it is for you.

Exactly.

Tell me a little bit about your experience over the last few months with the broader SureSwift community and framework.

I love this SureSwift community. I reach out to other general managers on a very regular basis to pick their brain about what they’re doing, how they're approaching a specific task, what software they're using, or what their process is. It’s really great to get all these different perspectives, especially coming from being a solopreneur. I had to make up everything as I went, and to have that community of other people doing very similar things has been invaluable. The monthly SBU leader meeting is great because we can talk about similar challenges across all the businesses, and the guilds I love because it brings together a lot of different people to talk about similar areas of the business, whether that’s marketing, sales, metrics, or something else.

The basecamps (portfolio business leader meetings with SureSwift leadership) are also really good, I get a lot of support from those. It’s not about criticizing me or doing a test to see if I know this number or that number, it’s truly a collaborative situation. I’ve recently been interviewing people for a few roles at Ghost Inspector, and I talk a lot about how collaborative SureSwift is if you want it to be. If you reach out and make the effort, there are a lot of people who are willing to help, but if you just sit back and wait, nothing’s going to happen. We have a new Growth Marketing Manager on the team who’s only been with us a few weeks, but he’s already set up lots of meetings with people across the company. I love to see that.

Connecting with others helps team members and products grow

That’s awesome. I know you just hired for a few different roles, anything else coming up?

We just added an engineer and a growth marketing manager. We just hired a new customer success manager who will be starting soon, and are looking at adding a product manager down the road as well. We’re growing and looking at a lot of strategic, longer-term additions that will help us grow. (Even if these roles are filled, we’re growing - find opportunities across our portfolio on our careers page!)

Switching gears, what are the biggest challenges and opportunities we’ve seen with Ghost Inspector since acquisition?

One of the challenges I have seen with Ghost Inspector is that there was not a lot of data easily available. SureSwift is a data driven company, and I also rely heavily on data to make decisions. So I have spent a lot of time finding and accessing different datasets so that I can truly understand the business.

But the opportunities we have now are huge. We’re really focusing on go-to-market, looking at the whole funnel and putting a lot of focus into moving up-market to enterprise customers. We have a few very large customers right now, so we know the product is suitable as an enterprise solution, it just needs some work on the operations side and how we sell. So it’s work for the whole team, making sure things are in great shape on the product side and getting everything refreshed and ready to sell into enterprise, but I think it’s going to drive a lot of growth for us.

Beyond that, what makes Ghost Inspector a great product for SureSwift?

Ghost Inspector solves a very specific and very real problem. It’s probably the original tool out there that solves this automated testing problem for customers, and it’s also truly easy to use. It takes almost no time to onboard and become successful with this product. I think that’s one of the biggest strengths, that in a matter of minutes a new customer can get in there and have a test up and running.

The other piece is the level of flexibility we offer. Ghost Inspector can be used by different types of people with different levels of technical expertise. We allow people to run a lot of tests very, very fast and we provide people with early warnings when things are going wrong so they can fix them before they become big issues.

Given all that, it was just a well-run business when we acquired it with opportunities to grow. It fits into SureSwift’s approach of not looking for unicorns, but wanting to drive steady high profit growth in the long run. It’s a product with a good, solid foundation and some clear areas that we can grow into.

I know demos have been a big win for Ghost Inspector, can you share about the strategy there?

While it’s a very easy-to-use product, it has a lot of flexibility to it. It’s built for technical and non-technical people alike, so a user can go in and create a test in a matter of minutes, and then edit and customize it, or we can go even deeper and an engineer can go in and write code to customize and edit it even more. So there’s some complexity to it, but it really breaks down into a handful of core use cases. Coming into a demo, a customer doesn’t necessarily need to know all the ins and outs of the customizations available, they just want to know if it will solve their use case. So when we run a demo, we’re able to show that use case and how Ghost Inspector is going to align with what they’re trying to accomplish. As a result, our conversion rates are really good on demos.

Demos have been a successful growth strategy for Ghost Inspector

Any advice for SaaS founders thinking of starting demos for their products?

Demos are not about the product, they’re about the user and showing the user how you can solve their specific pain point. If you don’t do a good job in the discovery portion, you’re not going to be able to give them a meaningful demo. If you just have a script that you follow no matter what and drone on in autopilot, you’re not going to have a successful demo either.

You need to stay really focused on engaging your customer and speaking directly to their pain points. You’re ideally showing them that you can solve their problem, and demonstrating exactly how. A lot of people build demos and just walk through the script, and it ends up just being an info dump or mini-training session, when it could be so much more.

Final question – what’s next for Ghost Inspector?

Well, we've spent a lot of time working on architectural and other behind the scenes items, so the customers haven't seen a lot of change. It’s all been really good, really important work but we’re looking forward to some new projects, especially as we grow into the enterprise space. We want to be leveraging all the new technologies and processes out there to be supporting those clients, with the obvious one being AI. We think there are some great opportunities there to find new ways to make our customers more efficient and effective with the tool.

Interested in learning more about Ghost Inspector? Check out our original interview with Founder Justin Klemm, or head to the Ghost Inspector site.

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