If Scott Millwood were a chef, he wouldn’t be making any fancy, highfalutin dishes that have become so popular lately. Instead of those unsatisfying meals that offer tiny portions dressed up like pieces of abstract art, Millwood would instead focus on making good old-fashioned dishes, executed perfectly — the best cheeseburger you’ve ever had, for example, or a basic spaghetti and meatballs that knocks it out of the park.
Of course, Millwood isn’t a chef; he’s the CEO of Yesflow, a Greenville-based tech company specializing in customer relationship management. But Millwood said that philosophy of taking a simple idea and executing it perfectly has always driven his business mindset.
“It really is the execution,” Millwood said. “Honestly, the idea behind this business isn’t rocket science. We’re not creating the new Google algorithm. We started this company knowing we had competitors doing the same thing as us. We just knew we were going to out-execute them.”
The ‘mom test’
Customer relationship management systems, or CRMs, have long been mainstays in the business world. They allow companies to organize their relationships with current and potential customers. Let’s say a customer just got a new puppy named Rover and mentioned on a call that Rover kept chewing the couch. Using a CRM, the company can note that interaction, and weeks or months later can have those small details at the ready to mention in future interactions with the customer.
Millwood said the work-from-home arrangement brought on by COVID-19 have led to a “distinct uptick” in new subscribers to Yesflow, as managing relationships from afar becomes the new normal. In response, Yesflow has just launched a freemium version available online or on the appe store.
Even still, traditional CRMs post a problem in that they require the user to manually enter all that information, an often dull and arduous task.
“The dirty secret of using a CRM is that even though it’s useful, most users really don’t like it,” Millwood said.
To fix that, Yesflow is working to put a voice on top of its CRM system, allowing users to interact much the same way they would with Siri on their iPhones or Alexa on their smart speakers. All a person has to do now is tell the CRM about those interactions, and using an AI algorithm, Yesflow fills out all the information automatically.
Millwood said his team operates by “the mom test,” meaning if they can’t teach their moms to use the system easily and quickly, they need to simplify it.
Millwood has been working in Greenville in the tech industry since 1995. As the current chairman of the board of directors of NEXT, he’s been intimately involved in Greenville’s startup scene for a quarter century. He said Greenville is unique in its ability to foster companies that grow from regional to global within a short span of time.
His own experience proves that sentiment. In 2004, he and Yesflow’s co-founder Michael Elliott founded a previous company, Customer Effective, which was later acquired by Hitachi, the 38th largest company in the world.
After a successful transition to Hitachi, both Millwood and Elliott were looking to scratch that entrepreneurial itch to build something new again.
They brought on six employees to start Yesflow, all of whom they’d worked with previously, some going back decades.
“It’s like a chef opening up a new restaurant and bringing the kitchen team along from the previous one,” Millwood said. “They all know who’s going to cook what, how to deliver those dishes to the front, in a way that you just can’t replicate.”