#DMS2011: Interview with Brett Truka, Groupon

Brett Truka, regional sales manager at Groupon, provided a behind-the-scenes view of life inside the originator and largest daily deals provider. According to BIA/Kelsey, Groupon represents 58-60% of the daily deals space, which currently comprises more than 600 daily-deals providers.

Truka said that Groupon’s sales team, made up of reps ranging from backgrounds in newspapers and Yellow Pages to recent college grads, generally goes by a model ensuring 70% of reps time is spent inside the office contacting local businesses by phone, and 30% outside in the field.

Every day, Groupon needs to put out a deal in each of its markets. Truka talked about daily pipeline meetings in each regional office where Groupon managers and reps take a look at their specific market needs, and listen to where reps are in the process of securing deals with local businesses that fit those categories. Following the meeting, reps reach out to CRMs to finalize lists of businesses in those categories and then reach out to strike a deal.

BIA/Kelsey estimates that 54% of Groupon’s deals are for restaurants, something that Truka doesn’t see changing since consumers love to dine out. But he did say that Groupon is moving beyond its initial deals focused just on fun things to do locally, and branching out to local services that people need and get excited about.

Truka said that while many local businesses have heard of Groupon, most don’t know how the process works. Groupon’s reps work with business owners to structure the right kind of deal for their business, one that takes into account the volume of business and dollar discount that they can handle. Truka said that Groupon also helps manage redemption. Recentlly, the company launched iPhone and Android apps that allow merchants to scan Groupon barcodes and track redemption in an online merchant center.

BIA/Kelsey estimates that daily deals revenue will grow from $873 million in 2010 to $4.2 billion in 2015, so there is enormous opportunity for Groupon to continue to grow. But with so many competitors entering the space, it will be interesting how its future plays out.

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