The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 4 years ago

Jacob Baadsgaard on Results-Based Relationships

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Founders and CEOs often expect immediate results from new sales teams and employees. But that isn't always realistic, or sustainable. To find out why, we sat down with Jacob Baadsgaard, CEO of Disruptive Advertising, a team-enabled agency that uses analytics and data to help clients grow their businesses, leveraging platforms like Google and Facebook. 

You were listening to the BB revenue executive experience, a podcast dedicated to helping the executives train their sales and marketing teams to optimize growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's accelerate your growth in three, two, one. Welcome everyone to the B Tob Revenue Executive Experience. I'm your host, Chad Sanderson. Today we have with US Jacob Bad's guard, CEO of Disruptive Advertising, and we're focusing on results based relationships, how they impact sales, marketing and growing your business. Jacob, thank you for taking the time and welcome to the show. Hey, thanks for having me, Chad. So before we jump in, we typically ask and off the wall question just to give our audience a little bit more insight into you. So, as you look back over your career, was there a pivotal moment, something that happened or lessons that you learned that kind of change at trajectory or your thinking on your career and what you wanted to accomplish? And, if so, what was it and how did impact you? Yeah, you bet. I had an interesting experience early on in my career after school was working for a company called Aminators as a technical implementation consultant, and I felt like a like a fraud, like I didn't know what I was doing. I that the individual that was training me at the time it was her first opportunity to mentor and train someone and I don't think she necessarily knew how to do that. And I felt kind of in between a rock and a hard place in that I wasn't getting it and I felt dumb and too scared to ask her to explain, because usually the response was you didn't get that, or how come you don't remember that, and so I was just feeling like, shoot, I don't know what I'm doing and the person that's supposed to be helping me. I'm I'm, you know, a little scared of and I feel like I'm getting beat up every time I do this, and so I'm there saying I'm there thinking, how did I did I make the wrong decision? I'm I have no confidence. I just think, shoot, what did I get myself into here? And the experience that really made a big difference for me was an individual who is not on my team, not my manager, who I had become acquainted with while I was there. One day he walked by him and apparently my face must have shown how I was feeling on the inside and he stopped by and he's like, Hey, Jacob, how's it going, man, and I said good, because that's what we all say, and he called my bullshit and said no, you're not, tell me how you're really doing, and so we got into it. Kind of explained why I was feeling, you know, not up to the task, lacking confidence and not knowing what I needed to move forward, and he proceeded to spend a couple of hours with me that day and for the next thirty to sixty days spent one to two hours a day with me and just really helped answer my questions, help make sure that I understood things, held me accountable to making sure that I was pushing myself and, man, after getting his support and feeling like man, I don't know if I have what it takes to be successful. Getting that level of individual support, when it wasn't even required of him to do that, totally change my life. Over the next eight to ten months, became one of the top performers in the organization and is what ultimately what led me to starting disruptive advertising with the skill set that I start developed there, and so that was something that absolutely changed my trajectory, my personal confidence and my perspective on what I want to do in my career, and that is I want to be that guy. I want to be that guy that's willing to step in and help when when it's needed, even if there isn't something financially in it. For me, excellent. So that's that kind of fueled the whole desire to create disruptive advertising, it sounds like. So can you give our audience a Lib bit of context around that company and what led you to...

...start it? Yeah, so disruptive advertising. We're a tech enabled agency and we use analytics and data to help our clients grow their businesses, leveraging platforms like Google and facebook, and that's what we do and our mission statement is we a prove lives through results based relationships and just like that experience that I just shared with you, that's a relationship that's delivered results for four years. I'm still very close friends with that individual and that's what we tried to instill and bring to the table, not only with clients, and of course, that that is a top priority for us, but we also do that with each employee that works at destructive advertising as well. And so you know, the success story of disruptive is well known for anybody who takes the time to look. I'm curious, though, the multimillion dollar business probably have sales team. Now. All companies start out with founder based selling. How do do you make the transition from being the person that had to do it all to having a true sales team? Well, I'll tell you what, that was one of the hardest things for me to figure out, as it is for most businesses, and there's no way where at where we are today without breaking through that. And I'll tell you what I did wrong and then I'll tell you what work and and then hopefully there's something for all of us to learn. There is, first and foremost, I went and hired some more experienced, bigger guns that were more expensive, that had a lot of sales experience and kind of just try to hand it off to them, and what happened was they didn't understand the business. They had good seal skills but because they came at a high cost, the expectations for them to deliver what we needed as an organization. It wasn't a huge leash, right, or the amount of time that we had to get there. And so after a few months of saying wow, this anything that you are selling is coming over with really bad expectations, and even then we're still not selling enough to justify what we're paying you. I'm for a couple of those experiences I just thought, shoot, what am I going to do? How am I going to get past founder based selling, or is this going to become a lifestyle business? Right? And what's interesting is there was this persistent kid that kept bugging me for a cell's job. He was still in school and and just kept bugging me for a job because he had a friend that worked out that just loved working at disruptive advertising. And so finally I'm like, man, if he is this persistent with me, I'll probably be pretty persistent on the cells side. Him and another individual brought them both over, very low cost individuals, and I said, Hey, I need to get to the point where I don't have to sell everything and I want to take a different approach here. I'm going to sell everything for you and I'm still going to pay you a commission on it and I need for you the first three months to set me up with some appointments. Go Hustle, makes some things happen. We have some good in bound leads coming in as well, and you're just going to observe, watch what I do, how I do it, and you're going to make sure that we stay on top of all of it. Well, long story short, taking that approach and just really giving them that time and experience to just work with me see how I do it so that they're not coming up with their own version per se, actually ended up paying off the bigtime dividends for us, because I got to the point where it took a while, and that's and that's the the part of the answer that I didn't like is, yeah, they were starting to contribute and close their own deals after a few months, but I still paid them pretty well, paid them commissions on sales that I closed for them and just really let them observe and listen to the way that I was doing it. And after it took about a year before they were very solid and dependent and now had kind of took the way that I was doing it and kind of molded that into their own thing, but with a with a solid and consistent foundation. After eighteen months they...

...were doing fantastic, the company was growing and that we were hiring people, that they could train, a mentor and and now we've got a team of over ten people on ourselves team now and that are all doing fantastic and closing more revenue than you know, my top cells guys a close more now than I ever did on my on my own each that's what you want to see, though. Yeah, that's exactly what I want, and I still like to pretend like I'm the best cells guy in the organization, but I don't know if I am anymore. Well, I mean and when you make that transition. I mean, first off, Kudos to you, right, because I've seen a lot of founders who don't crack that nut right first. They don't want to give up control role and individuals not scalable. We all know that, right, and so being able to have that comfort level, in that insight and crack that nut is is, you know, Kudos to you and the organization. I'm curious, though, as you go from you know, you took eighteen months, say, to train those two people, to give them the foundation. How do you ensure that, as you continue to grow that foundation is scalable? Is it? The one on one mentoring? Is each one given, you know, the the longer leash of say, twelve eighteen months shadowing somebody? How do you cut you guys handle that well in that process. Actually did have a cells coach as I was going through that process. And what what I and a lot of founders have is what we call as being unconsciously competent, right, like we just kind of know the right things to say and do, and that's why we're in business to begin with, with the product or service that we're bringing to the table. And as we went through this process and saw actually most of it was very repeatable and that we could go from being unconscious about it, too conscious and intentional about it to where we actually start to build the collateral, the process, the systems, leveraging a crm, doing these types of things to actually make it a repeatable, scalable approach. Is kind of what we did during that and continue to do even now. But someone that comes in now gets up to speed exponentially faster than than these initial two people. So trial and error and figured out what worked with didn then make sure you kept the good stuff and got rid of the stuff that wasn't working or dragging them down. Yep, and so when you one of the things that we talked about, or kind of exchange emails on and was was this investing in your employees. And it sounds like, you know, eighteen months is a long in a B Tob Enterprise space that I come from. It sounds like a really long time. There's probably sales reps going wow, I was, you know, when I'd started it job a B or c. they'd given me that type of help. The desire to invest in the employees. Obviously it comes from that, that story you told, but can you give us some examples of how else you're investing in enabling your employees and what kind of results you've seen from that? Yeah, you bet the I think it's also important to note that they were contributing in a meaningful way within about six to eight months. Okay, but they but they weren't performing at a top level independently until about eighteen months. So it's not like I want eighteen months without them selling any shin. So that we're clear on that. And then, as far as this is actually one of the reasons why I started my own business is I felt like the the I would get compensated at level x and if I were two, three, four or five times as hard and produced two, three, four, five times as much, I wasn't getting compensated that way. And so I found myself feeling frustrated that, you know, I found myself not performing at my peak level because it didn't really benefit me to do that all the time and I didn't like, you know, when I was being honest with myself, I didn't like that I was kind of stepping down a little bit and not pushing myself to do my best. And because I wasn't in the cells roll. And so no matter how many clients I serviced or the work that I did or the great things that I accomplished that he did have any meaningful impact to revenue, I wasn't seeing that come back to me at that rate. That felt right, that felt fair to me, and...

...so one of the things that I've done very differently in my organization is the cells teams always have very aggressive hey, you want to make more money, sell more right and you've got a very variable performance based commission or compensation model where you have some more control. Some of the the risk that comes with that, but a lot of the upside that comes with that as well. Okay, and so I said, you know, that's great. Why don't we do this for all roles in the company? And so that's what I've done, is for for the positions that I've created in the company, I've always taken the time to back into their financial contribution to the organization and creating compensation plans that don't penalize top performers. Because if I'm a top performer and just because I can get it done twice as fast as you, because you're still only a year into this and I'm two years into this, does that mean I need to do twice the amount of work for an extra ten grand a year in my salary right? And and so I've just tried to create that mentality of don't penalize top performers, take the time to understand the financial impact to the business and back into that and say hey, if you can perform, and this is even for some non you know they're kind of several, several levels removed from revenue, but I can say, as a percentage of total revenue, that you would that you are as cost in the company. If we can grow the company by twenty percent without needing to hire someone else because you're just way more efficient at it, we can flow at least a lot of that through to you right if not all of it, and so that's the kind of the mentality that we've taken is the only ceiling that is in place is your own ceiling, and the more times you can break through that are compensation plans allow you to almost immediately recognize the benefit of that, and so that's one of the things that we've done to really invest in in our talent here at disruptive is by sending it up that way, and I think that's when we do our internal surveys. We're about a hundred people now and the organization. That's very regularly one of the most common things mentioned about. One of their favorite things about the company is the investment that you guys put into them. Yes, and so it's interesting right that their organizations complants, especially for sales people, complants are always a sensitive subject when you back into financial contributions. Are you doing it outside of the sales groups? It's just kind of standard across the organization, or is it something you've really focused on making sure you're not putting a ceiling across justice bales team, across the entire organization, and so for all roles we want to have that type of compensation in place and make sure that it's financially justified. I mean, especially in the B Tob World, that the two numbers that matter are the lifetime value of the customers that we're working with and then the cost that it takes for us to acquire and then service and fulfill on those customers. And so yeah, we've got it back into it, but every organization touches that somewhere right right, and so that's that's what it's based on. Excellent. And so when we were when we were talking, were the concept of you know, we have a lot of companies out there, and I'm sure you've seen it, where they'll invest in hiring people, and I get to a certain size. I mean I think you guys are in a sweet spot right now and hopefully can continue to scale it with the authenticity and approach that you've got. But if you get to some of those organizations that are, you know, a hundred million, two hundred million, I have a tendency to see a lot of them say hey, you know what, I'm an invest in growing my team so higher, a bunch of people, but I won't necessarily also spend the money to enable them. So I'm curious if you have any advice what you've learned at kind of as you've scaled to this point, those organizations that have gotten to that point, whether they think the answer is just put more feet on the street, more bodies in there. Are there lessons or advice or perspectives you can provide that might jog the memories of those that are in, say, large organizations that still kind of paid themselves into a corner at times? You know, that's it's in interesting even going from an individual consultant to an organization about hundred people. Now we've absolutely experienced that...

...and so it exists at at the larger scale as well and it probably a larger challenge there. But those are things that we've experienced. The the hangouts that you know, because we're just a few friends working together and you know we're friends outside of work as well and spending a lot of that time together. Things change and maintaining that culture that is important as the company grows and and staying true to our mission it's been a challenge and it's not one that we've been immune to either in our growth as a company, because, keep in mind, were only four and a half years old and in that time period the growth that we've had has been quite a bit for us to handle. So one of the things that I've noticed that makes a big difference is enabling and empowering the leaders in the organization to say, because they would come back to me they're like, Jacob, I feel like we're losing some of this, you know, of what it used to be like, because I used to spend so much more time with you. We'd hang out, we do those types of things, and and then for me realizing, Hey, that's now what I need you to do with your team. Right, that doesn't need to change. It just all. I guess it does change, but that's that's the level that it needs to happen now. And so some things that we that we do is very regularly life events that happen at disruptive advertising. We had a new baby, we got married, we bought our first home. We actually have a budget set aside. That's not that's not formal. Right, it's not anything that anyone's expecting, but that we like to make significant contributions for people in those times and critical moments of their lives. And so I had to realize I need to empower my leaders to identify those opportunities and so that they have a budget that they can draw from to contribute to the people on their team that way, right going out and having launch or hanging out after work, that there needs to be a budget and encouraged to have those types of activities. So we've kind of taken what was really our roots and how I ran the business with a small team to now saying hey, each individual team in the company, you now have the resources and are encouraged to do the same thing. So it sounds to me. So I maybe too much information for the audience or for you, but I've done my fair share back in the day of working for founders and I've always seen that struggle that I don't know if it's an internal if it's fear, if it's I don't want to let go of it. You sound this. You sound very well adjusted for for a founder. I don't mean that to come across the way it's probably coming across. It's is meant to be a compliment, but what you're talking about are the it sounds like the ideal, right, but founders have a tendency to hold on to too much too long, and so I don't know if you're familiar with less try ACKMAN. He wrote a book called don't eff it up. It's kind of he's kind of known as a with the call in the second the best second CEO founders of ever hired, or something like that. But one of the things he talks about is that that that fight to let go. How did what was it about you and your approach that? It sounds to me less, you just really have got me kind of snowed. Sounds like it just kind of can naturally to you to invest in I mean there had to be some sleepless nights, right, am I wrong about that? Well, and I think there's still more that I'm holding onto. The maybe came through in that corner. Let's just let's be real here yet, because there's something that is satisfying about being the guy or girl that it makes that meaningful contribution to someone at a critical point in their life and to get that appreciation and all the good vibes that come back from that film, like a good person and that is something that I have wanted to hold on to, but I've realized that I just simply can't. I can't keep track of everything that's going on in everybody's lives and if I didn't empower them that that it just wasn't going to happen and...

...it was going to create issues. And so I wish I could. You know, at least that's what I would have wanted to do, but I realized I couldn't and you know, we have had to make that transition excellent. So all right, so the space that disruptive is in, you guys are, you know, tell you said tech enabled. So I'm curious. There's a lot of change that's going on in the space and technology. You know, some days it's everybody is talking about Ai, some days it's something else. I'm curious from your perspective and with what disrupted does what you see on the technology landscape that you're the most excited about, not only maybe from a business standpoint, but also that ability to enable that giving back and maintaining that culture inside of disruptive. Yeah, well, there's there's a couple of things that I would point out here in our industry, which we're in, the digital marketing agency right and we manage roughly about a hundred million in annual budgets for our clients and what they're spending on Google and facebook to grow and advertise for their business. And what we found is that our software is actually identified seventy six percent of those budgets are completely wasted and not driving value, and so some of the technology that we've been investing in our end is how to reallocate and redistribute digital marketing budgets so that, instead of wasting that seventy six percent, it's actually growing and scaling the business and reallocated in an area that's actually producing. And so the technologies that were investing in developing ourselves and that we're seeing in the industries are really those that are taking seriously connecting the dots, you know, you think in a betob world where people have a nine, you know, three, six, nine, eighteen month cell cycle and being able to tie back the marketing efforts that drove the actual revenue that contributed. Those are the areas where I think people need to be focused. And here's the thing. A lot of the machine learning ai things that are thrown out there are often optimizing without that level of insight and they're optimizing on hey, let's just drive in more leads at a lower cost. Well, what if they're crappy leads and and the machine learning isn't working? Now the cells teams pissed off because I'm having to go through many times more leads to find a good one, you know. And so the technology that I'm the most interested in is looking at those and saying, let's actually tie this through to revenue, contribution, margin, profit whatever for the business. And then the technology that I've found, it's actually not that new, but it's improving across all of the platforms, is understanding the power behind increasing lifetime value of a customer, because the most the person that's most likely to buy from you is the person that's already bought from you in the past and taking those lists of customers that are already bought from us, uploading those in two platforms like Google and facebook and others, or we can actually go and get them to buy more or cross sell them into something different or get more users or whatever. That is. That's where we're seeing a lot of people miss the mark right now. Is Net new customers are so expensive and everyone wants to find the silver bolt that makes it, you know, super were easy cost effective to just get, you know, tons of new net new customers, when the reality is, yeah, you can do that, and you need to be increasing the lifetime value side of that equation as well. So those are the things that I'm the most interested in right now. Attributions always been a challenge, so crack in that would be, you know, phenomenal. But I got to believe if you can did deliver that type of attribution your it would help bridge that chasm between sales and marketing right because and it'll fight. It's a fight, and that's the thing is, when you have that level of information and sophistication, it's no longer marketing versus cells, it's mark it's a marketing and sells team that are working together for the same things. Because that's that's what I see, is the marketing always says, Hey, we're winning, we delivered the leads you needed, and sell said, well, yeah, but that's not what we really wanted because the lead sucked. When...

...marketing and cells are both held accountable to the same thing, which is revenue contribution to the company, that's how you overcome that and it's challenging, but those breakthroughs and the solutions exist and need to be in place if you want to be successful with your business. Excellent. So let's Change Direction here a little bit. We ask all of our guests kind of two standard questions and of each interview. The first is simply, as a founder and CEO of a hundred person company, that makes you a, in sales parlance, a target or prospect for people that want to get your attention. I'm curious if somebody's trying to get your attention and build credibility something that you don't know, what's the most effective way to capture your attention and start a conversation if somebody thinks they have a solution that might be a value. Well, I'll tell you what. I get hit up with these a little bit more often, but the cold call, I cannot remember the last time that I've answered a phone call of a number I didn't recognize. Emails, I already get bombarded with so many that I'm rarely reading those. But I'll tell you what. I get hit up occasionally with the text message, with with the concise message about something, and I read it and I've responded to some of those. Interesting you're the first person who's mentioned the text so let's let's I got to dive into that a little bit. So the some people would say that texting somebody is a little bit more of an intimate level of connection that needs to be earned, but it sounds like if they're providing value or capturing your attention, you're open to getting not random but targeted, let's say, targeted text messages. Yeah, you know what, and I agree with what you said and at the same time I read every single text that comes across my phone and it's true. So you know that there is definitely going to be a balance there and you know part of me, when it's not something I'm interested I'm definitely more frustrated that I'm getting texted by someone. So it needs to be done right, but I've think it'd be very effective with myself and that something that we've been testing out for my on business and with some of our clients as well, that we're seeing some good success with. And as so, just any pointers you could give somebody if they before they go crazy and start randomly texting people? Any any pointers or lessons learned you could share. Yeah, there are laws about what you can and can't do. So I would point number one. With all the law, I would definitely be cautious with that and there are can be stiff penalties and those types of situations. But at the end of the day, when it's when it's, you know, kind of like the ABM or the account based marketing solution, where your really is a single, you know, a very small group of people that you're going after it, I think that's when it can be very effective and you know, even if it's just a simple text that it's like Hey, I just sent you this, or a simple video or those types of things that you can send over get. You know, there are great ways to do that, but you know, make sure you're being compliant. It works really well when you're going for a larger cell on kind of that count based marketing marketing strategy. But yeah, those are a couple of things that I throw out there. Excellent. All right. So last question. We call it our acceleration in sight. There was one thing you could tell sales, marketing professional services people, one piece of advice that you would give to them that, if they listened, which is always the challenge with if they listened and embrace it, that you believe would help them hit their targets. What would it be and why? Well, I'll tell you the one that's tough of mind for me right now, and that is there is such a such a thing as bad revenue and wasting one's time on chasing down the deal that isn't the right fit for the for the software, for the service, and just pushing that revenue through. It never pays off in the long run because it pulls time away from from selling the clients and customers that you really should be focused on. And I see my own team, I see so many...

...other cells teams, get stuck in that where they're so concerned about hitting the number they'll really, as long as someone's willing to say yes, they'll push that cell through, rather than moving on coming up with a system that is good at identifying which ones are good and which ones are not, that are ultimately going to drive the value that the business needs. And let's focus and work on those ones and stop wasting our time on those that are not the right fit, because that creates more problems than it solves by hitting a quota number and here's the thing. A lot of people will say, well, if I don't do that, I won't hit my numbers, and I actually don't agree with that. If you stop wasting your time on the cells that you really shouldn't be pushing through anyway, you'll hit your numbers and you'll hit him in a more meaningful way. That makes a bigger contribution to the company and will give you opportunities to grow faster, without a doubt. So perfect take. If a listeners interest in talking more about the topics we touched on today, what's the best way to get in contact with you? Yeah, can somebody's work with disruptive advertising to increase cells volume, and we do that by driving leads or ecommerce cells through leveraging Google ad words and facebook ads. Is primarily what we do, and so we've actually developed a tool for those of you that are already exploring or spending money in those avenues, which most companies are. We've developed at an audit tool where we are actually glad to do that for you for free. Go to disruptive advertisingcom Slash Audit and will run an audit on your adverts or facebook campaigns for free. Give you a beautiful pdf that shows you exactly what is and is not working in your account that you can either go fix and give to your marketing team so that you're getting better quality leads, or you can engage us and that's something that we can help with as well. So I can't thank you enough for being on the show today. It's been great having you. I really appreciate the time, Chad. Thanks for having me. All right, everyone that does it for this episode. Please check us out. Of Be Tob Rev exaccom, subscribe on Itunes, share with friends, families, Co workers. You know the drill. If you like what you are hearing, please leave us review on itunes and until next time, we have value prime solutions. With you all, nothing but the greatest success. You've been listening to the BB revenue executive experience. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show and Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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