The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 4 years ago

Jiri Marousek on How Building a Capable Internal Team Equals More Revenue

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

You’ve seen plenty of companies focused on pushing sales organizations hard to generate more revenue. There’s often a focus inside companies to get more out of the salespeople they have.

This is a viable plan of attack, but it’s not the only one. Over the last five years, we’ve seen an increase in marketing and services agencies, and they aren’t cheap—even if the services they provide are seen as critical.

So today, we want to talk about how building that internal capability is not only worth the investment: it can also increase revenue. To do that, we’re talking to Jiri Marousek, Chief Marketing Officer at the AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association).

Find a breakdown of this episode here.

Welcome everyone to the B Tob RevenueExecutive Experience. I'm your host, Chad Sanderson. Today we're talking about howbuilding a capable internal team and reducing an overreliance on agency equals more revenue forthe organization as a whole. So why this topic, especially considering I spentthe last ten years in agencies? We've seen companies often focus on pushing salesorganizations harder and to generate more revenue. There's often a lot of focus insideof companies to get more out of the sales people they have, and thisis a viable approach, but it's far from the only plan of attack.Over the last five years we've seen an increase in marketing and services agencies,and they aren't cheap, even if the services they provide are seeen as critical. In order to tackle that topic today, we want to talk about how buildingthat internal capabilities not only worth the investment but can also increase revenue.And to do that we have with US yer camer SAC, chief marketing officerof the AOPA, the aircraft owners and Pilots Association, which is one ofthe largest pilots organizations in the world, with over three hundred and FIFTYZERO membersof globally. You're listening to the BB revenue executive experience, a podcast dedicatedto helping the executives train their sales and marketing teams to optimize growth. Whetheryou're looking for techniques and strategies were tools and resources, you've come to theright place. Let's accelerate your growth in three, two, one. Beforewe jump into kind of the background on everything, we like to start witha question give our audience, you know, kind of a better understanding of peoplethat were talking to, and so we like to look at, youknow, a defining moment in your career, your life, that maybe change thedirector trajectory of where you went, or something that you took lessons awayfrom that you go back to time and time again, and if you justshare what that was and those lessons that you took away with us, we'dstart there. All right. That's fair, you know. And since we Claradidn't clearly see the question I had of time, I was thinking aboutit and and you know, the one that comes to mind, and it'sbeen coming to mind more often than not recently. I'm not sure why.In my career, as a few years ago I was working in Shanghai andChina, setting up a new sales and marketing organization there, and the gentlemanthat was my partner in crime on setting up the team and getting in theproject started at more background in the market and we were talking about how youknow, how to get things accomplished and he made this told me the storyabout a dinner at a restaurant that really it's funny how it applies in otherplaces besides China and how it kind of applies how would think about things.said he was telling me a story where he went to a restaurant and hehad a great dinner with a couple of people and they he wanted to getpie with a scoop of ice cream on it and the men you had pieand ice cream and other desserts, but they didn't have pie with ice cream. And when he asked for Pie with a ball of ice cream on it, he created a bit of a stir in the restaurant because you just inthat culture you don't it just you don't. You do not ask for something that'ssomething not on the menu. The manager got involved and clearly, youknow, he wasn't getting what he wanted until he realized that he could justorder both and put one on top of the other. Just Order Pie andice cream and the dump one on top of the other. The outcome isthe same, but you create a lot less friction along the way. Andhe equated that to doing business in China. And I think what I took fromthat is it actually applies everywhere where. If you're so focused on the outcome, you kind of forget that there might be creative ways of getting therethat may not be very obvious and they might be around a blood way toget there. But if you're way too focused on what do you want toget it at the end, you sometimes, you know, lose creativity. Yeah, doing business interesting eggs well anyway, and it doesn't apply. It reallyhas been applying a lot of places for me lately, as if youget so heartset on Hey, you know,...

...we need to get this accomplished bythe young of the year and we need we need to get there,you almost lose creativity, you lose focus on how to get there and theblinders go on. And while this this lesson came out of the Chinese market, it applies in so many places where we have that bad I think thatbad behavior. Having awareness that we are all have that bad behavior of itgets stressed out about the outcome and forget at how to get there has reallybeing cognizant of that has really helped me recently just to think about that andtake a stop, stop, stop thinking about, you know, where weneed to be in a year and to figure out a creative path of gettinggetting there. And sometimes you just have to order pion ice cream separately.It's amazing how we often miss the forest for the trees, right, andwhen you think about it, when you get to the end of that story, well, yeah, I mean when you get to the end of thatstory, but you go will, yeah, it's obvious. But even me sittinghere listening as you're telling story, I'm thinking, well, man,how's he going to get that done? Will? It becomes like an Almosttwell Du kind of moment, like if you just slow down, there areother ways to accomplish the same goals, like you said, to create lessfriction. Right, right, right. And you know I in my role, I would say I'm a junior at the the executive game by far andother people with much, much more experience than me and and early on itwas a bit of well, and there's a lot of pressure, a lotof things, a lot of divisions, a lot of departments, a lotof products, lot of objectives and realizing that sometimes you do have to slowdown and focus on the alternative ways of getting to the end game. Butyou asked at defining moment that that thing has has helped me along the way. Excellent, excellent, perfect. Thank you very much for that. Sonow let's give a listeners a little bit more context around the AOPA and yourroll. They're all right now. Well, AOPA it's a bit of a diversefighter organization, as I would call it. And on its surface,you know, when you spell out the name or say what Aopius stands forAircraft Owners and Bolts Association, the Perception Might Be of Sert of nonprofit inDC and it's actually quite the contrary. I think we have a lot morein common with the Harley Davidson owners group then we do with reals to mylanguage. Now you just right. You know, we're we're an organization thatis a center of a lifestyle that is second to none, with the amountof passion and excitement that our customers and just the entire community of aviators haveabout what they do day and day out. We are in the private side ofaviation, so it's everything from you guys gals flying upside down in aerobaticson the weekends to families taking their private aircraft Bahamas and everything in between,and there's there's a tremendous amount of passion excitement and that's why we and Iactually have a lot of background in the in the motorcycle side of things aswell, and I draw on that a lot as we in a position ourbrand and look at our products as in first and foremost, we are ina passion lifestyle business and second we are in all the other stuff that weneed to get downe and we clearly have a strong advocacy team in Washington DC. Our Foundation is doing incredible things in stem education and other things, andmy team, and really my responsibility is what I called the cold, coldheart capitalists. We are the organization that is responsible to over everything from ourinsurance business, finance business, legal legal products and Apperil membership and clearly mediarevenue, making sure that those businesses are healthy and growing. Okay, excellent, excellent. So today we want to talk about the decision to bring theymade to bring, you know, marketing internally to reduce the reliance on agencies, and I have a feeling that that passion, that passion lifestyle that youmentioned, it was a key to that. But can you kind of break downwhat you know, what led to that decision and why you felt itwould be more advantageous for the organization? And when I started, and Igot now the Mark Baker that leads the...

...organization on my boss started eight ormaybe not thing a year before I did. You've got into the roll and hiredme and a couple of other executives really to move the organization to thenext level and based on him and I having some conversations even before I started, we were very much aligned on the fact that the organization has a lotof opportunity to be the core lifestyle brand of aviation, because the one thingthat we're missing in this in our industry particularly, is the likes of HarleyDavidson. There's not a manufacture of airplanes that is a passion brand. Sowe need to be the passion brand, the place of belonging, and whenI came in we really did not have a strong marketing department. We hada strong media group that drew a lot of the media revenue. We hada strong membership group, but then we what I would say committed random actsof marketing within an all within the many different divisions. Right, so theinsurance group, the the finance group, are our publications. Really everybody wasdoing what really essentially anything they wanted and the only commonality, and even thatsometimes was with some modifications, was the old AOPA wings logo somewhere involved,or APA being sort of the umbrella name of the organization. So it wasreally, really kind of torn and inconsistent, both in terms of experience but alsoin terms of quality, response rates, effectiveness, all of those things.So when I came in and mark and I have had had a longdiscussions on how to position to the Organization for success, and one of thethings was we need a strong core team that is in here day and dayout, cares about the business, shares the goals with all the business unitsand is a hundred percent focused on making sure that we are a lifestyle brandand what the product is is almost secondary. Clearly, the products are incredibly important. That's the that's the revenue driver. A bout the leading and to getthe indicator of being a the only place that a pilot thinks of whenthey need anything from training to things on the ground, things in the air. They come to us because we are the, in the end, thelargest community of pilots in the world. And so you know, how didthat come about? Me? That's a big kind of shift to me whenI think of when I think of AOPA and compared it, like said,to Harley owners group. I obviously I'm a Harley Guy, I'm a memberof Hog I've got multiple motorcycles in the garage. But as I think throughthat affiliation, we'll do a separated call about the motorcycle than any time.I love talking about it, but it's like, when I think about that, though, that my passion for that and it is. It is verymuch a lifestyle. I mean I have the uniforms right, the custom suitsfor when I meet with clients, and I have all the leathers and everythingelse when I'm hanging out with, you know, my boyfriends, but thatassociation, when I go through that, I feel like I'm connecting more tothe motorcycle itself, to the Brand Harley, but with AOPA you don't have aspecific product. What kind of challenge is does that creator? Have youseen come up as a result of that? It's a loss of an attachment toa product, which is a positive and a negative. Positive in asense that we can focus on the fact that we are essentially brand agnostic.We don't care if you fly assess now, a syrhus or a carbon fiber sessno from or something some German machine. It really doesn't matter what do youfly that we are the common denominator, right are I guess I would callit non denominational and and that's a good thing in a bad thing.The really the strong asset in that is is that if we provide a placewhere pilots, no matter what they fly, can one get the right tools resourceto support. But just as importantly, a lot of our focus in lastcouple years have been on having the community be a resource for itself.As long as they spend the time with each other on our turf, they'rebuilding a relationship with the OPA as a...

...place of belonging, which is whya lot of times we use this in marketing overplay term, but in ourcase, if we live in a breath of it a community first. Ourevents across the country are a big manifestation about now there's a in our business. There's a pen I think in, I would argue, in most businesses, there is a pent up demand for any lifestyle or any customer and itdoesn't matter if it's a bit to be or b Toc to have a pointof connection and sharing with other users with the product. And it really doesn'tmatter if it's cloud services or if it's or if it's motorcycle. It's thecontent. The context changes, but the the desire of the user and thecustomer to have a Peer Group of support is always there because they're all human. We all have that inherent need to learn from others and find commonality.Yeah, I couldn't agree more. I mean that the community aspect of anybusiness is extremely powerful, especially when you look at all the digitization that happens. Right we've got all the social and everybody's got their faces in their phones. You kind of start see a little bit of a backlash at times.Right, people want to connect with people. If you can give them the opportunityto do that, that can be extremely powerful for the business. Soabsolutely, absolutely. When you when you started to look at. Okay,you've got this diversified business and and AOPD is a lot of things right,but you wanted to bring internal the marketing team that would be able to kindof be the central heartbeat for that lifestyle brand across all these divisions. Whatkind of skill sets did you identify that? We're going to be critical the marketinghas gotten more and more complicated and diversify it, especially with the Advantadigital I'm kind of curious when you started to scope out, okay, we'regoing to bring this team internally. We want to build this, you know, in internally, make sure that they understand the brand, the passion andthat kind of stuff. What kind of skill sets did that you know,bring to bear? That's that's a good, good question. And what what dowe looked at? As we were strong of the transaction. Now wehad a strong team here on sort of the ECOMMERCE were to that was ableto swipe the credit cards, so to say, or Swipe the card andI'll get the send the envoys and then support the customer afterwards. We didnot have a problem there are our customer service, our support, our engagementonce we got the customer was fantastic. It's really before that that we wereflyling, especially if there's all the business units we're King of doing whatever theywanted, and there was a lot of inconsistency and I no really forethought yearout what experience we're trying to provide in pursuit of the end saled, regardlessif it's to a business that's buying media from us or to a consumer that'sfinancing the aircraft with us and everything in between. And what we looked atis we were backing away, of backing out of that transaction and saying whereare we not doing well and require enough work that we can support headcount?I guess I would. You know, it's really that simple. So weset aside work. There was peaks and valleys and first and first and foremostlooked at where do we need much stronger bench strength and supporting the Organization andmeeting its leading indicators that all drive to revenue and things are like engagement andevents, online engagement, brand, web experience and all of those things thatreally require somebody forty fifty sixty hours a week and sometimes multiple people forty fiftysix hours a week. Just put things like a strong website presence, strongdevelopment of content at a cadence that the consumer expects these days, a productionof high quality marketing materials, from print to online and everything in between.We had enough there that we were either outsourcing or, frankly, just notdoing because we didn't have enough budget to go out of house or not.We're enough. Were with all the plan...

...for it and we looked at okay, we're at the where do we need that bench strength, higher up toit and really try to get the best talent possible in here. And frankly, that that happened about three years ago when we when we start going tobuild that team, and I would say we are barely halfway there. Reallywell and barely halfway there from what I would call the and all the perfectto write the the ideal of because one, we're changing a massive organization and toas we get talent in house, we find more opportunities where we coulddo things better because, let there were a lot of places where we didnot have enough knowledge, expertise and talent here, for example from Web DevelopmentPerspective. So as we bring expertise and that expertise actually helps us figure outwhere else we're failing so as much as been. We we restructured and builtthat team three years ago. Since then we've probably made two rounds of changes, not necessarily in a in no way they were like layoff rounds restructuring.There were more okay, where do these people need to set, who theyneed to work with and how that team of structure. We have made thosechange. We have changed that twice now and a lot of that is withthe input of the teams themselves, as those experts come in and say,okay, well, this is not working, help us change it. And reallybig part of my job is making sure that I support those train changesand make sure that they get the resources and additional headcount when they need it. And so when you started this journey, we started this process. It's apretty big change, right. You go from having all these divisions outsourcingwith the whole bunch agencies. was there? What was the reaction internally when yousaid to be I, we're bringing this in house and we're going toyou know we're going to do this? Was the organization as a whole supportiveof it? WAS THEIR PUSHBACK or confusion? So in I'll be pretty blond here, big piece of the we're halfway there is the fact that the restof the organization is still learning how to work proper consistent Marketing Organization that doesof Marketing Planning, things about strategy, things about in changes, watches metricsand makes on the fly changes to make sure we remark, some maximize roiveeverything we do. A lot of the other fifty percent is really teaching theorganization from the ground up how to work properly in our world. The complexityand as much as I did not have much fun back then, it ismuch it was much simpler when, for example, I worked on things likeconsumer package goodscre's. If you're in whatever it is, SC Johnson, theoperations of wind eggs have no impact on operations of pledge. In Our world. That's not the case in our media companies were work with. The entireaviation industry impacts the results and how our insurance and finance companies can operate.They're all intertwined and if if something happens with our advocacy team on the hill, that might impact the regulatory environment of how our legal services plan, essentiallyin insurance product for pilots to make sure that they have a law protector,a legal protection if they screw up in all of those things are intertline at. Any change in one impacts the other. So that on its own as anargument to make sure that the team is integrated from marketing perspective, butwe took a lot of freedom away from people that were used to just beable to sort of seat of the pants, commit again, commit, commit randomact of marketing throughout the year and teaching the rest of the organization wherethat's where we are, halfway there. We have run into lots and lotsof friction, lots and lots of debates, and the only thing that's making ussuccessful in this process is the fact that I have been lucky enough thatI have full support of my boss, CEO The organization, and collaboration ofthe rest of my peers, the other six individuals that are at the chargeof this organization on the different divisions to make sure that this happens. Butat the level of all of our teams having to work together, we arestill teaching the them to make sure that they realize that they share goals andit's not an adversarial environment. That that...

...that what's happening here is we're usingexperts for expert to work, expert type work. I mean, it's apretty significant trans from transformative initiative and it's working on multiple laws. I mean, you have to change, you know, the perception internally of the people thathave done it for so long in certain ways and you want to changethat. But the same time, you mentioned, you've actually, as youstarted this, you've already made changes in the people and the teams that you'vebrought in. So you, I mean you're basically managing change on two prettydrastically different but critical tracks. That's not a easy task, I wouldn't imaginenow. And what's what's actually been making it easier now, as we aregoing all say, two and a half years circlos to three years in through, it is that at this you know, in a lot of last year yearand a half, we're starting to see strong results as an outcome ofa lot of the changes on the processes and the the more organized and strictdiscipline around marketing of the organization. You know, we're rebranded the organization,we staffed up the internal marketing team, gave them a lot more power toown and run with what they need to get done. And as a resultof that, in essentially every one of our product lines it's exceeding its goalsset by the organization. We are gaining market share on most of our competitorsand essentially every category that we are in, from media to insurance to finance.So that's starting to make it a lot simpler, because it's harder toargue with something that works without it out with that a doubt. Sorry thatI've seen that so many times, like do this, and then six monthslater it starts to generate result. You like no, I didn't say Ididn't want to do it, I just said I didn't want to do it. Then like a now, right now, I want to be a part ofit, and that support that you mentioned from the CEO and the otherexecutives. That that's one of the things I run into a lot with withclients that I work with. You know, if they want to do a salesor marketing transformation, the first thing I ask is how supported is it? And I mean really support it, because without that it's just it's youknow, you get to spend a lot of money, you're going to doa lot of charm but you're not going to see the types of results.So it's great to hear that you guys have that type of organization and it's, like I said, it's not easy. Otherwise we would have done it inthe first six months I was here and I would be that would beobsolete a lot quicker. But but it definitely would not happen at all ifit wasn't for the support of my boss and my peers, excellent and againon a lot of this. Like I said, we not only may builtthe team, we fully rebranded the organization, rebranded every one of the business unit'sunder a consistent brand and all of those are starting to not know theythey deliver. Those are long term investments, especially when it comes to business tobusiness sales and even and even consumer sales, and a brand is squishyand it's not. It's brand is hard to measure. It's something you investin and and the only way you're going to get return as if you supportedfor a long period of time. And we're starting to see that bare fruitnow and it's and it's really, really exciting to see. I love thebranding aspect of things that you talked. You know, if you were toask somebody like I mentioned Harley's, but I also have for some reason.I'm sure it goes back to my childhood. My psychiatrist would love it, butI have this thing with Coca Cola versus Pepsi and I don't know why, but I'm a coke guy, I'm a I'm a Cococola Guy, alwayshave been, always will be. Won't Drink Pepsi couldn't tell you why.I don't even know what's about the brand. And so you're dealing with it.You're dealing with changing an organization and going after a, you know,a consumer and people that you want in the community that have that type ofemotional connection to what you're providing. That creates a creates a nice tight ropeI think that you have to walk. It's great to hear that you guysare seeing those types of Zonns well and it's really fun to see. AndI know a lot of your audience are a business to business type organizations andthe big chunk of our revenue and my,...

...as I called it, capital aspart of the organization is a business to business organization. But in theend, in business to business you're always selling to consumers, right, right, every one of the people you talk to as a consumer. And it'sreally cool to see where our business to business customers and our the organizations inour industry and outside of our industries are industry that work with, for example, our media team, because they're seeing all the vibrancy of US starting towalk and talk like a community, being really excited about that. It's notwork for us to be in aviation. We love being aviation. It isthe coolest thing that human can do until I can buy a rocket at crawlinto it and fly somewhere. So it becoming much more of a passion excitedorganization about this business and about where we are and really creating this community,the brand really being a lot more vibrant and consistent, and that trickles evento business to business relationships becurs. It creates affinity with hey, you knowthis. This organization is is not just successful, but it's it's visible,it's fibrint. It's something that a business wants to work with our organization becausewe come across as a place that is going somewhere, it's progressing, it'smaking impact, even altruistically, in the long term. We've on the longterm health of the industry. So all of those things that might seem likethey are consumer plays are actually helping US tremendously. Even then, be tobsales, and I think it's important to howlight. Without a doubt, it'sfunny it be to be BETC at the end of the day, it allcomes down to people buying from people, right, and especially, I meanyou've seen all the investment in CX. You know apple and design and noweverybody you know on the consumer side. Everybody talks about these awesome designed experiences. You know, make them frictionless, give the users what they want.But those are your B to be buyers, and so we're seeing and be tobsales. I see it a lot with the customers that we work with. How do you train your sales force to understand that the way you usedto talk about the stuff doesn't necessarily work anymore, right, because they peopleare bringing those expectations to the table and you, by even calling it beto be sometimes put yourself at a disadvantage. It's really just about connecting with people. At the end of the day, exactly exactly before, long before Airpa, I spent a lot of time working with Harlid David's and on theircustomer experience and dealer infrastructure. So the brand delivers the right experience at thedealer level of globally and even there. Right, it's if it was influencingbusinesses we didn't own, as Harley there, or independent dealers. Right, everyharlot dealers and independent. It's a business, business relationship, but they'redelivering a customer experience, a brand as something that is is a lot morevisceral than it is a checklist of horse power and all the other things.Well, I mean, have you so? I'm sure you probably saw the whatdo they called the Hashtag freedom machine. They just unveiled the two thousand andeighteen models, right, and it was a it was a big deal. I mean, I've don't spend a lot of time on facebook, buthere I am scrolling to facebook to look for like Ludacris and all these peopletalking about these motorcycles and I don't really give a crap with ludicrous or anyof the guys had said. I want to see the bikes. I wantedto see him like. That's what I was after. And then you hadthe guy that plays Aquaman. I don't know if you saw a video.He gets his beautiful Red Street Bob. What's the first thing he does?He goes and gets a can of black spray paint, spray patoffs, likein the video. All right, well, wait to go. Sorry, totallyoff topic. You can tell it's a worst mine. Imagine your boardsets a target of twenty percent revenue growth in eighteen months. So something willhave to change with your sales team. How do you beat your target?Value Prime solutions can help ensure your managers and reps are leveraging a sales frameworkthat focuses on value, not price. Don't assume you have it all figuredout. Don't wait until it's too late. Visit Value Prime Solutionscom and let themhelp. So all right, so let's talk about agency. So I'vetalked to a lot of executives that you...

...know. I've seen that overreliance onagencies that you talk about and I've seen it cause, you know, upsand downs, positives and negatives. But one of the things that I consistentlysee is executives wanting to bring an agencies when they need a spark of innovation, not because they're not capable of doing it internally, but because they're soinside their own forests right, they may not see the trees. So it'sone of those things like I'm curious and it sounds like you're doing it anyway, but I'm curious how you're doing it keeping that innovation happening so that you'reconstantly it's a constant state of evolution. I'm curious how you guys are tacklingthat. Where are you bringing in agencies occasionally for that little spark? Right? Well, an if you know one. The answer is yes, we stillbring in sometimes individuals, not necessarily agencies, but sometimes agencies to helpwith that process. But I will say that one of the conscious decisions thatwe have made, and I am a huge proponent of as organizations a lotof times have a tendency to, and excuse my blunt mouse here, leavethe crap work for the internal people and give the cool work to the agents. Yeah, we see that a lot. Well then, yes, you're goingto get the creativity from the outside agency because they get to work onthe cool stuff, right. And so our decision was that, in over, there's few strategic investments were making as our organization in a few what Iwould go blow blue ocean spaces in aviation there are few travel products were developingand a few other things that are in a massive innovative fun and people wantto work on. Now figures. It's a it isolated, big investment.What I could do is take a budget, large one probably, and it toan agency and have them build it. But then one I would have topay the agency to teach their people to be excited about aviation. Iwould pay them a significant fee to build the build the product. Very likelyhave to pay them to launch it and they would in the end have allthe expertise about it and I would have a team here internally that had todo all the and again, excuse the language, all the crap work thathad to go to the side to deliver the big product. That's why alot of times it's hard to have really good experts inside an organization because weforget that they want to work on cool stuff and we don't let them right. So giving internal people to the the tools and the resources to work onthe cool stuff is agency and I spent many years an agency, so Ican say that agencies don't have monopoly on smart creative people and know but theyshare one to tell you they do, id all, they have all they'lltell you they do. Oh yeah, Hey, I spent ten years tryingto convince people that we had smart people. Yeah, and it's not the case. I mean, if you can create the right environment, if youcan create the right culture internally and you can keep that at the forefront,then yeah, you can attract, you know, just as accomplished people asan agencies going to attract. Right Way. And you know, in the endwe usage agencies for a lot of things anyway. The one thing thatI'm really Cognizanto is that one thing I don't want to use an agency foris develop an expertise that I have to then keep paying for for the restof the organization's lifestyle. Right Rather, it developed that experience here and then, yes, if we have peaks and Valley's work, if we need aunique piece of expertise that we it's not worth for us to built internally,or it is. You know, there are some things that are difficult tokeep in the house and I'm all for using agencies. It's just I thinkwe have all seen the bad behavior of sometimes marketers and sales sales organizations andfarming things out to a point where the agency hold all the cards and allthe expertise and then you know, one it's a huge drain on financial resourcesthe organization, but I don't think it then serves the shareholder or the ownerof the best of having all this drive be based out of an agency whois not necessarily responsible for your sales and revenue and all the other things.A lot of times they're responsible for a lot of the leading indicators, youknow, engagement and eyeballs and all these...

...things that are important, but Iwon't they get converted to sales. They're useless right right. So when youlook at it the agency, you know kind of everything that you brought internal. I mean you guys have a very for anybody who hasn't any of theaudience you hasn't picked up an AOPA publication, I highly recommend it, even ifyou're not into aviation. The photography alone is stunning. But you guyshave a very diverse publishing platform. You Got Pretty Magazines and web and youknow the the news show that you guys do. I'm curious how you know. Do you have a way that you kind of guide the marketing team tolook at all of the different media that they're putting out there and how youkeep it consistent. I mean, I know they're even with a Stephen,with a large team, you still got all these different Oulett's. was kindof curious what vision you put out there is. Is it leading with thepassion for the lifestyle or how do you tackle that? Well, yeah,so the simple answer is, yeah, I'm yes, the everything is tolead with a passion for the lifestyle and one of the big changes for theorganization was surprisingly, surprise. Surprise, was to learn to talk like ahuman. Right, of course, we're talking to people excited about flying,not lawyers and realtors. And I have nothing against lawyers and realtors. Mostly, yeah, I had to divorce so I don't like lawyers very much.So in a having the organization to walk and talk like an ever, likea human, talking with a level of passion excitement about flying and Aviation asa something that people love to do, doesn't matter any day of the week, was an important change for us. But yes, we rebranded to aconsistent brand. But I will say that the other thing that has been animportant focus for us is that the organization historically was always focused on the existingcustomer base. And and back to our parallel with Harli Davits, and I'msorry that that's a echo here, we have a we have had a similarproblem to Harleywood in terms of a our customer base was constant and aging.So from medium mixed perspective and how we create content, we actually do segmentof how we walk and talk even are in our content and media and socialmedia, because we are now reaching out to categories and segments of customers thatare a little bit distinct. You know, we have launched another, quote unquoteshow, a video show that's focused on a sort of the under fortycrowd that is not going to watch a twenty five minute news news program right, right. So it's the core message and the coll core stance of thosekind of things is exactly the same. It's about excitement for aviation. That'swhat we stand for, but how it manifests itself is really, really different, depending on the segments we talked to and reaching to pilots on the fortyor professional pilots, a or jet owners versus owners of the sesshe seven totwo or light aircraft how their connection to our business manifests itself does change andour brand has to be flexible enough to adjust with that. Excellent. Okay, so let's pit it just a little bit here and get a little bitmore into the detail. So, when you look at the capitalist side ofthe organization, what's the largest challenge that your team is facing today in termsof, you know, achieving those those revenue growth goals or membership growth goals? Well, and I think you actually just touched on it and in thelast question, a big challenge or and challenge and an opportunity, as mostmotivational speakers, untili is, is a really balancing out the fact that wehave to protect the relationship we have with our core customer, which is thethree hundred three and our fiftyzero or so existing customers that engage with those dayand day out, are paying members or customers over some of our companies,and balanced that out of the fact that...

...the new groups of customers that wehave, and it's not just a younger generation pilots, but it's sort ofthe unique segments within with our aviation segment and backcountry pilots that fly up intothe mountains are a very different, different mindset than a family with a jetflying to South America. Right, it's a right. Besides the fact thatthere's a different socioeconomics as the stands, the way they look at aviation isvery, very different. We have the professional pilot is very, very differentfrom them. Now we have a whole other category, that's drones and unmannedaerial vehicles. That is a completely different category. Now they have an overlap, but there's actually a level of animosity between the two because neither one ofthem wants to share the air space. I can understand. I can understandthe so so they are each of them is a tremendous business opportunity for us, tremendous opportunity to grow our community. But from challenge perspective, finding acommon denominator between those could consumers so they can feel like they're part of aour ecosystem, our community, part of this. So when we have anevent in the in the middle of the country that all pilots come to,that those three, four five different groups or two, three or four fivedifferent types of customers, when they sit down on the table and what's theircommon denominator? And finding those common denominators so the organization can stand for somethingthat appeals to all of our entire category. Is is our biggest challenge and again, to flip it an opportunity without a doubt. But then so thenyou've got to be to be saide where you have sales guys that now haveto talk, you know if they've been there a while, and I don'tknow the average Agier of your sales team, but they now talked about a lifestyleand you mention touched on it a little bit, but I'm curious.Have you had to find ways to help them understand how to cell differently inorder to support that lifestyle approach? Absolutely, and we actually a rebuild. Oneof our sales organizations was actually fully outsourced and we insource that as well. All of the marketing in. You brought all of this at the sametime. All I might be a six months part. Sorry, just caughtme up. That's a hell of right. So that was for the on themedia side. So bringing the that helped because we actually staff that up. So we had to we could bring in kind of the right profile individual. But that doesn't change the fact that a lot of our sales, BusinessDevelopment and industry facing folks are still having to learn how to walk and talkone as human beings, talked to talk like ones that are excited about aviationfirst and not not just talk about, you know, like a legislative affairskind of person and of course, understands all understand all those new segments.That is still a challenge for us. Big piece of it is that asas budgets always get tighter and every part of the organization, I think everybodycan probably commiserated with that. The one thing that I've always protected and beenreally strong on is that the sales team and the business of Altnam meant teamsalways have enough travel budget, not just go and just budget in general,to not just engage with their existing customers and prospects, but to actually engagewith the rest of the organization, to spend time here at the headquarters,to go to flyings where our consumer customer has and engage with them for ina sense, inject them into the lifestyle so they feel like a part ofit, so they're not just selling the product because they one. That actuallyhelps us, to your point, educate them better about the different segments ofconsumer that we represent. But I think it also makes them just better atbeing creative. There's no product, or very few products, are stagnant.So they help us tailor, for example, for media perspective, the product,knowing Hark, how our consumers behave that are business to business customers.Once I want to access to right well,...

...so giving them a leeway to bepart of the lifestyle, not just spend hundred percent old their time onheart sales is a big piece of making sure that their neck deep in thisbusiness. Excellent, excellent, all right, let's let's change your actions. Isa little bit here. I want to be respectful a time when weget to the end. I asked all of our guests kind of two standardquestions at the end of each interview. In the first as a chief marketingofficer at a very large and global organization, that also makes you, did,a target for sales people, and so I'm Suriou is. We liketo help our audience understand. You know, there's a lot of a lot ofyou know, debate on a cold callings, dead or social sellings.The answer I like to ask exacutives like yourself, what is it that getsyour attention or would inspire you to engage with someone that you didn't already havea relationship with? What would be the best way to get in front ofyou and talk to you about potentially solving challenges you may be facing right?So I think they're they're two points I'll make here. One that I cannotbelieve that in the age of the Internet, we I see that seems like everyother day as Business Development and sales folks not doing their homework right.You know, they will reach out to me or reach out to me viasomebody here at the organization and they make blame eaten mistakes that could be correctedwith one Google search about understanding what our business does or what I do orwhat we're looking what we need or what are were organization is going. That'ssimple, five minute preparation. If if they're blatant mistakes that could be correctivewith one google search, I will very likely ignore that call no matter whatand no matter what it's selling right, because it's telling me that that personjust wants to pitch, not doesn't want to understand how that product if it'smy business right. The other one, and we did touch on that earlier, as talk like a human right. If I get a pitch that's overstuffedwith buzzwords or the latest and greatest buzz words that you find on a coverof ad age or some other magazine, big data and everything that flowers outof it. In the end, just talk like a human it's so easy. Well, and if it's funny, and you're right, I mean alot of the things that we hear when we ask this question is a lotof us would say, sitting back, much like you know, pie andice cream can be, if you think about it, are common sense.But it's weird to me that sales people and some markers just have this tendencyto get so wrapped up in, you know, drinking their own cool ativeproducts and features and big trends that they forget you're really talking to a humanbeing. Right. You need to be able to make that that connection righton. All right. So last question. We call it our acceleration insight.If there was one thing right, it's cute. This is them.I do have a little bit of a marketing background. I don't know ifthat's cool or now, but that's what we went with. So all right, we called the acceleration in sight. So if you had one piece ofadvice that you could give to sales, marketing professional services people that you believedwould actually help them beat their targets? What would that advice be? Well, so the one that I can all and maybe it's back to our friendlypine ice cream. But the one thing that I see even my team sometimesdo, and I'm just as guilty of it as in a lot of timeswhen sales are not there or we are we need we are trying to beator exceed our goals when it comes to revenue, we get really early focused. Okay, what are we doing wrong in the sales pitch? What arewe doing wrong and presentation of our case, our product? And I would sayclose to half the time the problem is actually much earlier in the process. The if the sales are failing, half the time it seems like we'reactually failing somewhere completely different than it's actually in a sales process. We havefailed six months earlier in positioning the product, we have failed in what the productactually is in the first place, or we have failed in communicating aboutour brand to the right people. Were just selling into the wrong people inthe first place. It's not a wrong...

...pitch, it's being pitched the wrongwrong individuals and, you know, not being so laser focused on it hasto be the sales pitch. That's wrong, and being being open to the factthat there might be other things you're failing at if the sales are notthere. There might be a lead, leading indicator, to unfortunately use abuzzword. That's a better thing to address first, but maybe if that mightbe the one as be becognizant of the fact that if the sales are notthere, you might actually be failing elsewhere than sales. So sales isn't isolated. Right, there's a lot of other factors that play into the success ofsales. So be be cognizant of that. Excellent right, and that's a that'sanother reason why sales couldn't and shouldn't all be a separate organization. Theyneed to be a they need to live within within the brand, within theorganization, within the lifestyle. Really understand a lot more than it, thanthe sales sheet and the data sheet of the product. And again, itdoesn't matter if it's cloud services you're selling or airplanes or whatever. And thenthing in between and the sales team being entrenched in the organization and a lotmore involved than just selling to the customer. It is really important. Actually,you can, you can, you can get by with a good pitchfor a while, but I think if the sales people don't feel like they'rethey're part of the business, at some point that that that valve is goingto break. Yeah, I'm without a diamond. You want them, especiallyin my style. I like I said, it affects everything. You want themto feel like part of the company because you don't want them just sellingproducts and features, right, you want to connecting with people. In orderto do that, delivering that passion. They've got it right out of theessence of it right. I couldn't right now. You're you're if you're Harley, a sales guy walked up to you on a suit and no, nothaving exactly on lifestyles. No, I'd be like, Hey, man,you're in the wrong place. Guys, sorry, I'm here for Motorcycle Lotinsurance. Yeah, right, I'm not looking. I'm looking for life insurance. I'm looking for the bike. Actually. Thank you very much for this hasbeen great. If, for a listener, wanted to get into touchwith you to talk more about these topics or learn more about AOPA, whatwould be the best way for them to go about that the best, butI'll probably a dropping an email would be Jiri dop m a R U SE K at Aopa Dot Org. Excellent Act. I can't thank you enoughfor the time today. This has been great. I've really enjoyed the conversation. Say, Maria, thanks much, and I have fun writing. Allright, everyone that does it for this episode, please check us out atbe to be REV exactcom, share the episode with friends, families, Coworkers and, of course, if you like what you here, please leaveus a review on itunes. We do use those two craft the content andfigure out what guests you guys want to hear from. Again, thanks everybodyfor the time and until next time, we have value prime solutions. Wishyou all nothing but the greatest success. You've been listening to the BB revenueexecutive experience. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to theshow and Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening.Until next time,.

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