The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 5 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 Revenue Executive Experience. I'm your host, Chad Sanderson. Today we're talking about how building a capable internal team and reducing an overreliance on agency equals more revenue for the organization as a whole. So why this topic, especially considering I spent the last ten years in agencies? We've seen companies often focus on pushing sales organizations harder and to generate more revenue. There's often a lot of focus inside of companies to get more out of the sales people they have, and this is 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 building that 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 officer of the AOPA, the aircraft owners and Pilots Association, which is one of the largest pilots organizations in the world, with over three hundred and FIFTYZERO members of globally. You're 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 were tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's accelerate your growth in three, two, one. Before we jump into kind of the background on everything, we like to start with a question give our audience, you know, kind of a better understanding of people that were talking to, and so we like to look at, you know, a defining moment in your career, your life, that maybe change the director trajectory of where you went, or something that you took lessons away from that you go back to time and time again, and if you just share what that was and those lessons that you took away with us, we'd start there. All right. That's fair, you know. And since we Clara didn't clearly see the question I had of time, I was thinking about it and and you know, the one that comes to mind, and it's been 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 and China, setting up a new sales and marketing organization there, and the gentleman that was my partner in crime on setting up the team and getting in the project started at more background in the market and we were talking about how you know, how to get things accomplished and he made this told me the story about a dinner at a restaurant that really it's funny how it applies in other places 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 he had a great dinner with a couple of people and they he wanted to get pie with a scoop of ice cream on it and the men you had pie and 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 in that culture you don't it just you don't. You do not ask for something that's something not on the menu. The manager got involved and clearly, you know, he wasn't getting what he wanted until he realized that he could just order both and put one on top of the other. Just Order Pie and ice cream and the dump one on top of the other. The outcome is the same, but you create a lot less friction along the way. And he equated that to doing business in China. And I think what I took from that 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 there that may not be very obvious and they might be around a blood way to get there. But if you're way too focused on what do you want to get it at the end, you sometimes, you know, lose creativity. Yeah, doing business interesting eggs well anyway, and it doesn't apply. It really has been applying a lot of places for me lately, as if you get so heartset on Hey, you know,...

...we need to get this accomplished by the 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 the blinders 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 that bad behavior. Having awareness that we are all have that bad behavior of it gets stressed out about the outcome and forget at how to get there has really being cognizant of that has really helped me recently just to think about that and take a stop, stop, stop thinking about, you know, where we need to be in a year and to figure out a creative path of getting getting 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, and when you think about it, when you get to the end of that story, well, yeah, I mean when you get to the end of that story, but you go will, yeah, it's obvious. But even me sitting here listening as you're telling story, I'm thinking, well, man, how's he going to get that done? Will? It becomes like an Almostt well Du kind of moment, like if you just slow down, there are other ways to accomplish the same goals, like you said, to create less friction. Right, right, right. And you know I in my role, I would say I'm a junior at the the executive game by far and other people with much, much more experience than me and and early on it was a bit of well, and there's a lot of pressure, a lot of things, a lot of divisions, a lot of departments, a lot of products, lot of objectives and realizing that sometimes you do have to slow down and focus on the alternative ways of getting to the end game. But you asked at defining moment that that thing has has helped me along the way. Excellent, excellent, perfect. Thank you very much for that. So now let's give a listeners a little bit more context around the AOPA and your roll. They're all right now. Well, AOPA it's a bit of a diverse fighter organization, as I would call it. And on its surface, you know, when you spell out the name or say what Aopius stands for Aircraft Owners and Bolts Association, the Perception Might Be of Sert of nonprofit in DC and it's actually quite the contrary. I think we have a lot more in common with the Harley Davidson owners group then we do with reals to my language. Now you just right. You know, we're we're an organization that is a center of a lifestyle that is second to none, with the amount of passion and excitement that our customers and just the entire community of aviators have about what they do day and day out. We are in the private side of aviation, so it's everything from you guys gals flying upside down in aerobatics on 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 I actually have a lot of background in the in the motorcycle side of things as well, and I draw on that a lot as we in a position our brand and look at our products as in first and foremost, we are in a passion lifestyle business and second we are in all the other stuff that we need 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, and my team, and really my responsibility is what I called the cold, cold heart capitalists. We are the organization that is responsible to over everything from our insurance business, finance business, legal legal products and Apperil membership and clearly media revenue, making sure that those businesses are healthy and growing. Okay, excellent, excellent. So today we want to talk about the decision to bring they made to bring, you know, marketing internally to reduce the reliance on agencies, and I have a feeling that that passion, that passion lifestyle that you mentioned, it was a key to that. But can you kind of break down what you know, what led to that decision and why you felt it would be more advantageous for the organization? And when I started, and I got now the Mark Baker that leads the...

...organization on my boss started eight or maybe not thing a year before I did. You've got into the roll and hired me and a couple of other executives really to move the organization to the next 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 lot of opportunity to be the core lifestyle brand of aviation, because the one thing that we're missing in this in our industry particularly, is the likes of Harley Davidson. There's not a manufacture of airplanes that is a passion brand. So we need to be the passion brand, the place of belonging, and when I came in we really did not have a strong marketing department. We had a strong media group that drew a lot of the media revenue. We had a strong membership group, but then we what I would say committed random acts of marketing within an all within the many different divisions. Right, so the insurance group, the the finance group, are our publications. Really everybody was doing what really essentially anything they wanted and the only commonality, and even that sometimes 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 was really, really kind of torn and inconsistent, both in terms of experience but also in terms of quality, response rates, effectiveness, all of those things. So when I came in and mark and I have had had a long discussions on how to position to the Organization for success, and one of the things was we need a strong core team that is in here day and day out, cares about the business, shares the goals with all the business units and is a hundred percent focused on making sure that we are a lifestyle brand and 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 get the indicator of being a the only place that a pilot thinks of when they need anything from training to things on the ground, things in the air. They come to us because we are the, in the end, the largest community of pilots in the world. And so you know, how did that come about? Me? That's a big kind of shift to me when I 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 member of Hog I've got multiple motorcycles in the garage. But as I think through that 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 very much a lifestyle. I mean I have the uniforms right, the custom suits for when I meet with clients, and I have all the leathers and everything else when I'm hanging out with, you know, my boyfriends, but that association, when I go through that, I feel like I'm connecting more to the motorcycle itself, to the Brand Harley, but with AOPA you don't have a specific product. What kind of challenge is does that creator? Have you seen come up as a result of that? It's a loss of an attachment to a product, which is a positive and a negative. Positive in a sense 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 sess no from or something some German machine. It really doesn't matter what do you fly that we are the common denominator, right are I guess I would call it 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 place where pilots, no matter what they fly, can one get the right tools resource to support. But just as importantly, a lot of our focus in last couple 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're building a relationship with the OPA as a...

...place of belonging, which is why a lot of times we use this in marketing overplay term, but in our case, if we live in a breath of it a community first. Our events 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 it doesn't matter if it's a bit to be or b Toc to have a point of connection and sharing with other users with the product. And it really doesn't matter if it's cloud services or if it's or if it's motorcycle. It's the content. The context changes, but the the desire of the user and the customer 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 any business 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 opportunity to do that, that can be extremely powerful for the business. So absolutely, 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 kind of be the central heartbeat for that lifestyle brand across all these divisions. What kind of skill sets did you identify that? We're going to be critical the marketing has gotten more and more complicated and diversify it, especially with the Advanta digital I'm kind of curious when you started to scope out, okay, we're going to bring this team internally. We want to build this, you know, in internally, make sure that they understand the brand, the passion and that 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 do we looked at? As we were strong of the transaction. Now we had a strong team here on sort of the ECOMMERCE were to that was able to swipe the credit cards, so to say, or Swipe the card and I'll get the send the envoys and then support the customer afterwards. We did not have a problem there are our customer service, our support, our engagement once we got the customer was fantastic. It's really before that that we were flyling, especially if there's all the business units we're King of doing whatever they wanted, and there was a lot of inconsistency and I no really forethought year out what experience we're trying to provide in pursuit of the end saled, regardless if it's to a business that's buying media from us or to a consumer that's financing the aircraft with us and everything in between. And what we looked at is we were backing away, of backing out of that transaction and saying where are 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 we set aside work. There was peaks and valleys and first and first and foremost looked at where do we need much stronger bench strength and supporting the Organization and meeting its leading indicators that all drive to revenue and things are like engagement and events, online engagement, brand, web experience and all of those things that really require somebody forty fifty sixty hours a week and sometimes multiple people forty fifty six hours a week. Just put things like a strong website presence, strong development of content at a cadence that the consumer expects these days, a production of high quality marketing materials, from print to online and everything in between. We had enough there that we were either outsourcing or, frankly, just not doing 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 to it 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 to build that team, and I would say we are barely halfway there. Really well and barely halfway there from what I would call the and all the perfect to write the the ideal of because one, we're changing a massive organization and to as we get talent in house, we find more opportunities where we could do things better because, let there were a lot of places where we did not have enough knowledge, expertise and talent here, for example from Web Development Perspective. So as we bring expertise and that expertise actually helps us figure out where else we're failing so as much as been. We we restructured and built that 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 they need to work with and how that team of structure. We have made those change. We have changed that twice now and a lot of that is with the input of the teams themselves, as those experts come in and say, okay, well, this is not working, help us change it. And really big part of my job is making sure that I support those train changes and 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 a pretty big change, right. You go from having all these divisions outsourcing with the whole bunch agencies. was there? What was the reaction internally when you said to be I, we're bringing this in house and we're going to you know we're going to do this? Was the organization as a whole supportive of 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 rest of the organization is still learning how to work proper consistent Marketing Organization that does of Marketing Planning, things about strategy, things about in changes, watches metrics and makes on the fly changes to make sure we remark, some maximize roive everything we do. A lot of the other fifty percent is really teaching the organization from the ground up how to work properly in our world. The complexity and as much as I did not have much fun back then, it is much it was much simpler when, for example, I worked on things like consumer package goodscre's. If you're in whatever it is, SC Johnson, the operations 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 entire aviation 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, essentially in 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 an argument to make sure that the team is integrated from marketing perspective, but we took a lot of freedom away from people that were used to just be able to sort of seat of the pants, commit again, commit, commit random act of marketing throughout the year and teaching the rest of the organization where that's where we are, halfway there. We have run into lots and lots of friction, lots and lots of debates, and the only thing that's making us successful in this process is the fact that I have been lucky enough that I have full support of my boss, CEO The organization, and collaboration of the rest of my peers, the other six individuals that are at the charge of this organization on the different divisions to make sure that this happens. But at the level of all of our teams having to work together, we are still teaching the them to make sure that they realize that they share goals and it's not an adversarial environment. That that...

...that what's happening here is we're using experts for expert to work, expert type work. I mean, it's a pretty 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 that have done it for so long in certain ways and you want to change that. But the same time, you mentioned, you've actually, as you started this, you've already made changes in the people and the teams that you've brought in. So you, I mean you're basically managing change on two pretty drastically different but critical tracks. That's not a easy task, I wouldn't imagine now. And what's what's actually been making it easier now, as we are going 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 year and a half, we're starting to see strong results as an outcome of a lot of the changes on the processes and the the more organized and strict discipline 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 to own and run with what they need to get done. And as a result of that, in essentially every one of our product lines it's exceeding its goals set by the organization. We are gaining market share on most of our competitors and 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 to argue with something that works without it out with that a doubt. Sorry that I've seen that so many times, like do this, and then six months later it starts to generate result. You like no, I didn't say I didn'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 of it, and that support that you mentioned from the CEO and the other executives. That that's one of the things I run into a lot with with clients that I work with. You know, if they want to do a sales or 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 you know, you get to spend a lot of money, you're going to do a 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 in the first six months I was here and I would be that would be obsolete a lot quicker. But but it definitely would not happen at all if it wasn't for the support of my boss and my peers, excellent and again on a lot of this. Like I said, we not only may built the team, we fully rebranded the organization, rebranded every one of the business unit's under a consistent brand and all of those are starting to not know they they deliver. Those are long term investments, especially when it comes to business to business sales and even and even consumer sales, and a brand is squishy and it's not. It's brand is hard to measure. It's something you invest in and and the only way you're going to get return as if you supported for a long period of time. And we're starting to see that bare fruit now and it's and it's really, really exciting to see. I love the branding aspect of things that you talked. You know, if you were to ask 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, but I 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, always have 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 of emotional connection to what you're providing. That creates a creates a nice tight rope I think that you have to walk. It's great to hear that you guys are seeing those types of Zonns well and it's really fun to see. And I know a lot of your audience are a business to business type organizations and the big chunk of our revenue and my,...

...as I called it, capital as part of the organization is a business to business organization. But in the end, 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's really cool to see where our business to business customers and our the organizations in our 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 to walk and talk like a community, being really excited about that. It's not work for us to be in aviation. We love being aviation. It is the coolest thing that human can do until I can buy a rocket at crawl into it and fly somewhere. So it becoming much more of a passion excited organization 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 even to business to business relationships becurs. It creates affinity with hey, you know this. 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 because we come across as a place that is going somewhere, it's progressing, it's making impact, even altruistically, in the long term. We've on the long term health of the industry. So all of those things that might seem like they are consumer plays are actually helping US tremendously. Even then, be tob sales, and I think it's important to howlight. Without a doubt, it's funny it be to be BETC at the end of the day, it all comes down to people buying from people, right, and especially, I mean you've seen all the investment in CX. You know apple and design and now everybody 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 tob sales. 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 used to talk about the stuff doesn't necessarily work anymore, right, because they people are bringing those expectations to the table and you, by even calling it be to 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 their customer experience and dealer infrastructure. So the brand delivers the right experience at the dealer level of globally and even there. Right, it's if it was influencing businesses we didn't own, as Harley there, or independent dealers. Right, every harlot dealers and independent. It's a business, business relationship, but they're delivering a customer experience, a brand as something that is is a lot more visceral 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 what do they called the Hashtag freedom machine. They just unveiled the two thousand and eighteen models, right, and it was a it was a big deal. I mean, I've don't spend a lot of time on facebook, but here I am scrolling to facebook to look for like Ludacris and all these people talking about these motorcycles and I don't really give a crap with ludicrous or any of the guys had said. I want to see the bikes. I wanted to see him like. That's what I was after. And then you had the 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, like in the video. All right, well, wait to go. Sorry, totally off topic. You can tell it's a worst mine. Imagine your board sets a target of twenty percent revenue growth in eighteen months. So something will have 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 framework that focuses on value, not price. Don't assume you have it all figured out. Don't wait until it's too late. Visit Value Prime Solutionscom and let them help. So all right, so let's talk about agency. So I've talked to a lot of executives that you...

...know. I've seen that overreliance on agencies that you talk about and I've seen it cause, you know, ups and downs, positives and negatives. But one of the things that I consistently see 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 so inside their own forests right, they may not see the trees. So it's one 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're constantly it's a constant state of evolution. I'm curious how you guys are tackling that. Where are you bringing in agencies occasionally for that little spark? Right? Well, an if you know one. The answer is yes, we still bring in sometimes individuals, not necessarily agencies, but sometimes agencies to help with that process. But I will say that one of the conscious decisions that we have made, and I am a huge proponent of as organizations a lot of times have a tendency to, and excuse my blunt mouse here, leave the 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 going to get the creativity from the outside agency because they get to work on the 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 I would go blow blue ocean spaces in aviation there are few travel products were developing and a few other things that are in a massive innovative fun and people want to work on. Now figures. It's a it isolated, big investment. What I could do is take a budget, large one probably, and it to an agency and have them build it. But then one I would have to pay the agency to teach their people to be excited about aviation. I would pay them a significant fee to build the build the product. Very likely have to pay them to launch it and they would in the end have all the expertise about it and I would have a team here internally that had to do all the and again, excuse the language, all the crap work that had to go to the side to deliver the big product. That's why a lot of times it's hard to have really good experts inside an organization because we forget 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 on the cool stuff is agency and I spent many years an agency, so I can say that agencies don't have monopoly on smart creative people and know but they share one to tell you they do, id all, they have all they'll tell you they do. Oh yeah, Hey, I spent ten years trying to convince people that we had smart people. Yeah, and it's not the case. I mean, if you can create the right environment, if you can create the right culture internally and you can keep that at the forefront, then yeah, you can attract, you know, just as accomplished people as an agencies going to attract. Right Way. And you know, in the end we usage agencies for a lot of things anyway. The one thing that I'm really Cognizanto is that one thing I don't want to use an agency for is develop an expertise that I have to then keep paying for for the rest of 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 a unique 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 to keep in the house and I'm all for using agencies. It's just I think we have all seen the bad behavior of sometimes marketers and sales sales organizations and farming things out to a point where the agency hold all the cards and all the expertise and then you know, one it's a huge drain on financial resources the organization, but I don't think it then serves the shareholder or the owner of the best of having all this drive be based out of an agency who is 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, you know, engagement and eyeballs and all these...

...things that are important, but I won't they get converted to sales. They're useless right right. So when you look 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 the audience you hasn't picked up an AOPA publication, I highly recommend it, even if you're not into aviation. The photography alone is stunning. But you guys have a very diverse publishing platform. You Got Pretty Magazines and web and you know 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 to look at all of the different media that they're putting out there and how you keep 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 kind of curious what vision you put out there is. Is it leading with the passion for the lifestyle or how do you tackle that? Well, yeah, so the simple answer is, yeah, I'm yes, the everything is to lead with a passion for the lifestyle and one of the big changes for the organization was surprisingly, surprise. Surprise, was to learn to talk like a human. 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, like a human, talking with a level of passion excitement about flying and Aviation as a 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 a consistent brand. But I will say that the other thing that has been an important focus for us is that the organization historically was always focused on the existing customer base. And and back to our parallel with Harli Davits, and I'm sorry that that's a echo here, we have a we have had a similar problem 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 segment of how we walk and talk even are in our content and media and social media, because we are now reaching out to categories and segments of customers that are a little bit distinct. You know, we have launched another, quote unquote show, a video show that's focused on a sort of the under forty crowd 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 those kind of things is exactly the same. It's about excitement for aviation. That's what 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 forty or professional pilots, a or jet owners versus owners of the sesshe seven to two or light aircraft how their connection to our business manifests itself does change and our 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 bit more into the detail. So, when you look at the capitalist side of the organization, what's the largest challenge that your team is facing today in terms of, you know, achieving those those revenue growth goals or membership growth goals? Well, and I think you actually just touched on it and in the last question, a big challenge or and challenge and an opportunity, as most motivational speakers, untili is, is a really balancing out the fact that we have to protect the relationship we have with our core customer, which is the three hundred three and our fiftyzero or so existing customers that engage with those day and 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 we have, and it's not just a younger generation pilots, but it's sort of the unique segments within with our aviation segment and backcountry pilots that fly up into the mountains are a very different, different mindset than a family with a jet flying to South America. Right, it's a right. Besides the fact that there's a different socioeconomics as the stands, the way they look at aviation is very, very different. We have the professional pilot is very, very different from them. Now we have a whole other category, that's drones and unmanned aerial 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 of them wants to share the air space. I can understand. I can understand the 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 a common denominator between those could consumers so they can feel like they're part of a our ecosystem, our community, part of this. So when we have an event 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 five different types of customers, when they sit down on the table and what's their common denominator? And finding those common denominators so the organization can stand for something that 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 then you've got to be to be saide where you have sales guys that now have to talk, you know if they've been there a while, and I don't know the average Agier of your sales team, but they now talked about a lifestyle and 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 in order to support that lifestyle approach? Absolutely, and we actually a rebuild. One of 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 same time. All I might be a six months part. Sorry, just caught me up. That's a hell of right. So that was for the on the media 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, Business Development and industry facing folks are still having to learn how to walk and talk one as human beings, talked to talk like ones that are excited about aviation first and not not just talk about, you know, like a legislative affairs kind 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 as as budgets always get tighter and every part of the organization, I think everybody can probably commiserated with that. The one thing that I've always protected and been really strong on is that the sales team and the business of Altnam meant teams always 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 engage with 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 in a sense, inject them into the lifestyle so they feel like a part of it, so they're not just selling the product because they one. That actually helps us, to your point, educate them better about the different segments of consumer that we represent. But I think it also makes them just better at being 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 be part of the lifestyle, not just spend hundred percent old their time on heart sales is a big piece of making sure that their neck deep in this business. Excellent, excellent, all right, let's let's change your actions. Is a little bit here. I want to be respectful a time when we get to the end. I asked all of our guests kind of two standard questions at the end of each interview. In the first as a chief marketing officer at a very large and global organization, that also makes you, did, a target for sales people, and so I'm Suriou is. We like to help our audience understand. You know, there's a lot of a lot of you know, debate on a cold callings, dead or social sellings. The answer I like to ask exacutives like yourself, what is it that gets your attention or would inspire you to engage with someone that you didn't already have a relationship with? What would be the best way to get in front of you 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 cannot believe that in the age of the Internet, we I see that seems like every other 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 via somebody here at the organization and they make blame eaten mistakes that could be corrected with one Google search about understanding what our business does or what I do or what we're looking what we need or what are were organization is going. That's simple, five minute preparation. If if they're blatant mistakes that could be corrective with one google search, I will very likely ignore that call no matter what and no matter what it's selling right, because it's telling me that that person just wants to pitch, not doesn't want to understand how that product if it's my 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 overstuffed with buzzwords or the latest and greatest buzz words that you find on a cover of ad age or some other magazine, big data and everything that flowers out of 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 a lot of the things that we hear when we ask this question is a lot of us would say, sitting back, much like you know, pie and ice 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 tendency to get so wrapped up in, you know, drinking their own cool ative products and features and big trends that they forget you're really talking to a human being. Right. You need to be able to make that that connection right on. 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 if that'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 of advice that you could give to sales, marketing professional services people that you believed would 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 friendly pine ice cream. But the one thing that I see even my team sometimes do, and I'm just as guilty of it as in a lot of times when sales are not there or we are we need we are trying to beat or exceed our goals when it comes to revenue, we get really early focused. Okay, what are we doing wrong in the sales pitch? What are we doing wrong and presentation of our case, our product? And I would say close 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're actually failing somewhere completely different than it's actually in a sales process. We have failed six months earlier in positioning the product, we have failed in what the product actually is in the first place, or we have failed in communicating about our brand to the right people. Were just selling into the wrong people in the first place. It's not a wrong...

...pitch, it's being pitched the wrong wrong individuals and, you know, not being so laser focused on it has to be the sales pitch. That's wrong, and being being open to the fact that there might be other things you're failing at if the sales are not there. There might be a lead, leading indicator, to unfortunately use a buzzword. That's a better thing to address first, but maybe if that might be the one as be becognizant of the fact that if the sales are not there, 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 of sales. So be be cognizant of that. Excellent right, and that's a that's another reason why sales couldn't and shouldn't all be a separate organization. They need to be a they need to live within within the brand, within the organization, within the lifestyle. Really understand a lot more than it, than the sales sheet and the data sheet of the product. And again, it doesn't matter if it's cloud services you're selling or airplanes or whatever. And then thing in between and the sales team being entrenched in the organization and a lot more involved than just selling to the customer. It is really important. Actually, you can, you can, you can get by with a good pitch for a while, but I think if the sales people don't feel like they're they're part of the business, at some point that that that valve is going to break. Yeah, I'm without a diamond. You want them, especially in my style. I like I said, it affects everything. You want them to feel like part of the company because you don't want them just selling products and features, right, you want to connecting with people. In order to do that, delivering that passion. They've got it right out of the essence 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, not having exactly on lifestyles. No, I'd be like, Hey, man, you're in the wrong place. Guys, sorry, I'm here for Motorcycle Lot insurance. 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 has been great. If, for a listener, wanted to get into touch with you to talk more about these topics or learn more about AOPA, what would be the best way for them to go about that the best, but I'll probably a dropping an email would be Jiri dop m a R U S E K at Aopa Dot Org. Excellent Act. I can't thank you enough for the time today. This has been great. I've really enjoyed the conversation. Say, Maria, thanks much, and I have fun writing. All right, everyone that does it for this episode, please check us out at be to be REV exactcom, share the episode with friends, families, Co workers and, of course, if you like what you here, please leave us a review on itunes. We do use those two craft the content and figure out what guests you guys want to hear from. Again, thanks everybody for the time and until next time, we have value prime solutions. Wish 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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