The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 5 years ago

Mike Moore on Generating Revenue in a Digital Agency

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

We’ve seen a lot of consolidation of digital agencies over the years, with many getting bought up by “the Big Four.”

Today, independent agencies struggle (at times) creating and maintaining a sustainable pipeline. So it’s worth asking: How do those that survive work to make their revenue more predictable?

In this episode Mike Moore, Partner and Chief Commercial Officer at WillowTree, covers the “real” social selling, some of his agency’s greatest hits, and why WillowTree isn’t aiming for intergalactic domination.

Are you concerned about hitting your revenue targets this month, quarter or year? Your answer is value prime solutions, a sales training and marketing optimization company leveraging the value selling framework. visit www dot value prime solutionscom and start accelerating your results. You're listening to the BB revenue executive experience, a podcast dedicated to helping executives train their sales and marketing teams to optimize growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's accelerate your growth in three, two, one. Welcome everyone to Thev Tob revenue executive experience. Thanks for joining us. I'm your host, Chad Sanderson. If you're not able to listen to the entire episode today, please feel free to hit our website. Be To be REV exactcom you find links to this interview, as well as others we've conducted and additional content, all designed to help you be your targets. Today I'm excited fing with Mike more partner in chief commercial officer Willow Tree, to discuss generating revenue with the digital agency space and some of the challenges that they've faced and overcome. So just kind of as a jumping off point, Michael With thank you for your time and let's just start with kind of a little background. What willow tree does in your role? They're sure, Chad Hi, everybody happy to be here today. Willow tree is a a digital and mobile product agency. We specialize in strategy, design, development and deployment of kind of any digital experience that you can really think of, anything with a screen on it. Quite frankly, a big chunk of the work we do is around applications and native and web applications, but in this day and age we really do try and talk in terms of the experiences and whether that's interactive TV or multimodal kind of voice experiences, we try and help fortune five hundred companies, whether it be consumer or enterprise oriented, to create these really engaging experiences across all platforms. Excellent. Next, and so your role there? What's your primary function? Yeah, I'm a partner in the firm and my kind of day job is chief commercial officer, which means I'm responsible for all of our client side activity, Business Development, trade, marketing and basically engaging new and expanding existing client base. So basically all of all of the client side activity kind of comes in through, through our side. So many, many hats. Yeah, and many hats with regard to kind of the work you do. Many hats, even within a single client, being able to be their confidant, their doctor in some cases. We always like to say we try and be doctors, not waiters with our clients. So it really, it really does kind of come down to every individual client having individual needs. So many, many, many hats. Excellent. We've had conversations before it and for those in the audience who don't know, I spent ten years in the same space that will choose in. But I'm curious. We've seen a lot of consolidation over the years of agencies kind of getting brought up by, you know, the big for whatnot, and today and those independent agencies, they struggle at times across the board. Summer better at it than others in terms of maintaining creating, you know, that sustainable pipeline and and how do you guys approach that and how do you work to make sure it is a little bit more predictable, you know, than it can sometimes be in the professional services space? Yeah, I mean, I obviously can't speak to how the big four do these sorts of things are or indeed how some of these acquisitions of gone. You obviously hear things in the market all the time. As far as willow tree goes, we really try and stay true to kind of our core values, which is we put our clients first, we suspend disbelief. When face with a challenge, we come at it with a really open mind and really just try and get the most appropriate people from our organization around the problem as...

...soon as we are earn opportunity, as quickly as we possibly can. I think with regard to how we do it, I think one of the things we love about our sales philosophy is getting the business folks out of the way and that that meet may sound counterintuitive to folks, but but we've had real success having our business folks focused on raiming opportunities, framing a problem really. You know, the number one thing I encourage all of our business development folks to do is to listen, to digest, to understand and then really the challenge is how do we extract the best thinking from all of the experts we have it will a tree and and effectively get out of the way? I think particularly with new clients, they're looking to get to the solution as quickly as they possibly can. I think the day and age of being kind of inundated with keynote and power point, I think those days are kind of gone. I think people expect to get to the route faster and they'll judge you on your merits. Do you have the people to do deliver what they're after? Do we have the vision to deliver what they're after? And from our perspective, we keep it lean and we get we get the experts in front of the client as soon as we possibly can and the business developers, if they've done their job, have framed, digested the problem, where the opportunity, have brief the team, it will a tree effectively and manage to kind of assemble the team that's best suited to the task. That's always it was always my experts as a challenge. Or if you give you can frame the business issue and then allow the experts right the room. kind of I don't want to see to find the envelope because essentially what you guys are doing is is innovation, essentially. Yeah, and being able to make sure that that connects back to the to a business issue that can be tracked and success can be quantified. Again, yeah, against is always been a challenge, right. Yeah, I listen, we'd all love it if, if you were able to get a brief, you're able to do an estimate and hey, it's going to take six sprints or six months or whatever it might be, and we have a really clear view of requirements and we've got some data about your end user that we can employ. You know, that's all kind of pie in the sky most of the time. There oftentimes lots of gaps along the continuum and you know, it's the frustrating but also kind of the the real it's the RUB. It's really what kind of gets you going and the ability to be able to kind of fill those gaps, to be able to think creatively where there is no data, is really where kind of the magic happens. Is You guys stop. This is same element team. I think all in were about ten folks. We have for primary kind of category leads, so frontline business developers. We've got three folks in more of a solutions architect capacity. We've got some business analysts and we have kind of an operations person that helps us with collateral sales, material and processing, some of kind of the the swin contract work. So I'd say about ten people. Okay. And when we were prepping for today's interview we were talking about social selling, and should clarify for anyone listening we're not talking about linkedin and twitter, that social sellings of buzzword everybody's going to come onto that. That's not what we're talking about. What we're talking about is that actual human connection. And Mike, you said you were very proud of the way that your guys have been able to do that. Can you illuminate that a little bit for me? Listen, our business is based is in based in Charlotte, Civil Virginia, and also down in Durham, North Carolina, which has many, many benefits from an operating perspective, the fact that we can attract and retain the best talent in the industry, that we're not susceptible to a lot of the pitfalls of maintaining a team in a traditional, and am making little air quotes with my fingers, traditional tech hub. But it also lends itself to a little bit to our personality. I wouldn't go as as far as to say that our commercial approach is folksy, but a word we like to use is is authentic, and we believe we could have the best team in the world with the greatest reference applications and reference clients in the world, but if we don't make a genuine connection with our clients and we don't deepen that relationship over...

...time, it's all kind of for not. So we, the people we hire, have a great combination of text technical expertise, but but also exceptional people skills and and our job really is to make a connection and solve a problem or create an opportunity, prove ourselves to clients and then ultimately help them on a journey that, for the foreseeable future, on at least on a digital track, will go on and on. So social selling to us in selling, you know, small s for selling really is. We've managed to make great connections at the highest levels with some of our clients, and you know we're talking about major retailers, global retailers, you know, global entertainment businesses, and you know we have the relationships at the sea level. We help them out around the edges wherever we can, prepping for internal meetings, helping them with conferences, submitting work for on their behalf or rewards and, quite frankly, just spending good quality time with them while we're on project or even in between projects. And what we like to do is be able to pinpoint a couple of these folks that we really are close with, that were like minded, that we see the world the same way, not only kind of with regard to technology, but how you do business, and we ask them, are there other folks in your network that fit the bill, that are that would be a good match for us, that that have a genuine business opportunity or challenge that you think we might be a fit for or, quite frankly, that we would just get along with? And it's been really successful for us and that's something that that that I encourage our folks to do week in and week out. Is that an approach to revenue generation that was or you guys organically arrived at, or did you try other approaches and find they were less effective? Like I've seen agencies try and hire, you know, people that are more of that, you know, SASS and price type, sales type, a personalities. That where you really have to bring back the kind of roll them back off of being sales with a big ass kind of kind of yeah, did you guys try that approach? Was this organic? How'd you had to arrive at this? I think it's organic. I don't think you can divorce the two things. I don't think you can be a great relationship in executive in our business and not have the technical ability and or the insight. So let me just give you an example. You know, pretty much everybody on the business development team here at Willow tree has an engineering degree as somewhere in their education. And it may not all be computer science, it may be industrial or mechanical, but that technical appreciation for how things work, whether it be digital or physical, is a big part of the equation. They happen to be really good, smart engaging people on top of all of that. But our opinion is you need to be both of those things. You need to be someone that's great at developing relationships and you have to be somebody that's going to participate in the process. It's efficient, but it's it is authentic, it's more genuine and we strive for that. So for us it's less about process into a certain degree, less about coaching and it's really about hiring and finding people that kind of have all those aspects. So is there a secret sauce of that? Because I mean the best hirings the channel, especially when it comes to sales, especially if you're looking for, you know, engineering background people to I mean sales. Often in the digital agency space it has bad connotation, right. We used to joke at Sally about the magic bubble, right, like the sales people, don't mess with the the experts that are going to execute. Let them believe that the money falls off the trees. So, from a hiring standpoint, do you guys have to implemented processes or how do you how do you go about making sure you're making the best and most informed hiring decay? It is a challenge. There is there is no easier way to put it. That being said, it's worth the investment. It's worth it's kind of worth the pain. It's worth the way when you when you do get the the exact profile that you're after. I'm thinking of one of the hires we made about a...

...year ago. We had one of our very senior business developers join us from twitter and we waited about a year. We interviewed probably a hundred candidates and we do have a saying here at will a tree and it. It's not meant to be cute. It's actually how we think of the world in that when we see candidates and we have a doubt, we say we say if there's doubt, there's no doubt. And quite frankly, we weren't going to compromise. We believe that these business development roles are often the very first connection that clients have. In most times they are unless they see some of our developers, are principal engineers or some of the other senior executives at conferences. Our business development executives are often the first connection they have to will a try and you know, and I know when every sales professional that that's worth the grain of salt knows that you only get one opportunity to make a first impression. So we don't take any chances at all on the hiring front in that regarden and while it is a long slog, sometimes we feel great about the hires we make. Do you feel like you've had greater success, like with a hiring issue? I think I somebody told me once that the best hiring managers back five hundred you here. You guys feel like your process and your patients, which is often a challenge right and patients becomes can be a cauld be a hurdle for agencies that are like and companies. Hey, I need any people on the street now, I need any yeah, and that kind of stuff. Is that. Has that resulted in what you would consider a better than average hiring average? I we're certainly better than five hundred. That being said, you know, we're not the largest organization in the world and while there is urgency in our business to to find more senior sales and business development executives, it's not a kind of the expense of quality. So I feel like the patients aspect of it has allowed us to do better than five hundred. We're probably a eight hundred or eight hundred and fifty. I would I would have thought, wow, that's nice, but we've created enough space to do that. So we've allowed our enough running room and and our senior executives have been patient and that's really paid off for us. Would you find these candidates and you bring them onto you have a standard kind of on boarding process to get them used to the willow tree culture and the why. You know, seven saying why of Willow Tree. Yeah, I think we have an onboarding process generally across the business. Quite frankly, I I don't believe there's a ton of Specialized Business Development on boarding that I would credit with the success we've had. I think there's some of it that's been great, but but generally speaking, you know the head of our HR here, Christy Phillips, it will a tree, along with people like Greg carrier, our CEO, and to B S, our CEO, and Blake Siroc, who's our chief experience officer. We've all kind of helped codify our core values and our core values are things we live by and we hire by here at willow tree, and the great news about it is it's something that the entire business is kind of put together. It came from our team. We helped kind of solidify it into ways we look at the world and the way we look at talent. So I think generally speaking, whether you're a first year web developer out of college or a seven year IOS developer or a recently minted Mba who's joining us as a business development executive, that core values approach to things is really the best on boarding vehicle we have. I think tactically, from bizdev standpoint. We do really well with how we train for meeting protocol and and and focus on kind of listening skills. I think we've got some of the best assets. Are Our libraries are proposal kind of libraries and assets are second to none. But that's much more tactical. I would credit kind of a willow tree wide core values approach to on boarding to be kind of the main driver and our success, coupled with really sharp tactical business development training. And so we have people of diverse backgrounds that are, you know, completely making up your business of team. How do you, because it's such a relationship...

...based sale, how are you guys tracking or quantifying valuating pipeline opportunities or what's your process for, you know, for looking at what's in the pipeline in my clothes, you know, in the next three thousand sixty nine days, versus what's a longer term opportunity? If you guys come up with an approach, if you feel, as you know, resis with the business I think we have. I think, like any other services business, that a challenge. If we were selling boxed software, we were selling equipment or hardware. It's a much more traditional approach to tracking. You you know this better than anybody. So I would say our proach, our approaches, is as good as it can be. I think right now we're constantly trying to evolve it, but it's combination of tool sets, but but really a deliberate and realistic eye on the pipeline. We don't build pipeline for the sake of pipeline. So, for example, so let's start with the tools. So you know we use sales force. We probably use sales force at probably sixty percent of its capacity, but we're probably not alone in that regard. And we have a pipeline. I think the most important thing that we do as a business, and this kind of goes back to our core values, is we really try and keep each other with honest as to how real an opportunity is and and how real we should be in in the approach, because we're not the biggest organization and because we do want to kind of focus our efforts. You know, we're not kind of a carpet bomb organization. Were more like kind of sniper right. We take our shots very deliberate lie. We were very calculated about them because we do, as I said earlier, in the in the show. We do bring kind of our talent to bear and we want to make sure that we're doing that with the greatest possible chance of success, rather than having a pipeline full of twenty five percent probability. So nothing gets into our pipeline and less it's a fifty and quite frankly, our s probably more like a sixty five percenter. So that kind of comes from me. But everybody keeps themselves on us as to what's real what's not, and I think week to week that honesty helps with priority and whether somebody's got two opportunities or ten opportunities kind of boiling or a bubbling at one time, we all have confidence that they're all very real. So for us it's you know, this may sound counterintuit is too lots of sales professionals, but it's not a numbers game for us. It's a quality game for us and I don't think that there's any magic tool set that can help you do that. I think it's really about a sales philosophy and a sales culture coupled with some tools to allow you to do that effectively. And talk about sales culture, is that something that you see so I've seen in organizations like I mentioned, where sales is a bad word right, and so there is a challenge incorporating that into the culture sometimes. Is that something you guys have been able to overcome, where the organization as a whole understands that revenue generation is necessary to to continue to operate and continue to do really cool stuff? How have you? Have you kind of integrated that a roust the world? I know exactly what you're saying and I've been part of organizations in the past where there's and let's be let's be honest, there's there's always going to be friction between operations and the commercial the commercial side of a business. That's that is a natural that is a natural tension that exists in any business. I can say without without any doubt at all, that that tension is alive at will a tree, but it is a very healthy, very constructive tension and I don't think I can put my finger on a single thing that we've done to kind of foster that, but it's it's obviously multifactorial, I think. One I think the fact that the people that are on the business development side at Willo tree are also engineers in their own right gives them some street cred within the organization. I think the fact that the business developers understand that we're services business and they understand really and truly that that the w where we write in the products we build...

...take time and effort and sweat and tears. We don't take any of that for granted. So we are not that organization that grabs a brief, has a half baked view of what's going on, throws it over the fence for the operation to get into it in solution it. That is not how we do it. We are as consultative with our internal stakeholders as we are with our clients, and that's throughout the process and I think one of the big drivers in our success has been the fact that the operation feels invested and when we do have a big lead, it feels like we bring them in early. We treat them as equal members of the team, because they absolutely are. And I think you know what it's like when you when you're on and you're tracking against an opportunity and you win. For us it's a real team win and I think that that's a function of many things in the culture, not not one single thing. So more of a team based sale approach. Did you guys? I wouldn't assume that it's institutionalize, let's say, but it sounds very account based sales right, like the right people talking to the right areas in the organization at the right time, coordinated through maybe some sales force, but more of that genuine authenticity. Yeah, and and that that exists presale and that exists post right. We do not have a dedicated account management layer. Will a tree. We have something called the try forces, which is an idea we kind of stole from the video gaming video game world went. Once we have a client that's in and we're deep into project work, we have kind of a biweekly meeting of the minds and the try force is the principal engineer who is responsible for he or she is responsible for the technical excellence of the project, the project manager, who was a project manager, no account manager, and they are professionals. They are they are trained to deliver the best experience on time and on budget, and the business development exact who leads the relationship and that meeting of the minds every other week to it could be a thirty second meeting, like Hey, everything's green and we're good to go. Thanks for coming to hey. We have a pretty complex or nuanced problem on the client side that's part technical, part commercial, part political, quite frankly, and you really don't get to result resolving those problems from with a single perspective. You really need all of those angles represented. So for us that's that kind of triforce concept has been brilliant. Actually. I want to go back to the tool snack for second. You mentioned sales force and I know if you're doing. I think you referred to it as the Jerry mcquire approach relationship building. Do you guys have a tool set or an approach from the marketing side that still maybe trying to generate new opportunities that leverages the data that you're putting into sales force? Of Basically, what I'm trying to get ays, what is your marketing stack look like and how well does it integrate with, you know, what you're doing on the sales side? Yeah, our trade marketing team are great. I think for us it's less to do with the tool sets more to do with the strategy and I think we're probably at the early days of being able to leverage the account data. We have more effectively. To be very honest with you, we've been very much a marketing led commercial business rather than a sales and again, I make an air quotes around sales led. The majority the time that our folks spend on the marketing side is largely around thought leadership and kind of creating a voice it at conferences, is via the website, via our partners like forester. So we've got great guys like Scott Wolfson who leads kind of our analysts relations group within our trade marketing function and we really work it right. You were we were mentioned in kind of the top five in the forester wave as a strong performer last year and that wasn't just kind of a one time. Hey, it's nice to hang that badge on the website. I mean we activate that. We're constantly engaging with analysts to get new ideas. We are Google, apple, Microsoft, Sammer in an sap certified partners. We work...

...those channels and and that is to learn what's going on, to find out the trends in those markets, but also to push, you know, our accomplishments and and our thinking into those organizations. So I think, I think we probably have a ways to go on kind of employing a stack and a strategy on an account basis, but I think we do leverage our datas well when it comes to channel and partner marketing. Everything that we've talked about sounds very organic, purposeful, right and authentic. Those are very powerful words, especially in the space of guys are in. Is the objective for willow tree, you know, total market domination, or is it more kid growth? You know, kind of what's the what's the future look like? What are we what are we aiming towards? Gosh, it's hard to articulated, but I think it's very much like lines you here in films, like bulldrum. We kind of take him one at a time, right, one client at a time. We're trying to do our best and the best thing that we can do is serve an individual client. And and I'll give you a kind of an anecdote there. I mean we have clients like Johnson and Johnson and Gee. These were, you know, big global companies that that took a chance on willow true when we were thirty or forty people, you know, seven or eight years ago. Each one of them are clients today and we've been not only do we continue to be clients on the work we started with them way back when, but they've been good enough to refer us around to other parts of the organization. So I think that that view of one client at a time, one project at a time and being deliberate really does pay dividends. So I'd say no to Intergalactic Dominationay, I'd say yes to serving our clients well enough that they that we continue to grow and and hopefully word of mouth and referrals from those clients that have been served well continue to increase our client roster. Those are some impressive customer names and anybody, I'd recommend anybody who's in ours please check out the willow tree website. Done some amazing work. I'm kind of curious from your perspective, Mike, what if you had one coolest project that you could actually tell us about in publish? What would that be and why? Wow, a loaded quested. I know. Yes, there there have been lots. One that I just I think is one of my favorites, is Regal Cinema. Regal Entertainment Group is a big client of ours and we've been working with them for a couple years now and what's been rate about the relationship. What's been great about the software has been they haven't been afraid and we haven't been afraid to really go after big ticket, no pun intended experiences. Right our first bit of work with Regal was kind of reimagining the loyalty view. They, you know, they have millions and millions of people in their loyalty program they really wanted that to be a mobile first experience. We've done some really cool things around location based services. We've kind of demistified what it means to earn points and redeem points and that's been received really, really well by the Regal Crown Club Faithful. We took that momentum when when right into coming up with a native ticketing solution for them to really make ordering tickets online, selecting seats via mobile much more seamless, much more friendly experience, that sort of stuff. Just the momentum just keeps rolling over. I'd encourage people to download, either on android or IOS, the Regal Cinema APPs and we think it's a it's a great companion experience to a really fun experience of going to the cinema. I wasn't aware until I was doing my you know, Frework for this interview, that that was something that you guys have done. But when we went, my wife and I went on Sunday to see alien and and we were using the APP and I'm sitting there telling I'm like, Hey, I know the guys did this. After about ten minutes of me going on and on about it, I got the Hey, where see movie? Stop playing with the tech. Yeah, is a really cool experience because they're really needs to help with that. Oh Yeah, and we're very lucky, you know, lucky and grateful. We've got clients like regals that are committed to mobile and digital as being a core...

...part of their strategy. They are they view their spaces as mobile meets mortar and whether it's the staff in the in the theater or indeed any digital asset they have, they have to be user friendly, they have to add value and they've got a great vision for their business and we're happy and lucky to be their partner. So, in terms of you mentioned a couple of kind of keepers. Mobile first and experiential part of it. I mean having you know, we've seen, both of us have seen kind of that industry change from like Oh crap, I need a mobile APP to that real experience, that total merging of physically digital. How do you enhance an experience, a physical experience, with the digital? And then you know the new new stuff with Hiot and Ai Dr and are and all that stuff? I'm kind of curious where you see maybe you can't tell us which are your customers are on the bleeding edge, but I'm kind of curious how where you see the trends going and where you are most excited to see it go and how you're working with your sales team to make sure they're prepared for that. Yeah, I'll be slightly cheeky with the answer. As to as to clients, I would have at folks check out the website, wwwwillow tree appscom. They're great case studies on there. I'll I'll leave that part of it there. I think. I think the view of the world and the clients that are getting right kind of understand the fact that as the tech gets more complex, the goal of the tech should be getting simpler and not more complex. Right. I think at the end of the day, what are you solving for? Are you solving for better workflow for your employees or your team's are you solving for better conversion, more seamless shopping for your end consumer and we like to ask very simple questions. You know, how would we better dot dot dot? How we better allow customers to shop and Book Hotel Rooms? How would we better allow field technicians to be more efficient in their day? How would we be better able to allow inventory managers, managers to be able to survey their patch and understand where they are in life on a day to day basis? So I think that's the key. I think that the days of everybody just Handwaveley saying we need apps are over and and, quite frankly, we find ourselves sometimes talking clients out of APPs or websites and steering them to existing assets they already have. But for us, those simple questions. If you can answer those simple questions, the tech can get you there. But having the answer to those simple questions of what are you trying to achieve, what needs are you satisfying, who are you trying to serve and to what end? If you can answer those questions, you know the tack will help you get there and a partner well help you get there. But it really does have to start with asking and answering the right questions. Have you found that the so, when we started and then it was all about mobile APPS, right, the the education component of the sales cycle was fairly significant just because people weren't as familiar with really what design why design is important and making things easy isn't simple necessarily right. And then you kind of move through this and you see the education portion of a sales cycle change to all right, well, Hey, I saw a commercial by apple or I saw I've talked about. You know why they used what aluminum they use. So I kind of get what design needs. So now your education switches right, you got to go from why it's important to okay, you really don't understand it as well as you do, and we always well as you should, and what it means to your business. That education portion of it, as I've seen it, always be a challenge, I would think. Correct me if I'm wrong, but having people on that have the engineering background that can also understand the larger business focus speak a common language, becomes pretty critical, not only to the successful will truth, but for the success of the organizations you're working with.

Yeah, and and that having that technical, technical background and being kind of a stute as to what clients are trying to get to and what they're trying to achieve. You know, at the end of the day, for us, a measure of successes. Have you had a fruitful conversation? Have you even if a you know, we invest hours and days and in some cases weeks in an opportunity and they don't all go our way. But but I think when we look back on all of them, have we brought some new thinking to bear? Have we understood and given a potential client some benefit based on our experience, and have we helped one there thinking? We'd happily chalk that up to a little bit of a bit of free consulting and none of us feel really bad about that. I think, at the end of the day, you know, back to one of the questions you asked earlier, particularly around pipeline development in the like, back to that honest view of where you are as a sales organization, as a Business Development Organization, is, how many connections have you made? How many real, genuine connections have you made, whether there's an RFP or a brief or an ask? You know that is it real is as much about the opportunity being available in a budget available as it is did you make a connection and I think to the point you're making about engaging in these conversations, if you've made a connection, that's a win. It may not result Business Day one, but I can't tell you how many times we'll get a call out of the blue a year later after conversation, saying hey, we always really felt like we connected with you guys. We didn't have anything going at the time or for whatever reason we didn't go with you. We're back now. So I think that the type of conversations you're talking about before are very approach to them in the right way results in in in a connection and a success, no matter what the near term brings. Yeah, I mean people buy from people. At the end of the day, you have to be able to trust me because with some of these projects we're talking about budgets that that you know, somebody that becomes the sponsor for working with will tree or any agency, that could be a career limiting you know, move if it goes south. Right, I've seen people lose their jobs because they've bet on the wrong horse, so to speak. Right. So the end of the day, if you can get that authentic connection, understand that people buy from people, be respectful right in the interactions. I think that goes a long way for building the trust that's that's critical for the success, especially in professional services. For sure we agree. So when you look at your organization right now, what's the biggest challenge you guys are kind of facing and wrestling with today? I think we've covered a little bit already. I think you know, demand continues to be robust, so coverage is is key. You know we are and we continue to look for business development executives that fit the bill, that that kind of are good fit for our culture. So scaling, the scaling the commercial side of the businesses is key and I think you know, back to your Jerry McGuire reference earlier, I won't Wax lyrically on his net manifesto, but what I will say is the trend we're seeing in our business is deeper it's deeper relationships, it's more time spent on a product, on account, on a company, and that creates a need for more time spent on the commercial side on a client by client basis. We love it. So I think one of the challenges for us is staffing and you know, as any other business, it's staying on top of trends and can you get out ahead of the next thing? I think there are many things that are out there in front of us, whether it be machine learning or multimodal interfaces. I think for for a business like ours, we have to be way out there and kind of leaning to the next thing and I think if we've got the business folks that can engage and we have this kind of natural maker culture within the business, then we're in pretty good position for what's ahead of us. It's a very is a very cool space for anybody who wants to be on the bleeding edge.

You know, you spent ten years there and then you, like I've done, you kind of step back and work in another area and you can wow, you guys use are still using this stuff, like yeah, there's so much better stuff out there. Excellent a right. So one last question that I asked all of our guests. We call it our acceleration insight. So if you had one piece of advice or direction you could give to an individual in sales, consultant or or marketing that you believe would make them more successful and help them hit their hit or beat their targets, what would that be? In why I think it's a great question. I and they're probably ten ways to answer it, but I'll pick one I mentioned before. or about being honest about what you're doing, being honest about your pipeline, being honest about your approach, being honest with where you think you are in the cycle. And, quite frankly, I think that coupled with the question I kind of mentioned just a couple minutes ago of did you make a connection? And I think if you can coach your teams or you can coach yourself to measure where you are in your sales life cycle pipeline quarter week and measure on real connections, and I think and how real that is. I think if you measure yourself in that regard, I think you're going to be more effective with things that that challenge sales people in any industry. You'll manage your time better, you'll use your resources better, you'll be less stressed because you won't be worried about, Hey, I've got a hundred things in the hopper, how am I going to manage all on them when, if you're really honest with yourself and you've made connections, you mainly have seven or eight. It does simplify your life. So my view of the world is, whether you're an individual performer or indeed a sales manager that's looking after potentially hundreds or even thousands of sales executives, that currency of how many connections did you make in being honest about it, honest about it in in your day to day communication, honest about it in your reporting. I think that makes life for a salesperson much, much simpler, because being a sales executive or business developer is a complex way of life and if you can find way to simplify it and and give you opportunities to better spend your time, there's got to be some upsign in that. Simple is always better and just like with the digital space, simple's not always easy. Yeah, it takes some focus. I pull that. I been agree more. Absolutely so. It people interested in connecting with you, talking more about some of the things we've covered or we're learning more about willow tree, what's the best way for them to go about that? Yeah, they check out the website on Linkedin. That's probably the best way to make an initial connection with me. All right, excellent, excellent. Well, for those that have enjoyed this podcast, please take a moment to post, to review and Itunes, share with your friends, families, Co workers. Spread the magic. We're doing this to try and make people more effective. Give you, guys, some insights and access to revenue executives. That will provide you, guys, will information again to make you more successful in your careers. I've got a lot of other interviews on the website. BE TO BE REV exactcom so don't hesitate to check that out as well. Mike, I can't thank you're enough for the time today. This has been great. These are any last parting words or any questions you have for me? No, Chad, happy to do it. Keep in touch and and hopefully we'll connect against you all right, excellent. I wish you nothing but the best and we will talk to you soon. 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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