The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

Ep: 58 Focus is the Key w/ Lori Sullivan

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Ep: 58 Focus is the Key w/ Lori Sullivan

Part of the "Is This a Good Time?" Series with Brandon Barton.

Hello, everyone, and welcome back to the revenue collected podcast. I'm your host, Brandon Barton, and you're listening to Is this a good time? The show where I talked to Revenue Collective members and ask them some really simple questions and they have great answers should be about 15 minutes of conversation. We're coming to you each and every Tuesday and Thursday. So please hit the subscribe button. Make sure you don't miss anything as we're just getting into a groove here. About 15 episodes in So good to have Laurie Sullivan on our show today. She's the director of marketing at video, and we talk about how focus is the foundation of success, something everyone should realize before we get going with the questions I wanted to tell you a little bit about this month. Sponsor six cents six cents. The number one account engagement platform helps you identify accounts that are in market for your solution. Prioritize your efforts, engage buyers the right way with highly relevant messaging and measure what actually matters with the Sixth Sense platform. You're able to get into more deals, improve win rates, increase overall pipeline and optimized budget. Spend to learn more visit six cents dot com slash revenue collected. All right, here it is. Episode 15 Is this a good time? All right. So great to have you here. Laurie Laurie Sullivan. She is the VP of marketing at Flavio Birmingham, Alabama, co chair of the revenue collective chapter in Birmingham. So I can't wait to hear about what's going on in the South as this this, uh, interesting time for our country in the middle of a pandemic and all that. But Laurie is so great to have you on the podcast. Thanks so much for having me, Brandon. So as we do here, it is all meat. No fillers, no bs. Let's just jump right in. Give me the career progression. Tell us about how you got to where you are today. So I am like you said, I'm at Flavio now, which is a B two b SAS company. We're focused on modernizing the fleet management world, but I originally started my career in...

...the agency world working with tons of different clients, large and small in every industry. You can think of putting together lead generation programs, executing on that, measuring that for different clients and my previous agency before hopping over to Flavio was B to be specific asset because you can be lead generation for, like, the BBC stuff which the tactics could apply, but not exactly the same way for me to be. Yeah, it's a different world, and honestly, I feel like in in higher education, like when you learn about marketing, I mean so much of the so many of the examples that you're getting our B two c, and you really don't understand that there's a big B two B marketing world out there, and it was something that I found pretty early in my career, and I'm such a nerd for me to be marketing. I think it is just such an interesting world, and and there's so much opportunity to connect with buyers in the business space. And so my previous agency before Flavio was B to be specific and learned a lot there about just how the B two B marketing and sales process worked, what B two B Legion really was and how to optimize for success there. And so about six years ago I met the founder and CEO of Palladio, and we began talking about what marketing could look like at radio. And so I was a really early employee. I was employee number six day. Yeah, almost 100. Oh, wow. That's a fun journey that I've done that in my career. I love it. I love the I love that part. It's been a ride, and and as you know, I'm sure you're so emotionally invested in it, too. And that success of the company. But yeah. So almost six years later, you know, I've inbound Legion has been my team's...

...biggest goal along the way, and it still is today. And and that's been a huge driver of our success to date and our our revenue. You know, I joined the company when we were sub one million, and there are, And so we've seen a ton of growth over those close to six years. So that kind of brings me to today. Yeah, I wonder. So you said you were like employee six on the marketing side, just just out of curiosity, any sellers at that point or did they bring marketing in first before salespeople? We had one salesperson. At that time. I came in as marketer number one and basically built the inbound Legion engine. I mean, we weren't doing any outbound at that time and that actually carried on for a number of years. We were inbound only for quite some time, really, until a couple years ago. And so we were very inbound, focused. I came in one sales person on staff and came in built the kind of inbound legion engine, and we were a marketing and sales pair for about a year. And then I started hiring and building out my team. That's great. That's great. Well, look, Expertise alert for everyone listening. If you're building an inbound funnel inbound pipeline, we clearly have somebody who's done it in the B two b side. Not not that I'm going to go sell your time now, but jeez, give Gloria slack message and say, What's up? I live and breathe inbound marketing all day, every day. Yeah, you did say you love it, or I think maybe you refer to it as being a geek of it, which is pretty sweet. Well, look, it takes a lot of things to get to the role that you're in. Certainly luck and hard work or two components of it. What would you say? You know a story about locking a story about hard work that got you here? Yeah. So I think when I when I think about hard work and just finding success in my career and...

...especially with video kind of building helping build that from the ground up to me, one of the things that I really associate with success and and doing the hard work to get to a successful point is focus. And I think just having that intense focus in the work that you're doing is incredibly important to me. On the marketing side, it's even more important because in the marketing world there are 10 million things that you could be doing every day to generate leads and grow your business. And saying yes to all those things is very easy. Saying no to those things is the hard part, and especially in the early days, you don't want to miss any opportunities. So you stretch yourself then and so I think, just along the way, doing the work to test and iterate and move quickly and learn what worked and what would scale and what necessarily wouldn't move the needle quite as much you're saying Don't say no, but try it in a very small test and then say no quickly. Yeah, prove whether you should say yes or no. The most freeing thing you can do is test something and prove it doesn't work. And then you have no issue saying no to it. Right. And you're able to kind of clear it out of your path like that. And it really allows you to focus on the things that really move the needle from an inbound legion perspective and a revenue perspective. So I think from in the marketing world is just so important. And I think I'm not as I've progressed through my career. What about luck you got? You had to get lucky at some point here. Yeah, look is a tough one for me because I don't know if I like, fully believe in luck, but I do believe in taking pretty big leaps and kind of trusting in big opportunities. And so I would say, You know, you can call it...

...luck. You can call it a big leap, like I mentioned. But I mean, six years ago, when I connected with our founder and CEO at fellatio. I mean, I'd never heard of Palladio. There were five employees and I, you know, was not actually was not looking for a job at the time, I was very happy. And the BDB agency that I was in and I think just meeting our founder and CEO, hearing his vision and then exploring the space. You know, the fleet management world is incredibly antiquated, and we were We really were well positioned to come in as this modern solution and change the game. And to me, there's probably a little bit of luck and the fact that everything fell into place for Flavio and I think a lot of it had to do with people and the fact that, you know, we're really building something that was needed in our space so we can call that look. We can call that Make me How did you meet the CEO of video through a mutual acquaintance network? The network is everything people are ever might be a little bit of there might have been a little bit, whatever the circumstances there, that seems like maybe the break that you probably met a lot of people then and a lot of I'm not. I'm not telling your story for you would do that. But I just I love for the listeners to know that nobody gets into a VP role without having some breaks and having some good things go their direction. I am a big proponent of luck favoring people that are putting themselves in the position to be lucky, right? But yeah, I don't know everyone. If you listen, you know me talking about this stuff already, I'll stop. But before we go into some of the tactics stuff, I actually want to know you've been a video for six years. You've been in Birmingham for the majority of your career. What is it like 10 years ago versus now that...

...startup community the tech community like, give me a sense of what's going on in Birmingham like, yeah, it's a different world than it was 10 years ago. I've lived here for about a decade, um, originally from Mississippi and then lived internationally for a little while and then came back and settled in Birmingham and again was in the agency world. But coming into the tech world in 20 early 2015 in Birmingham was an interesting time. There is a start up incubator here called Innovation Depot. It's downtown, and there are close to 100 emerging companies in that building from one or two people working on an idea to when we kind of graduated from the depot. We were probably around 25 people. Now we have our own office in downtown Birmingham. But the change even in the last five years, the startup in technology culture here is really surprising to a lot of people. And some of the success that we've seen in terms of, you know, companies like Shipped that is founded in Birmingham was bought by Target a couple years ago. And other other success stories we, you know, as Southerners. We definitely have a culture where we love to help one another and really share ideas, and everyone's trying to elevate the other startups and technology companies in this city, and everyone cares a lot about it. And I think that has really driven the success of a lot of these startups in in our city, including Flavio. So it's been it's a different world than it was 10 years ago, when I originally moved to Birmingham, and it's a different ball game that it was just five years ago. I mean, we have a an initiative in Birmingham called Birmingham Bound, and that organization exists to bring tech companies to Birmingham, whether that's for their HQ...

...or for their second office. And when people come here, they're They're surprised at the how large our tech community really is and how rich it is. And that's been really cool to see happen over the years and and to be a part of cool. Well, look, I'm always curious to see how other cities outside of the Silicon Valley in the Silicon Alley in the Silicon Beach and my I don't know what they're calling Miami yet, but like how they're evolving because there's just, you know, if the revenue collective has taught me anything, there is so many smart minds out there to learn from, and and that's where success comes from with cos it's getting a bunch of smart people that do something that's really hard and clearly, that's what you guys are up to. So very cool. All right, so we'll go into our little lightning round. Give us a tactic that people could use tomorrow. So my biggest learning in preparing for 2021 was to plan, execute and measure at the most granular channel level. And when I say that, basically, I just mean, you know, if you're looking at success of your marketing channels and you're thinking okay, you know, I'm looking at paid efforts versus non paid efforts. One of the things that we did in our you know, our go to market planning for 2021 was get as granular as possible with channels so organic, you know, paid search versus retargeting, email referral partners, events. I mean, there's a laundry list of them, and we track, of course, leads and and revenue for each of those. But we in our in our projections and our modeling for this year, we set marketing qualified lead or SQL goals for our most granular channels, and we hadn't really gotten that specific before with those goals, and it has really just, you know, rallied my team around their own...

...individual areas, set clear expectations and really helped us understand what the parts that make up, you know, the sum of legion at the end of the month or quarter, whatever time period where that's going to come from and how we're tracking to those goals. And so to me, I mean just being a little ways into the year, That's still top of mind. And we've had multiple, you know, ways of planning for these things over the years. But I think this is probably the best execution of our go to market model and projections that we've leveraged, and my team just seems to be kind of thriving in in that format. And so I would recommend that for any any marketer out there granular, I love it beautiful. And so what's a key position of hiring for you? You have any jobs available for folks We do at content marketing. Specialist role is one that's out there right now. We we focus really heavily on thought leadership content, and if you visit our website at radio dot com, you will definitely see that long and short form content in addition to video and visual content as well. But that's a creative role. But you know, everyone on my team is pretty analytical. Um, that's really something I look for in the hiring process, so it's a fund role, but definitely one that's going to make a big impact. Organic has really always made up about half of our leads and half of revenue that comes from inbound. So we invest in content resources pretty regularly. I like that. And speaking of content, who do you follow? Who's some shout outs of people you love hearing listening to, You know, both Both on the high level of, you know, and these people we see on LinkedIn and whatever or are also some of the upper up and comers. Yeah, so I'll give you. I'll give you two longtime follows and I'll give you two up and comers. So, um, I follow Brian Balfour's content pretty regularly and...

...have years. I just find that it's extremely detailed, and I like that. It's very growth focused. Um, and I always try to really point my team into that growth mindset, and so I always love his stuff. Recently, I've followed um, shiv from he's the CEO of how to Sass, and he has a lot of really great content on and and his email newsletter, where he does these illustrations that it's kind of geared toward the CMO persona and so love following his stuff and then to up and comers. I gotta give you to Birmingham based people I want. I want people from the From Birmingham. Yeah. So, uh, Dave Car. He's the VP of marketing and visited of at click dot io there, actually a Toronto based sales enablement company. And he has a podcast called BTB Enablement that that's really awesome. So love checking out his content. And then, um, I've got a shout out videos. VP of sales Who, um, is my my counterpart. On the sales side, his name's Will Yarbrough. And, um, he has a lot of great stuff on LinkedIn, but also just wrote an awesome article for sales hacker on creating sales playbooks. So you got to check out his stuff, too. Love it. That's that's two amazing amazing call outs including Brian and Ship as well. Clearly. And, you know, look, this better be also from Birmingham because it is a place that definitely has a reputation for having good food and good restaurants. And like over the past 10 years, never mind the startup. Seeing the restaurant, CNN Birmingham has been through the roof, so I love that you know that I'm This is like my soul is in restaurants. Okay, I ran ready for a long time. So when we were, you know, every city and understanding, which was the next city we should go to. And it was like Charleston and Birmingham, like, you...

...know, it. Just like as soon as Charleston started to come up. Birmingham's right behind it in. For whatever reason, they're connected in this, like Southern, like, really get down to the soul of American cuisine, you know, kind of anyway, give me a restaurant to go to. So there are so many in Birmingham, so it's very, very tough. And if you've ever eaten in Birmingham, you know, I mean, we have some James Beard award winners and stuff like that. Food in Birmingham is the thing I love to show off when people come here. I gotta go with one of my all time long time favorites, which is Bottega Cafe. Okay. And if you like beef carpaccio, I do. You must go there. Uh, the best you'll ever have in your life. I That's a tall order, but I will make sure to make a trip to Birmingham to go do that. Laurie. So awesome to chat with you. I'm excited to follow the rest of your career as it goes on and keep in touch. Thank you for being on the podcast. Absolutely. Thanks for having me a great chatting with you. All right. That is our show today. Thank you so much for listening. If you love the show, you know what to do. Rate and review in the Apple or Spotify podcast. Send it to some friends. Make sure you smash the subscribe button so you can follow us each and every week. Reminder. This episode was brought to you by six cents, Howard by a i m. Predictive Analytics. Six cents Helps you unite your entire revenue team with a shared set of data to achieve predictable revenue growth. Had a lot of fun. Hope you did too. Now go crush your numbers. Say something. Mhm.

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