The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 9 months ago

Ep 113: Growing A Bootstrapped Sales Team w/ Brian Marzo

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Ep 113: Growing A Bootstrapped Sales Team w/ Brian Marzo

Part of the TGIM (Thank God It's Monday) series hosted by Tom Alaimo. 

All right, thank God it's monday. Welcome back to the Pavilion podcast. This is your host Tom Alamo. This is where we break down the tips, the tricks the tactics that revenue leaders need to be successful in the modern age. Excited to be here with you. I'm pumped about getting brian Marzo, my friend, director of sales, over at R. T. M. Business group on the podcast here, hailing from great new york new york. He's been there for about five years, climbing up through the ranks. Help to bootstrap the business from about two million to eight figures in revenue. We'll talk about the sales summer slump. We talk about using the events business. So where is that? Looking as we're getting into a post covid world, a great conversation that I think you're going to enjoy before we get to that, let's give a quick shout out to our sponsor. This episode is brought to you by drift. More than 50,000 businesses use drift to grow revenue, increase customer lifetime value faster drift, helps their customers aligned sales and marketing on a single platform to deliver a unified customer experience where people are free to have a conversation with the business at any time on their terms, learn more at drift dot com. One last note, you can connect with me on linkedin. I'm tom Alamo. I work over at dong, I'm Tommy Tahoe on twitter and instagram and I run my own podcast focus for young salespeople called millennial sales. Now. Without further ado, let's get straight into my conversation with brian Marzo. Alright brian marzo coming at us down in Miami this week. How are you men to? Well, tom how about yourself in? I am, I'm doing great, doing great, excited to uh to chat with you. You got a little team, team outing, team event going on down there. It sounds like we do. We do, yeah, we uh, we have an event going on for the next couple of days starting this sunday and we thought what better time to meet most the company than in South Beach.

So brought the whole company down, we're gonna be here for two days doing company retreat. A lot of cool activities that we got going on. A lot of people meeting each other for the first time, which we're looking forward to. And then we got about half the company sticking back and actually executing the event. I wish I was part of the team that was just actually here for the fun, but I'll be here the whole thing. So it's uh, for the next couple days, what percentage of your team have you actually met in person at this point before this weekend? So I would say 70%. We scaled a lot last year or two When I joined the company, I was employee number 10 were 42 now at this point, so I know a lot of the people that have been here from the ground up, right. But we did hire a lot of people over the last in Covid, which is awesome as an events company to be able to say that we did that. But yeah, I'd say there's about a dozen people who, I haven't met that On my team. There's three and then across the other departments, there's about 10. So it should be, should be nice getting the chance to meet them. But also like, I just want them to meet each other. Like anyone who's been hired remote. That's what I feel for, right? Like they just don't even know their other colleagues that were hired remote. So I'm excited to see them all meet each other. We had our first team dinner, my sales team on the second to last day of the quarter in june. And so I went from knowing, you know, 1% of the employees are going to like, you know, whatever, you know, 5% or whatever it is. So I'm still pretty low on the bar. So uh for the people that haven't met their, their fellow employees, it's a, it's a, that was like the best thing that happened all the first half of the year professionally was like, Oh, I got to actually meet people that was sick. Yeah. And everyone is like, we took bets for like how tall do you think this person is? We were just doing those behind the scene. But now it's, it's good to finally meet people and understand just kind of like, you know who they really, right. That's The tough thing is because I'm not the tallest guy. I'm like 5 9 and...

...everyone on my team apparently is a giant. Everyone is six ft. There's like, Even the women are like six ft tall, so I'm like clearly the shortest person in the room, which I did not expect. I'm with you there, man. I I say I'm a 12 58 so there's that and yeah, we are, yeah, it's always good meeting people now, but I'm looking forward to it. So let's talk about the events business. Like you've been, you've been seeing it, you're in the front lines of it for the last 18 months, obviously you're running one for the business on Sunday. So like, and you've been hiring throughout the pandemic. So just from like a macro perspective, like where are we right now in the event landscape and like where is this going, are we going to get back to normal is going to be bigger than ever? Is it gonna be different? What's it look like? It's crazy man. It's so across the board there's three different groups right? There's the groups that are, couldn't be more excited to get back into events and they are, they are fully ready to get on planes, right? Like that's kind of the most common people you speak to fall in that category. I'm surprised about the number of people that are still though in that year to where it's like, do they want to really get back to in person because they don't know if there's value to in person, they've been doing remote for so long there. Like I'm cool with just keeping doing, you know, nothing in person. Even like what you said right there man, like you're still just meeting people for the first time in gang. There's a lot of companies were not like itching to get back and have people interact with one another. And then there's, the companies were like, no, we're definitely not doing anything along those lines. Macro though. I'd say events are back in the most intimate style though. So what at least my company does is like those very small intimate programs with like a couple, maybe like 150 people. So nothing big. But like we're talking the larger like, you know, dream force, you know, edgy cause type of events, those ones, I'm not sure people are ready for for a lot...

...of reasons. But I think at the end of the day man, people want to be back at events in person for the same reason that you just talked about like just getting a chance to meet one another for the first time. So we're in a good spot events in general. I think, I think Covid aside, I feel like people were maybe starting to just hit the point of like the dream forces of the world like those even worth it. You know, you see 10,000 people there and you don't make any connections versus at 100% event Again, Covid aside, you just are able to make deeper connections with people or with customers and really have better conversations and it's more tailored to everyone versus is just being like its own city as an event. It's that's never worked. Yeah. How many of those have you been to that? You came away? You're like, damn. Like that was well, right. You know what I mean? Like a lot of those times too, like you met people, you connect on linkedin, you never chat with them again. Like at least with these like smaller type of events like you do actually get great relationships and then those continue to foster and so I think anyone that does events or is looking at doing events like it's got to be tailored towards a a very specific niche. Right? So like if you're gonna do something through like R. C. Can you do some our city pavilion, can you do anything that's geared towards like okay senior leadership people for you know within new york city and then you know from where you're at out in California like you want to go to those because there's just like you want to come away and actually be able to rely on people afterwards. So I think micro events in like those types of smaller ones are 100% in and 100% going to be where everyone is going to be leaning towards in the future I hope. I mean hopefully do you got anything planned for yourself personally like within gang, anything along those lines we're starting to open it up a little bit like not quite sure on like actually getting back into the office but we've got some team events that are starting to bubble up this quarter right? We we got like a team like multi department...

...event um with sales and customer success it's like later this month and maybe a team offsite or something happening in august so it is it is starting to come back just in general man, I miss just being on the road and meeting with customers and you know doing all that stuff so I'm excited for it to get back to somewhat normal and like wherever they do the events to I've seen like the, where are you doing? Like the hotels, wherever it might be like they've stepped their game up. Like, they're all like, they've been like in a year of kind of just sitting on the bench. So like the events that you're doing right now, you're getting just a taste like phenomenal service, everything is really kind of just going super, super smooth. Can't speak for airlines, but like, I think that would get to the actual place that you're doing something. The quality of the, the event on top of the actual people that are there and the energy that is behind it is just, it's next level from what I've even experienced prior to the pandemic, Let's talk about the sales, the summer sales slump. We're in mid july chatting post fourth of july. It's hot. You were just on the road in the West Coast or it's like 115 degrees. What do you see like one? Are you, are you seeing that this year? My anticipation is that It happens every year in most businesses and I think it's gonna be worse this year because people have been cooped up from COVID for 18 months and like might be taken longer vacations, it might be saying effort and you know, their company even take six months off. Like that's what I'm expecting is it's going to be even more challenging than usual. I couldn't agree more. I think the thing with summer sales slumps as well as that. Like we almost try and fight it. Data always says that there is less meetings being had meetings being kept like there's just clear year over your data and then like we get there and we're like okay what do we got to throw it then? Like you know the team to get them going and make sure that we could...

...come out of this. Like why don't we actually just understand that like a it's part of the natural process be you don't have to put additional pressure on people to try and step up their game. Like you know, hopefully they've been doing that through Q one Q two. You know for us what? At least I've been seeing. It's just that like the number of original appointments that you get, it's down it's just it's across the board for all the reasons that you're talking about. People are focusing on vacation. They're doing their own events. They're doing like whatever it might be and I don't think you should make people feel bad right for being in that that slight thing. Like hear them out if they're if they're upset about their own performance is a different thing but like don't make people feel bad for kind of the natural ebb and flow, which I think it's summer sales to be quite frank. You guys are saying like at least personally, are you feeling that is a nice I see I would say yeah, anecdotally like it's been pretty slow. It was a crazy end to june feel any of it then I definitely feel partially because I took the first week of july off and we had a recharge as a company, partly the summer new quarter. All of that combined is just like it's been a slow first few weeks I think they just anecdotally, I don't I don't have any data on it. But what do you do? Like you have teams, you know reps that are maybe committing deals for july or committing deals for the quarter And let's say they start to push are there incentives or something that you're, you're trying to put out to customers to to get things to move or you just lower your maybe projections as a team just knowing that this is going to happen and you give people space. How do you handle it first? I try and just make sure every single person. So you know, I helped manage account executives sdrs and work with sales manager here as well. I understand deals are gonna push especially like because think about very few people are making soul decisions themselves are looming other colleagues there hitting with all the standard objections. But it's also very true. Like I understand if you're a VP of sales, you wanna look in your VP of marketing is on vacation for two weeks and you can't make a...

...decision without that. Like I'm not asking my, you know, erects to do anything and like be super super pushy about trying to get that type of deal done a it's not gonna get done be, you're gonna probably upset your prospects so it's not worth it. Like the best thing that you can do during the summer sales is just get laser focused in understanding their buying process right? Like what does it actually look like And then when that person either comes back from vacation, whatever the reason might be like will they then be in a position to evaluate so what we've been doing and we just integrated hubspot, crazy. We're bootstrapped companies. So like that was a big deal for us integrating the Seagram. I'm just telling people to have more closed lost opportunities like we can come back to those were more transactional sale here as well. But if someone is not in a position for all the reasons because of summer sales, their company holiday, they're just not responding. They're not coming the next steps close boston, don't overstress we're not lowering our projections. You just gotta focusing much more on the accounts that are gonna be higher probability of closing. And then when you're talking to your prospect really just kind of getting laser focused about like What does it look like? What are your realistic timelines and if they're not realistic, totally understand, enjoy your summer. I'll be back in September one. Yeah, I think that's one of the hardest skills for an 80 to learn is to just kind of let a deal die right and not try to force it and not like keep the opportunity open for like 16 months in salesforce. Like no, no this month it's like it's coming, it's coming. It's like not just sometimes you gotta let it go and just go focus your time elsewhere to maybe that's what I'm hearing from you is like for some people, they will be taking that vacation, but not everyone, there are opportunities out there. You just maybe need to spend your time more efficiently, more efficient. But I can also think about times in the past where like I had everything where it...

...needs to be right. It's one of those ones where you like, man, that's a deal, right? And whatever the reason is that person eventually kind of says that they can't do it because of all of the prohibiting factors that seem to, for whatever reason exists in july, primarily july and august. I think june is a little bit more lenient because especially like with like school families, times like that, but literally when you don't make the prospect feel like they're under the gun and they come back relaxed after vacation in their good mood. Typically they then reach out to you at the time and then that actually does close much quicker than if you were to try and fight it. So I'm seeing that a lot for our team right now. Like pipeline definitely smaller than like maybe what we were looking at in like april may. But what I'm looking at in the pipeline is like really, really great opportunities and like just double down on just making sure that you're creating a phenomenal relationship with, with people in the summer because there's nothing worse than if you're on vacation or if there's nothing worse is if you're prepped to go on vacation and I've been on the other receiving under this and like, like a sales rep is like asking to make a quick timeline, quick decision. You're like, you don't go to Disney tomorrow. Like I'm not so I think people just need to take a little bit, um, managers need to be more respectful to their team and I think teams need to understand that this is part of the process and to not put too much stress on themselves. Like it's your summer to enjoy it. Yeah, very true, Very true. All right. Last time we talked on a podcast, you hit me with a book recommendation for Green Lights by Matthew McConaughey, which was unreal. One of the top reads that probably had so far this year. What do you got for me this time around? Okay. So I wish I had more. That was, that was something I've been trying to figure out like what is my best learning style and what can I try and do more of? I did shout out, you know, scott least the modern VP sales playbook. I thought that book was really good, like super quick read. I...

...suggest every single person take a look at that and honestly without saying like the subtle art of not giving an f like you 100% read that. I know you you definitely read that like dude you just read that kind of book where it's like self help toxicity is real and like I think a lot of the times like us and sales like we're always looking to self improve and like got to actually like not always look to try and improve but I just accept like your flaws, like you are a flawed human being, your weaknesses or what actually makes you who you are not always your strength. And so I'm reading that one again for the third time right now and I'm really enjoying it. So that would be those are like my two books that in the last month or two I read also, what was it? It was the I'm blanking on it now, sales acceleration formula, that one, I just always check in one more time before kind of rolling out something. So those are those are the three. What do you got man? I'm just going to say that the subtle art have not given a I think I can say fuck on this podcast. Hopefully Sam Jacobs doesn't yell at me um is great and I think to your point sometimes you have to learn to it's important to give a fuck, but it's also important to kind of skew the other way into your point, understand what your weaknesses are, what is really important to care about. Maybe some things that aren't also and kind of give yourself a break and and be able to relax. So yeah, those are both good on me. What do I got? What do I got? All right. I got to that I'm reading right now. I wouldn't say these are my, my favorite ever. But one is a productivity book by Michael. Hi, it free to focus. It's kind of like do more and less time. I've enjoyed it. And then the other one is not business related at all. It's a Judd Apatow wrote a book. I just love comedians and it's his conversation with just a ton, dozens and dozens of comedians, like the best ones ever. And I think they're just hilarious and also offer some pretty interesting insights into their creative process. So it's called sick in the Head. So he went to brilliant,...

...amazing. You look at the resume right there like that is a person that is just a brilliant human and like I hate to do this. But like I think sales people can take a book or page out of like a comedian's playbook totally like we, I can't directly correlated at the moment, but like if you look at how a lot of deals get done, it's like, it's just you being able to relate and have a sense of humor about the fact that you're selling a product sometimes to and like prospects vibe with it. They get along well with people that sell in that type of format. Like you don't always have to just be so like ones and zeros so do just uptown man. Like, like I just gets it, check them out, check them out marzo. I'm gonna let you enjoy, you know, the yacht in Miami or wherever you are right now. Uh where's the best place for people to connect with? You? Definitely linked in. But I've been just tripling down to on slack for Pavilion, man. Like, I don't know why people aren't doing. Maybe they are. And I'm just now finding out about it, but like, I'm just trying to crush slack on Pavilion getting involved in those channels. But if you're connecting and stuff like that lengthen, cool, you mean just like getting involved in threads and just like putting your two cents in. Well, the channels. Yeah. So like I I co lead the sales management channel, but like, I'll just like ping people on slack and 95% of the time people are like, yeah, like let's just jump on a call. So like, I've been obsessed with people that have reached out to me. I'm reaching out on that platform because I think people are like weird about like, oh and my my deeming them and it's just an evasive move. And I'm like, I don't think it's uh those two. I love it. I'm gonna let you jump. I appreciate your time as always. Let's see man, keep it easy out there. All right, well, thanks for checking out that episode of the podcast again. You can hit me up on linkedin. I'm tom Alamo work over at dawn Tommy Tahoe on twitter and instagram joint pavilion dot com. If you're interested in joining our community and let's give one more shout...

...out to our sponsor. This episode was brought to you by drift. The new way businesses by from businesses. You can learn more. We get the conversation started at drift dot com Until next week. Let's get after it peace. Say something. Mhm.

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