The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 4 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 iswhere we break down the tips, the tricks the tactics that revenue leadersneed to be successful in the modern age. Excited to be here with you. I'm pumpedabout 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 tobootstrap 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, agreat 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 youby drift. More than 50,000 businesses use drift to grow revenue, increasecustomer lifetime value faster drift, helps their customers aligned sales andmarketing on a single platform to deliver a unified customer experiencewhere people are free to have a conversation with the business at anytime on their terms, learn more at drift dot com. One last note, you canconnect with me on linkedin. I'm tom Alamo. I work over at dong, I'm TommyTahoe on twitter and instagram and I run my own podcast focus for youngsalespeople called millennial sales. Now. Without further ado, let's getstraight into my conversation with brian Marzo. Alright brian marzo comingat us down in Miami this week. How are you men to? Well, tom how aboutyourself in? I am, I'm doing great, doing great, excited to uh to chat withyou. You got a little team, team outing, team event going on down there. Itsounds like we do. We do, yeah, we uh, we have an event going on for the nextcouple of days starting this sunday and we thought what better time to meetmost 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 coolactivities that we got going on. A lot of people meeting each other for thefirst time, which we're looking forward to. And then we got about half thecompany sticking back and actually executing the event. I wish I was partof the team that was just actually here for the fun, but I'll be here the wholething. So it's uh, for the next couple days, what percentage of your team haveyou actually met in person at this point before this weekend? So I wouldsay 70%. We scaled a lot last year or two When I joined the company, I wasemployee number 10 were 42 now at this point, so I know a lot of the peoplethat have been here from the ground up, right. But we did hire a lot of peopleover the last in Covid, which is awesome as an events company to be ableto say that we did that. But yeah, I'd say there's about a dozen people who, Ihaven't met that On my team. There's three and then across the otherdepartments, there's about 10. So it should be, should be nice getting thechance to meet them. But also like, I just want them to meet each other. Likeanyone who's been hired remote. That's what I feel for, right? Like they justdon't even know their other colleagues that were hired remote. So I'm excitedto see them all meet each other. We had our first team dinner, my sales team onthe 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 thepeople that haven't met their, their fellow employees, it's a, it's a, thatwas like the best thing that happened all the first half of the yearprofessionally 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 thinkthis 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 knowwho they really, right. That's The tough thing is because I'mnot the tallest guy. I'm like 5 9 and...

...everyone on my team apparently is agiant. Everyone is six ft. There's like, Even the women are like six ft tall, soI'm like clearly the shortest person in the room, which I did not expect. I'mwith 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. Solet'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'rerunning one for the business on Sunday. So like, and you've been hiringthroughout the pandemic. So just from like a macro perspective, like whereare we right now in the event landscape and like where is this going, are wegoing to get back to normal is going to be bigger than ever? Is it gonna bedifferent? What's it look like? It's crazy man. It's so across the boardthere's three different groups right? There's the groups that are, couldn'tbe more excited to get back into events and they are, they are fully ready toget on planes, right? Like that's kind of the most common people you speak tofall in that category. I'm surprised about the number of people that arestill though in that year to where it's like, do they want to really get backto in person because they don't know if there's value to in person, they'vebeen 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, likeyou're still just meeting people for the first time in gang. There's a lotof companies were not like itching to get back and have people interact withone another. And then there's, the companies were like, no, we'redefinitely not doing anything along those lines. Macro though. I'd sayevents are back in the most intimate style though. So what at least mycompany 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'mnot sure people are ready for for a lot...

...of reasons. But I think at the end ofthe day man, people want to be back at events in person for the same reasonthat you just talked about like just getting a chance to meet one anotherfor the first time. So we're in a good spot events in general. I think, Ithink Covid aside, I feel like people were maybe starting to just hit thepoint of like the dream forces of the world like those even worth it. Youknow, you see 10,000 people there and you don't make any connections versusat 100% event Again, Covid aside, you just are able to make deeperconnections with people or with customers and really have betterconversations and it's more tailored to everyone versus is just being like itsown city as an event. It's that's never worked. Yeah. How many of those haveyou 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 withthese like smaller type of events like you do actually get great relationshipsand then those continue to foster and so I think anyone that does events oris looking at doing events like it's got to be tailored towards a a veryspecific niche. Right? So like if you're gonna do something through likeR. C. Can you do some our city pavilion, can you do anything that's gearedtowards like okay senior leadership people for you know within new yorkcity and then you know from where you're at out in California like youwant to go to those because there's just like you want to come away andactually be able to rely on people afterwards. So I think micro events inlike those types of smaller ones are 100% in and 100% going to be whereeveryone is going to be leaning towards in the future I hope. I mean hopefullydo you got anything planned for yourself personally like within gang,anything along those lines we're starting to open it up a little bitlike not quite sure on like actually getting back into the office but we'vegot some team events that are starting to bubble up this quarter right? We wegot like a team like multi department...

...event um with sales and customersuccess it's like later this month and maybe a team offsite or somethinghappening in august so it is it is starting to come back just in generalman, I miss just being on the road and meeting with customers and you knowdoing all that stuff so I'm excited for it to get back to somewhat normal andlike 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 sittingon the bench. So like the events that you're doing right now, you're gettingjust a taste like phenomenal service, everything is really kind of just goingsuper, super smooth. Can't speak for airlines, but like, I think that wouldget 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 isbehind it is just, it's next level from what I've even experienced prior to thepandemic, Let's talk about the sales, the summer sales slump. We're in midjuly chatting post fourth of july. It's hot. You were just on the road in theWest Coast or it's like 115 degrees. What do you see like one? Are you, areyou seeing that this year? My anticipation is that It happens everyyear in most businesses and I think it's gonna be worse this year becausepeople have been cooped up from COVID for 18 months and like might be takenlonger vacations, it might be saying effort and you know, their company eventake six months off. Like that's what I'm expecting is it's going to be evenmore challenging than usual. I couldn't agree more. I think the thing withsummer sales slumps as well as that. Like we almost try and fight it. Dataalways says that there is less meetings being had meetings being kept likethere's just clear year over your data and then like we get there and we'relike okay what do we got to throw it then? Like you know the team to getthem going and make sure that we could...

...come out of this. Like why don't weactually just understand that like a it's part of the natural process be youdon'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. Youknow for us what? At least I've been seeing. It's just that like the numberof original appointments that you get, it's down it's just it's across theboard for all the reasons that you're talking about. People are focusing onvacation. They're doing their own events. They're doing like whatever itmight be and I don't think you should make people feel bad right for being inthat that slight thing. Like hear them out if they're if they're upset abouttheir own performance is a different thing but like don't make people feelbad for kind of the natural ebb and flow, which I think it's summer salesto be quite frank. You guys are saying like at least personally, are youfeeling that is a nice I see I would say yeah, anecdotally like it's beenpretty slow. It was a crazy end to june feel any of it then I definitely feelpartially because I took the first week of july off and we had a recharge as acompany, partly the summer new quarter. All of that combined is just like it'sbeen a slow first few weeks I think they just anecdotally, I don't I don'thave any data on it. But what do you do? Like you have teams, you know reps thatare maybe committing deals for july or committing deals for the quarter Andlet'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 justlower your maybe projections as a team just knowing that this is going tohappen and you give people space. How do you handle it first? I try and justmake sure every single person. So you know, I helped manage accountexecutives sdrs and work with sales manager here as well. I understanddeals are gonna push especially like because think about very few people aremaking soul decisions themselves are looming other colleagues there hittingwith all the standard objections. But it's also very true. Like I understandif you're a VP of sales, you wanna look in your VP of marketing is on vacationfor two weeks and you can't make a...

...decision without that. Like I'm notasking my, you know, erects to do anything and like be super super pushyabout 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. Likethe best thing that you can do during the summer sales is just get laserfocused in understanding their buying process right? Like what does itactually 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 evaluateso what we've been doing and we just integrated hubspot, crazy. We'rebootstrapped companies. So like that was a big deal for us integrating theSeagram. I'm just telling people to have more closed lost opportunitieslike 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 nextsteps close boston, don't overstress we're not lowering our projections. Youjust gotta focusing much more on the accounts that are gonna be higherprobability of closing. And then when you're talking to your prospect reallyjust kind of getting laser focused about like What does it look like? Whatare your realistic timelines and if they're not realistic, totallyunderstand, enjoy your summer. I'll be back in September one. Yeah, I thinkthat's one of the hardest skills for an 80 to learn is to just kind of let adeal die right and not try to force it and not like keep the opportunity openfor 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 justgo focus your time elsewhere to maybe that's what I'm hearing from you islike 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 moreefficiently, more efficient. But I can also think about times in the pastwhere like I had everything where it...

...needs to be right. It's one of thoseones where you like, man, that's a deal, right? And whatever the reason is thatperson eventually kind of says that they can't do it because of all of theprohibiting factors that seem to, for whatever reason exists in july,primarily july and august. I think june is a little bit more lenient becauseespecially like with like school families, times like that, butliterally when you don't make the prospect feel like they're under thegun and they come back relaxed after vacation in their good mood. Typicallythey then reach out to you at the time and then that actually does close muchquicker than if you were to try and fight it. So I'm seeing that a lot forour team right now. Like pipeline definitely smaller than like maybe whatwe were looking at in like april may. But what I'm looking at in the pipelineis like really, really great opportunities and like just double downon 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 onvacation or if there's nothing worse is if you're prepped to go on vacation andI've been on the other receiving under this and like, like a sales rep is likeasking to make a quick timeline, quick decision. You're like, you don't go toDisney tomorrow. Like I'm not so I think people just need to take a littlebit, um, managers need to be more respectful to their team and I thinkteams need to understand that this is part of the process and to not put toomuch stress on themselves. Like it's your summer to enjoy it. Yeah, verytrue, Very true. All right. Last time we talked on a podcast, you hit me witha book recommendation for Green Lights by Matthew McConaughey, which wasunreal. One of the top reads that probably had so far this year. What doyou got for me this time around? Okay. So I wish I had more. That was, thatwas something I've been trying to figure out like what is my bestlearning 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 wasreally good, like super quick read. I...

...suggest every single person take a lookat that and honestly without saying like the subtle art of not giving an flike you 100% read that. I know you you definitely read that like dude you justread that kind of book where it's like self help toxicity is real and like Ithink a lot of the times like us and sales like we're always looking to selfimprove and like got to actually like not always look to try and improve butI just accept like your flaws, like you are a flawed human being, yourweaknesses 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 reallyenjoying it. So that would be those are like my two books that in the lastmonth 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 timebefore kind of rolling out something. So those are those are the three. Whatdo you got man? I'm just going to say that the subtle art have not given a Ithink I can say fuck on this podcast. Hopefully Sam Jacobs doesn't yell at meum is great and I think to your point sometimes you have to learn to it'simportant to give a fuck, but it's also important to kind of skew the other wayinto your point, understand what your weaknesses are, what is reallyimportant to care about. Maybe some things that aren't also and kind ofgive yourself a break and and be able to relax. So yeah, those are both goodon me. What do I got? What do I got? All right. I got to that I'm readingright now. I wouldn't say these are my, my favorite ever. But one is aproductivity book by Michael. Hi, it free to focus. It's kind of like domore and less time. I've enjoyed it. And then the other one is not businessrelated at all. It's a Judd Apatow wrote a book. I just love comedians andit's his conversation with just a ton, dozens and dozens of comedians, likethe best ones ever. And I think they're just hilarious and also offer somepretty interesting insights into their creative process. So it's called sickin the Head. So he went to brilliant,...

...amazing. You look at the resume rightthere like that is a person that is just a brilliant human and like I hateto do this. But like I think sales people can take a book or page out oflike a comedian's playbook totally like we, I can't directly correlated at themoment, but like if you look at how a lot of deals get done, it's like, it'sjust you being able to relate and have a sense of humor about the fact thatyou're selling a product sometimes to and like prospects vibe with it. Theyget along well with people that sell in that type of format. Like you don'talways have to just be so like ones and zeros so do just uptown man. Like, likeI 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'sthe best place for people to connect with? You? Definitely linked in. ButI've been just tripling down to on slack for Pavilion, man. Like, I don'tknow why people aren't doing. Maybe they are. And I'm just now finding outabout it, but like, I'm just trying to crush slack on Pavilion gettinginvolved in those channels. But if you're connecting and stuff like thatlengthen, cool, you mean just like getting involved in threads and justlike putting your two cents in. Well, the channels. Yeah. So like I I co leadthe sales management channel, but like, I'll just like ping people on slack and95% 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 reachingout on that platform because I think people are like weird about like, ohand my my deeming them and it's just an evasive move. And I'm like, I don'tthink it's uh those two. I love it. I'm gonna let you jump. I appreciate yourtime as always. Let's see man, keep it easy out there. All right, well, thanksfor checking out that episode of the podcast again. You can hit me up onlinkedin. I'm tom Alamo work over at dawn Tommy Tahoe on twitter andinstagram joint pavilion dot com. If you're interested in joining ourcommunity and let's give one more shout...

...out to our sponsor. This episode wasbrought to you by drift. The new way businesses by from businesses. You canlearn more. We get the conversation started at drift dot com Until nextweek. Let's get after it peace. Say something. Mhm.

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