The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

Ep 121: Listen to Your Customers w/ Melissa Pegus

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Ep 121: Listen to Your Customers w/ Melissa Pegus

Part of the "Is This A Good Time?" series hosted by Brandon Barton. 

Hello everyone and welcome back to the Pavilion podcast. I'm your host, Brandon martin. You're listening to This is a good time. The show where I put Pavilion members on the hot seat for 15 minutes. We hear their incredible stories. It's fun. We really shows Tuesdays and thursday. So hit subscribe. So you don't miss hearing from our experts and today is a genuine expert, Melissa PGAs. She is the new C. R. O. Accord. We'll talk about that. Her decision to take on this role. She went to the dark side of the sea. It's a lot of fun conversation. This episode was brought to you by drift. More than 50,000 businesses use drift to grow revenue and increase customer lifetime value faster drift, helps their customers align sales and marketing on a single platform to deliver a unified customer experience where people are free to have a conversation with businesses at any time on their terms, learn more at drift.com. All right, let's do this episode 56. Is this a good time? Alright, I'm so excited to have Melissa PGAs with us. She is the...

...newly minted Cr Oh, at core Chief Revenue Officer melissa. I just think we're gonna have a great conversation today. Likewise, great minds, think alike. I'm so excited to be here. Brandon. Thank you for having me. Well, I'll meet no filler. We'll jump right in. Tell us you have you went to the dark side and I can't wait to hear about it. Tell us about cord what you're doing there and then tell us how you got there because you went over to adventure capital and then you came back. I took a detour to venture capital and it's been wonderful and I've got, I think a lot to share with the community that's going to benefit us all. But yeah, I'm currently the Chief revenue officer at cord cord is the fastest headless commerce platform in the world for DDC brands where the possibilities for customer experience are limitless and what that means is that as a successful brand, your scaling, you start to run into all of these challenges around your friend and design and managing the operations and you find that you're becoming more of a technology business than a brand and cord salts all of that for you. So I'm super excited about what the team is building and it's also an incredible...

...team to be building with. So if anyone's interested in learning about roles that cord please hit me up. I would love to tell you about it. We're going to do it now. We're going to do it later. So who is the target for cord? Is it smaller businesses is bigger businesses? Is it like brand like instagram brands that we know like is solo stove the right like like who is it? Yeah the target customer for cord RGC brands that are scaling. So I would think of digitally native brands who are heading around that $25 million kiss and bowling branch and fashion of it's obviously a wide range in revenue but these are all excellent customers for court because they are all at that point in their growth where they're starting to experience the challenges related to scaling and managing growth. Nice. I love it. I feel like I've switched a very large percentage of my consumerism to D. C. Brands right? Like native only DdC brands kind of on the food side maybe. But definitely on like...

...a friend of mine runs a company called Maiden which just does all amazing kitchenware and they're not they're not the best. You will. Oh my God, never top things without Maiden without a maiden. Yeah, I know I made and sponsoring the pod right now. Well, so, but you aren't always here and you, you did take this wonderful trip over to BC land. Tell us about that started in the early days. I mean you have such an interesting career. Yeah, absolutely. So I think, you know, if I reflect back on my career, it's really been about leaning into curiosity and finding really hard problems to solve and then just kind of diving and head first and having a ton of fun. So I've held strategic leadership roles at a few different companies in the B two B fast space over the last more than a decade now and as a result have been through five acquisitions, which has been really great and exciting and hindsight, but also the building up towards that. It's really the fun, but also challenging part of building a business. So I started off building and launching...

...products at Frontier Strategy groups are really straddling that line between product sales and marketing, then went to active risk and again, was doing quite a bit of pre sales and client success and product innovation. I finally got into e commerce at three commerce. It was really exciting. They were one of the largest open source e. Com projects on GIT hub and then decided to launch commercially. And I joined to build up that channel part of the business. So building the partnership program on the agency side and the technical integration partner side. And that was a really great vehicle for scaling our roster of customers without having, you know, to also scale the overhead for hiring out more sales and marketing and product teams and had a few more like really great positive experiences that have been through that have ended up in acquisitions. And the common theme there has always been like you're going to work hard, but you also have to learn how to work really smart with it in a startup, it's quite lean and...

...resources are limited and you learn to become very creative and scrappy about how you're thinking about growth. And one of the things that's always been true sort of the secret sauce and all of my rules and where I've been successful is when we have a really hard problem to solve, we just go to the market and ask customers because if you're always listening to your customers, there's no way you can fail. I love this. This is what we're going to make. You know, maybe this is subbing for your tactic, but we hear this a lot on the pod, you know, listen to customers, listen to how they want to buy, listen to what their problems are. And it's just like every smart person says this and um, you know, like literally cause for a second, if you're listening and just ask yourself, does my company do this, you need to do this immediately. Well, incredible. I mean, of course, as we always say, you know, on my pot here, it's a hard work and luck, clear the hard work that's gone into things for you. Any stories of either either side that or luck that have kind of gotten you and propelled you to where you are. Yeah, absolutely. I will say if I reflect on it, I find the harder I work, the luckier I get,...

...that's a bit of a non answer, but it is really true. I think the reality is that at any startup, whether you're pre revenue, pre product markets that and going through the different growing pains of scaling. It's always going to be a lot of hard work. And if you're lucky enough to stay along for the ride at those different stages, it's hard work, you're learning to sort of build and tear new muscles all the time. Where I've been really lucky is I've had the opportunity to work with some incredible people at the end of the day. A company's success is really about the people, we like to say it's about the products having a great products that our product platform, all that garbage is really about the people and I've been so fortunate to work with incredibly kind, like brilliant smart people and that is what always gotten the company through any tough point that helped us scale that helps us land the customer, retain a customer. And so, you know, if I think about specific example about where things have been, where there's been a lot of hard work,...

...like just going through a really, really tough period, every single startup you've been in perhaps, I mean every single startup, but maybe the one that's been toughest was actually when I was at death agency and that was really tough because they actually weren't venture funded. So rounding out my sort of master class and e commerce, if I think of my career and that way I'd had good exposure, different sort of points along the tech stack as well as advising brands, but wanted to understand the agency perspective. So the team of consultants that are responsible for piecing all of these things together, and I've taken on the role of being their head of revenue and they were bootstraps, they weren't venture funded because the services business and as with consulting business is your revenue is really lumpy. And my frame of reference has always been software and you've got recurring revenue and things were pretty smooth and it's a lot easier to manage cash flow in that way. And so I think reorienting the sales process and sort of re jiggering like even how we thought about finance and cash flow,...

...that was really tough and luckily we succeeded and through launching maintenance contracts right, which for me was the equivalent of a subscription software, I was like oh they're going to pay us the same amount every month and that's going to be the base that we're going to use to reinvest in the business and to hire into scale. So that was really hard transforming that business model. But it was still rewarding, love it, love it. And and there's one other thing that's on your resume that I don't know, you know, maybe not everyone knows about you but I just it's I think it speaks volumes about you. You have been an instructor with M. I. T. I mean they don't invite non geniuses to come up and talk to to teach. They're geniuses. What is that like? I always say at some point they're going to find out that I'm not a genius and really mean. No I the humbleness comes through, she's humble and intelligence. So uh yeah I lied to seminars as part of MIT Enterprise forum and it's really a program through their business center where there...

...helping equip startup and other students sort of MIT network with the skills that they need to launch the business. So traditionally um it is known as having a really strong foundation for people who want to build the product, but then when you want to scale and bring your products to market, how do they build those skills? And so two of the sessions that I lead our around value proposition and your competitive position and I really lead the session through the lens of case studies for these experiences that I've had coming up with the value proposition. And quite frankly, I think what's most helpful for the group is that I have a lot of there are a lot of opportunities where I can talk about failure and having to turn that failure around. It was like we had a value prop and it didn't resonate and it was garbage and it was so garbage that we didn't sell anything and we have to figure it out to turn it around and save the business. And then competitive position as well. I think it's understanding that as a business, it's such a humbling experience because in order to do it well you have to acknowledge that you're not good at everything, but that really gives you and your team focused, you know, where you win and where you just don't want...

...to compete. And so those are two sessions that I lied and they're fun and they're filled with case studies and we workshop with the students and their startups to help them come up with those very things for their businesses. And again, I I love to share my experiences I think are rising tide raises all ships. So I want everyone to be successful so I can turn around and say like look at all these incredibly successful people that I'm, you know, surrounded by who are so smart and then can take those learnings and share them with others. I love it. I love it. Well, maybe this is something you might talk to those students about. Maybe something you might advise people on your team about. Give us a tactic that you think is just like a no brainer. Everyone should be doing a no brainer tactics for sales teams, for marketing teams. When you have your target customer with everyone obviously come up with a customer persona and your person, your present is literally find that person who's dying from you. It's not an industry or a company or brand is a person. The way to figure out their priorities that they give to us for free. It's publicly available is look at companies, job...

...boards, Job boards will tell you what their goals are and what their pain points. You are hiring to solve her problems in your business. And when you think about getting smart on a customer understanding, if your marketing is going to land, it's such a great wealth of knowledge and insight into the business probably more so than you're going to get off of a pointed discovery call. I love that. I think job board job boards literally, especially for evolving companies um like in the restaurant industry right now there is, you know, if you wanted to know who is getting involved in virtual brands and ghost kitchens, look there are like traditional restaurants that are like manager of ghost kitchens. Guess what? That's really clear. You you're trying to push that message out and if you look in the right place, I love that piece of advice. Alright, what are you hiring for? Because I am sure people listening or like I want to go work. Yeah, so you know, we're building an incredible company and team at cord and so we're hiring across all fronts. I mean definitely incredible sales people who want to build the future of...

...commerce, customer success managers who want to help some of our incredible brands be successful partnership managers, you know who are really interested in how we fit into a very thriving e commerce ecosystem and are really interested in how they can transform channel and make that impactful and then of course engineering and products and data. So I think the short answer is we're hiring on all fronts, it's an incredible crew and if anyone would like to learn more about quarter what we're building and what it would be like to be a part of the team, please reach out to me as the kids say, my eyes are open, I love it. Hit up in the slack, I bet that he's going to do it. What about shoutouts? Who, who, who do you kind of get inspiration from? Or even some up and comers who you're like, this person is going to be a rock star. Yeah, so one of the people that I get a ton of inspiration from is actually like I said, we hire really amazing people at court. So it's our new incoming senior marketing manager, Tony Akinwale me, she is a incredible, she is so brilliant and incredible marketer on...

...all fronts from content to events to legion. She's also an entrepreneur. She has a really great candle brand, the most beautiful products and also now understand the customer from both ends because in a lot of ways she is our customers. She's also an advocate for women in technology, she's a public speaker and just one of the best people I've met and so, so wonderful that we had to hire her but definitely shatter out and that if you want to sort of get more info on what she's building, you can absolutely follow her at underscore truly Tony and Tony with an eye. You can tell her I sent you and wait what platform on twitter following two. Beautiful. I mean he could be on the grams could be okay. Great. Okay. Last question. Most important question. By far all the sales stuff. Great. It doesn't mean anything if we can't have wonderful...

...celebratory meals, where should I be eating? So the last place I want to eat that was that truly stood out to me was the Iberian pig. It's an incredible place for tapas right here in Buckhead in Atlanta where I'm located. So highly recommend. It's a great place to celebrate, Get together with friends and the food is amazing. Love it. Anything specific like traditional tapas, like uh you know, uh yeah, they have a prophecy, all of that. Really good. Honestly, my favorite on the menu is going to be their dirty martinis. They make an excellent dirty martini, but all the top of their great, the dirty martinis through the out of this world. A martini, something it's not necessarily know because my favorite thing and my favorite thing in every spanish restaurant is drinking sherry and eating hormone America, which literally they just buy it cut like no talent, the hormone Americo around the blue cheese stuffed olives. It is like a culinary experience. All right, we're doing this. I'm getting to Atlanta. I've been talking to a lot Atlanta...

...people lately on the pod. I mean they're getting all these restaurants. Yeah, there are a lot of great places and people come on over, we'll go explore. Love it melissa! Thank you so much for being here. Honestly, you're like a jolt of energy. I love it. I'm so excited for you in this role and I can't wait to see what you do there. It's gonna be awesome. Thank you Brandon. Thank you so much. It's been such a pleasure. All right, that is our show. Thank you so much for listening. If you love the show, please write a review in the Apple podcast, respond if I send it to some friends, make sure you smash that subscribe button. Do all the things. Please reminder. This episode was brought to buy drift. The new way businesses. Five from businesses, You can learn more. Get the conversation started at drift dot com. I had a lot of fun. Hope you did too. Now go crush your numbers, Say something. Mhm.

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