The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 2 months 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 thePavilion podcast. I'm your host, Brandon martin. You're listening toThis is a good time. The show where I put Pavilion members on the hot seatfor 15 minutes. We hear their incredible stories. It's fun. We reallyshows Tuesdays and thursday. So hit subscribe. So you don't miss hearingfrom 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. Shewent to the dark side of the sea. It's a lot of fun conversation. This episodewas brought to you by drift. More than 50,000 businesses use drift to growrevenue and increase customer lifetime value faster drift, helps theircustomers align sales and marketing on a single platform to deliver a unifiedcustomer experience where people are free to have a conversation withbusinesses 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 tohave Melissa PGAs with us. She is the...

...newly minted Cr Oh, at core ChiefRevenue Officer melissa. I just think we're gonna have a great conversationtoday. 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 rightin. Tell us you have you went to the dark side and I can't wait to hearabout it. Tell us about cord what you're doing there and then tell us howyou got there because you went over to adventure capital and then you cameback. I took a detour to venture capital and it's been wonderful andI've got, I think a lot to share with the community that's going to benefitus all. But yeah, I'm currently the Chief revenue officer at cord cord isthe fastest headless commerce platform in the world for DDC brands where thepossibilities for customer experience are limitless and what that means isthat as a successful brand, your scaling, you start to run into all ofthese challenges around your friend and design and managing the operations andyou find that you're becoming more of a technology business than a brand andcord salts all of that for you. So I'm super excited about what the team isbuilding and it's also an incredible...

...team to be building with. So ifanyone's interested in learning about roles that cord please hit me up. Iwould love to tell you about it. We're going to do it now. We're going to doit later. So who is the target for cord? Is it smaller businesses is biggerbusinesses? Is it like brand like instagram brands that we know like issolo stove the right like like who is it? Yeah the target customer for cordRGC brands that are scaling. So I would think of digitally native brands whoare heading around that $25 million kiss and bowling branch and fashion ofit's obviously a wide range in revenue but these are all excellent customersfor court because they are all at that point in their growth where they'restarting 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 myconsumerism to D. C. Brands right? Like native only DdC brands kind of on thefood side maybe. But definitely on like...

...a friend of mine runs a company calledMaiden which just does all amazing kitchenware and they're not they're notthe best. You will. Oh my God, never top things without Maiden without amaiden. 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 BCland. Tell us about that started in the early days. I mean you have such aninteresting career. Yeah, absolutely. So I think, you know, if I reflect backon my career, it's really been about leaning into curiosity and findingreally hard problems to solve and then just kind of diving and head first andhaving a ton of fun. So I've held strategic leadership roles at a fewdifferent companies in the B two B fast space over the last more than a decadenow and as a result have been through five acquisitions, which has beenreally 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 groupsare really straddling that line between product sales and marketing, then wentto active risk and again, was doing quite a bit of pre sales and clientsuccess and product innovation. I finally got into e commerce at threecommerce. 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 Ijoined to build up that channel part of the business. So building thepartnership program on the agency side and the technical integration partnerside. And that was a really great vehicle for scaling our roster ofcustomers without having, you know, to also scale the overhead for hiring outmore sales and marketing and product teams and had a few more like reallygreat positive experiences that have been through that have ended up inacquisitions. And the common theme there has always been like you're goingto work hard, but you also have to learn how to work really smart with itin a startup, it's quite lean and...

...resources are limited and you learn tobecome very creative and scrappy about how you're thinking about growth. Andone of the things that's always been true sort of the secret sauce and allof my rules and where I've been successful is when we have a reallyhard problem to solve, we just go to the market and ask customers because ifyou'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 issubbing for your tactic, but we hear this a lot on the pod, you know, listento customers, listen to how they want to buy, listen to what their problemsare. And it's just like every smart person says this and um, you know, likeliterally cause for a second, if you're listening and just ask yourself, doesmy 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 andluck, clear the hard work that's gone into things for you. Any stories ofeither either side that or luck that have kind of gotten you and propelledyou to where you are. Yeah, absolutely. I will say if I reflect on it, I findthe harder I work, the luckier I get,...

...that's a bit of a non answer, but it isreally true. I think the reality is that at any startup, whether you're prerevenue, pre product markets that and going through the different growingpains of scaling. It's always going to be a lot of hard work. And if you'relucky enough to stay along for the ride at those different stages, it's hardwork, 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 someincredible people at the end of the day. A company's success is really about thepeople, we like to say it's about the products having a great products thatour product platform, all that garbage is really about the people and I'vebeen so fortunate to work with incredibly kind, like brilliant smartpeople and that is what always gotten the company through any tough pointthat 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 meanevery single startup, but maybe the one that's been toughest was actually whenI was at death agency and that was really tough because they actuallyweren'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 sortof points along the tech stack as well as advising brands, but wanted tounderstand the agency perspective. So the team of consultants that areresponsible for piecing all of these things together, and I've taken on therole of being their head of revenue and they were bootstraps, they weren'tventure funded because the services business and as with consultingbusiness is your revenue is really lumpy. And my frame of reference hasalways been software and you've got recurring revenue and things werepretty smooth and it's a lot easier to manage cash flow in that way. And so Ithink reorienting the sales process and sort of re jiggering like even how wethought about finance and cash flow,...

...that was really tough and luckily wesucceeded and through launching maintenance contracts right, which forme was the equivalent of a subscription software, I was like oh they're goingto pay us the same amount every month and that's going to be the base thatwe're going to use to reinvest in the business and to hire into scale. Sothat was really hard transforming that business model. But it was stillrewarding, love it, love it. And and there's one other thing that's on yourresume that I don't know, you know, maybe not everyone knows about you butI just it's I think it speaks volumes about you. You have been an instructorwith M. I. T. I mean they don't invite non geniuses to come up and talk to toteach. They're geniuses. What is that like? I always say at some pointthey're going to find out that I'm not a genius and really mean. No I thehumbleness comes through, she's humble and intelligence. So uh yeah I lied toseminars as part of MIT Enterprise forum and it's really a program throughtheir business center where there...

...helping equip startup and otherstudents sort of MIT network with the skills that they need to launch thebusiness. So traditionally um it is known as having a really strongfoundation for people who want to build the product, but then when you want toscale and bring your products to market, how do they build those skills? And sotwo of the sessions that I lead our around value proposition and yourcompetitive position and I really lead the session through the lens of casestudies for these experiences that I've had coming up with the valueproposition. And quite frankly, I think what's most helpful for the group isthat I have a lot of there are a lot of opportunities where I can talk aboutfailure and having to turn that failure around. It was like we had a value propand it didn't resonate and it was garbage and it was so garbage that wedidn't sell anything and we have to figure it out to turn it around andsave the business. And then competitive position as well. I think it'sunderstanding that as a business, it's such a humbling experience because inorder to do it well you have to acknowledge that you're not good ateverything, but that really gives you and your team focused, you know, whereyou win and where you just don't want...

...to compete. And so those are twosessions that I lied and they're fun and they're filled with case studiesand we workshop with the students and their startups to help them come upwith those very things for their businesses. And again, I I love toshare my experiences I think are rising tide raises all ships. So I wanteveryone to be successful so I can turn around and say like look at all theseincredibly successful people that I'm, you know, surrounded by who are sosmart 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 thosestudents 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 bedoing a no brainer tactics for sales teams, for marketing teams. When youhave your target customer with everyone obviously come up with a customerpersona and your person, your present is literally find that person who'sdying from you. It's not an industry or a company or brand is a person. The wayto figure out their priorities that they give to us for free. It's publiclyavailable is look at companies, job...

...boards, Job boards will tell you whattheir goals are and what their pain points. You are hiring to solve herproblems in your business. And when you think about getting smart on a customerunderstanding, if your marketing is going to land, it's such a great wealthof knowledge and insight into the business probably more so than you'regoing to get off of a pointed discovery call. I love that. I think job boardjob boards literally, especially for evolving companies um like in therestaurant industry right now there is, you know, if you wanted to know who isgetting involved in virtual brands and ghost kitchens, look there are liketraditional 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 youlook in the right place, I love that piece of advice. Alright, what are youhiring 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 andso we're hiring across all fronts. I mean definitely incredible sales peoplewho want to build the future of...

...commerce, customer success managers whowant to help some of our incredible brands be successful partnershipmanagers, you know who are really interested in how we fit into a verythriving e commerce ecosystem and are really interested in how they cantransform channel and make that impactful and then of courseengineering and products and data. So I think the short answer is we're hiringon all fronts, it's an incredible crew and if anyone would like to learn moreabout quarter what we're building and what it would be like to be a part ofthe 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 andcomers who you're like, this person is going to be a rock star. Yeah, so oneof the people that I get a ton of inspiration from is actually like Isaid, we hire really amazing people at court. So it's our new incoming seniormarketing manager, Tony Akinwale me, she is a incredible, she is sobrilliant and incredible marketer on...

...all fronts from content to events tolegion. She's also an entrepreneur. She has a really great candle brand, themost beautiful products and also now understand the customer from both endsbecause in a lot of ways she is our customers. She's also an advocate forwomen in technology, she's a public speaker and just one of the best peopleI've met and so, so wonderful that we had to hire her but definitely shatterout and that if you want to sort of get more info on what she's building, youcan absolutely follow her at underscore truly Tony and Tony with an eye. Youcan tell her I sent you and wait what platform on twitter following two. Beautiful. I mean hecould be on the grams could be okay. Great. Okay. Last question. Mostimportant question. By far all the sales stuff. Great. It doesn't meananything if we can't have wonderful...

...celebratory meals, where should I beeating? So the last place I want to eat that was that truly stood out to me wasthe Iberian pig. It's an incredible place for tapas right here in Buckheadin Atlanta where I'm located. So highly recommend. It's a great place tocelebrate, Get together with friends and the food is amazing. Love it.Anything specific like traditional tapas, like uh you know, uh yeah, theyhave a prophecy, all of that. Really good. Honestly, my favorite on the menuis 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 thisworld. A martini, something it's not necessarily know because my favoritething and my favorite thing in every spanish restaurant is drinking sherryand eating hormone America, which literally they just buy it cut like notalent, the hormone Americo around the blue cheese stuffed olives. It is likea 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 meanthey're getting all these restaurants. Yeah, there are a lot of great placesand people come on over, we'll go explore. Love it melissa! Thank you somuch for being here. Honestly, you're like a jolt of energy. I love it. I'mso 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 beensuch 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 ifI send it to some friends, make sure you smash that subscribe button. Do allthe things. Please reminder. This episode was brought to buy drift. Thenew way businesses. Five from businesses, You can learn more. Get theconversation 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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