My guess is that you do between $1M – $20M in sales annually and that you’ve built your business on grit, strength, referrals, and salesmanship. Wow, what an accomplishment! Not many people can accomplish what you have in their lifetime. Truly.
However, my other guess is that you believe marketing is a waste of money or doesn’t work. Sure, you may do some marketing here or there, but odds are high that you don’t have a marketing plan or budget in place. I completely understand that marketing is like any other industry on the planet: there are only 10% – 15% of excellent people, and finding “the excellence” is problematic. And companies that ask you to spend five figures per month without having any sort of proven marketing methodology and ROI in place are frustrating.
Here’s the problem, though: marketing, unfortunately, doesn’t work like sales, and your industry and company are changing. Fast.
Let me be extremely clear: I love “salespeople CEOs.” What do I mean by that? You know what I mean. 😁 You’re a salesperson CEO. You are in sales! You see the world as 0’s and 1’s, on or off, revenue or no revenue.
I’m built precisely like you. I was in Enterprise sales for the largest companies on the planet, selling to the largest companies on the planet. I’ve been in the trenches. I’ve been where you’re at. I’ve been up at 3 AM pacing. I’ve carried multi-million dollar quotes. I know what it’s like to spend $50,000 on a website only to have the design agency ask me for my “content.”
Me to the design agency: “Say what?!” 🤯
I’ve been there.
Here’s the deal, though:
When you are trying to hire younger folks to take over your business so you can do other things (and eventually retire) or employ other sales reps to bring more revenue in, marketing and branding immediately become real. Really real.
Why? Because within a moment’s notice, you immediately understand that the best talent, the A players, intuitively are on the lookout for the best companies to work for. And the best companies have a great brand, a great story, and an actual marketing plan.
How can you go from “marketing sucks” to “omg, please update my website” at a moment’s notice? Because you are the actual salesperson, you’re trying to hire. You’re the A player. If you were on the job market (puh-lease, Danny, as if), you would only want to sell for a company that had their shit together. You wouldn’t sell for a company that had a 30-year-old website. Why is that?
Because a 30-year-old website would tell you, the A player salesperson, that the CEO doesn’t care. That the CEO is burnt out. That the company is dying. That there is a better, sexier company down the street to go work for and sell to.
“That company would look a lot better on my resume,” the great-looking, charismatic, funny, insanely talented salesperson said to themself.
Whoops, didn’t mean to go into novel mode there, but in the words of Milli Vanilli: Girl, You Know It’s True.
Suddenly you’re hurrying to update your website that looks like it was built in Microsoft Paint. You start seeing your brand through the eyes of a 25-year-old. You see the robots and the “software heavy” companies coming after you. And you immediately walk away with the realization that you’ve been delaying the branding and marketing basics that haven’t had “a clear ROI” because of your view of the world.
I can’t begin to tell you the number of companies (all of which I dearly love because, again, I am that salesperson CEO!) that I’ve had to “prove” to their heads what their hearts already know: that a website is a 24/7 salesperson. That your messaging needs to be clear. That words help people to buy. And that you need a marketing plan to grow. That you need a kick-ass brand to attract the best customers and employees.
It’s quite funny, to be honest. I had a CEO laugh along with me when I came to the realization (after we rebranded her business): “Wow, you have no marketing plan or budget.”
Her response, “Yeah, isn’t is great.”
It certainly is, until it isn’t. 😁
Do me a favor, salesperson CEO: just start with the basics. You’ve already been dreaming about it anyway. You think of colors. You think of what your brand should look like. You have moments when you know you should be blogging, teaching, and emailing customers. When you think of creating a pricing table on your website or running a small Ad.
You’ve busted your ass to build a beautiful business. And you already know that Bob Dylan is right: The Times They Are a-Changin’.
Build the brand your younger self would want to work for. And start hiring the people you need to sail off into the sunset.
You deserve it.