603 Mary Grothe:
Your mindset is the key to your success as an entrepreneur. Often the biggest… … difference between a business making $500,000 and one making $5,000,000 or $50m is the mindset of the founder. Yet so many entrepreneurs underestimate the importance of a healthy mindset when it comes to scaling their business.
I’m Melinda Wittstock and today on Wings of Inspired Business we meet an inspiring entrepreneur who has, in the past year, helped multiple growth companies between $5M – $20M, double their monthly recurring revenue or MRR within 10 months, resulting in an average ROI of 1,454% and an average annual revenue growth eclipsing $3.2 million.
Mary Grothe (growthee) is a former #1 MidMarket B2B Sales Rep who after selling millions and breaking multiple records, formed House of Revenue™, a Denver-based firm of fractional Revenue Leaders who currently lead the marketing, sales, customer success, and RevOps departments for 10 companies nationwide.
You’ll also want to check out Mary’s podcast, Quota Crusher. Mary will be here in a moment, and first…
Mary Grothe began working with a Fortune 1000 Payroll/HR company at age 22, in a $13/hour admin role. She quickly acquired the skills, education, and training required to advance into mid-market sales.
Mary found her sales success by listening to her clients and always solving their needs; putting their agenda before hers.
Even in times when her sales approach was the direct inverse of what corporate was enforcing, she knew in her heart what was right, leveraging emotional, intellectual, and behavioral intelligence.
Today we’re going to talk about her journey and find out why, with multiple TOP 10 finishes and millions in revenue sold, she left a sales career to pursue a journey understanding the Human Behavior Intelligence that drives high-growth sales and is now dedicating her professional career to helping companies drive growth.
Let’s put on our wings with the inspiring Mary Grothe.
Melinda Wittstock: Mary, welcome to Wings.
Mary Grothe: Happy to be here.
Melinda Wittstock: I’m excited to talk to you because you always know a salesperson is good when they talk numbers, like in your bio, helping companies double their monthly recurring revenue, boosting their ROI by more than 1,000 I love that. So what was the spark that made you really good at sales?
Mary Grothe: I think it has to do with how I was raised. And I grew up in an environment, the youngest of four, there was a 16 year span. And my family household wasn’t the greatest environment, a lot of turmoil and trouble, alcoholism, abuse, I grew up learning two skills that I believed helped shape me into a top salesperson. The one is all facets of survival: thinking on my feet, having high emotional intelligence, reading the room, being able to pivot and adjust on the fly. I learned how to shift what I wanted to say or how I wanted to say something to get a better outcome for the situation.
And I think that skill, everything related to being able to think on my feet, those survival skills were exceptionally important. The other piece is I was highly competitive as the youngest child, and that’s a common trend. I didn’t like that I was younger, smaller, less advanced, I wanted to be able to do the things that my older sisters 12 and 16 years ahead of me, were doing.
And I was highly competitive in this spirit that even though I was young, I was the baby of the family. I could do it just as good as anyone else. And both of those traits quickly helped me excel in a sales career, even though that sales career started when I was 24, after two years as a sales admin, sort of supporting the sales team, but no college degree, no professional experience, never sold anything. Just those two traits alone helped to propel me in my sales career.
Melinda Wittstock: It’s interesting listening to you describe your childhood being the youngest. Are we sisters? Because I had such a similar thing, alcoholism in my family, a lot of crazy stuff. And for whatever reason, at age six, I found myself going door to door asking for prepayment for my show. I don’t know why I felt compelled to do that. But I think that kind of background can go both ways. It can either sap someone’s confidence and make them really bad at sales or spur them on like it certainly did you and me as well. When did you first become conscious that was the thing that made you a good salesperson?
Mary Grothe: It was a great sales coach and mentor that happened to be my first level sales manager. And not everyone is that fortunate when they’re starting in a sales career to have an insanely talented sales manager. He was so invested in me and helped me understand what it was that I was bringing to the table that was allowing such quick success.
I still didn’t understand when I was young, everything that he was talking about. Looking back I have a much stronger ability to see what he was saying, to understand what he was saying. Early on, I had such a great fear. I remember, I fought for the promotion. When I started as an admin, I really had nothing going for me except someone believing in me.
And I put everything I could into two years as an admin to earn that spot on the team. I fought so hard to prove that I could do it. I won the opportunity. And I had two weeks of corporate sales training when I came back. I’m sitting in Denver, Colorado at my cubicle desk, in front of a computer screen and a phone and realized, I just fought to earn this and I did and now I’m scared to death. I have to pick up the phone. I actually have to do sales and I was panicking at that moment. I went to him and said, “Did I make a mistake? Can I really do this? Am I good enough?” And he said, “The block that you have is because you’re afraid to disappoint anyone.”
And he knew this because I had worked for him for two years. And he said, “You have a fear of disappointment. You have a fear of letting people down.” He said, “That’s what I believe fuels you in your work.” And he said, “Transfer that to serving and working for these prospects, these clients that don’t know yet what value you can bring them. Work hard to not disappoint them, to bring them a solution, to solve their problems.” And the way that he helped connect the dots for me was he told me to go call 10 of our clients and ask them why they chose the company, the product, the service, to ask why they retain as a customer, even though the competition is knocking on their door, and third, to ask them about the biggest gain or ROI as part of being our client.
What he was attempting to do in that homework assignment was shift my belief system so I could acknowledge that the product and service that I was representing as a salesperson was of extreme value to the people that I was calling. And he knew, based on my DNA, and my MO and how I was as a young professional, that if I was able to believe that I wasn’t going to let them down, that I was going to be a value in their life, and then my product, my service wouldn’t disappoint them. If they said yes to me, it was a shift.
And so I did. I gained the confidence, I changed and created a new belief system. And from that point, sales was not difficult for me and I hit the ground running quickly. But I believe a lot of people who get stuck in those early stages of sales are, gosh, even later in your career as an entrepreneur, when you realize, “Well, there’s a huge component of being an executive, a CEO, a founder, I actually have to sell.” And if that’s not natural, it’s typically a belief system or block, because we’re so fearful of not conveying the right message, and unfortunately, potentially letting someone down or disappointing them.
Melinda Wittstock: I think Mary, when you said when you really understood the value you were providing, the value of the product or the service and it changed the whole mindset there where some people go into sales, many people, thinking they are persuading somebody to do something for them, when you’re assisting them to a product or service that’s going to improve their life, assuming the product or service is good.
The salesperson is actually doing a very good thing, not taking something away from somebody. That mindset shift, when you’re working with people in House of Revenue, and you’re working with CEOs, and you’re seeing this, is that the main thing that holds a lot of women back?
Mary Grothe: It is, and it holds men back too, being fully transparent on that. The CEOs that we work with, we’re about split 50/50 with men and women CEOs, and they both share the same trait. But there’s a difference that I’ll explain. One, mental mindset is everything. Our tagline is for CEOs ready to scale, not who want to scale. Do you know a lot of people want to grow their business or scale their company? That’s fine, wanting is different than being ready to.
And the first component of being ready is your mental mindset. And there are a lot of blocks and belief systems that we have. So typically, with women, we don’t want to say yes to something unless we have a very clear pathway and rhyme rule and reason, and trajectory, and proof on how that’s going to happen. And we have to believe that we are the one to do it and that we are confident, and we have everything we need before we ever embark on it.
I heard once that when a woman applies for a job versus when a man applies for a job, a man will see a job description, let’s say there’s 10 bullet points of requirements or qualifications, or specifications for the role. They look at it, maybe they only are proficient in six out of 10. And they say, “Man, they’d be lucky to have me I’ll figure out the other ones. But at least I can nail those six.” They apply for the role. They have all the confidence.
A woman can read that same description and if she doesn’t feel she’s confident and proficient in 10 out of 10 she won’t even apply, let alone believe that that corporation would be lucky to have her. I have an opportunity as a CEO of this company. We have about 15 team members right now. In conducting interviews, I see this happen every single time I’m interviewing, I have a male perspective and a female perspective and the way that they read the job description and the females consistently, 100% of the time, have second guesses. There’s hesitancy, they read by line item, they asked me questions, they’re not sure if they’re right for the role.
I don’t even know typically, if the man’s reading the full job description, they see the title and they’re looking at the summary of what this is, they are like, “I’d be great in this role, hire me.” And then they go into persuasion of why they’re great for it, whether they possess the skills or not, in line item detail. Transferring that into how you go to scale your company, we see similarities in that, that unless there’s this proven pathway, a lot of people will have fear into doing it but especially on the female side. We find that unless there is black and white clear trajectory, proven pathway, and a belief system and confidence wrapped around it, we notice that there’s a greater hesitancy to saying yes to the plan and making it happen.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, and I always say that if you want to have personal growth in your life, or go on a conscious journey- to simply become an entrepreneur, because it will throw stuff at you that you have to overcome to succeed, and almost everything is an inner mind game.
I see a lot of female entrepreneurs doing things like underpricing their products and services, or over delivering or not even sending the invoice and not actually asking for the sales call.
Mary Grothe: It’s all very common. And there is a confidence issue with that, that stems from the belief system of being certain that you’re providing value and solving a problem. I have had two stints as an entrepreneur. The first time was when I was 27 years old for three years. The second time is in this current journey. I’m three and a half years in and I started that journey. Gosh, I think it was 33 or 34 years old.
And I, the first time around completely underpriced, I got pushed around in every contract deal. So even though I was underpriced to begin with, I couldn’t stand my ground in negotiation. And I often over delivered, okay, every time I over delivered, let’s just be honest here. And I struggled with accepting payment on time or chasing down that payment and holding people to terms in the contract.
And this is someone who just came off of a five-year sales career as the number one salesperson in the mid market. And I negotiated with big-name companies and CFOs. But I was negotiating on behalf of my company and I had greater belief in the product or the service my company was providing at the time that I was representing when I was a salesperson. As soon as it was my company and my services, all of a sudden my beliefs and confidence plummeted. And here I am.
Melinda Wittstock: I think that’s really common because we undervalue the thing that we ourselves have created. And it’s such a tragedy because most entrepreneurs are inherently creating something new to solve a specific problem. It’s why we start businesses often because we see a gap in the market or we have a problem that we’re experiencing ourselves that we look around, but there’s no solution for.
I see so many women creating great companies with obvious value and yet there is that gap in terms of selling our own thing. Is it something deeper or in addition to maybe not valuing ourselves to value our products enough? Or is it just fear of rejection? I mean, what are some of the things that come into play?
Mary Grothe: I believe it’s a full mindset that is shifted to scarcity and fear. When I started House of Revenue, we started operating under the name Sales BQ, we rebranded in three years into our journey. But under the initial time as Sales BQ, I had pressure upon me. I was coming off of a sales career, I was making a significant amount of money, I was the breadwinner for my household. I had a young son. And I said to my husband, “Just trust me.” Well, there was so much pressure with taking my income from exceptionally high to zero.
Having the faith to start that journey, and because of the scarcity mindset that I was in initially, on the second time of starting a company you thought I would have learned after the first round, but I had scarcity. I thought, “I’ll just take anyone willing to pay me anything to be a client so that I can replace my income as quickly as possible. So I can be made whole, be this contributor to my family.”
And so I was in this mindset of, “I just need just enough to get by, I’ll take anything I can get just to cover the initial expense, I’ll worry about profit and growth and scaling down the road. Let me just get just enough.” Well, just enough is not a great mindset when you’re looking at building a strong, bold, powerful, profitable business, you need to be in an abundance mindset.
But it was difficult for me to be there. I was playing to minimums. And when I was playing to minimums, I yielded. Guess what? Minimums, the seeds that I was planting. So when you think about your thoughts, words and actions in that order. Thoughts, the stories we’re creating in our heads, the words, the words that come out of our mouths that are stemming from those thoughts, and the actions that ensue after that, because of the belief system we’ve created internally. Those seeds that you’re planting thoughts, words, and actions are the seeds you’re putting into the ground and the harvest that you will reap come solely from the seeds.
And so it was a mind check for me to say, “What am I believing about what I’m doing as an entrepreneur the second time around and what I’m building because I’m yielding fruit from a scarcity mindset.” And the biggest shift for me, six months in when I looked at my family, is I was working 100 hours a week.
Melinda Wittstock: Wow.
Mary Grothe: I was exhausted and I was yielding just enough money to say I was doing something and could potentially consider hiring my first employee. But I realized my model was broken. And I said, “I can’t continue this, I can’t do this, something has to change.” And in me, as a Christian woman, I started to tap into some of the beliefs around abundance, and the provision, and that if I’m aligned and doing good work, that will be rewarded.
And when I shifted my mindset to think what we’re doing is actually really great work. And we are yielding great outcomes and somebody should be lucky to have us and I shifted that mindset into abundance in the same way that I did early in my sales career. And all of a sudden, the floodgates opened, and we quickly accelerated on our path of scale and profitability.
Melinda Wittstock: What a beautiful story. I think women really struggle with this scarcity mindset a great deal. Well, society as a whole does, right? Because we’re brought up with all these money stories, that if you have a lot of money, you must be greedy or bad somehow, or this idea that money doesn’t grow on trees, or we witnessed our parents arguing about money, we think it’s somehow bad.
So there’s all this embedded subconscious stuff. And then you add to it for women, the fact that women were in a position in the workplace where there weren’t a lot of opportunities, and a lot of glass ceilings to overcome. It used to be that women competed only with other women for the few scarce positions that there were. So much of that is obviously changing and changing quickly.
But there’s still this, I don’t know, it’s almost like a scarcity hangover. But what are some of the things that you do at House of Revenue to help all the CEOs you’re working with actually shift that mindset? What are the kind of aha things that get them out of scarcity into sufficiency and beyond into abundance?
Mary Grothe: We break out our process into digestible pieces that help them along their path and journey to becoming that CEO who’s ready to scale and acknowledging what it takes. We found that the scale is the elephant and the only way to eat the elephant is one bite at a time. So when you take the concept of scaling your company and the difference between growth and scale, just as a quick definition, you’re looking at year over year growth. Maybe it’s 10 or 20%. And typically in a growth model, your expenses rise at the same rate as your revenue and with that your profitability typically stays the same. So as your revenue increases, it’s usually a model where you have stair-step growth. So it’s every time you want to obtain another 250 grand, all you have to do is hire another one of these people, another one of these people and take out a software license here, and so they grow in tandem.
Scale is when you’re looking at potentially hockey stick type growth, where you’re saying, “I want to scale my revenue independent of expenses. And I want to increase that profitability. So I’m looking at this rapid pace of scale, where it’s growing independent of what the expenses are in two different concepts.” So the first thing that we have to define is the why. Why do you want to grow? Why do you want to scale? What’s in it for you, as the CEO? Because if you can get in tune with the why in that future vision, then we can create the pathway. So that’s step number one. Why are we even here? Why do you have a desire or a passion to be a bigger size than you are today? And as soon as we can tap into the emotional connection of the why, let’s figure it out. The next thing that we do is we divide the conversation into three sections; people, data, and process.
If we’re talking about… So typically, we work with second stage companies. So they’ve already hit one or 2 million in revenue, they’re looking for that scale, maybe to 20 million, maybe smaller, 10,15, 20 million. But in that conversation, they typically already have a small team. And they’ve been doing things a “particular way” that got them to that point. What we often uncover is that the people and the way that they’ve done things to that point, are not the people and the way that they’re going to do things to get to the next level.
Melinda Wittstock: Till they get to it and that’s absolutely true. So I’m on business five, several others have grown to seven and eight-figure success, there’s a huge gap between getting from a million to three in my experience, and then a huge one between who you’re being at, say 3 million and who you’re being at 10 million, and beyond. It requires completely different things and different team members, all of it. So I completely understand what you’re saying.
Mary Grothe: We’re currently in that moment of scale. And it’s very interesting because in my fourth year, second stint, fourth year entrepreneur, our firm closed out our third year at 2.2 million.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s wonderful.
Mary Grothe: Thank you. We’re technically a professional services firm, we don’t have a product that we sell, it’s all service based. As we look into this current year, in our trajectory, we set a goal of 2.8, we finally built a pathway on our own. We… get this, we decided to do the work that we do for our clients on our own company. Well, what a concept!
Melinda Wittstock: What a concept, yes.
Mary Grothe: We built the pathway to 4.1 million. It’s a beautiful model. It’s the first model I’ve ever believed in for our own company. And it was a breakthrough for me. So I am speaking from experience and speaking to these terms, as well as what we do for our clients. I had the exact same blocks and fears and belief systems holding me back that most often our clients do. And one of the biggest pieces, well, there are two. One, the people, the way the model is built and the roles and responsibilities that I have the model that we go to market with, it works at two and a half million in revenue. I can clearly see the model but with the team, and they were giving me feedback about what we should be doing in the future so we can have economies of scale within our own work, and that requires hiring more team members and building more pods and building out, honestly increasing expenses in our ability to deliver on the same work. But the team was attempting to get me to see that if we increase expenses to deliver the same work, we can actually take on more work, therefore we can achieve the same level of profitability.
It was a huge breakthrough for us to see and I had to see it in order to even be nearly close to the mental mindset of I, myself as a CEO, am ready to scale. So such great validation for the work that we do for our clients to realize that that concept is real. And without that first, you really can’t do much else after that.
Melinda Wittstock: It’s so interesting that we often teach the things that we ourselves are learning, and we learn through the teaching as much as the receiving. Thank you for your transparency in talking through this.
Melinda Wittstock: Instead of hiring people to do things, and thinking of hiring as an expense, the big shift for me in terms of scaling was hiring people as an investment and what was the return. What were we hiring them to create by way of creating assets, creating growth, creating revenue, creating, hopefully profitable revenue. And it changed everything about the way, how we structure pay in the company and how we do incentive pay, how people are really focused on the results, not just on the doing. How does that work in your company in terms of how you get people aligned towards the model, the mission and whatnot, and in terms of the way you approach hiring in your own company?
Mary Grothe: We had to make big shifts in this department, I will be fully honest with you right now that I did not have this right in the first two years of this company, I didn’t understand how to attract the right talent, I didn’t understand the thought that you should hire people smarter, more brilliant, more talented than you in areas that maybe you aren’t very strong. I didn’t understand that even as a small business owner, without the right benefits and comp package, I was always going to be up in a battle with trying to attract and retain great talent. When I got that right, the floodgates opened for talent. And here’s what we did.
The first shift that we made was figuring out exactly what you just said. And it is another shift from scarcity to abundance. In a scarcity mindset, I look at how much my people cost, and I’m worried about the expense. In an abundance mindset, I view them as an investment. And I don’t look at an annual expense of an employee. I say if I can make a $12,000 investment monthly into the salary and comp package of a top performer, what value can they bring? How can they impact our top line revenue? If I’m investing 12K here in a specific type of person-
Melinda Wittstock: Exactly. Those people are bringing revenue into your company. But so what you just described, I think, you’re not alone. I don’t know an entrepreneur who hasn’t had to go through that transformation, mentally, emotionally, or whatever, in terms of learning that the hard way to get to scale, it’s almost like everybody walks through that kind of particular refiners fire, I think.
Mary Grothe: Yes, and we then coupled it with benefits, and not just like great health insurance. So we added health insurance, a 401k with a 4% match. We move to an unlimited PTO policy plan, work from anywhere. I had-
Melinda Wittstock: We’re the same, we did all the same things. Yeah.
Mary Grothe: I love it.
Melinda Wittstock: I’m at the place where we’re sisters, okay.
Mary Grothe: And the big shift, you’d asked about aligning with the mission and the vision, well, we changed our core values. And our core values now are to love ourselves, first, take care of ourselves, invest in ourselves, be right for ourselves, so we could be good for others. And that means taking the time off, unplugging, uncharging, learning, plugging into good sources of life, vacationing, doing our hobbies, then we can be great for others. But we are great for our team members next. So the next is to serve each other. So within our team, we have a serve-first mentality for ourselves, serve our team second. We acknowledge that if a team member ever raises their hand and asks for anything, that we need to say yes to that person and help them pass that block because we’re creating a culture where it’s okay to raise your hand as they helped me through this because typically, then we can troubleshoot solve problems quicker, faster and with more brains than one which produces great outcomes.
And the third is to then serve our clients in a way where we actually love our clients and we freely use The L word in our company. And if we can emotionally connect to the heartstrings, visions, and the inner core human aspect of our CEO, then we unlock the potential when we earn that relationship and that trust at a very intimate level. What we can do then in scaling their company, that’s where we started to see our results soar. So we had to get that right. So it was about protecting the right talent with the right comp and the right abundance mentality and looking at investment rather than the right comp packages, investing in ourselves, serving others and then serving our clients.
Melinda Wittstock: I love that. That’s beautiful. And then that’s something that you pay for it, I imagine, to all your clients. So they’re learning from you, not just by what you say but what you do.
Mary Grothe: One of the biggest lessons I have learned in that is doing right by others, and producing something great is never a bad approach. If you can… I have read a quote recently that said that people don’t value you based on how hard you work, they value on how hard you are to replace. And so yes, getting this right, whether it was internal or external had a huge shift for us.
Melinda Wittstock: Right, that’s really interesting and worth repeating, judging you by how hard you are to replace because the single biggest cost and problem for any company is not only attracting great talent, but retaining them. And this speaks to the company culture that you’ve been talking about, in terms of investing in yourself, investing in the team, really enabling them. The kind of the whole mission of this podcast, which is Lift as you climb. It’s vital to success because nobody wants to work for a company where they don’t feel happy. Right?
Mary Grothe: No.
Melinda Wittstock: And happiness isn’t just about the money either. So being in that kind of a company where you can invest in yourself, that you feel cared for, heard, loved, supported, is going to create that amazing company loyalty. When people are doing things that make them happy, they’re going to stick with you, and they’re going to do a great job. So I want you to talk about House of Revenue from the perspective of how it actually works for your clients. So I know you have a number of different companies, where you’re doing things like helping them with their marketing, their sales, their customer success, their revenue operations. So talk me through how that actually manifests and the type of clients that you take on.
Mary Grothe: We love the CEO who’s ready to scale, they’re typically between two and 20 million if they’re in B2B, professional services, tech, SAS or related industries. For our CPG and consumer brands clients, we typically work with organizations that are about 50 to 100 million on their path to scaling. The psychographic is that they are ready to scale but it’s also that they have tried in the past, and they have failed, it hasn’t worked. We love the CEO that’s already thrown away a couple $100,000 at a minimum of trying to solve the problem. Typically, what they’ve done has been a silo attack. So they hired a sales trader or brought in a new sales methodology or revamp their sales recruiting strategy. Maybe they hired a marketing agency, perhaps they spent 50 grand on a new brand, launch and website. They’re attacking the problem in silo areas, what we believe in is solving the problem with a holistic revenue strategy.
Our work is to attach ourselves to that CEO for a period of six to 18 months, we go to work for them, they get a VP of Marketing, a VP of revenue, who oversees sales and customer success. A Rev ops analyst, and our entire marketing team, we cover every tactic and strategy in marketing in house under our own roof. And for our clients, we do a 30 day process where we evaluate what they have in place currently, we want to preserve what’s working well, we want to make recommendations for where their gaps are between their current state and desired future state. We produce a gap analysis recommendations and a five month implementation plan for are first initial six months. We then carve out a team for them who goes to work for them. Typically, our team members only have three clients, which means they split their time a third, a third, a third, which works [inaudible 00:33:39] for fleeing this fractional model. They go to work for that company, they’re all in. It’s all flat fee base, we don’t charge by the hour. We do whatever it takes ethically, to scale that organization.
Some of our clients have existing team members who are in VP or director or management levels for marketing, sales, customer success, we align ourselves with them. We’re their ally, we help them get past their roadblocks. We can do everything from executive level leadership down to granular execution level. We do whatever the organization needs to create a holistic revenue strategy and then stick around to actually implement it, execute it. See the ROI. We build a revenue engine inside of our clients’ companies, it’s not leased or outsourced, it’s their own forever.
Our average life cycle for a client is 12 to 18 months that we’re with them. And typically, we’re doubling their monthly recurring revenue. Within 10 months, we have scaled and allowed companies to exit which has been very exciting to see their dreams come true on that.
Melinda Wittstock: Amazing.
Mary Grothe: For some of our clients, it’s slower growth, which is what they’re desiring and they’re looking for more steady year over year. They have a longer term exit goal, but whatever it is, we are part of their culture, their team, we love them and we help them scale and we do whatever it takes to make it happen.
Melinda Wittstock: Those are great results. When you get to the end of that engagement, have you helped them put in all the operations and sales operations, the marketing operations, all that kind of in house, so that there’s a transition after you finish your work?
Mary Grothe: Yes, we never leave them hanging. We will make sure that in the final phase of our time together, which is called the empower stage, that’s where we have recruited and brought in the talent unless they already had it internally. And we make sure that their internal team is trained on everything that we were doing and they can run and operate the revenue engine at the level that we were without fail, they’re continuing to hit the right metrics, and OKRs and KPIs. And with that, we come to agreement on our end date and say, your internal team is fully operating, you don’t need us anymore, we work ourselves out of there. But we never leave a client hanging, which is why we have such a varying degree of how long clients are with us, because we will never leave somebody hanging.
Melinda Wittstock: I love the holistic approach too because all too often companies are siloed. They’ve got marketing over here, sales over here, customer success over here, but they’re all part of the same continuum. At my own company, right now, we’re looking for a Chief Revenue Officer, someone who is going to have that holistic approach. Do you see that a lot of companies make that mistake and bifurcating marketing and sales? And how do you kind of bring those together holistically in practice?
Mary Grothe: One of the most common problems that we solve is marketing and sales alignment. Growing up as a salesperson, I thought the biggest feud within a company was sales versus operations. As it turns out-
Melinda Wittstock: It’s sales versus marketing, right? Or it’s sales versus engineering, like that could be bad, too.
Mary Grothe: Oh, gosh, that’s a whole other podcast recording.
Melinda Wittstock: Right? That one, I know.
Mary Grothe: The sales and marketing alignment that focus, if it isn’t solved for, it’ll be a contentious point in the organization, which will end up costing the organization hundreds of 1000s, if not millions of dollars internally, trying to fix the problem, silo strategies, missed market opportunities. It is very expensive. Address it today, and you’ve got to do it by aligning that customer journey, like you said. So one thing we believe in is combining the marketing and sales funnel. We build inbound marketing engines for our clients. And through that, we take the sales cadence and sequences, and the process and methodology and we layer it over a single funnel. Because you have one buyer, you don’t have a buyer and marketing and a buyer and sales, it’s the same person. And so what are you doing to have one cohesive effort and a singular strategy to be able to take that buyer through the journey and have one combined effort that doesn’t feel fragmented, and it doesn’t cause friction with the buyer trying to make a buying decision?
And so one of the areas that we excel with our clients is combining the funnel and overlapping marketing and sales in the same process. From there, we actually don’t have marketing stops when the client says yes, and they sign on board. We leverage marketing through onboarding and implementation. We leverage marketing through all of customer success. A big area that we have found with our clients is that they stop marketing and selling to their clients after they sign the contract. Typically, a client for us will have millions of dollars sitting in their client base waiting to be sold, because no one proactively has created an account strategy by account, looking at their product penetration into the suite or additional services or cross selling upsell opportunities.
There’s no strategic plan, no one’s being held accountable to do that. There isn’t a role for it, or oversight for it. It’s all reactive versus proactive. We’re not proactively soliciting referrals, or looking at ways to create brand ambassadors in the customer success or delighting that customer so they can delight their networks, their communities, their fan base, to potentially become a customer of yours. With that, marketing plays a role all the way through the 360 funnel, and that’s usually something that isn’t currently active in most organizations. So it’s not just sales and marketing alignment, although that’s huge for attracting and winning customers but it’s the extension of marketing all the way through customer success that will have transformative results in that.
Melinda Wittstock: Just a brilliant idea for a company, and the results that you’re getting, Mary, are truly amazing. What’s your strategy for how your company is going to scale and the sort of milestones you want to reach, say in the next five years, 10 years, how big do you think that you will be?
Mary Grothe: If you asked me this question a week ago, I would have told you I don’t know. My heart has always been so focused on the results we get for our clients, and our growth and scale comes second to that. And our focus in the way we measure our success has, historically, always been on the results we’re getting for our clients. And I don’t think that’s a bad measurement in a measurement that can also exist as we have our own growth goals. The breakthrough that we discussed earlier actually happened within this past week. Now, we have this path to 4.1 million, which will allow us to have 22 team members and serve 20 clients per year. In 2020, we served nine clients. In 2021, we’re on path to serve between 13 to 15 clients. And by 2022, our goal is to take 20 organizations between the two and 20 million, if they’re on the B2B, tech, SAS side or professional services, potentially up to 50 to 100 million on CPG and consumer brands. And the point here is that with our team and our talent, we finally nailed our hiring strategy, we finally have the comp and benefits package and ways to retain the right talent.
We’re all mission and heart aligned on serving ourselves, our team and then our clients. We have all of this dialed in, we have a 100% success rate with our clients. All of these needed to be in place before I, in my good conscience, could say, we want to scale because we sell one of those services that a lot of people want to say yes to. Who doesn’t really want more sales or grow their company or to be more successful or to scale? The value prop and the pitch and what we do is powerful, but we are nothing unless we can actually hit what we are saying and achieve the results. So now that we’ve proven that our focus and set for scale, we will never lose sight of the experience for our clients and loving them. And being able to produce remarkable results with that we finally have the past or 4.1 million, I imagine that we hit that at the end of 2022.
Looking out five years to specifically answer your question, I’m going to be conservative and say, if we hit that 4.1 million or when we hit that, I would like to see a duplication of that effort in the following year in 2023, to repeat 20 and have 20 out of 20 successful. Upon that being proven, I’d love to see if that could incrementally increase an additional five to 10 clients per year that we’re serving. But we have to maintain the greatness and the power and the remarkable work that we do. I will never compromise that in order for us to scale.
Melinda Wittstock: How wonderful. So Mary, a good number of people listening to this clearly could utilize your services. So what’s the best way to find you and work with you?
Mary Grothe: Look us up at Houseofrevenue.com. I’ll accept a personal connection on LinkedIn. My last name is G-R-O-T-H-E, Grothe. Find me there. Let’s have a conversation about what you’re doing in your organization. We are very selective on who we work with. But I have a huge heart for CEOs and entrepreneurs and will freely give my time and have a real conversation. And my hope from that is, even if we don’t work together, I can provide some value to you.
Melinda Wittstock: Wonderful. Well, thank you so much for putting on your wings and flying with us today.
Mary Grothe: Thank you.
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