Building a Predictable Revenue Pipeline

In this episode of The Faces of Business, Valerie Cobb, Principal Consultant at Revenue Northstar LLC, shares proven strategies to build a predictable revenue pipeline.

In this episode of The Faces of Business, Valerie Cobb, Principal Consultant at Revenue Northstar LLC, shares proven strategies to build a predictable revenue pipeline.

Valerie is an accomplished sales leader with over 15 years of experience scaling revenue for small to medium-sized companies. She has helped clients grow from $1M to $100M+ in revenue. She is a leading authority in helping small to medium businesses uncover hidden revenues and drive business success.

Revenue Northstar provides an effective method of helping deliver on short-, medium-, and long-term goals via fractional (part-time) C-suite leadership and the proprietary Northstar Success Formula© to grow business revenues and avoid being overwhelmed and stressed.

Download our free business valuation guide here to understand more about business valuations and view our business valuation FAQs to answer the most common valuation questions.

Damon welcomes Valerie to his show, where they can’t wait to discuss building a predictable revenue pipeline.

Damon starts with his customary starting point for the show, getting to know the guest’s background and journey.

Valerie talks about her fascinating journey into sales, starting with the belief that everyone is in sales, particularly as parents. She refers to Daniel Pink’s concept that “To Sell Is Human.” Valerie’s initial experience with selling was rooted in the love she received from her parents as a baby, mentioning lightly that her mom’s love was the first thing she successfully sold.

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The guest’s professional sales career began with an aim to become a retail buyer, but was recruited by Nordstrom right out of college. She reveals that Nordstrom, with its commission-based system, was instrumental in shaping her sales skills. Despite minimal formal sales training, she learned to care about the customer’s needs rather than push products on them.

During her professional journey, Valerie discovered that helping people and forming genuine connections should be at the core of sales, contrary to conventional stereotypes. She also found fulfillment in leading teams and witnessing their success, emphasizing the rewarding aspect of leadership in sales.

While talking about her early lessons learned, Valerie stresses to understand needs and challenges in sales. She points out that people make purchases for their own reasons, often unspoken, and they are perpetually working out to enhance their lives or businesses. Therefore, effective selling involves solving these needs and challenges. She expands the definition of selling to include selling ideas, explaining that even on LinkedIn, a professional network, discussions should revolve around how ideas solve problems.

Get the most value for your business by understanding the process and preparing for the sale with information here on our Selling a Business page.

Similarly, Valerie notes the significant shifts in sales over the past decade, attributing one of the most transformative moments to the release of the iPhone. Under changed circumstances, buyers can fact-check information independently and make informed decisions.

The sales guru suggests that companies gather extensive sales statistics, and platforms like Salesforce.com release annual sales trend reports. Small businesses and startups can use this data to establish baselines and predict conversion rates based on specific actions.

In the same vein, Valerie introduces the “2020-Rule,” where 20% of leads convert, as a starting point for sales strategies. She also suggests industry-specific trends, helping companies tailor their sales approaches. She uses the example of selling to physician offices, where phone calls and social media are less effective due to the nature of the industry.

Damon asks Valerie about her transition into the fractional space with Revenue Northstar.

The sales wizard explains her decision to enter the fractional space. She discloses her short average tenures of executives in roles such as Chief Sales Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, and Chief Revenue Officer, often lasting only six months to a maximum of two years. This trend is influenced by the rapid pace of change and the need to adapt to evolving industry dynamics.

In Valerie’s view, businesses have the power to effect change more swiftly than governments can. She points out that most small businesses in the United States struggle with revenue-related challenges, with many failing due to cash flow issues.

Likewise, the guest defines “fractional roles” and how they can provide expertise to multiple companies, helping them overcome challenges and grow. Valerie reveals that Revenue Northstar was created to respond to the demand for such fractional leadership.

At Damon’s request, Valerie reflects on her experiences and successes in business, particularly in growing a tax and accounting company by an impressive 600%.

The guest explains that a “resurrection” typically involves a company struggling to make things work, and then, under her guidance, things start to improve and fall into place. She can see beyond things. There are “aha” moments as problems are identified and solutions implemented.

Damon asks Valerie about the most challenging aspects she encounters while helping companies. He requests her to talk about the role of AI in business growth.

Valerie discusses some significant challenges companies face, particularly regarding growth and planning. One key challenge is when companies seek help but may not have the necessary funding to execute growth strategies.

Valerie also distinguishes between businesses that aim to grow steadily over time (the “good-degrader” approach) and those looking for rapid growth and an eventual exit strategy. The challenge lies in aligning the time it takes to achieve growth with the desired outcome and financial resources.

Valerie digs deep into the concept of branding and the challenge of effectively conveying a brand’s message. She explained that a logo should conjure the right message in someone’s mind immediately. Using the example of Nike, Valerie illustrates how established brands can evoke instant recognition and consumer desire.

The guest discusses the prevalence of AI tools in sales. She bursts the myth that these tools can provide quick solutions to selling challenges. There is a need for a strategic and high-involvement approach to planning, involving the entire company from top to bottom.

Discussing the role of consistency and fractional services, Valerie brings to light an exciting encounter with her podcast guest who said, “Slow is fast.” She explains that companies often seek full-time employees with the expectation that they will solve their problems faster. However, Valerie stresses that real solutions often take time, typically six to nine months, and rushing the process doesn’t work.

Moreover, a Chief Revenue Officer’s (CRO) role is dynamic to Valerie. This is because CROs focus on pinpointing the most significant issues and avoid infighting between departments like sales, marketing, and customer service.

Appreciating the guest’s insights, Damon shifts the conversation to explore Valerie’s diverse interests in different industries.

In response, Valerie appreciates different industries for different things. She is interested in healthcare because it combines caring aspects with innovation. She also finds heavy equipment intriguing because their sales acumen is piercing.

Toward the show’s conclusion, Valerie desires to “sell the idea” that individuals can achieve their desired roles and goals with determination.

The show ends with Damon thanking Valerie for her time.

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47:00
SUMMARY KEYWORDS
talking, selling, sales, company, fractional, trends, revenue, working, faster, northstar, small businesses, valerie, business, problem, marketing, roles, changed, years, understand, industry
SPEAKERS
Damon Pistulka, Valerie Cobb

Damon Pistulka 00:02
All right, everyone, welcome once again. I’m Damon Pistulka, your host of the faces of business, and I am switching something to turn our names off because we don’t normally do that. And I don’t know why it was. But I am excited today because we are talking with Valerie Cobb, from revenue Northstar. And we’re going to be talking about building a predictive revenue pipeline. Welcome, Valerie.

Valerie Cobb 00:29
Hey, thanks, Damon. It’s great to be here. Yeah.

Damon Pistulka 00:32
Good. Having you here, because I’m looking at your background. And we were talking before and and Wow, your experience is phenomenal. And sales, breed building pipelines, you know, predictive revenue is, is an incredibly challenging thing for so many businesses. So I’m excited to have you talk about it today. When we start our show, Valerie, we always started the same way. And we’d like to understand more about you, and how you got into what you’re doing today. So let’s hear it. How did how did you get into sales and what really make it that like, this is what I want to do?

Valerie Cobb 01:17
Oh, my goodness, first of all, to be real, I would say any parent is in sales. And if we’re gonna go and quote Daniel Pink, really, to Sell Is Human. So if we’re talking about sales as a profession versus selling a, obviously I started selling back when I was born, and my parents fell in love with me, my mom said the other day, hey, I love you. And I said, Can I quote that? My mom loves me. Nothing else. For me, I got that at least I got that. Anyway, no, for selling, it’s kind of interesting. A lot of times people will say, Well, you know, they fell into it, I wanted to be and we can’t rewind too far. But I wanted to be a big bad buyer in retail and got recruited out of college in to Nordstrom, which is kind of the birthplace in your neck of the woods. And they were one of the few retailers left that actually was commissioned based. And it was quite interesting, because you learned to have your book of business and the whole nine yards, that, you know, and pretty much everything I learned in sales, whether they’re whether it’s Sandler challenger, whether it’s any kind of mode of sales, acumen, really Nordstrom probably helped create it, because they were so good at what they did. And we had it we had about a second of sales training. And then I realized that really, the best way that you sell is if you really care about that human, and that, and what they need not try to not try to push anything on them, but what they need, and you’re going well, that’s, that’s kind of silly, it’s close. I mean, they’re coming in and buying clothes, but actually most of the time. And what I learned later, because several of my several of my clients back then, when my daughter was born, they made blankets for, for my daughter and brought it in and all that wonderful stuff. It really was the connection, part of it, you know, the connection and helping people that should draw people to sales. I know that that’s not probably what most people want to hear. And then also then leading teams and seeing teams succeed and win is is very, is very rewarding. So that’s part of it. There’s other things.

Damon Pistulka 04:11
It mean, you bring up some good points, though, because at the heart of good sales, I really think is that desire to really help that human that’s there, whether it’s, you know, whether I’m making a CNC machine part or selling them software or selling them a new car, you know, that I I feel what you’re

04:33
you really got to the hardest sales there is, is really given them what they need or what they think they need or feel they need at that moment. But caring about making sure you’re not you are trying to meet their need rather than, you know, go over the top and saw, you know, 17 things they don’t need or those other things because that does create that

Damon Pistulka 04:55
connection. And yeah, so Oh,

05:00
early, early, early lessons learned.

Valerie Cobb 05:05
Definitely early lessons learned because, you know, I, there’s, there’s tons of books out there. But one of the things that if you’re not solving a need and a challenge, and I talked about this when I’m either training sales teams or even when we’re working, and we’ll talk about Predictable Revenue and a little bit, but even when we’re trying to predict it and forecast it, it’s all around needs. So I use the analogy, there’s two things that I use all the time. One is people buy for their reason. And most people won’t answer that question, right? When I asked that, that’s number one. And number two, that they are constantly looking for ways to improve their lives, their businesses, whatever it is. And if you aren’t solving that need and the challenge your you really are not selling, it isn’t the definition of selling, right? So selling ideas, everybody? Oh, goodness, it’s a salesman on LinkedIn, know, you’re selling ideas. So anytime you’re talking on LinkedIn, with others, which, by virtue, it’s supposed to be a business network, right? So you shouldn’t be talking ideas through, you’re actually discussing those ideas in the way of how does it solve a problem? And, by very definition, if you, you said, You’re a father, I’m a mother. And at the end of the day, I would be remiss to not run out and grab my kid who is running out into the street, kicking and screaming or otherwise, right? Yeah. And you know, that mom with that kid is kicking a two year old is kicking and screaming, and you can see the legs flailing. And it’s like, no, you can’t go out in the street, and they don’t understand why. But you really are solving a need, you’re keeping them safe. You’re trying to do all those things. So you’re selling them on those ideas. And then they understand that when they get older and leave home and come back and go, Gosh, I wish I had a listen. But back then they understand that because there’s an element of trust involved, because that’s a parent that cares about that child, right? So even if they’re kicking and screaming, they’re going to understand that a lot more and want to move forward in that direction, whether or not you have to sit them on a chair in a corner or whether Yeah, but eventually it’s because of that relationship that you have with with that with that child. So

Damon Pistulka 07:39
that’s a great way to great way to think about it. That’s for sure. So

07:45
the the sales processes and the way we sell and the way buyers buy, has changed tremendously. In the last last decade, you know, we’re

Damon Pistulka 07:58
talking about building a predictive, Predictable Revenue pipeline. You know, you that was much different years ago, talk about that, and kind of just a brief overview of how that really has changed in the last 10 or so years.

Valerie Cobb 08:19
What Well, I actually have to go back further than 10 years to talk about how that’s changed. One of the biggest shifts in selling was and you can kind of look it up, but it was when the iPhone came out. Yeah. And so we we had that huge shift of how you could buy at your fingertips, right, and there were a lot and it was it was right around the same time as the 2008 recession. So there was a lot that people focused on the recession aspect of why people were not buying, but really, they could buy at their fingertips, and they had enormous information instantly. And it was a pivotal moment, in any kind of predictable, analytic realm. Because it was no longer Hey, you’ve got this book that you hand wrote some, you know, the old school of for saying the traditional selling career, right? You had your little book of business, you ran around, you went and visited an office or you called somebody and great. And then advertising was advertising and et cetera, et cetera, et now, all of a sudden, you had a buyer, and that’s why I’m such a big fan of the Challenger methodology. And Matt Dixon in those guys is you had a buyer that had so much information at their fingertips. He we had internet before that right I dates me but we did and And we had all of those things before that, but it was all at their hand. You know, I mean, you could do this. And all of a sudden, you could check out whether that person was telling you the truth. If they came into your office, you could go to a website. And even though they were very, not great website, you can go there, or you can check somebody out. And so data became much more prevalent and easier and more digestible. And we could get into Google and, and into Amazon and some of that history. But if you fast forward, they could make decisions before they ever spoke to a salesperson. Right. And, and you had to factor that in. And they had done this study that said that they make a decision 57% of the way prior to every reaching out to a salesman. Now this is clear back in I think they released that book. What was it? It was 2012 2011? I could be wrong. Right. So early on. Yeah. Yeah. And, and as you looked at the way that marketing changed, you know, there was always that death of the cold caller, we always have that, Oh, is there a cold calling? is cold calling dead? No, it is. Yes, it is. No, it is, you know, all that kind of stuff. Now we have aI cold callers that you can almost not tell that they’re even not human. Right. And so predicting, is watching the trends and watching the date, you know, the correct data. Now we there’s numeracy and in numeracy, right, that’s a term you’re very familiar with, right? We, we use that all the time, and especially in the marketing side sent, right 40 47% Of those who lose weight is blah, blah, blah, and you’re like, of those of two of three. So we do it, we do it all the time. But every year, sales stats are captured and produced on a very large scale, like salesforce.com Always releases the trends in there’s quite a few of them out there now that release trends, that if nothing else, for small business, you can start baselining, especially startups, or even resurrections, you could go back, and you can look at what are the trends in data to say what percent are going to close if you do this many actions, and this many actions and this many actions, right? And, and then you have amazing tools that help capture that and then rinse and repeat, right? So then in a very specific model, you could say, well, let’s just follow the 2020 rule. So 20% will convert to whatever your definition is of a lead, I’m not gonna get into MQLs, SQL and all of the data analytics, right, but let’s say it’s spooky, it’s 2020 rule. So 20%, you could start there, right? You can also start with a bit of a gut check, which is okay, in a small company, a lot of times, your sellers are the CEO and the or the owner, right? Yeah. And they really want to get out of selling eventually, but you kind of walk around and listen to them, and watch what they do. And you start just the old school way of ticking off they call 10 People today, they actually followed up on 20. And they actually closed this week 30. And now I’m starting to see a trend in what they’re doing. Now I can then repeat it. And I can now coach other sales people to do the same, right or other AI nowadays, you’re training an AI to do that exact same thing. Or maybe it is, if it’s ecommerce, it’s completely marketing driven, you know, and there is no salesperson there. But in the world of selling, really, the analytics will tell you which trends to reinforce in your industry, right? So if, if nobody goes to a website in your industry, then you’re the old school, get your sales team out knocking on doors, and here I’ll give you a perfect example. physician offices, you’ve done healthcare, right. So physician offices. Let’s say you’re trying to sell to doctors, how often do they pick up the phone? How often do they go to a website? Are they even talking on social media unless they’re trying I need to get a social media presence zero. So why on earth?

Damon Pistulka 15:03
You don’t even know. And I even know about,

Valerie Cobb 15:07
even if you’re saying, well, the trends in selling is x, in that specific industry, it may not be x. So it’s hugely important to base important in predicting to baseline what you think industries are. And that’s really hard if you’re in one industry. You know, if you’re, if you’re a company who’s never ever worked in any other industry to know the difference, then it’s like, well, I don’t know what the baseline would be. Right? Yeah. So I don’t know if I even answered your question. But there you go. There. Yeah,

Damon Pistulka 15:45
you did. You did. You brought up you brought up a couple of things. So So now, you you started revenue Northstar a while ago in you are helping people with fractional sales, fractional ca CRO services. What really brought about that idea that that this is something that now you’ve you’ve done full time sales roles and other things and help companies do things what what really brought about your idea to get into the fractional space?

Valerie Cobb 16:20
Well, the average, some industry, some trend related, the average tenure of a chief sales officer, a chief marketing officer, a chief revenue officer, most people don’t even know what a chief revenue officer is. So it’s really hard to even discuss that. But at the end of the day, the average tenure is, you know, I don’t know, anywhere from six months to maybe two years max, right? Because also, one thing with trends is they are speeding because of data. They’re speeding up faster and faster. So sometimes you have to re forecast mid year, even based on some trends, right? So. And, honestly, it’s, it’s one way or the other. My mantra has always been businesses can change lives faster than government can. So if we can have in the United States, and I know it’s like, oh, gosh, we’re gonna remember 10% Of this, whoever even is listening, but in the United States, there’s what 31 million small businesses out there, the majorities under $2 million. We know that right. And they, the main stat is I can’t even remember if it’s 82 or 84%, but it’s a 2%. A I’ll be innumerate in it. But basically, they failed due to cashflow. Yeah, because of revenue, right, revenue dysfunction. And that is a huge, that’s a huge thing. And so the other challenge that they have is a lot of small businesses have brother Bob or so and so selling are the CEOs, and they can’t repeat the process. And so they can’t scale they can’t grow. And, and bootstrapping you and I’ve talked about this, that’s almost I would dare say that’s a very difficult thing. I mean, it’s it’s very hard to do in this in, in this global economy, especially when you’re competing against other countries for the same kind of talent. And I just thought you can help more companies with a little bit of your knowledge than you can if you’re just in one role. And and then to boot revenue Northstar was created because there was a bunch of other leaders that also felt that same way. And they because you can’t, when you’re fractional, you’re you’re not, you’re not just consulting, you’re not just saying, Hey, this is what you should do. It’s not a hit and run. Yeah, it’s a hit and engage and ensure that people are winning. Yeah, just as if you were a full time employee II so they get great point, whether it’s a free whether you want to call yourself a freelancer, fractional has been around since Digital Marketer started actual marketing agencies, agencies were fractional to begin with, it was just a way to offset having to hire a half million dollar to a million dollar leader and be able to hire that same kind of expertise. And also a lot of them have been in many different industries. And because of that, they know the baselines already for some of like the predicting that we were talking about. So that’s sort of how I got into it and I got into it. And there was clients in abundance. And it was just quite rewarding. For sure. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Damon Pistulka 20:08
So what’s what’s been some of the most memorable without naming clients? Some of the most memorable work that you went, wow, we really killed it?

Valerie Cobb 20:18
Well, we really killed it. Ah, gosh, in the well, I won’t say the funnest it was it was very difficult, but growing a tax and accounting about 600%. And you can do that in tech space versus manufacturing space. But it was early, it was just a very rewarding experience to pull a resurrection out of the toilet. And when we say resurrection, right, that then indicates that the company has been around for a while struggling can’t seem to make things work. And you go in, and all of a sudden, things start working and clicking, I have a current client that I’m really enjoying, simply because things are clicking, and working. And the aha moments are happening. Because it’s like, well, we’ve been trying, we’ve been trying, but we just, it’s like, I’ll use another analogy. I’m full of them. And I use this all the time. It’s like trying to explain to somebody who is from BC 100, year 100. What an airplane is, sometimes in small businesses or in restaurants, they just can’t pinpoint where the problem is. Maybe it’s marketing, maybe it’s sales. Maybe it’s not either one of them. Maybe it’s success, you’ve got too much churn, or maybe your product went stale. You know, that’s kind of fun to go in and go, Oh, this is really exciting, you know, just to try to see where that could be. And to help them get laser focused on really laser focused on what needs to happen, the two to three things that need to happen right now, to start turning things in the right direction.

Damon Pistulka 22:11
Yeah, yeah, when you hit those low hanging fruit pieces, because if you can help them identify and hit the low hanging fruit, you can turn things pretty quickly.

Valerie Cobb 22:20
Oh, yeah. And a $2 million company tried to do that. And a billion dollar company. It’s a very slow moving needle in small companies. It’s a fast, it’s a very fast turn. So it’s kind of nice.

Damon Pistulka 22:34
Yeah, very cool. So we talked about this a little bit, and I do I do want to get into the AI thing, because you’ve mentioned a couple things about it that I think is very interesting. But as as we’re, you’re helping companies now, what are some of the most challenging things? I mean, you know, what, what they need to do, and yet, it’s super challenging, what are some of the most challenging things that you’re hitting right now, that it’s like, man, it’s just, it’s still a slog, even though we know what we need to do?

Valerie Cobb 23:13
Well, a lot of it, it does boil down to sometimes they come too late. And they don’t have funding to execute. And, and that’s kind of the planning side of the fence, the predictable side, you, you can create a any kind of predictable modeling that will say you can do this, but if you can’t finance it, or you aren’t willing to finance it, then there’s really no point in having a dialogue. So one of the biggest challenges is, this is where we want to grow to because typically, I’ll go into a client and say, Are you a good degrader? Or are you a are you wanting to exit you know, and the good degrader, you know, it’s a little bit slower, you take it a little slower, you develop teams, you go in and get the right seats on the bus, and you still get the right seats on the bus for the aggressive, you know, here I want to exit in four years. The challenge is the alignment of how long that takes, right? And what it costs. So a good degree can take time and you can self fund, because you keep taking time, although sometimes competition will beat you out and you’ll be done anyway. So there’s always that timing issue, but on those who are wanting in the show, you know exit the phases of business and your company exit your way is always starting backwards with what the goals are of the stakeholders, if it is if it is the CEO or the owners and co founders, whatever that is, and they want to exit in four years. And you get in and you do all the financials because we You use the financials as a scorecard, right? And you go five years out and you do the tam samsam. And you? And you say, yes, it’s doable. And then you do some an analysis on what’s currently in the market, what’s happening behind the scenes, you know? And then you say, Yes, this is doable if you’re willing to change this, this and this, right, so they want it because nobody can do more than two to three things that last right. But you’re willing to change this? And it’s like, well, we don’t have the money to do that. You know? We don’t have the money to do it. Yeah. And then you’re kind of going, okay, then why did you even you know, so then now you’re in this kind of land of, well, we’re gonna go slower, but their expectations are, Hey, I just saw that I could be at 20 million. And but you can’t pay to be at 20 million, therefore, you’re stuck at 3 million, because you can’t pay for the top 10. Well, you got to be able to work your magic and, and train them up, right, or use automation or use AI or whatever to make that difference. And at the end of the day, people want to get paid.

Damon Pistulka 26:24
The funding, yeah, funding, you can’t get get around it. But not only just the funding to pay the people, but the funding for the advertising and all the other efforts that it takes to to grow anymore. I think of it’s gotten so far beyond, you know, having good salespeople now that if you don’t have, you know, digitally, if you’re not doing things if you’re not, you know, like we talked, you mentioned before, you know, outreach or business development, and just all the other things that have to come together, because the buyers journey has changed so much from I’m going to find that buyer and, you know, present them with my great offer, which is something they need to that buyer is now going to take their time on their schedule and find their solution to their problem. And I have to be in that solution path somehow. And if I’m not in that solution path, which takes content, it takes outreach, it takes all kinds of things to get there, and I’m missing a million of them. You just don’t get the sale anymore.

Valerie Cobb 27:32
Yeah, we have a I love to talk about the word logo, because his logo sanef from theology, it is basically conjuring the right message immediately in someone’s mind. So if you take Nike, and you take that symbol, someone says Nike, boom, I can go type in Nike, I want that pair of tennis shoes. But how many years did it take for Nike to get to be that well known and take a $2 million company that is relatively unknown, or a pre emerging market, and try to do that knowledge transfer in two seconds, it’s impossible. Well, my brand is so great, and I love the branders don’t get me wrong, you need to start branding. That’s not part of that’s not and you could have a sensational brand. But if you cannot get them to understand the need, whether that’s I just got to have those Nike tennis shoes, or, you know, whatever that is that you’re solving in a couple of seconds, I think are we’re down to like three seconds, six seconds in a cold call, you know, in your cold calling, it’s even less. But we have our attention span over the 1950s to now, our intention span as human beings is like, nil. I think it I think it was like Is it? Taylor and he talks about Moore’s Law and and so much data in smaller and smaller things. But the reality is, you can also humans capacity to go faster and faster is gone, right? Yet we’re going faster and faster, which is kind of the onslaught of AI. So now all the selling tools are, Hey, throw it in some chat GPT really quick or some lavender.io and get an email that’s going to be the answer to all your problems. And bridging that gap. I think the best way that I’ve been successful with some of the small businesses is holding not just I call it high involvement planning, because high involvement means the entire company, not just a leader, right? But it’s just a strategic planning. But you can’t imagine how many people will step on $1 to pick up a dime and not go through strategic planning. I mean, we’re all shouting about it in q4. What are you doing for January one? And to get that alignment, if you have the bottom and the top and the middle all going through financial statements and going, Yeah, we can achieve that. And we can vote on it and we can get it, then it saves my trying to get build that bridge that gap of them going. Well, but we thought we were going to be at 20 million. Well, yeah, but you didn’t spend the money that you needed to get to 20 million. So now you’re at 3 million. Okay. So are you good with a CAGR of 10%? Or are you trying to sell off in four years? And be 400%? Yeah, over four years? Yeah. Depends on the industry depends on the the the group, the you know, who, who the leaders are in it. But

Damon Pistulka 30:48
do you see do you see oftentimes, though, when you come in that you have to kind of take a step back to go forward fast?

Valerie Cobb 30:59
Yeah, I had one podcast guest. And he said, slow is fast. And I’ve really, really contemplated that. Because usually, when they finally are looking for fractional, you’ll see a lot of times they’re trying to get the full time and the full time is going to fix my problem, right? You know, and as if you can fix something faster than six to nine months, you know, they want to buy the book of business, which don’t even get me into the producer player, because that just ticks me off. But the reality is, as you get going because I I get oh, are you you’re gonna be the producer player. And I’m like, absolutely. I am not going to be the producer player. I’m either the player or the producer. I am not both. I am not going to be both actually, that’s the wrong analogy. But you know what I mean? Like you’re the leader, and you’re the salesperson, it’s like, yeah, and that works really well. But, yeah, again, the situation will always depend. Yeah, I know, that’s a dumb, a dumb answer. But that’s why when people will call and say, Hey, can you help us out? Can you just give me a quote? And it’s like, when I’ve trained sales reps? I’m like, tell them yes. As long as they answer every question that you’ve asked them, and then you can devise the quote. There is no ballpark quoting, because you don’t know what their situation is. You can’t go in and just here it is. And here’s the answer. Because that’s I think that’s what’s unique, a little bit about a CRO role is they really pivot and and spend time trying to find where pinpointing where the issue really, the biggest issue is, there’s always issues. I mean, there’s never any but the biggest issue where to start. And it kind of avoids the infighting between, okay, it’s sales problem. It’s a marketing problem. It’s a success problem or service problem. It’s a product problem, whatever it is, you know, because they look at it from the strategy of how are you going to grow revenue? I don’t care what the players are, it would be like a football team, your favorite? What’s your favorite football team?

Damon Pistulka 33:25
Well, it has to be a Seahawks. Of course, I

Valerie Cobb 33:27
thought you would say that. So it’d be like that coach going in and saying, but I liked this guy. So I’m going to put him in as the quarterback. Even if the skill set isn’t there, just because I like that guy, you know, and it’s like, but that’s not the game of business, the game of business is liking humans don’t get me wrong, but having them be happy in their roles. So and the only way they’re happy in their roles is if they’re flourishing in their roles. So making sure that you’re addressing the right problem at the right time. Not the wrong problem, just because somebody thought it was that problem.

Damon Pistulka 34:10
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that’s powerful stuff there. Because it’s, it is. Well, you come back to and the reason why I say that, you know, the, there’s so much there’s so many dimensions to sales now. And like you said, it could be that product, it could be all these other things. It could be the content, it could be the way that they’re positioning could be where they’re trying to sell. There’s all these kinds of things that can can produce it and I think that it is so vastly under analyzed prior to just trying to sell that companies that companies that take just a little bit more Time on the beginning to go. Okay. Let’s let’s really think about this. So it because it just, it allows you to sell so much more effectively. Yes. But you talked a little bit about a yet and so let’s let’s go to this though because I don’t I don’t want to miss this. You’ve got a pretty wide range of experience. So talk talk about that. I mean, because you do a lot of you do a lot of SAS work now and you’ve done a lot of SAS work, but you’ve done a lot of other things too. So in different industries. So let’s talk about industries. What, which one has been really interesting. And you go wow, I never thought I liked this industry, but it’s

35:43
really pretty cool.

Damon Pistulka 35:46
Ah, gosh. Because, you know, you talk about the tax and accounting play for me.

Valerie Cobb 35:57
I love different industries for different things. I love. I always love any I’m a sci fi geek. So I love anything that’s forward, looking, you know. And healthcare. Healthcare is great because of its I love the the caring aspect, but there is the business side of the fence that is very antiquated and not caring. Yeah, yeah. And so I love it when they get together, and they innovate and move forward. But it was it was kind of fun to be in heavy equipment, people always go heavy equipment, where are you, you know, and, you know, subscription stuff. Different way to pay for things, but some of the acumen is the same whether it’s, you know, maybe the, maybe the balance, maybe the p&l statements changed slightly where the cogs and stuff like that, but I bet you you could create a SaaS product out of a heavy, heavy equipment if you wanted to, if you really wanted to, that’s a rental or lease. But there’s a whole strategy behind it. Um, yeah, it was, it is always fun for me when I get to get involved in the product and ideation side of the fence where we are like heavy equipment. I was talking to you about devising a product that was that we cut down the the customer trials and the go to market all the way like Volvo. It takes usually about five years to release a new product, we cut it down to two and a half years and all through customer trials. And it was born out of necessity, we were trying to revive the company, right. And so you needed that. And that was that was a lot of fun. I am also enjoying right now. And we’ve talked about this, I’m in really enjoying cyber risk transference. Just because it’s so dang complicated. Nobody understands it. So it’s like, oh, this is fun.

Damon Pistulka 38:24
It’d be because if you’re you saying you’re a sci fi geek, you’re learning a lot about this science. Is it tremendously complex when it comes to that, and the science and the technology behind it is, is really interesting. And, and challenging. So yeah, one last question about selling before we get into some fun stuff. So if you could sell anything? What would you like to sell?

Valerie Cobb 38:56
If I could sell anything, what would I like to sell? Ah, that’s a good one. I like building humans. So I think I would want to sell the idea that no matter what if they put the time and the effort and have grit, so skill will inhale and get over the hill. I would sell that they can achieve the role that they want to achieve. So that’s more of a coaching aspect. Yeah,

Damon Pistulka 39:24
yeah.

Valerie Cobb 39:27
Good. But I love working with people. I like seeing them. I like seeing them succeed. It’s fun. Yeah. That’s that’s the good part.

Damon Pistulka 39:37
That’s the good stuff. That’s good stuff. I always thought I saw it. You know, if it was still where you could do it in person. I would love to sell sports tickets. I think that would be so much fun. You know, talking to people when they came like a football game or a baseball game with their whole family and talk to them about selling the tickets. You know that because it’s such a such a wow for my family and it’s just just such a celebratory a great event. It time to be around people. But they there’s just these special times when you can sell something like you’re saying here the skill will Hill is to see somebody and help them be a part of that would really be something.

Valerie Cobb 40:14
Yeah, for me I that you know and earn money out that would be fat.

40:22
If he did this Oh, that’s really

Damon Pistulka 40:26
well, it’s so it’s funny though, hi how you said that because there are different things for different people. And it can because I’m like that with the work I get to do when I get to help help a business owner build that business, and then they can sell, we help them we sell it. It is it is like the most fun thing to me. And I’ve gone through, you know, you think of that army obstacle cars, where they’re crawling in the dirt and mud and all that that’s what it’s like to get there. But forget about all that at everybody’s high five. And it’s all a great time at the end. But it’s just because the when you can help your customer or working alongside them so hard, it’s so much fun to see them succeed.

Valerie Cobb 41:12
It is. And to me the industry doesn’t matter because all industries have cool stuff about them. It’s one of the things that it it’s it’s exciting to try something new and different. Maybe that’s why I’m in the fractional space, because I get also I guess I could say I get bored if it’s too, too repetitive over and over and over.

Damon Pistulka 41:38
Exactly. Yeah, well, and you really can’t I mean, you think about what a fractional person can bring to an individual company, your varied experience, and the fact that you’re in multiple companies working at any given time you’re learning in each one of those situations, and you’re bringing everything you learn to every situation. So you could be working in a SaaS company over here and a healthcare company over here and you go, hey, well, we just implemented in this healthcare company is going to fix what’s not working in the SAS company. And if I’m only in that one company, I missed that opportunity. Yeah, I think it’s a huge thing. And a friend of mine, Jeffrey Graham used to talk about that a lot. With when in his sales roles, he would say, you know, working for different companies is so beneficial when you do it because you you can really collaborate and find better solutions. So yeah, it’s cool what you guys are doing so what’s exciting for you guys, revenue Northstar coming up in the next next year. What do you see this exciting on the sales front?

Valerie Cobb 42:41
Oh, well, the, the upcoming uncertainty with the interest rates and everything else is creating a lot of fear. And I don’t capitalize necessarily on fear. But there is a lot of try before you buy mentality happening out there. And that’s perfect for the fractional space. Because in all reality, you’re, you’re not when you hire a full time equivalent, you’re paying their benefits and you’re waiting six to nine months before they produce it, especially in well, I don’t care if it’s marketing and care if it’s a sales role. Anything in revenue on the human front is going to take six to nine months to produce. So what happens is, you know, the old recruitment model where it’s like here, let’s recruit and this person’s gonna come in and fix your world, you’re at six to nine months and many don’t want to spend that expense because as you know, just let’s say that it’s an account executive. Or let’s say it’s a VP of marketing or even a CMO if their salaries are anywhere and the salaries can range in the closer realm so I’m just saying flat let’s say 100,000 a year just no no commission just flat if that were the case, which it’s not it’s usually at least a couple 100,000 between benefits and everything else. You have then spent six to nine months either progressing or not progressing and because you won’t know it other than activity based unless they’re really bringing in revenue you don’t know when to cut and run with that human are not cut and run with that human till nine months to a year down the road. There are definitely tells and ways that you can mitigate some of that the being able to try out something in short Sprint’s like for your company it’s like what you say 90 days you know you can’t do anything in 90 days anyway so it has 30 day trial in anything is like yeah, there’s there’s no repetitiveness to make it. mean anything but I’m for us, we’re just excited that the trends are kind of moving toward helping those small business owners get into and get out of the revenue maze. Right? Yeah. But try before you buy, you know, let’s do some high involvement planning. Let’s go in. And let’s see what the problems really are. And if we can help we great if not, we tell them, this organization can help this organization Connect. We also having worked in so many companies, we have a huge network of individuals that could solve the problem if you can’t solve the problem. Yeah. So I really liked that. And because they are so the interest rates are creating kind of a, an issue with that. And then obviously, inflation. It’s like the perfect storm. So we’re excited to be able to help more companies in future.

Damon Pistulka 45:55
Very cool. Very cool. Well, Valerie, it’s been awesome talking to you today. And just thinking about the things that that people will want to consider and how the fractional people can really help. A lot of places build that predictable pipeline, because there’s so many pieces to it, the other things that you need to consider and really the depth of the team, that that are the depth of the experience. You need to be able to get that kicked off. Right. So thanks for being here today.

Valerie Cobb 46:29
Oh, you’re welcome. Anytime it was fun, it always flies by Yeah.

Damon Pistulka 46:35
I want to say thank you to everyone else. We had a mark jumped in today and I want to thank you to all the people that listen, we get a lot of views. I know thanks so much for for listening to us while we’re doing this. And I really appreciate that and appreciate everyone that that does take the time and effort to make a comment. We will be back again later. Thanks. Hold on. Just a minute Valerie and we’ll wrap up afterward. Done

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