[quote style=”boxed”]Listen. C-level leaders, VPs, and salespeople tend to do most of the talking. You can learn a lot more about a situation and the motivations of people if you just don’t talk. So what should everyone do? Stop talking and listen.[/quote]
John McLellan is the Chief Revenue Officer of EBQuickstart, the ultimate source for outsourced sales solutions. EBQ is a sales and marketing firm that helps companies outsource lead generation, sales, marketing, data, and customer service.
Where did the idea for EBQuickstart (EBQ) come from?
Tim Edwards started FirstRev in 2005, building sales, marketing, and go-to-market plans primarily for overseas technology companies wanting to expand into North America. As it turned out, planning was not the issue — it was the execution of the plan. Hence, EBQ was started solely for the execution of sales plans.
What is EBQuickstart’s business model?
We take a product or service and develop or refine its messaging based on the outcome of the project kickoff information presented to the EBQ Village. We then test that messaging to see what the market’s telling us. We have weekly continuous improvement (CIM) calls with the customer to discuss our findings, and then we adjust the messaging for another week of dialing.
What does your typical day look like?
EBQ is a well-oiled machine. We discuss strategy and tactics with our prospects and customers. We have been in business for seven years and have built processes based on best practices that work for most products and services we take on. All companies have their issues. After we’ve dialed, emailed, and nurtured a decent database for a few weeks, we can typically see where the cracks are in the organizations we service and offer additional services to fill those gaps.
How do you bring ideas to life?
We constantly review our processes. If and when we see an issue arise in the weekly CIMs, we try to understand the root cause. We try to catch issues in the molehill state before they become mountains. We listen to our customers and prospects. We probe with open-ended questions. We talk about possible solutions. If the problem is isolated to just one project, we may make minor adjustments to that project. If we see a pattern that crosses many or all projects, then we make changes to our overall processes and best practices for everyone’s benefit.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
I like the continued movement away from traditional licensed software models to SaaS offerings. In the past, usually a handful of competitors dominated each market segment, as the risk and cost to deploy on-premise solutions was just too job-threatening to make a mistake. With SaaS and the cloud, now applications require just a login, so IT doesn’t necessarily need to be involved to fully pilot an application before it’s adopted and the organization’s workflow is impacted.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I was the VP of marketing for an Internet startup. Until that point, I was a salesperson. The problem with marketing is it seemed like I was never done with a project, and no one was ever completely happy with the outcome. Everyone had an opinion, and you know what they say about opinions….
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I’d start my own company earlier in my career where I owned 51 percent or more of the business. I was involved in many startups but never had controlling interest, so the final decisions were not mine to make — even though I thought I had the right answers.
What is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Listen. C-level leaders, VPs, and salespeople tend to do most of the talking. You can learn a lot more about a situation and the motivations of people if you just don’t talk. So what should everyone do? Stop talking and listen.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
EBQ is in the services business. That’s a lot different than the product business. When selling products, you need a pretty good understanding of the offering and its applications. With services, we really need to approach them as true sales and marketing consultants. We listen to the pain points and make more holistic diagnoses when prescribing our services and creating timelines that match customers’ needs and pains.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Develop a DVR that records a program until the end of the program, not when it times out. I can’t tell you how many times sporting events have stopped being recorded due to games going into overtime, rain delays, or other circumstances. It’s really frustrating.
Tell us something about you that very few people know.
I grew up in Michigan, and between gigs one summer, I rode my bicycle from Austin, Tex. to Bay City, Mich., to attend a family reunion.
What are your three favorite online tools, software or resources and what do you love about them?
LinkedIn has help me find and close 50 percent of my business. I use it every day. Shazam is great for identifying songs, artists, and the years songs were released. YouTube is helpful to visually learn how to do just about anything without picking up a book.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I have not read an actual book that I would recommend in a long time. I think “Crossing the Chasm” is still one of my favorites, as buying patterns of high-tech enterprise software and SaaS offerings have not significantly changed. You still have to find those early adopters before you can get to the masses, and you still can step in it. That book keeps you from cutting corners.
What did you have for breakfast today?
I had fresh raspberries with Greek yogurt, a couple of potstickers, and a V8 juice.
Please list how readers can connect with you:
EBQ on Twitter: @ebquickstart
EBQ on Facebook:
John on LinkedIn:
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.