I'm here to make a difference for my clients and my colleagues. I take pride in my work, and I'm passionate about leveraging technology to improve business. This is why I started Denver Women in Tech (DWIT), and why I'm a proud member of the AppIt Ventures team.
If you have questions about your technology stack/project/vision, give me a call, and I would be happy to have a candid conversation with you about what you're working on. If I'm not a fit to help you in our current capacity, I'll point you in the right direction.
Mary Grothe (00:00):
Welcome to the House of Revenue. I'm Mary Grothe, Founder and CEO. I love scaling companies to their first 5 million, then 10, 15, and 20. If you've reached a revenue plateau and aren't sure how to get past it, you're in the right place. Listen in as we interview CEOs and solve their most pressing revenue challenges. If you want to be on our show or want to learn more connect with us at houseofrevenue.com. It's such a joy that I get to sit across from some of the most talented and impressive CEOs that I've ever had the pleasure of working with and getting to know, and today's very special. A fellow female CEO with a similar background to me is joining us today and she has quite a remarkable story. Amanda Moriuchi is the CEO of AppIt Ventures. And she'll tell the story of how she came into ownership of this company and what she has done over the past three years is quite impressive. In fact, so impressive that she was recently nominated for Apex Awards CEO of the Year by Colorado Technology Association. We are so proud to have her in our pre-call for the show today, we talked about some revenue challenges that she's facing. We're going to be speaking about shifting digital strategies, digital marketing strategies, and how that shifts your outbound sales prospecting strategy to ensure that the two are working together. Additionally, both Amanda and I come from a sales background. We love the sales profession. We have broken records in our sales years. We are competitive and we know how to sell past all the competition. However, both of us being sales minded CEOs now have a responsibility that we can't be that hungry, crazy competitive CEO because we have the delivery side to keep in mind and the operational side of the house. And when she brought these two topics to me today, I think the listeners are going to enjoy this first with the digital marketing shift in outbound sales prospecting and what that looks like. And then secondly, how do you take when you're so strong on the sales growth-oriented front in not impact operations, and if your pendulum swings too far the other way, do you lose some of that competitive steam for growth and really where's the fine line. Welcome to the show, Amanda.
Amanda Moriuchi (02:50):
Thanks so much, Mary. I'm really excited to be here.
Mary Grothe (02:53):
Well, the listeners need to hear your story. So walk us through the parts that you don't mind hundreds of people hearing.
Amanda Moriuchi (03:00):
Well. I used to joke that being a salesperson is a disease that you're born with. And, I certainly had that. My first job was when I was 13 years old, I went and worked in the stock room at Crate & Barrel, and I just loved talking with the associates there. I just thought it was so cool that these people could interact with real customers and seeing, especially during Christmas time, just the energy and the excitement, at least from the customers. Knowing what I know now, I'm sure those retail associates were exhausted, but you know, I think from a very young age, sales was a big part of my life. My dad was a salesperson, one of the best that I've ever seen. And, I think, from him, I really learned that, even the best salespeople, one out of 10 people are going to end up being your customer. And that's not your job necessarily to worry about conversion. It's your job to think about leaving that person, every person you speak with in a better place than when you found them. And I really internalized that ethos and carried that through my career. And I do think that's how I ended up where I am today. And so at AppIt specifically, the company opened in 2012, and AppIt was a strategic partner of mine when I was working for another custom software house. And really, it was an amazing thing to watch this company grow. When you know, the iPhone became a thing and entrepreneurs started getting excited and coming up with app ideas, it was amazing to see AppIt positioned to serve those customers. And then in 2017, the founder of the company, he built an incredible, product based on artificial intelligence. And he was ready to go that product route and asked me to come in and take over the operations of the business. So I joined in an official capacity in 2017 as VP of Sales. And then, four months before I had my first baby, I was promoted to CEO. And so I have a lot to share on the privileges and burdens of running a business and a family at the same time. But, then in the summer of 2019, I purchased majority share of the business and really haven't looked back since. And so for those entrepreneurs out there that are doing everything they can to scrape pennies together and fundraise and taking second mortgages out on your house and eating ramen and going years without a paycheck. I see you and the path is winding, but it's incredible. It's an incredible privilege and opportunity and just stick with it.
Mary Grothe (05:54):
It's such a great story. And that's when you and I first met. Yes, that was in the summer of 2019, it was brave, bold, a young mom and jeez, the collective side. It was a lot all at once, but your risk has paid off. And I know you really bet on yourself and it was a smart, smart move. You lead with such heart and integrity with your team, the amount of love and respect that you have for the people that say yes to working for you every day. And the remarkable work that you do for your clients. I know hands down, that's why you succeed. And other companies employ talent. They probably produce a great product just like you, but at the end of the day, if you don't have that core unshakable foundation internally, and you're serving each other first, if you're not doing that, how can you serve the client, the client experience won't be great. And the company will scramble with unfortunately employees leaving and turnover and lack of retention with clients. So the investment that you've made internally will go a long way. So hats off to you for being one of those CEOs that we should all be looking up to and congrats on the growth. So let's talk about who you serve. I want to hear about your ideal client profile, and then let's talk about the shift with digital marketing and outbound sales prospecting and see what we can solve for.
Amanda Moriuchi (07:27):
Great. We've actually shifted our client profile just recently. AppIt's foundation was built on serving entrepreneurs and especially in 2020 we saw the entrepreneurial spirit and small business keep our community afloat and we will never stop supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses. For 2021, we really have gotten clear on our three industries that we're after are Healthcare, business services and industrial in the field services as well. So, a good example of a pretty basic project that we really like to take on are if we have clients that are running their business operations on an Excel spreadsheet and you've really grown out of that Excel spreadsheet and you're testing the capabilities of what that tool can do. We are really good at taking that and applying smart technology, building that into a web-based application.
Amanda Moriuchi (08:35):
Another example would be if you have employees in the field where you're needing to track tasks, and a lot of times, historically that's been done with pen and paper, or if you need to order parts, or if you're out somewhere where you have low connectivity and you really need to remain connected with whatever task you're carrying out in the field. We really like to use the latest of mobile technology to, to apply that. And then in healthcare, you know, we just, there's so much low hanging fruit and things that we can do to cause pretty significant impact really on the provider side. So, patient facing applications, helping patients get more clarity on their bill and services and scheduling appointments and connecting with their doctor. You know, I think that's another thing we saw in 2020 where a need, I think was always there. It just floated to the top and a little bit more, clarity. And so we're going to continue to do that good work and what I'm after is taking something that's been broken and costing money and fixing it and bringing about a return on investment. So that's what I'm after.
Mary Grothe (09:38):
I love the definition of these three industries. I'm the salesperson and me and marketer in me, I'm converting what you just shared as mostly gains, and I'm turning it upside down to say, well, then what problems are you solving? And what's the impact of that. When we look at the core of any great marketing or sales strategy, it's written in the language of each of those buyers, it's specific to the problems that they're currently experiencing in their day in the life. And it should give them one alignment and a sense of comfort that you get them from there. When you have the foundational basis established that you are emotionally connecting with their problems and that you might be a solution. They then as the buyer can make the decision to engage with you through the funnel and through the process. What we've seen over the last five years or so is this rise in inbound marketing and the inbound marketing methodology was heavily reliant on content.
And the strategy requires an opt-in. The opt-in is behind gated content. Gated content is typically called a lead magnet, which sits on your website. You'll notice if you go to a company's website and it says, Hey, download our white paper or download this ebook or download this template, gain access to this case study, you have to put in a name and an email address to access that. That's the opt-in. And I heard it said recently that inbound marketing is really just a cheap way of getting an email address so that you can spam somebody and email marketing we're noticing open rates, click through rates, conversion rates, decreasing. Therefore the digital marketing strategy must be diversified, but then you ask, well, how does that work in correlation with an outbound sales strategy? And is there a better way to prospect without also spamming? And this is something that has come up multiple times in conversations with our work. And I want to throw this idea out, and then you tell me what you think, have you dabbled in or worked in account-based marketing or account-based sales at all?
Amanda Moriuchi (12:12):
It's so funny, you asked that Mary, because we really were trying to get something like that off the ground. And you know, just a moment of vulnerability here. I have to say, this is coming from a salesperson, right? I mean, I am hardcore sales trained, like give me a phone, I'll call some people. And I feel a little bit like it's a betrayal to my craft to say cold calling doesn't work. And so then I'm like, all right, well, we're going to generate some energy. We're going to generate some activity. Let's go account based marketing and, you know, use all the buzzwords. We need to make sure marketing and sales are aligned and they're saying the same thing, right? So we go and we do the workshop and we build our lists and we come up with the messaging and marketing's on board and sales is on board. And then we go to push the button right? And I'm like, ah, I don't want to send out the email drip campaign because I get those email drip campaigns. And I have this fear of damaging my brand. Even if I take the account-based marketing approach, I don't want somebody to feel like I'm trying to pitch them on something without, without really trying to get at the core and any good salesperson knows no pain, no sale. Right. And so I don't know if it's maybe just head trash for me or a fear of damaging my brand or maybe I just don't have clear alignment on messaging related to pain points so I can have that discovery conversation. And so the answer is, yes, we've explored it, but no, we haven't pulled the trigger and I'm having an existential crisis because I'm the CEO and I'm a revenue driver. So what's the problem.
Mary Grothe (14:04):
Hey, look, we're in the same exact boat. And both of us drive business for our companies. ABM can be done in a very professional tactful way that doesn't feel like email spamming. Here's what we have identified in the last six months or so, that has worked swimmingly well, less is more, no pitches, no value props, no case studies, no long-winded emails, nothing canned, all personalized. One of the beautiful pieces of technology. We're a HubSpot agency partner. We're heavily reliant on it. The automation and customization has beautiful marketing and sales and customer success can all coexist on one platform and marketing and sales alignment can actually happen when you're in the exact same tool. Seeing the exact same information in a shared cadence where everybody has their part. I like you. I get emailed and spammed all the time. In fact, just recently, what had happened? Because I am on everybody's mailing lists within the last two weeks. I don't know what has happened anyway. Okay. So let's talk about ABM. Here's what we have identified is that the list needs to be built based on the ICP. So bear with me here. The ICP is ideal customer profile. It could be a 2000 employee healthcare company privately owned, not part of Kaiser or Centura or one of the big guys. And it's privately owned healthcare group. They potentially have multiple locations. They offer multiple services because they maybe have grown through acquisition. There could be multiple different types of EMR systems internally. They potentially have some locations that are working on a different process and another location. It hasn't been streamlined all the way through. It's not consistent. You have a patient who needs to have, because patients have a choice on who they go to. We have to look at how does this 2000 employee private healthcare practice with multiple locations? How do they make money? Will they make money based on performing services? How do they perform? Who gets those services patients? How do patients find out about that company? And they have choice. So what's going to help them get more patients? Well, one excellence in care is going to be top priority, transparency and costs and understanding what the service and if it's more than a different provider, why and ease in their whole experience. So user experience on the website or any technology tools, or when they call in and speak with somebody, it's about ease of scheduling, ease of reminders, being able to change appointments, look at lab test results, et cetera. So think about that experience as a patient, the healthcare company has to provide that. So if you dissect the healthcare company, who's your ICP into buyer personas. If it's a 2000 employee healthcare, you may have 20 different people that care about solving this problem that are high enough up, that they can drive an initiative. So you identify the 20 people, those are your buyer personas, and you start segmenting them by title and you understand what they're responsible for and why this problem matters to them. Then you build through like a HubSpot or any other automation tool. You build communication specifically written in the language to that buyer persona. And you have it templatized, but later for customization, then your marketing and sales team, let's say you have a list of 500 of these healthcare companies across the country. I'm going to reduce that. So you have a hundred of these across the country that isn't my specialty, sales is, and you have 20 contacts per 100 companies. So you have 2000. Did I get that right? Contacts? She's got a big smile, 2000 contacts. And because they fall into a different category, they all have a language pre-written of what they care about. Then you can build through your digital strategy, a landing page specific to each of those 20, the landing page would be the head of patient care for this size company or whatever the title is. And it's written, it's a landing page and it's not gated because if you use a tool like HubSpot, when you import the list of contacts and they go to the website, you know, you get notified immediately when Sally, John goes to the website, whether you capture an email address or what you already have it. So one is obtaining the list, importing it. Then you have a landing page that's 100% written in Sally's language, only what she cares about. Then you can have ungated case studies because it's not a public page. It's a landing page driven specific with a URL. So it's more like a private link. And then you have calls to action for her. You have ways for her to, you know, maybe it's to download a questionnaire or it's to do like a checklist or there's a quiz on there, or a contact us for whatever it might be. Something that she cares about and to taking the next step in the conversation or content specific, maybe it's four or five pieces, key cornerstone pieces written to educate her and help her as a DIY-er to try to solve the problem that she can engage in the content to get her to go to that landing page. You can do a myriad of things. One through LinkedIn, you can have targeted ads that can take that landing page to that specific title to those companies with that, that you could drive, or you could have it as an ad or a sponsored InMail you can do through different types of PPC and other paid media. You can get targeted. LinkedIn ads though, are amazing for getting that specific to the title and on the other ICP components, then you have the sales person who connects without sending a message, but connects with that person and then has an opportunity once the connection is in place to create a conversation without pitching, but ultimately the hope would be if they connected, they would just read the profile and then be intrigued. And then we look at other components of marketing. So on the main website, you would create pillar pages for each of those buyer personas. And so it's a spider web of content, but you for driving SEO and organic search to those specific problems that you solve for that buyer, because Google will notice when that head of patient services goes and Googles a long tail key phrase to solve that problem based on your domain authority and your other, ability to rank for content, they should be driving them to that page. So they're intersecting when they're in the awareness stage to do that, then you can track all this behavior. So when Sally goes and does a few actions, looks at the LinkedIn profile views, the landing page and whatnot, then you know, Hey, she's engaged. And that's when the salesperson has a conversation. The last thing I'll say on this, because I know we're going to run out of time. Here is the initial outreach email should never be more than one question, Sally, are you the one responsible for the patient experience? Send the email. Not my name is, and this is my company and this is what we do. Just, are you the one responsible for patient experience then in your email signature, the URL would be the specific landing page that you want Sally to go to, not the generic company website, none of these pieces, that's account-based marketing, coupled with sales. And then sales is only then calling people who have interacted with the site or content or anything. And then the drip from there is super short and sweet and simple. It could be just the link to the landing page. Hey Sally, we worked with another head of patient services at film, blink healthcare enterprises. If you care to read more about their story and how it impacted patient, whatever, by this or solve this problem, read this, but short, like three sentences, max three lines, and to do a drip. That's just so meaningful to Sally. That's an example. We can dig into that a lot deeper again, we, I want your feedback on that, but we promised our listeners that we would talk about the second component. So, I just want to save a couple minutes for that, but I'd love to hear your feedback on that. Well,
Amanda Moriuchi (22:41):
Certainly light bulbs are going off here and you address one of my bigger pain points, Mary, which is especially, recently we've gotten just a total shift in the digital marketing landscape. And you know, I think you and I both know that sales is a slight edge business. And so just tweaking a couple of things will make a big difference. So this concept of including the hyperlink to the landing page and the signature, instead of just to our general site, that's a game-changer and targeted LinkedIn advertising. Another thing that we had considered, but certainly something we need to explore more deeply, but this concept of just surrounding the client in a non-threatening non-spammy way, it gives me the confidence that take some next steps for sure.
Mary Grothe (23:30):
Well, and now I'm really encouraged as I have a whole blog, I want to write.
Amanda Moriuchi (23:36):
Do it and send it to me please.
Mary Grothe (23:38):
You got it. Well, let's spend, just the last couple minutes of our show, talking about the pendulum swing from being that fast scaling companies. So I did that. We scaled rapidly in our second year, we did it without grace and we made some mistakes. We had lack of infrastructure. We were hiring anybody who said they could do the job because we get so much business coming in that delivery suffered and it was not good. I know that with you, you've been such a high performer in revenue generation sales specifically. And then you said, Oh, wait, if we drive too much in sales, we're going to suffer on the delivery component. So you put your head down, you made that delivery component, absolutely pristine. And now you're sitting here saying, did my pendulum swing too far the other way? And now am I too cautious about setting these sales goals? My response to that is make it a data-driven decision. Don't go based on gut with this because opinions are valuable, but data is priceless. If you set the next revenue tier marker to go from two to 3 million next year, and you divide by your average revenue per sale, your close rate in the activity, you know, you can produce, and the numbers are telling you what the capacity with your team and those numbers in the funnel that you could do more than set it higher, but take the pressure off of you emotionally and put it in the numbers and what the numbers say. That's far more reliable than anything else you could put together. Short answer on that. We've got a wrap up. Please tell our audience how they can connect with you.
Amanda Moriuchi (25:11):
Awesome. Thanks Mary. So you guys can find me on LinkedIn Amanda Moriuchi, or you can always find us on our website appitventures.com.
Mary Grothe (25:20):
And you should reach out to her. She's a remarkable human being. All right, well, we're wrapping up for today. I'm so glad that you listened in and that blog will be coming out. I will title it something about the shift in digital marketing and how that affects prospecting.
Thanks for listening to today's episode. If you're interested in being on our show or want to learn more about how we can help you scale your company, connect with us at houseofrevenue.com or with me Mary Grothe, spelled G R O T H E on LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram.
To be considered, you must be a CEO between $2M - $20M in revenue who is experiencing a revenue plateau or some form of revenue challenge and are willing to troubleshoot and discuss those challenges on-air with Mary Grothe. We will honor certain elements of confidentiality that you prefer to remain private. You must be able to record with Mary on a Tuesday, at 10 am, at 710 KNUS 3131 S. Vaughn Way Aurora, CO 80014. The show airs weekly on Sunday mornings, at 8 am MT.