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A New Strategy, from SMB to Large Market

Mary Grothe July 6 2021

 

Meet Guest, Paige Goss

Paige Goss is a dynamic executive with an extensive background in growing technology professional services organizations. Paige’s career highlights her ability to build and scale companies from the ground up. She has experience not only in leading multi-million-dollar operations, but in starting operations, human resource, finance, and technology departments from scratch. Paige brings a breadth of experience in enterprise operations as well as federal government contracting. She is qualified to serve on strategy, compensation, and risk committees based on her background in security-based consulting and human resources.

Don't Have Time to Listen, Read The Full Transcription.

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Mary Grothe: 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.

We talk about scaling companies on this show. Today we've brought on Paige Goss, and she's a powerhouse. She started her company point solutions group in 2017. It's a remarkable story because she moved out to Colorado and didn't know anyone with no network or friends. She had a massive dream and hustle in her heart. She had babies on the way, and she knew that she had to give it everything, put her head down, grow a company. She did three years, eight and a half million in revenue, went through an acquisition recently. She acquired a company now with combined revenues of 11 million. She's looking forward to saying, "Gosh, we could just sit here and be comfortable." I mean, how many people would love to be sitting with a successful, profitable, strong reputation, $10, $11 million company, but she's looking forward to saying, "We're going from here. There's something beyond this. So how do we take it to the next level?" We'll talk about that today. Thanks for joining us, Paige.

Paige Goss: Thank You so much for having me. It's a pleasure. I just admire you, what you've done with your organization, and I hope to continue scaling mine.

Mary Grothe: Well, you will, because I know you and some people just do. Give us the story of the company and what you do? Who do you serve? I know people want to know what Point Solutions Group is.

Paige Goss: Sure. So we're a technology and integration professional services company. So most of the work that we do is around infrastructure, support, security, best practices. We do a lot on the commercial side. We also have a side of our business that supports the federal government. A decent amount of the work we do there is within the Intel community. Then also within the department of defense. So we're tech experts, and the acquisition actually was a pretty big move for us. We did it because we found that when we were delivering on full service, full-scale technology projects, and programs, it's great to have that project program oversight. That's what the organization did that we recently acquired. So now this gives us just a much bigger capability, a larger group to larger customers. It gives us a quality oversight that we didn't have previously. So we're really excited and, you know, scales in our future. This was our big first move.

Mary Grothe: Yeah, the strategic acquisition is sometimes you can go out and just find a company that does almost identical to what you do. Therefore, when you acquire them, you're doubling your book of business overnight potentially. Then more of a strategic acquisition. You find somebody who has complementary services that will help you augment what you're doing. That type of strategic acquisition at this stage of the game, I think, was paramount to saying, how do we round out to what we are doing and make sure that what we're delivering is pristine? You shared with me that the challenge you're looking at going forward is breaking into larger companies. What I think about is a lot of companies who have that goal will try to go upmarket without having the right product or service set. This is something that's been brought to us multiple times.

We've had clients who say we've done well in the small to medium-sized business space. We want to go upmarket or into an enterprise, and they want to take the same tools in their tool bag and serve a different market. It's like, that's not how it works. Yes. Now that you have this acquisition complete, you have the dynamic team that you need. You have the full, well-rounded offering to have the project management project delivery and all-encompassing for that. You know who you serve now. Describe the type of client you have - the company's size, really what you're solving for them, and then let's talk about going upmarket.

Paige Goss: Yeah. So right now, I would call us kind of the smaller mid-market. A lot of what we do is current state to future state assessments. A lot of our clients, whether they're software companies or software as a service firm, do a lot of work in oil and gas. We did a lot of work in what I would consider kind of mid-market organizations that have a technology department. They are also scaling up from a customer base they're trying to grow. A lot of times, they need better security best, best practices. They need better security posture. They need a better infrastructure to scale.

Often, they're trying to make these large changes, and they don't have the skillsets internally, nor do they have the areas of expertise they need. So we go in and help them understand where they're at and where they're going. Then once we figure that out, once we build a sort of what I would call a plan designed, develop around where they're trying to go. We support that. We do this assessment, and then we also implement whatever technology we're trying to do.

Mary Grothe: Yeah. This is a huge blessing because they probably would have done it by now if they could do it themselves. When they're trying to go to that next level, they don't have the talent internally. One thing I've learned about it is the backlog of projects. It's tremendous. It is. So now you're going to bring a new initiative forth. Whether they want it in, they're paying for it. They want the plan, the chances that they're going to have the ability to execute themselves, it's just, it's not going to happen. All right. So how do you believe the larger companies differ from this? If you're going upmarket and want to break into larger companies, is it the same, just on a bigger scale, or is there a different set of challenges you see in a larger company?

Paige Goss: I think it's a combination of the two, so you can get sort of scale with what we do. But then you also get bigger, just bigger initiatives. So, for example, eight ERP systems. If you were going to do an ERP change at a small mid-market, it might take a team of four to five. Let's say what a large organization you're going to need a team of. I don't know, 15 to 20 people, different levels of expertise to levels of experience. That's really where it is.

It starts to change is that the scale in which you're operating becomes very different. So you need people that have larger market experience. You need a talent working at that level to present at a much larger scale, writing RFP responses, or starting to get into doing presentations in the small to mid-market. You don't normally get into a presentation type of sales process. That's really, for us, kind of the next level, having a sales team that we're starting to create and grow that has sold at that level. It's just different confidence I think you need. It's certainly the ability to speak to a prior experience that when I first launched the company, we just didn't have the background, talent, and expertise we needed.

Mary Grothe: Typically, when you're selling to a larger company, you're going against bigger name providers that do have all of that. They have the RFP team. They have a very expensive, very talented sales team with deep connections and very well networked. They have a massive delivery team that they can deploy and could be all over the country, all over the globe. They have access to talent that can be deployed at a rate where you may have to staff up or find those people, depending on the size of a project as you scale. So there are some differences in some challenges.

My recommendation number one always is, do you have the product and service one to sell number two, do you know how to price it? That's something that I learned in my sales days in selling payroll and HR services in the mid-market. I was having to discount some deals. I mean, 20, 30, 40% to win or wave set up fees in these strongly negotiated deals.

I hated discounting and but then I went to sell my first multi-thousand employee deal. I'm going against a different competitor that plays in the upmarket and is close to the enterprise. Their implementation fee was six figures, so my implementation fee at full price was only, I don't know, $24, $25,000. They looked at the variance number puzzles and said, what's wrong with your service? A strategy that many companies forget to even look at is how do you compete? If you're going head to head, you have to have something in the same ballpark in the same region because if you're so different, it will look strange.

So step one, you got to have the product and service defined for a larger market because it's not typically the same for smaller, medium-sized companies. Number two, you have to run a new competitive landscape. Who are you competing against? What story do they tell? You can get information available on the internet. You can do primary research and hire firms to do it, but you need to uncover what they claim is how they solve problems and who they serve. And it's adopting some similar language, what I've noticed in RFP responses.

Also, with sales presentations or pitches, if you will, if the two companies are saying things that are so widely different from each other, then it's confusing to the prospect. So there's actually a there's power in similarity. So it resonates. And then finding a few key differentiating factors that will be meaningful to that type of buyer. The next step I would recommend is interviewing that type of buyer, going to your immediate network, find your ideal buyer within one of these new ideal company profiles in this larger market.

Find somebody, you know, sit down with them, interview them, and have a conversation about what you want to identify. Do they have problems and pain sets that are different from your typical client? Do they speak a different language? Do they have different priorities? What is the decision team look like? The decision team is way different with larger Binny's than it is in smaller companies. It's looking at mapping out the decision process. How do these larger upmarket or enterprise companies make decisions? You have a potential RFP in step one. You're a women-owned business, correct? So that helps because a lot of these larger companies have to diversify where funds are being spent. Do I have that right?

Therefore you have a potential leg up, which is great in the conversation, but then it's back because you can't give them cause for concern. Then you're looking at building case studies, too. You've got to tap into the work that you have done. Find companies as close to these larger companies, build a brilliant case study around it, make sure that the company is referenceable and available to have a conversation with your prospect. They can also go further down in the process points of concession.

Sometimes it just takes getting the first big deal, or the second, or third big deal. The first few, and there can be offering a point of concession. Knowing that you don't have potentially a long track record of working in the enterprise space, "Hey, Mr. Prospect, we understand it's between us and fill in the blank, big-name consulting firm. We would be honored if you chose to work with us. I understand that there are perceived risks because we're more of an unknown quantity. We may not have the track record as this other client. Here's what we are able to do." What would take some of the risks out of the situation for you to and be able to say yes to this structure, some sort of deal?"

When we look at a price concession, it could be other negotiated terms that could be on contract links. It could be there a freebie of some sort too, as part of the project, something you would typically charge more for that. You may not. It doesn't always have to be around money. It could be other facets of that, but it's getting into the negotiation to just get the first few.

The last part is I would, as part of that interview with your ideal buyer is I would go back to marketing basics, create a home for them on your website, create a whole section for the work that you do in the enterprise, build a pillar page with topic clusters, an entire content strategy, and white papers case study. Download. You have to you, I read this. I know on Instagram the other day about manifestation. It's you have to believe you're already there before you can get there. People are trying to do anything in their lives, lose weight, make more money, and find a spouse. If you imagine yourself already there and can create that vision and take some time in belief and shift and be in that moment, that's how you start because you have to believe it first. That's how you start working towards that path when it's really built in your subconscious, but the same would go here.

Don't make it confusing for your prospect. Don't give them on served on a platter, potential objections. Well, you know, I did some research, and I didn't see anything on your website. It's like, well, fricking facepalm with the sales team that you're looking at, building pulling in people who have experience in this, whereas your firm may not have those great case studies. You may have access to a team member who does absolutely, and it's leveraging that and pulling stories from people and building out the materials. So talk to me about what of those, your page? So you might say, "Great, Mary. I've already done all. I need it." No, but what if that resonates with you as far as being able to implement or what you've already done?

Paige Goss: Well, I think it's really actually reassuring that we have started down that path, right? Having someone like yourself that's done this multiple times. So the case studies, understanding the reference, needs of those larger organizations is critical. I think we've done a pretty good job of building a library of experiences and a kind of a catalog, if you will, of the things we've done and something we're doing. I think that's really been the largest component of what we're trying to do. We recently just went through our offerings, and we did separate out a small to mid-market offering. Then to what I would consider larger or enterprise market offerings, we actually have some of our materials to give to these organizations.

I think the other thing that really resonated with me was it was talking to larger clients. It's interesting that when you start to think about going upmarket, you look at your own network. What is my network made of? Is it made of the clients we're going to try to go after, or are the current clients? I have not done a great job of leveling up my own network, and where that I think will be really powerful. So that's great.

I think the point is to go find an ideal client and talk to them about what we need to do? How is it different? What's the first foot in the door? Because I think probably like yourself, I'm pretty confident that if we do get our foot in the door, we're going to do amazing work.

We're going to expand the work that we do. I think that's the biggest thing with these larger organizations that once we're in, there's so much more opportunity to expand, right. Additional services, different departments, and things that really are critical for organizations of that size that we can ultimately service.

Then, you know, I think from my side, I started to realize that we do have the right team and we've put in, recently we've, we've added a director to our commercial, offering. We have a director on our federal side. We have also brought on a senior salesperson who has experience selling into these much larger organizations. I think between her and me, we're primed for success. Interviewing a client is brilliant. I took a mental note, and that will be on my to-do over the next few weeks.

Mary Grothe: A lot of people miss that. It's land and expands opportunity within larger clients. When you're profiling a small business account or medium-sized company, you're targeting an IT department. Still, you want to talk to executives as well. You need to understand the technology initiatives, what they're driving forth in the organization, how that impacts internal and external stakeholders. When you start working in the enterprise, you realize that same conversation that impacted the whole company. It may only be impacting a division, a group, a sub-division, or a division.

Paige Goss: Absolutely. The decision-makers are different, and there's a lot more of them. In the end, you know, areas that we would, we would do one assessment, it would cover five or six different areas of the company. Now that's one assessment for one subset of the organization. To your point, it's very different.

The conversations at the end of the day are very much the same, right? In that, you want to have your information technology work as a benefit to you, not just as a cost. If organizations look at security, infrastructure, and transitions as a revenue generator versus a cost, it's an entirely different ballgame. They tend to do really well within their customer base as well.

Mary Grothe: Yes, and they should hopefully be looking at them as a revenue generator getting the mindset out of it. This isn't costing the company money versus how does it make us money? It's helping them realize the revenue that they're missing out on. So if it's a tool that you're helping create from scratch, if it's moving to a platform that they can buy and then further customize. Or if it's ERP, internal or external, if it's hitting customers, if it's about the client experience.

For example, we've seen how many medical companies that are chance forming user experiences. I know we took my son in for a dental procedure. He had to go under, so we went through the children's hospital and the online experience with my chart or whatnot. I can't imagine what it was like before having that type of experience. I know now that as consumers, we have a choice and where we're going to get certain medical procedures done in the doctors we're working with.

So you think about how technology shouldn't be viewed as a cost of the organization. Yes. There will be a cost to it, but what are you missing out on? How can it bring in future revenue and make you money, which is a huge component? I'm sure you do a lot of work in that area, and helping them understand it's got to be a huge part of what you do. Yeah. Their education and awareness with the buyer that you're looking at in the larger market. There's from a marketing perspective, we're still noticing.

We've had people ask us the biggest difference between prospecting in a smaller company versus a larger company. Typically, they're gated. They're much more heavily gated. You're not going to be talking to a CEO of DaVita and just calling them on their phone and being like hey...

Paige Goss: That would be awesome. If we could do that.

Mary Grothe: There are a few layers to get to that person. What we think about is, though, that they are still human beings, and they're still a buyer. A lot of salespeople or anybody, a CEO, executive, anybody that's tasked with business development and augmenting their network. Sometimes they have this fear or this thought like, "Oh, no, those are the untouchables." It's Kaiser, it's Devita, it's Comcast, It's Dish network. These huge companies. We suddenly have a fear mindset that comes in and thinks, "Oh man, will they work with a huge firm, ABC consulting nationwide global firm. There's no way."

You got to remove all that. They're human beings. You're a human being. They have a need. You have a great service. It's just taking down the mental barriers and having that courage and confidence to start that conversation.

One, it needs to start with marketing because that human being is a buyer. When they have questions, where do they go to look up the answers? They go to the internet, and you can own keywords that your big competitors don't. If you find a niche, an industry, a size company, a current market trigger or event, something that is available to rank for, even if it's more of a long-tail key phrase, versus just trying to keyword stuff on your website and rank for highly competitive high volume keywords that you'll never rank for. So find what those people actually want.

That's a piece to pull out of that interview, to realize that before you or your salesperson can expand networking, go have the conversations that buyer might actually just be looking for an answer on the internet. What are you doing to be present in front of that? There are ways to do that without having a million-dollar ad spend budget for those huge keywords. It's being smart in all areas and making sure that your marketing and sales effort truly fits with an enterprise.

You can do more of an account-based marketing, ABM, and account-based sales abs structure here to ensure that you're aligned on that piece. Anyway, that's probably more for our listeners hearing that because I just feel like they have these big initiatives, and they totally miss out.

Paige Goss: It's right in front of you. It's there for the taking if you take the time to actually think about it. You made a really great point because, of course, you did your Mary Grothe about, you know, asking these really pointed questions to your mining clients. What did you look for? What made you finally decide to work with us? We're doing a Greenfield build, which is basically ground up for a large aerospace company right now. I finally just asked our project sponsor, what made you choose us? What was it? Part of it was what we recommended.

The biggest factor was we had a full-day strategy session before we got started. I asked all the questions that nobody else in the room wanted to ask. We're ones that actually made my potential client at the time uncomfortable, but we needed to get them addressed. I knew that. Your point about asking people what you are searching for when, when you don't know, where do you go? What are you actually putting in Google if you are searching? I think that's absolutely brilliant and will give us a really good sense of what we need to go after.

Mary Grothe: I love asking these questions because then you can start to identify why your buyers buy, and then if you like that kind of client and they really match that profile, you write pieces about that, the questions, you're IT consulting firm. I just threw that out as a generic, isn't asking, or aren't asking you and what you can come up with these super catchy headlines, write a full piece on it, and have an amazing gated piece of content, a lead magnet on the site. That is what you should be looking for to find ways to attract more of those buyers. As always, we always feel like we need 10 times the time that we are allotted here. So page people want to learn more. How do they connect with you? Where do they find you?

Paige Goss: Yeah. Mary, thank you again for having me. You're just fantastic at what you do. So we can obviously on, on our website, it's www dot point solutions, U s.com. we also have a company LinkedIn page myself, on LinkedIn and it's P-A-I-G-E last name G-O-S-S

Mary Grothe: Paige, I'm so thankful that you joined us today. This is exciting that we have powerhouse women CEOs. We do exist, and we are the minority.

Paige Goss: We're working on it and trying to bring everybody else along with us.

Mary Grothe: That's exactly right. Well, congratulations to you for all the success that you've had. I cannot wait to see where you go. I hope you found some of these nuggets useful for our audience today in tapping into larger market opportunities.

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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.

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