Episode 106 – How A Founder Optimized Scarce Sales Resources by Narrowing A Generic Market from 4,000 Prospects to A Focused Market of 39 – Member Case by Jay Mitchell

It is harder to sell a service than it is to sell a product. But the more you know about your client, the easier it is to market and sell your service. The better you understand them, the better you can serve them. On this episode, Jay Mitchell, President & Founder of Mereo LLC, shares how his team built their Ideal Client Profile and the results of this highly targeted approach.


Greg Alexander [00:00:15] Welcome to the Pro Serve podcast with Collective 54, podcasts with founders and leaders of boutique professional services firms. For those that are not familiar with us, Collective 54 is the first mastermind community dedicated entirely and exclusively to the boutique pro serve segment. And for those that want to grow, scale and maybe someday sell their firms. My name is Greg Alexander and I’m the lucky guy to lead this group. I’m the founder of Collective 54 and I’ll be your host today. And on today’s episode, we’re going to talk about creating the ideal client profile. Now, before you roll your eyes in the back of the head and hit delete and say, I already got one of those, I’m going to challenge you because everybody says they have one, but the ones they have aren’t very good. They’re not kept up to date. And your ideal client profile changes all the time. So this is something that you have to keep top of mind. So it’s a good refresher. And then back to the basics fundamental episode. And we’re really lucky today. We’ve got a role model, role model, a member, Jay Mitchell. And Jay is does this better than most. And he’s going to drop his wisdom on us on how to pull this off and how to keep this thing current and use it and your pursuit of growing, scaling and selling your firm. So, Jay, it’s great to see you. Thanks for being here. And please introduce yourself to the audience. 

Jay Mitchell [00:01:34] Thanks, Greg. Good to see you as well. I appreciate the introduction. As you said, I am a member of Collective 54 and had the opportunity to do that for the last two years. It’ll be two years actually later this month. So it’s been a fun ride and I’ve learned a lot from you and some of the other members. I started my firm Mario back in 2007, having led sales and marketing teams for mostly technology, but some service companies for about 15 years prior to that and just had an opportunity to jump in here and and help a bunch of other companies through a consultative approach as opposed to doing it as an employee approach. And so then a really fun ride and and I learned a lot along the way. It’s been fun. 

Greg Alexander [00:02:16] And Jay, what’s a typical type of client that you serve and what’s the service you provide that client? 

Jay Mitchell [00:02:23] So for companies that are wrestling with different aspects or that go to market, they’re not getting the win rates they want to get. They’re not seeing the the deal velocity that they want to get. The average deal size is not large enough. We come in and provide a suite of revenue performance services and those will end up being things like ideal client profiles and who do you go after and what’s the value proposition and the value messaging that you would use that also lots of times incorporate sales methodologies and sales process. You know, the different aspects of go to market are at the heart of that. A lot of that Greg ends up being what’s a lot at the intersection of the sales product and marketing triangle there. And so you’ll see things like product marketing or sales enablement might be program leaders for our engagements. 

Greg Alexander [00:03:11] Okay, fantastic. So the ideal client profile, so our audience as you know, because, because you’re a member, they’re founders, co-founders, senior leaders of boutique crossover firms, which means they don’t sell a product, they sell a service. And it means that they really have to get tight on who their ideal client is, because as a boutique, we can fall victim to saying, Well, everybody could be a client. You know, if you think about the way that you just described your services, I mean, who doesn’t want to improve their win rates? But if you try to go after everybody, you’re not going to be very successful. And getting super tight on who you want to serve is really important. Yet for some reason, our members pencil whip this from time to time and for the life of me, I can understand. I absolutely could not. I can’t get why people would do this, so let’s start there. Why do you think the ideal client profile is not treated with the respect that it needs to be inside of a small service firm? 

Jay Mitchell [00:04:13] I think, frankly, whether it’s a large organization or a small services firm, either one, it’s not treated with the respect due. Yeah, as a part of that and I say that because a large organization needs focus too. They’ve got a lot of resources they’re deploying and you can have too many actions go on. A small firm, like most of us in the collective are. Greg If we have precious resources that we’ve got at our disposal and as the owners and operators of those firms, we’ve got to be very discreet in how we’re applying those resources. And frankly, the cornerstone of how you deploy those resources is based on the ideal client profile. With that as a services firm, it’s to me, as I mentioned, a lot of what we do is at that intersection of sales, marketing and product, it drives those three aspects of an operational business, whether that’s a product firm or a services firm for service organizations. It’s, you know, what are the. What’s the staffing that you’re going to do? What’s the what’s the territory coverage model that you’re going to have, whether that’s sales or the the services team for the product team, it’s driving the product portfolio around that. So it has a it’s an integral part is the cornerstone really of what folks should be doing. Why people don’t do that is beyond me that it’s a repeat it’s a repeat offender over and over. 

Greg Alexander [00:05:39] Yeah, it is. You know, so in some cases, people think they have it done and they what they basically have is a demographic profile. And that’s a start for sure. But it’s not that’s not in and of itself enough. The ideal client profile also includes the psychographic. So you get into things like wants, needs, desires, goals, objectives. You know, these are the things that you can’t see. You have to feel and you and you encounter them. When you begin your your your sales efforts, it’s easy to see things like in a database like industry, company size, job title, etc. and those things are important, but they, they’re only the starting point. So Jay, when you when you work with your clients to deliver this for them, what is the process that you go through and how long does it take? And is it is it difficult? Is it easy? You know, kind of share with us if somebody does want to go do this, what are they getting into? 

Jay Mitchell [00:06:37] Greg, let me let me preface answering how we do it by what is kind of the output. Because you mentioned the the demographic and the psychographic elements of that ideal client profile. And when we’re looking at that, we’re looking at both both factors. They’re right. The demographic end up being things, as you know, that you can pull from a database industry size. It can be number of locations, it could be number of employees. Things like that can be very good factors when you’re doing that. But if you look, you’re very familiar with the table of contents of this book called The Boutique. I think you’re at that table. The second chapter is ideal client profile. It’s the cornerstone, but there’s a chapter before it called The Problem and the Psychographic Pieces are about how does the problem come to life with. Right? And when you take those demographic aspects and you say, let’s apply that to the big vision, the bigger problem that we’re solving there that ultimately starts to turn into what are the use cases at an organizational level, at a persona role base level, it turns into what are the business, financial and personal pains that those particular members of the buying committee or are encountering as a part of that. That’s how you get people off status quo. When that’s the case is you got to go activate, you know, you got to turn it, like you said, from a vitamin into a painkiller. I won’t do that unless you get down to the pain associated with that and that psychographic program profile. That’s the triggers. That’s the attributes. When you look at that, to your question of how we do it, it’s a lot of interviews. It’s not just interviewing the internal team. What are they having? Wins and losses is a part of that. So you end up interviewing the existing customers or those that we wanted to be customers of the other clients. You’ll also we’ll do some of the analysis, some of the market segmentation aspects of that as well. But you combine that with the voice of the customer. One of my favorite things we do, you talk about win loss analysis. A lot will go to the voice of the customer, not just with wins and losses, but not. We have a network within Merrill of about 300 executive decision makers. So these are sea BP director level buyers. And you know, in the finance function, in the i.t function or in a manufacturing function or supply chain function or something like that, and we’ll go talk to them. And we haven’t gotten introduced to those people by our by our customer, by our client. We’ve gotten introduced to those through our network or through people we know. And you can start to really see what why would they even look at doing something? What’s the trigger point or the catalyst for why they would explore and what would they look like for their buying journey? So go turn to the voice of the customer through win loss. Go turn to a through the internal team, look at the analytics and then go look at just general good ole focus group market data. Yeah, and part of that as well. And those are the aspects that we’ll use to build that. The next step then is then go build the pain matrix associated with all those, right? And so that problem turns into the pains once you filter it through the profile. 

Greg Alexander [00:09:47] You know, you mentioned getting people off the status quo and this is such an important point to bring up, and it’s a good way to illustrate how somebody would use an ideal client profile. By my estimate, that’s just Greg’s opinion. About 50% of the times when a services firm loses a deal, they’re not losing to another service provider. They’re losing to do nothing. Meaning the project, in a way. Yeah, because status quo one. And to get somebody off a status quo, you have to convince them to change. And humans don’t like to change is just it’s perceived to be too much work and a pain in the butt and blah blah blah. So if you don’t really understand the status quo and how the status quo is unsatisfactory and you can’t get to a pain matrix that you talked about, then you’re really not going to grow. Scale and exert you for some days is not going to be enough work and the ideal client profile is what gets you to that understanding so that when you’re having a conversation with a prospect which it’s hard to get meetings with prospects of when you have one, it better be a good meeting. And the way you make it a good meeting is you prepare properly. And one of the ways you prepare properly is a review of an accurate, current, ideal client profile so that what comes out of your mouth makes sense to them. So it takes me to a question, Jane, which is how often do you recommend people update this? 

Jay Mitchell [00:11:11] But. Once a quarter to twice a year. 

Greg Alexander [00:11:15] Yep. 

Jay Mitchell [00:11:16] And that’s it. I use that as a variable there because there’s a rhythm, there’s a cadence that you’ve got to get into, and once a quarter, you’re fine tuning it. You know, once a year you’re doing a macro level on that. But if you can’t do it in between that half a year, somewhere in that range, that once a quarter to one, once every two quarters is minimal as a part of that. 

Greg Alexander [00:11:38] Yeah, I think that I think that’s good for us. And I think maybe, maybe the younger companies that are in the growth stage, they’re still trying to figure it out. Maybe they do it more frequently because they haven’t really figured out yet who they’re serving in the scale stage. Maybe you do it less frequently and maybe it’s based on a certain thing. Like maybe maybe you’re going into a new market or maybe you’re launching a new service and therefore you drive the need for that. I can tell you that when you get to the exit stage, intelligence, people can ask you for it. And they’re going to they’re going to say, how big is your market? 

Jay Mitchell [00:12:10] Exactly. And they’re going to you’re going to have to not just give the attributes of it, but you’re going to have to give the sizing around that of the part of that and the sizing. Lots of times go back goes back to the demographics, the demographic aspect of it. The thing that that doesn’t change as often, right? That that that’s why I say you may do the, the hard coding, the hard work on the demographic aspect of the profile, maybe once a year on that, maybe every half year. But I guarantee you the attributes of the psychographic are changing a lot more frequently than that. I mean, we’re still in 2023. I mean, the market none of us saw COVID well, but psychographic changed in a moment there with that. Right. And we had our best six month period we ever had. And even since then, the second half of 2020, just because people had extra money to spend with that. Right. They didn’t have travel sales, travel budgets to use. And they and those sales leaders were saying, I’m not letting this go to waste. Let’s put it to use through consulting services. So there was unmet there was pent up demand there that we were able to tap into. That’s a that’s a one time event. Hopefully it’s a one off event. Yeah, that’s right. But that’s a psychographic piece you’re tapping into for a period of time there. Yeah. 

Greg Alexander [00:13:25] I’ll share store a story with the audience to kind of bring this to life a little bit. So the reason why the number 54 is in the name collected 54 is that’s the industry code for professional services. And an industry code is one of the elements of the demographic profile, but there’s approximately 1.5 million firms in that code. There’s no way that we could go after 1.5 million. And even within each firm, these firms are often partnerships with his co-founders. So maybe there’s two or three people that would be interested in our services. So let’s say that the addressable market is 4 to 5 million people. I mean, it’s impossible to go after that. So we just went through because here it is at the time of this recording, it’s November of 2022 and we’re planning for 2023 and we’re trying to figure out where are we going to deploy our limited resources as a small firm, a small boutique ourselves. And we went we’ve had 17 exits in Collective 54 in about three years. When I say that, when I say we, I mean 17 members have exited and we’ve had a ringside seat. Of those 17, nine of them, nine are in customers custom software development. And until we went to refresh our ideal client profile, we didn’t know that like it was right under our nose. But we did know that. And we said, What’s going on here? Why? Why is the customer software development segment within the 54 segment doing so well? Well, as they say, software is leading the world and it’s huge demand for it. So these people are scaling and they’re running into scale problems. So they’re they’re a natural fit for what it is that we do. So guess what? We’re now being much more deliberate and intentional and having conversations with software development shops because of that knowledge. That’s an example for the audience members of how powerful this tool would be. And Joe, you went through this one time event with COVID, and COVID changed the sales strategy for pretty much every company in the world. I mean, we used to drive around in our cars and go meet people face to face. Now we sell over Zoom. 

Jay Mitchell [00:15:30] So, yeah, you don’t get sales guys don’t need a gas card anymore. 

Greg Alexander [00:15:33] Exactly. I’d hate to be the guy selling the gas card. So how how did your client profile change as a result of COVID? And was it a one time thing or are there some things are going to persist? 

Jay Mitchell [00:15:48] The demographic aspects didn’t change that much as a result of COVID. It was the psychographic and it was just looking at some different trigger points related to that. If you break down Greg, our our primary ideal client profile, it looks a little something like this. We will we will focus on large enterprise companies, primarily technology oriented companies. So enterprise software, SAS related, those are going to be most of the time north of $1,000,000,000 because there’s not that many enterprise software. There’s not that many companies between 100, 100 million and a billion, anyway, kind of thing. And so the large enterprise companies where we’re going in solving a divisional problem, then you’ve got those under 100 and then you have those under 25 million. So we break that technology, only band down into those three buckets of 25 and below million, below 25 to 100, and then basically over a billion because the 100 million to 1000000000, there’s just not that many in there. Then you take those and we’ll apply private equity, particularly to take that 25, 200 million. And we’re looking for private equity backed portfolio companies is another key trigger point. Again, psychographic trigger that we’ve seen is a recent funding round by private equity. We were actually doing some 2023 planning and I’ll give you the numbers because I don’t know that don’t have a memorize yet. We were literally just looking to crunching this little bit this week. So in that 25 to 100 million revenue band for technology enterprise software type companies, there’s 3923 total companies in Zoom info that fit the bill on that. That’s not a massive number, right? But that’s plenty big. 

Greg Alexander [00:17:28] I was going to say, yeah. 

Jay Mitchell [00:17:29] Go after it. Right. Okay. You take the private equity that have done a funding round and there’s 399 of those who have done a funding round on that. Okay. So now we’re getting to like where we can go focus as a part of that. You take the that the text, the US of the US piece of that. Let me actually go back. There’s 39 and 23. There’s 720. I’m sorry that they’ve done private equity. Okay. I’ve done that. Okay. Within Texas, you and I live in Texas, there’s 38 that have done a recent funding round. They just do it. So that’s 1% of that. Now, do we want to capture more than 1%? Yeah, but you take that. My point is you take the universe and you start to segment that down and then it starts to direct your marketing campaigns. 

Greg Alexander [00:18:17] And the priority. 

Jay Mitchell [00:18:19] Yeah, account based marketing is a is a huge focus now. Right. A B2B. How are we going to apply all these marketing automation systems? It’s not that doing broadcast marketing, it’s very account based, targeted marketing. Like you got to get down to the 38 in Texas to do account is marketing right not even the 3923 it’s who are the 38 in Texas because I got one rep in Texas calling on those 39 accounts. Yeah. Part of that. 

Greg Alexander [00:18:44] Right. And the tools can target like that now. Right. So again, it makes the I took my profile that much easier. You know, if you’re going to if you’re going to do some marketing automation systems, you can target by those 38, which is really good. Well, listen, we could talk about this forever. We try to keep these podcast episodes short. The extended conversation is the Friday Q&A with the members. And I’m really looking forward to to you hosting that for us in the upcoming weeks. I know it’s going to be well-attended. A lot of members going to have a lot of questions. So thanks for being on the show today and sharing what you know about this, using your own firm as an example. Plus, your clients clearly have some domain expertize here, so thanks for sharing with the group. 

Jay Mitchell [00:19:26] Yeah, glad to be part of it. Thanks for the invitation, Greg. 

Greg Alexander [00:19:29] Thank you. Great. All right. So if you’re not a member and you think you might want to be want to be in a community, meet great people like Jay, go to Collective 54 dot com and you can apply for membership. And if you’re not ready to be a member yet and you want to educate yourself and listen to more content like this, you can subscribe to Collective 54 Insights and you’ll get a weekly podcast and blog. You’ll get access to some charts that are based on our benchmarking data that are really interesting. And you can get a copy of our book, The Boutique How to Start Scale and Sell a Professional Services Firm. So check that out. And that’s the end of the show. And I thank you for listening and I look forward to the next episode.

Episode 105 – How a Do-It-For-You Marketing Agency Evolved Into A Consulting Firm Getting Paid More For Advice – Member Case with Kyle Romaniuk

When starting a boutique, it is best to begin with the problem you will solve for clients. Why? There are lots of boutiques with solutions that no one is going to buy. On this episode, Kyle Romaniuk, CEO & ECD at Vantage Studios, sheds light on the process of truly understanding the problem he’s solving for clients.


Greg Alexander [00:00:15] Welcome to the Pro Serve podcast with Collective 54, a podcast of founders and leaders of boutique professional services firms. For those that are not familiar with us, Collective 54 is the first mastermind community dedicated exclusively to boutique pro serve firms who want to grow, scale and maybe someday exit their firms. My name’s Greg Alexander. I’m lucky guy gets to lead this group. I’m the founder of this company, and I’ll be your host today. And on this episode, we’re going to talk about identifying a problem worthy of solving, which is a precursor to developing in launching a new service. And it’s often overlooked and done incorrectly, and it causes great harm. So we’re going to try to share some wisdom on avoiding some kind of dumb taxes, if you will. And we’ve got a role model this week, Kyle Romanek, and he is a collective 54 member. He’s been one for a while and he’s always got lots to share. And he’s going to share part of his journey with us today. So, Kyle, it’s great to see you. Welcome to the show and please introduce yourself. 

Kyle Romaniuk [00:01:27] Thanks for having me. So great to be here. So I’m kind of outgoing. The president of Vantage Studios here with Air Canada. We’ve been doing a lot of agency marketing work for over 25 years, and I’ve had the privilege and honor to use the boutique as kind of a guide or role model myself to help us look at defining a problem that we want to solve, that we’re excited about and will motivate us for the next few years. 

Greg Alexander [00:01:57] Okay, fantastic. So I’m going to set this up a little bit. And then, Kyle, I’m going to ask you to talk to the audience about this new service you’re you’re launching and how you thought through the problem. So in our perspective, we think a problem that is worthy of solving has four characteristics. So first, you can state the problem clearly. For example, I like to state it to my wife, my parents, even my dog to see what their reaction is. And if they get it, then I know I’m not talking in industry jargon and it’s something I can state clearly. Second, I need to prove to myself before I invest any time or money in pursuing it that the problem is pervasive. And what I mean by that is that it’s not just a small number of people that have it. There’s a large number of prospects that are dealing with this problem. Third, I need to confirm that clients are willing to pay to solve it. There’s a lot of problems in the world that could be characterizes, nuisances or inconveniences, and that’s not a problem to go after if they fall into that category. But if the problem is big enough and clients are willing to pay to solve it, then maybe you got something. And then lastly, lastly, you want the problem to be urgent. You want it to be something that you never hear a prospect say, Yeah, I’m interested, but call me back in six months. You want them to say, Where have you been all my life? If you can solve this problem, let’s go. So those are kind of the four screens. So call my team and prep for this interview. Told me that you’re planning on or have launched brand new service and you’ve given a lot of thought to the problem. So could you share with us what you’re up to? 

Kyle Romaniuk [00:03:39] Yes. So over the many years, we’ve done a lot of things for different clients and there’s certain areas of that that we definitely love doing and other areas that don’t really get us anymore. So what we did is as a group, we started going through the boutique chapter by chapter, starting off with chapter one, looking at what is the problems. So we’ve been able to define that for ourselves and then go and ask friends and family and other people to see if this seems like something that they totally understand or if it’s really complex. So I’ll start off by sharing with you what we’ve defined as a problem. 

Greg Alexander [00:04:17] Great. 

Kyle Romaniuk [00:04:18] So we help organizations with a focus on community based not for profits and government. When they feel meeting a deadline or expectations are at risk because they’re in their in-house team, isn’t sure where to start or how to take things to that level. And they don’t have anyone to guide them or give them direction of how they’re going to make that possible. Often when we talk to a client, they have a very specific item or priority or project or initiative, this specific to marketing. And we see that all of the services that we were offering our clients before, we can package that into like a fractional CMO offer so we can work with their to help them understand the opportunity or the challenge and build a plan together with them, execute that plan with them, reach their goals and set new goals. 

Greg Alexander [00:05:15] Okay. So let me ask a question on that. So I heard the problem statement and then the assumption that we made is that the reason why they’re going to miss the deadline is because they don’t have a leader, the CMO. And so and so that’s the root cause. So you’re going to solve that problem by providing a fractional CMO. So the word fractional makes me think not only do they not have a CMO, but they probably can afford to have a CMO. So renting a fractional CMO makes a lot of sense. And my understanding this correctly. 

Kyle Romaniuk [00:05:47] That’s right. And we’d be targeting any organizations that are large enough that they have at least one full time marketing coordinator or a small marketing team. 

Greg Alexander [00:05:55] Okay, got it. So that’s a very clearly stated problem statement. So I like that. So that clears the first hurdle. Let’s go to determining if the problem is pervasive. So these community based organizations, governments, nonprofits, I have no idea how many there are and how many fall into this category of needing a fractional CMO. So how have you thought through that? 

Kyle Romaniuk [00:06:27] I guess going through the question by question, we started off with this is probably similar to one industry. 

Greg Alexander [00:06:32] Okay. 

Kyle Romaniuk [00:06:34] We felt. Yes, it does. Any business that implements marketing or hires an individual marketing coordinator or builds that small in-house team, they have a finite amount of experience about what they’ve done for marketing in the past. We find that there’s there’s usually a talent pool to go from to hire those people in-house. And usually the strongest talent from that pool is usually attracted to go work for an agency because of the diversity of the work that you can get there and the quality and caliber of the clients, the esteem related to that work. So it’s harder for them to pull in the talent experience that they want, especially if they can’t afford to hire the top ten, which a large organization like Procter and Gamble or someone that has a full suite of brands. For them, marketing is an engine to really scale that business, and you can see how it works. But for most smaller to medium sized organizations, they’re dealing with a really strong, passionate team and have a mandate or purpose business worth doing. But their experience will find a moment in time when they’re limited. And it’s in that specific trigger point where they’ve got something that feels a lot bigger than it did before. Or it might have a deadline that see that. How can we achieve this deadline? That’s when they feel like they need to reach out to someone or somehow. 

Greg Alexander [00:08:04] Okay. Very good. So that that I would agree with you. I think it is a pervasive problem. So let’s move to number three, which is usually where the rubber meets the road, as they like to say. Is the prospect willing to pay to solve this problem? So what have you learned there? 

Kyle Romaniuk [00:08:25] So we’re thinking about the problem that’s being solved. There’s a chance that it’s pretty simple and it’s on the surface and they’re aware of what the problem is. So when it is an issue where someone that had the knowledge before leaves their organization, so if they had a marketing person that was taking care of this before, but now there’s a void that has to be filled. It’s very easy to see what the problem is. Sometimes it’s very below the surface and it’s hard to see. And if you let it go too long, the chance is that you’re going to end up with a lot of very severe problems doing that. Really harder to unravel and resolve. We get a lot of thought to what those types of issues could be from the surface level and as it goes deeper. So I believe it’s sort of like a snowball rolling down the very beginning. The problems and the pains are very small and minor and you can live with them and it doesn’t really bother anyone. But if it goes unresolved and you don’t identify what’s going on early enough, the problems can become more complex and more devastating to disappear. 

Greg Alexander [00:09:32] Okay, so then the assumption there, using the snowball analogy, the bigger the snowball, the more willing to pay they’re going to be. 

Kyle Romaniuk [00:09:39] Yeah. The longer you let it go, the bigger the problems that are going to start to snowball together and small problems become bigger problems and eventually they’ll smash into something. Right now, our hope is that we can actually work for that. That happens. But often people don’t see the problem until it’s smashed into something. So, again, if it’s as simple as someone’s left, there’s a knowledge gap. We can step in and fill that gap very quickly, a lot faster than maybe hiring someone and a lot more cost efficient than hiring CMO or CGI for itself. 

Greg Alexander [00:10:16] Okay. Got it. 

Kyle Romaniuk [00:10:17] In addition, we are also looking at helping that internal team actually increase their capabilities, increasing knowledge, their skills, so that our clients are actually investing in their own internal team when we work with them, as opposed to hiring an agency or consultant to do it for them. They’re hiring us to do that with them. So we’re actually pulling their team up with us. And eventually we might actually they might outgrow us where they have the capabilities in-house to see things going forward or they’re able to say, you know what? Now that we’ve got this thing under control, what’s next? How can we help you escalate what you’re doing now and do more? When we’ve talked to a lot of our clients that we’ve presented this new service opportunity right now talking to past and existing clients, some of them have said, Wow, this is exactly what we need. And they could be already down the path of implementing a plan that they’ve realized doesn’t really have a plan, that they’ve got their team feeling lost, overwhelmed, not sure what to do. Doing a production on elements that they don’t really have a marketing plan of where they can use it. And they’re now down the path. And the boss in that organization is saying, My team doesn’t really know what to do. They’re kind of lost. They could use some guidance. Kyle, I know that you could come and help us. Please give me a proposal to get going on this right away. 

Greg Alexander [00:11:46] So that’s positive feedback for sure. 

Kyle Romaniuk [00:11:50] Yes. You’ve also heard of that. We’ve seen this in our own company as well, where there is a lack of motivation or engagement from the team. There’s a high attrition rate where you’re losing staff and you’re not sure why. What we found is we’ve almost developed a system that goes deeper for those clients that have something that is below the surface where the lack of consistency of their brand through multiple departments because they don’t have a brand guide, that’s a pretty simple thing to fix. But if it goes on down for five or ten years, the problem can go beyond that. You might not have a purpose driven brand or organization. You just kind of have the job day to day and the staff starts to kind of drift away where they’re not as motivated and engaged as they once were. So for some companies, again, it could be really simple on the surface that some knowledge has been taken away, or they can see the structure or splintered brand identity because it’s multiple departments or partners implementing something that consistently. Again, this problem surfaced easy to fix. But when someone feels like, you know what, we’re losing a lot of people. We’ve got lack of engagement. Performance isn’t there, and we’re not sure how to fix it. It might be more of a cultural thing, but we can go through our system of looking at understanding what’s the final process of that. So we can start with understanding what’s the purpose of the brand? How do we get everyone motivated? How do I get everyone on board and a part of this plan? How do we build out the goals? What are the key areas to focus on? What are the key activities that maybe need to be done in each of those areas? And how do we achieve all that out of the whole team and get them onboarded and engaged and motivated and choosing the things that they want to do and be a part of implementing to get that motivation back and get it participating in all the synergies of their team and the external partners that maybe they don’t know how to give really good direction to to get the most of those external partners like other agencies or consultants, where we could kind of coordinate the whole system together. Okay. 

Greg Alexander [00:13:59] So when you went out and shared this idea with your current and former clients, how did you assess their urgency? 

Kyle Romaniuk [00:14:09] Well, in in one instance, I was just reaching out as a friend. It’s like I’d like to bounce off of in your past client of ours. And for over a decade, we’re looking at shifting our business and moving away from the execution offering into the consulting side and fully doing the workshops and the plans and working with the existing teams to help them implement it and not be the do it for you agency that we once were. And the response from that was, Wow, my team right now is lost. COVID put us down a different kind of set of tracks and now things are kind of merging back to the norm for them that their team doesn’t know how to go back to their normal. How do we stop doing what we’ve been doing for the past few years and now go into something new? In that instance, they actually lost someone that went to a different career path that used to do a bunch of stuff that was never documented, never cross-trained. And now we’re going to go back to doing those things that nobody in the organizations that we’re part of do. So they need someone with some more experience to come and help guide. And even that might just be help build confidence in the internal team to make them feel like they do have good instincts. They do know what to do. They’ve just never done it before. And we might just need to work alongside them to enable them to do that. Other clients that we’ve spoken to about this day, we’ve produced, for example, campaigns for them and we’ve talked to them about what’s going on. We started working with different departments and we’ve had one of them say, We’d like you to look at our entire brand. How is it organized, where the assets that are maybe used across the whole organization and how do we create consistency across all of our departments? And we talked about like your brand guide and this is something that they’ve never really been exposed to a lot of benchmarks of how brand guides can be produced and how they can be used and go beyond just the basics of Here’s our full color logo, or Here’s our one color, and it can really look at even getting everyone on the same page. If you start talking about it as type in including brand stories or scenarios that are a little bit softer but get more depth into the understanding of their brand, more so than only some general rules of how to use it. And then now is suddenly getting inspired and excited about, well, this could actually improve our organization in a way even more so than what we knew about. So if we can find opportunities to understand and listen to what people are going through, listen for them to tell us what their pain points are, and then find ways of weaving it into Here’s how we can help or Here’s how someone I know can help, even if it’s not us. But it really starts to just listening. And I think something else that I’ve learned recently was sharing with others when we’re going through change, if I have a challenge and when I share those things with other people, suddenly there are some connections to start getting made and solutions on to present themselves. Yeah. 

Greg Alexander [00:17:26] It happens all the time. I mean, it’s fantastic that you went out to the market before launching, got all that real positive feedback and that’s how you save time, energy, money, effort, etc. So what’s going to happen? Are you going to launch this fractional CMO thing or are you guys still thinking about it? 

Kyle Romaniuk [00:17:42] We’re launching for sure. We actually, out of all the clients that I’ve been talking to, one of them we were actually building a plan for during this whole transition strategy thinking. And they pose to me, would I be their fractional CMO before they knew that we were planning to do this? Because in building the plan, they’re like, we don’t have anywhere to implement this plan, but we don’t have anywhere to do this. Could you implement it for us? 

Greg Alexander [00:18:11] Awesome. So you got a client, it sounds like, before you even launched? 

Kyle Romaniuk [00:18:16] Yes. And I actually had a follow up client today, which I have a weekly call with him. And I have mentioned to him about what we’re doing here. I have told him that we’re basically modeling what we do after what I’ve been doing with him for the past three years. I have a one hour call with him every Monday. Once in a while we’ll skip a week. But for the most part, we’re meeting every single money for an hour, talking about what’s happening, where things are going so that we have things to design. Some things we just talk about what’s on Netflix. Yeah. But for the most part, he’s. We’re just keeping everything moving. And we’re his marketing team. And I’m, they’re. They’re fulcrum on everything that’s getting done. 

Greg Alexander [00:18:58] Yeah, that’s awesome. I will. Listen, we’re running out of time here, but this was a great story. It really was. This the chapter one? The problem is something that often gets overlooked. The way that you went through that was textbook up to the point where you’ve got a client before you’ve even launched, which is just a fantastic thing. And I wish you the best of luck with this new offering, and congratulations on doing it the way he’s supposed to do it. 

Kyle Romaniuk [00:19:20] Thank you so much. 

Greg Alexander [00:19:21] All right. Okay. So for those of you listening that are not members and you might want to be a member and meet great people like Kyle and become part of a community of peers, check out Collective 54 dot com. You can see a form to fill out there and apply for membership. And we’ll get back to you.  If you’re not quite ready to become a member but you enjoyed this episode and want to consume additional content. Again, at Collective 54 dot com, you can subscribe to C54 insights that give you some some benchmarking data. Weekly Podcast The Blog Access to our bestselling book, How to Start Scale and Sell a Professional Services Firms to check that out. Okay, so great episode today. Thanks for listening and we’ll talk to you next time.