Darrell is an author and speaker who helps meaningful companies grow. He shares with us how to get strategic growth using goal setting and processes to get net new business and then using that relationship to cross-sell.

Things mentioned in this episode:

Revenue Growth Engine
Darrell Amy on LinkedIn

John Meese 0:24
Darrell, thank you so much for joining me today. How are you doing?

Darrell Amy 0:27
I'm fantastic. John, it's great to be here today.

John Meese 0:30
Well, good. Well, I'm glad to have you here. You know, we I'm excited to dive into our conversation today. I think that, you know, in a year where we're all just trying to figure out how to revisit everything. You know, one of the conversations that we've had, I don't think enough of is how do we grow? And I know, that's sort of what you're focusing on, because most of the conversations in the business community that we've had this year have been more about how do we survive, but I planted you know, stake in the ground, when I named this podcast in my book Survive and Thrive outside, it's not enough to just survive, you want to we want you to thrive as well. So before we dive into all that, Joe, I'd love to know a little bit about you, for those of our listeners who are listening in and maybe you've never run across you before on the wonderful world of the internet, what gets you out of bed in the morning, Darrell,

Darrell Amy 1:15
I thrive on helping great people and great companies grow. And you know, right now, when I say great, I mean companies that provide meaningful work that give back to their communities. And this is a time right now, you know, you look at where we are whether 2021 has been a year where you've, you know, had a lot of challenges, maybe revenue has slid backwards, or maybe 2021 was a year and you're a Plexiglas distributor, and you're just going like gangbusters.

John Meese 1:43
I've got to pause real quick. You said 2021. Do you know something? I don't know about the future?

Darrell Amy 1:48
No, but I think I'm so geared towards 2021. Maybe I've already turned the calendar. That's hilarious. John, you know, in 2020, you know, whether you went backwards, whether whether you're selling plexiglass or facemask The reality is 2021 is a make or break year for so many organizations. And this this is truly a year where along the theme of your book, and congratulations for that. I think that this is a time where we've got to look into 2021 very strategically, very intentionally and say, What is it going to take to grow in 2021? To grow out of, you know, if you're in a hole, or if you've, you know, had the fortune of just incredible growth this year? What are we going to do to sustain that and provide a path forward in what looks to be a very dynamic, which is a polite way to say uncertain economy. How do we do that? And this is you this gets me out of bed in the morning, because the organizations I sit on the board of several nonprofits. And I began to notice a few years ago, John, that the people that really move the needle for these amazing organizations that are doing incredible and very needed things in our world, the people that move the needle the most are forward thinking generous business owners and and where does where does all this come from? It comes from growth. So thanks for asking, because that is what gets me out of bed in the morning and keeps me fired up throughout the day along with copious doses of caffeine. So yes,

John Meese 3:15
yes. Well, I've got my caffeine otherwise known as a socially acceptable addictive stimulant right here.

Darrell Amy 3:21
That's right. Me too.

John Meese 3:22
Yeah, good. And good company there. So that I love that you shared that it's all super exciting stuff. So but let's get to the meat of what that means. Exactly. So I can see behind you, those who are listening can't don't have that benefit. But I can see behind you not just the glimmer of hope that is 2021. But also references to the revenue growth podcast, the revenue growth engine is that a book of your own that I see over there

Darrell Amy 3:46
it is we launched the revenue growth engine book and podcast this past summer. So it was very interesting. Yeah, in the middle in the middle of all of this to launch a book about growth. But I'm really thankful for it. Because right now, as we've been talking about, it is time to get strategic about growth. And the premise behind it is actually really simple. If you think about it, at the most basic level, there's really only two ways to grow a company, we either get more net new clients, or we sell more to our current clients. And so what I began to notice, john is I talked to organizations, I get to work with companies across multiple industries, some very large organizations, some fantastic, locally owned family companies. And what I've discovered is when it comes to growth, usually a company is good at one or the other. They're either good at net new and going out and landing new deals and bringing in the new customers ringing the bell, or they're good at managing their client base and you know, in cross selling. The challenge though, is or the opportunity is this when you can get good at both at the same time, things get really exciting. We move from linear growth, to exponential growth. And I believe right now that most organizations need that kind of acceleration.

John Meese 5:05
That's fascinating what I can say from my experience, both the businesses that I run have worked for and consult for that. Yeah, I can see that I can immediately think through which businesses were the best at landing new clients versus how did you phrase it exactly of serving the current clients?

Darrell Amy 5:21
Yeah. Cross selling cross. your existing clients? Absolutely.

John Meese 5:25
No, I can definitely confirm that. I've seen that. So I think that's, that's true. So what does that look like then in your business? Now? I mean, obviously, you've got the book in the podcast, you talked about that concept. But what if you found when working with businesses about you know, what do you do when you come into a business and you recognize they're really good at one or the other? How do you bridge that gap?

Darrell Amy 5:44
Yeah, it's a fantastic question. So my background, by the way, just my story that got me to where I am today, I've spent the last 27 years helping businesses grow straight out of university business marketing degree in my hip pocket, I took his business to business sales job in a highly competitive technology marketplace, went out, beat the streets was a sales rep sales manager ran a branch went to work for the manufacturer behind that technology, helping them grow their channel, about 2004, I finally had the opportunity to hang out my own shingle doing sales development, which I'm very passionate about, I've had the opportunity to train thousands of salespeople and build sales training programs for some amazingly cool fortune 500 companies. But during that it was a very first client came to me John and said, Hey, Darryl, everything you taught my sales team was fantastic. But our website doesn't say anything about it. Do you build websites? So being my first client? The answer was yes, sir. We build websites. And if you're laughing, but that's how it works. Right? You followed? I know,

John Meese 6:48
I've been there. I know. I know exactly what you're talking about. We're like, Yeah, we do that. Yeah.

Darrell Amy 6:52
Well in and so it was early on, it actually built a website for nonprofit and for my church as well. But I started down this journey in 2004. So now what's that 1617 years ago, one foot squarely in the sales and sales development world, another foot, I've been partner in several different marketing agencies through that whole evolution of web search, social, inbound account based marketing, all of that. And so it all comes down to saying, Okay, what can we do to first of all set goals, let's set some realistic goals in both net new and cross sell. And then what are the processes that we need to put in place from a sales standpoint, and a marketing standpoint, to simultaneously drive that net new business and the cross sell revenue. And so we get involved with organizations this morning, I was working with a great financial services organization that has done a great job of bringing in net new business, they know how to land the land, but they don't know how to expand this is the challenge got all of these clients, they've got an incredible portfolio of things, to sell their existing clients, but they don't do a good job at it, they're not consistent, added spotty, at best. And what's exciting is, as they look forward with the processes in place to cross sell, lined up against the process, or along with the processes to drive that new, they're going to be able to get that exponential growth that they need going forward. And that's exciting to me. So we get involved in a ton of those conversations, John.

John Meese 8:26
That's pretty cool. So I want to expand on that a little bit. And really invite expand actually mean, I don't know contract to get more specific here. So I love the way you just phrased that, you know, you're coming into a client, you say, okay, they're really good at landing, but not expanding. Remember, I like that. But I'd love to get into this because I don't want to jump ahead because I'm right here with you as like a business marketing nerd. And I'm just like, I totally see it immediately. And so I'm tempted to just jump in and get into the crazy fun strategies there. But let's back up for a second. Let's assume someone is listening to this podcast, and they're saying, Hmm, what do you mean, what's the difference between getting a new client and expanding my services, same client, either way, we're talking about revenue. And that's really all that matters. So I'm wondering if you could take us into an example of a specific business or type of business that people be familiar with and kind of walk us through what that would look like in terms of if they're either really good at landing or expanding and what that looks like when they're good at both.

Darrell Amy 9:20
Great. I'd love to do that. And so think of so many different places I could go but I think I'm going to take you to West Palm Beach, Florida today. How does that send you?

John Meese 9:29
I would not mind that at all.

Darrell Amy 9:30
And by the way, if you have a company in South Florida, we do have some consulting openings for February of next year. So okay, yeah, there you go. When it gets cold and icy we want to go south, along with all my Canadian friends. We all head south to Florida. So yeah, so this is a fantastic company, been around second generation company doing very well in the marketplace. So we're selling technology into the office space. And that so we they wanted to grow so we show up and in there. Office owners there this story is pre zoom slash Microsoft Teams slash, you know, we actually went places. So we were there, the owners there, the VP of sales is there, their marketing directors, they're there a couple technology specialists in the room. And so like any any great workshop, I say, okay, as we get started today, I just want to go around the room and learn about your goals. What is your vision for the business? And so the owner goes, we need more net new business. I said, Great. So write down on the board net new. And I said, by the way, What's your goal? And they said, Well, our goal is 10%, year over year growth in net new total number of customers. That's fantastic. And then I said, What did you do last year? Now I'm expecting like, well, we did 2%? Are we? You know, 5%? They said, Well, we did 9.8%. And I looked at him guy, like you're looking at me right now. And kind of like, why am I here? Like, right?

John Meese 10:59
What are you doing?

Darrell Amy 11:00
Maybe you should be writing a book. Like, congratulations, let's, you know, let's celebrate you pretty much hit your goal, if you round it up, right. But this same business, they had a core product offering and that was the bulk of their revenue, they had also invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in people, technology partners training for this new offering was a new professional services offering they had that was a really good fit for the majority of their clients. And I said, Okay, well, net new check. That's good. Let me ask you this. How are you doing in this new business area that you want to cross sell to your current client base. And that's when the owner, you know, leans back in his chair, and everyone puts their head down on the conference table? And they say, Darrell, it's miserable. It's terrible. So what we began to realize it's so funny when when you're good at net new when that's all you know, and you think about growing your company, you think, well, we need to grow more clients. Yeah, what we discovered, and here's what's exciting, we started looking at the clients that were a best fit for this new services offering. And we ask the question, this is a great question for all of your listeners to answer if you want to pull out a notepad or an iPad or whatever type of writing instrument you got, he say, Okay, if I think about my ideal client, and I mean, by ideal client, I mean, the types of clients that are best fit for what we do, and they have the ability and need to buy everything that we sell. If I look at that ideal client, and I say, Okay, well, what if they bought everything they could buy from us over the next decade. So let's take 10 years, sometimes marketing, we like to say lifetime value, I think this little too fuzzy, let's say, let's say 10 years with this ideal client, if they bought everything they could buy, what would they be worth, so we start adding that up core product, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, add it all up. At the end of it, the number was $844,000 is what that client would be worth over the next 10 years. You know, I like simple maths, we move the decimal point over one place, we find out the average value of their ideal client all in full meal deal, what I call 100% sold is worth $84,000 over the next 10 years. Then I said and what so here's what was what was interesting about it out of that of that $844,000 guess what percent or what amount of that was based on their core product? Maybe all answer for you. Well go ahead. Let's let's use this.

John Meese 13:30
No, okay, if I guess well, I don't know what I mean. 60%

Darrell Amy 13:35
No, is about 150,000 of the 850,000 and account potential. So that you know if you look at that the reality was one of my good friends and one of my favorite sales authors Mark hunter says you don't close a deal. You open a relationship. I love that right. And also another another one of my favorite authors Tiffani Bova, I saw her speaking she wrote sales or growth IQ she she was speaking at a technology conference that I was at. And she looked out and she I just had this almost stood up and cheered in the middle of this room of 1500 people when she said, You guys go out and you spend days and thousands of hours and time finding a goldmine. You get your gold mine and then you slap high fives and you go try to find another gold mine. And this is you know, this is the story. So this particular business down in Florida said okay, we get it, what we need to do is we need to start cross selling more to these current clients, especially the ideal clients. So they look from a marketing perspective. They said we don't have a we don't have a consistent client communication program. Let's put that in place when communicate value. Let's put together a client loyalty program. Just like American Express gives me all kinds of benefits for being their Platinum card member. And just like American Airlines gives me all kinds of benefits for flying all over the place like we used to do. Let's Let's come up with that. And Then from a sales standpoint, wow, maybe we shouldn't meet with these people from time to time. So they came up and we rolled out a periodic Business Review program. And guess what started happening? They started selling more to their current client base. And so what's beautiful is in your business, if you can look and go, Okay, are we better at net new? Or are we better at cross sell? Hmm. Most businesses, I find, by the way, John is about two to one. This is my statistically significant LinkedIn survey of a couple weeks ago, that wasn't statistically significant, but it for

John Meese 15:33
You could call it a statistically insignificant, you could just say.

Darrell Amy 15:35
So yes, I'm not doing any standard deviations on this one. But I will say that my experience was backed up by my LinkedIn survey that businesses two to one say they're better at net new than cross sell. And actually, in my experience, I think the one that says they're good at cross sell is actually lying. So you know, the reality is, most businesses are like Tiffany said, they have gold mines there, they just need to be mined. And so you know, what, what processes do you need to put in place to do that, and that's a huge part of what we cover in revenue growth engine.

John Meese 16:12
That's good. Well, I haven't read your book, but apparently, I need to read your book, because it's also a big part of what I cover in my book, just Incidentally, but you know, like, I don't use the same exact terminology, but the idea of supplementary and complementary products. And, you know, often we use terms like upsells and down cells, but really getting clear on like, is this, like a compliment, like, to the core promise of the core value? I mean, having that the way I outline in my book is the importance of having a gateway product, which is sort of like the gateway drug. You know, it's like the cheesy product that get the, you know, some people will call it a loss leader, but you know, to get them in the door, a flagship product, that's like the epitome, that's your big kahuna. And it's some sort of continuity product, like a membership site or retainer agreement. Those three I view is like, really foundational to have those gateway, a flagship and a continuity, and then it's just based on those three, is it a compliment, like an add on? Or is it a supplement? In other words, like, Is it a like for maybe someone's not ready for the flagship, but there's maybe a smaller version of that, which is a supplementary product, but there's no reason why you would need both of those. But it's a way to it's a stair step for someone. So that's the framework that I outline in my book. So it sounds like it's really a lot of what you're describing is, I can say, I'm part of that minority. I know this from having worked with many, many different clients who are phenomenal and net new. Yeah, I can do it. I can teach it and I can do it. But I'm one of those like, we're like, few, who My strength is definitely in the cross selling. And then I try to surround myself with people who are really good at net new because I'll just optimize this tiny little audience like crazy. And so that's actually I mean, when I first started online, that was a huge part of what happened was I started getting, I mean, I was just like a new blogger. And I started getting listed in the top 10 of all these affiliate launch contests. And people were like, Who's this John Meese guy? I mean, I had, like, you know, like 2000 email subscribers, but I'm in the top 10 right next to like Jeff Walker, and Michael Hyatt and Ray Edwards. Because of the way that I sold my audience was. So I've since learned that I need to surround myself with people who are also good at growing the audience at the top of the funnel, because you need both to your point, but I'm probably part of that statistically insignificant minority.

Darrell Amy 18:57
Well, it you know, regardless of whether you're good at that new or whether you're good at cross sell, or maybe you're not good at either one, the reality is it's a

John Meese 19:05
that's whole other category.

Darrell Amy 19:07
Well, here's, here's the deal. So yeah, what I observed and actually, when I was in the sales space, what I was very passionate about and what I taught people how to sell was workflow, optimization software. So their software packages that would go inside a business would analyze the flow of information through their core processes, make the processes more efficient. So here's what I noticed. John, you go in a finance department processes. Go in an HR department processes. Go in a shipping and receiving department processes. Go in a sales bullpen or a marketing department and what do you see? It's like the Wild West, right? You hear the eagle overhead. There's tumbleweeds a couple sales people gunslingers hanging out there's no process.

John Meese 19:56
Yeah, and just figureing it out and shooting left and right. You know,

Darrell Amy 20:01
It's like sales, you know, the sales sales is go make some calls, get some more deals. And you know, marketing is like, Hey, why don't you guys run a campaign or something, you know, send out some emails. But but here's what's beautiful, is if you can, when you put processes in place, predictable, documented repeatable processes, then you again, then you begin to enjoy the benefit of processes. And what I what I see companies doing that's working really well is, for example, if they're not good at cross selling, if that's not their forte, put processes in place there. Put processes in place, you know, from a sales standpoint, to manage your clients, from a marketing standpoint to communicate with your clients. And, and when those processes are put in place, things start to happen. And that's, you know, that was the heart of the Revenue Growth Engine. It was actually the book came to me one day when I was driving on my lawn tractor. So I love I listen to podcasts while I mow the lawn. So I get this zero turn lawn mower and buzzing around my lawn, and listening to podcast. And I don't remember what podcast was listened to, because I probably should give some credit to whoever that was, but it wasn't about the podcast. So I'm driving around in my lawnmower, with my noise cancelling headphones, listen to podcasts, and I see my car sitting on the driveway. Now, I like to drive fast. I like acceleration, I like to move down the road. And so my car moves pretty fast. I have this realization that this lawnmower that goes what, two miles an hour it doesn't even have a speedometer on it. It has maybe two cylinders. But my car has eight cylinders. And they've got a turbo you know, it's it's it's fast. So a lot of companies are like that with their sales and marketing. They may be or every company has some kind of growth engine, you wouldn't be in business, if you didn't. The question is, how many cylinders are in your growth engine? And are they firing in the same direction. And when you can add more cylinders to your engine for net new and cross sell, and get them firing, sales and marketing aligned, then you start to accelerate growth, just like my car is going to accelerate a little quicker than my lawnmower.

John Meese 22:21
I love that that's a really great metaphor, even for a non car guy like me. So if you could, I would love to get into one more specific example of that. So I love that idea of saying we're talking about processes, right? Putting processes in place to make sure cylinders are all firing simultaneously going the right direction. So what does that look like? And in terms of like, Can you give an example of what one of those processes might be in either a marketing or sales side of a company. And keep in mind, there's people who listen to this podcast who don't have a big team, they don't have like a marketing and sales department, they have maybe a couple employees in them, you know, they may be as the business owner, they may be the marketing and sales, right?

Unknown Speaker 22:59
And by the way, I feel you I you know, I'm an entrepreneur like yourself, john, I've started up several businesses, we've grown them into seven figure businesses, and but we're not, you know, we're not we don't have offices in London, Paris and Hong Kong, we are, you know, we're small businesses. And the reality is the principles of the Revenue Growth Engine, apply whether you're running a global 50 company, or you're running a startup company as a solopreneur out of your spare bedroom. And the principles are this, there needs to be processes in place for net new to consistently drive conversations and opportunities with new people. And there needs to be processes in place to cross sell more to your current clients. And you can do this, it doesn't have to be overly sophisticated. In fact, it's actually easier for a small business, because when you get in the corporate world, well, you know, there's just so many people involved in process and training and buy in and leadership. And, you know, it's actually

John Meese 24:01
We call that red tape.

Darrell Amy 24:02
Yeah, it says red tape for sure. And like the resistance to change, you don't, you don't have to, you know, if you're if you're a solopreneur, and you're ready to go, you know, you can go you can say you know what, we're gonna build a client loyalty program. So for example, let's This is just one one low hanging fruit. I'm just thinking about it, because we talked about it earlier. It's some of the best ideas you can get in your business, you can find just by lifting your head and looking around at other industries. So, you know, if you look around, you start to see opportunities, so earlier referred to, you know, the American Express Platinum card program, right. So, American Express has a magic card that when you travel, gets you into airport lounges that no one else can get into. That gives you internet access while you're on the airplane that gives you priority at the hotel chains you want to stay at, it gives you all these other benefits. So now when I'm deciding, you know, what I want to do, I've got a program. So if you look at that and go, Okay, well as a business, what are the benefits to being one of my clients? Hmm, what are the benefits, and I'll give you an example, was working with a cybersecurity company. And they were great, great company. Well, they actually, many of the things you already do are benefits and can be packaged up to a client loyalty program. So for example, they do an annual cyber security audit for their clients. And it's, you know, it's just part of the package. Well, in today's marketplace, with all of the madness going on, why not make that one of the pieces of your client loyalty program, so they were actually having trouble getting their current clients to do the annual survey. So instead, they package it up, and they said, Hey, we're excited to announce our new platinum security program, you're grandfathered into it. Congratulations. Here it is. And the one of the benefits is a complimentary annual cybersecurity review. And you get to the front of the line, and you get all these other things that they were already doing most of them anyways, and will bundle in a free t shirt or a mug or something saying you're in the platinum program. And you know, what was beautiful about that was number one, it gave them something to go talk to their current client base about. So now you go Well, I haven't talked to my clients in a while, I want to talk to them more regularly, we'll create a loyalty program and call them up and say, Hey, John, I'm excited, I want to come talk to you about the benefits of our new platinum client loyalty program. Second of all, they were having trouble getting those annual meetings with the client. And they actually bundled into this for their their highest level client, a quarterly security consultation. So now they were getting in front of their clients quarterly to do a securtiy consultation wasn't the full meal review. But now they've got an excuse to go out and talk to their clients. Well, guess what happens when you go out and you start talking to your clients on a regular basis, you build trust, you find out about needs. And next thing, you know, you're in conversations for the additional products and services. So all just from that simple mindset of saying, Hmm, what can I learn from American Express? What can I learn from American Airlines? What can I learn from this sub shop down the road, you know, that has a loyalty program, maybe we could do that in our business. And that's just one of about a dozen examples we give in the revenue growth engine of creative ways to think about processes you can put in place to drive revenue.

John Meese 27:49
Well, it's a great example that's really practical and appreciate sharing that, Darrell. So before we end for today, I'd love to know, I got you know, like you shared a lot of really helpful insight. And I think to cause me and everybody listening to this to rethink, okay, in my business, am I better at net new or about expanding and cross selling? And what do I do with that? So what do you think the first step is? Or the next step is for someone who's listening this, let's just say they're bought in to the concept? And they're like, okay, where do I begin?

Darrell Amy 28:18
So I think everything begins with a baseline and not there are two numbers you need to track in your business. And this is a great time to do this. We're coming to the end of the year. So you can set a baseline and the two numbers I want you to track or this is actually one number and a little math, the one number first number is how many clients do we have? How many clients do we have? If you want to use the word customer, that's fine. Customers go to Walmart to buy toothpaste, clients go to trusted advisors for advice, I always say client. But so how many clients do we have? Hmm. And then what's our revenue per client, which is going to be a math function of your total revenue for the period divided by that number? Now you've got a baseline, right? So as you're planning your growth into 2021, now, instead of just throwing spaghetti on the wall and going, what do you think we can do this year? We go, Okay, we have 1000 clients right now. What do you think we could do to grow that? Could we hit 1200? Can we hit you know, whatever. So we set a goal there. And we say our revenue per client is $1,000 per year, okay? If we got strategic about cross selling, what could we grow that revenue per client to? Now you've got too realistic and this you know, we're in an uncertain time right now, and companies are really struggling with setting goals. Now you can use those as your baseline on top of which you can build. So we said we can grow our clients by this much we can grow our revenue per client, okay, do the math. Now you got your goal. And that's where you start and then then you know, then then you start to go, Okay, what can we do to hit that goal? What can we get to drive our revenue per client and put those two numbers on the wall? Those are the ones not the total revenue, total revenue on the wall if you want, but what I really want to know is how many new people are we adding in how effective are we at selling more to those people? And so that's where I would begin, especially now in a time where it's really kind of hard to know how to set business goals in this uncertain time.

John Meese 30:13
Yeah, well, that is super practical. And I'm already thinking right now I need to go back and do the math myself. So thank you. So where can we go to learn more about you and your book online?

Darrell Amy 30:25
Well, we've got a resources and a tool kit we've put together you can simply text the word revenue, text revenue to 21,000. When you text revenue to 21,000, you'll get a link through to our Revenue Growth toolkit. You'll also land on our website, I'd love to connect with you as well. The good news, john is if your last name's Amy, and your first name is Darryl, there's not too many of you on LinkedIn. So Darryl, Amy, the LinkedIn, I'm pretty sure you're gonna find me. And I'd love to connect and talk with you. And especially if you're a business, that as we said at the beginning, I'm passionate about helping great companies grow. And if you're a business that's providing meaningful work and giving back to your community, I just want to cheer you on right now and do whatever I can. I know you agree, John, let's make this a year to thrive. Let's start let's move from survive to thrive. And so this is the time to do it. And I'm cheering you on.

John Meese 31:20
Well, Darrell, thank you so much. I appreciate that. And I love what you're up to. So please keep up the good work.

Darrell Amy 31:29
Thank you, John.

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John Meese is the author of the #1 bestseller Survive and Thrive: How to Build a Profitable Business in Any Economy (Including This One). An entrepreneur himself, John is on a mission to eradicate generational poverty by equipping entrepreneurs with the tools and training they need to build thriving businesses from scratch. He is the CEO of Cowork.Inc, co-founder of Notable, and host of the Thrive School podcast.

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