Supply Chain Now Episode 388
“Our clients that are being really successful right now are folks that are willing to pick up the phone. That’s really it. It’s not complicated.”
– Kara Brown Founder and Chief Revenue Officer at Lead Coverage
There are very few business situations that are naturally being improved by the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, and yet, for smart, hardworking entrepreneurs, there are opportunities to be created. Kara Brown, Founder and Chief Revenue Officer at Lead Coverage, has identified and is acting on one of those opportunities to grow her business and drive ROI for her clients.
Lead Coverage provides lead generation and conversion services as well as marketing and PR for supply chain. They have hired a number of trained and experienced sales reps to join their team, professionals who would otherwise be beyond their reach, but who are temporarily available because of the pandemic downturn.
In this conversation, Kara opens up with Supply Chain Now Co-hosts Scott Luton and Greg White about:
· Some of her favorite ‘secret’ tools for improving sales and marketing efforts
· How to make sure sales and marketing are positioned to leverage current client wins to grow the business
· Why this is the moment to speak up if you have invented a solution to ‘what’s coming next’
Intro – Amanda Luton (00:05):
It’s time for supply chain. Now broadcasting live from the supply chain capital of the country. Atlanta, Georgia heard around the world, supply chain. Now spotlights the best in all things, supply chain, the people, the technologies, the best practices and the critical issues of the day. And now here are your hosts.
Scott Luton (00:28):
Hey, good afternoon, Scott Luton. And we’ll hear away with you here on supply chain. Now, welcome to today’s show. So on today’s show, we have got an incredible thought leader from the world of sales, marketing, and growth, real growth, and yes, believe it or not. Even during these uniquely challenging times, companies are finding ways to get their message out there, to meet with the right people and then close business. How you ask, well, stay tuned. You’re gonna learn more in this episode, uh, for what, you know, in this episode, you should have an opportunity to increase your supply chain accurate as always here on supply chain. Now, quick programming before we get started, um, like all of our series, if you, if you enjoy what you hear today, check us out, where do you get your podcasts from? Be sure to subscribe. So you don’t miss a single thing.
Scott Luton (01:13):
Okay. With no further ado joining me here today, first off, uh, my esteem, co-hosts a regular contributor here at supply chain. Now most of our listeners will recognize him right away. [inaudible] here way, top ranked st. Louis Cardinals fan and co-founder and chief content officer at lead coverage will hate doing I’m doing good besides the fact that there is no baseball and it doesn’t even look like where we’re headed towards a resolution, but beyond that. Great. Well, I’m with you. And we were talking about a little bit about that on the, uh, the warmup call and, um, we’ll have, we’ll have a lot more to talk about hopefully in our regular segments. Yes, that’s correct. Alright. And maybe, maybe we call that doubles and triples. I like it. We’ll and Scott or so we’ll see. Um, but today our listeners are tuned in, they’re going to hear from our featured guests, Kara Brown, chief revenue officer with lead coverage.
Scott Luton (02:10):
Kara, how you doing? It’s so great to be here. Thanks. Great. Uh, great to have you, especially as you’re on the road, uh, down in Florida, which is, is, is, um, man, if you get a chance to take a deep breath and, and unplug even a little bit, cause I know you don’t, you’re not a big fan of unplugging too much, but I bet it’s nice down in Florida this time of year. And it’s beautiful. We’ve got a house with a private pool, so we are, that’s, COVID safe as possible in Florida, but super nice to get away. Thanks. Well, good, good, good safe travels. And hopefully you and your family enjoy that. So, Mmm. You know, before we dive into what many companies and leaders, no, will they lose no sleep at night? Yes. Figuring out how to crack the code on growth before we get there.
Scott Luton (02:54):
Let’s get to know you a little better. You know, as we were talking about everyone, you know, here with supply chain, that audience knows we’ll hear way, you know, they know that he’s a incredible guitarist. He’s all about getting supply chain PR out to all the Newsmakers. No, but incredible. Thank you. Our biggest fans, for sure. I’m a big fan, but you know, it gets the job done. Get the songs out. Mmm. And you know, of course he, co-hosts our supply chain, city of series, which we really enjoy. I’ve been Harrison chamber, but you know, Kara, we’ve been trying to get you on the show for awhile. It’s tough with your scheduling. I think we had to go to three of your agents just to get your own. So now that we’ve got ya, now that we’ve got you, let’s get our, give our audience a chance to connect with you and learn kind of who you are first. So tell us, where are you from and give us an anecdote or two about your upbringing.
Kara Brown (03:45):
Yeah, sure. So, well, and I have been business partners for a little bit now, but we’ve been working together since about 2012, so we’ll, and I go way back super glad to be here. Huge fans of y’all at supply chain now. So I’m from Chicago, uh, which you can probably hear in my voice. Who’s ever had a cocktail together. I get real Midwest real fast. So I grew up just outside the city and I did a stint in Nashville, but I’m really from Chicago. That’s what Atlanta, about four years ago. Never going back that house in a boat. I love it. The weather is way better. Um, but yeah, I had a really good sort of normal Midwestern girl upbringing in Chicago.
Scott Luton (04:26):
Well, you know, I gotta tell ya, our LA I’ve been to Chicago three or four times. So not often enough. One of our last trips was in October, early October and the weather. It was just, it was at 62 or 65. Chris. We sat outside and had brunch. We took the L train, all the cool tourist spots, you know, and we just had, yeah, three days did not do it justice and we could have been there 30 days, so. Okay. Yeah. LN does have its advantages. As you point out, tell Scott where you, uh, the, the house that you had it, what neighborhood, the house that you owned, uh, what neighborhood it was. Yeah.
Kara Brown (05:03):
Oh, the river forest house. So yeah. Oh, our first, the first house I bought. So actually this is actually relatively supply chain related. Uh, so my first big girl job was accurate global logistics. Right. And I was a whole 23 and I made, Oh, I don’t know some number of money that was bigger than I’d ever made before. And I thought I could buy myself a house. So I did, I bought myself the coolest 700 square feet, one mile from Wrigley field, right? Like in the smack dab, middle of a Louisville with a third floor, walk up balcony, nice to have barbecues out there. So you could hear the crowd from what we feel from our neck. It was really cool.
Scott Luton (05:46):
Oh, what an experience. And uh, I bet you didn’t have to search too. [inaudible], uh, far and wide to find a buyer as you were moving down here.
Kara Brown (05:57):
Actually that’s the awful story. It was okay. I’ll be happy to share it. We moved out of the one bedroom condo when we had kids and stuff and I rented it out in the city of Chicago. If the building decides they want to sell, they can, if 75% of the owners want to sell, you have to sell. So my condo is literally sold out from underneath me on the phone call, where I was trying to convince the rest of the owners to keep their building. Someone called me young Donald Trump. And I was like, this is like 2012 or something. So it didn’t mean anything then, but I was like, Oh no, I just want to keep my condo and keep the renter in there. So long story short, Greg Hondo in my twenties that moved out to the suburbs, like any good Midwestern mom. Well that’s okay.
Kara Brown (06:49):
Uh, Chicago, we still love you. And as we found out on the front end, you’ve got a bunch of all your family’s still there. Um, so, but especially to go back and reconnect, I love it. Alright. So one more, you know. Mmm. What was, what was something, you know, growing up, especially on the outskirts of an all American, really all world city, like Chicago, what’s one thing that really stood out that really was such a big part of your childhood. Yeah. Yeah. Do you miss? This is super random. Um, I was in Joseph and the amazing Technicolor dream coat, downtown Chicago Broadway when I was in like fifth grade. Wow. Yeah. So Broadway, like I was yellow child, number 12, and I got to hold a vulture during okaynand days before. And Donny Osmond came out for the Elvis number. Would you only know the order of Joseph if you were actually in the show because that’s messed up.
Kara Brown (07:53):
Uh, but yeah, that was a terrific experience. And we took the bus in every day to go to CD shows. You sort of told him Squire. Uh, but yeah, I was actually like a classically dreams, like as being growing up, which I just sort missed some times, well, Will’s commitment to his artistic talents is something I’ve definitely dealt with. Well, that that’s, that’s probably one of the benefits of, of living, uh, you know, just like here in Atlanta, some, some of the cultural opportunities you have that I knew I didn’t have growing up in Aiken, South Carolina. Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Um, okay. So let’s shift gears a little bit here and will, is a appreciate your role in keeping care, honest and giving us the dirt as we work through here. No, I’m kidding. Um, Karen, let’s talk about your professional journey and I think in a warmup conversation or a couple of nuggets, I really enjoyed learning more about, and we’re going to talk about those, but talk to us, you were talking about kind of where you were, would that first house purchase kind of walk us through just prior to leap coverage?
Kara Brown (08:54):
Yeah, sure. So, uh, 2006, I was actually one of the first 20 employees at equity level with the six. And I remember I was like 24, 25 and I got the job because they were looking for someone to write some marketing copy. And I had loaded trucks as a part time job in college. And they were like, cool. You, it like, you know, enough about trucks to write for a broker. I was like, cool. I had no idea what it was three years later, we had grown 3000% and my name is actually on the IPO or echo. So the actual IPO press release have my name on it. Wow. It was an amazing experience. Working for the Wagner is, was one of the best experiences of my life. Huge, huge fan of Doug and the team at echo. Um, and so from there, I ended up moving to Nashville, actually to work for what was OHL and it’s now geodes.
Kara Brown (09:52):
And, uh, they were on my private equity when I joined them. So we’re gonna do an IPO and sort of do that all over again, long story short, it didn’t happen. And so I turned to my husband and I was like, what do you want to do next? We were living in Nashville and he’s like, I don’t know, let’s make some babies. I was like, excellent timing. So moved back to Chicago, popped out two kids, bam, bam. Right. Cause if they’re going to do it, it would pass. And, uh, found myself in my house, in my pajamas, two kids under two, totally miserable, just like really hitting life. But what had come out of the 600 West sort of echo Groupon in a working community that I’ve been a part of early in my career was this, uh, this community of amazing people, these entrepreneurs.
Kara Brown (10:38):
And so I could list off a dozen of them that have gone on to do the cool things. So I started to sending emails for some of them, um, sort of target pin money as a mom in her house, in her pajamas, the two babies. And it turned into a real business all of a sudden overnight. And that’s actually when I met will. Yeah. So I was in Chicago, uh, working for cargo chief. And I remember when I got on the phone for the first time and it was like, Hmm, you know what you’d like to do that, Dan, like, am I going to like this guy he’s Southern doing PR like, what is happening this little star he plays in the band. Yeah. I was like, he thinks he’s a rock star. What’s with the hair. Like, I just wasn’t like, it was not sure what was happening, uh, and ended up like first phone call. It was like magic. Awesome. We’ve totally got each other. And again, and we also got where each other’s strength slide like immediately. And that was a great experience. And then when I moved to Atlanta Mmm. I want to get, Will’s take on that first time. Y’all what did you pick up on? It’s funny cause you know, Lynn, you or the PR firm
Kara Brown (11:53):
Will Haraway (11:54):
Uh, you know, you get the call and you say, you know, we, we brought in a lead generation expert and they’re gonna work with you if you’ve done PR long enough, then that can sort of be a warning call. You know what I mean? And you’re just like, uh, turf we’re about to happen. You know what I mean? I think we initially connected over emails and Cara, if you can’t tell is very direct and was very direct in her emails, just like she kind of fires it off. And I kind of, you know, like you, you and are very similar to the scout. We kind of, we take the long way around Southern, you know, so I was like, she said, we were best sort of like, I don’t know how this is going to go, but then as soon as we got on the phone and spoke and so much to be said about personal interaction and face to face, and we just clicked immediately as far as, uh, how we felt that, uh, that PR and lead generation worked hand in hand.
Will Haraway (12:58):
And, uh, and, and the car, the chief was sort of one of the first of these, uh, you know, the, the digital freight brokers that are now pretty ubiquitous, uh, around the supply chain world. But when they first came on the scene, it was like, what is this? And so we, in a, in a lot of ways got to do help define that, which was, which was really, really fun, you know, hit off on a relationship that, you know, obviously as a yeah, yeah. And Carrie, so that was back. What was that rough timeframe? 15, I think was when that 13, 15 and so care. Then you were going to kind of talk about your move into Atlanta, I believe. Sorry.
Kara Brown (13:41):
No, you’re great. So yeah, I ended up moving to Atlanta for a full time job where I also hired well, and that’s where this is great. Um, not directly related to transportation, but sort of similar. And then when that ended sort of like, what do you do next? Right. So had a couple of offers, fell in love with Atlanta weather. It did the weather. I remember actually my first spring in Atlanta, I’ll never forget. It was like February 27th or something date in the early spring. And I remember looking up from whatever I was doing and it was sunny outside.
Will Haraway (14:17):
And I was like, Ooh, Tommy
Kara Brown (14:21):
Cause it’s gray. And so like may in Chicago. And so I realized how much I really love the weather. Uh, and then our kids got into an incredible school and we got a boat and I’m like, I’m never leaving. This is amazing. This is the grit. It’s like utopia for someone like me. Um, and then the other thing that really got me about Atlanta was the female entrepreneurship community. Um, and it’s just been an incredible experience to be a woman in this particular environment. Um, and have doors open for me. They wouldn’t have in Chicago. Yep. All right. Um, we’re going to talk more about lead coverage in a minute, but let’s stick with this passion, uh, of yours and really what was part of this Eureka moment. So let’s, let’s do the Eureka moment first. What, what really got caught your attention and then we’ll talk about some of the work you do extracurricular.
Kara Brown (15:14):
Yeah. So about the time that I started, um, the business here in Atlanta, I started just to meet people as many people as I could. Right. So I asked, well, for his list, I would ask anyone I would need, who are three other people that I should get to know. And people were just amazing and willing to introduce me to folks. So I got introduced to an organization called the entrepreneur organization. And then I also got essentially introduced to Bernie Dickson who runs launchpad to X at the same time. Um, and we also started to learn about we, which is the women’s entrepreneurship initiative that is actually funded by the city of Atlanta at the exact same time. I read the statistic that less than 1.7% of female founders, well ever break a million dollars in revenue. And I was sort of flabbergasted and disgusted and sad all at the same time.
Kara Brown (16:07):
And also it was like, cool, hold my beer. Here we go. Right. Right. Just sort of put the, put the network to work and came and met some really incredible people in Atlanta who said, Hey, listen, don’t go back to Chicago, stay here in Atlanta. We need top talent and we need whatever you need. I’ll help you find it. And so our second, probably 500 K in business, like from that 500 K to a million dollar Mark, it was really folks that were willing to take risk and, uh, make a recommendation or higher off. Um, yeah, because it was really tough as a female founder. So after about the first year as finally wised up and realized that will, and I have been working together as a team or at least a year, but my drive to hit the million dollars as a female founded business owner was really important to me.
Kara Brown (17:02):
So it was almost like day 366. I called well, and I was like, all right, I did it. I did the thing. Okay. Can we do it together now? Like, can we make this official and we’ll look like I’ve been waiting for you to do this. So yeah. So kidding aside. And, and, and, and, uh, the euphoric moment that you just shared there, that 1.7% that’s a problem, right? Yes. And so before we talk about leave coverage, just give us, you spent a lot of time in this area, mentoring and giving your time and okay. Given it forward as well, Greg really likes to say here, what’s the chief activity or two that you spend the most time and really supporting your fellow a female onto entrepreneurship community. Sure. So number one is the entrepreneurial organization. Um, it’s a global network of entrepreneurs and the Atlanta chapter has a 21% women in it, which is sort of unheard of Mmm.
Kara Brown (18:02):
In the United States, which is really great. So super active in you. And then the launchpads UX community is terrific. So the 1.7 number exists for it’s an American express research that’s done every year. Um, but the launchpad to X community women that graduate from Bernie Dixon’s three day bootcamp have a 25% chance of breaking a million dollars in revenue. Okay. So I have invested a lot of time and energy and the launchpad to X community, because they’re the best bet. Right? You can get into launchpad. You have literally a 24% better chance of breaking my inbox and revenue, which yep. Feels like such a low number. Right? It does. It feels like almost nothing in the grand scheme of things, but breaking through that first barrier for most women is really, really hard, um, for a litany of reasons, a lot of which are internal and so helping other women see that it’s possible, um, and see that you can charge what you’re worth and then people can take you seriously. Um, and then you can have it all. I mean, I have two kids, right? Like you physically can do it. Um, it has been a big, a big, um, sort of motivator for me. Yeah. I love that.
Will Haraway (19:15):
And we got along great. I’ll tell you, Scott, I really enjoyed at the, uh, Atlanta supply chain awards, being able to introduce carrot too, a friend of the show. And, uh, you know, this is certainly a topic that we’ve talked to her quite a bit,
Kara Brown (19:29):
Will Haraway (19:30):
Yes. You know, and her organization, I was I’d wanted to get those two together. So that was one of my favorite parts of the, of the show. Cause that is obviously a cause and an organization that is near
Kara Brown (19:41):
Agreed. Show me fifty.org is Elvis group. She, uh, elbow received a, uh, leadership innovation award. Um, just a few months back before the world changed and Kara and Elba, that would be a, that’d be like a power duo that could really drive that 1.7% number, which needs to change. Okay. So let’s talk about leave coverage, and then let’s talk about some of the things you’re seeing
Will Haraway (20:08):
That our listeners, as there
Kara Brown (20:10):
Trying to crack the code, whether they’re, they’re doing well, and they’re looking for new ideas and yes. Practices or quite many companies, unfortunately are they’re struggling for broader reasons. So lead coverage first, um, tell us what the organization does and both of y’all would middle of Cara in particular. Yeah. Where do you spend your time? Sure. So we are, hyper-specific, it’s a business to business lead generation and conversion. And so really lead gen is three things, sharing, good news tracking who notices that and following up. Hmm. It’s not hard, right? Not like my husband is an actual rocket scientist and fitness model to throw the other. Yeah. But like, we’re, it’s not rocket science. We all know it. Like you inherently know what to do, but I think as executives and busy people, right. Sometimes business development can just follow the bottom of the list or it’s something that you can say, Oh, you know, John, the BizDev guy, that’s his job.
Kara Brown (21:13):
Right. Or pass it off to your VP of sales and make it his problem. Um, but at the end of the day, it’s leadership, that’s gonna make it work. Mmm. And it’s just sharing good news tracking who is interested in your good news and following up with those individuals. And that’s what we do all day, every day, highly leveraging technology. While I think when, when you said those three things that, as we all know here, those are, long-held proven tenants, right. There have an activity. However, in this day and age, to your point care, when, when the average business leader or entrepreneur, or just a member of the team, they’re going in a thousand different directions, driving revenue and driving sales, unfortunately that’s get lost. It’s where does it sound? It gets lost in the shuffle. You are really, as I was learning more about lead coverage are really heavily leveraged technology to do those three things, but doing an advanced 21st century way.
Kara Brown (22:09):
Yeah, for sure. So the average marketing technology stack, our MarTech stack is 17 pieces deep. So that means the average business to business marketer, whether it’s a CMO at a big company, that’s doing lots of three PL work or a teeny tiny broker, they are using lots and lots of tech. And it’s really hard. Right? A lot of these folks aren’t trained in technology. How do you know if your Unbounce page is going to work with your, you know, HubSpot CRM, it’s connected to a MailChimp account, right, right. You’re downloading last year, uploading lists. Can I actually email this person? Why is all my email going to spam? Who’s going to follow this for like, there’s just so much detail that goes into managing a really well thought out lead generation and then the conversion campaign. And so we will, and I, together it’s sort of the perfect UL for that.
Kara Brown (23:03):
So we’ll find the news. That’s super, super important. [inaudible], what’s it where it’s supposed to go. And then our team of lead gen engineers take that news and turn it into actual leads, which is really special because like will said earlier, a lot of PR marketing teams sort of are separated. And, and then, and then you talk about analyst relations. So analyst relations is even further away. Right. But the marketing team who should be listening to customers and listening to what they are asking for. Right. Um, and so the, the dynamic do have the two sort of PR plus the lead gen or the marketing slash sales, it’s really important. The instant name Scott lead, I couldn’t believe in that domain was available. I was like, stop it. This is amazing. Go back to the analyst thing. Uh, you know, there’s armies and armies of analysts, and there will be many more to come across global supply chain and be able to have a solution there and be able to talk that language, I think is so important in the gross business, I believe coverages or a multitude of other avenues.
Kara Brown (24:16):
All right. So, um, you kind of talked about what the company does. You’ve kind of foreshadowed where each of you play except you will. I have a sense of where you spend your time. [inaudible], you know, day in and day out. I know you’ll be proud of it. Probably wear a bunch of hats. Yeah. And where do you spend the bulk of your time or flip? Yeah. Flip the question a bit. What’s your favorite activity? Well, that’s different where I spend my time and what I want to do are two different things. So where I spend my time today is really I’m helping our clients understand how PR can become a lead generation. Right. And so how those two things are actually aligned and that sales and marketing should be one team. One of our biggest issues we have almost all of our clients is we actually hear it sometimes from clients on the phone and it makes my skin crawl.
Kara Brown (25:11):
Um, well, that’s a marketing activity versus that’s a sales activity, or that’s a PR activity. And I want to just shout from the rooftops. Like everybody wants revenue. We all want the same thing. Why are we segmenting by these like titles essentially are these, these operational goals? Um, so I spent a lot of my time coaching clients through that, helping them understand there are six lead gen strategies that we really uncovered. Um, some of them don’t work right now, like in person meetings, trade shows, right. Thing of the past, but we are seeing outrageous success with things like webinars. Mmm. And also I think like right now is supply chains moment. I mean, this is the moment. If you have something that can help in any way, shape or form, this is the moment we have a client that does AI, robots and warehouses. And the idea that there are retailers that are going to take retail locations and turn them into dark stores and make sure that folks are saying six feet apart and then reducing FTEs in the warehouse. Like one of the things we’ve been thinking a lot about the coverage for all of our clients, if you don’t have a board, what would they be asking for? And if you do have a board, like what are your customers boards asking them for? Yeah. And they are asking them for plans for 2021, 2022. How this going to change
Will Haraway (26:44):
Where the warehouse is going to be, how far away are things that have to be from the end consumer. I mean, everything is going to change. And the boards are asking for these plans, the automation example I’ll use since you work in that space. Just so the day we talked about it on the supply chain buzz, uh, the automation Martin, the global warehouse automation market, we’ll almost double, it was 14 billion in 2019. It’s going to be over 27 billion by 20, 25, according to frost and Sullivan, via modern materials, handling someone to get that business. And if you’re not putting your best foot forward in a smart and savvy way with people that know how to do it. Yeah. You know, you’re going to be left out with either a sliver or none at all. So now’s the time to get smart about amplifying and, and, and generating leads.
Will Haraway (27:33):
And, uh, and, and following up to get the conversations, ultimately get the close that you need. Right. Yeah. And Scott, that was your conversation with Jeff Cashman and gray orange, right. Is that what you’re saying? So, so gray orange is a, is a lead coverage, uh, proud to say, yup. You’re a great example about what we’re talking about. That that actually is, uh, you know, one of the, some of the last business we closed before the, the, the, the, this whole thing started when we were all asked together the Atlanta supply chain awards. But they’re a great example because of the AI and the robots in the warehouse. I mean, as Cara said, it’s supply chains moment because not only is that making your, uh, you know, not only is it making your warehouse more efficient, you know, but it’s also making it safer. It’s compliments with the, uh, you know, with the, with humans, you know, not taking the jobs away, as Jeff said on your show, you know, it’s complimenting them, it’s making them safer.
Will Haraway (28:33):
And if, if, if you were on the fence, let’s say you’re just a retailer with, you know, eight to 10 distribution centers all over the country. And if you were on the fence about making that decision, you’re making that decision now. Right? Yeah. So gray orange is another example. I have a company that’s making an investment in sales and marketing right now, right? The reason we’re talking about them on this webinar today is because they’re actively making an investment. And I think, I can’t tell you, I talked to another, you know, fortune two thousands player in the space, and they’re just not making investments in sales and marketing right now. Or they have bloated sales teams that have been, you know, sort of with them for a long time. And they were, they’re rewarding, essentially that loyalty, which I totally appreciate as an owner. And I think, you know, if you’re sitting on a team of six to 10 guys who used to close deals with handshakes over bars at trade shows, that time is that is over right long gone. And those are the clients of ours that are putting digital lead gen, not just digital marketing, but digital
Kara Brown (29:42):
Lead gen to youth are putting deals in the pipeline right now. All right. So this is a good segue here because one of the big points you just, you and we’ll both just made, there is first off these organizations that are cracking the code, they’re choosing intentionally to invest yeah. Sales and marketing right now, and lead generation and message amplification. So let’s, let’s follow that up. I go broadly here. So when we look at trends or best practices, or, you know, some of your observations in that sales and marketing space with little Ben towards the global supply chain community, what key developments do you see? And what are some of the more successful companies doing grow during this, this, this crazy year of 2020? I’ll tell you. It’s got it is not rocket science again, super simple. Okay. Uh, wow. Love it. Love it. It’s amazing what happened.
Kara Brown (30:43):
Everyone’s sitting at home. Everyone’s at home, maybe less people than there were 12 weeks ago, but everyone has been at home. So we have a partnership with a company called connect and sell. It’s a really sexy weapon. We call a weapon. It’s like a, it’s like a little secret. I’m getting well secret weapon for your team here. Um, but we like to use this tool connect and sell. It can help our phone callers or warm callers, whatever you want to call them, or SDRs banker about 130,000 minutes, which is amazing. They just bang through these phone numbers. And then they talk to people that they get in touch with, obviously. Mmm. But being able to make those calls. So having lists ready, understanding that you’re no longer going to be able to close deals over a handshake at a trade show, and you have to get in front of people.
Kara Brown (31:27):
And our clients that are being really successful in that right now are folks that are willing to pick up the phone. Gotcha. That’s really it. It’s not complicated. And if you don’t want to pick it up yourself, like if you’re a senior sales guy is like, Oh, I haven’t done cold calling since I was 22 or whatever. That’s fine. We have people that will call them for you. Can I tell you a funny story? Okay. So about 12 weeks ago and we all went home, my brother called and he was like, Hey, make this there. I just got laid off. And I was like, Oh my gosh, I’m so surprised. Little brother youthful, fancy chin implants. I can’t imagine. He’s like, alright, don’t be a jerk sibling rivalry. Right. It’s like, don’t be a jerk. Just give me something to do. Right. And I was like, do you want to make some calls?
Kara Brown (32:11):
Is it, yeah, I’ll, I’ll make calls. Awesome. So put them on the phone. And we have now hired 26 laid off sales rep. Wow. You dial for our clients. And what’s amazing. Scott is that these are not 22 year olds. We have to tie to a chair. My brother is in his mid thirties. He’s super successful felon, fancy 10 plants, and still knows how to get in the door, knows how to undercover, you know, the objection handling and getting in front of the champion, et cetera. And he is really setting like real meetings. Actually, if you close the deal Mmm. For clients in all types of industries, but supply chain specifically. All right. So, um, backing up for a second. So our listeners, if you heard there, I’m not only doing the activity and whatever that is in your space, on your sales teams, really knocking it out day in, day out.
Kara Brown (33:01):
But yeah, backing up is having the right targeted data so that you’re not just out there blind from eight to five or whatever those hours are. Are you going to give that to your team? Okay. Okay. So hiring, this is fascinating. Cause I didn’t realize this was not on my homework, my due diligence of 26 people, which is exciting. I mean, you know, clearly are growing left and right. So 26 people you heart I’d love to know. And I bet our listeners would love us know just one lesson learned, uh, from hiring sales talent, because I can tell you, okay, I haven’t been there and done that. There’s all these assumptions that are out there. And half of them are, if not, all of them are wrong. Well, what’d you learn from, from successfully onboarding all those folks. Can I give you another secret? You ready for that?
Kara Brown (33:45):
All right. There is a new really cool tool out there called crystal knows. Okay. Croi FCA Al knows like crystal ball. Yup. And it can automatically give you the personality profile of anyone that you’re linked to on LinkedIn. Okay. And we want to hire folks that have drive ambition and don’t want to spend a lot of time. So architecting the perfect solution. Right. Um, and so that’s one of the things we’ve done. We’ve just run every new wrap that we’ve hired through the crystal nose sort of personality profile and figuring out are they really going to sell? Are they really going to close? Yeah, I think that’s, you’re talking a lot about this actually in my sort of circles, because I think there’s a law of diminishing returns. So we are not up to, to the back that coven has given us a very unique opportunity, the higher sales reps that have been trained by some of the best trained, you know, sales folks in that essentially in the country.
Kara Brown (34:48):
So we can pick up someone who is trained by, you know, the sales block team or the full story team. We get the benefit of their training, right? And so these folks aren’t, um, that working full time where we don’t have any expectation that this is going to be sort of their full time job forever, but it’s a win, win, win for everyone. Right? Our client gets a really solid trained sales rep calling on their behalf, the Rapids, making some money while they’re unemployed and we get to make the clients happy and help them close deals. Okay. And, you know, uh, okay. It is going to sound so cliche, but I’m gonna say it because clearly you’re, you’re putting it into practice, getting creative and finding those creative, innovative win-win wins in this day and age. You know, look, this isn’t a perfect environment for too many people, except for certain products, Factors and sellers.
Will Haraway (35:38):
It’s challenging for a lot of folks. So getting creative, stepping out of how you’ve done business, it doesn’t matter for 60 years or 16 years and finding creative ways of, of, of, uh, winning together and growing together. So I love this story. Hey, well, what would you, Mmm. As we, as we continue to kind of this little segment here about what your team is seeing a successful companies do to drive growth during this challenging year, what else would you add to what Kara has shared? Well, you know, uh, thought leadership, certainly, you know, taking a, take a look at what is going on in your particular industry and take a stance on it. You know, that that’s something that we’ve been really successful with. Mmm well, it’s, it’s generally part of any, any program that we put together, but, uh, but, but I would say that that’s something that’s really working for a lot of, especially on the supply chain side, people are trying to figure it out exactly how to, you know, kind of, you know, do more with less for what, you know, and then, uh, for one, and certainly, uh, trying to understand some of the challenges that are out there that have been created by the fact that, uh, you know, uh, th th th the demand has changed as far, right.
Will Haraway (36:55):
That medically dramatically, you know, how you’re managing your inventory, you know, how you can forecast ahead how to look ahead at disruptions, how to handle those disruptions when they can, you know, obviously when they continue to come, I mean, this thing isn’t over by a long shot, we all know. So, uh, so being able to give that kind of advice, um, you know, and we’d like to help our clients do that. And then, uh, and spreading that around your industry, getting as far as you can, that can, that can certainly develop into, uh, you know, that that can give you opportunities. And we’ve definitely seen it with our clients. Now, I would say over the last three months than it was the previous three months, that’s something. And, you know, it’s very difficult to project the accurate brand that excuse me, that you want to, and in this wide, uh, ever-growing universe of, of your digital brand social channels, PR releases everything else, the news cycle for that matter.
Will Haraway (37:59):
So I can, I can certainly appreciate, and the better listeners can, I don’t care is going to agree with me because this is something that we talk a lot about. Just, just, just your tongue, you know, we all understand what is going on, right? So, uh, nobody wants to, Mmm. You know, uh, go over the top as far as, you know, uh, people are being a little, you know, uh, they’re holding back a little bit, um, when at the same time, like that care said, this is if you’re a supply chain company, this really is your moment to help, you know, and if you look at it in that respect, you know, if are,
Kara Brown (38:36):
You know, providing, uh, technology solutions that are enabling drivers to be able to do touchless payments, for instance, you know, you are okay, you know, helping you, if you have a transportation management system, that is, that is, uh, you know, that is separating out okay. Uh, to come checks and all the different things, you know, and let’s make people safer. Yes. It is enabling transactions to happen faster in a, in a time when a lot of systems are having a hard time connecting and talking to each other, like you told me about that because that’s helping, that’s helping the situation. And I think even well, like what’s coming next. Right? Right. So you have a solution that will help someone fix a problem that is coming in 2021, like a relapse of coven and everyone going back home again, um, like, you know, distributed warehousing, where am I going to put all this stuff it’s coming from China, because I haven’t moved any, any material out of my retail store is like, if you have a solution for a problem that is here today, or problem that’s coming, this is the time to talk about it and tell everyone.
Kara Brown (39:47):
I think one of the things that we feel a well is, especially right now, I answer being like, Oh, we don’t want to talk about that until it’s actually Betty, or we don’t want to talk about that yet. And will, and I are on the other end of the phone. Like, why not? Like now is the time, right, right. This is your moment that supply chain has never had a moment like this before. And I don’t, I mean, so much of what our clients do and I’ll put myself in the same sort of relative to everyone else, because we’re all for the professionals in this space. So much of what we do is going to change. And the analysts are looking for it. The reporters are looking for it. And the cost to our customer, the shippers are looking for, they’re looking for, who’s got the next solution that can help me, Dave, my job, right.
Kara Brown (40:38):
Everyone’s on the line or spot that the next curve ball that’s around the corner that no one sees yet. I mean, that’s, that’s really where we’re headed. So on that note, let’s get beyond sales and marketing, which clearly you are doing a lot of work in, and you’ve got a lot of observations. I think what you shared already to help folks continue to crack the code. And, you know, there is no finish line. You know, things constantly change, even though, uh, some of the proven best practices, there are different spins on different ways. You get it done. Let’s go broader to them. Let’s, let’s look at it. Kara, as you started the paint, the picture, because I, I agree with you. This is supply chains, Tom, in many ways has been cut for a few years in terms of having a seat at the table and being able to, to be in position [inaudible] now I think the burden and the responsibility changes a bit because I believe that is a global supply chain industry is going to be breakthrough some of the, that aren’t as supply chain related, but that’s a different show.
Kara Brown (41:36):
Let’s talk about what trends or issues kind of outside the sales and marketing realm that you’re tracking more than others. As you look at the rest of 20, 20 and beyond, it’s going to sound really cliche and not a surprise to your audience, but technology, um, technology, how technology works together, how the ERP is, and the TMS are going to be working together in the future. Um, all the way down to actual locations, specific tracking companies like locator ax. You’ve had Steve on the show, um, that are really paving the way forward in terms of where are, where all my products, not just where is my North, my ship in, whereas my TEU or where is my palette, where every single one of my products and being able to prove to the end consumer that what they are buying is legitimate. Um, I think I saw just in the news yesterday, that Zara is $3 billion in e-commerce.
Kara Brown (42:38):
I think we are going to be seeing a massive change in all things, contract LTL OTR, and the ocean. I mean, every, every single mode, right? The global supply chain is going to be dramatically changed by Kobe and the investments that the leaders are going to make. So you’re going to be a leader in this space, investing in the product that will help your customers, and then also investing in making sure your customers know about it. It’s going to be super important. You can spend a lot of time and money building a really beautiful product, but if you don’t tell anybody it exists, no one’s going to ever see it. Yeah. It’s interesting. You mentioned locator X cause Steve was on the show a month or so ago. And what I love two things come to mind from that show. Number one is it, they’ve got this, this progressive forward looking technology and they have found a way to help independent with the, the, um, well, not the respirators, the ventilators, right?
Kara Brown (43:34):
Yeah. That is awesome. Those are heroes stories. And then secondly, mom, mama was watching that episode. She retired as an RN after 30 years, a few years back for me, it was a, it was a blind spot. I’ve never worked ever in a hospital or a doctor’s office. And she talked about how the equipment is getting lost all the time. Yes. And it was so getting laughed, but yeah, but what I, I hit now I took it blood just like you said, it was a camera meet now, you know, when we need it. And so that, that was a really cool moment from that show, but, um, okay. There’s so much, uh, will, let me same question to you, Kara kind of shared a little bit about what she’s tracking kind of outside of sales and marketing, of course, no shortage of news and innovation in the, in the technology front, what sticks out in your mind? I mean, honestly, it’s, it’s, it’s sort of how the, how the supply
Will Haraway (44:32):
Chains are going to continue to adjust, uh, not to go back. I mean, we, we spoke about it a minute ago, that just how demand is going to continue to shift and it’s going to be, um, it’s going to be the supply chain solutions and the people that have invested in those solutions that are, you know, in, in demand forecasting in a, you know, in projection, um, in inventory optimization, I mean, just to try and figure out exactly where we are moving forward. I think that’s, that’s something that I’m intensely focused on, honestly, because, um, you know, inventory carry in inventory cost is generally the biggest expense on a, on a, on a line item for a business, you know, certainly for a retailer. So, uh, S so the, the, the companies that can help crack that code, um, you know, they’ve, they’ve certainly always been important, but I think never more important than now because, um, you know, everybody’s at home, they’re doing their shopping online.
Will Haraway (45:37):
It’s very hard to determine, you know, what is, I mean, you know, the holiday seasons, not too far away, you know, it it’s like, when is the, when is it going to start to, to spike? You know, is it going to spike? You know, you would assume so, but what’s it gonna look like in an environment that has literally never happened? You know? Um, I mean, I guess it happened a hundred years ago, but, uh, you know, uh, the world’s changed a little bit go into the store, I guess they didn’t do back then, but you know what I’m saying? One of the things that we’re seeing well is that people are hungry for this information. Yeah. So we hosted a webinar for our clients and it was on their very specific expertise in what they do. It, wasn’t sort of like a house supplies.
Will Haraway (46:28):
How is global supply chain going to change? Right. So, up to you, very specific, like this is how we think if we are going to be impacted, and this is how we can help. We had almost 160 people register for this and in a B to B environment, those are big numbers. Yeah. And so, you know, real meeting set from that webinar or talking about how they can help with what’s coming right with the expectations that the board is putting on them for what’s coming in 20, 21 and 2022. No, I think that’s the biggest thing we’re watching is what are the shepherds and the retailers, what are they paying attention to? Right? What are they visiting? What are they watching? And that’s all PR okay. Uh, as we start to wrap up here, I want to surprise y’all with a question, all right, we’ve covered, we’ve covered so much ground, both in sales and marketing leadership, [inaudible] around it. Cause you know, a lot of things are connected of course, to growth, right revenue. So we’re going to ask you to make sure our listeners, how to get in touch. We’ll
Kara Brown (47:30):
Leave coverage in a minute, but if there’s one thing that’s come up in this past hour or so that business leaders, blockchain leaders, it’s patching professionals need to have on their radar. What would that one thing be? And Carol, I’ll start with you. My area of expertise is lead gen and sales and conversion, right. Marketing and conversion. So I’m going to stay in my lane. Yep. So the one thing that I would have my clients look out for is not having the rest of the organization change with the supply chain or the, or the operation of the work. Hmm. So if your supply chain is changing dramatically, if your, if your, if your network, if your distribution models are changing dramatically, your sales and marketing, isn’t far behind. And I know they feel really disconnected, especially at the big company level, they feel really different, but there really connected, like they’re all, they’re all together because if your customers are changing their demands, that’s a marketing problem.
Kara Brown (48:34):
Yep. And if you don’t fill in the team right from this is what’s happening in the supply chain space, we don’t fail in the marketing team to fill in the sales team. Um, the changes they’re seeing in the operational level, you’re going to miss out on an opportunity to potentially close real business in a time of need. That’s a great point. Oh, I was, I was part of a big international event this week. I’m trying to digest a ton of content. Holy cow. It’s like a circus, but good stuff. Right. All about supply chain and technology and retail. And one of the things that, one of the biggest points a lot of folks rallied around today, Kara is kind of follows your, your point. There is that don’t, especially in this day and age, don’t bring products to your customer and to your prospects bring solutions or ideas, or, you know, um, a path forward.
Kara Brown (49:26):
Right. Right. Even if you don’t have that perfect, you know, a magic wand packaged up with a bow on top and here you go. That was a very savvy point. And I think a very timely point that was made and it kind of falls parallel with what you just shared that care. Yeah. And then share the solutions that you are coming up with with your clients, make sure the entire organization, including your sales and marketing teams. No. What those solutions are, because if you create one solution for let’s call it gap, someone, someone needs to go tell them Nordstrom that you created the solution, right? Like those, you have the marketing team sales and marketing team needs to have the examples at their fingertips to be able to share your wins. Yeah. And I think a lot of times that it doesn’t, it just doesn’t make it all the way across the organization for whatever reason. Right. And sales and marketing end up sort of spinning their wheels, using the same language they’ve been using without knowing that there’s more to be had at the operations team would just of share it
Will Haraway (50:28):
The last time, you know, that’s old, that’s old school culture, you know, it’s corporate silos and there’s nothing wrong with that. We’re all used to it. But if you’re really going to be successful postcode that I think it’s, that’s going to be the sort of internal, the internal knowledge share is going to be super important. And we’ll, I’m going to, I’m going to pivot over to you. It seems like it’s a term of the day here lately. Kara went with what I heard there. She finished up her thoughts, is that okay if the information is dated and if it’s stale, that impacts something that you, I feel strongly about. And that’s the tone, right? The tone could be accurate and dead on for the first part of 2019, but that’s not where we are. And if we’re not equipping. Yeah. If we’re not at the tip of the spear is not, it’s the tip of the spear is tone deaf.
Will Haraway (51:13):
Then you can do a lot more damage, then hit the Mark. Right. That’s right. And, and, you know, as, as Cara was saying there, you know, it’s important to really mind your organization for all kinds of things. And, and, and just now is not really the time to be shy. And, you know, uh, and as long as you maintain the right sort of helpful Mmm. You know, service tone, uh, with [inaudible], you know, uh, locator X is, is a great example of a company that, you know, what they do their mission is to help you track the most important things in your life. Like, that’s there focus, that’s their mission. So if you go through your organization and you, you know, it could be a partnership, it could be, you know, uh, certainly a new customer, but, but an adjustment too, your and adjustment to the product that you might not think is a major adjustment.
Will Haraway (52:10):
But if you’ll just mention it to the rest of the organization, then, uh, you know, all of a sudden you can track ventilators. You know what I mean? You didn’t know that the, that the product had that capability and all of a sudden, you know, that’s, that’s something that sparks an idea that helps, you know, th th th that helps create some different, some different things within your solutions. That’s one thing don’t be shy and, and, and look within your organization, kind of establish yourself with a deep bench. You know, don’t always rely from a marketing perspective on your, on your CEO, you know, and on your, you know, your, your chief innovation officer, your chief product officer, or whatever, you know, look within your organization that you hired these guys for a reason, uh, find more thought leaders. It’s better to have more than, you know, it’s a super deep bench right now. Look at your board, they’re on your board for a reason, you know, uh, they’re successful business people. Yeah. Th th they can, they can help you with certainly with, with marketing, with public relations and thought leadership. And really, it’s just a matter of getting everybody, maybe not on the same room right now, but in the same zoom call or, or just in the same email train, and, and
Kara Brown (53:26):
Just to kind of pick some brands, whole organization, and don’t silo up, we’ll put, all right. So the, the, the trade and other question here is how can our listeners get in touch with both of you and Carrie, you lead off there. It’s really easy. We’re at lean coverage.com sounds coverage. We didn’t lose any bowels or anything when we bought the domain. Uh, and I’m email@example.com and we’ll as well as we covered.com. It’s not hard, but yeah, we’re easy to get in touch with happy to have any chat. We love talking about tracks, uh, planes and boats and all things, supply chain. I think one of the things that always gets me is when we get on the phone with someone, usually a man, uh, and I do most of our sort of intro connections, right? Like I get most intro calls and is there a chatting? And we’re gonna start talking about staffing. He’s like, Oh, but you actually like, you know what you’re talking about? Yeah. Yes, I do. It’s there.
Kara Brown (54:28):
So that’s really fun. Uh, sorry, I stole this. I think saw something you shared on LinkedIn or, or some, one of the social media channels. And, uh, I think someone, I think you said that, Hey, someone told me I needed a filter long time ago. You didn’t, you just need to start your business that’s right. Right. And be the CEO and be, be the leader, you know, that folks [inaudible]. Mmm. Yeah. I don’t have the perfect words to tie that back to all the good work you do to support the female entrepreneur community. But there is a nugget of truth there, and [inaudible] instantly think of is the meetings that go on your elbow. It has told us a lot about some of the meetings that go on and there’s only one female in the room, or there’s just a lack of diversity in the room. And then even, and then the conversation, it doesn’t even involve everybody.
Kara Brown (55:21):
And, and there’s, so there’s so much frustration, so much work to be done there. And Kira [inaudible], you can be an example now, now that you’ve cracked that 1%, 1.7%. Yeah. The folks will we’ll get inspiration from him. That’s really important. See it? Yes. Yeah. I agree. Weapon, by the way in that is math. That’s right. It’s armed with math. They bring so much math to Scott. One of the things I learned is never let your client walk into another board meeting or executive leadership meeting with no map. So we are our clients or whatever meeting they’re going to with all of their lead gen math, super important, the math Maff right. All the math, the PR guys like us. Yes. It’s all a map. Yeah. Well, that’s the words because math, well, we’ll have to have y’all back, uh, really enjoyed today’s conversation. You know, we don’t talk enough about the sales and marketing side, which is an important, hugely important side
Scott Luton (56:23):
For any business, any industry, but certainly supply chain. So we’ll have to continue to conversation. We have been featuring Carol Brown, chief revenue officer with lead coverage and her partner co-founder
Scott Luton (56:33):
And chief content officer. [inaudible] also a regular contributor here at supply chain now. Alright. So audience hope you enjoyed this as much as I did. I’m I’m partial, at least with will, but Carrie, your first time here, you stood and delivered just like we knew you would. So folks will be claiming for the second, the followup installment, Hey, to our audience real quick, we’ve got a couple of things. Speaking of webinars, we’ve got a June 25th webinar with our friends over at rootstock, uh, all about ERP in the new normal, and we’re going to be learning some best practices there and a special event that we’re leading. I am facilitating July 5th. We’re going to have a, our next standup and sound off on race and industry. And we’re gonna have a very Frank 90 minute conversation globally for the panel and getting your thoughts and questions and observations and frustrations, and you name it. Uh, July 15th, you can sign up for either one of those, no charge [inaudible] dot com on that note, be sure to check us out there for a podcast, live streams, great conversations like this with a thought leaders across global and then supply chain. And with all that said, we want to challenge as we, as we try to do regularly. And we challenge ourselves here, do good gift forward and be the change. And on that note, we’ll see, next time a year on supply chain.
Would you rather watch the show in action? Watch as Scott and Will welcome Kara Brown to Supply Chain Now through our YouTube channel.
Kara Brown was one of the first employees at Echo Global Logistics. Echo grew quickly in three years and her name is on the company’s 2009 IPO press release [NYSE: ECHO]. At a Nashville-based supply chain management company Kara weathered a major communications crisis with almost no market exposure before moving home to Chicago to start a family. Kara arrived in Atlanta in 2016 and started SmithBrown Marketing with no network. SmithBrown marketing is a team of marketing and sales enablement consultants specializing in all the pieces of the B2B conversion cycle: mar-tech stack building (CRM/Automation), sales/marketing operations and enablement, inbound/outbound content, SEO/SEM, social conversion, and measurement. Less than two years later, she has a team of four full-time employees and a client list that includes Atlanta heavyweights. Kara is also an active force in cultivating Atlanta’s female economy, being a Co-Founder of CloseHer, a community for women in sales. In 2017, Kara joined forces with Will Haraway to kickoff LeadCoverage, a PR and lead generation consultancy focused on supply chain, heavy industrial and tech. Learn more about Lead Coverage here: https://leadcoverage.com/
Will Haraway is Founder & Lead Evangelist at Backbeat Marketing. Will has 20 years of executive experience in B2B Technology Marketing. Will is a certified analyst relations practitioner by the Knowledge Capital Group and has helped companies including Manhattan Associates, Aptos, Atlantix Global Systems, American Software and Rubicon Global improve their brand reputations with marketing results that help increase sales. Will also serves as a member of the APICS Atlanta Executive Advisory Board. The Backbeat team includes lead generation, digital marketing, media relations and content marketing specialists with a combined 50 years of experience in their chosen disciplines. Learn more about Backbeat Marketing here: www.backbeatmarketing.com
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