The Revenue Engine

Finding Your Voice and Powering Your Career with Stephanie Cox, President of Lumavate

September 6, 2021
about

The Revenue Engine

Each week, Revenue Operations expert Rosalyn Santa Elena shines the spotlight on founders, CEOs, and Revenue Leaders from hyper-growth companies and dives deep into the strategies they implement to drive growth and share their learnings. Rosalyn brings you inspirational stories from revenue generators, innovators and disruptors, as well as Revenue Leaders in sales, marketing, and operations.

“All I had to do was stop asking for permission, stop worrying about speaking up, and start doing what I know is best”.

This is career advice from Stephanie Cox, the President at Lumavate, the no-code mobile app platform built for marketers to build, publish, and manage apps on their own.  

In this episode of The Revenue Engine Podcast, Stephanie shares her journey as a female leader who has grown her career from running marketing - to running marketing and sales - to ultimately running the company.  

Take a listen to her insights around grabbing opportunities when they appear, being comfortable speaking up, and learning that everyone brings value to the table.

Connect with Rosalyn https://www.linkedin.com/in/rosalyn-santa-elena/

Connect with Stephanie https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephaniecox/

Stephanie Cox
President, Lumavate
President at Lumavate | Host of Real Marketers Podcast | Speaker

[00:00:00] Rosalyn: Welcome to the revenue engine podcast. I'm your host, Rosalyn Santa Elena. And I am thrilled to bring you the most inspirational stories from revenue, generators, innovators, and disruptors revenue leaders in sales, in marketing. And of course in operations. Together, we will unpack everything that optimizes and powers the revenue engine.

Are you ready? Let's get to it. All I had to do was stop asking for permission. Stop worrying about speaking up. And start doing what I know best. This is career advice from Stephanie Cox, the president at Lumagate the no code mobile app platform built for marketers to build, publish, and manage apps on there.

As a female leader who has grown her career from running marketing to writing, marketing, and sells to ultimately run the company. Stephanie shares her insights around grabbing opportunities when they appear being comfortable, speaking up and learning that everyone brings value to the table. Stephanie teaches us about product led growth, not as a go to market strategy or just another revenue channel, but about a business model and shares the do's.

And don'ts when moving your organization to this model. And of course, as a company that sells to marketers, Stephanie shares her expertise around cutting through the noise and reaching buyers in new and creative ways. We unpack so much in the latest episode of the revenue engine podcast. So please take a listen, but you'll want to grab a notebook first,

super excited to be here today with Stephanie Cox, the president at Lumagate. For those of you who may not be familiar with of eight live eight is a no-code mobile app platform built for marketers to build, publish, and manage apps on their own. So welcome Stephanie, and thank you so much for joining us.

[00:02:09] Stephanie: I'm excited to be here. 

[00:02:11] Rosalyn: So let's talk a little bit about your career journey prior to eliminate. You've been in a number of different marketing roles in a number of different companies in a number of different varieties of various industries. So can you share a little bit maybe about your background and your career journey sort of leading up to your current?

[00:02:28] Stephanie: Yeah. You know, I think a lot of career success has to do with two things, hard work and a little bit of both. And that's really been the story of my career. So when I graduated college in the early two thousands and took on my first marketing role, it sounds crazy to say, but not every company had a website, email marketing.

Wasn't a thing. Social media didn't really exist. And when you started coming out with those new channels, I honestly kind of lucked into it because I was the young person on the team. And so it was like, well, you'll figure out this email marketing thing. You'll figure out what, like whatever the social media is.

And that's really where I got my career started in digital, you know, early in my career, you know, I started heavy on brand management and I still love brands. But I really started to find a passion for digital because what a lot of people today don't realize, you know, in the nineties and early two thousands, you know how we marketed, we sent things in the mail, right?

Like, you know, your campaign, wasn't sending email. It was like, you would go home at night and like stuff, $500 and they'll let her, so, you know, There's a lot of, I think timing, right. Which is a little bit of luck, honestly. And that's where I started in digital. And I also really chose early on in my career.

And at the time it was not super intentional. I think it was, you know, I had a couple of different offers when I graduated college, but I chose the one that felt like the best fit for me and the culture I wanted. And looking back, you know, I chose a kind of a mid-size organization. Where the marketing team was smaller.

You know, the company was decent size, but it wasn't huge. And what that allowed me to do was learn every aspect of marketing. I got to do a little bit of everything and, you know, looking back on my career, part of the reason I've been so successful is I really have done all that. Now I don't like doing all of it for conversation, right, honey.

Right. Like I think, and that's why I always tell people that are graduating and they're asking like, what type of jobs should I take? And I say, you know, well, if you really know what you want to do and you want to be very focused, big company, right. Go to the big company, pick it up. They'll get you to be an expert on like SEO or Google ads.

But if you don't know, and you think you want to be a CML one day or a CEO, one day go someplace, that's like a smaller mid-sized, it will give you the best education you could ever expect, because you will have to learn all of it and you'll have to learn how to be scrappy. So that's really, my first two jobs were doing.

And I also got my MBA at the time as well. And then, you know, I went to a big company with Ingersoll Rand, which was 14, $14 billion, 16,000 employees. But I was on his team that was this really interesting startup within his organization, which is kind of like really cool because you have the name recognition of this huge brand.

You have the budgets. Yeah. But you could take more all. That large organizations have. And I kind of also tiny was a little bit of luck too. You know, when I started there in 2010. We were doing home automation for consumers. So the idea of controlling your home from your phone, which is like not, not novel now, right.

Everyone does that. Of course I would do that. Well, 10 years ago, no one was doing that. Right. Um, and so a little, a little bit of, a little bit of luck and timing there, and that's where I got into mobile. Because that's where mobile apps had just started to blow up. The app store was just launched the year before.

And, you know, from there, my love and passion of mobile allowed me to launch mobile apps in 10 countries, you know? Right. Like just things that I never would have expected to do because I was, I took it. I took an opportunity. The other thing I would tell you about my time at Ingersoll Rand, that really impacted my journey to where I'm at today.

Is I grew up, I grew up in the Midwest, so I'm a woman I'm Midwestern, which is like, by nature, I am, I've been taught to be polite, humble, and right. Like just kind of like, Hey, I think we should do this. It'd be a great idea. And then wait for like everyone to agree. I remember sitting in a meeting at Ingersoll Rand, which is a great company.

I love my time there. And I had probably suggested it. Of certain effects were problem we've been having for months. Like almost the point where I was like, well, here are the words that I say like, okay, like I'm speaking English, right? Like, right. Like what's going on? And then someone else, my boss at the time said it everyone's like, oh, that's like idea ever.

And I'm like, for the love, I got mad. Like not in the meeting, but like I went home and I was mad. And I've been mad before when that's happened to me. But like, I think this was the time I was like, screw it. Like I'm, I'm done asking for permission. I'm done asking for people to like, tell me it's okay to do my job.

I know what I'm doing. I'm good at it. And I'm just going to start doing whatever I want until someone tells me I knock it off. And here's the thing. When you do great work, no one tells you that knock it off. That's right. People don't clap your hands for solving complex problems that maybe are outside of your area of responsibility.

And because of that, when you look at the rest of my career, like that was a huge turning point, because then when I went to exact target and Salesforce rate, I see. And no one else is doing it. And it's like outside of my area. So I would just start doing it until someone was like, Hey, stop. And spoiler alert.

They don't tell you that. Right. And that continued. And that's really, really prevalent in my experience today. You know, when I came in four years ago, I was hired to run hard. And I ran marketing for two years. Then I took over sales. And, you know, part of that was because I had a lot of opinion. Like I was already trying to influence sales before I was running on it.

And, you know, I took over sales and then I started seeing areas for customer success and support and product and. Just, I mean, I'm polite about the first time. We're, I'll say like, Hey, like this is a problem to whoever's managing it, but if they don't take advantage, like if they don't do something and I'm not very patient, to be honest, I just started doing it.

And then I started taking over those functions and now, you know, I, I run the company. But a lot of it has been because of my past experience. Right. A lot of it's been hard work. I work really, really hard, but I've also, you know, been very lucky around timing of things. I've been in opportunities and taking advantage of things that have turned out to be, you know, mobiles that a huge, huge part of my career.

And that goes back to my time at Ingersoll Rand. And part of it is also, you know, if someone wouldn't have yeah. You know, if my boss wouldn't have said what he said in that meeting on that day, I probably wouldn't have gotten as mad that night. Maybe still be waiting for, you know, being the same way and asking people for his, bless me to do my job.

Which, yeah. I'm not doing that for a long time now, so that's kind of how we got it. Yeah. 

[00:10:13] Rosalyn: I love that. Uh, I love that story and it's just so it's, it's so true, right? It's just like, we can't wait for permission. And like you said, when you're doing something, if you're solving complex problems, no, one's going to stop you there.

Yeah, they're going to let you, so you talked about, uh, eliminate a little bit, and I know you joined over four years ago and like you said, you started with marketing and then leading sales, and then most recently you were promoted to president. So congratulations. And now you're ready the company. Um, so what first interested you in joining Luma vape and sort of, how has that changed over time?

Because I know four years in technology is like, you know, it's like a lifetime, right? So I'm sure a lot has changed. 

[00:10:53] Stephanie: So I was, um, at the time writing marketing app project lead the way, which is a fantastic nonprofit, um, education organization, really involved in getting kids and engineering and biomedical science, computer science.

And I was super happy. It was a blend of what I love, right. Marketing and education. And, you know, there are a couple people I'm based out of Indianapolis and Indianapolis when they reach out, even if you're happy, you take the call. Right. Like you take, you listen to what they have to say. And some people reached out to me that I had to take the coffee and I told, you know, it was kind of like, you I'm happy, but like I'll, I'll meet with you and see what's going on.

And they start talking to me about movies. And, you know, after that first meeting, what's interesting about it was I went home and I told my husband, I said, why don't you think this was gonna happen? Because the company was about a year and a half old at the time. I'm not going to have a drop in the year.

Yeah. Right. Yeah. You just never know. Or this is going to fundamentally change my entire career. And the reason I believe that so strongly is I've been the person with the problem that we were going to solve. I've been the person that spent millions of dollars developing it. And seeing people download them and not engage with them later.

I've seen the cost of developing for iOS and for Android. And for those of you that remember Blackberry, like I've done this,

[00:12:27] Rosalyn: I loved my black. I liked it. 

[00:12:31] Stephanie: It's hard for me to go from Blackberry to iOS and now to apple. And now I'm kind of like, I S I still miss that keyboard. I really do. I love theory curve. Like it took a long time for me to let that one go. But what's interesting about it is, you know, I look at the opportunity and I say, you know, I I've had this problem.

It's expensive. It takes forever the app store. You know, if you've, if you've ever done native mobile, you've been rejected by the app store. Like there isn't anyone I've ever talked to that hasn't experienced that it's exhausting. And I tell people all the time, Mobile marketing gives you war wins, like true war wins, because there are so many stories, whether it's native, mobile, SMS, really anything tied to it where you experienced something and it's like, how did this happen?

Like, how do I get over it? Like, it's hard. And we were going to solve those problems. And there's something different when you've been the person with the problem and you feel it at a different level. I have that when I was at exact target too, like I'd been the marketer we were selling to. And that's part of the reason why I was like, if we can figure this out, like w it's going to change everything.

For marketers. And I believe that four years ago, and I believe that even more today, like it is, especially with what's happened in the last 12 to 15 months with the pandemic. People have to move faster. They have to think differently, especially in the enterprise where oftentimes you might hear about digital transformation projects taking, you know, three to five years.

They can't wait three to five years consumer. I mean, it's funny when people talk about B2B, we act like, oh, it's B2B, we're marketing to business. I'm like, no, you're marketing to people who have the expectations of Netflix. Right. And like door dash part. Right. Like I want it now. Um, just because they're buying for business doesn't mean that their behaviors change.

Yes. They may think about the revenue different, right? Like there's a difference between spending your own money versus spending a company's money. Right. Um, or the level of investment, but like your buying behavior is very similar. So it's been a wonderful ride, I think, you know, especially coming in as president.

Yeah. Yeah, which is a huge, huge opportunity that I'm extremely grateful for, but I believe so much in our success and our potential here at eliminate because you know, right now marketers don't know for the most part that they can build their own apps. Right? Like that's a crazy idea and we're not going to stop there.

Why can't everyone build an app? You know, I think this whole idea of co low-code no-code is going to be a revolution. And I don't say that lightly because you you'll in the past. You would rely on developers to develop code for you that was used for the one use case, right? Developers are still going to have a role, but instead they're going to develop code that's reusable that you can use hundreds of times for very different use cases.

So we're not taking anyone out of their necks. We're just letting everyone do what they're best at right. Developers. You go develop the code, right? Like we hire a ton of software engineers for our platform. And then marketers can use it to customize the things that they care about because no developer.

Cares about your hex code, right? Like they, they don't care that it's all fights. You like two numbers. Whereas, you know, some of us like myself care very passionately about that. So, you know, I'm very excited about the potential this company has and to help all kinds of. Businesses really accelerate what they're doing in the mobile space.

[00:16:11] Rosalyn: That's amazing. Thank you for sharing that. Um, speaking of, sort of the product and product roadmap, I mean, you led the effort there to define a new product roadmap, right. And really expand the go-to-market strategy to include this product led growth that we keep everybody's talking about in the market.

So how was that decision made and how has that change really helped accelerate revenue growth. 

[00:16:31] Stephanie: Yeah. I think a long time coming. Um, and I say that because, you know, we started out sales. So when the company was first founded, we had a sales team. We've always had a sales team. We'll always have a sales team.

I think, first of all, um, I think the difference though, is when you're a sales lead, you know, sales is really what drives the company and not the revenue number, but the sales organization. And oftentimes your product roadmap is based on what sales tells you that. Right in combination with what you hear from customers in the market, but really a lot, a lot of times you're delivering to what customers, especially if you're an enterprise needed one.

Um, you know, I think we really started talking about this. It's been almost three years now about product led growth. It was in, you know, the end of 2018. When I started advocating for us to consider it. And the reason why is, because what I mentioned earlier, we, as consumers have become accustomed to try and before we buy and, you know, marketers, especially, and I used to joke and say this, but it's so true.

I didn't find it myself, even in my current role. You know, when do I check out a new software at 10:00 PM at night on my couch? That's right, right. No one, like I'm not I'm working, but I'm not working like during the day. Like there's not someone competing for my time. I can spend some time doing it. I know no one is going to call me.

Right. Like excited and immediately try and call me. So what's nice about that is I, I do that. And you know, the challenges, you know, yes, you may have a demo video on your website. You might have screenshots, but if I can't experience your product and I can experience a competitive. Chances are the competitor's gonna edge you out in a lot of cases.

Not because they're better than you, but because they're more available. And so, you know, really what I was trying to get us to think about was how do we will one, like baby step into it. So how do we do trials? And maybe those are in the sales cycle. So that's actually the first kind of entree that we made was how can we empower our sales teams, who, when they have someone that wants to get us a sandbox or my favorite phrase that I think is like the least favorite phrase to all salespeople, I just don't play around.

Right. The worst part about that is like, that's what they're gonna do. They're gonna go in and click around on stuff with no real goal in mind. And so you being able to like measure effectiveness of whether or not that accomplished what they want. It's real hard, but here's the thing. That's what every marketer wants to do.

They just want to go around it. I want to go on, I want to click around. I want to make sure you all the things you said it could do, it can do right. So we created an option to do like trials, and I would tell you like that wasn't scalable. It was right. Like, it was very manual. You had to talk to a sales rep in order for it to even have an offer of doing it.

Um, but the nice thing about it was it gave us kind of like our first entree into what that was. And then we had, you know, prior to 2020, you know, our plan at the end of 2019 was to have a product led growth option by the end of the next year. And we had, you know, we had already planned that, but I would have told you, like, that was going to be like a December, 2020, or like Q1 20, 21 launch originally, and then merchants and, you know, I think one of the things that we realized in the first, like two months of the pant, when a pandemic really sent everyone home was something is like, this is changing.

And I, you know, you can't put salespeople on a plane. People are going to like, what is this going to do to buy and behaviors? And so what we decided to do was really pull up all over PLG. And that's what we did. So we accelerated that. We also decided to spend time really re you know, if we're going to go product line and have that as an, a big option, a big direction and business model for the company, we decided to redo the entire interface of our product, um, which is a huge decision.

Um, that's a huge decision and looking back, you know, I still like, sometimes like in mind, boggled, because we made that decision. So do it in may of 2020, and we put one senior engineer on it and other stuff to wait. Other stuff we were doing for the roadmap and customers. We put one inner engineer. And we watched it labor day weekend.

Oh my goodness. Which is crazy. That's crazy. It's really crazy. And what's even crazier about it is we watched it the Friday before labor day and then had a customer that needed to build 600 apps and three days using our new version of our product to launch the Tuesday after labor day. Um, we internally all joke about like, there's a couple of us that, you know, like we speak of like labor day, weekend, 2020, like as the time that we don't speak about.

Cause it was, it was, um, I can tell you that I worked a lot in BenchWatch the first two seasons of Cobar high. Um, but here's the thing that's crazy. Is it all worked? That's great. And, you know, shortly thereafter we officially rolled out product led quietly. Um, what I mean by that is quietly. Like it was on the website.

We were directing people to it, but we didn't do what a lot of companies would do. Like a big PR announcement, a big campaign around it, you know, because for two reasons. But I think a lot of people miss when they go from sales letter product flood, when your sales lead and you. A sales person that tells you about the product.

And then you have a customer success team that onboards you, whether or not services are involved, but they still onboard you. They use the product the way you taught them to use the product, which is very different than the person who comes in at 10 o'clock at night. They do things that you can not have anticipated.

And they wanted to do things and have perceptions of it that like there's no way we could have thought through. And so what allowed us to do is this first really. We launched a week before Thanksgiving, um, on the website. And then we spent really the next four months. And what I would tell you was letting people come in and trying to figure out where they got stuck and how to delight them.

And so, you know, I think that's was an interesting choice for us for a lot of reasons. One, we quickly learned what people do when you don't, even when you have health content. How cousin's great. No one reads it. Great.

He's obsessed about it before he launched and like making sure it was all good. Right. And like video, like all the stuff you need to do all those things. So it wouldn't be wrong, but here's the. No one looks at it, but like in reality, like they just click around and they click around in a way that you can have anticipated.

Even when you do all of this, you know, user testing and user studies, the person at 10:00 PM at night uses it differently. Um, or we'd have people that would come in and like send support tickets going, oh, like I want to be able to do this use case. Nowhere on our website says we can do that. Yes. But like in their mind, they're like, why can't you?

I like every, right. So it just, it's been a really great learning experience around how do we better prepare people initially? You know, how do we make our products? Even when it was really easy to use, even easier to use because people aren't going to read the health content, or if they do, they're not going to watch the full video, they're going to watch 15 seconds.

So, you know, that has been, I think, a bit. A big part for us. And then as you look at Kendall, you know where we are as a company today, you know, it's interesting when people say that you have product led growth, a lot of them make, make an assumption that I think is really flawed, which is, oh, that's SMB, which is not true.

Product led growth spans all segments. You have people that come in from the enterprise, right? It's not your CMO. Your CML is not coming in from an enterprise organization and creating an account at 10:00 PM at night. But your marketing manager is your marketing specialist, right? People who still have budget and still make decisions.

It's just different. So you have more of a bottoms up approach, um, from product lead and the enterprise, and then you also have mid-market and SMB. And so now you're in this situation. Cause we primarily before we're a very enterprise focused and enterprise. Um, company could do a sales slide. How do you create a pricing model that stands all free?

How do you create a product that works for all three? Um, and especially when you're, you know, when you have limited resources and capacity and capacity to think about, and then how do you create a company that allows you to have both? And I think one of the most important decisions that we made was. We are to think about product led growth, not as a go to market strategy and not as a channel.

And I think a lot of people do. Yeah. So we think about pro you know, we will tell you our business model is product led. And we think about that in two facets. One is self-service. So people who come in use our product upgrade and never talk to us. Um, the other one is. Direct sales, which is two things they could come in through a free account and then, you know, work with our sales team to upgrade, or they could, you know, our sales team could be prospecting and to them, get them in the process and then get them into a free account as part of the evaluation stage.

But at the end of the day, our product drives our company. Our product is why people buy us. And I think that is a really important distinction because. Product like product led growth. Um, if you don't think about it as a business model, You're just really gonna struggle because when you're product led, the metrics you look at should be different than when your sales line and you can't be sales led and product led at the same time, but you can have a self service arm and an direct sales arm and have them both work together under a product led business.

Um, so I think those are just some of the things that when you're thinking about like how to generate revenue and a transition like this, how to think about, you know, your go forward, when you do make the transition, it's really important to think about what kind of company we are. We what's our business model.

And then how does that start to filter down? That 

[00:27:43] Rosalyn: makes a lot of sense. I love the way you described that because it is a business model. It's not just a strategy or another channel or way of selling. It's a complete change in how you run your business. 

[00:27:53] Stephanie: It is. And I think when people start to think of it as a channel or a strategy, you know, we get in this habit of like, well, if it doesn't work, we'll just turn it off.

Right. And you, you can't, you can't do that. Right. Oh, like a Google ad. That's like, oh, it doesn't work. I'll stop. Um, or like Spotify ads or, you know, something where it's not working, you'll stop doing it. It is a fundamental piece of how your business operates. Um, so I think it's just important to think about it differently.

[00:28:24] Rosalyn: That's great advice. Um, you know, marketing, I know we talked about this a little bit already, but I think, you know, marketing has just become increasingly complex. Right. Especially as it relates to just trying to cut through the noise. Cause you mentioned, you know, as consumers, right. We're bombarded with all this information and we have the ability to go out and get information.

Right. So I think how do you sort of reach buyers in new and creative ways? Right? Because it's, it's really interesting. In your business because you're marketing to marketers, right. You're selling to them. So what are some of the things that you think have worked really well from your perspective to really cut through the noise and reach the right buyers at the right time?

[00:29:04] Stephanie: It's a great question there. You know, it's funny because we are all bombarded personally and professionally with so many messages. And then I see so many companies reach out to me the same exact way. Yes. And here's the thing. Like, I, I ignore them and what's horrible about it is like we all do. Um, and so I actually did a test of this and it's hilarious because I thought it was like, I was optimistic thinking it would work.

So I posted, it was probably maybe a month ago. On the importance of using video and prospecting and the results that we've seen from it. And I made a comment about like, if you want to get my attention, send me a video. Yeah. Okay. I've got one video. If you spend any time on my LinkedIn profile, like you would know that I've talked about like the importance of video, I'm a big fan of video card.

I've spoken at a long time. I said like video is how you get to me because no one else gets sends it to me. And then literally I probably get 40 prospects emails a day and I'm like, he's not even like Googles me. Number one. Don't do what everyone else is doing, which is like call, send, email, send connection requests.

Um, And I would tell you also, like, I know that mobile phone numbers are starting to, like, there's lots of technology that are providing those. Now. I guarantee you, if you call me on my mobile number and I didn't give it to you and I answer, and you were prospecting and to me, you were getting, and because I'm just like, it is like, to me, like, that's like almost like an envy it's different when you call me on my work number.

Right. Um, but yeah. Back to what works, I think is it's doing something different and marketing to marketers is the best job and the entire world, because you get to be so creative, but it's also the hardest because we are so sensible, right? Like, yeah. Do the same thing. You're just like, Hmm, thank you next.

Right? Like it doesn't. But when you do stand out, they notice that in a big way and they share it internally in a big way. So ways that we've done that, you know, we use personalized video and all of our prospecting outreaches, and not like a personalized video, like, hi, I noticed you do a podcast for sales IQ, right?

Like. You went to this college. I went to this college from the same state instead, we'll go. And I say, there's a fine line between creepy and cool. Yeah. A real fine line. And I actually said that like four times a week as we're onboarding a new STR fine line. Creepy. Cool. So what's like doing enough research about someone where you can say, like, I am reaching out to you and here's why I'm like, what I know about you.

And here's why I want to talk to you. Right. And it's things that are not specific to like your company or where you went to school. Like, I'll give you an example. I was able to get the CMO of MGM resorts on my podcast because I reached out to her. And mentioned how I heard that she loved Tim Horton's donuts.

Cause she's originally from Canada and I'd love to have her on the show to talk about merch, like these specific marketing topics that I know she's real passionate about and donuts. Right. And how I do that. Cause I, I went on Twitter and I didn't just read her last three tweets. Five minutes and red lake, the last hundred and saw that she tweeted about Tim Horton's donuts.

And the first time when she goes home to Canada, the first place, she goes to the importance that stood out. Right. And she gets all of that. I mean, she has all of those types of invites all the time. And why did she pick us? That's one thing, find unique stuff. So if someone speaks at all conferences, don't just go, hi.

I saw that you spoke at this conference, like listen to their video. Cause you can probably find it online and find one or two interesting points that they said that you don't hear from everyone else. And then tell them why you thought that was insightful, you know, especially in market to marketers, regardless of whether or not we all want to admit it.

We all have a little bit of ego. And when someone tells you like, Hey, I thought that was really smart. Like you're flattered and you're more likely to respond. So I think that's one, the other one is really around. Direct mail. And it's been a little bit harder, I think, um, in times of with everyone working from home, because now you have to figure out where they are pre pandemic, we would do different direct mail.

So like, we don't send you things that everyone else sends you. Like, you're not going to get like a charger for your phone or like a. I mean, cause no one else, no one needs those. Instead we send you things that like aren't always super useful, but are super creative for instance, to be marketed into a bunch of sports teams.

So think like, um, IndyCar racing locations and that'll be, um, minor league baseball, NHL, et cetera. And one of the things we noticed when we were kind of researching the industry is a lot of the people we'd market to were men that were in their late thirties, early forties, which means they grew up in the eighties.

Which means they let probably like two things in the eighties, baseball cards, a big league chew gum. So that's what we did. We created baseball cards with different mobile use cases for their industry, printed them on baseball card paper, had them sealed in a fall like a foil envelope, like you'd have from like your little baseball cards.

And then some of them with like a card and a pack of big league chew gum and a bubble wrap envelope. The entire campaign was less than 10. Okay. Including shipping. And we got seven 70% of the accounts or reached out to, we got meetings with, because who sends you a big league chew gum, right? Since you were a mug, I got four of them this month.

Right? Like it's just, it's different stuff. So I think it's that, you know, we've done. We also did one, um, where we sent money. Around like this idea of like growing your business with liquidate, because like, did you know money tree, like an actual, real plant? Like, well, one of my team goes, we should spend the money trees.

I was like, that's hilarious. Like, are you thinking, like we buy something and put like dollar bills? No, she's like a literal money tree. And I was like, and then she like Googles that and shows me, I was like, it's a plan. Like you can grow a money tree. So we ordered these little pots of money, like where you can build the money.

And send them to people. And one of the fun things that we did was an unboxing video. So I had this idea because, you know, unboxing videos are really popular. I don't, I don't understand it personally, but like, they're really popular. So I asked the STR, Hey, I want you to film a video of you unboxing this.

And they thought I was crazy. Right. They're like, what why? And I was like, and we're going to do a green screen and it's going to appear like you're in the. Oh, very crazy. And so they do this fun little unbutton where they're like, hi, I'm, I'm going to send you a box inside. This box is this and this and this.

And it'll be there in like three days. And I'm going to give you a call and talk to you about it. And what was crazy was, well, who sends you an unboxing video of what they're going to send you? No one, I've probably talked about that before a couple times. And nobody has prospected you with it. No, one's it right.

Jill, we had people like this money train costs $3. Like it's not like, I mean, it's a little planner and I had enterprise marketers who would call us on day four because they hadn't gotten their box yet. They call it a field. Where do you know where it's at when you market it into the enterprise? Like they all go to kind of like their internal, like shipping department and then it can take a couple more days to get to them.

Actual office. Yeah. So we've, but we would have people that like on day four or five, like don't have their package and went like, can we refund it? It's like a $3 money tree, but we've created this whole experience and story around it. And then we'd get pictures of people who had their like grandkids or their children, like planting it in their yard, which is like super right.

So like they, they remember us and even if they weren't ready to buy or, you know, at the time limit, it's crazy because like, they'll come back when they are, they remember us or. No, I've been there four years. So, you know, I've had seen this happen so many times where someone will reply to an email. We sent them two years ago that they kept like, when someone tells you, like, they'd kept like, oh, well I'll file it.

I'm like, yeah. In the trash. Right, right, right. They mainly, they keep it and they respond to it and they'll re and they'll be like, Hey, we're ready now. And, um, I'm just kind of like, oftentimes. You really like, holy crap, you really touched that, but that's what we do. It's like, we like to do the opposite of whatever one else does.

And I think sometimes what happens when you're a marketing and sales leader and I get why it happens. I really do. You're so focused on revenue and you're so focused on hitting your total. That you sometimes, you know, go, oh God, like I'm behind. Let me just do more or, oh, what is this company doing? Let's do what they do.

Right? Like they're killing it. And what you don't realize is if everyone does the same thing. Yeah. The creative thing that one company done did, it's no longer creative. It's just the same stuff. And, you know, be different, you know, you're marketing to people regardless of how big of an organization.

People find other people interesting. And so do that. And I always tell everyone, when you reach out, you have to be yourself. Everyone can see through, you know, if you're, if you're leaving a voicemail for someone and it doesn't sound like you people know if your email doesn't sound like you people know, even if they have never met you, like, there's just something about it.

And so part of it too is, you know, I understand the importance of brand messaging and. You meet everyone talking about your company in the same way. That doesn't mean they have to use the same words. And I think it's, uh, or the same tone or the same sense of humor because we're all different people. And what I might say and how I might talk to someone about limitate, it's gonna be different than how someone else talks about when the bait and they could walk away with the exact same impression and we could about our company.

And that's okay. Right? Like that's, that's what you want. You want everyone to think about you the same way? They don't have to all get there using the same words though. 

[00:40:11] Rosalyn: I love that. Wow. There's so much to unpack there. You just shared so many great tips. I'm sure. After folks listened to this episode, hopefully you will get some videos and maybe some unboxing videos.

[00:40:23] Stephanie: I'm telling you how to get my attention. Yeah. That's, 

[00:40:28] Rosalyn: it's so bizarre. Um, so let's talk a little bit about LinkedIn. Um, you know, I saw one of your shares about a year ago, and we've kind of talked about it earlier about how this has really changed your career. And you wrote that, you know, all I had to do was stop asking for permission, stop worrying about speaking up and start doing what I know is best.

And you talked about that example earlier on in the episode. So when you think about it, you know, and I, I know how that's impacted your career. You took us through that journey. Um, and obviously, you know, you talked about sort of taking opportunities and sort of stepping out and making sure you grab those opportunities for growth.

But what other advice do you have for other women who are really looking to elevate their career and, you know, kind of continue 

[00:41:12] Stephanie: to move up that ladder? Yeah. I, I would say two things. I think one, if you're early on in your career, um, just think just because that you're. Or just because you've only, you know, maybe you make a career change and you're only into a new industry for a short period of time.

Doesn't mean that you don't have opinions and you don't have value. I think oftentimes, and I say this to the younger members of our team so much, just because your tears at school doesn't mean that your ideas are not as great as mine. Right? Like speak up, have a voice. It doesn't mean that. Your ideas always get selected, but you have value and you have something to say.

And so I think doing that early on, I think is really important. And I think the other part I would tell you is, especially for women find your, find your group. And what I mean by that is find three or four other women who can. Who are at a similar place in their life with you? Who can be there? Because the one thing that I think oftentimes is hard as you grow your career, especially, you know, if you choose to become a mom at some point, right?

Like you're pulled in a lot of directions and you feel a lot of responsibility. And I think everyone. I think, and I, this is, I really do believe, I think every woman at some point feels like they're not doing a good job at whatever it is that they're responsible for doing the crazy part about it is like, no one likes to talk about it.

Yeah. Right. No one likes to say like, I'm pretty sure I feel like a failure at everything. You need to find like the women that you can have that conversation with 100%, right. Because what they'll say is like, oh my God, me too. Yeah. Right. Um, and they'll also, it makes you feel normal. Cause I think sometimes, especially as you get more successful, success is great, but it's a lonely, you know, the higher you go in your career, the lonelier it gets.

Yes. And the reason that is, is because, you know, when you're starting out. You can talk to anyone at work about everything, right? And then as you become a leader, you can talk to your, your, you know, your team about your frustrations. And that gets even as you grow and your team gets bigger and bigger and bigger, and your role gets higher.

Um, you, you know, like you realize. I can't talk to any of them, um, about it. And so you need to be able to find that group where you, you can bounce ideas off of and you can vent and you can also, you know, ask, you know, I asked my group that this week, am I crazy?

Am I, because there are times where you have an idea or you're doing something and you don't get a reaction that you want as a leader. And you're kind of like, I need you to tell me whether or not I'm losing my mind because that's where the first place we go is like I am failing or I'm losing my mind, normal human reaction.

I think about, you know, That are, you know, three kids, um, two 15 year olds and a 12 year old. And even like, even then when they don't understand something in school, they're just like, like what's wrong with me? And I'm like, nothing is wrong with you. Like, you just don't understand the way this was taught.

But I think as a society, like, you know, if something doesn't work or it's not easy or you don't get it right away, like we're conditioned to think like something is wrong. Well, nothing's wrong. And having people who can tell you. No, like you're like, no, that idea makes sense. Like it's not working because I don't know.

And sometimes you'll never know, or you're not failing at everything today. Like you're like, you're doing a great job and just remind you, like those feelings are, are normal. And, you know, I think what happens when you find people that can do that, especially that are outside. Um, Outside of your family.

And I think the reason why that's important is you need someone else to talk to about it. So you're not always talking to like your family about it all the time. Um, they, you start to realize that you feel that way less because you realize like, oh, like, this is no, this is just however, like, this is normal, how everyone feels, and then you don't have those moments.

Like what's going on or, um, why, why is this not working? Um, and you focus more on what you can solve and fix and less on all the other stuff. So that would be my piece of advice is speak up when you're young, get involved, take advantage of every opportunity. And then as you grow in your career, find, find a small group of that people that you can trust and can be really your outlet for advice venting.

And in my case, Lots of wine. 

[00:46:20] Rosalyn: I love that. That is excellent advice. Excellent. So, so as I think about, you know, the revenue engine and this podcast, I would hope that others are going to be able to learn how to accelerate revenue growth, right. And really power that revenue engine. So kind of switching back, I think to revenue is, you know, from your perspective, you know, what are the top three things that other executives should be thinking about today to really drive revenue 

[00:46:44] Stephanie: growth?

I think number one, if you are not. If you're in software, you, if you're not product led, you need to get on it because you're already behind. Like, it's just an expectation. Um, you know, I find myself, I was looking at software a couple of weeks ago and you know, here's the crazy thing. Before I ever looked at a company's website already, I could already tell you who the three vendors I was the most consider because there are people, there are three vendors that my peers have.

Right. So I've had that conversation before I've dived into them. And I went to, it was, it was, I think it was like 10 o'clock at night on like a Tuesday. I went to their websites and what was crazy is two of them, I could do a free account or a free trial. And one of them, I couldn't. And I had to request a demo.

And, you know, I ended up going with one of the ones that was a free trial because I could quickly decide. If it was going to work for me or not. And if it was worth more of my time, like, I think that's, what's what people don't realize. When I have to schedule a demo before I can see your product, I now have to give you 30, like a specific time.

Before, I know if it's gonna work or not. Um, and I feel the same way about pricing on your website. Like if you don't pricing on your website, it's the same thing for me. Like, I can't validate quickly whether or not you're worth 30 minutes of my time and I get this whole like value based selling and I want it, like, I get all of the reasons why, but as a buyer, If you're outside my price point, like, you're just going to get frustrated when you tell me and I'm going to be frustrated.

It's like it was away from her time. Yeah. So I think there's a, I think one product led, um, two, I would say it's kind of back to pricing and just transparency, you know? I already kind of mentioned this, but most people do their research before they ever hit your website, right. A hundred 

[00:48:43] Rosalyn: percent, 

[00:48:44] Stephanie: 100%. And so I think part of it is, you know, if the story I hear from people who are using our product is different than the story I see on your website.

Like I immediately red flags go up. And so I think a lot of it about being transparent about what you do well and where you don't and what problems you can solve and what you can't. Here's the thing. If you tell me you can solve it and you can't prove it to me, or even if you can prove it to me in your product, I'm going to go ask for someone like not someone you would tell me, right?

Like someone that I go find and back channel on that can prove that you actually did that, especially if it's like a large investment. So I think transparency is the other is the biggest, the second biggest one. And then I think, you know, the third one really around revenue acceleration is going to be.

Continually thinking about your existing customer base. We are so focused often, you know, as revenue leaders on new logos and bring in new new business. And that's so important, but why don't we have a existing customer pipeline? Why don't we treat it the exact same way? And, you know, I think part of the reason that we've been very intentional around having, you know, our sales team own renewals and upsells is because you still have to hunt that to some extent, especially in the enterprise, right.

Just because you're in, at a large company, you know, there might be six divisions in your end. So while you have a master service agreement and all the things from a procurement standpoint, getting into the other five is like five mid sized companies, the doors, a little easier to get in, but it's still different buyers.

And I think that's one thing, you know, a lot of times they'll say like, well, we have account managers who are responsible for it, or it's under the customer success agenda. And what I would tell you is yes, there can be customer success. Team members or account managers who have Xcel's desire, but oftentimes what they want to do is make customers happy.

And how do you make customers happy? You give them things for free, right? Of like revenue. Like when you start to separate them and say, okay, I have customer success and customer success. Like you are all about delighting customers, but when, but when they ask for more things that cost more money. You don't have that conversation, right?

Pass it over to your friend in sales because you will give it to them for free.

Wow. It's great. And customers will continue to love you for it. Um, and that doesn't help us as a business from a revenue growth. So I think if you start thinking about it as you know, Why can't why can't your hunters, right? Who are going after new business hunting within existing customers, especially if you're in the enterprise space.

Why can't they think about it that way? Because oftentimes, you know, we're so focused on that first deal. We don't think about how big of a deal that can be. And now I get not all software that's going to make sense for. Um, but for a lot of it, like there's so much potential that's lost on us. That it's just crazy to think about it also will.

If you have that train of thought, it'll help you think about things a little bit differently for your first deal, because you'll stop worrying about trying to maximize every dollar of the first contract, which will allow you to get a contract done sooner and get the customer time to value center, which means they will spend more, they will find, you know, an ROI faster and spend more with you.

So, you know, I think that's been an interesting. Saying that we've thought about and considered that I wish more businesses would. Yeah. I love that. 

[00:52:34] Rosalyn: I love that. So, so thank you so much for joining me, Stephanie, this has been so much fun. Um, and so much insights. I just can't wait to go back and listen again to all the tips that you've given.

Um, but you know, as we wrap up and before I let you go, I always love to ask two things. So one, what is the one thing about Stephanie Cox that others would be surprised to learn? And two, what is the one thing that you absolutely want everyone to know about you? 

[00:53:03] Stephanie: Um, so one thing that most people would be surprised to learn was seven years ago, I had a brain tumor and had a craniotomy.

Oh, wow. Yeah. So most people don't know that, um, And then I would say the one thing I want everyone to know, uh, really about me.

Okay. And that's a hard, it's actually a really hard one. I would say, you know, it really is hard. I am. Who will you see as kind of what you get with me? Um, you know, I believe that everyone, especially, you know, as a leader, I hire really talented people. And my job is to remove roadblocks. And I say this all the time, like hire adults and then get them.

Yes.

And I really, I really do believe that. And I say that to people and I know like sometimes people say, oh, you say it like, because I've been there before, when like other managers have said that to me. And like, it's not really true. It's very true for me. I think the other thing I would say is, you know, when you work for me, I am like you're in my life forever.

And what I mean by that is I will help you until the end of time. And I really, really do mean that, and there are oftentimes, you know, where. Someone on my team, this is throughout my career is ready to grow and the opportunity that they're ready for, I can't give them yet. Right. And I help them find something else, which I know is, sounds crazy to a lot of other leaders, right?

Like why would you offer to help someone on your team go find something else? Um, because they deserve it. Right. And ideally, you know, I'm growing. Fast enough where that opportunity is here, but sometimes, you know, you can't always make that happen. And I believe, you know, if you take care of your people and your team, it comes back, you know, more than you can imagine.

Um, So that I, you know, I say that and I really do mean that. So I think that's one thing. Um, I'd like people to know about me. 

[00:55:17] Rosalyn: Amazing. And I'm sure people will want to know if you're hiring as well. 

[00:55:22] Stephanie: I'm 

[00:55:23] Rosalyn: sure you'll be getting a lot of, um, folks outreaching to you to see hopefully via video and hopefully with a little bit more creativity and maybe looking for a new role to work under your leadership.

Well, thank you so much, Stephanie. I, I so appreciate your time and just so grateful for you sharing your story and all this wonderful, wonderful advice. 

[00:55:43] Stephanie: My pleasure. Thank you.

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