Brian Sallee On How To Scale Your Business With Disruptive Advertising Strategies
Advertising is an age-old concept in business. However, it can get difficult to find strategies that work for you with new technologies emerging in the market. Today’s guest is here to help you out. Brian Sallee is the CEO of Avorit, a hyper-growth launchpad that helps scale businesses through innovative marketing strategies. He is a disruptive thinker with a track record of helping both leaders and organizations pivot and disrupt successfully. He sits down with host Chad Burmeister to discuss the importance of retargeting in advertising and the value of niching in exponentially growing your business. They also discuss the role of AI in advertising strategies today and its possibilities in the near future. Tune in for more advertising and marketing insights in this episode of AI in Sales!
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Brian Sallee On How To Scale Your Business With Disruptive Advertising Strategies
I'm with a good friend that I met in2020 through Board of Advisors, which is a mastermind out of Sarasota, Florida. We're with Brian Sallee. He is the CEO and Founder of Avorit. What Avorit does is helps us in a lot of ways with paid ads, SEO, SCM, everything digital. We've got literally millions of views, hundreds of clicks and generated an inbound lead flow because of the work that we'd done with Avorit. Brian, welcome to the show.
Thank you, Chad.
Let’s see, AI for Sales, paid ads, shoot it to me straight. What’s going on in the world of paid ads? There were some good speakers at the event and especially one mentioned, “Get the offer right.” He hammered that. He knows how to scale businesses. He buys brand companies. He pays cash for them, and then he helps them scale. That was his number one advice. Talk to me a little bit about all the channels. Is the offer important? What are your thoughts on paid ads?
The short version is most businesses need to do everything. You have to do organic and paid ads. I feel like paid ads area constantly changing world. Search engines, some people say that the big player has changed their algorithms five times plus per day. Advertising is maybe even more fluid than that. I feel like maybe it's a series of floating barges where you're always rolling through intent-based versus various types of ads out there. When I think about AI and advertising, I think about whether you're showing your message to somebody who is already looking for your product or service or somebody who does not yet know about you.
The third category, which should be tacked on, is about retargeting. I feel like from my vantage point. I'm always watching those three categories and trying to leverage AI as much as possible to find the people that are indeed looking for the product or service that I'm representing. Also, find people like them who may not know that a solution even exists, and then staying in front of them because it takes 21 times for people to remember your name.
The original element of advertising, in my opinion, was to help people remember who you were. Now I think the answer is it could be dozens of times or hundreds of times. People may need to see your brand a lot before they could recall your logo at the right time when they're ready to buy. AI and ads make all the difference in that.
Let me rewind the tape. I wanted to hit with a punch, which is paid ads and what our topic is. I also like to go back in time. If I think back a year, when you were first introduced to the group, if I remember, Mike Calhoun stood up and said, “Now this person’s unique because there’s a lot of Mavericks and Captains and all these other personality types with predictive index in the room and there’s Brian. There’s only one of Brian in the room.” What’s your predictive index? Do you remember that application?
I believe it was an Individualist. Is that one of them? That may have been the one that pops in.
I'm going to jump on the site while we're talking here. What I would like to do is connect the dots between when you were younger and you were passionate about things in life. When you were 6,7, 8 years old, what was the thing for you that got you out of bed in the morning? What gave you the twinkle in your eye? What was exciting for you when you were younger?
What you're alluding to is I am a bit weird, that is for sure. It is based on my upbringing. I was born and raised on a tropical island, which I guess is a positive way. I could say I was raised in a third-world country but my parents worked with a non profit. I spent the first bulk of my life in Haiti and had no electricity, TV, toys or ice cream. Anything like that was generally not available or had to be imported. When I was younger, I had to be innovative. I had to look at the world differently. The way that I look at necessity versus even having fun and playing is probably different because of growing up. I had no luck with no electricity and limited contact with TV, media and radio.
For me, radio meant that time of day that dad would go sit on the CB radio and find out if we need to be evacuated or not. Radio wasn't a talk show radio. We had dogs, but dogs were for security. Not like, you and I might have dogs and it barks if the wind blows kind of security. You had to have dogs for security and even toys. I remember my dad would make me toys. He made it out of wood in the woodshop. If I got a new toy that month, it was because my dad spent the time to carve it for me. It's hard for me not to look at the world a little bit differently than some of my peers because when I came back to the states, that whole gap of time shaped me differently.
I love the term necessity. Let me read this to you. I logged into your account. Individualist is the term, which I love because everybody’s unique. To be unique in a room of 150 also unique people, that’s awesome. It says, “I’m a disruptive thinker with a proven track record of helping both leaders and organizations to pivot, lane change and disrupt successfully.” What I want to ask you is when we first signed up with you, we had never done paid ads. We did this campaign and we said, “Let’s go $3,000 a month to figure out what the math looks like,” the MQL, SQL and all the conversion rates. We’d had 2 or 3 people that have said, “I can do it.” They then never showed us the math.
You shouldn’t spend money that doesn’t make you money.
As a result of doing this, we invested about $20,000 over a period of time. We sold $40,000 in deals that should have a tail of another $60,000 on it. The math is $20,000 equals $40,000, which is a good starting point. There’s another $60,000 on the backend. What I’m hearing you say is looking at things as a necessity in Haiti is different.
When we’ve communicated at events and on the phone, your view of paid ads is that it is a necessity because it drives revenue for your company. Tell me about the tie between there. Your view of, “I need food, water and shelter.” That’s a necessity, as are paid ads. How do those two things tie together?
I don't know if ads are food necessarily. I love the question of perspective.
Is it a nice to have or a need to have? It feels to me like a need to have like your business goes out and you won't be able to feed your family if you're an entrepreneur above a certain level. Maybe we're doing $50,000 a year, then you can't spend $3,000 a month on this. There's a cut point where if you turn off your oxygen, you're not going to live. Your company's going to go out of business.
You're right. Ads are a necessity. I freely tell people that ads should be free and I say that with a smile on my face, tongue-in-cheek. What I mean is you should be tracking your return on ad spend. You shouldn't ever spend money that doesn't make you money but it is very important for branding. It was Ray that said, “The goal of marketing is to make sales irrelevant and the goal of branding is to make marketing irrelevance. ”In a way, that's a bit of a Holy Grail that none of us will ultimately achieve, by the way.
There are large examples we can look at. For example, Tesla. I love watching what they do with marketing because they allegedly spend $0 in ads but have so much money in the brands that very few of us can touch, but they sell a lot of cars even though that might sound counterintuitive. Unless you're Tesla, 99.9% of the rest of us have to use ads to remind people that we exist, why we exist and get in front of the right customer at the right time. I don't care what the product is. It could be a lawn mower, a dentist, a shoe or clothing or whatever it is.
Unless it's an impulse buy, most people will only buy that product when the time is right. That's why even you and I had chats about having a prospect that BANT qualified. They'd need to have the budget, the authority, the need and the timing. A well-designed ad campaign should try to find people who are as close as BANT qualified as possible. The way that I was raised does impact my view on that.
Haiti's been in the news a little bit. Did you know anybody who's over there now or is everybody out of Haiti?
I don't anymore, but still a sad situation.
Talk to me about SEO compared to paid ads. It seems like they're interrelated. Are they? How do they play together?
They are. A lot of advertising can be used to remind people who you are. They can be in for something I’d like to see or it can be completely proactive. If you’ve never heard the brand, here it is. SEO is interesting because it’s typically inbound marketing. HubSpot coined the term inbound. Now a lot of us marketers will start to segment inbound versus outbound. In my mind, ads are all outbound. You could argue retargeting. Maybe it’s a little bit of inbound, but categorically, it’s all outbound. Search engine optimization is being optimized so that you can be found. That is about inbound marketing.
Both are necessary to the extent that we’ve seen with our agency that a good SEO strategy that’s well-executed will lower your cost per click and increase your return on ad spend with advertising. Google and Microsoft and all the big players will assume that you have a better-quality product or service if you are optimized and easily indexable. People can easily find what your content is.
They will reward you with more clicks and better ad placement versus somebody who comes across as a fly-by-night company. If they’ve been no SEO, they could go to spend a ton of money on ads and Google or Microsoft's little robots will question and say, “Is this a legit company or how much traffic do we send them and where we put them for placement?” There’s a nice interplay. Both are absolutely a necessity.
Go narrow and find people who will stand inline for your product or service.
One of our partners is also a BA member called Podetize. They take all of our shows, this one included, convert that over to text and it becomes searchable on the website. I believe I had a person go in on the backend, probably from your advice, to make sure it's all optimized. Especially when we're launching one show a day on one side of our site, another one with two a week, and one a day on one of them. Is that true that information will now be searchable and by having so many of these conversations of all these unique topics, will that make us more found through SEO?
Definitely. There are two things. The one that you’re talking about is probably the most important, which is fresh content. Search engines love seeing fresh content. It shows that your site is alive and well and adding value to the digital world. If you think of the scanners, they’re looking for, “How long has it been since Chad said something? ”If Chad said something interesting in 2020 and says something interesting now, it doesn’t get as many brownie points. If Chad said something interesting and insightful yesterday and you said it again today, “I’m going to go back and ask Chad again.” That’s the way that the robots and the index crawlers view fresh data.
The part that we haven’t mentioned is you still have to have a strategy because otherwise, you’ll end up with a lot of arguably well-optimized content that is siloed with no table of contents. It’s like having a great huge book with no page numbers and no table of contents. That won’t be as effective as if you did do that.
I find how our site was set up. When you click on the blog and podcast, it's a little confusing because it takes you to one page and at the bottom, there are two places to click blog or podcast, but it's one website at the top. In the back of my mind, I'm going, “I'll bet there's an indexing problem going on here,” how that's set up but who knows until the expert looks at it.
Do you want to make it as easy as possible for the search engines to find you? Leverage ads. At the very least, retarget. A lot of clients, the entrepreneurs that I coach, I recommend starting with retargeting, even when people meet with me and say, “We’ve got pre-revenue. We have literally no money at all for marketing. We have $50.” I will sometimes but very often recommend, take those $50 and put them into retargeting. Those are the banners that you see that follow you.
You search for that new product or service, and you see them everywhere that you go. Believe it or not, that’s the cheapest form of advertising out there. It’s a native feature of most platforms and $50a month will be far away in terms of reminding people. As you’re doing that, while you’re working on your search engine presence, and raising capital, boost your sales or whatever you’re doing, at least do retargeting so that people who like, know and trust you don’t forget about you.
I need to meet with my team and make sure we're doing that effectively. Tell me about scale and leverage. If I wanted to go disrupt a space, I've created something that I know will make a mark in the world. I know that because people spent seven figures on it if I think of our product. A lot of people think they know, but they have no market validation and could scale something that's not scalable. How do you know when you've hit a scalable product and market fit, and how do you disrupt the space?
I think it's about going narrow and trying to find people that will stand in line for your product or service. I am continually amazed, especially with what I do. I love being in front of different businesses and leaders. Every single week, somebody blows me away with a very niche product that is phenomenal. It's doing massively well. The common denominator to answer your question is that they all have a waiting list. They all have people that are proverbially standing in line at the front door like it was a coffee shop or a donut shop and you've got twenty people out to the street. When you have that, you've made it, then you can scale it.
I read and can't give credit to where it was or what its name was, but somebody either launched a shoe specifically for nurses. They went from 0 to 7 figures in the first week of sales. It drives home the point that it's better to be an inch wide and a mile deep than it isto be a mile wide and an inch deep, whether it's scaling your business or you're messaging or whatever it is. You'll win every day of the week.
TK from Tout App, which sold to Marketo, then Marketo sold to Adobe. He was part of all of that. Now he coaches entrepreneurs. I worked with them when we launched our business. He said exactly that, “The riches are in the niches,” and he was like, “Chad, when we were doing this and this.” He was wide and kept narrowing it down to the point where it was like, if I remember right, it was the leading indicator of successful deployment of Tout App, “How many emails did they send?” If they hit a certain number, “I don’t care what’s in them. I just cared, 'Did you turn it on? Did you push the send button?'”
Once we got that, they kept even narrowing it. Now, I think of that. We started with pipeline as a service, which is all kinds of things to all people and it was no. We help companies with warm introductions to companies who generally won’t agree to meet with you. It’s hard to reach prospects and warm intros. Got it. That’s what ScaleX is. These sales, knock on wood, should be one of our best in the history of the company. The riches are in the niches. I couldn’t agree with you more.
You've been around the block a couple of times and been very successful. A lot of newbies in the entrepreneurial world are afraid to say no to prospects, which is why they go broad so quickly. We're talking about advertising a lot. It's okay to disqualify leads as fast as you're qualifying them because the reality is most of us don't have a product or service that everybody in the world will buy. If we're only selling to 1 in 100people, the faster we can find that one person, the better. Not that we want to alienate or anything like that with the other 99 but it's okay to disqualify them.
It’s better to be an inch wide and a mile deep than it is to be a mile wide and an inch deep.
I’ve heard the phrase, “Yeses are great. Noes are okay. Maybes will kill you.” Get to no, get to yes but let’s stop playing around with the maybes. The last question is about AI. Usually, I go AI for sales. In this case, since you’re very focused on the marketing side,3 years, 5 years from now, where do you think we will be? Maybe sales and marketing becomes smarketing. That's what it feels like to me a little bit. Talk to me about the future of AI from where you sit in the sales and marketing space.
As far as the technology features component, I love watching new trends coming in because they become the competitive advantage. The past years have been interesting with AI because those that had AI literally had that competitive advantage. If they had ScaleX, they had it. I'm seeing AI being absorbed into every facet of technology, whether it's good or bad AI. I can't comment and all of the above is out there. Some people will say they have AI and maybe they do. Maybe they don't.
In the next couple of years, most if no tall software products will clean or have AI. From the futurist perspective, I'm interested in how do you then out-market somebody who also has the same marketing that you do? I don't have the answer to that, by the way, but I'm intrigued 3 to 4 years from now. First of all, AI will be everywhere. Everybody needs ScaleX.ai. In a couple of years, most people who will need it will have it, so what's the next thing in three years? I don't know.
How do you be different? It probably goes back to what you already said, that the riches are in the niches. If I think about our fingerprint and our uniqueness as human beings and if youre late that to a company, whether it's 10 people, 50 people, 5,000, a country or a city, how do we articulate our uniqueness in the world? What's beautiful is that you can leverage AI to help you accelerate that uniqueness so that the people you're supposed to be talking to will line up to have a conversation with you. That's where it's going and leveraging your uniqueness and accelerating it to a level that we've never heard about before is where things are headed.
Brian, this is a fabulous conversation. You've been a huge help to my organization and help us from a slow start to they ear to get to where we are now. Thank you for your efforts. I know you do this to help people. It's not all about making money. That's a nice side benefit, but I believe your heart is in the right place. I've known that from the time we met, so I appreciate you.
It's my pleasure. I can't wait for the coming years, too.
Thanks so much for joining the AI for Sales Show. We've been talking with Brian Sallee. His company is called Avorit. If you want authenticity, you want to work with someone who is an individualist and that's where the money is as being a unique individual company person, Brian would be the place to go. Brian, thanks for joining the show.
My pleasure. Thank you, sir.
Everybody, catch you on the next AI for Sales Show.
About Brian Sallee
Brian Sallee is a serial entrepreneur, seasoned technology executive, and expert on cloud technology and disruptive marketing. Featured on the radio, webinars, and a frequent speaker at conferences, Brian also authored of Invisibilify: cloud computing and it's impact on business. (http://www.amazon.com/Invisibilify-Cloud-Computing-Impact-Business/dp/0615472931) Amongst other ventures, Brian founded & held the CEO position for Reviora a cloud computing business before selling to Tribridge Holdings, which was then acquired by DXC, the largest end-to-end IT company in the world.
After starting and running a variety of businesses including a web hosting company he founded & sold, a software company, managed services provider (MSP) and a stint doing consulting and executive coaching in China & Hong Kong, Brian founded Reviora in 2007. Over the 8 years, Reviora grew with cutting edge marketing and a brand of integrity as a cloud computing platform. The company offered business cloud solutions for ERP with multiple datacenters and an international office.
Cloud computing, Software-as-a-service (SaaS), platform-as-a-service, software design, datacenters, servers
Specialties: disruptive marketing, executive leadership, scaling businesses, information technology