Greg Poirier is the founder and CEO of CloudKettle, a consultancy focused on improving operations and revenue growth for large organizations. He spent more than 12 years in the Salesforce ecosystem and as a five-time Dreamforce speaker. He’s a sought-after presenter and advisor specializing in marketing and sales operations for SaaS companies.
In today’s episode, we’re going to discuss Greg’s entrepreneurial journey and what it takes to have a strong leadership team.
3 Traits of a Strong Leadership Team
Over his career, Greg had the opportunity to work with great leaders who were focused on creating a healthy ecosystem within their companies.
Greg graduated with an MBA and ended up taking an entry-level role at a cinema chain, Empire Theatres, where he was 50% marketing coordinator and 50% junior salesperson. During his time there, he was fortunate enough to be a part of the growth from a small, regional chain cinema to one of the largest cinema chains in North America.
Greg moved from his entry-level position to the person who ran the digital advertising. He got to run all the live events, manage mobile ticketing, and experiment with new technologies such as Salesforce and Google Analytics. While he worked at the cinema, he learned powerful lessons on what makes a strong leadership team and company culture.
1. Strong leaders are trusting.
At the theatre, one of his greatest home runs was leveraging the business shift of mobile phones. He thought of the idea to deliver movie tickets to customers’ mobile phones and at the time, this wasn’t an obvious idea since mobile phones were still relatively new. There were no other sporting venues or movie theatres that did this in North America yet. Greg actually had to get technology from Europe and Japan in order to execute his idea.
“I remember going to senior leadership at the company and having to explain how you would use text messages on mobile devices and walking them through that,” Greg said. “We could have never estimated the magnitude of tickets that we sold on mobile devices. Some people had faith, gave us some [of the] budget, allocated a lot of resources, and we’re very fortunate that it worked out.”
One of the greatest benefits of working at the chain cinema was working with leaders who had trust in him. Greg worked with people who believed in him and his ideas. Even if his co-workers didn’t see 100% of his vision, they trusted Greg and gave him a budget to do what he needed to do to get his ideas up and running. Because of this, Greg was able to help the company leverage a new business tectonic shift that helped increase their revenue.
“I kept bringing home wins but they had the faith in me to do it, and I don’t think most organizations would have been able to do that,” Greg said.
In our companies and leadership roles, we should strive to create a healthy ecosystem where our employees and partners feel included and part of the team. They should feel trusted and heard. Strong leaders recognize the strengths and skills of their employees and provide them enough opportunities to use their talents to benefit the company.
2. Strong leaders communicate transparently to the entire team.
Greg was fortunate to work with great leaders who were focusing on creating a strong company culture. At Empire Theatres, the leadership teams and CEO ran quarterly meetings they broadcasted to every single movie theatre across the country. Every employee, including the 16-year-old popcorn popper and the janitor, could see the CEO speaking to the camera. The CEO communicated where the organization was going and what they were doing so everyone felt like a part of the team.
In the other companies Greg worked for, they did similar things. The leaders he worked for practiced a great deal of transparency and believed in communication.
“I’ve had that benefit of having [leaders] who practiced a great deal of transparency and believed in communicating, and the importance of communicating how the business was run and what was affecting the business to everybody in the organization, not just other managers,” Greg said.
3. Strong leaders do sufficient research.
After his time at the theater, Greg eventually got recruited to a company that was acquired by Salesforce, doing what is now called marketing operations. From there he worked at a couple of other B2B SaaS companies.
One of the biggest mistakes Greg made in his career was joining a B2B SaaS company without doing the right amount of research. He found a company he thought would be a good fit for him, so he led his peers to join him.
“I didn’t do enough homework on the founders, I didn’t do enough homework on the culture fit, and I didn’t do enough homework on the product-market fit,” Greg said.
In this case, Greg had taken on the position of a leader and led his team to make a decision that ultimately led to failure. While Greg had a vision, he didn’t do enough research to back it up. Greg was put in a place where he and the peers he recruited had to leave because there wasn’t enough money to support them. Many of his peers lost jobs because Greg didn’t know enough about the company before he joined.
A strong leader needs to have an effective vision for their team. They need to be able to make confident decisions to make things happen. Part of having a vision needs to include doing the research. A strong leader should know not to pursue their dream or vision without effective research or a well-thought-out plan. If Greg had planned more effectively, he would have never been put in this position.
Later in his career, Greg started his own company, CloudKettle. CloudKettle is a consultancy focused on improving operations and revenue growth for large organizations largely through SaaS.
He started CloudKettle about seven years ago and they have continued to grow. Early on, they made the decision to focus on a good, healthy ecosystem with their sales team.
“I’m very passionate about company culture. Ironically, for a company that is really focused on building around software systems, we spend a lot of time thinking about the people and the human side,” Greg said.
From his experience working with great leaders and lessons learned from his mistakes, Greg decided to make a strong leadership team and a healthy company culture a major priority in his company. He decided to focus on the people he works with.
Best Monetization Secret
Throughout his career, working with Empire Theatres, B2B companies, and starting his own company, Greg has narrowed down one of his best monetization strategies. He explained to me that one of the best ways to monetize is to effectively retarget potential and current customers. We can do smarter retargeting by taking our data from Salesforce and moving it to Google.
“I think one of the really amazing opportunities that are missed often is the ability to move data from Salesforce into the Google Analytics ecosystem in order to improve retargeting,” Greg said.
On the enterprise side, we have the ability to push Salesforce lead status into Google Analytics and build audiences using that. Then, we can retarget people in the google ad words system in a much smarter way. We can better target our customers with the data from Google Analytics.
“Companies invest a lot of advertising dollars into retargeting people to make them become a lead, and then they stop investing in them,” Greg said. “But somebody who’s already a lead is an order of magnitude more valuable than somebody who’s not yet a lead. At that point, you really should be running more retargeting ads to them that are specific to the lead status and what part of the sales process they’re in.”
If we gain a lead, we should keep targeting that lead. One of the biggest mistakes we can make is to stop marketing to our leads as soon as they make one purchase. We should continually nurture our customer relationships and the best way to know how to do this is by looking at our data.
Thank you so much Greg for sharing your stories and insights with us today. Here are some of my key takeaways from this episode:
- Strong leaders are trusting. We should strive to create a healthy environment where our employees and partners feel trusted and heard.
- Strong leaders communicate transparently with their entire teams, not just with those in management.
- Strong leaders do significant research before they make decisions.
- We are more likely to find success in our businesses if we focus on the people and human side of things.
- Greg’s best monetization strategy is to do smarter retargeting by taking data from Salesforce and using it in Google Analytics.
- We should continue to market to our leads even after they make a purchase.
Connect with Greg
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