565: How to Bake Thought Leadership Into Your Sales Process w/ Corey Blake

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode we talk to Corey Blake, CEO at MWI.

Before we get into today's interview, I want to tell you about another podcast that I think you're really going to love. It's called the marketing book podcast and it was named by Linkedin as one of ten podcasts that will make you a better marketer. It's hosted by my friend Douglas Burdette, who we've had on the podcast in the past, and Douglas does weekly interviews with authors of best selling marketing and sales books. According to an adobe survey of marketers, seventy six percent of them said that marketing has changed more in the last two years than in the previous fifty. So when you subscribe to this podcast, the marketing book podcast, you're going to be able to keep up with the quickly changing landscape of modern marketing and sales. One thing that is unique about this that I think is really interesting, is that Douglas reads every single book before every interview and you can tell that in the engagement that he is able to have with each of the authors that he interviews. You can just tell he knows this content because he's read the entire book, hasn't just read the cliff notes, and so he has done over a hundred interviews but I want you to head over. You're already in the PODCAST APP. Head over in search for the marketing book podcast. Gets subscribed, download a few episodes. You can check out their website at marketing book podcastcom. You can follow them on twitter at marketing book, but are really, really, really want you to subscribe to this podcast. This is one that I get a ton of value from and I think you will as well. You're listening to the B toob growth show, a podcast dedicated to helping be to be executives achieve explosive growth. What you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources. You've come to the right place. I'm Jonathan Green and I'm James Carberry. Let's get it into the show. Welcome back to the BB growth show. We...

...are here today with Corey Blake. He is the CEO at Mwi. Cory, how you doing today? I'm doing fantastic. A are you doing? It's great to be here, Corey. We're just talking offline. I'm excited to chat about what we're going to be talking about because it's really an extension of an interview that aired a couple days ago with someone that is your business partner. Josh Stimeley talked about how to become a BTB influencer. Talked a lot about thought leadership and the things that he's done to establish of his personal brand. But what's interesting about you, cory, is you are kind of the sales component of that equation. And so where Josh was out and of writing thought leadership pieces and Forbes and other publications, you developed the back end system to really leverage that thought leadership and turn it into new business, and so I'm pumped to chat with you about that. Explain to us a little bit about Mwi and what you and your team do over there. Yeah, thank you so much for the intro. Josh is the man and I'm excited to follow them up. So, so, Mwi where a digital marketing agency. We have offices in the US, Hong Kong China and we just got boots on the ground in the UK to start working on our on our Europe operation. We specialize in all things digit marketing, starting with Web Design and development and then moving on to search engine optimization, paid search content marketing, conversion rate optimization, and so we're mainly be to B company. We do work with some, you know, executives with the if it whether it's reputation management or helping, you know, build their influence through getting them published in places and things where we have connections, but for the most part, where be to be Digital Marketing Agency that specializes in, you know, translating the goals and objectives of our clients into digital marketing strategies that are going to yield results and give them the ry that they're looking for online. I love it. I love it. And so, cory, now that our listeners have a little bit of context, I would love for you to share the story of where Josh was at with Mwi when you came on board and and kind of the the strategy that you implemented to really explode the work that he was...

...doing with the publications that he was writing for. Yeah, fantastic. So. So MWI has a pretty long history and I always break mt Wi up into M wi one point and Mwi to point out, so Nwi, and maybe that selfish of me, because at two point I was when I came into the picture, but Josh, Josh has been grinding at him to be by since one thousand nine hundred and ninety nine. Actually started him to be I when he was a college student as a design and development agency back in the day when the Internet was very young and it evolved and it changed in time and as as things like search engine optimization became relevant, and not only relevant but a huge necessity for businesses, Mwi in like two thousand and three, two thousand and four, Josh saw the opportunity there with Mwi and started offer digital marketing services and specifically Seo at that time, and then some paid search and stuff and it kind of continue to evolve and went you know, had its ups and downs, but along this whole time, even the highs and lows, is Mwi. One point I was kind of a small business. Josh was grinding constantly on creating great content, specifically through his blog, Josh stanleycom, which is still there, and then just kind of networking and building a really great network of other lightminded people, digital entrepreneurs and working with great businesses and he and again it never really took off right. It just kind of it remained a small business and Josh did fine with it. In two thousand and Thirteen Josh and I connected and we started talking actually sell strategy for another kind of a side hustle that Josh was working on and I came into the pictures kind of a consultant, and we and we we realize we worked well together very quickly and at that point Mwi, the Digital Marketing Agency, was was back at square one. I believe there was one client at the time and Josh had just had a big life change and he moved to Hong Kong, where he currently lives in Asia. Loves in mainland China now, but it moved out there and for some personal reasons. Anyways, it was it was kind of back at square one and I, as the entrepreneur that I was, I saw an opportunity and I started to talk to Josh about Mwy, and Josh is just awesome, and he said, you know...

...what, I see something in you and I see I see that you see the opportunity and you want to turn this into what I've always wanted to turn it into, which is a big global digital marketing agency. Let's go for it, you know, let's try that out. And so from that point, and again we'll get into some more details here, but we found a way to capitalize on all of the content marketing that Josh had been doing through his personal blog and then other opportunities that presented themselves as Josh positioned himself more as a thought leader by writing for top tier publications online. Once we are able to generate this this machine that created content with our name on it and talk to your publications and then build a cells process on my end that converted those those leads that were coming in into amazing client relationships. And obviously from there as the CEO and when it was just job, it was just me and Josh at that time. We've grown, you know, to now we have a team of thirty plus and we're all over the place and we've, I've transitioned out of that into more of the building the business and being the CEO and creating a culture, but that was the formula that got it started in the first place. I love it. I love it. So I want to dig a bit deeper there. I'm I resonate with a big part of that story because with us being early in our agency, me trying to develop in my thought leadership writing for thatving impost this podcast, a lot of the the daily content I'm putting on Linkedin, starting to feel, you know, a little bit of traction. Obviously not not anything close to what Josh was seeing. After are you five hundred podcast in? Yeah, we're like five old. I think this would be like episode five hundred and sixty five or something. So, man, I always wanted to be five sixty five. So so this idea is intriguing to me because as I continue to build my own thought leadership, I do want to be able to capitalize on it and actually turn it into new business. So could you dig a little bit deeper and and explain how? What did that strategy look like? When you came alongside Josh, you took all of the content he had written previously. Think he had just started writing for Forbes whenever you came on board, if...

I remember you right, how did you take past content and then the content he was writing for Forbes and actually turn that into a strategy to get new business, both from an outbound perspective and an inbound cool. Yeah, great questions. So the first thing that we did. I have a lot I have a lot of business development experience and sales experience. Again, I understand that one of the first things that you have to do in the sales process when, again, the first thing for me in the cells process is make sure you have something that's valuable, right, like make sure that your passion is aligned with with the actual work that you're doing, which it was for us as entrepreneurs and as people that are passionate about digital marketing. So we had that, that component of it down. Once we had that, then we were able to speak boldly and and about the product or or in this case, our service, and build the cells process process. That was bold, you know, and so we weren't shy about the fact very early on when we got things like Forbes, were even just one article, right, we have no clients and one article with Our Name on it. I was not shy about that. In the Celles process, I whether I was doing outbound or inbound, that one of the first things that I did to it was to validate MWI's brand by tying it to the name of this publication as quickly as possible. So what, right? What would that? What would that look like? Yeah, so I'll sell you. So I I'm going to assume in any sales process that the person that I'm talking to does not want to be talking to me. Sometimes they do, you know, genuinely, sometimes they're very intrigued and interested, but I assume. I'm not a pessimist, by the way, an optimist, but in this process I assume that the odds are stacked against me and I assume that this person does not want to talk to me and they have alarms going off trying to get rid of me. Okay, I just assume that in the sales process, and so my job is, as in a in the sales process, is to validate my existence as quickly as possible. So if I'm doing outbound to somebody that you know is a business that I would like to do business with, within the first ten seconds I'm going to say something like hey, how you doing? My Name's Corey. I. You know I'm doing I'm doing. I'm building relationships for M Wy. You may have seen something from us in Forbes or entrepreneur and we're reaching out to company, Yada, Yada, Yada.

Right, I just want I want to validate my brand, in my existence as as soon as possible by tying myself to somebody that people trust, God, and that's really really important. Don't and I and I would say don't be shy about that. Right. So, you know, my name is James and you may have seen an article of mine and having to post, or let me share something with you that I just published and having to post, you know, as quickly as possible. That's going to validate your brand because you're tying it to something that people already trust. You totally piggyback on that. So, from an imbound perspective, someone signs up, they get on your emails, they download, you're opped in whatever that case. Maybe and early in the nurture sequence you're referencing articles that Josh is riding in those publications. Yep. So first thing is a quick turn around. So if we get an inbound lead, you know, our our team, and I'm a big believer in this, is we have five minutes to be on the phone with with whoever it is. If it's a if we received a phone number, if it's just an email list or something, it's within five minutes we have somebody that's reached out to them and let them know that we hear them and that we care. As once we've done that, and in whatever communication that is via, whether it's via email or a message or or a phone call exactly, we're going to say hey, I wanted to know where you heard from us. Was it? Was it a Forbes Article? Was it? Was it an incarticle? You know, what was it that brought to you to today? Sometimes we know what that is based off of, if it's an inbound lead or not. Other times we don't, and we just ask again just to refresh their memory and put that top of mine right as we get going, so that we're validated. The other thing that you mentioned we were talking off line core, that at that was interesting is you guys. Were you leveraging those publications and Josh a stunt leadership to position yourself in such a way where you didn't need to take all the you know, you didn't need to take all the business. You got to be select if because you had a good amount of inbound coming in. Talk to us about how you kind of framed that and how our listeners can can kind of heed that same advice. Yeah, so again, I'm a big abundance mentality guy. Right. I genuinely believe, as as an entrepreneur and as a as a CEO of and as a marketing agency, I genuinely believe that there's...

...enough good out there in the world and there's enough to go around that I can get mine and the the competitor. Next, we can get their's and we can if we're if we're really passionate about what we're doing. We believe in the product or service that we have and our intentions are good. I genuinely believe that that, you know, things are going to work out. And so, in that same breath, I have to say in our client relationships I'm very picky with who we work with, with the type of clients that we will bring on, and it's a mentality and I you know, we would just call it selling with exclusivity or building relationships with exclusivity. And Mind we're not desperate and we never want to come across as desperate. And so, because we've been able to build a presence and again, we have these validation tools, you know, that have part that we can tie ourselves to, we let people know very early on in the in the in the process of the conversation with them, were again, whether email or message or on the phone, you know that were pretty we tell them very directly. We're very particular with who we work with and we're looking for a partners that fit x, Y and Z, and we're excited to explore this, just as you are to see if it's the right fit. And in doing that I think people really feel comfortable and I say okay, look, this person's looking for a win win partnership, just like I am. They're not trying to sell me any snake oil, you know they're not. They're not using sales tactics on me. It's a genuine relationship builder, just they look, I want this to be good for you and I want it to be good for me. Now, that doesn't work and it is just a lame sales gimmick if you don't mean it right, if you're just using it as some sort of tool to be like, oh, I'm going to tell them I don't care, but really I do. You have to really believe, like look, if this isn't the right fit for your business and it's not the right or it's not the right fit for myself, or are both, then let's not do it, because there's enough good to go around and we're going to mind. What are the what are some obviously this is going to change from business to business, but what are some of the standards that that you guys hold yourselves to at MWI to say hey, this is probably isn't going to be a great partnership. There's obviously budget restraints. Right. Just kind of get them on right off, the right off the bat if they don't have a budget that we feel comfortable working with, and then we're not going to try to squeeze it out because it just, you know, usually,...

...and you've heard, you've heard this, but usually the smallest paying clients are the ones that require the most time. Right. And but there's there's definitely a market for those that are working with the small pin clients. It's just that's, you know, depends on what your size is. So figure out what that is and stick to it. We're also very particular with the industries that we work with. You know, we don't want to work with industries that promote anything negative in our mind or that don't hold the same values as us. And that's just a personality thing or a personal decision, and so we've identified what those industries are for us and we just we still clear of those. I mean those are really specific that can I appreciate you sharing those with us. So to the person out there listening, you know, this is great, but I don't have a Josh Stemeley or I don't have somebody on our team that is that's writing for these publications. What's the next step for them, or are there ways to have build the system that you've built, you know, without having someone on your team that's writing for a massive publication? Yeah, so essentially it's just good quality content marketing. Again, I'm the first to say I'm super stoked to have a josh time. Yeah, because it's worked out. We've built a great partnership and a great working relationship and we figured that out. But at the end of the day, it really is just content marketing. So what you have to do is, you know, do the research to understand who your audience is, who your target is, who are you trying to get in front of? Then you have to do the research to understand, once you know what type of who who it is, you know who your buyer personas are, basically who it is that you're trying to target. You've got to do the research understand what type of content is going to be valuable for them. Is it video? Is it social media content on Instagram, snapchat? Is it blogs? You know, are they readers? It's identify what type of content people are going to consume. That's going to, you know, move them to make to contact you and reach out to you. And then you've got to, once you understand who those people are, you have to build that audience and identify where you're going to target that audience and and how you're going to get that content to them. But once you do that, again, you can do that through social media, you can do that through blogging, you do it...

...through guest blogging, you do through digital pr you know you have to have somebody that writes at these publications to get into these publications. There's other ways to do that, and so you know whether it's just networking or services that offer that. But again, you got you gotta know who you're trying to target, you gotta know what value you providing that person and then you just have to formulate that into a strategy that is going to target that audience based off of quality content and gender and needs. Will Common. helloly that, cory. This has been fantastic. If if somebody wants to stay connected with you, maybe they'll want to dig deeper on this or they want to learn more about Mwi. What's the best way for them to go about doing both of those things. Yes, you can check our website. Actually just we just had a new website launch today. So, mwicom, you can reach out to me on Linkedin. It's Corey Blake's Ruy BLAKAE. Again, Mwi is the company, so you can. You can find me through that, and then also on instagram. J, just a letter J. Cory B is is my instagram. Ham On need following me there. Awesome, Cora. has been incredible. Yeah, thank you. It is great to be with you. If you've been getting valued from this podcast, you can help us reach more people by reviewing the show on itunes. Here's how you can leave a review in less than a minute. Open your podcast APP and tap the search icon in the bottom right corner. Type in fee to be growth, then select our show. Once you're there, tap the reviews tab and tell us what you think of the show. These reviews help us out of time. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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