Welcome to the Rialto Marketing Podcast. Today's episode is a Revenue Acceleration Series Interview where we talk to seven-figure B2B professional service firm owners that are actively trying to grow their business and get to the next level. We talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly so that you can learn from their experience.

Join Tim Fitzpatrick and Paul Tracey for this week’s episode of The Rialto Marketing Podcast!

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Marketing Is A Serious Grind



Tim Fitzpatrick
Welcome to the Rialto Marketing Podcast. Today's episode is a revenue Acceleration Series Interview where we talk to seven figure B2B professional service firm owners that are actively trying to grow their business and get to the next level. We're going to talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly so that you can learn from there experience. I am Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing, where we believe you must remove your revenue roadblocks if you want to accelerate revenue growth. Thank you so much for taking the time to tune in. I am really excited to have with me Paul Tracy from Innovative Technologies. Paul, welcome and thanks for being here.

Paul Tracey
Hi, Tim. Thanks for having me on. I appreciate it.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, absolutely. I can't wait to dig into some of your experience so that we can all learn from it. I learned things when I do these interviews as well. But before we do that, I want to ask you a few rapid fire questions, help us get to know you a little bit. Are you ready to rock and roll?

Paul Tracey
Yeah, let's get into it.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Okay, so very quickly, what do you do and how long have you been doing it?

Paul Tracey
So we're a managed security service provider, MSSP, if you will, for the acronym's sake. And we're in the business of protecting small businesses from all kinds of cybercrime and helping them make their business more efficient. We've been doing that now. This is our 11th year.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Congratulations. Make it over ten years and you're in a very small percentage of the population. What's the most important lesson that you've learned in running your business?

Paul Tracey
I think self improvement. Self awareness is key, which always drives continual learning. And when you're in business, I think that's the big one. Right? We always have to learn more. We have to learn from each other. And any opportunity you get to do that, take advantage of it.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I love that. Yeah. We're never done learning. Growing a business is hard. Do you have any kind of mantra or something motivational that you use for yourself or that you share with your team to help you guys push through roadblocks?

Paul Tracey
We kind of have two of those. So when something happens and it's not pleasurable for us and we need to get through it, I like to remind people that we do this, this is what we do. This is the job we signed up for. This is why we're here. And we knew it was going to be rough, and we just got to get through these moments the best we can. And that's kind of backed up by this too shall pass.

Tim Fitzpatrick
This too shall pass.

Paul Tracey
Whether it's good times or it's bad times, either way, this too shall pass.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. We can't get too comfortable when things are great, and we can't go too far down the rabbit hole when things aren't, because this too shall pass. I love that man. So one of the things that you mentioned in the information that we gathered to prepare for the interview was that marketing is a serious grind. Honestly, as a marketer myself, I cannot agree more. It drives me nuts because there are so many marketers that over promise, under deliver, they're preying upon people's desire to get quick results. And that's not to say that you can't get quick results with marketing. You can. But the vast majority of marketing tactics take consistency over time and continual optimization to really figure out what's working, why is it working, and really make those course corrections. So I love the fact that you say that. So here's my question from that. What tactics and marketing channels are you using, have you used? And what's worked for you and what hasn't worked so well for you?

Paul Tracey
So to say what we're doing, we're kind of doing it all, right? So we have television ads on, we're advertising on social media, we're doing direct mail JV partnerships with educational things. And I think they're all important. Right. They're all piece of that big story. And they kind of work in conjunction, especially when we're talking about brand. And as we discussed a little bit before we came on, the thing I noticed outstandingly, that's kind of frowned upon is the direct LinkedIn messaging. Right? The connection on LinkedIn and then you send them your sales pitch via your CRM. We've never had results with it and I've never heard anyone respond positively discussing that on social channels. So that's kind of a no for us.

Tim Fitzpatrick
So are you still doing LinkedIn outreach and you've tweaked your approach?

Paul Tracey
Absolutely. So on LinkedIn and because we're in cybersecurity, a big part of what we do I didn't know when we got started is education. And overwhelmingly in marketing in our field has to be education. And so it's more of the pull than the push. I always like to tell people, you can go to our LinkedIn and check out what we do. We have a bunch of free tips, we have all that stuff, but it's pretty obvious what we do. And I'm not going to badger that on someone, if they've just connected with us. They connected because there was some interest. And so the information is there. We put it out there because we want everybody to be safe and benefit from the information we have. And if a relationship fosters from that, awesome. And if it doesn't, we've done our best to educate the community on how they can protect themselves.

Tim Fitzpatrick
It sounds like you're creating quite a bit of consistent and ongoing content, is that right?

Paul Tracey
As much as we possibly can.

Tim Fitzpatrick
So are you writing blog posts? Are you doing videos? Tell me more about your content marketing efforts.

Paul Tracey
So we're doing daily tech tip posts, we're putting out information, we're reposting stuff from the FBI when data breaches happen. We put out, I'd like it to be daily right now, it's about three times a week newsletter for people to catch up on the stuff that happened like, Uber just got hacked recently. Right. A lot of people use Uber. And so those things that we find important, that have mass importance to everyone using those things, we try to get those out as soon as we can.

Tim Fitzpatrick
So it sounds like you're taking a very multi channel or omnichannel approach with your marketing. How are you doing that? Have you outsourced a lot of your marketing? Are you are you doing it in house? This is something that a lot of businesses struggle with.

Paul Tracey
So outsourcing has been one of those up and down things for us. Certain positions I can't outsource anymore because I just don't have confidence in it. Business development reps, whoever's doing your outside calls. Right? Just my personal opinion, they need to be internal because they need to understand the business at a higher level. In terms of printing our direct mail and having that mailed out, we no longer do that in house because it's a time and a money suck for us, and it makes sense to outsource it. So I kind of look at those things relative to the specific task, but overall, outside of the commodity parts of it, I like to do as much in house as I possibly can.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. Are you the one that's actually overseeing your marketing efforts, or have you hired somebody internally that's doing that?

Paul Tracey
I have to be. I have two people internally that are managing those activities. But we're all a marketing company before you're in other business. Right. You have to be a marketing company because if you're not bringing in new clients and you're not having sales, then you're not in business. And I think that it's very important for the owner to be behind that messaging, understand what's going out, and have direct input, not necessarily doing the tests of it, but there needs to be a direct link between the person running the company and the message that goes out.

Tim Fitzpatrick
So it sounds like your internal people that are helping oversee some of your marketing efforts, is that their only focus, or are they doing multiple are they wearing multiple hats?

Paul Tracey
No, we tried to get away from multiple hats.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Got it.

Paul Tracey
Busy versus productive comes to mind there where you can have somebody who's really busy and they're working on three or four things and nothing's really getting done. Whereas if you allocate that resource to the specific task, you may not be completing as many tasks per day or think that you are, but you're actually being more productive.

Tim Fitzpatrick
So this is interesting because I think a lot of people can learn from this. How many people do you have in your company?

Paul Tracey
Right now we're about 18.

Tim Fitzpatrick
18. Okay. And you have two full time marketing people in house?

Paul Tracey
Correct.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Okay. Because I think a lot of people wait as long as they can before they hire somebody internally. So I think it's interesting. Almost 20 people you almost have one marketing person for every ten people that are in the company. What types of positions are those? Are they marketing coordinators? Marketing managers? What types of people are they're?

Paul Tracey
Marketing manager and business development rep.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Okay, got it.

Paul Tracey
I guess there's probably some overlap in there in terms of how you break down those positions, and I think that's probably specific to everybody based on the type of marketing they're doing and how much they're doing. Like anything in business. Right. You got to just start it and then go through the pain because it's painful. And then get a system that works for you. And you'll know, when you did that, it'll be very obvious because you won't have your hands in it all the time, and it will happen. That's the two key things. Right. I didn't do it. It happened the way I wanted it to, and it happened efficiently. If you're checking those boxes, you're in a pretty good track for marketing.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Which of your marketing activities are the best for you from a lead gen standpoint? Because you talked about you're doing a lot TV ads, social, you're doing some direct mail, JV partnerships. What one or two channels are your most fruitful?

Paul Tracey
That's a very tough question. Right. Like, so I'm a tech guy and an operations guy, and I love to look at numbers, but it gets a little foggy. Do you really know? Right. We know what brought them in. If they filled out a form or they made a phone call or we called them. What's the cumulative effect of all that marketing? And how many times have they seen our branding and interacted with our stuff is a little difficult. I would say that certainly JV partnerships and doing event webinars like this and public speaking is probably our best lead gen at this point.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Got it. Yeah. Thank you for sharing that. So next thing I want to ask you about, when I was preparing for the interview, I noticed that you've written 2 books

Paul Tracey
A third on the Way.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Third on the way, awesome. So, yeah. Wow. Congratulations on that, by the way. I've never written a book, but those that I know who have done it say that it's a ton of work unless you pay somebody to do it for you. Here's what I want to ask about this initiall, why did you choose to write a book in the first place? And then what have the biggest benefits been for you?

Paul Tracey
So the reason is really the education reason in our space, educating the public as well as the businesses we intend to deal with is super important. But kind of the tangent of that is nobody knows what I do. Right. It's great to play cyber security, and it's great to do that. And a perfect example is my sister. I've been in this business a long time, and when I put out my first book, she came to me and said, now I can tell people what you do. Being my sister, she knows what I do. But all that explanation, honestly, up until I wrote the book, was a bunch of tech jargon that she knows he works in tech, she got the book, she read the book, she went, wow, this is what you do. So I think that's kind of the overwhelming statement for writing the book is the understanding of the topics that we discuss are very in depth and there's no way I'm ever going to do that in a meeting. You meet with somebody to have a tech discussion and there's just too much of an education gap. And so the more that we can put out that's educational, that brings the end user or the prospect that we're talking to up to speed on what they need to know is a great benefit to us and to them. We're saving a lot of time on both sides.

Tim Fitzpatrick
So do you actively use your books in the prospecting and sales process?

Paul Tracey
Absolutely. So generally when we send out a welcome package that has, depending on the client, one of the books in there because one's a little more focused, the new book is going to be on HIPAA compliance, and so obviously we wouldn't send that to someone who's not dealing with that. But as much informational material as I can pack into the box, that's what we're going to send out.

Tim Fitzpatrick
In your sales process, is that something that goes out for new clients as part of Onboarding, or is that something that you actually send out to people that you've connected with that have expressed an interest in talking?

Paul Tracey
So that's usually after we set a meeting, not so much if we're just doing a ten minute discovery call, but if we're going to have an actual meeting about services. Then we send that out ahead of time because there's a lot of important stuff in there that they're going to learn about us before we have that meeting. And then we don't have to chew up time of me explaining how long we've been in business and what we do and what our services are. And that way we're able to focus on the prospective client and what their needs are because that's what's actually important to them.

Tim Fitzpatrick
This is so interesting in marketing, a lot of people talk about this. You're sending this box, right? They call it a shock and awe box, right? Like, what am I going to send out that's really going to set the tone for what it's like to do business with us, but also just really help add value and serve these people that are reaching out to us and connecting with us. How long have you been doing that? Sending that out?

Paul Tracey
I think about three years now since we started doing that.

Tim Fitzpatrick
And would you say have you noticed in that three years, like, has that made a big difference for you?

Paul Tracey
It makes a huge difference in the initial meeting. It's a huge time saver.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Have you had people actually say anything about it ahead of time or when you're in the meeting?

Paul Tracey
It usually gets brought up right away. We got your package, we read the materials. This is thank you for sending this, because we're not sending you sales pitches. We're sending you information and content that's pertinent to your business and helping you stay in business by not getting ransomware and those other things. Our focus is not to send you a box and you look at it and go, oh, I want to buy from them. We're trying to provide you value ahead of the meeting, and some of that value is saving time in that meeting and giving you an understanding of what we're about, because maybe we're not a right fit, and maybe they determine that as soon as they see the box, and then everybody gets their time back. For people running businesses, time is the thing we can't get back.

Tim Fitzpatrick
And this may be kind of tough to answer, but do you know whether your conversion rate increased when you started to send that box out?

Paul Tracey
Absolutely.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Okay, cool. I love it. See, this is one of those things we pull out as we have these conversations. So if you're watching listening again on the marketing side, we talk about these as Shock and Awe boxes, how I've typically heard them referred to. But Paul, you've been doing this for three years. It's helping your meetings be more efficient, and it's improved your conversion rate. All very good things. So I love that. Now, what other benefits have you experienced from your books? You're using it in your Shock and awe Box, which I think is great. Any other benefits that have been helpful with the book?

Paul Tracey
There's certainly been some publicity around the books, which has led to several speaking engagements and news interviews and those kinds of things, and really just overall increased visibility, for sure. I'm definitely not going to say that I don't like having a best selling author title next to my name. Right. Those little LinkedIn titles we can throw in there. But it was a great process. And then internally, the value that it provided is, like you said, writing a book is a lot of work. And so during that process and however that process works out, situations are different on doing a book. But you have to really dig down and determine what your why is as a company, what your why is as a leader, and be able to articulate that because you're writing it down. And for that to be concise when the person is reading that book takes a significant amount of work. But again, that self awareness thing during that process, I think is huge. You learn a lot about your business and yourself and what your goals are when you do that.

Tim Fitzpatrick
So what would you say has been the biggest factor driving the growth of your company? You've been in business eleven years. You can't get that far unless you're doing some things right. What would you say if you had to pick one thing? What's the biggest factor in driving the growth of your company?

Paul Tracey
There's so many, but I would say unrelenting persistence. Right. And an understanding that when you're having bad times, those times are going to pass, but if you quit before you get to there, you're never going to see it. I listen to a lot of Eric Thomas pain is on the other side or success is on the other side of pain. Right. And we all go through those. That's one of those parts. I used to think when I first started the company, that I was going to get to this point, that revenue would make all the stress go away and the problems go away, and what a wonderful fairy tale that really is. The more you grow, the more problems there are. And just understanding that it's always going to be that way and that's what you signed up for. And let's dig in because the valleys may be some good valleys, but the peaks are pretty high peaks, so let's stay with it.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I want to pull this out because that is such a profound thing that you just said where you know, hey, things are going to be great when we get to this point, you know, it's like, hey, I'll be happy when I reach this goal. Very similar concept there, where it's like, no, the problems are different, but they're still there. No matter how much revenue you're doing, the problems that half a million dollars in revenue are different than at 10 million and at 21 hundred, but there's still problems either way that we have to deal with. So yeah, I love the fact that you said that. So as we close things out, Paul, what's next? You're writing your third book, you're in eleven years, you continue to grow. You've got 18 full time employees. What's next? What's on the horizon? What's important for 2023 for you?

Paul Tracey
I'm really on a mission to secure a million people's data, and the way that we do that is by securing the companies that hold on to their data. And I think the path forward for me in doing that is increasing the amount of public speaking, the amount of media and awareness. It's very difficult in our space. If somebody gets ransomware and they go out of business, they don't run around and tell all their friends, this happened to me. we hear all these big news stories, and we're like, well, yeah, they took the pipeline, but that's not my little small business. Hackers know that little small businesses don't have protection. And if they can get 50 grand out of you, but they can replicate that 100 times really quickly, that's a lot easier than trying to take down a big fish. And I think there's because we don't hear the stories from our colleagues about this happening to them and the news stories that we hear are these big stories. I think there's a gap there that we need to close in educating small businesses on what the risks are. And the risks are really for their clients and their vendors as well as themselves. It's a community problem.

Tim Fitzpatrick
It's interesting you say that because we see that when you look at websites, WordPress is an incredibly popular platform, but because it's popular, it also gets hacked. And so many people set up WordPress websites with no security, no backups, and similar train of thought there. It's like, well, I'm just a small business like, who cares? No, it's kind of like does the thief break into the house that has the security system or the house next door that has nothing? They're going for the lowest, the easiest target. And at least if you're putting some of these things in place, you're making it more difficult. It's not going to prevent it from happening, but it does make you a less likely target than somebody that has nothing.

Paul Tracey
We do have another so just on that media tip, we do have a documentary coming out in April that's a continuation of a series cyber crime investigations. And really the focus around there is the people that don't get punished, right. That a lot of times your company gets hacked through one of your vendors. It was some little company that you dealt with, they didn't have any security. But now you're in trouble because we didn't look at those risks. Right. And the people that are doing this don't often end up in jail, right?

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. God, it's crazy. So, last question I want to ask you, Paul. Knowing what you know now, is there anything you'd do differently?

Paul Tracey
Everything faster. It's the burden of knowledge at this point. I would have gotten people on marketing internally much faster. For a long time, as entrepreneurs, when we're first starting out, we have this expectation that I'm going to conquer the world and you can do it all and I don't want to allocate those finances to hiring a person and how do there's all those complications in getting someone. Just do it. It would have been what I would tell myself back then is skip that hemming and hawing and just jump in. Because getting into a cold pool slowly isn't any fun. Just jump in there.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, jump in. Do it. Speed of execution is super important in business.

Paul Tracey
Implementation is everything, my friend.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, it absolutely is. On the marketing side, it's like, man, we can create a great plan, but if you fail to implement and execute on it, you might as well not have a plan at all. Paul, this has been a fantastic interview. I really appreciate you taking the time. Where can folks learn more about you if they want to connect with you in innovative technologies?

Paul Tracey
So the company website is upstatetechsupport.com, and on the personal side, you can find me on LinkedIn. I know you have that down there scrolling at the bottom of the screen. Or you can just search Paul Tracy and I'll pop up there, and we can connect that way.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Cool. So we'll make sure that both those links are in the show notes. Upstatetechsupport.com where you can search Paul Tracy on LinkedIn, but we'll put those in the show notes so that folks can connect with you. Again, Paul, thanks so much for taking the time. This has been a great interview. I love some of the stuff that you shared today. For those of you watching listening, thank you for doing so. I appreciate you. We were talking all about revenue acceleration, some of the things that Paul has used to help grow his business. If you want to accelerate revenue growth, you got to remove your revenue roadblocks. If you want to find out which of the nine revenue roadblocks are slowing down your growth, head on over to revenueroadblockscorecard.com. Takes less than five minutes. You'll be able to discover and assess which roadblocks are slowing down your growth. If you want to connect with us, you can also do it over at our website at rialtomarketing.Com. We'd be happy to chat with you. Again, thank you so much. Till next time. Take care.


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About the author, Tim Fitzpatrick

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