In this episode of the Marketing Swipe File, Dave chats with Steven Broudy, former Ranger Sniper Team Leader in the U.S. Army and currently Head of Sales at Bevy. Together Dave and Steven talk about how technology has changed the way people buy and why it’s important to activate, build, and scale your community around your brand and product – both online and in-person. Want to hear Steven’s take on imposter syndrome and the reason why he’s worn a Hawaiian shirt every day for more than a year? Listen to the full episode.
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Dave Gerhardt: Hey, what’s up everybody? Thanks for coming to another episode of The Swipe File. Steve, I don’t know if you know this podcast. It’s called The Swipe File, because every marketer has to, I think all the great marketers have a swipe file, and so, look, I’m super excited because it’s not often, people talk about all this beef between sales and marketing, but I’m here to bridge that gap, because I have a guy on the line with me today who is actually not a marketer. Do you think you’re a marketer? Are you a marketer?
Steven Broudy: I think everyone should be a marketer, but I don’t think I’m technically a marketer, and I probably couldn’t do much of a job doing that sort of role, but no.
DG: So anyway, I’m going to let you intro yourself. So this is my friend Steve Broudy, who I think we met, I remember having dinner with Steve Johnson, who was at Vidyard at the time? Was it SalesLoft? Rainmaker? Maybe last year? Something like that.
Steven: Yeah, I think it was Rainmaker ’18.
DG: Yeah. So anyway, long story short, we’re back connected. Give the people who don’t know you, haven’t heard you before, first time meeting you, give a little quick intro.
Steven: Yeah. My name’s Steven Broudy. I run sales at Bevy, which is the platform that best in industry breeds like Slack, Atlassian, Salesforce, Asana, all use to build scale and grow their in-person community. Prior to working there, I worked at MuleSoft, and subsequently Salesforce, and we were acquired, at MuleSoft they started with a team of seven account development reps, and that grew to a team of 67 in the Americas, inside [ORG 00:04:04], and my last role at MuleSoft was running business operations. So I stood up that role, and was focused on, amongst other things, sales effectiveness, and super excited to be here. I’ve got a bit of a weird background. I actually came to sales by way of Army special operations. So if you hear a lot of terrible analogies or jargon, feel free to cut me off and call me out and ask what it means. I don’t often catch myself, but it’s been seven years, so I should be good. Also, I’ve worn Hawaiian shirts every day for longer than 400 days now. So I’m easy to spot.
DG: Okay, hold on, hold on, hold on. There’s about 14 things I want to unpack with you there. Wait, wait. So 400 days ago, as DC and everybody else at Drift would tell you, I’m not a math guy, but that’s a little bit over a year. What happened over a year ago that made you make the switch to Hawaiian shirts?
Steven: Truth be told, this all started as a passive-aggressive jab at Salesforce. Someone announced that, well, the company announced that we were getting acquired by Salesforce, and I think, truth be told, Salesforce is an amazing organization, and frankly, I really respect their ability to drive just continued success, and frankly, I think the acquisition of MuleSoft was brilliant, and it’s really paying dividends for them. But, when we were acquired by Salesforce, having sort of hired against their brand in terms of talent for years, I was really sort of adamant about the fact that we needed to address the fact that, culturally, I think we were very different companies. And so, I talked to our CEO, who was about to put on an all hands, and said, “Hey, man, you got to call out the fact that we’ve got different cultures,” and he got on stage, and Greg Schott, to his credit, is one of the most thoughtful, well-spoken, amazing leaders I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with, and I say that and I’ve literally worked with people who have the Medal of Honor, so I think that’s saying a lot.
But it was the one time I saw him slip up, and he basically got on stage, and I think he sort of froze and said, “Look, Salesforce,” I probably should tell this story now that I think about it, but he’s like, “Salesforce and MuleSoft, we’ve got a very similar culture. They’ve got four core values. We’ve got four core values.” And I was like, “Oh, man. Get out of here.” So I went and I gave him a really hard time about it, and I’d been wearing a Hawaiian shirt to celebrate Keith Block coming in the office, and the next day, I decided to go up to him and wear another Hawaiian shirt, and like, “Look, Greg, same core values,” and he’s like, “Dude, you’re a jerk.” And he was right. I am. But, I realized a few things, first of all.
I’m a six foot three white guy, and I’m probably inherently not all that approachable by virtue that, especially if people find out that I spent six years going to war every night, and I think that what I’ve found is I continued to sort of wear Hawaiian shirts because that it’s really disarming. People are a lot more likely to assume that I’m friendly and approachable, and I want them to, because I think I am and can be. And, second of all, it’s the sort of Zuckerberg thing where I’ve got a very, very focused morning routine, a finite amount of time in which I’ve got to do it, and the last thing I want to do is be expending mental energy thinking about what I look like every day, and I’d rather look stupid, than look like I’m trying. So my only issue with Hawaiian shirts is I think, as summer approaches, they’re kind of coming back in vogue, and I don’t want people to think I’m stylish by any means.
So hopefully the fact that I’m wearing Merrell shoes every day that look like you’re supposed to be out rock climbing gives people the impression that I certainly don’t have style, but that’s the long and short of it.
DG: If we don’t talk about marketing and sales at all in the podcast, I’m good, because I want to have a conversation with you. Okay, so is that why you ended up leaving Salesforce, MuleSoft, was because of that? If that was handled differently, would you still be there, or is this a product of you wanting to go do something anyway?
Steven: No. I actually think that’s a great question. Truth be told, I think Salesforce is a phenomenal company. I think the acquisition made a ton of sense. And, frankly, Salesforce does an amazing job leading MuleSoft as sort of an autonomous business unit, and they have to, right? It’s because integration, at its essence, the ability to be effective in that space means you need to be able to connect anything to everything. And MuleSoft often connecting Salesforce to other Salesforce clouds, or Salesforce to other core systems, and it’s often connecting other core systems at companies that they compete with to Salesforce or to other core systems, or SaaS systems at other companies that they’re competing with. So I think Salesforce has handled that integration really well.
I left because, truth be told, like I said, I started with seven people on my team in one office, and grew that to 67 across five offices, and, frankly, it was an amazing, amazing opportunity, and I got really lucky, and it’s hard being in business operations where you’re kind of a glorified consultant, and you can’t just jump on the phone and grab it, and you don’t have as many opportunities to grow, coach and develop people and really help them realize the best versions of themselves. And I look at one analog from Army special operations, and when I work in tech, I feel like I’ve continued to have that opportunity to be able to bring onboard people I feel like have incredible potential that they might not even personally realize, and really help them understand that they are that capable, and really see the success of realizing that potential.
DG: That’s a super interesting thread that I just kind of, it’s interesting to me in my head. How has your management style been dictated by your military background? How do you mange? How do you run one-on-ones? How do you set expectations? Did that stuff shape how you lead and how you manage in the workplace?
Steven: Absolutely. Well, first of all, I think it dictated early on that I really needed to learn a new way to lead, and I think at the core of that is the fact that effective communication in Army special operations in a highly dynamic environment in which things are literally life and death sort of naturally dictates that you need to be short, concise and to the point. Context is not necessary. When someone is following you into a room and you’re in some terrible person’s house and your job is to go right, and they’re job is to go left, if you’re in training and you go right and they go right, you’re probably going to destroy them. And the reason is, if that happens overseas, if I go right in a room and the guy behind me goes right in a room, there’s someone in the left corner with an AK-47, we both literally die. And the reality is a lot of what made me wildly successful in that role were habits and ways of communicating that I had to unlearn.
And it’s interesting because I wrote a sort of piece on radical candor a while back, and I think tended, and maybe I still tend to follow in the quadrant of obnoxious aggression, but I think what I’ve gotten better at is doing a few things, like actually contextualizing the decisions that I’m making. It’s not communication over radio in the middle of the night. The second piece is demonstrating empathy and, frankly, vulnerability. Vulnerability overseas is not just unnecessary, it’s potentially very dangerous. And the third piece is really going out of my way to be more compassionate with myself. In Ranger Regiment, there’s a saying that the only good excuse is no excuse, and the truth is that’s very helpful when the sort of circumstances dictate that you need to react rapidly to a highly dynamic, really dangerous environment. And, if you react the wrong way, like I said, life and death stakes here in the real world, not everything’s life and death.
You need to take that tactical pause, and make sure you’re making the right decision. And if you really own your failure and really position failure as something that’s okay, especially the sales leader. You create an environment in which you can celebrate that and learn from it. And the way we learn from failure overseas is every single mission we ended with an after action review, no matter what, it’s like “What went well? What didn’t? What are we going to do differently?” And I think that is one thing I’ve carried over to my one-on-ones, and I think, I hope, that people who work with me now understand that my focus on what we can do better does not mean we have not done well.
But, that can be a tough and a tricky challenge, because I was born in the early 80s, but I think the Millennial has been beaten out of me, and now I’m working with a lot of amazing Millennials who bring a lot to the table, but I’m not sure that that’s in the environment in which they’ve developed as professionals necessarily.
DG: It’s also tough if you have really big goals, right? And so, this is something that I’ve had to kind of retrain my brain on in being at Drift, and just kind of being part of this wild ride so far, which is, I work for David, who you know, and who’s our CEO, and in his mind it’s never enough, right? And so, the goal is not to hit this year’s number and next year’s number. It’s a 10 year goal, a 20 year goal. And so, no matter what we’re doing today, it’s never enough. And I think there’s people who can look at that and say, “Man, I just want you to be like, “You know what? You did a great job. Take the rest of the day off.” Right?
But, what I’ve learned is there’s a great quote. One of my favorite books is called Seven Strategies For Wealth And Happiness by this guy Jim Rohn, who was Tony Robbin’s original mentor, and he talks about the power of setting goals in that book, and he says basically that the power of setting goals, goals act like magnets. You want to set big ass goals, because if you set big goals, they end up pulling you towards that target, right? You say maybe your goal is working out. You can’t do 100 pushups, and you can do no pushups right now. If you say “I want to do 100,” if you set a goal of 100 and you miss, but you probably do 60 pushups, you still are doing 60 more pushups than you started with.
And so, it’s interesting to hear your perspective on that mindset, and it’s tough, because everybody is different. Everybody on the team, the team that I’m responsible for today, everybody takes feedback in a different way. Everybody needs coaching in a different way. There are people that you can’t just push, push, push. With DC, for example, I think he knows he can continue to push me, but then there’s a point where I’m like, “All right, I need you to relax.” And I think it’s just different. So curious to hear how that is kind of played out for you.
One thing you mentioned early in that, which is you said that the whole time at MuleSoft, your team was six to, what, 60 plus-ish?
Steven: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
DG: You said you were over-
Steven: Yeah, 67, I think.
DG: You were over your skis the whole time, and I want you to dig into that a little bit, because the feeling that I know a lot of people, they say anybody that I’ve ever interviewed or talked to that has been part of a very fast and growing company and successful company has felt that. I know I still feel it every day. How did that play out for you? How do you overcome that? It sounds similar to imposter syndrome, right? You’re over your skis the whole time.
Steven: Yeah. First of all, I got really well acclimated to it in Ranger Regiment. It’s really interesting how Ranger Regiment goes and selects individuals to join the unit, versus the SEAL. SEALs is a great unit, great people, but what’s interesting about BUD/S and their selection process is, to an extent, it’s six months long. It’s a real long time, it’s really hard, it’s very physically demanding. I don’t want to diminish that, but they spend six months, and part of that is making you go run, get sugar cookied in the sand, and go and swim in the freezing cold water, and part of that is teaching you how to use scuba gear and do patrolling operations. And, on the flip side, in Ranger Regiment, when I went through the Ranger indoctrination process, which is called RIP, as an acronym, literally they spend eight weeks trying to make you quit.
And if you made it, and you might start with 360 people and 16 made it, they basically have just identified people who, when the going gets really truly tough, to the point where no human being physically is strong enough to just continued to persist and persevere, unless you can shut off your mind and just grind it out, what that dictated is, once they got to the unit, they knew they had the people they needed, who had the sort of core foundational skills to go and be successful, and they were going to teach you everything you needed to do to actually do your job proficiently and effectively. It’s a lot like hiring high potential candidates for an early career sales role.
And the thing for me is I got to Ranger Regiment thinking, “Look, I made it.” I was the honor graduate in RIP, I was in the best shape of my life, I was 24 years old and arrogant, and I got my ass handed to me so hard, and I was living on a two cushion love seat in a barrack with a couple kids who were two, three years younger than me. And it was absolutely miserable, but because I knew I didn’t know anything, and I brought that beginner’s mindset to everything, it made me uniquely capable of being successful. What was interesting was, during my third deployment, I basically got told, “Hey, you’re going to sniper section.” Now, sniper section in Ranger Regiment’s one of the most highly sought after units on the team, and I had a team that I was working with. I really loved my role on the line, as we called it, and I basically was like, “No, I don’t want to do that.”
And the funny thing is the psychologist, the battalion psychologist, they do a session with, and part of that is a psychological battery, and they tend to do it before and after every deployment, basically said, “Dude, you don’t have a choice. You just fit the profile,” and I had to literally, even being in Ranger Regiment, I had never looked down the scope of a sniper rifle ever, and I got put into this unit and half the kids are good old boys from Alabama who’s been sitting in tree stands all day shooting deer, and I’d never really done any long rifle work ever. And a couple years in, we had an internal sniper competition and I won it, and the reason I won it was all I was good at was understanding what fundamentally we needed to be effective at in order to be a good shot, and I just focused on that. And I didn’t have to unlearn any bad habits.
So being over my skis for me was absolutely the key to my success, and I think professionally, as a litmus test, if you’re not, one, energized by the work you’re doing, and by that I mean it doesn’t matter how hard you work. You still come home and you feel like, “Wow, I want to talk about this.” I’m not avoiding my wife, because I know she’s going to ask how my day was. And two, over your skis and feeling that sense of imposter syndrome, I’d say get the hell out. And I think that really largely dictates for me when I know I’m ready to move on in a role, but I think if you look at my LinkedIn resume, you’ll see I tend to stick around long enough for that to actually happen. And I think it actually should take longer than you think it’s going to take. And, in this age of instant gratification, I think people tend to think about their careers in terms of days and weeks and months.
The reality is a career’s 40 years. Months, in the great scheme of things, are going to feel very, very negligible in terms of the amount of time you spent really striving for mastery. But, I digress. I know we were going to talk sales and marketing, and I’m excited to, and I hate talking about myself in spite of the fact that I’ve been doing it for the last 15 minutes. So you tell me what we should be talking about, DG.
DG: If you don’t think this was intentional, then you’re fooling yourself. I wanted both. I wanted both. I talk about B2B buying all day, every day. It’s better to mix it up. And, also, by the way, this makes it a stronger, from a storytelling perspective, more people will have listened to this point in the podcast than if we had started off right there. It’s all good. It’s all good.
Steven: I like it. This is why I know you’re an amazing marketer.
DG: Hey, I went to your LinkedIn profile, because I was like, “What’s he talking about he stays in places a long time?” And so, you’re so in on the Hawaiian shirt thing that, not only do you have a Hawaiian shirt on in this video, but you have an avatar on LinkedIn that is you, a nice caricature of you in a Hawaiian shirt. And then, the background image is, it doesn’t look like Tommy Bahama. It looks like a Tori Richard shirt.
Steven: There were go. Big shout-out. Good shout-out.
DG: Let’s talk about B2B buying, because I want to know, okay, so I’ll do a little talking. You can have some seltzer or whatever, and we’ll take, so this is how I pitch what’s happening out there in the world, which is we live in a world today where nobody wants to be sold to, and nobody wants to be marketed to, right? The reason why, there’s really two reasons why. Number one is options, and number two is information. Options meaning there are more choices in any industry than ever before, right? Why did you pick that Hawaiian shirt versus another? There’s probably a thousand companies that make Hawaiian shirts. Never mind the industry that we’re in, which is sales and marketing tech. There’s literally over seven thousand companies in this space.
So, as a result, customers have all the power, because if I don’t treat you good, if I don’t treat you well, you can go to Google, a Drift competitor, and go use them, right? The other one is information. Number two was information. Information meaning, information is now free. I can find anything out about you, about your company, about basically anything that your product and services is without ever having to talk to anybody on your team.
My wife and I, I have two personal examples of this in the last couple months. My wife and I woke up Saturday morning, and we’re like, “We’ve had this mattress forever. This mattress sucks. Let’s get a new mattress.” She literally pulls out her phone, she bought a mattress within 20 minutes on her phone, and it was at our house in two days. Okay? Two months prior to that, we bought a new car. The way we bought the car was the opposite of how my parents bought a car, which is you go to the dealership 15 times, you go there with no information. We did all our research online, I said “I don’t want to be here all day, I don’t want you to sell to me. I want to drive a car off the lot today. And here, I want to test drive this one versus that one.” Right? Because now, there’s more information.
So those two things, options and information, to me at least, have changed the balance of power in B2B buying, but then we go to our jobs in sales an marketing, and we do all the things that we hate, right? We assume that people are not also regular consumers in their personal lives. So that’s the topic that I’m super passionate about, and I can talk for hours about, but is that kind of in the ballpark of how you think about things?
Steven: 100%. And I think the reality is the Amazons of the world have really anchored us in a set of expectations for how we want to buy, because, I don’t know about you, but it sounds like we’re very similar in that, look, I buy basically two ways. One, I go on Amazon knowing what I want, and I look for five star reviews, and I buy it. Two, I basically see my friend wearing a sweet Hawaiian shirt, and I’m like, “Dude, where’d you get that?” Or I actually know I want a sweet Hawaiian shirt, and I ask my friend who I know has a sweet Hawaiian shirt, or go and read a blog about it and buy it.
That’s really how people buy today, and Gartner has some amazing data on this, but look, here’s the long and short of it. To your point, buyers don’t want to be sold to. I avoid brick and mortar like the plague, because I know someone’s going to talk to me, and if I went to brick and mortar, it’s because it can’t get delivered fast enough to my house for me to need that product when I feel like I need it. And second of all, people don’t trust sales people, and increasingly they don’t trust online content. Here is, to me, what most epitomizes, or sort of characterizes what B2B buying actually looks like, and that’s a sort of pie chart that Gartner has, where it’s a distribution of buying groups time by activities and where they’re spending that time.
So, first of all, they spend the least amount of time, 17% of their time, meeting with your sales people. So, if you are a modern sales leader or marketer, what you need to do is ensure that your sales people are capable of identifying the right pain, of empathizing with it, of delivering value, of being a trusted advisor, that you as a sales leader are coaching them, and that you are making that as much of a buyer-centered process as possible.
But, just bear in mind that you are getting the smallest sort of piece of the pie of a buyer’s time. Where they spend the most time is researching independently online. And the thing is, with all of this fake news and gated content, people increasingly don’t really even trust what’s going on online. If you gate content, I don’t want to read it, because I’ve got a set of key buying jobs that I need to complete, and I need to complete them in a timely manner, because I’m looking into a 30 minute window in my calendar where I have free time, and I need to identify potential vendors and see if their purpose fits for what I need to do. So you can optimize the hell out of your online channels, but if I have a question, I sure as hell hope someone’s got Drift on their website and I can ask them.
Or, if there’s a chat box that pops up, I hope that it’s actually guiding me to the right content so I don’t waste my time clicking through pages, because everyone know how terrible B2B buying websites are. I think the third piece is, and this is the interesting one, is people actually spend more time researching independently offline, meaning meeting with your current customers, than they do meeting with your sales team. And I feel like that’s the next frontier, creating opportunities for people to get in front of your customers and let your customers sell for you. It’s that idea of customer-to-customer marketing, and it seems and sounds really organic, but the best in industry companies out there, the MuleSofts of the world, the Salesforce of the world, the Atlassians of the world, they have these incredibly robust in-person communities where they are basically creating opportunities for that customer-to-customer marketing to take place.
And it’s funny, because I was at a Modern Sales Pros event last night, and Modern Sales Pros is, in my assessment, the best community for sales and marketing leaders out there. And the reason I think it’s the best is, one, they sort of are highly moderated in terms of who they let in and who they let join, and they’re very clear about the rules. You’re not here to pitch your product.
Steven: Now, the funny things about it-
DG: I remember I got Armen, our VP of sales at Drift, I think two years ago when he started, we found a way to help get him into the group, and he posted something, and he got suspended for a couple weeks.
Steven: Got the boot. Yeah.
DG: It was so funny. But, it is true. Everybody I have talked to has that, and I’ve been in it. But, to all your points, it is the best resource for that reason. But, I do remember Armen got the boot.
Steven: I love that. And look, here’s the irony of that. I sat across the table from seven sales leaders, and five of them had notebooks out, writing down vendors that they were going to go and procure, because other people were evangelizing how amazing their experience working with that vendor was and how it uniquely helps them find success. That’s incredible! The crazy piece is, there’re so few companies out there who are owning their in-person community. They’re so dead set and focused online, which is critically important, because, bear in mind, you spend 27% of your time as a buyer online, but you’re still spending 18% of your time talking to people in real life. And, by the way, people distrust sales people, let’s reiterate that, and they trust your customers. And, if you can activate and own that community, I feel like that’s the final frontier.
Steven: And I’ve talked to some people about the idea of building out and scaling their community, and a lot of them tend to start and focus online, which I actually think is really smart, especially if you’re trying to do things like decrease support costs, or ensure people are successful using your product or your platform, but if you’re trying to create new opportunities, or increase the affinity people feel for your brand, or frankly, even potentially attract talent to come on board, there’s no better way to do that than in-person. And you look no further than the Salesforces of the world, and I don’t know what Boston’s like, but in San Francisco, I see 17 people a day walking around in Trailblazer hoodies, and what’s amazing about that community is those people are not just massive fans of Salesforce, but they are unequivocally going to go to every single company where they’re subsequently hired to be the administrator of their CRM, and they’re going to advocate that that company, if they don’t already have it, brings on board Salesforce, meaning they’ve literally started staking their career on a brand.
And, look, I’ll say this, and it will upset some people, but I don’t know if Salesforce and their CRM is inherently better than Dynamics’ or Zendesk’s CRM, and I don’t really care, and I don’t even really think it matters, because unless Microsoft, or unless Zendesk or HubSpot can actually truly activate and own their community, Salesforce has got true stickiness. They have community as a defensible asset.
DG: I think that the problem is most people don’t want to do that, because it’s not instantly scalable in the sense of you’re going to do your first community meet-up, right? You’re going to get eight people there. I think marketers want to buy us for the, like, “What’s my best chance at getting 800 people?” Right?
DG: The other thing I was thinking, while you were saying that is, I think one of the biggest skills lacking in marketing and sales today is empathy, and actually the most selfish form of that, which is I always think about which ads, which headlines, what do I read? What do I actually utilize in my world? And then, that email I’m about to send out, or that webinar that we’re about to do, would I actually go to that? Because if the answer is “no,” then I’m just kind of peddling some crap that I wouldn’t go to anyway, and then expect somebody else to do that.
DG: So I think that’s really important. And the lines of empathy, the most value for me that I get, honestly, is when I go to something and I get invited to a lunch, and that lunch is 10 other people who are just like me, in the same job at a different company, because those are, and I’m sure you’ve felt the same way, to me, that’s almost the therapy lunch where you’re like, “Whoa, okay, all these other people are also way out over their skis. All these other people also don’t know how to track this thing either. Oh, all these other people are dealing with this other thing.” And so, you realize “Man, we’re all kind of in this together. Nobody’s that much different than I am.” That’s super beneficial.
But then, also, I think about how I buy. If I’m going to go buy a new piece of technology for Drift, very rarely the first thing that I’m going to go do is go to somebody’s website and talk somebody on their team. I’m going to go read reviews, or I’m going to send an email or text a friend that is in the same industry, and be like, “Hey, do you have any experience with blank?” The other reason why I think your point about groups and communities is so powerful is people, at least like me, I don’t know if you’re the same, but for me, I’m driven by curiosity and this whole mindset of keeping up with the Jones’s.
And so, if you told me that the VP of marketing at one of our competitors has some secret tool that they’ve been using to automate blah, right? I’m instantly like, “What is it? And why are they using it? And how do they use it? And does it do that?” And so, I think that is the power of hearing. And I think, to me, that’s a great shift in marketing and sales, because it means there isn’t so much bait-and-switch anymore. You’re not going to win deals just because you’re the only company to write a blog article about that topic.
Steven: Yeah. Yeah, and you hit a really great point. I think, by the way, the online channel is still critically important. Let’s not move past that. It’s where people spend the majority of their time. But, where do you spend your time online?
DG: That was going to be in my headline for this episode.
DG: “Steven Broudy says online is dead.”
Steven: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. Well, look, here’s the thing. I love online. I love going and finding a chat bot that can get me some answers and help me understand if I should even be talking to someone, or maybe talking with a live agent. And I love G2 Crowd, where I can figure out that Bevy is number one in its category, and people are raving about it. The reality though, and to your point, community is incredibly valuable, but it’s not instantly scalable. And much in the same way people in the past have over-indexed to farmer leads with gated content, I think people in the past also over-index, and continue to a large extent to over-index to these massive in-person user conferences that cost $3 million, where you get 800 people, or you put on eight events in eight core cities, and that’s great. You should do that. But, once you activate those brand evangelists, and once you activate those prospects and get them excited, then what? Where do they go? How do they continue to maintain that level of affinity and energy for your brand?
And how do they sort of go and reciprocate? Because I know you’ve read Give and Take, but a lot of people are matchers, and if you go to a great user conference, they’re going to be like, “Wow, Drift is awesome. I’m going to tell a bunch of people why it’s awesome.” But, if Drift doesn’t have a community where they can go and do that, or a dinner where you can go and sit down across the table from someone and you’re not beholdened to anyone, but you still want to talk about how awesome they are, if you don’t have an opportunity to do that, then whomever that vendor is, it’s just missing a massive chance. And, by the way, you’re right. Community is not inherently scalable, and that’s because, in the past, people have tried to use the same sort of playbook and core set of tools that they use to scale massive events, or put on massive events, to scale local communities. And that inherently does not work.
If McDonald’s had had to have the same landing team to land at every single restaurant in every single market, then they wouldn’t be a $121 billion company, or whatever they are. They understood that if you have a franchise model for scaling, a core set of assets, a core set of standards, and you met the people who are going to carry your brand into new market, that is the way you go and scale community, or frankly, really scale anything. And, look, Shake Shack is great. I don’t know if they’re a franchise or not. I used to work at In-N-Out in high school. I was a level four fry technician. No big deal. And In-N-Out’s amazing. People sing its praises from the mountaintops. Hasn’t expanded that far beyond the west coast. It is not a franchise. It is owned by one lady who I once saw do a dance at Windsor Waterworks when she was 16 years old. It was pretty funny.
And, if they franchise out In-N-Out and were able to still maintain the quality of the product, no one would be talking about White Castle or Shake Shack, and frankly, whatever, I don’t know how big that business is, but I imagine it’d be a hell of a lot bigger, and I still think they can maintain the integrity of the brand. And, frankly, they might even learn some new things along the way.
DG: All right, we’ve got about five minutes left, and we could talk about B2B buying forever, but I want to go back to this, because this is the stuff that I love, and I wanted to just ask you about it. Let’s wrap up with this. Earlier on, you said that, okay, so you started wearing all the same clothes. I wear t-shirts and hoodies every day for that same reason. And you said you have a very strict morning routine. Give me a look into your morning routine. I want to know exactly what you do in the morning.
Steven: Yeah. I wake up at 5:00 every day, I immediately go into the other room and meditate for 20 minutes. I get on the bus, I go to the gym, I workout, I continue to sweat after showering, which is why Hawaiian shirts are absolutely amazing. I come into work, and I go through a deliberate planning process every morning. And, by the way, here’s the thing about me. People, even my own friends think I’m incredibly disciplined, and that is an innate, natural talent. I think some people in my life did me a massive disservice by telling me I was slightly above average in terms of intelligence, and it frankly made me chronically underperform and underachieve, basically until I was in Ranger Regiment. And what I learned there is discipline is a function of habit, and if you rely on motivation, whether intrinsic or extrinsic, in order to maintain that level of discipline, you’re destined for failure.
So I do the same thing every day. I’ve pre-packed all my clothes the night before, and frankly, I wear stupid Hawaiian shirts, and I could probably get dressed in the dark, and I would look exactly the same. So it saves me-
DG: What time do you go to bed?
Steven: Not early enough. And that’s been a recent thing, because I feel like I’ve just been so energized in this new role, that I’m just amped. I get home, and I just want to stay on top of it and get at it, and you referenced Jim Rohn and Tony Robbins. I think when you step into a new role as a sales leader, especially when it’s really nascent and early on, you sort of overestimate what you can do in that day, and underestimate what you can do in a week, and I know the way Tony Robbins strains that is through the lens of one year and 10 years, but I think it’s that sort of microcosm of that same experience. And the one other thing that I forgot is I read every night in order to fall asleep, and when I’m on the bus, because I get bus sick, I use Audible to pick up where I was on Kindle, because I can’t really look at my phone, and it helps me get through things faster.
I love what you said on a past podcast about, look, you’re not trying to sort of be able to re-articulate a book for a college exam. You need to be able to take and extract out one cue lesson. I like to highlight stuff, because it helps me resurface it, and I have a sort of system where I index everything I highlight, actually automatically. So maybe David and I can geek out over that sometime, because I know that you and he are huge readers.
DG: Love that. So you highlight from the Kindle, and then that automatically gets exported somewhere, and then you can go search for it later?
Steven: Totally. When someone brings up a book, sometimes I don’t even remember if I read it or not. I know that sounds stupid, but I’ve been hit in the head a lot. I’m terrible with names, and I’ll search Evernote where it gets indexed automatically, and there’s the five highlights from the book, and that really sort of was what I found to be most substantive, and immediately I’m re-anchored in what I learned, and it’s super valuable.
DG: Yeah, I love that. I find that the more that I, the thing for me, the reason why I have fallen in love with reading now is because I feel like I’m on this streak of an endless amount of creativity and ideas, and I realize that the only reason that’s true is just because of reading. It’s this amazing hack to just come up with ideas for any scenario or situation, so that’s been really cool. The challenge that I have, though, is if I read a book, and I really only enjoy reading to learn. You won’t catch me just on a beach for five hours.
Steven: No fiction.
DG: No, I can’t really read any fiction. So the problem is, though, I can’t really read a tactical business book before bed, because then my mind is just like, “Oh, we should go do that,” and then I got to go and go write it down and do that. So at night I’ll read either a book that’s not about marketing, or a biography, so that way it’s like I don’t really need to highlight or take notes, and then I try to be disciplined and get 20 minutes of learning, and I never really read that much [crosstalk 00:40:57]. I treat it like studying, where 20 minutes a day, I try to read some book that’s going to make me better at life. And it could be marketing, but it also could be, I just read a book called Why We Sleep, from a scientist about why people sleep, and that was a good example where instead of reading 400 pages in that book, I flipped around to a bunch of different chapters. I learned four new things about sleep that I didn’t know before, and now I can go on, right? I don’t have to memorize every word of that thing.
Steven: Totally, totally. You and I are a lot alike, and I think you sort of hit the nail on the head. I’m guilty of reading the tactical business stuff at night, because I’m often coming home and saying, “Man, I have no idea what the hell I’m doing.” And, again, I think the thing about reading that I love is the ability to get not an inch deep, but a mile deep on one specific topic, even if ultimately you only extract out three nuggets. Again, I feel imposter syndrome in conversations, and if I hear something I don’t understand and I speak authoritatively to, I’m not going to speak at all, and I’m going to go and try and read as much as I can about it, and hope that the next time that conversation comes around, I can actually add value. And, if not, then hopefully I’ll shut up and just talk about Hawaiian shirts, or something.
DG: I love it. Well, this was amazing. I would love to keep talking to you for hours, and we’ll have to do a follow-up at some point, but, hey, thanks for coming on the show. Just real quick, even though you’re a sales guy, we’ll let you do a little plug. Where can people go and find you if they listen to this and they like the episode and they want to hit you up, where can they find you?
Steven: Yeah. I think the best place to find me is on LinkedIn or Twitter. My Twitter is at steven broudy, which by the way, Ellis Island really botched that. It’s spelled B, as in bravo, R as in romeo, O as in Oscar, U as in uniform, D as in delta, Y as in Yankee. And, if you can’t tell, telemarketers love me, or support agents, I guess.
DG: Awesome. Well, Steven, thanks for doing it. I will hopefully see you soon, and I’m going to take these off, because they’re making my ears sweat, and we’ll see you around.
Steven: Thanks, DG. Really appreciate the opportunity to be a part of such a great podcast. See you, man.
DG: Of course, man. You’re awesome.