Ep. 1 Jamie Adams
[00:00:00] Corey Quinn: Welcome to the B2B Vertical Marketing Podcast where you'll discover new opportunities to grow your business, from seven figures to eight, from the world's most successful B2B SaaS and agency owners and executives. I'm your host, Corey Quinn. Welcome to the very first episode of this podcast.
[00:00:21] I'm super excited to be joined by Jamie Adams. Welcome, Jamie.
[00:00:25] Jamie Adams: What's up, cq?
[00:00:27] Corey Quinn: What's up? What's up,
[00:00:27] I, I love when you announced yourself as Corey Quinn when, when I just know you so well. Now as cq man, thank you so much for having me would you mind just, uh, introducing yourself to the listeners who may not be familiar with, you and your background?
[00:00:41] Jamie Adams: Yeah, sure. so I'm Jamie Adams. I am, from, Louisiana, north Louisiana. I live in Dallas, Texas. I've spent, the majority of my career, after school, in, uh, b2, B2B sales, primarily in the, you know, I would call the local digital marketing, local SaaS space.[00:01:00] A total now of coming up on 17 years, which is, gosh, it doesn't feel like that, but 17 years in that space, primarily in the sales and business development capacity.
[00:01:11] Um, started in sales, moved into various roles of sales leadership, today I'm, I'm the Chief Growth Officer at a great company called Scorpion. we bring digital marketing solutions and software to local service based businesses. Um, I've been there, it'll be nine years in March. Can you believe that?
[00:01:28] Cq nine years.
[00:01:30] Corey Quinn: that's amazing. It feels like working at Scorpion, as I did with you feels like probably like more like 35 years
[00:01:38] Jamie Adams: It's funny, I was talking to some people this past week, you know, some, some days it does feel that way, but some days it was like, it's like, man, I can't believe it's been nine years. It feels like I've been here. Like just yesterday was the first day.
[00:01:48] But yeah, going back and, and, uh, you know, previous to getting into digital marketing, I did a handful of years in, in, in consulting with Deloitte, cut my teeth and learned how to put my head down and work hard in that [00:02:00] environment.
[00:02:00] Jamie Adams: Um, but yeah, you know, I, I, like I said, business development and sales. You know, obviously there's a lot of bleed over between, your traditional sales roles and marketing roles. So you and I had a lot in common from that perspective, you know, just seeing the world through some of the lens. But, uh, but yeah, now still at Scorpion, lead a team of, our sales and business development organizations, uh, just over a hundred or so folks now.
[00:02:22] um, when you couple in, you know, the, uh, the individual producers, sales leaders, sales ops, enablement training, and then, some, uh, some rev ops things as well. So, yeah, it's been a great ride and, and, uh, and yeah, that's, that's, I guess that's me at least professionally.
[00:02:39] Corey Quinn: We'll get into some of the personal stuff here
[00:02:41] Jamie Adams: Oh, man. Okay. All right.
[00:02:43] Corey Quinn: we'll, uh, we'll, we'll kick off, we'll kick off on the business front. so for context, can you share, so you joined Scorpion back in 2014.
[00:02:52] Jamie Adams: Yeah.
[00:02:52] Corey Quinn: Can you share for the listeners just some context of what was the size of Scorpion, maybe the revenue back in [00:03:00] 2014?
[00:03:00] Jamie Adams: Yeah, sure. So I joined the company in March of 14. I think there was about a hundred people. the reason I think I had a, everybody had a number cuz there was a place that you could get lunch funded by the company, in the office park where Scorpion was at the time in Valencia, California.
[00:03:15] And my number was like 1 22. But there had been some turnover over the years. So like, you know, it, it didn't reset to like the actual active employee our, our, our original employee number. So somewhere in the a hundred, 125 range And I think the company was doing right around 20 million in revenue at the time.
[00:03:33] And yeah, so that was the starting point. You know, it had been around for, at that. going on, uh, 12 ish years. I think Ru started, Rustin started it in 2001, so, you know, it'd been around for a minute. you know, kind of steady slow growth from that. Oh, one founding stage to the 13, end of 13, beginning of 14 stage, you know, when I, when I joined the company.
[00:03:55] Corey Quinn: and just to create some contact contrast. there was [00:04:00] 20 million roughly in 2014, about a hundred plus people. what is the revenue in 22? End of 22? Whatever you're comfortable sharing the size of the
[00:04:09] Jamie Adams: Yeah, yeah. I mean, it's, it's, you know, it's at the 200 ish million mark. You know, I don't, probably wouldn't get into the specific number, but Yeah. Yeah. Let's call it, you know, right at 200 million,
[00:04:18] Corey Quinn: and and total employees.
[00:04:20] Jamie Adams: until employees are just shy of a thousand. So I think we're right in the 900 range. Um, yeah, so a lot growth.
[00:04:27] Corey Quinn: so you started out at, at the business when there was a hundred people and now there's a hundred people in the sales org today?
[00:04:33] Jamie Adams: Cor. Yeah, that's
[00:04:34] Corey Quinn: Yeah, yeah,
[00:04:34] Jamie Adams: there was, there was nine at the, there was nine at the
[00:04:37] Corey Quinn: Nine at the
[00:04:37] Jamie Adams: Nine nine at the time. Yeah. And, and, and thankfully, you know, most of the nine are still here. Um, which I think is, is a pretty cool
[00:04:44] Corey Quinn: That's beautiful. I
[00:04:45] Jamie Adams: yeah. Yeah. I think, uh, five of the nine or six of the nine are still here.
[00:04:49] Yeah. Six of the nine are still here.
[00:04:51] Corey Quinn: can you share with me what the company was like back in 2014, maybe the makeup of the sales team? what is the sort of the state of the business as you inherited the [00:05:00] ownership of the sales org? Like what was that?
[00:05:03] Jamie Adams: Yeah. So like I mentioned, there were, there were nine, nine guys. those nine, sold, um, you know, basically digital marketing services, websites, search engine optimization, advertising management, things of that nature. They sold that just to attorneys at the time. So the focused TAM was law firms, primarily B2C law firms, your personal injury attorneys, your criminal defense attorneys, family law, et cetera.
[00:05:28] and then there was , there was one other salesperson that was kind of a part-time sales guy, and he had a relationship with RU and he sold some into healthcare. So we had this legal customer base of, you know, call it a thousand or so attorneys, may actually, probably a few more than that, probably close to 1500 or so.
[00:05:48] and we had this one, one other guy that was just selling hospitals. so that was the kind of the makeup in terms of the business. it was, Ru Rustin Cretz, the, the founder, c e o. really [00:06:00] good friend of both of ours. Um, you know, he, he started the business and it was kind of a, it kind of just grew organically through his friend and family network, right? So a lot of the people that were there had been there for a really long time. They, a lot of them kind of grew up together. they went to grade school together, they went to high school together and uh, you know, so it was a very kind of friendly family environment. Um, you know, and you know, there's been, I think there's a lot of companies like that. but for a company to kind of sustain that feeling for 11 or 12 years at that point, I thought was kind of unique and impressive. And there were some things too that, you know, from, you know, just I guess business process perspective that kind of fell by the wayside, right at the expense of like, of that kind of family oriented culture.
[00:06:43] Jamie Adams: But, but, but I much preferred that it was, it was a really unique, just an inspiring place for a guy like me. I prefer to work personally with people that I genuinely enjoy being around and that I wanna spend time with outside of work because it's kind of motivating [00:07:00] to do your best work, at least for me.
[00:07:01] So I really, I really enjoyed the, the makeup of the business back then. And, and, and candidly, I still, you know, it's one of the reasons that I'm still here. So,
[00:07:09] Corey Quinn: So what would be an example of a business process that maybe wasn't as dialed in as a result of that type of culture at that time?
[00:07:16] Jamie Adams: Oh man. I mean the, you know, from a, from just a sales perspective, right? Like zero discipline around sales process. So, not really a standard, sales methodology or sales process. Very sporadic. If, if any, reliable use on tools like crm, um, as it relates to documenting your sales process.
[00:07:38] so just little, little things like that. I think what was really unique is that despite some of those gaps in process, and I think those gaps I just talked about, the sales, those gaps, probably, probably, they also kind of filter through the rest of the business, right?
[00:07:52] Jamie Adams: Through your, your onboarding of new customers and your account management function. But there was such a focus on [00:08:00] providing like a really great customer experience and like making the customer feel like they weren't just a number in a cog like that. They were actually, like, they had a relationship with their account manager.
[00:08:09] They had a relationship ongoing with their salesperson, sold them. So, so that like intense focus on, you know, providing that level of experience to the customer, I think it helped kind of propel us through the gaps and some of the inefficiencies that we had from a process perspective early on.
[00:08:25] so it's probably fair to say that if you had a dialed in sales process, but no real relationship with your customers, you probably would, probably the business would not have
[00:08:33] Jamie Adams: I would, I would a hundred. Yeah. Especially at that stage. I mean, look, I think, I think it's important period. So I don't want people to think that as you grow, you should just forget about your customer and just focus on process. But certainly at that stage when you're really trying to accelerate growth and you're trying to create some momentum.
[00:08:48] Yeah, I think an intense care and focus on who your customer is and just a, a genuine, vested interest in their success. It, by far, in a way supersedes to me like [00:09:00] having your process dialed in.
[00:09:01] Corey Quinn: Yep. Let's, let's dig into the sales team a little bit deeper. Back about back then. What was the mix of, you mentioned there was about 1500 attorneys as clients back
[00:09:10] Jamie Adams: Yeah. Somewhere in the thousand to 1500 range. Yeah. I can't remember exactly, but it was in that range.
[00:09:15] Corey Quinn: what was the mix of inbound versus outbound? Like, where did that business come from?
[00:09:19] Jamie Adams: Yeah, great question. So,the, the, the time it was primarily inbound and primarily referrals, right? So small sales team, very focused tam, right? One industry, one vertical. did a great, great job at, at, like I said, customer relationships and retention and they did good work, right? So, you know, one of the things that makes Scorpions somewhat unique is, we've got a very intense focus on website design and people sometimes think, you know, websites, it's just a website, but look for the local business, right? The website is like, it's like their digital storefront and candidly it's the only property that they own online that's theirs.
[00:09:57] That is, they can make that as true of a [00:10:00] representation of themselves as they want. They can't do that with their Facebook business page or their Google profile page, right? Those are all kind of templated. They've gotta live within the confines of those templates, their website. Like man, they, they want to get that data in.
[00:10:11] So we built really great websites and, you know, I think one of the things that we did was, and in in Ru did that was pretty genius, was, we put the Scorpion logo at the bottom of the website and that led into people, other attorneys would find a, a website of scorpions. They'd go to the bottom, they'd see the big Scorpion logo, they'd click it, they'd, submit an inquiry and wanna have a conversation.
[00:10:32] So early, early on it was, it was almost a hundred percent inbound and some referrals.
[00:10:38] Corey Quinn: Do you have a sense, uh, or a feel for the percentage of that those that incoming business or inquiries was actual, uh, referrals versus just a form fill?
[00:10:48] I think the majority of them were form fills. I would probably put that number at, at 90%. and within that 90%, some would probably what I'd call indirect referral, right? Because it wasn't really inbound [00:11:00] marketing, it was just, I'm an attorney in Shreveport, Louisiana.
[00:11:03] Jamie Adams: I'm gonna go look at other attorney websites in Shreveport. Oh, there's one that looks really great. Oh, there's the Scorpion logo. So that really wasn't like a, a marketing, a, a like an inbound marketing strategy that was really more of an indirect referral, right. Of the work that we did that someone just tripped across.
[00:11:19] So I would, I would include that in that 90%, and then there was 10% or so that were active like our customers are in the marketplace telling their
[00:11:27] Corey Quinn: saying you have to work with Scorpion.
[00:11:29] Jamie Adams: right. That's right.
[00:11:30] Corey Quinn: And so you, you inherited this team of nine, a very inbound focused, sales organization. A lot of behaviors wrapped around that, I'm assuming. I remember hearing stories about the one call closes and the, you know, the gongs and all those
[00:11:44] Jamie Adams: yeah.
[00:11:45] so you, you stepped into the a, a role as the head of sales and as, so what were the goals you were given? Like what were the growth expectations that came along with you stepping into this role back in 2014?
[00:11:57] I, I think that was, it was pretty loosey-goosey at
[00:11:59] Jamie Adams: the [00:12:00] time. Um, you know, it, my, my background previous to that, I've been at another digital marketing company. I was a really, really early on salesperson at that company, like in the startup phase of that business. And we grew quite rapidly.
[00:12:14] We ended up going public on NASDAQ in 2010. I started there at the beginning of 2007, I think. Um, so, so I, I kind of experienced this, this, you know, catapult of, you know, startup to super, super high growth to going public and having a pretty interesting exit. and the rally point for Ru and I in our conversations before me joining the business was, Um, SCO making Scorpion in a, taking scorpion from kind of like a, a really small boutique company, to scaling that great customer experience that they kind of found lightning in a bottle with, like really taking care of their customers and scaling that in the same way that, that, that my previous company had scaled.
[00:12:58] But we didn't really have [00:13:00] specific targets. But what I, what I did know, what I did know is that he, he was, and still is a, a very competitive guy and he likes moving fast. He likes growth. He like all the things that, that I candidly really enjoy as well. And I knew that, that we weren't, I knew day one in the business, walking around the sales floor, that we were gonna have to make some dramatic shifts in how we operated as a sales organization to reach the, the growth that I knew inherently he wanted to reach.
[00:13:32] And you know, the first of that was like, okay, we've got to shift the mindset. On not just waiting for the phone to ring or for a form to be filled out on our website. We have to create a targeted list of accounts that we want to talk to that fit our tam, and we have to create a culture of getting our sales teams comfortable with calling them, emailing them, things of that nature.
[00:13:53] And candidly, that was the environment that I came from. my previous CEO one time, we talked about inbound leads as a sales org. Hey, [00:14:00] can we ever, can we get some inbound leads and spend some money on marketing? He goes, I always spend a ton of money in marketing. And I was like, oh, really? We do. And he is like, yeah, yeah.
[00:14:08] It's, it's all you salespeople, right? So, which I, by the way, I don't think is the right strategy either, but I, I did come from a place where, you know, as a salesperson you had to go outbound if you wanted to make sales and you wanted to produce. So I knew really early on if we wanted to, to the extent that Ru wanted to grow, and candidly that I also wanted to grow, that we were gonna have to make some changes and get our sales team comfortable with that motion.
[00:14:32] So that was really the first thing that I tried to do, was just kind of push the sales team into a place where they saw that value and what it meant to the company or what it could mean to the company and what it could mean to them also as salespeople who were commissioned sales guys, right?
[00:14:47] So the more that they sold, the more money they got to bring home and use for them and their families. So that was like a big, a big order of business early on.
[00:14:55] Corey Quinn: So real quick before we proceed, I, wanted to, you mentioned the word, [00:15:00] TAM a couple times. Can you share what that means?
[00:15:02] Jamie Adams: Yeah. Total addressable market. It's basically, you know, who, who is your potential customer base that's a good fit for your solution, be it a, a SaaS product, a set of services. but it's getting super focused on who that market is.
[00:15:16] Corey Quinn: Got it. So for
[00:15:17] Jamie Adams: deploy a Yeah, exactly. So for attorney at the time, for us it was B2C attorneys, and really a handful of what we call sub sub-verticals or subcategories.
[00:15:28] So in, in our business we, we take a vertical as like, okay, there's the vertical i e legal, and then there's the sub-vertical. Okay, what subcate within that vertical? So it would be personal injury, criminal defense, family law, immigration law, bankruptcy law, probate and estate law, right? So these are all attorneys that service kind of your consumers.
[00:15:50] They're not working with big corporations doing B2B law, contract law, things of that nature. and for us, I think the litmus test at the time was trying to figure that out [00:16:00] was, what is the customer path of our customers, right? And, and typically that path was.
[00:16:07] oh, I was injured in a car accident or, I'm in a, in a family situation and, I may be exploring divorce or I got a dui. Like what if, as, as a consumer, what actions do I take, in order to find an, an attorney and, and all roads pointed back at the time and, and honestly still do back to search, right?
[00:16:25] Jamie Adams: Going to Google and saying, I need a family law attorney, or I'm, I'm interested in a divorce, or, I need help with the dui. And, and so that's how we kind of identified the group of businesses that we wanted to, to go after, and that, that was our initial tam.
[00:16:41] Corey Quinn: And was that clearly defined by the time you arrived or was that one of the things you helped to define specifically within legal or, or attorneys?
[00:16:47] Great question. I think it was, I think it was inherently defined at that point. I don't think that it was, I don't think it was written down in a, in a document, right? With the specifics of all the way down to our [00:17:00] TAM is a personal injury attorney of X number of employees or attorneys, and y number of paralegals doing, Z revenue a year.
[00:17:07] Jamie Adams: It wasn't that detailed. Um,
[00:17:10] Corey Quinn: yeah, But you, but being in business for 12 years, at that point, it was very clear what the subset of the, or the attorney market was a great fit for Scorpion, just based on retention and results and all that. Yeah.
[00:17:20] Jamie Adams: Exactly.
[00:17:21] Corey Quinn: Can, let's jump back over into this sales culture that you inherited.
[00:17:25] I think a lot of businesses and potentially some listeners here are business owners who have a sales team, maybe it's been around for a while, that have really been brought up on, inbounds and they have a desire and ambition to grow the business. similar to what Scorpion did. And they need to find a way to.
[00:17:44] Sort of expand the lens of the, of the scope of sales from just inbounds to, to doing, to bringing in sort of more of an outbound philosophy or approach. What would you say to them as some of the key things that, you did to help bring this outbound focus, culture [00:18:00] to the sales floor? And by the way, I'll just say, my, my experience as the CMO there, one of the, uh, one of the results of bringing in more of an outbound focus to the sales team, which you were very successful in doing it immediately doubled the business as far as size because we were no longer just relying on inbounds, but we were actually going and, having these proactive conversations that led to a tremendous amount of growth.
[00:18:22] So how would you approach that or how do you recommend folks approach that, who are in that situation?
[00:18:27] Jamie Adams: I don't know if there's like a, a sure fire, like silver bullet to that. I mean, I, I can tell you about the scenario that I walked into and how I thought about it at the time and how I kind of still think about it within the Scorpion business.
[00:18:38] But at the time, you know, I was fortunate enough to walk into a business with, with, like I said, mentioned nine salespeople. And, and from my perspective, it was pretty quick. I was pretty quick to notice that despite the fact that they didn't really have a, an outbound like hunting mentality, what they did have is they had a, a, an intense commitment to the business.
[00:18:58] they really loved working at [00:19:00] Scorpion. They loved what we did for our customers. they loved the fact that we were truly helping, you know, small businesses. So I knew they were invested. Right into the success of the business. Right. And I think that's important because I think, you know, Ru did a really fantastic job of making that so much a part of the culture, like the whole start with the why.
[00:19:20] Jamie Adams: You know, we've all read the Simon Sinek book now or watched the video, but, you know, Ru did a fantastic job of that. So I had that to my advantage, right? That they were, they understood the why and they saw themselves as part of that. And I, and I don't think I had very much to do with that. I think that was just part of what I walked into, right.
[00:19:37] So I think at that point it was really just activating the muscle right. Of, of getting outbound right. And, and, and look, the reality is like most people, I've met very few people who are successful in outbound sales that when you ask them, Hey, are you pumped up about making a cold call today?
[00:19:54] They immediately answer, Yes, bring it on. Like, I can't wait to get told [00:20:00] no or hung up on like 15 times today. Um, or go to voicemail, you know, 70 times today. You know, I think the, the first hum is like, is just getting people to build the muscle of doing it, going through the process. And I, and for me, like the way to do that at the time was doing it myself, right?
[00:20:18] So, um, you know, getting in and actually demonstrating that, hey, the things that I'm asking you to do, I'm actually gonna do them with you, right? So, so I think that was like leading by example. . And again, depending on the size, scale of your business, I mean, if your audience is, seven figure business is trying to get eight figures, they probably have enough time on their hands if they're really interested in doubling their business to actually go demonstrate by example or bring in a sales leader that is not afraid to get their hands dirty and and then from there it's again, going in stages.
[00:20:49] It's like, okay, lead by example. tie it back to the vision and the why. Hey, by doing this, we're gonna reach more customers, right? Which means we're gonna help more businesses, which means you're gonna make more money and the [00:21:00] company's gonna be able to hire more people. And at the time that meant really more hire more of your friends to come work at Scorpion, right?
[00:21:05] So that get getting that, yeah, getting that involved, getting, helping them get the muscle of just doing the work, doing the activity. Right. And then when you start seeing some of the wins, right? You've got the gong at the time, right? We don't have the, we don't have the, the gong anymore. It's probably a little too disruptive these days and we're, you know, somewhat remote a little bit more than we used to since Covid.
[00:21:25] But, but, but you know, you celebrate the wins, right? So you make your first sale from a cold call or even you book your first appointment, right? You're excited about it. People around you. Right. So we celebrated all of those kind of micro moments along the way. And then after a while, like anything else, I mean like going to the gym or eating healthy, I mean, you build that muscle and you get used to that habit.
[00:21:47] It becomes a lot easier to walk into the office every day. It's just part of what you do. You pick up the phone, you've got your call list, and you, and you go to town on it and you know, you, you, you certainly have to coach through the days where maybe you have [00:22:00] a run where you can't get in touch with anybody, or you're getting told no a lot, a little bit more than often.
[00:22:03] But you know, again, I, if, if I had to go back and, and just kind of, again, micro break down each of those things, it's a make sure that you forecast the why. Why is it important that they do this? What does it mean for the company? What does it mean for them? What does it mean for the customer? Right? Help them build the motion and the.
[00:22:19] Which again, for us at the time was just blocking time. We're gonna make prospecting calls, send emails, right, and then celebrate the wins along the way and just be encouraging to, to, uh, to, from, from that angle and, and then helping people when they may be having, some of those off days. So that's, that's how, and that's how I think about it today, still.
[00:22:38] I mean, you don't have to overcomplicate it, right? Like, for us at this point, like cold calling, even as a, as a company of our size, where we've got, you know, I think, a lot, a lot of businesses know who you are in the marketplace, and we've got a good reputation, even today, like that's still part of our sales culture, right?
[00:22:53] You come in as a salesperson here, as an ae. Now you're, you're a full cycle seller, right? you're not sitting around waiting for an [00:23:00] SDR to set your appointment or for an inbound lead, right? Part of your job description is you're expected to come in and, and, and hunt. So,
[00:23:07] Corey Quinn: Hmm. That is awesome and super valuable. Thank you, Jam
[00:23:10] Jamie Adams: See, you couldn't get away from it. You called, you called me, called me jam. I can live with that as long as you don't add the extra jam.
[00:23:16] Corey Quinn: All right. You got it, buddy. I'll try. I think it's an old habit, but we'll see. Let's, uh, switch gears a little bit here to, to this vertical approach to that scorpion took to go to market when, You know, scorpion took that, a vertical market started with attorneys. We'll talk about how that expanded in a second.
[00:23:30] But many, many of Scorpion's larger competitors took more of a broad market approach to servicing SMBs of which attorneys is one subcategory. Scorpion went from one vertical to four. How did, how did Scorpion approach verticalizing the business?
[00:23:49] Jamie Adams: Yeah, I think this is like really fortuitous of my path, of which, you know, I would credit, , to a, a higher power. When I was at, when I was at my previous company in the Scorpion, [00:24:00] my first sales job in that company was calling on automotive dealer.
[00:24:04] So I, I literally had a list of every Nissan, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus dealer in the country, and I was cold calling them, trying to sell them digital, digital advertising. And I noticed, I noticed a trend. I noticed that number one, I was calling into a network of businesses that typically had a relationship with one another, right?
[00:24:27] So I could call the Toyota general manager in Shreveport, but he would know the guy in Dallas, or the guy in Atlanta, or the guy in Texarkana, right? So I had that network effect that helped me as a salesperson because it helped open other doors for me. I was talking to the same business every or the same types of businesses every day, which meant I became more intimately, uh, knowledgeable about their business and the problems that they were having and how we could solve them, right?
[00:24:53] And, and then downstream, right? What I would, what I recognize is that I would sell a digital advertising campaign to a Mercedes [00:25:00] dealer in Atlanta, Georgia. and we would just crush it for them in terms of the performance of their campaign. And you know, the more of those types of dealers I would sell, I knew that our team, our delivery team and everything that we're doing to actually execute the campaign that was gonna get dialed in.
[00:25:18] And you know, what that meant for me at the time was that my customers weren't gonna churn, right? They were gonna stay with me, which again, at the time meant more commission for me. And it also meant that they're gonna refer me more business because they're really happy with their results. So I inherently just, you know, I understood without it being very intentional, the value of like working within a single vertical, right?
[00:25:38] So I just, I knew that from when I was at sales. And the other thing that I saw at that company was that there were other salespeople that took a much more horizontal approach to how they grew their book of business and how they grew their customer base. They would sell anything to anybody. and what you would see is you would see like this up into the right line of revenue.
[00:25:59] Right. But then [00:26:00] you would see three to six months later, it just crater, right? Because their churn was so bad because they would sell, you know, they would sell the pet groomer, they would sell the balloon animal guy, they would sell the cash for gold business down the street, right? And you know, they would talk about, oh, you need to be digital advertising on Google and things of that nature.
[00:26:20] but we just didn't have a muscle for actually executing those campaigns very well downstream. So I took that, I just took that with me. I don't know why I never had, I don't remember having a conversation around verticalization back in those days, but when I, when I went to Scorpion, I, it triggered again, like, I was like, oh man, you know, this is a company similar to what I was doing in automotive, doing the same thing in legal, but we had a problem, right?
[00:26:44] We wanted to grow a lot faster and, and I, and I knew that like you just can't stay focused in one vertical category and grow at the rate that we wanted to grow. So the way that we thought about how, the way that we thought about expanding verticals would be [00:27:00] just simple questions like, what other vertical businesses have some of the same challenges, right?
[00:27:06] That the, that the vertical that we work in a day have. Okay? So that led us to. ? Well, one, we looked at healthcare because we had a little bit of a muscle in healthcare. We had, we had some hospital clients that we built websites for. And again, same problem, right? Healthcare, you know, you're only hospital only is only attracting a, a patient if that patient has some sort of need, right?
[00:27:28] Just like the attorney is only attracting a case or a client because someone has some sort of need. So we, we mapped things like that. We said, okay, we've got some hospital clients. We've got a good reputation, we can get some referrals. And we worked with some big hospitals. We worked with St. Joseph's at the time in Southern California.
[00:27:44] I mean, these are big hospital systems, so that was kind of a no-brainer. Scorpion had a handful of home services clients, mainly like the dads, the dads of some of Scorpion's employees own like a roofing business, right? So we'd build their website. [00:28:00] And so, you know, again, but same thing, like I don't need a roof until my roof is leaking, right?
[00:28:05] I don't need an HVAC system until it stops working in the summertime and it's 95 degrees inside my house. I don't need a plumber until, you know, a pipe burst. So again, we looked at the, the customer paths of those businesses and we just tried to map them like, okay, are those similar enough to attorneys where we do really, really great?
[00:28:24] And so our, our kind of our, our mode of expansion just became, okay, let's pick some of these verticals and then let's just get really focused and just see, okay, can we deploy a sales effort? And then later it became, can we deploy a sales and marketing effort into that, into that vertical category? And can we get some momentum?
[00:28:46] And then as we get momentum, we start layering on, well, let's, let's deploy another salesperson. Let's deploy another salesperson. And one of the things that I think that I'm, I'm quite proud of that I did drive really, really early on is, is as we expanded verticals, you know, we committed [00:29:00] to going all in on that vertical from a sales resource perspective.
[00:29:03] So I didn't have salespeople that would spend a quarter of their day calling personal injury attorneys, a 10th of their day calling roofers, you know, um, a another quarter of their day calling plumbers. Like, you were either calling on home service businesses or you were calling on attorneys, or you were calling on hospitals.
[00:29:21] And then of course, later on we got into the franchise business, which is another story that we could get into if you'd like, but in the SMB or kind of the single local business categories, right? the attorneys. So legal home services and, and healthcare. But kind of became our, our, our core focus.
[00:29:39] And we took, you know, the first stop with home services. Guy named Travis Carter t Rev, still on our team today. Awesome guy. T Rev. I want you to start calling Roofers. Plumbers in hvac. Well, I, I got, I'm building this book of, of, of business around family law attorneys and probate and estate [00:30:00] attorneys. I know, ma'am, that this is gonna be a big market and you are equipped to do it.
[00:30:04] He had actually owned a home service business at one point in time in a previous life. So he took T Rev and all of a sudden T Rev went from being like the seventh or eighth, best out of nine seller on the team to the fourth. Third, fourth. Right? Why?
[00:30:22] Because, yeah, just because he got focused on that niche, right?
[00:30:25] And he started learning it. And as the other guys and gals on the team were calling on, um, attorneys, you know, he's blocking time, calling on hvac, plumbers and uh, and, and roofers and started catching some momentum and he became the guy, right? I mean, honestly, even to this day, I mean, you know, nine years later, I would arguably say that when you think about Home services, the sales org at Scorpion, you, you kind of think about Trev you think about Travis Carter because he was the guy that raised his hand and said, you know what?
[00:30:53] Reluctantly a little bit at the time, but you know what, Hey, what? I'll, I'll go, I'll go give it a shot. And then, you know, as, as he got success, [00:31:00] we, we layered on another sales guy and then another sales guy, right? So it's a, United States is a big country. You can't just have one person calling and expect to get, you know, market share.
[00:31:08] But, but uh, yeah, that's, that's, I know that was a long way to answer, but that's kind of the story of, of how we ended up getting there.
[00:31:15] Corey Quinn: So if you were gonna do it again, that would be a, an approach you'd recommend. So just to feed this back to you, so an adjacent vertical that was promising, maybe there was some evidence in the client book of business that, hey, we can actually service this vertical and we have some good clients and let's, there's a big tam, big market to go after.
[00:31:31] Let's deploy. Let's start by deploying a dedicated salesperson who's focused exclusively on this vertical and let that person go and be successful and, and use that as a basis for further expansion. Is that
[00:31:45] Jamie Adams: Yeah, I think that's fair. I think the other thing that I would do, if I could do it a little bit differently, and, and again, this was, this was pre you joining the business, you know, We didn't, we didn't really have any focused marketing support against that effort. [00:32:00] Right. So I, I probably, if I had it to do all over again, I would've kind of coupled that dedicated, I wouldn't have changed anything about the sales focus, but I probably would've coupled it with a little bit more, um, marketing support.
[00:32:13] Even building out some, you know, dedicated landing pages on your website that spoke a little bit about your ability to help businesses in that maybe deploy some level of light lightweight digital advertising spend targeted to businesses in that category. Just because I think that you could, I think that we could have, we could have recognized how big the opportunity was a little bit faster, rather than just having a seller cold call on the list.
[00:32:37] Corey Quinn: Yeah, absolutely. Another idea might be because there was existing Scorpion clients who were in home services, maybe harvesting a couple case studies, testimonial videos to kind of soften the ground for the salesperson who's going out and, you know, giving them some nice ammunition to go out with.
[00:32:51] Jamie Adams: That's right. That's right.
[00:32:53] Corey Quinn: So from a global perspective, what are some positives about verticalizing a [00:33:00] business?
[00:33:00] If, if, and maybe you speak to a listener who is maybe not verticalized their business, but is considering that as a strategy. Like what are some positives to doing that?
[00:33:12] Jamie Adams: Yeah. I mean, at one I think it, it helps you get really, really clear on your tam, And it helps you get really, really clear on, on product market fit, right? So, , how well does your product, and again, I use the word product when don't have to say product, I really mean, whatever it is, whatever your deliverable is that the customer's paying for.
[00:33:29] It could be technology, could be a SaaS platform, could be a, a set of services, it could be a combination of any of those things, right? But the, you know, what you can get really dialed in on. Does my product solve this very specific customer segment problem? And if it does, great, you should be really successful selling it and retaining it.
[00:33:51] And if it doesn't, right? Okay, well, what tweaks can I make to, just, to, to, to get value into that specific segment? [00:34:00] Um, so I, I just think from like a tam and product market fit, right, it just helps you get clearer and the, the clearer that you can become right, your, the better chance you're gonna be able to execute, right?
[00:34:09] So that's, that's step number one. I think step number two is that like, think beyond like your product market fit. You know, when you, when you can address. The specific problems of a customer, then you can point all of your marketing collateral talking specifically to that audience. And when you're able to talk that specifically to an audience, right, that's gonna resonate.
[00:34:30] The marketing content's gonna resonate more, right? They end up at your website. And again, let's just say that you're, you're targeting, um, you know, coffee shop. Right. Everything about your website is talking about, you know, how you're helping, you know, coffee shop owners, or you're helping baristas and you're, everything about your content is like addressing the problems of that specific segment.
[00:34:52] Not, you know, you got the coffee shop guy and then you got your clothing retail person like, There's just complexity that, that, that comes with expanding [00:35:00] beyond, you know, a very certain vertical. So I think again, you know, you can get really tight on product market fit in Tam, you can get really tight on your, on your marketing content, and then I think you can get really tight on how you service those customers, right?
[00:35:13] Because again, you start, your employees start to know their business problems. You get to know elements of their business. You can give them advice beyond maybe even the things that you're selling them, um, that would be beneficial, right? That's gonna strengthen the relationship that's gonna make them wanna spend more money with you and continue to do business with you.
[00:35:30] so basically how you scale kind of your customer service just improves too, because you're only focused on, you know, one set of businesses. And then I think that when you do. when you get that locked in to ideally one vertical, and again, you've gotta make sure that that vertical is large enough to satisfy whatever kind of growth goals that you've got as a business.
[00:35:54] Jamie Adams: Or you've gotta be willing to say, well, it's not, but it'll get me to kind of stage one or milestone one, at which point I can [00:36:00] expand. But at some point you're probably going to, you're probably gonna expand beyond one vertical. But if you take that really tight vertical approach and you pay attention to the things that I just talked about, right, who get really clear on the tam, really clear in making sure that you got great product, product market fit, really clear that your marketing collateral and your sales collateral and your process is kind of match how they, how they can solve the problems and needs of those businesses.
[00:36:25] And then really clear on how can you service them in a way that's gonna keep them continue to do business with you. You, you do a really good job across all those spectrums. You document it, you can just take that system, you can take that blueprint, and then you can just go dump it into the next vertical that you want to expand into.
[00:36:39] Corey Quinn: what are some of the business benefits, that you get as a result of running this formula? Like,
[00:36:45] Jamie Adams: At like a company like Scorpion.
[00:36:47] Corey Quinn: yeah.
[00:36:48] Jamie Adams: I mean, I think one you get, you know, your, your, your people get more confident, when they're talking to customers, and that's, again, that's from, from the, the beginning of the cycle all the way to the, the satisfaction stage of the [00:37:00] cycle when they bought.
[00:37:00] And you're just trying to, to increase confidence and get them continue to do business with you. So in, in our case, you know, when our sales team is, again, they're verticalized today. You know, from a, from a salesperson's perspective, right, when they're calling on their, their client list or their prospect list, , right?
[00:37:18] They, they're confident in that phone call because, you know, again, this is after they've been here for a few months or a year, but they've worked with, if they're an hvac selling an hvac, they've worked with other HVAC dealers, they know how to speak the language, right? A lot of them, some of them could actually probably walk into an HVAC company today and actually be pretty good general managers or operational managers and HVAC companies, they know it that intimately, right?
[00:37:40] So when you know it that intimately and you pair that with your product or solution knowledge that they've got about what we do, their, their conversations are gonna, More positive, they're gonna build trust faster. They're probably gonna sell more things, right? So that being vertically focused permeates the entire [00:38:00] organ the same way, right?
[00:38:01] When we sell something and we move it on to the next stage of building a website for a customer, right? That goes into a queue of people that build websites for HVAC companies. So they can talk to the business about, Hey, these are the types of call to actions that we see drive better website conversions, right?
[00:38:19] Offering 24 hour emergency service, um, offering same day service, right? Again, I'm just throwing these random things out there, but they can make those recommendations. And again, builds confidence with the customer, right? When we deliver the website and their marketing campaign starts and they move to an account management function, same thing, right?
[00:38:37] Account managers can talk to them about, Hey, these are the types of strategies we're gonna try to execute, and here's the way that they work for other customers like you in the past. So those are the bene business benefits. And of course, those things lead to higher close rates, right? More customer satisfaction, more retention, more revenue.
[00:38:54] So, you know, those are the things that, you know, from a financial perspective, that's how they show up, right? But I would [00:39:00] say that they're more meaningful just in the human connection.
[00:39:03] Corey Quinn: One thing I would add to that in my, in my experience is that when done really well over a long enough period of time is that you build up a great reputation in the industry, which, which results in word of mouth.
[00:39:15] Jamie Adams: Amen.
[00:39:16] Corey Quinn: And that's the sort of the holy grail, right?
[00:39:19] Jamie Adams: Absolutely. Absolutely.
[00:39:21] Corey Quinn: want, you want the, the leads coming in, super warm from a client who's been blown away by the value they've been getting, right?
[00:39:27] Jamie Adams: Yeah, that's that's absolutely right. It's funny you mentioned that we've got, I was looking at some data. we have our, we actually have our, our annual sales kickoff meeting is next week. So we bring all of our sales team in and have a look back at performance from last year, talk about all the great things we're gonna try to do this year.
[00:39:45] And we were looking at our top performers last year and, you know, we mapped them kind of in terms of performance and how many units and revenue that they delivered in terms of new sales. And then we mapped them back to like how many, how, what their, what their meeting kept [00:40:00] rate was. Right. So when they book an appointment, what's their kept, what's their kept rate?
[00:40:03] Um, Their activity calls, right. Emails in order to get an appointment. And what we saw was there, you know, what you would expect. What we saw is that, you know, most of the people that had high activity also were kind of at the top of the leaderboard. the key metric was kept right on meetings though.
[00:40:22] One for one, the kept rates kind of matched in pardy with the production from last year. And there was one guy on the team, um, and I'm not gonna mention his name cause I don't want him getting poached by other, uh, other companies, but there was one guy on the team that like, his activity was like abnormally low relative to the rest of the sales team.
[00:40:42] like he was at the bottom of the activity list, but he was in the top three in terms of production, and he was in the top two in terms of kept meeting rate. So I was talking to him and I was like, Hey, what are you, what are you doing? You know, like, how are you, are you just not logging activity in Salesforce?
[00:40:56] Like, what's going on? And what you mentioned a [00:41:00] moment ago, and I, it was a long story, but I, I want to, you know, I just want to, I want to just kind of add some color to the story you just mentioned, or the, the, the point you just made is that, his, what he's found success in is just building such a good relationship with his customers.
[00:41:15] That he's sold, that they are actively, they're, he's like turning them into almost like an m MLM machine, right? Like they're not making commission, I'm sure, unless he's paying them himself. But like, he's literally deployed his customer base in a sense that like they're referring, they're actively referring their, they're friends of light businesses to him, right?
[00:41:35] So he's not spending a ton of time on making cold calls and he's getting his meetings through referrals. Right? But it's because of the things, the activity that you just mentioned, right? When you really learn a segment really well, and you become an expert in that segment, you help enough businesses, they start, they, they become, you know, they become those referral mechanisms for you.
[00:41:54] And if you're intentional about asking for those things, then it, it, it kind of ends up paying for itself [00:42:00] tenfold. I mean, they, I, I mean, I, I don't know how he's getting as many referrals as he is, but it showed up in his production last year.
[00:42:06] Corey Quinn: Do you think that you could see the same or expect the same result if you were a salesperson selling into any smb?
[00:42:15] Jamie Adams: Yeah, I mean, I think, again, I think you can to a point. I, I think where that falls apart is after a while, you know, if, if you don't have great product market fit for, um, for some of those segments that you're selling into, at some point you're gonna hit a place where that business or a set of businesses doesn't found Val, find value in your product.
[00:42:35] And that's gonna lead to churn. That's gonna lead to them talking negatively about their experience with you and your company. And eventually that's gonna impact kind of that net that built-in network of referrals that you built in. So it's like, it's like I talked about earlier, you know, my previous company, you had salespeople that did just that, and you would see the hockey stick.
[00:42:57] Right. But within three to six months you [00:43:00] would see, you know, you'd see the trend line heading straight back down. Right. Just completely falling off. So I think that that's the danger of, of trying to get too broad, is if you don't have great product market fit, you're gonna have churn. You're gonna have U upset customers, and that's gonna impact your ability to leverage referrals.
[00:43:17] Corey Quinn: I remember when I first met you, I was interviewing for the C M O role at Scorpion, and one of the things I learned as part of that interview process was the client retention rate at Scorpion, which was 90%. And, and I'm sure it's in that,
[00:43:30] Jamie Adams: I think it was, I think it was all higher than that at the time. I think it was like 94 or five per It was, it was, yeah. Abnormally high year over year. Yeah.
[00:43:37] Corey Quinn: Which was a big eye-opener for me because my familiarity with SMB focused agencies was that the retention rates or the market is closer to 50%.
[00:43:46] Jamie Adams: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:43:47] Corey Quinn: And that, that, that, that signal to me, that Scorpion had, was doing something really, really interesting. When, when it comes to verticalizing the business, how did that lead to, or contribute to the scale of sort of the revenue, the massive [00:44:00] revenue growth?
[00:44:00] Like what, what did verticalization, what role did that play?
[00:44:04] Jamie Adams: I mean, I think it's probably one of the, the, the pillars that led us to, to getting to the size that we've gotten to and done it in such a way where we still have great client retention numbers. We still have great, you know, what you could refer to as like same store growth numbers, right? So our existing customers that invest, you know, a, a dollar amount in February of this year and February of next year, we expect them to grow by 10%, you know, whatever that number is.
[00:44:31] So I think that, I think it's one of the, the foundations that's enabled us to scale to the size that we've, we've scaled to. And, and look, I. . Some of that is just the nature of the, the businesses that we work with, right? We're, we're selling to local, small to medium size businesses in most cases.
[00:44:48] And, they're, most of them are, are in some way, shape or form, fairly budget constrained, right? They're not making tens of millions of dollars in revenue a year. They're making, you know, into the, you know, they're making seven [00:45:00] and, and some of the eight figures, but, you know, seven figures, sometimes even a high six figures.
[00:45:05] And, you know, they've gotta be a little bit judicious about where they invest, even in things like growth, like around marketing and, and, and, and, and things of that nature. you know, for us to, in order to, for us to serve that segment of customer, I don't think that we could have done it any other way and gotten to the size and scale of our success had we not been verticalized.
[00:45:27] I think the downside. To verticalization, cuz we can't just talk about the upsides, right? Like the
[00:45:34] Corey Quinn: one of my next questions.
[00:45:35] Jamie Adams: Okay. So 1, 1, 1 of the downsides, right? Is that when you do, when you do it, we, we've got, you know, we've got pretty good scale in our business now, right? When we're, we're, we're 15,000 ish customers, um, you know, like we're, we're in the, you know, the two-ish approaching 200 million in revenue.
[00:45:50] I think the downside is that, when you get really used to kind of verticalizing low, like slowly and you get to our business and you're trying to keep [00:46:00] your, your growth rate at a 20 plus percent year over year, that gets harder the bigger you get, right? So I think the downside is that it's at a certain point.
[00:46:10] Jamie Adams: you've gotta be willing to take a little bit of a risk and kind of move a little bit faster into new verticals, right? In order to kind of maintain that growth rate. Because look, we're still growing in the verticals that we're, that we want to grow in. But you do, you hit certain caps in certain markets, right?
[00:46:24] Where it just, you, we can't work with every HVAC dealer in Dallas, right? They don't wanna work with the same marketing company as their competition, right? So you start to run up in, in our case, you start to run up against things like that. So I think the downside is if you get used to just slowly verticalizing, um, your product set, you get to a point where you've gotta be able to, to move a little bit faster in order to maintain that same year over year growth rate.
[00:46:52] But that may not be important to some businesses, right? And some businesses may just be, Hey, if I grow five ish, eight, [00:47:00] 10% year over year and I'm really, really happy with that, then. , even as I grow to be bigger, I mean, I can, there's enough tam in this one vertical or two verticals to just keep doing it.
[00:47:11] And that's fine. But if you're, if you get like us and you wanna, you know, you want to keep that 25 to 50 and we've had 50% of your growth years and you want to keep that trend going, um, the bigger you get, I think the, the, the more risk you've gotta be able to, you've gotta be willing and comfortable to, to kind of take on and expand a little bit faster.
[00:47:29] Corey Quinn: So I think there's an argument in the, in this discussion around, you know, if Scorpion would grow by, you know, hiring a separate sales team for each vertical, it gets very expensive very
[00:47:41] Jamie Adams: Yep.
[00:47:42] Corey Quinn: It also logistically just is a lot of overheads, a lot of, you know, organization. Why not just have a pool of sellers kind of sell across?
[00:47:50] And you've, you've already talked to that, but is there any point when you, during this journey when you felt like verticalizing was just not really worth the effort? Just the [00:48:00] complexity and the, the challenges that come along with taking that approach? Is it, is it ever been like, let's just
[00:48:07] Jamie Adams: just go. Just go, everybody, go run it. Whatever we can
[00:48:10] Corey Quinn: Right. Was there for that moment?
[00:48:11] Jamie Adams: Yeah, I mean, there's definitely, I mean, like, I would be lying to say that there have been times where I've, I've questioned, uh, is this the right, are we doing the right thing relative to where we are in our, in our business cycle today? I, I still think that, you know, when I, when I take a step back, I still think that the verticalized approach for us in terms of focus is the right approach.
[00:48:29] We've tested things in the past, where we've, you know, tried to have a salesperson sell into multiple verticals. And candidly, we've got a couple of those tests running right now where we've got, um, a seller, uh, a couple of sellers that are selling home services, but they're also selling into the dental market and the chiropractic market and things of that nature.
[00:48:48] So I think that if we, if we expanded that right, we would do it through the lens of like, let's go test a handful and let's see what the productivity is like. You know, in terms of like the, the added expense, I think all those things are [00:49:00] in the investment. Those things are relative to, to different businesses, right?
[00:49:03] I mean, in our case, you know, today what we wouldn't do is we wouldn't say, okay, and again, this, this is not a vertical that we're attacking, but let's say that we wanted to go sell to local CPAs, right? Certified public accountants. Like we decided we want to go sell our solutions to those businesses. What I wouldn't do today is I wouldn't go hire 10 sellers tomorrow, right?
[00:49:26] To just start calling on CPAs. I would take probably one seller on my team that had moderate success, selling into something else, wasn't my best seller in home services. But at moderate success I would say, Hey, we wanna go attack this other market. You know, here's where we did this. You know, Travis, he did this before.
[00:49:48] Look how successful Travis has been here. There's an opportunity. Would you like to participate? You're gonna get a yes from one or two people, right? You deployed those couple of people, and again, you kinda lead with [00:50:00] marketing. In that case where we used to lead with sales, you lead more with marketing, right?
[00:50:04] So you figure out what are some targeted campaigns that I could run to d to drive some leads, um, into, into the business. And you know, you test that out and you see what your momentum is, and then from there you scale up, you know, based on the result that you're seeing. So I think that you can expand vertically like we have in a way that doesn't, add, you know, an enormous burden, cost burden on the business or investment on the business before you see the payback to realize if it is or isn't worth your while to actually go chase
[00:50:35] Corey Quinn: Yeah. So more of a test and learn and kinda
[00:50:37] Jamie Adams: y. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
[00:50:40] Corey Quinn: Home services. So home services was SEC Scorpions, really second SM B vertical that we went into and selling.
[00:50:48] Selling to plumbers and personal injury attorneys. Sounds like two very different buyers and
[00:50:53] Jamie Adams: Yeah.
[00:50:55] Corey Quinn: Why did expanding into home services really make sense for Scorpion?
[00:50:59] Jamie Adams: [00:51:00] Yeah. Well, first of all, they are very different businesses and very different buyers. Right. But again, I, I think about it through the lens of how are we helping them solve a marketing problem, right? And, and that, and that the answer to that question is really about how their customers, right. Respond to marketing from those businesses.
[00:51:20] And, you know, I often I, I, I refer to like our customer segment, like across verticals as like is the Oh shit. Verticals, right? You, I think you
[00:51:29] Corey Quinn: I've,
[00:51:29] you've shared this. I love it. Yeah,
[00:51:31] Jamie Adams: Yeah. So, you know, like, okay, so like, um, my pipe burst, right? Oh shit, I need a plumber. I got home from work and I live in Dallas, Texas in the summertime, and it's 110 degrees outside.
[00:51:42] I walk in and I realize my acs not on, and I go to my thermostat and it's Reeds 90 degrees. Oh, shit. I need an hvac, right? I, I had a bad car accident and, uh, oh shit. I need a personal injury attorney. Right? So th that [00:52:00] is, you know, again, we, what we, what we're trying to solve is, is that marketing problem for our customers set.
[00:52:05] So that, that is like the, that's kind of the litmus test of is this segment a good segment that we can address the marketing problems for our customers Now, The answer to that question is, from our perspective, is clearly yes. I think that's been proven by the fact that we've grown those segments pretty, pretty rapidly.
[00:52:26] But then the next question is, okay, well then how do you, uh, you know, talking to, a guy that's got his jurist doctorate, he's an attorney, or she's an attorney, highly educated versus kind of your blue collar, you know, worker. Right? your plumber that probably grew up in the trades probably doesn't have a higher education in most cases.
[00:52:47] Um, although that's actually starting to shift now, which is quite interesting. but yeah, those segments, those, those, those personalities, um, what's important to those people? Very, very, very different. Right? And again, I think that [00:53:00] that goes back to the value in verticalizing your marketing approach, verticalizing your sales approach.
[00:53:06] that's a, another reason that those things are valuable is because. You know, you can start to get into a groove in understanding how a plumber, or how an HVAC owner wants to have a conversation and wants to talk about the problems that we address versus the attorney that honestly has the same exact problem as the plumber in a lot of cases relative to marketing.
[00:53:27] Jamie Adams: But how you get their attention and how you want to talk to them about fixing it could be, in some cases dramatically different.
[00:53:35] Corey Quinn: Was getting into home services an instant success or were there some bumps in the road?
[00:53:41] Jamie Adams: That's a great question. To me, instant success would be like, we, you know, immediately got like a hundred customers like in a month period. That didn't happen. but I will say that, that we, we, what we did see was pretty quick momentum, [00:54:00]
[00:54:00] right? So, so pretty quickly, Travis Carter on the team that was kind of the dedicated home services guy, he started selling more home services clients at a faster rate than he was selling attorneys.
[00:54:12] Now again, I would, I would not equate that to just, oh, we call it a different business, therefore they closed faster. I mean, Travis was, he came from like a home services environment. he had a great, he did a great job of like empathy perspective of like really having a conversation with those people.
[00:54:26] But I would say that we saw momentum, but yeah, I mean there were certainly, there were certainly bumps in the road. There continued to be bumps in the road. But I would say that it was really pretty, it was evident within the first three months that this was the right play and that we needed to invest more, to expand more in that vertical category.
[00:54:44] Corey Quinn: Did Scorpion from, maybe from a product or deliverability perspective, did Scorpion have to make any changes in order to, to see kind of the same results, whether it be through retention or, or just customer satisfaction in-home services? Were there any changes that had to be.[00:55:00]
[00:55:00] Jamie Adams: I think what I think the big, the big difference is, again, were just on the people. , right? It's okay. How can we, how can we make sure that we are talking to the owner of the plumbing business in a way that they want to receive communication in a way that addresses problems that they believe that they've got?
[00:55:19] How can we make those tweaks relative to the personal injury attorney? I think those are the big changes that we had to, you know, we had to con, we had to consider and kind of map a plan for,
[00:55:29] Corey Quinn: could you talk about how you made those changes? Like what was the evolution from being sort of unaware about what, what a home service business owner has, you know, cares about how they wanna be communicated to, to being a real sort of master at that. What was that transition like?
[00:55:44] Jamie Adams: yeah, I mean, I, again, I think it, I think it happened pretty quickly. I mean, just as soon as. , um, deployed a dedicated sales effort. We didn't deploy immediately a dedicated delivery and account management function because that just, we didn't have the skill for that. I mean, you can't just take, you know, one [00:56:00] account manager and say, you're gonna manage this one customer that we sold, and then it's gonna be two.
[00:56:04] So, and we had to kind of tip to our way into the satisfaction stage of, after a customer buys, how do you make sure that they're happy and stay with you? Um, but, but I think, you know, I think one of the things that we did is like, again, we had a handful of customers in that segment.
[00:56:19] Again, typically friends and family, right? Who are willing to lend an ear and have conversations about how they think about the problems that we solve for them from a digital marketing perspective. You know, learning some of the business language that they use, right? service repair versus installation, things of that nature.
[00:56:39] . And so we had that to our advantage, right? We had some people that we could go talk to and that we could kind of use that and document that to kind of become the basis of, of what we're, what we were doing, um, from a client satisfaction perspective. But yeah, I mean, I think it was, I think it was just a, uh, an intentional learning experience, right?
[00:56:55] Jamie Adams: It was just paying attention to, and be willing to have a conversation [00:57:00] around. , you know, we, we talk about, uh, CQ and I talk a lot about, you know, this concept of discovery or uncovering, right? Which is asking very specific questions for meaning to understand things like the desired state your customer wants to get to, obstacles or challenges they're having cost of keeping things the same and not making changes.
[00:57:21] Current situation, I mean, you, you ask those questions and you get, you know, if you're, if you're really interested in the answers, you're gonna get some great feedback. And if you take that feedback and you really go dissect it, that actually helps you, your ability to talk to other businesses because cuz they're, a lot of them are probably experiencing some of the same challenges.
[00:57:39] Corey Quinn: Mm-hmm. Let's, uh, let's make a shift here into franchise. So franchise was Scorpion's first. It was a, it was a shift from the traditional SMB local service businesses into more of an enterprise sales play at least. Can you talk about what led to the decision for Scorpion to. uh, expand [00:58:00] into a different, very different looking seemingly different looking vertical, which is more enterprise there versus smb.
[00:58:07] Jamie Adams: Yeah, I mean, again, I think this is kind of a little bit fortuitous. I mean, one of the, one of the other segments that I ended up working in in my last company was in franchising and, and yeah, while franchise, um, you hear a franchise that means different things to different people, but you know, in essence it's, it's really a network of businesses that represent a single brand right across, you know, multiple markets, right?
[00:58:29] So obviously there's the large ones like your McDonald's and your Kentucky Fried Chickens and your Taco Bells. But then, you know, in, in, in categories like we service, like in home services, right? There's big franchise companies. Like at the time, a company called the Dwyer Group, who's now called Neighborly, they own big businesses like Mr.
[00:58:47] Rooter Plumbing, AirServe hvac. Right? So really all you're talking about at that point is a network of local, small businesses, right? That all represent the same brand. So, you know what, [00:59:00] what we, and again, I, I'm always, you know, big credit to Toru and his, in his, um, in his, um, his, his kind of strategy here as well was, look, you know, those, those businesses have a lot of the same problems.
[00:59:14] Certainly the local franchisees have the exact same problems in a lot of cases as the independent businesses. But then corporate, you know, the parent company has. a problem too because they, they've got a vested interest in helping drive revenue through marketing to all their franchisees. But man, they got a visibility problem.
[00:59:35] It's really hard for them to have a clear understanding of what their franchise in Dallas is doing versus the one in Shreveport, Louisiana versus the one in la. So, you know, what we did was just kind of take our product and we went and kind of expanded it to aggregate all of the results and all of the data of all the local franchisees back up to corporate.
[00:59:56] So they had better visibility. So we're, we're solving the [01:00:00] same problems for the local business, and we just kind of leveraged our product to go solve a bigger problem for the parent company. And you know, the benefit there, right? Is that you could go sell to the parent. longer sales cycle as your, to your point a little bit more of kind of an enterprise sales approach, cuz you're, you're dealing with, you know, multiple constituents and stakeholders that have a vested interest in the decision process.
[01:00:25] but when you, when you actually got the, the deal done, a couple things happen. It's, it's higher revenue cuz you're, you're addressing problems for, and you know, one franchise may have 250 locations, all of a sudden you've got 250 new customers from one contract. That's, that's a cool problem to have. Um, so more revenue.
[01:00:44] but then also what we saw is, that's a great way to kind of what we call land and expand, right? You land the parent company, you provide them with like a, a unified digital presence, kind of unified marketing data across the network. But then you can deploy an. [01:01:00] To the individual franchisees within that segment, and you can go sell them more solutions that they benefit from in their franchise.
[01:01:09] Jamie Adams: So it's a great way to kind of land, get great revenue, set a great foundation, and then grow that through the network of franchisees. And yeah, I mean, I think that that's one of the things that, again, kind of drew me to Scorpion is that I saw that as a problem at my previous company, couldn't get the previous company to invest the right resources to solve the problem.
[01:01:31] So when I eventually left and I ended up landing at Scorpion, you know, several months later, you know, Ru and I had talked about that and he had actually kind of participated in helping me try to solve it through my last company and a partnership that we had. But, uh, but yeah, we, we just kind of said, man, there's, there's, that's a real problem.
[01:01:51] We can solve it. And we ran fast at it. And then we went from literally not having a single franchise customer. And [01:02:00] call it, you know? And certainly in before 2014, I think at the end of 14 we got our very first franchise customer and it was a very small project. And then at the, in March or February of 2015, we landed our first fairly large franchise customer.
[01:02:22] And that was instant success cause we got that business. And then like that year was just, you know, Here's another one, here's another one that wants to work with you. Here's a franchise is a very small world. Like there's people talk and, um, so yeah, we, we grew that market rapidly and, and I think one of the things I'm most proud of here in, in my time has been, you know, we're, we're really kind of the, the bar set for the digital marketing companies that service the franchise industry.
[01:02:53] Certainly the service-based franchise verticals. We're not really going after the McDonald's or the, the QSR quick [01:03:00] service restaurants, but the service-based verticals, I mean, you know, I would say that we've got critical mass from a market share perspective.
[01:03:08] Corey Quinn: that. That's amazing. So much to unpack here. I wanna, I wanna sort of paraphrase one of the points you were making earlier on when, uh, we started talking about franchising and let me know if I got this. So we, we were experts at solving the, the local marketing problem for the local service business. And there was an adjacent problem that we could solve. We felt very confident we could solve for the franchisor, which is the brand. , we knew we could solve their problem. Maybe we hadn't had a lot of experience in doing that, but we knew we could from a product perspective. And, and that was the, Hey, I have a, a network of franchisee locations that all need great marketing and I need to be able to facilitate and, and provide that, or, or do it better than I currently am.
[01:03:52] And I need to be able to do that with a partner who understands sort of franchising, right? And so we could solve that. We could solve that adjacent problem, [01:04:00] uh, with a high level of confidence. And we knew that we could already solve the, the local marketing problem for the franchisees.
[01:04:06] Jamie Adams: Exactly.
[01:04:07] Corey Quinn: that
[01:04:07] Jamie Adams: Exactly.
[01:04:08] Corey Quinn: Okay.
[01:04:08] Jamie Adams: that's, that's great. E, exactly. Yep.
[01:04:10] Corey Quinn: what were the changes? So, so serving a franchisor, customer, not only during the sales process, it's a different buying process, but then also servicing them. What changes Scorpion had to make as an organization, maybe as a culture to be able to meet the needs of an enterprise customer versus a, an SMB.
[01:04:31] Jamie Adams: Yeah, that's another great question. I mean, cuz the servicing the service organization was, is very, very different, um, than the rest of our, our business. It was probably the most dramatic difference that we had to make. And, and again, I I would high praise to, to, to to, to ru on that one. I mean, cuz at that point when you're selling a franchise, you really have.
[01:04:51] To customers that are part of the same organization. Right? So you've got your, your, your executives that work for the franchisor, the parent [01:05:00] company, right. And your primary customer at that, in that point in time is, is typically some combination of the chief marketing officer, the, maybe they've got a director of digital marketing or VP of digital marketing in the brand.
[01:05:11] They've got brand managers, right, who are responsible for kind of the branding aspects and making sure that the franchisee network are leveraging the brand, the right. . And then of course at that point you're also, you know, you're, in some cases you're, you're directly interfacing with the CEO of those businesses cuz they're making a big investment in our solution at that point.
[01:05:30] Um, so that's, that's a customer that requires a, a certain level and they've got a certain fair expectation on service and, um, and delivering value and making sure that they're leveraging our services and our tools and the way that they bought them to leverage. Right. But then you've also got the franchisees, right?
[01:05:50] The individual. The, the individual local business owners that invested their hard-earned money to buy the brand in their local market and then grow their own [01:06:00] revenue through that brand. So we, we, what we did is we would, we would create, you know, a single team that supported, I'll just use, you know, a Mr.
[01:06:08] Rooter as an example, but we had a single per, a single team that supported Mr. Ruter. But we had a one segment of that team whose primarily responsibility was interfacing with the corporate folks. And then we had another subset who, who primarily acted almost like a kind of a, a hybrid account manager slash salesperson, right?
[01:06:27] That was servicing the franchisees, building relationships, and then helping them identify ways they can invest further in our solutions within their individual franchise in order to grow their customers, grow their revenue, things of that. and those, those teams, again, were part of the same group. They had some, some shared KPIs in terms of what does success look like for us?
[01:06:51] But that's, that's how we structurally attacked it. And that's evolved over a time and we've tested different things. But I would say large in part, that's kind of where we [01:07:00] kind of always land back to is some, something that looks like that.
[01:07:04] Corey Quinn: Is it fair to say that it was a new muscle for Scorpion to build, going from SMB focus to also now enterprise type clients?
[01:07:12] Jamie Adams: Oh yeah. It was definitely a new muscle to build. I mean, again, I think that the thing that served us great though was just the, that intense care about, um, the success of, of our customer. Like that, that was like, that carried us through. So anything that we lacked and experience, we more than made up for by, I mean, man, it was, it was fun back in, I mean, it's still fun, but like, you know, earlier in those days, I mean we had, we had these account managers that, cuz most of our account management team again, was in LA right?
[01:07:40] So West Coast, and now we're servicing franchisees all across North America, you know, so, so us and in some cases Canada. But I remember, like, we had this one guy, that was, I think it was in, in Atlanta. Steve Steve's his name, he was a customer's name is Steve. Uh, he was east coast and he, he [01:08:00] wrote in like to his account manager, this guy named Eric at like 7, 6 30 or 7:00 AM East Coast time.
[01:08:07] So, you know, 3:34 AM West Coast time wrote in and Eric's kind of an early riser and he would just kind of naturally be on his email and checking things out and like, You know, Eric solved his problem, like had an answer like in 10 minutes and Steve was like, what are you, it's four, it's four 15. Like what are you doing?
[01:08:26] so, but I mean like little things like that. It's kind of like the old Zappos model, right? Like the just surprise and delight your customers, right? I mean, it used to, Zappos used to be kind of the gold standard for that. We had, we had, and I think to continue to, to, to have, you know, that level of focus on our customers and yeah.
[01:08:44] Jamie Adams: So you're exercising a new muscle from a process perspective and new vertical ca category that you don't have a lot of experience in. You can make up for it if you have like an intense focus on your, on your client's success.
[01:08:54] Corey Quinn: I would say that that's one of Scorpion's core competencies is just that true, genuine [01:09:00] care of going above and beyond. And not every business shares that, but every business, I believe, has a core competency that makes them unique and, and and special to their customers. So, you know, knowing that who, that you know, what that core competency is in your business and leveraging that for your growth, which is, you know, Scorpion's a great example for that.
[01:09:18] I think that's super important.
[01:09:20] Jamie Adams: Yeah, I would agree with you and I, I appreciate you being an alum, alumnus. Still, still recognizing that, I mean, it does mean a lot.
[01:09:27] Corey Quinn: Yeah, it's, it's the difference that makes a difference, especially for Scorpion. taking a step back from home services and franchise, just overall scaling the business. Scorpion builds a lot of software to help run the in internal operations of the business. And what would you say, from your perspective, how does that help the company overall to scale?
[01:09:47] Jamie Adams: Yeah, that's a, that's a really great question. I mean, look, I think there are, that, that, that is one area where, where Ru and I have somewhat differences of opinion sometimes. In our case though, um, I think that, um, [01:10:00] again, because we have been so vertically, . what, what building our own software in-house has allowed us to do is like really map, our client service processes right directly into the systems and tools that we use to manage our customers.
[01:10:17] Um, and I think that there is, there is benefit. I mean, I do also think that like, you know, when you get to our size and company, like continue to build those systems to scale to a company of our size becomes different. There's different challenges that that present themselves. But I would, I would say that that, um, the, certainly the advantage of doing it and the reason that the core cause of should we build this ourselves?
[01:10:43] Should we build this ourselves or should we, you know, find an outsource SaaS tool that we could use to solve the problem? Right? is honestly just kind of a cost benefit analysis around. . Okay. What's the investment of each? Just from a hard dollars perspective and then in [01:11:00] terms of like efficiency or solving the problem that we're trying to solve in the best way that we can so that we can retain customers better, we can service them more scalably like you have to kind of do those things and then figure out where you land on that spectrum.
[01:11:14] And I think more times than not for us to this point, we land in the area of, hey, it would be better for us to just map this and build this, on our own internal system because we can facilitate a better or the ideal customer experience that we want to facilitate that we can't quite accommodate through the use of some third party tool.
[01:11:35] Corey Quinn: I, I a hundred percent agree with that, having experienced it internally. And would also say that for any business that's looking to scale, you know, one of the things, one of the, the areas that I've seen businesses get into trouble is in the variability that is, that can occur in delivering value for the customer.
[01:11:53] And so by being such a process driven company that Scorpion is, and being able to build software into those [01:12:00] processes, you build, you, you sort of, you remove the variability. So the prop propensity for human error, let's say, or
[01:12:07] creativity, right? You have a very specific path that we have been proven, we, we've proven over the years that the attorneys really benefit from.
[01:12:16] And so let's just codify that so that we. , grow the business, bring on a lot more attorneys in this example, and, and have confidence that there's not gonna be a variability in the quality of the re of the, of the experience or the product.
[01:12:29] Jamie Adams: Exactly, and, and look, I mean, I think the other, the other thing to kind of keep in mind, right, is if, if you, if there are ways that you can build software for your own business processes, And in doing that, you can potentially monetize that product, that tool to your customers, right? That's another reason that you may, may decide, you know?
[01:12:53] So, you know, there's a lot that we do from like, uh, how we're managing, um, how we're now kind [01:13:00] of leveraging. We bought a company a couple of years ago, uh, called Can I Rank, which was doing some really interesting things around leveraging machine learning models to improve search engine optimization work.
[01:13:13] So we've taken, you know, those things and kinda layered them into our SEO product, what we call scorpion ranking. So there's some things with that product that we've built initially for our account management team to use, but eventually, maybe there's a time in the marketplace where we could turn that into a self-service tool, right?
[01:13:32] So, and, and you could, you could argue some of the same kind of methodology around our advertising tools that we use for digital advertising. , we're building them today for our account management team to facilitate a more efficient process, deliver better value in terms of customer service. But at some point our customer base may be sophisticated enough to where we could just give them access to those tools and allow them to do some of that work themselves because they're interested in it or they just want to take it on.
[01:13:59] [01:14:00] So I mean that, that's the other reason that maybe build versus buy. You would, you would advocate for a build is, Hey, can we take this tool and then can we monetize it later on to our customer base?
[01:14:10] Corey Quinn: That's powerful. I think it reminds me of, think there's examples of businesses that went from a service focused business into a product led business. Like MailChimp I think is a good example where, They were originally, uh, creative agency, and then they were unsatisfied with the, the email tools that were out there.
[01:14:28] So they just built one for, for their customers, and then that eventually became the primary focus,
[01:14:33] Jamie Adams: I would say that was a good business move for.
[01:14:35] Corey Quinn: I would say. So
[01:14:37] Jamie Adams: They ended up, they ended up doing okay. Yeah, yeah, exactly.
[01:14:41] Corey Quinn: any advice, uh, that you may have? Like what, what would you say to someone who's listening to us and thinking about taking their business into more of a verticalized approach, whether it be one vertical or, or multiple vertical? Any, just any advice comes to mind, as they're thinking through that.
[01:14:57] Jamie Adams: Yeah, I mean, I would say that, you know, early on, you know, before [01:15:00] you go invest a bunch of money, dollars, resources and time I would just start simple and, and, you know, you're gonna have an idea of who you think your, your total addressable market is, your TAM is, and I think the first thing you should do is like, just go carve out time to have some conversations with businesses, you know, with business owners in that area, and talk to them about your idea and is, does this solve a problem?
[01:15:22] Or help them achieve a specific goal that they've got that they haven't been able to achieve otherwise, you know, and just go have some conversations. I mean, take 'em, grab 'em, grab 'em, grab a cup of coffee with them, grab a drink with 'em, take 'em to lunch. Um, and just have some, some casual conversations and, and, and really listen to their feedback.
[01:15:39] invalidate that relative to what your hypothesis is, and you know, so I think that that's like the starting point, right? Is like, don't, don't get over confident in your product. And the problem, it solves it out. In fact, validating that through some real conversations with business owners, you know, in that, in [01:16:00] that segment.
[01:16:00] Corey Quinn: Sure. And I think it, to add to that, it's a bonus if you have current customers who represent a vertical that you're considering going into, just, that's a great place to start, right?
[01:16:11] Jamie Adams: Yeah, a
[01:16:12] Corey Quinn: into those, those, clients and, and really understand a deep level what, what truly the problem is you're solving for them.
[01:16:17] And is there, is there potential for, for greater expansion there?
[01:16:22] Jamie Adams: A hundred percent. And then I think, you know, again, going back to that example is if you've got some customers and you're thinking about potentially expanding into other vertical categories, you know, it's interesting because one of the arguments against it for us early on that we was on, it was kind of a story that we made up in our own heads, was that, um, when our attorneys saw us working with a.
[01:16:44] right? That they, the general attitude from the attorney was gonna be, well, you don't know my business anymore. Right? You used to just be legal only you don't know my business. Right? Therefore, you're not qualified to help me in the capacity that you once help me in. [01:17:00] And a, what we saw was a, that was just kind of a story on our own heads.
[01:17:02] That didn't happen very often. And for, you know, the one or two times it would come up, you know, you may lose a customer, but hey, what you're gonna gain like a hundred for that one that you lost. But, but one of the things that we found is that, that was just kind of, that could, that could be like an objection or resistance that you got, um, in a conversation.
[01:17:20] But if you broke through that resistance and said, well, hey, like, let me, let me ask you a question on that. Like, why you, why do you feel that way? Why do you feel that because you're a personal injury attorney, that, that we can't serve you and serve a plumber? Why do you feel that way? And they would just kind of, ah, blah, blah, blah, blah, you know, not really have a response.
[01:17:40] And then you would just say, well, hey, look, can I, can I give you our perspective on that? Right? And that perspective, you know, would just probably be some explanation of, let me talk to you about how a, a, a customer finds you, how a client finds you, and then let's go look at how a client finds an attorney.
[01:17:55] And at the end of that, if you're telling me that those paths are very, very different, then, [01:18:00] you know, I'll say, you're right and I'm wrong, and we'll go our separate ways. But I think you're gonna find, right. And again, what you would find is that, oh, yeah, okay, that makes, that makes sense. I, I see how you guys are solving problems for both of us and doing it really, really well.
[01:18:13] But I think, you know, as you, as you, as you take that, if you take that lens of I'm serving the, you know, one category I wanna go to the next, you know, go to that next vertical and, and again, go through that same process of interviewing people and say, Hey, look. Let me give you my, my perspective. We're solving this problem for this type of business today.
[01:18:31] And I know that's not, that's not you, but my, my hunch is that these are the problems that we're solving for them. Do you have those same problems in your business? Right? And if the answer is yes, yes, yes, yes. Well, then you've kind of validated your hypothesis that you've got a relevant market over here that you can take your product to, and you can start, you know, digging in there and expanding into that, into that new vertical.
[01:18:54] Corey Quinn: What I love is that you're focusing, this approach that you're recommending is focusing on the problem. It's focusing on the customer,[01:19:00]
[01:19:00] right? It's not, it's not focusing on like, Hey, we built this product, let's you know, who could we, you know, convinced to buy this, right?
[01:19:06] Jamie Adams: so funny. I mean, and, and look, I mean, I think, again, you go through various growth cycles, you know, in your business. But for us, I mean, look, there's definitely been, um, we're, we're absolutely, I believe in every bone in my body, we're absolutely a very customer obsessed, customer focused business. But I would also be lying to say that there have not been times where we built something right?
[01:19:26] That we thought, oh, this is really cool, right? And this, our customer's gonna love this. And we approached it from the posture that you just, you just mentioned, which was kind of very US focused, right? This is cool. Look, we, let's go sell this. And our customers kind of just kind of fell in deaf ears. We didn't get the momentum.
[01:19:43] That we got, because it didn't necessarily always mean either that it was a bad product or it was the wrong solution, but it was the mentality and the posture by which we tried to bring it to market instead of bringing it to market through the lens of going and talking to our customers, Hey, here's what we're thinking, [01:20:00] or Here's what we're building.
[01:20:01] Here's what, what our hypothesis is, was this solve a problem that you've got? We just kind of built it and said, next thing you know, it's like, let's go sell it. And every time we've done that, fortunately there've only been a handful of those, but when we've done that, what we found in the market is that in fact they don't want that and we don't sell it at the same rate, or our retention is not as good.
[01:20:21] So I, I'm glad you called that out. I think, I think the businesses, despite your approach to vertical categories, your approach to, um, how fast you want to grow or how slow and steady you want to grow, You know, it's just, it's, it's such, it's, it's such a simple concept, but it's, for, sim some reason continues to be difficult for businesses to kind of get in their heads is if you are more customer focused and you're, and you're, and you're trying to solve their problems, that that's really your North star.
[01:20:49] You're gonna increase your chance of success, you know, by 10 x, easily by 10 x. So I, I'm glad you called that out and I appreciate you, you, you saying that?
[01:20:59] Corey Quinn: I think the, in my [01:21:00] experience and, and just familiarity and, and throughout my career, it's something that I've fallen into the trap of. Um, and it's very common. I built a business. Well before Scorpion, right after college, and it was a streaming media business. And
[01:21:17] Jamie Adams: Yeah, I remember
[01:21:17] we talked about that. I
[01:21:18] Corey Quinn: yeah, so it was back in the day, back in 1999 , 2000 and we raised $3 million, bought all this broadcast quality production equipment, cameras and switchers and all these things.
[01:21:30] And the, and the business concept was, Hey, we're gonna get, we're gonna sell services to go out to venues and, and, uh, sporting events and, you know, we're gonna put these things live on the internet and it's gonna be a massive hit because, you know, everyone's gonna start watching videos,
[01:21:45] Jamie Adams: It's almost like the Mark Cuban model, right? The the
[01:21:47] Corey Quinn: very close.
[01:21:48] Yeah. Yeah. Bar Brock, he, he actually sold to Yahoo as we were getting going. So it was really, at that time, the difference was he was audio and we were video. And so we spun up this big business and [01:22:00] raised this money and bought all this stuff, bought this, you know, built this whole company. And what we came to find out was that, , while it was a sexy idea to, to do live streaming and, you know, we did things like, you know, concerts.
[01:22:11] So we did a Rolling Stones concert that was, live streamed and all those type of things. while that was super sexy, the reality was that people were not, people were connecting to the internet at the time through a 56 K modem, right? if you're around
[01:22:24] Jamie Adams: the, the the bus. Yeah.
[01:22:27] Corey Quinn: All that right? It was old school and the throughput of the internet was very, very slow. Like, you just, so the quality of the video was such that people wouldn't watch. It would be like one frame every five seconds, wouldn't, you know, one frame watching live, live streaming. So we built this huge product and, you know, convinced and in love with our idea that this was gonna be the next, you know, the next thing.
[01:22:47] And the reality was, is that the, you know, there, there was just not a market for it.
[01:22:51] Jamie Adams: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Well, the probably would've been a market for it. The infrastructure just wasn't there to support the
[01:22:57] market at
[01:22:58] Corey Quinn: And that, but we were [01:23:00] convinced that that was, you know, that, you know, we, we, we had the answer at that time. And so, cool. Well, I have a, I have a couple of non-business questions if you're, if you're willing to sort of go in that direction. Obviously we're friends and we're connected on Facebook, and it's not surprising that all the time I see you with a, some celebrity in an airport or a restaurant, or, you know, you have a knack for running into these celebrities and these famous people, these athletes.
[01:23:27] Uh, how, how many times does that happen in your life? Because I think it's, it's more
[01:23:31] Jamie Adams: in a,
[01:23:31] Corey Quinn: the average person,
[01:23:32] Jamie Adams: it's happened a lot. I think I've got, I somewhat argue like my, my, my, uh, my library of like useless knowledge is quite high specifically around music. Um, some, an ath athletes too, but music, it's just, I'm, I'm, I love music. So, you know, I, I I, I kind of keep in touch with, you know, specifically musicians from the sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties, early two thousands is kind of my jam.
[01:23:55] and I just, I don't know. I've, I just have a knack of spotting people [01:24:00] and, , and some would, you know, some would call them C list celebrities, right? Like, they're not like at the top of their game necessarily anymore. Maybe they're not, they never got quite to the upper echelon. But yeah, it does happen a lot.
[01:24:11] I would say that my, my favorite run in, I was talking about this last night with a friend of mine who's, who's in town and, uh, my favorite run in is by far and away been Dave Grohl. Um, I ran into Dave Grohl at Katsuya in Encino, California, and, yeah, with our buddy Steve, and that was the coolest.
[01:24:33] That I've, that I've encountered. Cuz I, we ended up having like a 15 minute conversation. We were waiting for the restaurant to open and he came with his family, with his wife and his daughters. And it was literally just Steve and me and his wife and, and daughters and Steve's family actually came and met us too, but, and they lived kind of in the same neighborhood.
[01:24:52] And, and Steve, they had some mutual friends. So
[01:24:54] like, it was like Steve, Dave growling me, like talking for like 10 or 15 minutes. [01:25:00] Um, and then when I was in the restaurant, like sitting with Steve at this table, I was with Steve, his wife, and his two kids. Like all of a sudden I'm sitting at the table and somebody grabs me behind the shoulders and shakes me.
[01:25:13] And I look up and it's Dave Gro, like he was gonna the bathroom. And we, we, cause we were, it was, it was weird man. Cause he, it was, it was funny. I was like, I know I'm getting the weeds. But like that, the weekend before, this was like on a Monday or Tuesday, the weekend before they had played, the Foo Fighters had played in Dallas where I live now.
[01:25:30] And they played in Shreveport where I'm from or or town near where I'm from. So we had been talking about Shreveport actually specifically played in Boer City and uh, we were talking about that. So, and he called it the Bossier City. Like Boer spelled kind of weird. So he called the Bossier City.
[01:25:47] So when he came up behind me, he grabbed my shoulders. He's like, it's the Bossier City. And I was like, that was Dave Garley just grabbed me about.
[01:25:56] Corey Quinn: What the, what the hell's happening right now? This is
[01:25:58] Jamie Adams: Yeah. But yeah, it does happen [01:26:00] a fair amount. And I do get a fair amount of shit from it, from friends because they're like, how do you know this person?
[01:26:05] Corey Quinn: Yeah. It just, it happens like I, I think it maybe happens to, man, I live in la, which is like the land of stars, and it never happens to me, but, uh, it's pretty, it's pretty prolific. You share with me personally and over the years that you've played a lot of tennis growing up
[01:26:19] Jamie Adams: Mm-hmm. . Yeah.
[01:26:20] Corey Quinn: it was a big part of your growing up, and. Any thoughts around how playing tennis helped you to become sort of the, the leader that you are now? The man that you are, the success in business?
[01:26:30] Jamie Adams: Oh, yeah, man, I could spend hours talking about that. I think, um, I mean, number one, I mean, I, I think, um, I think most ath athletics, it doesn't matter tennis or golf or basketball or anything, just the, the idea of like competition, I think is, I think there, there's some positive purposes that it serves, right?
[01:26:50] Because at the end of the day, you know, life is, life is hard. And, you know, honestly, , from my perspective, my, my objective in life right? Is [01:27:00] to impact a lot of people positively, right? And I've certainly, I feel like I've done that. I've certainly impacted plenty of people negatively too, so I don't wanna discount that.
[01:27:07] But, but I mean, I've definitely made, made positive impact. And I think in order to do that, at a scale that I want to do it, it, it requires me to accomplish certain things and, you know, those accomplishments, when I say accomplished, it doesn't, I don't, I'm not talking about like money, but you know, I've gotta be able to achieve certain things that I want achieve in order to, to, to help people that in the capacity that I want to help them.
[01:27:30] And that means like winning and losing , right? I think sports teaches you, um, how to handle winning and how to handle losing, right? Because you're doing it. And in my case, I mean, I was playing tennis from the time that I was 10 or 11 all the way through my first couple years at college competitively.
[01:27:49] So you're at tournaments, all the time. So you're experiencing wins and losses all the time, and you, you learn to deal with the emotional state that comes [01:28:00] with winning and comes with losing. So I think that, that, that was, um, that was really helpful and continues to help me. I think the other thing for tennis specifically is an individual sport, right?
[01:28:10] So there's no one to. except yourself. Right? And I, and I think that, that as a leader, that serves me really well because, you know, when my team misses a target, my immediate inclination is not to go point the finger at somebody on the team. It's to point the finger back at myself, like, what did I do or not do that prevented my team from being successful?
[01:28:33] and so I think, you know, from a tennis perspective, that was a big, that was another big, you know, aha, that I learned that I didn't actually really value until later on when I became a, a professional, like a professional in my career. Not a professional tennis player. but just, you know, taking ownership of the wins and taking ownership of the losses, um, actually losses more than the wins.
[01:28:54] Jamie Adams: Cause I think the wins are easy to point back at your coach, your family unit, your friends, et cetera. [01:29:00] and then I think that the other thing about tennis specifically that, that I really valued, that, that actually served me more than the tennis itself was, you know, in tennis. I mean, I grew, I grew up in a really small town in Louisiana.
[01:29:11] I, I say Shreveport, but it, the town is really, it's called Coushatta. never talk about it because on this form, because people don't know where Coushatta is, and they probably have heard of Shreveport before, but my town was, was, was, uh, 40 miles south of Shreveport, about a thousand, maybe 1500 people total. And so it was a very like, you know, walled off, you know, area, I mean like relative to the rest of the world.
[01:29:34] And what tennis afforded me to the ability to do was go out and play tournaments all across the country. And I mean, a big credit to my parents. They made a lot of sacrifices in order for me to do that, cuz it wasn't a cheap endeavor. But, you know, I was going to tournament. You know, in some cases with my buddies, when I was 14 years old, without some ca in some cases without adult supervision, right?
[01:29:57] We would fly to a place, meet [01:30:00] up, stay at a hotel together, and we would just kind of be in charge of figuring out how to, how to get around. And that forced me to get outside of my comfort zone, learn to have conversations with strangers, learn to be adaptable in any environment that kind of got dropped into, and I think that that helped me, like from a sales and business development perspective, you know, my posture of like kind of never having met a stranger.
[01:30:23] You know, I, I enjoy meeting people. I, I find it pretty easy to kind of jump right into a conversation with a complete stranger. I think that that helped as well. You know, again, that's not directly related to the being on the court and competing, but on the periphery I think that that, that, that served me, the getting out and, you know, being around people that I otherwise wouldn't have experienced, you know, just playing football in my hometown of Louisiana and just going on Friday
[01:30:51] nights and playing teams regionally. Right. So, yeah. So I mean, those are the things that I think are the takeaways and. . And again, I think, I think the other, the [01:31:00] final notice that, that was the last one, the final was like, tennis really, man, just put me in it, exposed me to a network of, of extended family. Like my tennis coach, um, growing up is like my second dad.
[01:31:12] I mean, to this day you know, his, one of his, his kids or my godson. And I had some of my closest friends to this day are people that I grew up playing tennis with. And, uh, so just on a personal level, I mean, I, I, I was the beneficiary of, of that as well. So that's probably what I'm, what I'm proudest about and most thankful for
[01:31:33] Corey Quinn: That's awesome. Just, just knowing you as I do professionally and personally. I, I completely resonate with the, uh, the competitive piece. Like I see that in you and, and I've got a little bit of that myself. And I think that's one of the reasons why we, we, we resonated early, uh, as well as, I love how you take ownership. It's never, you know, regardless of what happens, you know, win or lose, it's always like, okay, let's just get better. Whatever it is.
[01:31:59] Jamie Adams: yeah. Yeah. I think [01:32:00] that's important. I mean, again, man, I mean life, life is, life is, life is hard and it can be harder if you make it harder, right. So, um, you know, I think that, that, uh, I've, I've found, um, cuz I, I certainly, there have been times where I didn't take ownership, right? Where I did deflect and those things never serve me or serve anybody else around me.
[01:32:21] So I, I, I definitely subscribe to, you know, the attitude and the posture of, of trying to take ownership and, um, and man, there's, there's a lot, even especially when you, when you fail or when you screw it up, I mean, there's a lot to learn if you're paying attention and you're willing to, and you're willing, you're willing to own that.
[01:32:39] Um, so I appreciate that, that, that, that comes through, man. Thank, thank
[01:32:42] Corey Quinn: Yeah. I mean, I, I remember just, just briefly thinking back about Scorpion, like we did a lot of things. Really well, obviously, but we also made a lot of mistakes along the way. That's just the nature of it. But it was never a gotcha culture. It was never like, Hey, I'm gonna come down you hard because you know what, what down Didn't, you know, didn't meet the [01:33:00] expectations.
[01:33:00] Like, yeah, there was this big, big expectations, but it was always looking forward, right? Like, what could we, how do we get better? How do we
[01:33:06] get better
[01:33:07] versus, uh, you know, you know, and I, and I admire it, and I think you were a big part of that. So,
[01:33:12] Jamie Adams: Thank you. I appreciate that.
[01:33:14] Corey Quinn: Who's someone that's had a big influence on your life?
[01:33:17] I know a lot of people have over the
[01:33:19] Jamie Adams: a lot.
[01:33:19] Yeah. I mean,
[01:33:20] Corey Quinn: Someone come to mind?
[01:33:22] Jamie Adams: yeah. I mean, look, I'll grab this is, uh, this, this is my, this is my grandfather. Um, there he goes. So he, he played professional
[01:33:30] baseball. Yeah, that's right. So he won a World Series in 1957, won a World Series in 1957 with the Braves. you know, he, he passed away when I was, uh, 18.
[01:33:41] But, um, I would say the earliest like big influence was him. I mean, I think number one, I think I was, again, fortuitous enough to have someone who was a professional athlete as my grandfather. So, you know, just number one, he kind of like, I, I was very early on, again, growing up in a really small town, [01:34:00] I had a very, um, I had a, a, a clear model and vision of, of, uh, what success could look like at the highest of levels, right?
[01:34:10] Like my grandfather won a World Series. It doesn't get much better than that. Um, so, so, you know, growing up like having, like, you know, it's easy to talk about dreaming big and you can do whatever you want, but I think, you know, when you are exposed to that in your family and you've seen that, like you're at a, an immediate advantage.
[01:34:29] So from that perspective, I'm thankful, but then, . I mean, again, I, and I think this is true of like most people in my life and certainly my family. I mean, my grandfather was just, man, he was, uh, he was a disciplinarian kind of guy, but man, he just, you knew, I, you knew he loved you, like as, as his grandson.
[01:34:48] I mean, like, I was like, I mean, even to this day people talk, we talk about how my grandfather, like, I was like the, I was like the diamond right. In his life. [01:35:00] And, uh, and to experience like that level of, of, of love, , was, is just a special thing. And, and I mean, there's a lot of people that I look up to, but he's the, you know, he's just the guy that when I, when I get asked that question, he's always the first guy that kind of comes up.
[01:35:17] Um, you know, other people, I mean my, my, my parents for sure, my tennis coach, um, My, my tennis coach, his name's Pat Harrison, he, um, he was just, he was, he was a football coach,
[01:35:31] Corey Quinn: Hmm.
[01:35:32] Jamie Adams: So it was just very, like, his feedback in your face direct, like, not, not a soft guy, knew you, knew he loved you, but loud, like, you know, lots of four letter words.
[01:35:47] Um, and look, I mean, again, I mean, you know, you could say, well, that's not, that's not very kosher. That's like, you know, there's, there's mental anguish that could be imposed. And then look, there may be so, but [01:36:00] you look for me, man, like, I needed that, like I needed that, I needed, I needed to get feedback that way.
[01:36:06] I received feedback like,
[01:36:10] In a direct
[01:36:10] fashion that way, right? Like, that gets my attention, that gets me lasered focused in, and man, that served me personally. That served me really, really, I didn't like it at the time. I mean, you know, it wasn't like, you know, that I didn't love getting my ass chewed out because I missed a forehand, right?
[01:36:26] Like, but, but man, I mean, like, in hindsight, you know, it, it just got me locked in and, and. So, I mean, he was, he was another, you know, another one that, that had, and then probably more recently, like guys like Rory Clark, who, you know, you know, and
[01:36:42] he's been kind of
[01:36:43] Corey Quinn: why don't you share with, share
[01:36:44] Jamie Adams: yeah, so, so Ro Rory Rory is, um, you know, I found him because I was looking to try to build a sales methodology at Scorpion, and he had a, i, I came across him through a mutual front, through one of our mutual friends, Brian Davis, who had worked with him in a different company.
[01:36:57] And so I hired Rory to kind of help us kind of build out [01:37:00] a sales methodology. And what I found was really someone who was more of a, a, you know, I, you know, I, I don't like overusing the word life coach, but you know, kind of wasn't a life coach. Like he, I would certainly call him an executive coach. . and, you know, also benefit of, he's a Christian pastor, and you know, that I, I recognize as a, as a, as identify as a Christian and a believer in that sense.
[01:37:20] So he's, he's just somebody that has helped me kind of navigate building out systems and processes. It certainly helped facilitate a better sales culture, but he's also someone that just is a great, he's just a great mentor, a life mentor. Um, so he's been kind of the, the, the guy more recent that I would, that I would say has a, a massive influence in my life.
[01:37:41] And then my, my my nephews and my nephews and my niece and, and my nieces.
[01:37:46] Corey Quinn: Yeah. Who you're very
[01:37:47] Jamie Adams: they're coming over. A couple of 'em are coming over to today to visit from Shreveport. So I'm pretty excited about that.
[01:37:52] Corey Quinn: that's
[01:37:52] Jamie Adams: Don't worry. Follow my Instagram story. You'll see it
[01:37:55] Corey Quinn: I will check it out. What last question, Jamie? what's [01:38:00] your motivation?
[01:38:00] Jamie Adams: Um, that's a great question. . It's funny, man, I, here's my, I was doing my, my journaling before this, this morning, and, uh, one of the things that I'm trying to get a little bit more clear and articulate about is like my vision, and I think my vision like is gonna kind of, it comes from my motivation. I, I, I know that it's, I know that it's there, but I'm having a hard time and I'm really trying to spend some time like articulating it, like, on paper and in
[01:38:25] my own head.
[01:38:26] My motivation right, is to just, you know, improve my life and the lives of people around me. Like in whatever capacity I can do that. I mean, I've been, um, I have been fortuitously blessed beyond measure in circumstance, circumstances I've been dropped into in people that I've encountered.
[01:38:47] I mean, one day I, I'm hopeful, like if my, if my belief system kind of works itself out and I'm hanging out in heaven one day, you know, I'm really interested in having a conversation with God about why. Things happen for me the way that [01:39:00] they happened. Um, but I think that in, in that, in that, that that feeling of like an experience of being as fortuitous as I've been is I have a responsibility to try to, um, try to help others kind of get in that same place and have those same experiences.
[01:39:18] And that's a big motivation for me. I mean, I love being in a position to be able, and I love having the heart of trying to help other people and look, I mean, man, I mean honestly like that is a, certainly a source of motivation. And then there are some days. Where I do some things in my life to people in my life that I'm, like, I look back on and I'm like, God, I am the biggest asshole on the planet.
[01:39:40] And, um, you know, so again, I, I don't, I don't approach this from, from like a place of perce or perfection or blindness in terms of the, like, the, the times that I fail. But I would say that I don't know that that is my core motivation, but high on my motivation list is wanting to make a really positive impact on my life and then [01:40:00] the lives of people around me.
[01:40:01] And, and I think that, that, that is kind of what keeps me getting up every day and approaching my day.
[01:40:07] Corey Quinn: Well, knowing you as I do, that's authentic and that's real, and I see that coming through and I see you as a, as a man who leads with his heart, and that's genuine. So
[01:40:17] Jamie Adams: Yeah, and you've seen, you've seen some of the screw ups too, right?
[01:40:19] Corey Quinn: Well, shit, you're, wait, you're not perfect.
[01:40:23] Jamie Adams: I'm
[01:40:24] still, I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I can't be so, uh,
[01:40:28] Corey Quinn: Yeah. Well,
[01:40:29] Jamie Adams: you know, exactly. Exactly.
[01:40:32] Corey Quinn: Well, thank you so much Jamie, for j joining me. I, I know that this has been super helpful for myself and just hearing, you know, the world from your perspective is super valuable, not only to me, but also to the listeners and just want to say thank you so much for, for showing up and for
[01:40:48] Jamie Adams: Thank you for having me. Yeah, and look, I mean for all your, for all your listeners, I mean, what you didn't experience today is me getting to grill cq here with questions cuz this is obviously his [01:41:00] podcast. But, you know, I would leave you if, if you're listening to this, you know, continue to tune in because I worked with this guy for, you know, almost eight years, um, very, very, very closely.
[01:41:10] And, you know, we went from having no marking presence and really no defined marking department at Scorpion to doing some really incredible things. And, you know, we talked about today, we talked about my contribution to the growth. But, you know, Corey's contribution of the growth was, you know, equal if, if not more important than mine.
[01:41:30] Um, I know that you're gonna get value from things like this podcast and other things. I know you've got a book coming out and I don't know how much your listeners know about that, but I'm, I'm looking forward to that. And another good friend of ours, Brian Davis, wrote a book recently, um, that I read that I got a lot of value from.
[01:41:47] So I'm looking forward to yours as well. And, and, uh, and yeah, cq, congratulations, man. On, on all your success and thanks for, thanks again for inviting me to do this. I really appreciate
[01:41:57] Corey Quinn: Well, I'm over the moon. It was, it was a lot of fun,[01:42:00]
[01:42:00] Jamie Adams: It was
[01:42:01] Corey Quinn: All right, folks. That's it for today. I'm Corey Quinn, and I hope you join me again next time at the B2B Vertical Marketing Podcast.