Growth and Leadership with Callan Harrington

Growth and Leadership with Callan Harrington

About This Episode

With a record of superior results and proven skills in driving new business, growing customers, developing talent, and creating a high-energy, high-performance culture, Callan Harrington has a wealth of experience to draw on when helping new clients as part of Flashgrowth!

Join Brad as he sits down with Callan Harrington to discuss his journey to CEO of Flashgrowth. Learn the winding path Callan took, and heed the lessons he learned along the way!   

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Growth and Leadership with Callan Harrington

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Episode Transcript

With a record of superior results and proven skills in driving new business, growing customers, developing talent, and creating a high-energy, high-performance culture, Callan Harrington has a wealth of experience to draw on when helping new clients as part of Flashgrowth!

Join Brad as he sits down with Callan Harrington to discuss his journey to CEO of Flashgrowth. Learn the winding path Callan took, and heed the lessons he learned along the way!   

[00:00:00] Brad Seaman: So we’ll go ahead and just open, open the floor up and tell us how you got to where you’re at.

[00:00:06] Callan Harrington: Um, yeah, absolutely. So I started out my career in, at, at, at Northwestern mutual and a lot of people did, they went through their internship program and I think I told people for years I was a financial advisor, but the reality was, you know, I was selling insurance.

Um, and I learned a ton, I think kind of the first thing that hit me there. Just this whole idea of the fact that sales as a career. I just didn’t see a lot growing up. Um, so, uh, when I first got into it, that’s what just kind of expanded my mind to somebody different things. Like I love doing this. Um, but I didn’t, uh, I didn’t know, that was really a thing at all.

Um, and pretty quickly after getting into that and, and realizing all that, um, I love the company, the sales training, you know, it gets rated as one of the top year after year and for good reasons, phenomenal sales training. Um, but, uh, I had this itch to, to, to try to do this a different way. So I left, started my own agency and selling over a digital fashion.

So as opposed to doing, you know, business to consumer and more of a field sales model, Uh, I was doing business to consumer and an inside sales model. This was really early into that, um, working digital leads, which was the antithesis of everything that we were taught, um, at the previous company. And then you

[00:01:28] Brad Seaman: talk a little bit about the trend.

You just mentioned that it was a great training program. What was it that made it so good?

[00:01:34] Callan Harrington: I mean everything from the mindset, what, what they did a great job of was really helping you understand the numbers as a salesperson. Um, and you know, I still, and it’s fun. It, most of these still hold up, right? 10 31.

I needed. 10 by 10, um, uh, referrals and three were going to meet with me, you know, I’d close one and I would close 1.3, three over three years. It’s ridiculous. I still remember these numbers, like the back of my hand. Um, and, uh, and just like what that would look at it, how many you’ve got to do 40 calls a day to qualified prospects in order to set 15 meetings in a week.

Um, and I just remember these over and over and over again. So, so many of these things were. Were were drilled into my mind. And I thought, you know, this would change dramatically. What I got to, you know, doing B2B SAS enterprise and, you know, working very large deals by and large 80% of what I was taught at Northwestern mutual still held up in any of the other sales roles that I did.

So, um, I just learned to, uh, an absolute ton of. Now

[00:02:41] Brad Seaman: I feel like there’s, the numbers are under attack. I mean, at least on LinkedIn, you know, like there’s a, I do feel like there’s a push towards like, not trying to focus on the numbers. What do you think about that?

[00:02:53] Callan Harrington: Well, I think there’s two parts of it, right?

There is an attack on holding reps accountable to activity. Um, and there’s, there’s an attack on it. It just gets into kind of the whole personalization. Versus, um, uh, you know, playing the numbers game and going after as many as you can. And in order to get it, there is no right answer in my opinion. And I think it’s so dependent on and I hate to give an, it depends type of answer, but.

It really matters. Um, if you’ve got a hyper-focused, um, market, it’s going to be hard to you just, you can’t, you can only put up so many numbers. Right. And those are usually going to be a really special specialized or really high ticket sale. Um, and it is going to have to be more, I mean, I think of in that world, I think of more of your traditional advertising agency.

Right? So relationship-based, um, but if I’m looking at, you know, selling a particular product to SMB. You’re going to have to put up mass numbers. There’s just no two ways around it. So, um, the numbers to me are always going to be critical because it’s not even so much just the volume of numbers. It’s going to be your conversion rates and which parts of breaking down as part of that sales cycle.

[00:04:12] Brad Seaman: Well, I got, sorry, I didn’t mean to get so, so I got us a little derailed, but you hit that. I thought if I come back to it later, it might be harder to talk about. So, so you had this weight training experience. You move in, you move into another. So you’re, you’re out selling B2B. And then at some point, look, I think we talked about this, um, like a week or so ago.

Somewhat you start your own business.

[00:04:34] Callan Harrington: Yeah. So I was, um, uh, I was at a company called the shipyard and we weave within there. We formed this SAS company, um, and, and shipyard was, uh, it was an advertising agency still around great company. And, um, We formed a company called smart Harbor. Um, and we did this, it was originally an enterprise account that we, we, we worked in the insurance space.

We worked with a very large insurance carrier and we created a, uh, SAS product for their individual insurance agencies out in the. And we started getting some real traction on that. So what we did is, um, we spun smart Harbor out there and myself and a couple others, where were the co-founders on, on that end?

Um, so we had this, uh, we had this, uh, base of agencies in which to grow with and a couple of customer success people. And then, yeah, we scaled that and sold that to a private equity company.

[00:05:39] Brad Seaman: And then, and then from, from there, how do you get into what you’re doing today with flash growth?

[00:05:46] Callan Harrington: Yeah, so, so flash growth, we’re a, uh, consulting and fractional executive company. Yeah, it’s interesting because, and I’ve said this and I almost hate saying that, but I, I wasn’t planning to get into a services business whatsoever.

I wasn’t planning. I, my goal was to get a, do exactly what we did at, at shipyard and use a services based business, a very high cashflow business to, uh, invest in a SAS company or an InsureTech. Um, And I, and I knew I had, I could, I could get a couple of consult. At least I had confidence. I’ll put it to you like that.

I actually quit without having anything I needed to just straight up, push myself into the deep end and see if I could swim. I knew I had to do that because I was so terrible at trying to build a business on the side. And I know it works for so many people, but I am not one of those people. Um, but, uh, I was competent.

I could get a couple of probably overconfident, um, that I could get a couple consulting agreements to start to build that cashflow. And then. Build a build a SAS or an InsureTech model. Cause that’s largely my career been in and I ended up falling in love. I think it was funny because I heard so many people were like, I don’t think you’re going to like consulting.

It’s it’s it’s just, I don’t know if you’re going to it because I like to go really deep in things, but I found it. I loved it. I’ve really, really, really enjoyed it. It’s hard to believe it’s already. Seven months from starting the company. I mean, it feels literally like a couple of days, but, um, uh, it’s been an absolute blast, but I mean, really it’s, um, it’s a combination of all those different experiences that I was able to have.

Um, You know, I, I say it all the time, you learned so much from, I’m going to learn it a hundred times more from doing something wrong than from doing something right. And you know, you’re going to do a lot wrong in a startup over and over and over and over again. So you just hope to, do you hope to learn from some of those mistakes in each one, and then as combination of it being able to start flashcards.

Um, I think when starting to work with some of these companies, I can see some of those areas where, you know, it’s just more clear in building that process around how do we go about doing those to help them make less mistakes and really more importantly, to just not drop the ball on some areas that are pretty common.

Now I

[00:08:04] Brad Seaman: know that you’re kind of early into the flash growth kind of in the first year, but what are you seeing as the first mistakes that you’re seeing your clients make or over. Uh, or a common mistake that you’re seeing clients make around. Or misconceptions.

[00:08:22] Callan Harrington: Yeah, absolutely. So my, my primary target, um, is, or I should say my primary client or my ideal customer profile is, is an early stage venture backed company.

So typically that’s going to fall. Late seed series a so somebody that has product market fit, um, and is now looking to scale that, and I think the biggest mistake, and this gets talked about quite a bit, but I’ve lived it personally, and I’m happy to share this story, but, um, as you bring on a VP of sales or a head of sales or a CRO.

Too early and their skillsets may not match with either two things. One where the company’s at, just as a company in the lifecycle of the company. Or to their core competency doesn’t match the go-to market for, um, for the actual company. And if you hire that person too early, you may not know what your real go-to market is.

So that was actually kind of the driving factor. I didn’t do that on purpose. It just made a lot of sense for fractional can make a ton of sense. Um, until you really have that all fleshed out. So getting the ability to have that experienced person, flesh that out, uh, for the company itself, uh, and then putting, helping them put the right person in there that matches the skillset of the go to market that’s being executed.

[00:09:48] Brad Seaman: Um, talk a little bit about what, you know, when you think about CRS, um, or you think about vice-president, so w what are the different kinds, and then w which kind of, which kind do you need for what type of company.

[00:10:01] Callan Harrington: I don’t know if we’ve got enough time to go through all of them. So let’s, let’s start with CRO.

Right. Um, and CRO it’s a tough one because CRO can be kind of a catchall, right? It could be somebody that was, um, Uh, a good sales leader and just handle sales. And it’s just, that’s the natural, because chief sales officer really doesn’t get used and CRO is really just, um, it’s a, it’s a more clean title, right.

And it sounds more prestigious, but the reality is what they’re actually doing. Could be in a couple of different things. Um, a CRO could handle sales and marketing, or they could, um, if you think given its purest sense, a CRO should handle the life cycle of the customer. They, um, handling that from the, uh, the sales side or the marketing side, the sales side and the customer success side.

Um, and when you get into let’s look a little bit more granular at the VP of sales in particular or head of. Uh, you know, if you think of the different skillsets, it could be, for instance, enterprise, somebody is a rockstar enterprise. That’s not always going to translate to SMB. If you’re a rockstar at SMB that may not translate to mid-market and, uh, and, and enterprise, if you’re a rock star at outbound, you may not be that great at inbound.

If you’re a rockstar inbound, you may not be that upgrade at, at, at Al. Um, and then you can go into more nuance as far as inside sales, field sales, um, and the like, and, and then the, you know, the last thing I’d say is, is different stages of different companies, um, demand a different type of executive. And you know, I see it.

I’ve seen it for years in the SAS world. You know, what can get you from zero to one is different. What’s going to get you from one to 10 and 10 to 50 and 50 to a hundred. They’re going to be very different skill sets.

[00:11:54] Brad Seaman: Yeah. And I think it’s really difficult as you’re growing, you know, that you’re bypassing that you’re, that who you’re going to hire today.

You’re hiring that person, knowing that they’re not going to be able to do the job at the next level.

[00:12:07] Callan Harrington: That’s exactly right. Yeah. I, and I advise all the time, you know, have somebody that could do the job today, give them that opportunity to be able to grow into it. But the expectation that that may not happen.

Because, yeah, it’s. And it’s tough because a lot of these are they’re going to sell, you know, we, you know, we want you to grow right into this, but that’s not always the case. That’s okay. But if they know they’ve got the opportunity to be able to do that, and they really are working on themselves and with mentors and different programs that are out there, then, you know, it’s possible that they will be able to do that.

They’re probably going to be able to do it someday. If they’re very growth, they’ve got a growth mindset and really want to do that. Um, But they may not. I, I, I, I know plenty of people that love working early stage companies, right. So they’re there from, um, seed or series a or B, and then they’ll check out at series C or D and then they’ll go and do it at another company.

It’s just that the area that they love to play in.

[00:13:09] Brad Seaman: Yeah. No, I think those are great. I think those are great insights. Um, what are some of the other, you know, is there anything else that you’re like, particularly, you know, as you’re in this space that you’re particularly passionate about, or you find your.

Talking about, um, continuing.

[00:13:25] Callan Harrington: I get into the process really heavily. I’m very, very, very process oriented. And I think it’s so important to have a strong process and have really strong rev ops. Um, I think rev ops has been, has been growing it’s catching on more. It’s more buzzworthy. And, you know, just a few years ago, I would, I would constantly have to justify the spend that we would put in, in rev ops.

And it’s one of those things where, um, you know, if I left a company and then they didn’t want to, uh, either the rev ops person would, um, jump or follow, uh, and they would try to go without it, it almost without fail. Um, that’s when they would realize that once that pain set in, it’s like, okay, this, this position does way more than we thought.

I think it’s arguably one of the most important positions. And when I take a, um, when I take a position, it’s almost guaranteed. That’s the first, um, one that I’m bringing.

[00:14:26] Brad Seaman: And then are you finding, so what so great topics. So let’s talk, let’s talk about rev ops and let’s talk about the roles that make up rev ops.

So are you hot? And I’m going to throw, um, are you, you’re going out and you’re hiring a Salesforce admin, or you’re hiring somebody beyond.

[00:14:42] Callan Harrington: Um, in a perfect world, you know, that initial Purcell, you kind of look at it two ways, right? You have the analyst side and you have the technical side. Um, and, and when you think of scale, usually those are going to be split.

You may have a BA team, but you’ve got somebody. Um, that’s an analyst on your team. That’s responsible for representing the revenue org. Um, but that’s at scale, let’s back it up a little bit, right? So the first hire, if I’m in an early stage company, I want that rev ops person to have the technical notes.

Or at least the motivation to learn the technical side, because I may not need anything that intense, but if somebody can navigate those and is willing to learn, you know, do the Salesforce trailheads, do the HubSpot, um, uh, trainings and, and, and the like, and now SalesLoft and the others are, are coming out with some of these.

But, um, uh, if you’re able to navigate those different systems and you’ve got a, a strong eye on the analytics, that’s kind of the best of both worlds for that initial. Um, when you get at scale, that’s when we’re starting to really look at. Okay, who has the technical chops to really be able to handle getting to the integrations with all of these?

How are you working with the BI team in order to make sure that we’re getting all the, the information that, that, that we need to do, um, and having the analyst, you know, the analyst, you know, I look at this in a couple of different facets, so the analysts could be looking at how we’re, uh, mapping out the different territories that we’ve got.

Uh, The territories are equitable, which territories are, as we know, it’s almost impossible to get them a hundred percent equitable, but, um, they’re looking for discrepancies in the data. You know, I think a good rev ops person should be able to see it’s like, Hey, just wanna let you know, we’ve got an issue here in how this data is being collected or, you know, looking at on the worst case.

They caught her up. That’s essentially, um, uh, inflating their numbers by taking advantage of some loophole in the system. So somebody that’s looking at that monitoring and calling it out, looking at where we can improve, um, and the numbers. So for instance, say, Hey, you know, we, we see that there’s a big dip in our, um, demo scheduled to demos held, uh, You know, I can look at that, but I am I going to be focused on a 24 7?

No. As the leader, your, where you’re recruiting your coaching, your training, you’re looking at the next, um, uh, area, uh, that you’re going to bring the company and expand the product. So having somebody that has an Eagle eye for that is, is extremely.

[00:17:18] Brad Seaman: Now do you think about the rev ops person being a mark, a sales function or marketing function or both, or

[00:17:25] Callan Harrington: neither?

I like rev ops as its own org and they support the different functions within the revenue org. So. Uh, and depending on the company, but really even if, even if the, see typically the rev ops function, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll go up to the CRO, but, or, you know, and, and oftentimes you could see in the head of sales or marketing, um, and sometimes customer success as well.

But to me, that org supports everybody equally. Um, and, uh, and if they’re not putting different pieces in that org, but I think it’s tough. It is tough if it reports to anyone or because the reality, and a lot of times it does. And a lot of times it’s happened in an org that I’ve been a part of. Um, but, uh, whatever, however, that executive is compensated, you can almost guarantee that that rev ops team is going to be giving more, getting more attention on their projects.

It almost always happens.

[00:18:26] Brad Seaman: you know, when you get to a spot, you have a rev ops team. How are they typically company? I would

[00:18:31] Callan Harrington: say, okay. Yeah, I would say what’s typical is, um, what’s typical. Is there a compensated, just a base salary and whatever, some, some sort of a bonus off of hitting certain metrics where I think it should be going is I don’t think that you’re going to see.

I don’t know that it makes sense to do what’s traditional, you know, for a sales executive at 50, 50, 50% base, 50% variable, um, which that’s a leaning more towards 60 40, which I think is smart. Um, and, uh, but I think it shouldn’t be, you know, 90 10, I think it should be something more, you know, 70, 30, 80, 20 based off of, uh, the team hitting their goals.

They should be aligned. With the team, the company and their

[00:19:22] Brad Seaman: numbers. Yeah. Now I know you’re seeing a lot of these kind of, um, you know, rev ops, service businesses kind of, kind of prop up. Um, what do you think about those and are there any, are there any rev ops kind of as a ser or service businesses that you’ve worked with or know of that you think do good work?

[00:19:40] Callan Harrington: I’ve never worked with them. Candidly, we, we had flash growth are getting into this, into this business in particular because I think it’s. I here’s the deal. I, especially for an early stage company, you know, if you’re going to go out, I’m just looking at the cost once Salesforce, admin. So let’s just, let’s use Salesforce as an easy example.

A Salesforce admin is going to cost you at least a hundred thousand. And let’s say you get somebody less than a hundred thousand, right? It’s not saying it’s not impossible. It’s totally possible. How long are they going to be with you for before that? Probably not that long, you’re going to have to bump their comp up.

Now don’t get me wrong. There’s all sorts of other things. They may love the culture in the middle of the people. They could have equity within the company. It could be so many different things that can keep them there, which is entirely different topic. But, uh, but you’re not going to keep, if, if, if you’re looking at an apples to apples, Somebody else will pay them that amount of money specially right now in this market.

So you’re paying at least a hundred thousand for that. Um, and if you’re an early company, that’s a, that’s a big investment to make and it’s not. That then it won’t be valuable. Uh, but you don’t necessarily know. So I, I love the, the rev ops as a service. That’s not, again, that’s, that’s I wouldn’t say that’s going to be a core part of our offering, but it doesn’t align pretty, pretty well with the fractional executive, um, model that, that, that

[00:21:05] Brad Seaman: we do.

Yeah, no, for sure. It’s, it’s hard to run us. Uh, it’s hard to run a sales organization without having everything wired up. You know, all the technology, not having, not having all the reporting, uh, you know, going into one, you know, one dashboard or one view. It’s super difficult.

[00:21:23] Callan Harrington: All right, you got me on, you’re going to get me on a different topic here, but it just kind of a good opening for it.

So it’s it’s, to me it’s so important for two reasons. One. Um, I think so often in orgs people, um, will put pressure onto the salesperson or the sales leader to not only be a good recruiter, developer, uh, have an eye for the market to give good feedback to product and everything else, but they also want them to.

The, the rev ops person themselves, they think that that should be on the manager to manage all of the, uh, the different pieces in that, um, and in early stage. Sure. But then again, it gets back to you shouldn’t have a, uh, a head of sales at the, at too early of the stage. Um, and, and one of the big things is, is having the forecasting in the financial modeling, uh, On the shoulders of the sales executive, um, that I think is a really big one.

I think that the executive, if you think of like what makes a great CRO, what makes a great VP of sales? It is the ability to be able to say what we, what do we need in order to capture this market? Um, I think that, uh, whether that comes from, you know, the financial department or that may be giving them kind of that extra support and help around that, so they could focus more on what they do best.

Right. That’s, that’s something I think I’m pretty passionate about.

[00:22:57] Brad Seaman: Yeah. Awesome. No, I think that’s, I think that’s great. And I think it’s a real, I mean, I think you’re just going to continue to see rev ops, um, as a service and organizations get bigger and bigger. I mean, there’s just so many tools and so many, so many insights.

Um, that can be drawn from, from being able to get access to the data and getting it in a way that you can view it and make sense of it.

[00:23:20] Callan Harrington: I agree.

[00:23:20] Brad Seaman: Totally agree. All right. Well, well, awesome. Well, Carolyn, this was a great, this was a great 30 minutes. Um, is there anything you really wanted me to ask you that I just totally.

[00:23:32] Callan Harrington: No, I, I don’t, I don’t think so. Um, you know, I think, uh, I love, I love the questions that, that, that you did ask. I think you’re hitting on, you know, these are some of the biggest topics that are, that are out there right now. I think, you know, some of the ones that are going to be interesting that I don’t have necessarily a good pulse on that.

I’m curious about as quota or snow quota within sales reps. Um, but, uh, uh, It’d be, it’d be cool to see where these things all play out, but it’s fun to be a part of. Yeah,

[00:24:02] Brad Seaman: I know. Well, this is one I’ve covered this probably in the last, you know, six episodes. I was asked people, you know, I think there’s a real push towards, so like I saw a post this morning, um, guy named Steve Schmidt.

I said that, uh, Hey, the B to C influencer world’s here. He’s paying Scott. Um, I can’t remember, uh, lease $2,500 to do social posts. And, um, he basically was saying like, Hey, B to C is coming to a, to B to B. And then one guy made a really good, well, I thought it was a really good point. He says, Hey, I don’t know that that’s going to work the same in B2B because you don’t have the impulse.

It’s not an impulse buy. So when somebody in the B2C world does a, like a, like an Instagram post where they do like, there’s an, it’s like a direct ad, right. I, and you can immediately go get the tennis shoes. You can immediately go get the, and there’s this huge, there’s a huge push towards, um, you know, what the buyers want a B to C experience.

And I think they do, but I think there’s some danger here is that, um, This is mine, and you’re totally welcome to disagree with this as a buyer. There’s a lot of stuff that really annoys me, um, that salespeople do, but it doesn’t affect my buying position. And I’m just a, no, it’s just annoying, like, or I’ll give you another example.

My car, when I get in it, the wifi has got like a thousand kids, cell phones hooked up to it. And every time I get in the car, it just like throws the audio. All over the, like all over the place. And anybody that I know is in business has the same problem, but I don’t know that that issue is so big of an issue that somebody would go solve.

So you can be annoyed with something and not have it be a bit like, and I think this, the point of that story is when it comes to buyers, just cause a buyer. I think you do need to pay attention to what buyers like, but you also have to pay attention to the. Environment. And I just don’t though, there are some things in the B to C that are going to come to B2B.

I just don’t think we’re going to see million dollar purchases made with one click, you know, Netflix buys. I mean, I don’t see,

[00:26:13] Callan Harrington: I don’t, I don’t disagree. Um, what. Here’s the things that I think it does do. Um, so this is, this gets, this, this could easily dovetail into the whole product led growth movement, right.

And, um, product led growth. Uh, and so many people pumped it up. Like, you know, if, if we do product like growth and VCs are pumping and everything else, and then you go to try it and that’s so depends on your industry to be able to do that in B2B, if you’re selling to more kind of legacy. And you’re trying to get people to go on and, uh, and self-checkout and onboard themselves.

That is so, so, so, so hard to do. And almost it almost, um, um, falls, writes on a Ted almost every time, not to say all cases, but many. So I only say that from the standpoint of where. Some B to B to C aspects will. Right. But it’s not like anything cut, putting out content isn’t anything new. Um, and influencers will have to remain if they don’t back the right products and those products don’t consistent, really resolved in a successful outcome, then they’re damaging their brand.

Right. So, um, but I, but I tend to agree because there is more a million dollar enterprise deal getting bought on a whim. No, do, but on the flip side, do I think. Um, you know, somebody that they, they trust that’s out there that, you know, they’re, they’re a fan of that person. Could that cause them to look at it?

[00:27:52] Brad Seaman: Yeah. Yeah, no, I just think it’s an interesting concept. I mean, um, Jen Allen, who I had on the show, um, several months ago, who works for a channel. Um, the challenger sale and CB, um, she said, Hey, the buying table is getting larger, not smaller. So there’s more people getting involved in purchases, not less.

And I think that, you know, there’s a, there’s a real, uh, I think there’s a real concern. Here’s what I, there’s a real concern in the sales community. I think that somehow salespeople are going to get replaced, but as you mentioned with product led growth, and I’m going to use a fat, I’m going to use a couple of fast food, right?

There is a reason why Chick-fil-A Culver’s and if you’re a Midwest guy, you probably have a Mike’s carwash. There’s a reason why, or cruise. There’s a reason why they have people out there greeting you and doing what they’re doing. And there’s a reason why the lines are wrapped around the buildings. When you see people, people actually like that, I might tell you, I don’t like it.

Like, I really just want my order, but the reality is my purchasing behavior is awful. Where there are people, there are lines everywhere you go. Like if you show me meaning, like Chick-fil-A, they got a hundred kids sitting out in the parking lot so bad that I wrecked my car in the parking lot and I was super mad and I just wanted a, I wanted a milkshake.

I was running late for a podcast. Uh, I tried to go through that milk. They go through the line is a really funny story. I need, I want to know I’m running. Like I have enough time to do it, but it’s kinda tight. I’m like, I’m going to roll with it. So I get my milkshake and I’m going through the line. It’s the summer.

And there’s a bunch of theirs. They put up a tent at the Chick-fil-A by my house. And what happens is this kid comes off the curb and he came off in a way that now my truck is like angled kind of goofy going into the shoots. And we have like, this particular Chick-fil-A has. Highway grade barriers, no pool noodles, no like nothing over the top of these things that like protect your car and they’re just beat the snot.

Right. Cause people are just like rolling over the top. So when he comes off the side of this, um, off the curb, he sort of forces me into this shoe and just a weird way. Like, it was just hard for my truck to get around. So all of a sudden I hear this like right down the side of my right I’ve the summer.

And I’m like, and so I’m like, Hey man, can you give me a minute? He’s like, I really just need you to order your milkshake. I’m like a ten-foot scratch.

And he’s like, well, I really just like need you to order this motion because I’m laughing. Cause I’m like, this is a 60, this is a 60 year old kid making $40 an hour at least check off. So anyways, I ended up getting the manager out there and he’s like, yeah, you know, you got, you got the scratch. He’s like, you’ll have to cut, which is hysterical.

He’s like, you’ll have to call her insurance company and they’ll tell you whether you can, whether they’ll cover. So I’m like, okay. So I called him and I said, Hey, well, here’s the dude call the lady. I said, I hit this. I hit this, but your guy CRE the Chick-fil-A guy created an environment that made it possible for me to hit it.

Had he not come off the curb in may and move my car to the right. I would not have. Cause I’d gone through this drive-through for five years, I’ve never hit one of these industrial grade. So your guy created an environment that what made me hit this? So she’s like, yeah, yeah, I got you. Okay, well, we’ll review the tape.

So she calls me back like four days later, I didn’t get it. And she leaves on the voice message. Hey, we reviewed the tape, you hit it. We’re not going to cover it. I’m like, I know that’s what I said. So I call back and call back and call back. Nobody ever answered my phone. What I really wanted is I just wanted free.

Milkshakes. Like, I didn’t really care about the scratch as much as I just want to,

[00:31:55] Callan Harrington: uh, you know, it’s, you know, it’s the best part about the story that you just mentioned? Um, is that in insurance, right? It’s a such a good example. If you look at Geico and progressive, you see more ads for that than anybody out there, right. You in nationwide too. Um, and uh, they made a huge push and great gained a lot of market share going direct.

Well, the trend is now going back to agents because people wanted more of a, uh, of a one-to-one experience. Now the key is, and I I’d argue, this is exactly the same key in any sales is you still need to match the digital experience and make it easy to work with you. Um, and that’s kind of the key difference, but

[00:32:39] Brad Seaman: no, I think that’s the key, right?

It’s like you need to have, I don’t know. Do you think about that as option now? Or do you think, like, how do you think about that? Like, you need to have the option to do it yourself before.

[00:32:51] Callan Harrington: Um, I think that’s a piece of it. I think you have to look at, I think you really need to break down all of that. Right? So for example, I’ve got, um, uh, I’ve got a client that, and we, we started generating, um, leads, Kurt purely coming from a paid search. Right? Well, that’s one way, but we also, this is a very.

Uh, the niche in particular is going well, working with real estate investors. So that’s very much going, um, you know, to the source, right. They’re networking, they’re face-to-face people. So, um, yeah, and that scenario is definitely optionality, right? You need to make it easy. W whether they, somebody wants to do a Google search and find you and work digitally, or whether somebody who wants to meet you face to face, uh, You have to meet the experience that somebody that’s pumping billions of dollars into their experience are doing.

And there’s more vendors coming out to support those networks never before. And the salespeople need to know. This gets into challenger to the T right. They need to be experts on their client’s business. And if they’re not, then why would you not, why would you not go direct to consumer? If I wouldn’t get the same experience, probably a little bit easier to use by going direct, I’m going to do it.

Um, And less, I’ve got some, a reason to go to this person. They provided a good experience and our experts, right?

[00:34:07] Brad Seaman: Yeah, man, I think he talked about car dealerships. So like, I, I ended up, I bought that several years ago. I bought a use Tahoe. Um, I hadn’t bought a used car, um, before I had some questions about the mileage.

Um, when I got to the dealership, the, the guy was selling me as if I was buying on price. But the things that are really concerned about, he didn’t know the answers to. So like here’s the stuff. As the buyer, I was interested in. How many miles do you think I can drive this? Like, you know, I’ve got a friend that’s got $300,000 or 300,000 miles on his title.

You think this thing can get to 300,000. He’s like, I don’t know. It’s got 96,000 on it. I’m like, I know that’s why I’m asking this question.

You know, like the stuff that, the stuff that I was trying to get from him, like, it wouldn’t have been hard for him to know his product. Right. Um, And, uh, you know, just not, you know, not knowing, you know, not knowing the product and not trying to, you know, trying to really understand what it was that I was, you know, that I was concerned about.

But, um, no, but I think that’s a great insight that you’ve got to match the, uh, that you got to match the experience. It’s definitely an interesting, you know, selling is different in ways than it’s ever been before. It’s also the same in ways that it’s ever been. You know, some of the things are considered.

Um, I definitely think that, I mean, ultimately people want security, so whether that secure in their answers, right? So whether that’s having a person there or whether that’s, um, you know, having, uh, a piece of technology that helps them answer their questions, I think, I think you’re right. That you have to match that.

Um, For sure. Um, so anyways, those are great topics. It was super, super interesting. I just have really been scratching my head on how, how fascinating I think it is that like Chick-fil-A, Culver’s, Mike’s carwash. The three things they all have in common is they got people standing in the parking lot and they got lines wrapped around the bill.

[00:36:11] Callan Harrington: Um, I it’s so true. Um, and, and I, again, I think you’re seeing this, I think there was this huge push it, my guess is this tide will change some point now, you know, in the early stages in the insurance space, everyone thought you got to go direct to consumer. You can’t compete. Um, you got to cut out the agent and, and we were actually, you know, we were on the agent side and I’ve worked for companies that purely supported the direct to consumer channel.

But, um, but, uh, but the agent people want that advice. They want to trust somebody. They just don’t want to do it, how they used to do it. And that’s a big piece. Right. Um, so making it easy to work with using things like loom using things like, uh, you know, loom or zoom or, uh, because people are busy, right.

Especially, especially in this environment, working from home kids, everything else. It’s, it’s tough. You got a lot more on your plate than you probably did.

[00:37:03] Brad Seaman: Well, uh, well, I think what you get into here is like, when I think about the fast food, I’m going to think about these. I think you just have to be raw.

Here’s where I’m going with this. I think you have to be really careful listening to what people say, because people will tell you the opposite of what they, what they do. Like there, people are a constant contradiction. So I think, you know, um, when I listened to people on the internet really talk about like, Hey, the, this, you know, we need to make the, you know, we need to make our software purchasing, just like, you know, just like Netflix and we need to remove the salesperson and we need, okay.

People might say that, but is that really like, I would like to go to Chick-fil-A and not see a person, but why do I keep going through.

I can literally count on, I can order on my phone. I don’t have to deal with, but why do I keep going through a drug? There is a habit I miss, like it, you know, people do what they want to do. It’s like your kids, if your kids don’t want to take out the trash, what do they do?

[00:38:04] Callan Harrington: Yeah, I, I, and for sure in the, the thing that I’d say is, and it’s not that product led growth.

I’m going back to that because that’s, and it’s

[00:38:12] Brad Seaman: all the same thing. I mean, it’s all, it’s all, it’s all. It’s similar.

[00:38:18] Callan Harrington: The not that I don’t think that it has a place. And I do think that if you’re going to be a well-rounded, um, uh, sales leader or chief revenue officer, you better understand it. Um, and, and, and you should, you should test to see how it, how it can work.

But I agree with you wholeheartedly in that, um, Where I don’t believe at all that we’re in this stage where it’s, you have to do product led growth or, or, you know, your company’s not worth anything. And I think that’s the message that’s being stated. But if you look at the companies that are getting acquired, um, they’re not all product led growth companies, that is for sure.

Um, and most of the big sales are coming. And really traditional enterprise sales. It’s no different. The only thing that’s different is what we don’t know, or is business travel, going to be the same as what it was. That’s the only thing that we don’t know that’s changed in enterprise sales period.

[00:39:18] Brad Seaman: Um, I think the other thing other big mistake people make just in general from observation is that it’s, um, particularly for guys and I’m gonna use it.

I’m gonna use it. You know, most women like most guys, if you ask them, you know, like I got here, my wife would come home and say, you know, change the baby, get the milk. And the husband just says, milk, milk, milk, milk, milk. Like in his mind, he can’t even remember what the other thing she asked him. All he remembers is like the one, the one thing.

So he gets the, he gets the milk and she’s like, did you change the baby’s? Like, I didn’t hear the baby. I just start the pump part. So I think it’s natural for us to have one, like, it’s easy for us to focus on one thing and we want to solve our problems. By focusing on one thing. But the reality is if you’re going to build a sales organization or any business that has, um, any value, there’s multiple, there’s either multiple products or there’s multiple channels.

And the same thing goes for a sales organization is that though it’s easy to focus on, you know, one thing. And we like to think about focus as being a singular item in order for something to succeed, you have to do multiple things. You know, there are people who have real wealth have multiple, you know, when you look at the data they have, they have multiple streams of income.

When you look at successful businesses, they have multiple streams of income. When you look at they successful sales teams have multiple sources of income. They got multiple sources of lead gen. It’s not a one focus. It’s not a one.

[00:40:41] Callan Harrington: Right. No, that’s it. I completely completely agree with that. And, and we see it all the time.

Right. And I’ve, and I’ve been guilty of being on the other side of that, where it’s, you know, it’s only cold calling. We’re only doing cold calling, but, um, if, uh, you know, there’s a storm and you can’t cold call because no one’s in the office or, you know, we saw all this happen. First stage of COVID and then it went back to normal, but, um, um, you know, was I to rely on it probably, and that’s on me, that’s on me for not, um, uh, diversifying what, uh, what I’m doing.

Is it at that, that company? Was it always going to be the foundation? No doubt. Um, but I needed to, I needed to, to branch out and do other things to, to, to drive in business. So, um, I’ve certainly been guilty. Yeah, well, it’s

[00:41:30] Brad Seaman: easy to, I bring up the thing about being male. Cause it’s easy to focus. It’s easy to focus on one thing, right?



With a record of superior results and proven skills in driving new business, growing customers, developing talent, and creating a high-energy, high-performance culture, Callan Harrington has a wealth of experience to draw on when helping new clients as part of Flashgrowth!

Join Brad as he sits down with Callan Harrington to discuss his journey to CEO of Flashgrowth. Learn the winding path Callan took, and heed the lessons he learned along the way!   

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