S5E22 How to Achieve 8 Figures with B2B Marketing: 8 Proven Tips for Scaling Your Business with Alex Ladd

S5E22 – How to Achieve 8 Figures with B2B Marketing: 8 Proven Tips for Scaling Your Business with Alex Ladd

How to Achieve 8 Figures with B2B Marketing: 8 Proven Tips for Scaling Your Business.

Sales and marketing don’t have to be complicated. In this episode, my guest breaks down 8 marketing tips they’ve used to help grow the company to 8 figures.

Starting and scaling a B2B consulting business demands strategic vision, unwavering effort, and the agility to navigate shifting market landscapes. In a recent episode of Payback Time, Alex Ladd, founder of Mindstream Analytics, shared his journey from inception to scaling his company to generate millions in revenue.

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The Importance of Quality Over Quantity in Email Marketing

Quality over quantity is paramount in email marketing, as Alex Ladd emphasized. Initially focusing on amassing a vast email list, they discovered that genuine engagement and conversions came from targeting quality leads interested in their offerings. By maintaining a clean, relevant contact list, businesses can achieve higher open rates and engagement, translating into superior returns.

Leveraging SEO for Long-Term Success

SEO stands as a cornerstone for establishing a robust online presence, a lesson underscored by Alex’s journey. Mindstream Analytics strategically tailored content to industry-specific search queries, ultimately securing high search engine rankings. This approach not only drove organic traffic but also positioned them as industry thought leaders. Patience and consistency are vital in SEO, offering enduring benefits for businesses committed to long-term growth.

Creating Engaging and Valuable Content

Content marketing remains pivotal in digital strategies, as Alex highlighted through webinars and ebooks that provide substantial value to prospects. Webinars, in particular, showcase expertise and foster meaningful engagement. Repurposing recorded webinars amplifies their utility, establishing trust and credibility while driving sustained engagement.

The Role of Website Design

A well-designed website serves as a company’s digital ambassador, a point emphasized by Alex. Beyond functionality, aesthetic appeal, and informative content are critical for making a positive first impression. User-friendly design enhances the overall experience, helping potential clients easily comprehend and trust the services offered.

Harnessing the Power of Partnerships

Strategic partnerships can catalyze growth for B2B businesses, a strategy effectively employed by Mindstream Analytics. Aligning with complementary service providers expanded their client base and service repertoire. For entrepreneurs, cultivating such alliances unlocks mutual benefits and new growth avenues.

Constantly Innovating and Testing New Ideas

Adaptation and innovation are non-negotiable in a dynamic business landscape, as Alex emphasized. Experimenting with diverse strategies and services, supported by rigorous data analysis, drives informed decision-making and facilitates strategic pivots. Continuous innovation fuels sustainable growth and resilience against market fluctuations.

Building a successful B2B consulting business demands perpetual evolution and strategic acumen. From prioritizing quality leads and optimizing SEO to crafting valuable content and fostering strategic alliances, each strategic move propels business growth. Alex Ladd’s journey with Mindstream Analytics offers invaluable lessons for entrepreneurs striving for sustainable success. Embracing these insights and maintaining agility empowers businesses to navigate challenges and achieve enduring growth.

Key Timecodes

  • (00:29) – Show intro and background history
  • (03:11) – Deeper into his career journey
  • (04:17) – Understanding his business
  • (07:05) – Understanding his marketing and sales strategies
  • (12:50) – Deeper into his sales and marketing philosophy
  • (17:02) – How to use SEO as a marketing approach
  • (22:31) – Commercial break (TYKR)
  • (23:09) – Deeper into his tactical strategies of SEO
  • (29:34) – How many words he recommends as a tactical approach for SEO
  • (25:02) – A bit about his numbers
  • (31:22) – Guest hot tips
  • (33:31) – A key takeaway from the guest
  • (39:34) – Guest contacts


[00:00:00.000] – Show Intro

Introducing Payback Time, the podcast for entrepreneurs looking to build and scale their startups, gain access to actionable tips, proven strategies, and valuable data that can help you avoid mistakes, skyrocket sales, and optimize profits. Your business breakthrough may just be an episode away.


[00:00:18.010] – Guest Intro

Sales and marketing don’t have to be complicated. In this episode, my next guest breaks down eight marketing tips they used to grow their business to eight figures. Please welcome Alex Lad.


[00:00:29.700] – Sean

Alex , welcome to the show.


[00:00:31.380] – Alex

Thank you. Thanks for having me on.


[00:00:33.150] – Sean

Great to have you on. So before we dive in, could you tell us something unique about yourself that most people don’t know?


[00:00:39.370] – Alex

That’s a tough one, I guess, but I’ll go with, I think more and more people know this, that I was born in Brazil.


[00:00:45.460] – Sean

Oh, all right.


[00:00:47.190] – Alex

My parents were living there. I mean, both of them are from the US, so I can’t really… I feel guilty calling myself Brazilian because both of my parents were from the US living there at the time. So I don’t feel like I have a legitimate I’m not going to call myself Brazilian, but I was born there.


[00:01:03.040] – Sean

Still, I mentioned Ricardo offline. He’s our editor. He is from Brazil. What city?


[00:01:09.280] – Alex



[00:01:10.250] – Sean

Right on. Small world. All right, let’s go ahead and dive into the episode So why don’t you take a few minutes here and tell us about your career background.


[00:01:18.790] – Alex

Okay. My career background is a little different, I think, than most people. I actually graduated from college with a history degree, and now I’m running a company that’s very technical in nature, and I’ve spent a lot of time doing very technical things. So little twist of where I started to where I ended up there. But I started working with a small company back in 1997 that was really founded to start promoting and evangelizing the principles of business intelligence and what’s called OLAAP or Cube-related reporting and analysis. And since then, and I’ve been doing that since then, and I work for a number of different small boutique consulting firms that did that. And then what led me to found Mindstream was eventually, one of the small boutique firms I was working for was acquired. This was right before the big crisis in ’08. I think we were sold about a week before Lehman Brothers went bankrupt. So it was probably up until 11:59, Cinderella. But it was very close to the final bell there. But then we were acquired, and the And acquisition, it wasn’t a great cultural fit, I think. It’s hard to piece out exactly all the problems when you go through a major financial crisis.


[00:02:40.270] – Alex

You’re going to have difficulty already, right? But about a year later, I was talking to one of the guys who was one of my mentors and telling him that I think I was going to look for a new job, et cetera, et cetera. And he told me, Well, you have a pretty good reputation. Why don’t you try your own thing? And then if it doesn’t work out, I’m sure somebody else will give you a job. So So I always tell people, I guess I’m still looking for that next job. So that’s a little bit about it. And what we’ve done is Mindstream is really around corporate performance management. That’s our specialty.


[00:03:11.730] – Sean

Love the backstory there. So why don’t you tell us a little bit more about your company, Corporate Performance Management. We’ll dive in, and then I really want to break down, how did you build this company? This will be funny. Sure.


[00:03:22.950] – Alex

So when you think about corporate performance management, I don’t know if some of your listeners may or may not have heard of a company called Hyperian. They were really the king of this, back until they were acquired by Oracle in about, was it ’07, I think they were acquired by Oracle. And so a lot of times when I mention that name, people will say, Oh, yeah, now I know what it is. But really what it is, is helping the office of the CFO, and it’s financial systems that help the office of the CFO. A lot of them are very highly analytical in nature. I talked about the Cube, so it’s really around slicing and dicing data to try and tease out nuggets of what’s really going on in the business. We do a lot of Planning, budgeting, planning, forecasting, and analysis for the FP&A teams on our CFO. And then we work with the consolidations team when we start looking at… You think of your general ledger and you’re recording all these things, but when you roll all that up, what does that look like? And that’s what the consolidation side is working on.


[00:04:17.340] – Sean

Nice. All right. So let’s get into the business. We’ve got a lot of entrepreneurs that are listening. They’re either looking to start their next business or trying to grow their current business. So you got a business here. I assume this is this a SaaS model?


[00:04:30.180] – Alex

No, it’s really a consulting firm. The one thing that is interesting from that perspective right now is one of the things that everybody talks about COVID and people going virtual and things like that. And we’ve been virtual since we started. So this wasn’t as big a swing for us. But some of the elements of that are interesting as how that grew and how that evolved and what we do about keeping the team together as part of being 100 % virtual.


[00:04:59.690] – Sean

Got And how big is your team?


[00:05:01.550] – Alex

We’re about 70.


[00:05:03.020] – Sean

Seventy people? Nice. And this was founded again. This was around 2007, 2008?


[00:05:07.930] – Alex

We were founded in 2009.


[00:05:09.970] – Sean
  1. Got it. Okay. She is coming out of the recession. All right. You got the momentum.


[00:05:15.130] – Alex

Exactly. Just coming out.


[00:05:17.390] – Sean

Right on. So it’s consulting service focused on helping the CFO and everybody that reports under. Let’s break down the service offering a little bit. Do you structure it? And this is an important question because I do talk to people who are… They have a service business, but they’re trying to create reoccurring customers. With you, I assume you have that model set up so you’re charging some monthly fee, which means you’re providing a monthly service to justify that, right? Yeah.


[00:05:46.450] – Alex

So when you think about it, we break our… Well, you can break our business down a lot of different ways. But in terms of your question right now, you break it down in two ways. One is we have a traditional consulting approach, which is project-based, et cetera. And then when we put in these systems, a lot of companies don’t necessarily have or want to employ a specialist for these systems. So in that case, we also have a managed services division. So we will do the administration. We’ll take care of it, make sure it’s up to date and running properly, et cetera. And that becomes more of a recurring revenue stream.


[00:06:19.970] – Sean

I assume your model, correct me if I’m wrong here, if you’re partnering up with… I think of bookkeeping services. Do you You partner with those types of companies? Yeah. They help you give you leads?


[00:06:33.940] – Alex

Yes. Bookkeeping services to a degree. The other folks that we really partner with are CPA firms or financial consulting firms, things like that, like a PwC, or then on the smaller side, accounting firms and implementation firms like an ID Bailey out here in the West. They’re that smaller SMB focused business. So it varies, but yeah.


[00:07:06.120] – Sean

We’re talking about this offline as marketing sales is always the most common question I get. How do you market? How do you sell? And A great way to do that is to create the pull through sale process, as it’s phrased, and that way you sync up with people that are serving your customer, and how can you network with them because they can provide leads and autopilots. So let’s get right into sales and marketing. Maybe touch on what have you tried in the past that did not work? And then we can focus on what is working.


[00:07:38.700] – Alex

Well, that’s a good question. I’m trying to figure out what’s working every day. But we’ve been around since 2009, so we’ve tried a lot, I like to think, but I’m sure there’s always more to try. When I think about one of the big things that I… I attend a lot of… I listen to a lot of podcasts. I attend a lot of webinars and things like that to listen to people talk about marketing and sales and their different strategies and things like that. So I’m always thinking about what we can do next. But some of the things that we’ve tried over the years, and one of the things that I come back to, because this was a division that we had internally for a while and fought it out, really, was when you think about marketing sales, is your goal to reach as many people or are are you looking for the real valuable ones? So you think about building your email list and things like that. And we would have a massive list at times over the last 15 years. We’d look at a lot of different things. But those lists, the bigger is It’s always better.


[00:08:45.620] – Alex

I’ve come to believe that over time. When we started, we’re just anybody, anybody, just get them to sign up and give them our email address. We had this massive 10,000 person list for a small company. That’s a big, big list. But What’s your return on that list? Nothing, really. But when you whittle it down and get the people that are actually targeting, and you’re talking to the people that way, you’ll feel like you get a lot more bang for your buck. Well, number one, it’s easier. And this is something we go through constantly about cleaning the contact list and things like that. And I’m always a proponent, I think from now on. I didn’t used to be, but I am now a bigger proponent of keeping the list small, because you get these giant unwieldy lists, and most of the people on there either aren’t paying attention, and they’re just too lazier to… They have another process, so they’re not really unsubscribing, they’re just deleting it, right? So your click-through rate is so low. Your open rate is low, and then your click-through rate is even lower. So if you look at that, I always think you want to push the list down.


[00:09:50.770] – Alex

And that seems to fit with most of the people that I hear these days when I’m traveling around listening to different webinars and talks about that. So we spent a lot a lot of time doing SEO, and I think our SEO is actually pretty good for our market. And we rank pretty high. We’re on the first page of the stuff that’s important to us as far as search terms and things like that. But where that takes us and what you’re getting out of that is that’s just the tip of the iceberg, right? Because the next piece is, all right, now you’ve got that first page, but then when people click on it, what’s the result coming through? It It really is. You got to mind and look at each piece and make sure each piece is working. And that’s been the thing that we’ve tried all kinds of things. So you hit our page after you’ve googled us or something like that. And what’s the call to action? Is there a giveaway? Is there some offer you’re making, et cetera? Those things. So we’ve tried a lot of different things like that. I think for our segment, things like ebooks have done pretty well.


[00:10:57.550] – Alex

But it’s also the… I think This sounds so silly, and I don’t have any data to back this one up, but I always think that… I really think the look and presentation of the page makes a huge difference, which I think people tend to gloss over, but I really do think it makes a big difference. And when you think about it, you’re presenting yourself. This is the first time you’re presenting yourself to someone, right? So it does have a big impact.


[00:11:23.960] – Sean

A little work into your website design. I tend to overlook it a little bit as well because I find too many entrepreneurs spend way too much time on polishing a website, right?


[00:11:34.590] – Alex

Yeah, I think that’s totally true. But I also think… Because at the end of the day, even for us, our site visits are pretty high. I mean, it’s thousands, and we’re not that big a company. And the click-through rate is small, et cetera. But at the end of the day, even with all that, it depends on what you’re selling, right? If you’re selling a software product or a product or something like that, it’s going to depend. I’m sure these numbers are different for different industries. But for us, what we end up getting through that is very minimal. I tend to think of the website now as more a sales support mechanism than a sales initiation mechanism. You know what I mean? So you’re not getting your initial lead from your website. We’re getting more… We reach out to them maybe and talk to them, and then they’re hitting the website to verify anything from that conversation. So if they like the conversation, then they’re coming back to the website and they’re passing the website around for people at the same company so they can all look at all our content, et cetera, and stuff like that.


[00:12:43.560] – Alex

So in that case, I think it’s more of a second step in the pipe versus that initial dragment.


[00:12:50.360] – Sean

I want to circle back and talk a little bit more about email and SEO, because that seems to be working a little bit now with email. You mentioned how important it is to build a quality list. And this is a good takeaway for the audience is you probably get pitched. I get pitched all the time. People selling email lists. And to me, that’s a hard no, because you haven’t built a relationship or provided value to anybody there. So you could be buying, literally buying air. There’s nothing of value there, right? I agree.


[00:13:24.010] – Alex

What we’ve tried, and we have done it, but we’ve done it very small increments, and we’ve tried just to try it a couple of times, but we’ve never gone further because it’s never amounted to anything.


[00:13:38.000] – Sean

Right. Now, with that, you tend to focus on quality people hitting your email list. Is this going bad? Let’s go back to the funnel. You mentioned an e-book. Do you give away an e-book or something on your site to generate a lead?


[00:13:53.510] – Alex

It depends on the search term. And I won’t say that there’s an e-book attached to every page or or whatnot. But yes, we do at certain points. But then the other thing that we’ve actually got a lot of traction on is like playbacks from webinars and things like that. You know what I mean? So instead of an e-book, I think, and maybe I’m wrong, but we’re seeing some better traction is building up that library of webinars because there’s a lot of things within our… When you think about what we do, there’s a lot of technical questions. There’s a lot of questions about non-technical and process stuff for the business, et cetera, all of these types of things that people will want to listen to or hear about. And some of them are very particular type subjects. So a webinar on that subject or a webinar on something else. When that happens, you give one. And I try to get all our consultants to do this. And this is another battle with marketing that I would advise people on is if you’re going to go out and create all that content by yourself, that’s too much.


[00:15:00.410] – Alex

What we do is we spend a lot of time trying to get all of the consultants to help contribute to that content development. And I think that works a lot better. And I think that works a lot better for a lot of reasons. Number one is when you… If If you’re going to use that library to help enable your sales team, if you have the same person talking on every single webinar, people are going to question your depth and things like that, right? But when you have lots of different people contributing, then you look like The team looks like it has depth and breadth and things like that, right? It’s just a natural byproduct. So I think all those things are great. And so I would highly recommend people not just bring in as much help as you can to create that content. If people are asking that question. But then I do think the webinar content becomes, and I think that that helps with that… Because when you think about consulting, we’re really selling… Really, it’s about relationship and things like that. So having that conflict complementary sales content can really help, right?


[00:16:04.440] – Sean

Do you then market like you’ll have a recorded webinar and then send that recording off to maybe prospects that are in your email database? Show them, Hey, this is a conversation. This is our team. This is the experience you would get working with us.


[00:16:21.960] – Alex

Yeah, I think usually the process that our business development team is going with right now is they may try and get that initial conversation or that initial email back and forth with someone, try and find out some pain point or something that they have that they can go to that library and check and then send them something from the library. So yes, they are doing that. But it’s like, again, it’s like that step one A piece. It’s after some communication has been established.


[00:16:49.320] – Sean

Sure. Right on.


[00:16:51.040] – Alex

Not that we won’t send out the blind ones. We will. But I just feel like you get a little more traction. If the connection is already there, then you can keep going and And it strengthens it.


[00:17:01.740] – Sean

Give them some more video content. And that way, they get to… Without meeting you, they get an idea because you’re a service business. Who are we working with? Who are the people behind the scenes? What are they doing? How do they answer the questions that we would ask? Exactly. Yeah, that’s good. Let’s get into SEO a little bit. Seo, I always tell people, set expectations. This is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It’s not an overnight thing.


[00:17:29.630] – Alex

No, not at all.


[00:17:31.840] – Sean

For us, to give you context, because we’re more of a global B2C play, it took us two years to start getting an ROI, but it’s not two weeks, it’s not two months. It took us two years.


[00:17:45.130] – Alex

Yeah, no, it takes a long time. And it takes a long time. And the other thing is, as you go through the market, as the market changes, and you start to put out different content here and there, some of your older content starts to come in and that starts to hit the ground and get run away. And you’re like, Well, now we’re over here. So it’s a weird thing. And you know what I actually think is, What I do to see where we are is when you think about ChatGPT and things like that, I love to go out and ask ChatGPT questions about us. So get on, ask questions questions about us, and it’ll come back. And it’s a great way to see how you’re positioned on the web. You know what I mean? Because when you think about it, that’s what it’s looking at, right? It’s looking at all the content that you’re putting on the web. So if you’re going out and asking questions about Mindstream, it’ll tell me what it sees about Mindstream. And what it sees is basically, when you think about it, what it’s seeing is what all your potential customers are seeing, right?


[00:18:56.830] – Alex

It gives you like, this is how you’re positioned on the web, which I know that you started with SEO. Sorry, I didn’t mean to move on that.


[00:19:06.430] – Sean

No, this is related.


[00:19:07.410] – Alex

But I think it’s related because as you get your SEO and you’re seeing things like that, some of these pages are going to get hit more and stuff like that. But you’ll see from something like a ChatGPT or whatever. Yes, don’t get me wrong, you can go out and get all your facts and figures about your data about who’s hitting and from where and all. And that’s useful, too. Don’t get me wrong. But a quick cheat code for that is to go ask ChatGPT questions about yourself, right? Because it’s going to give you what the public persona is of your company.


[00:19:36.730] – Sean

Yeah, I was just going to say it’s going to give you the content that’s on the surface and most consistent in most locations. What is it saying? And it might not only be your site, but other sites talking about you or other places and saying, Okay, so that’s what people are thinking about in our business. Can you get a little tactical with us with SEO? Are you focusing on article writing? Maybe it’s, for example, it would be like, Here are frequent questions our customers ask. We’re just going to take those questions, turn them into answers, and write a post about each. Is it something like that? Or what content do you- Do a little bit of both.


[00:20:19.570] – Alex

We do have a blog, and so people make blog entries. We’ll do that. We also have… We’ll do short video snippets. So some of those questions like that. The other thing we’ll do is white papers and things like that. So there are things like that. But the other thing we do is a lot of landing pages. So our website is… We have the main site, which if you dial up mindstreamanalytics. Com, excuse me, that’s the main site. It’ll show you different things. But then there’s a lot of like, Feeder pages that are out there that are really around what we see as SEO questions from terms, et cetera, that we’ll see from customers. And when you So think about what we do. It’s pretty niche. And so because of that, people have a lot of questions about what is this, what is that? And so it’s a little easier for us to SEO those specific questions as we go through. So for us, I think that makes our SEO a little bit easier because it’s easier to identify and focus in on the terms we want to really hammer home, but versus something that’s more general.


[00:21:29.480] – Alex

If you have a general product or whatever, I’m sure that becomes much more difficult. But I would like to say that I think we have a great developer who helps us with SEO a lot, and we’ve dialed in some of those terms. When some of those terms like I said, are a little older, but they still get lots and lots of hits. So that’s the other thing about SEO. I think that you were mentioning two years to get out. I think some of these things take a long time to run up the rankings. You’ll put them out and you’ll get something great. I’m 52nd or something like that out of 55. But then over time, you just start to climb that ranking. And part of that is tweaking it and getting it right. But also, part of that is just time and length of time that you’ve been out there. So it’s not a get-rich thing. What you’re building today is pipeline two, three years down the road. Yes.


[00:22:29.400] – Sean

That’s the expectation? Let’s take a quick commercial break. Do you feel like stock investing is too confusing, too time consuming, or too risky? It doesn’t have to be. If you ever considered investing on your own but don’t know where to start, I welcome you to check out Tykr. Tykr guides you through your investment journey by steering you towards safe investments and away from risky investments. I created Tykr because number one, I wanted to remove emotions from investing, and number two, I wanted to save time. If you’re interested, you can get started with a free trial. Simply visit Tykr. Com. That’s T-Y-K-R. Com. Again, Tykr. Com. All right, back to the show. Since your decision maker, your buyer, I assume, and the organizations you serve It’s probably director level, VP level, even the CFO in some cases. In many cases, I assume it’s probably a director or VP, probably bringing the case to the CFO, right? What are some of the… Can you get specific on what are the search phrases that your prospects are probably searching for?


[00:23:35.630] – Alex

Well, so when you think about it, where we really boil down to is we’re helping them implement some of these systems, right? So a lot of them are around the vendors that we utilize in service. So for instance, I mentioned Hyperian earlier in the show. That one is if you look at what is Hyperion, I don’t know if we hit that one. I haven’t checked that one in a long time. But really, another competitor of theirs, which came out of Hyperion, a bunch of ex-Hyperian people, is a company called OneStream. And so what is OneStream? And that’s a great one, right? And we rank pretty high on that. And so things like that. And then what is corporate performance management? What is enterprise performance management? Which is what Oracle uses the term for the same thing. So there’s things like that. Then there’s things around consolidations or budgeting and forecasting and analytics. It’s one of the toolsets that Hyperion used to have is S-Base. So if you Google, what is S-Base? I think we’re still number one. We might not be in one anymore, but we’re in that top five area of that. So that was a heavy piece for us.


[00:24:41.840] – Alex

So things like that that are specific to that. And then we get into things that become more particular about what we’re doing. If there’s a certain one-stream functionality, or if there’s a component of how do I solve this particular piece or something like that, we’ll get into those particular technical questions.


[00:25:02.210] – Sean

Right on. I like to get in the numbers a little bit. This will give our listeners a good framework. If they’re building a consulting firm or some B2B play, what do they charge? And I know it can vary per industry, but can you give us an idea? What do you typically charge for a project, low-end to high-end?


[00:25:22.200] – Alex

We’re a little unique, I think, amongst our competitors because we service the SMB side of the marketplace and then all the way up to the enterprise side. So the biggest project that we’ve ever done, I think, was 10.5 million. But on the average SMB, right now, our average SMB, SOW, is around 24,000.


[00:25:50.210] – Sean



[00:25:51.000] – Alex

So it’s a really wide spectrum, but that’s because we have two lines of business, one that’s really focused on serving the SMB and one that’s really much more focused on the enterprise side.


[00:26:02.260] – Sean

Got it. And if you were to apply a percentage to both, what is that split? Does the 80/20 rule apply or is it 50/50?


[00:26:10.730] – Alex

Yeah. Right now, it’s about 20 % on the SMB and 80 % on the enterprise. Oh, wow. Okay. Roughly. But really, that’s because the enterprise side has been growing. Three years ago, it was more like two-thirds, one-third. And then over the last three years, the SMB side has held steady, if you will, whereas the enterprise side has grown significantly. Right.


[00:26:38.800] – Sean

And then using that nice round number, their 24,000, is that a yearly contract or agreement?


[00:26:45.140] – Alex

No, that’s usually about six to eight weeks for us to come in and set something up for you. And then I mentioned the managed services piece. So if the managed services piece, if you don’t have someone that can run the system afterwards, we offer a couple of options around And some are more inclusive than others. But the base-based level is something… I think it’s $1.99 a month, and then there’s billable time on top of that. But it’s a much reduced rate than our project billable time.


[00:27:14.520] – Sean

Got you. Okay. Yeah, that’s really good to know. And then regarding the business itself, you got 70 employees. You are really a healthy machine at this point. But can you give us an idea? How many years in were you able to break a million in A million ARR?


[00:27:30.780] – Alex

A million ARR is demand services. So we probably broke a million in ARR for managed services about three to four years in. And part of that is because we had a couple… The problem What I’m doing with our ARR, revenue growth, really, is that I struggle with all the time. You talk about sales and marketing, and figure this out, and I’m trying all the time. But with us as a consulting firm, and then the managed services firm, it’s really hard for us to break to take the managed services out of the shadow of the consulting team. They get a lot of work from customers who we did the implementation for, and then we’ll buy our managed services or sign up for our managed services.


[00:28:14.930] – Sean

It’s like a cross-sell.


[00:28:16.730] – Alex

Yeah. But to get it out and get it on its own where it’s bringing in customers just that have not used us for consulting, that’s the part that we struggle with. I mean, it happens, But that’s the part that we’re always constantly looking to try and figure out, right? How can we drive that on its own? And part of that is we’re a small company, so you have limited… It’s not like you can just… All right, all the marketing dollars go to managed services. That’s going to hurt you, right? Because your biggest cost is your staff on the consulting side, right? So you can’t just do that, right? So part of it is how do you divide up resources and things like that? I think the other side of that also goes to the entrenchment of certain different customers with their consulting partner and things like that. They’re going to try and do everything not to get them to come to us. You’re fighting an uphill battle right from the get-go. That one is a tough thing. But I think we got to a million ARR, I want to say probably three to four years.


[00:29:18.650] – Alex

But part of that was also because you mentioned at the beginning, going back to partnering and getting leads from people without your own marketing efforts. In our space, We are huge on partnering. We are known in the industry, I think, as people you can partner with. And I think that that’s really important. So that’s one of the reasons we got a million in ARR, got to a million in ARR with the managed services piece was really from referrals from consulting firms that didn’t have it, that didn’t have that offering, but knew us and knew that they could trust us to work with us and things like that. And that was something that that we were able to leverage, and that’s what helped us get there.


[00:30:03.000] – Sean

And then getting to the million mark on the consulting side, how long did that take?


[00:30:07.310] – Alex

We did that in the first year.


[00:30:10.050] – Sean

Hey, nice work.


[00:30:11.660] – Alex

Thank you. Yeah. So that was… I mean, part of that was also, I think I told you the story about how it started. And I had a lot of connections. I had a lot of people that were looking for work at the time. And so we were able to take that on. But that, again, that I would not say that that was because I mastered sales and marketing. I think that was because I had the connections at the time that we’re all looking for projects and things like that. People knew me already and things like that.


[00:30:41.760] – Sean

That’s great. And then can you tell us what are your overall What news today?


[00:30:46.510] – Alex

Last year, it was about 13 million, just a little over. And this year, we are shooting for just over 15.


[00:30:55.450] – Sean

That’s great. With 70 employees. That’s awesome. Nice work. You know, Creating a well-optimized service business is not easy, but it sounds like you certainly arrived there for sure. Operations has got to be a key. We’re always trying.


[00:31:08.970] – Alex

Yeah, yeah.


[00:31:11.300] – Sean

Excellent. All right. What I’d like to do next is roll up of the key takeaways. And then I’m going to ask you, what is one key takeaway you can give our audience before we jump into the rapid fire round? And this is the moment where I like to break the fourth wall and really give the hot takeaways for our audience. So I I saw this episode as a lot of great takeaways to build a B2B business. It could be a software business, but it could be a consulting business like what Alex has talked about. So here we go. I got eight hot points I want to highlight that work for marketing. Here we go. So email marketing is big, but collect the right leads. Don’t go for volume, go for quality. Number two, offer some e-book or something to generate the lead. That’s important. Number three, I’ve got SEO. Make sure your SEO is in place. I really like the idea, and I’ve heard this on other episodes, is you could have articles written by our competitor because if they Google that competitor, you may pop up. Sounds like a sum of that is happening for you now, which is wonderful.


[00:32:17.960] – Sean

Number four is creating specific landing pages. You get your main homepage of your website, but you want to have some specific landing pages related to the SEO I just mentioned. This is a good one. I love webinars. I tell people, you should be putting up free webinars, record them, repurpose the content, share them with others, because people are on the fence, maybe like, All right, I want to jump on a call and just learn a little more. Number six, website design. Don’t overlook that. Again, I’m one that I say, just get a site up and move on. But in your case, you might have some particular people. They really want to look at a polished site, so focus there. Seven, Evan, this was good. I’m not doing this, and I need to do this. Ask ChatGPT about your company. What does ChatGPT have to say about Mindstream Analytics, or in my case, Tykr? Something there. And then number 8, this is the home run, I tell anybody, is you need to build partnerships. And the enterprise world, they call them channel partners, or sometimes distributors, or in our case, we call them affiliates. That’s a great place to be.


[00:33:28.850] – Sean

So there are hot eight marketing tips to grow a B2B business. Now, before we jump in the rapid fire round, what is one more key takeaway you can give our audience?


[00:33:39.440] – Alex

One more key takeaway, I guess, would be something along the lines of, and I think that this goes into ChatG GPT, the item that we talked about, and that is be constantly testing new ideas and be constantly ready to pivot to something else. Some of the stuff, like we said, does take time to develop, but you also have to be constantly working on new ideas and validation of those things. Look at that and look at the data.


[00:34:05.970] – Sean

Yes. And then one of those deals, and I can emphasize this, is as a business owner, you get so ingrained in the daily activities of marketing sales operations. If you’re building software, you got to stop and take a 50,000-foot view and look at the data in your business. And I have to remind myself of that. Slow down for a minute, Sean, and look at the data Where are we going? And in most cases, I’d say 80 % of the time I see an aha moment like, No, we should not be doing that. We should be doing this. So I love that takeaway. Good tip. All right, let’s dive into the rapid fire round. This is the part of the episode where we get to find out who Alex really is. If you can, try to answer each question in about 15 seconds or less. You ready? Okay.


[00:34:53.460] – Alex

Go ahead.


[00:34:54.100] – Sean

All right. What is your favorite podcast?


[00:34:56.610] – Alex

Well, don’t I have to say Payback Time?


[00:34:58.320] – Sean

I always tell, please don’t say Payback. What are you actually listening to?


[00:35:03.140] – Alex

No, actually, you know what? I actually forget the name of it, but it’s about pilots. I recently started getting a pilot’s license. Oh, nice. And so I’m listening to a lot of that. So I can’t remember the name, to be honest with you. I put it in my saved and it’s just there. So sorry.


[00:35:20.680] – Sean

M-0-a, is it related to that?


[00:35:24.050] – Alex

No, this is a…


[00:35:26.160] – Sean



[00:35:26.860] – Alex

I forget what it… It’s easy. It’s like autopilot or something like that. It’s two ex-military pilots that talk about a lot of different things.


[00:35:36.570] – Sean

Got it. That’s a really tight-knit community. One of my best friends is… He’s got a small aircraft, and he’s been a pilot, and it’s cool. He fills me in on what’s going on in the industry. It seems like this person knows that person. They don’t even live close to each other. People know each other. It’s a cool community.


[00:35:55.170] – Alex

Yeah, it has been so far.


[00:35:57.250] – Sean

What is a recent book you read and would recommend?


[00:35:59.710] – Alex

A recent book. You know what? Most of the books I’ve been reading have been about a pilot’s handbook and things like that. But you know what? I’m a sucker for spy novels and things like that. So if you really want to know, I’ve read a series by Brad Taylor, and I forget the latest one he’s written, but that was probably the last for pleasure book I read, which I’m sorry, is not business-related at all. No.


[00:36:27.630] – Sean

This is good because that’s That’s my style. This leads into… I’m getting an idea who you are here. It leads in on this third question is, what is your favorite movie?


[00:36:40.130] – Alex

Like I said, this is such a hard topic. You know what? We were debating. I was actually debating this, where This isn’t really the right answer or not an answer, but I was just having a debate with some friends over the weekend about where does Riders of the Lost Ark fit in in a top 10 list or something like that. Is that the favorite of all time? Maybe. But it definitely is up there. And I don’t see it on a lot of top 10 lists. If you look around and read top 10 lists or whatever, but it’s got to be somewhere up there. It’s a great movie. So I don’t know if that’s my favorite, but it’s definitely worthy of I mentioned.


[00:37:15.330] – Sean

It’s in the conversation. It’s like that was my entry as a kid from cartoons and this stuff we watch to real action movies. My dad was like, Don’t watch that. Watch this. And I was like, Yeah, I’m done with cartoons. Thank you, Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg. I appreciate it, right? Yeah, exactly. I was thinking you would have said something in line with the show Reacher, I imagine.


[00:37:44.600] – Alex

Oh, you know what I do watch Reacher. That’s not a movie. Do you count that, though, as a series?


[00:37:47.930] – Sean

I do love Reacher. Right. Some people come on and say a series, and I’m like, That’s valid. That’s valid. Because knowing your- I’m definitely caught up on Reacher.


[00:37:56.040] – Alex

You’re military. Waiting for the next season already.


[00:37:59.570] – Sean

Yeah, Exactly. Knowing your military interest, I’m like, yeah, that’s one you probably would love.


[00:38:05.040] – Alex

Yeah, that’s right. All right.


[00:38:06.220] – Sean

A few business questions here or related, which would be, what is the worst advice you ever received?


[00:38:12.820] – Alex

The worst advice I ever received I’ve never received. You know what? I’m going to say it has to do with hiring. I’m not going to say who it was, but it had to do with hiring. And it had to do with hiring when I started the company. And I think that that set trends that probably I wish that we hadn’t set.


[00:38:33.690] – Sean

Yeah. I made plenty of mistakes in that area, too. All right. Flip the equation. What’s the best advice you have received?


[00:38:44.130] – Alex

Unfortunately, They both come from the same person, which is, I guess, I don’t know, the average out net zero or positive, I guess, in the long run. But I think the best piece of advice I ever got was to start my own company.


[00:38:57.110] – Sean



[00:38:58.190] – Alex

All right.


[00:38:59.370] – Sean

And now the time machine question. If you could go back in time to give your younger self advice, what age would you visit and what would you say?


[00:39:05.690] – Alex

This is not business-related, but I would go back to when I was five. I mentioned that I was born in Brazil. And when we moved to the United States, I spoke Portuguese before I spoke English. When we moved to the United States, I was really homesick about leaving Brazil, and I refused to speak Portuguese to anyone, and then lost my ability to speak Portuguese. And I would go back and tell myself to keep speaking Portuguese. Because that’s one of my biggest regrets, is having lost that.


[00:39:33.800] – Sean

Right on. Yeah. Awesome advice. All right. And where can the audience reach you?


[00:39:38.930] – Alex

Audience can reach me at, well, www. Mindstreamanalytics. Com. It’s a very long Sean told me his name. I’m sorry, but it’s there. And then I’m on LinkedIn, Alexander Ladd on LinkedIn and Mindstream Analytics, and you definitely can find me there.


[00:39:56.180] – Sean

Awesome. We’ll have all your links listed down below, both in the podcast and our site. But Alex, thank you so much for your time. Really appreciate it.


[00:40:05.100] – Alex

Yeah, thank you. Thanks, Sean.


[00:40:06.820] – Sean

All right. Talk to you later. Okay, thanks. Hey, I’d like to say thanks for checking out this podcast. I know there’s a lot of other podcasts you could be listening to, so thanks for spending some time with me. And if you have a moment, could you please head over to Apple Podcasts and leave a five-star review. The more reviews we get, the higher this podcast will rank. All right, stay tuned for the next episode. We’ll see you.