Are you ready to lead through today’s COVID-19 ordeal? There is no doubt that we are in a moment that requires crisis leadership. Today, we look at the shifts necessary for sales and marketing in this new economy. My guest today is Angelique Rewers, CEO of The Corporate Agent. Her company works with small, medium, and boutique firms to develop strategies to work with corporate clients. We dive into the elements of crisis leadership that are different than other styles of leadership. Angelique shares how she has managed her mindset to prepare to lead the team. We also look at crisis leadership strategies that are required to shift our marketing and sales. Join the conversation.
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Angelique Rewers: The Transcript
Target Audience: Angelique Rewers, CEO and founder of The Corporate Agent. The Corporate Agent, helps small businesses and entrepreneurs land high paying clients. Level up your business here.
Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.
It’s important that we’re honest about what’s happening. And companies definitely have a lot of stress. They’re being very reactive right now. There’s a tremendous amount of uncertainty. And there’s been a real shock to the system to all systems. There’s been a shock to our, you know, mental state, but there’s been a shock to the economic system to the supply chains to the way that people are behaving and are buying trends. So yeah, I mean, we’re in Crisis Response through and through right now.
Welcome to Growth Think Tank. This is the one and only place where you will get insight from the founders and the CEOs of the fastest-growing privately held companies. I am the host. My name is Gene Hammett. I hope leaders and their teams navigate the defining moments of their growth. Are you ready to grow?
Gene Hammett [0:48]
Crisis leadership, right now? You have to think differently. You have to show up differently for your team, and you have to lead sales and marketing differently than you did just a month ago. This is an unprecedented time, full of uncertainty. And the things that you have been doing just won’t work anymore. When you think about being a crisis leader, you have to take a step back from what’s really going on, get some perspective. Today, we’re going to do that our guest is Angelique Rewers. She is the founder of the Corporate Agent. They help solo entrepreneurs, smaller companies, boutique offerings, and mid-market really create the momentum they need. By getting corporate clients. We talk to her specifically about sales and marketing. And what that means inside of today’s crisis with Coronavirus, or Cova, 19, whatever you want to call it, things are different. Crisis leadership is necessary. Some of the things we unpack is what has to change in your lead generation in order to navigate to the next few months. What will happen after that, what has to change in your sales strategy, and she gets really specific about some of the specific things that you have to learn to Look at and change inside your own company and maybe even the way you sell. And finally, we wrap this up with what has to change your leadership style. So all of this in today’s episode on Growth Think Tank.
Gene Hammett [2:12]
Before we get there, I want to ask you a question. Are your frontline leaders prepared to lead through today’s crisis? Are they prepared to really come up with the critical decisions to lead their team members to the next level through this crisis? You may be prepared. You may have confidence and courage, but the frontline leaders, how are you supporting them? Well, if you’re not asking yourself that question you probably should be. We’ve put together a special training. I and my team have been working behind the scenes about how to lead frontline leaders. Through this, we will look at the five mistakes that you can avoid as an executive leader so that you can actually create frontline leaders. They’ll help you through this crisis and beyond. To sign up for that just go to genehammett.com/webinar. Inside that, you’ll get those five mistakes So that you can avoid them and become the leader that your team deserves. create stronger frontline leaders go to genehammett.com/webinar.
Before we dive into the interview, I wanted to remind you that you can actually get a tool that I’ve been working with clients with for the last couple of years I’ve refined this tool has gone through several iterations. Now we have it completely automated, you can actually go online and fill out the leadership quiz. To get the leadership quiz. Just go to theleadershipquiz.com that’s pretty easy, right? theleadershipquiz.com what you will get when you do that is you will answer a few questions. You will see where you rate based on the core principles of fast-growth companies. If you’re ready to grow your company or you want to see where you are, then make sure you go to theleadershipquiz.com inside it you will get insight to where you are, understand where you want to improve, and you will get them mapped into the 10 areas that are most specific to fast-growth companies. Again, Go to theleadershipquiz.com and you can get that right now. Now here’s the interview with Angelique.
Gene Hammett [4:05]
Hi, Angelique. How are you?
Angelique Rewers [4:07]
I am Awesome.
Gene Hammett [4:08]
Well, we go way back. And you’ve been on the show before.
Angelique Rewers [4:12]
No, actually, this is my first time with you on the show.
Gene Hammett [4:16]
On the new show. But you’ve been on us.
Angelique Rewers [4:18]
Yeah, yes. On the new show, too.
Gene Hammett [4:21]
Well, I want our audience to know exactly who you are. I’ve already introduced you in a personal level. But tell us about the Corporate Agent.
Angelique Rewers [4:28]
Yeah, can you believe it? We are celebrating 10 years this year. We had a completely different plan for the year, the one we’re currently executing on but for the last 10 years, we have worked with small businesses and mid-market companies of all sizes, to help them strategize and gain entry into corporate clients and then grow those accounts and keep those corporate clients so everything we do is about helping the small business owners Got into corporate clients?
Gene Hammett [5:02]
Well, I know that I first saw you speak a few years ago about corporate clients, and you just you have so much depth around this, and passion for it. Why are you so passionate about corporate clients?
Angelique Rewers [5:15]
A couple of reasons. I mean, one, I really do believe in my heart of hearts, that it is corporate companies that change the world. By and large, just look at the impact that Amazon and Facebook and delta and the big oil companies have on our worlds, right. So they’re the ones that really shaped the world more than anything. And so when we’re able to get innovative small companies inside of those corporations, and really change them from the inside out, it has just a profound ripple effect in the world. And then the other side of it is just a little bit more pragmatic. And that is that corporate clients completely change the economics for A small business or a mid-market company when you have those bigger accounts, you’re talking about more visibility into your pipeline, much, much exponentially bigger lifetime value of your clients’ predictability, even everything down to securing finances for your company. If you go into a bank, and you show them that you have contracts with major brands, they’re going to be much more comfortable, even if they don’t necessarily understand what your startup or your you know, your fast-growing Inc 500 company does.
Angelique Rewers [6:34]
They’re going to say, well, you have contracts with Ford and GM and you know, American Airlines and Coca Cola, so we feel more confident in giving you this money. So there are very practical reasons for it. But then there’s, you know, from the sort of fire starter in me of just knowing the kind of positive impact we can have on the world when we’re shaping the way that these big companies think and act in the world.
Gene Hammett [6:57]
So I want to set the table here because had we recorded this a month ago, we would have talked about something completely different.
Angelique Rewers [7:04]
Gene Hammett [7:05]
And today, we are a couple of weeks into the national, you know, kind of quarantine almost. When you think about that from a business perspective, I mean, things are changed. And I know some people are taking offense to the words that we use. We’re in crisis, we’re in a recession and things like that. How would you describe where we are today? In a business sense?
Angelique Rewers [7:29]
Oh, yeah. I mean, let’s be very real about it. We are absolutely in a crisis response mode. There are just no two ways about it. I’m not very apologetic for using that term crisis response, because it’s important that we’re honest about what’s happening. And companies definitely have a lot of stress. They’re being very reactive right now. There, there’s a tremendous amount of uncertainty. And there’s been a real shock to the system to all systems. There’s been, you know, a shock to are, you know, mental state, but there’s been a shock to the economic system to the supply chains to the way that people are behaving and are buying trends. So yeah, I mean, we’re in Crisis Response through and through right now.
Hold on for a second. I actually just talked about companies being reactive, if that’s you if you are in a place where you’re reacting from a place of fear, or maybe just scrambling to just keep your head above the water, I would like to offer you something. Now, you may not understand this, but I’d love to offer you something that a client of mine said the other day when we were talking, I said, What are you focused on as you lead your team to the next level? He said calm minds prevail. don’t always think you have to react and know the answer to everything. Go into every situation with a calm mind, really think and step back from this, but be willing to make those decisions and stand behind them. That’s really important as you move forward at this time. Need for your team. Now back to the interview.
Gene Hammett [9:03]
When you think about marketing and sales because I really see you as helping companies understand the strategies behind growth, and that marketing and sales such an important piece to it. There are many changes that have happened, like conferences are being canceled You and I both speak at conferences, so we probably, you probably had things canceled as well as I have. What should companies be looking at now with that sales and marketing perspective of how to prepare for this next stage of work?
Angelique Rewers [9:30]
Yeah, there’s really three things. I mean, the first is understanding from a lead generation perspective, this is so important for your marketing and your sales teams to understand is that proximity is still power just because we’ve lost the in-person conferences that are out there. We have to understand that, you know, it’s all about proximity. If you think that you know, you’re going to really make inroads on lead generation, getting buried under social media. In fact, the noise level on social has just gone through the roof because everyone’s stuck at home. Right?
Angelique Rewers [10:03]
So number one, you’ve got to figure out how are we going to get proximity right now. And especially if a lot of the channels, if you’re doing trade shows, if you were having customer meetings, I mean, a lot of you know, fast-growing companies out there have annual client meetings. We were just getting ready to help about a $200 million company to do their annual customer meeting that obviously went up in smoke. So you’ve got to figure out well, how are we going to get proximity then the second problem really is around how are we going to meet them where they are? And that’s probably the biggest mistake that companies are making right now that they’re not shifting. what they’re trying to do is they’re trying to shove, you know, a square peg into a round hole. They’re trying to take what they normally do normally sell and kind of shove it down the throats of their customers.
Angelique Rewers [10:54]
I read this article today it sort of, you know, sent me into a rant because they were talking to you about You know, this is how you can prove the value of what you do just state these, you know, ROI facts to them and prove the value of what you do. And it you know, we’re in a new hierarchy of needs for companies, they are in crisis mode crisis response, and they’re in survival. So if you think you can take what you were doing and try to, you know, prove to them convince them why they should still keep spending money on it, but it doesn’t actually talk to their need for crisis response or survival. Your business is going to struggle your sales team are going to do not meet their numbers and you’re going to really damage the relationship with those clients. And then the third piece of it is you know, what, how what are you doing long term so that as you get in the door right now with whatever it is that supporting that crisis response and survival mode, how then are you going to then come back up the value chain with your clients to help them recover and eventually hopefully move back into growth. And hopefully by the end of this year, hopefully by December 2020, January 2021, hopefully we’ll all be able to, you know, be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel that will be moving through recovery and back into growth. But if you don’t figure out that equation, it’s gonna be a really tough year for you.
Gene Hammett [12:20]
I want to go to that meet them where they are because you’ve always been just fantastic. Ever boil it down. I know you’ve had conversations like this. Can you give us an example? Or tell us a story of a client or something you’ve experienced just in the last couple of weeks?
Angelique Rewers [12:34]
Yeah. So you know, a lot of folks out there a lot of companies out there, they’re typically offering services around leadership pipelines, or, you know, invest in these HR services or the software’s that are marketing strategies that are all about growth. And right now, companies can’t think about that at all. That’s not where they are. So one of our clients, for example, is really jumping in with it. organizations around, how do they keep their call centers operating? You know, how do they, you know, what do they do if they literally if they don’t have people in a location, they can’t keep their operations running. But at the same time, you know, they’re not set up to have hundreds of people working from home. So really jumping in and figuring out what are that new HR policy? These? What are the new protocols for that?
Angelique Rewers [13:25]
How are they going to maintain quality, aside from obviously, all of its issues that come with that, but instead of talking to them about let’s empower your people and have a great place to work and make sure people have a career path, I mean, all of those things are on the back burner right now? And it’s about keeping the lights on. So but other people out there were watching it or watching the articles they put out or watching the webinars that they’re hosting, and they’re still trying to just convince people Hey, this is why you still need to focus on your future. This is why you need to focus on. It would be like telling someone who doesn’t have to water or shelter, why they should focus on health and wellness and mindset, right? Like, it’s just crazy to do that. But you see it every single day just go on to LinkedIn, you know, check out a webinar and you’ll watch people talk to corporate decision-makers, mid-market companies at a completely wrong place in the entry point like, what is your on-ramp to a company? Well, your on-ramp to these companies has completely shifted and changed.
Gene Hammett [14:31]
I know mine has I normally do in-person experience. And now I have to look about how would I deliver that in a virtual way?
Angelique Rewers [14:39]
Yeah, it’s a cool thing. The right is more people are open to it. People, who love in person are kind of saying, well, I love in person, but I’m willing now right?
Gene Hammett [14:49]
Yeah. Let’s talk about sales because this is where I really feel like things are shifting. I’ve had people that are delaying their decisions. I’ve had people that had basically said no to because of things that are going on uncertainty, what’s changing in the way we lead a sales organization?
Angelique Rewers [15:09]
I think the first thing this is it. This is an adage that’s been around for a long time, but a confused mind doesn’t buy and boy, are people confused right now. There’s absolutely no playbook for what we have going on right now. So the first thing is if you want to sell right now, you’re going to have to invest more time helping the decision-makers to triage and understand and get some clarity around. What can they move forward on with a degree of certainty, really helping guide them to look no matter what happens, you know, you’re still going to need x right? But you have to understand that your the horizon that they can see is much shorter than it was right so, um, companies could look out 12 months 18 months 24 months with the degree of you know, I there’s no fog there, I can see where we’re going now they’re thinking, What’s going to happen in three months? What’s going to happen in five months? So you really have to shift what you’re offering to a shorter runway, a closer horizon.
Angelique Rewers [16:14]
That’s number one. You’ve got to work with them to triage really, what can they move forward on with a degree of certainty because some things they legitimately can’t move forward on. And that’s I think, as a former corporate decision-maker, I used to personally get the very, very frustrated Gene when we would be in a situation. One in particular that comes to mind is we were doing this merger of equals, that’s sort of famous corporate, corporate speak. It was no merger of equals right. We were being bought, but they were billing it as a merger of equals. And we would have salespeople come in and they would meet with me and they would really want to try to convince me that I could move forward on X, Y, or Z, even though we had this Big merger that had a lot of uncertainty around it, our state legislature was under an emergency session just to deal with our company.
Angelique Rewers [17:10]
We were our employees were getting tomatoes thrown at them. I mean, it was this crazy, crazy time. And salespeople just would not understand that I could not move forward on certain things. And so you don’t want to do that to your prospects right now. You don’t want to do it to your existing clients right now. You really want to sit and work with them to figure out what is reasonable for them to move forward on and what isn’t. And to be honest with you, most business owners and most sales and marketing people, business development folks aren’t willing to do that. They just want to go through their slides, throw up your show and throw up as they say they just kind of want to go through and they just kind of want to push the sales through. And honestly, you know, you’re really just asking to create a transactional relationship with that client. If that’s your approach?
Gene Hammett [18:01]
Well, I know we could talk for hours about marketing and sales. It’s something I hold, dear. But I also want to kind of pivot a little bit into the leadership style. We were talking before we turn the recorder on your belief is it takes a little bit of different style to really lead through this crisis. What is it? What do you mean by that?
Angelique Rewers [18:23]
Well, you know, I think part of it comes from my professional background. So I worked in the energy space where I was heavily involved with the nuclear energy side of the business. And we would drill all the time on crisis response if we had a nuclear meltdown. And I also worked in the defense space where I worked with a lot of people who were veterans, retired military, three-star admirals and things of that nature. And so I had a chance to really work with people, leaders who had been through the crisis they had been through leading on the battle. field, in fact, our Executive Vice President, here at the corporate agent, he went to West Point, he was a captain in the army. And so you know, even his leadership style, you know, in our team, you know, it really shows up. And when you’re in more of a crisis situation, it’s when you have to be much more decisive. As a leader, you have to make decisions more quickly. You have to make them more decisively. And oftentimes, you have a lot less consensus around you because frankly, people are scared to make a decision. They’re scared to move forward. They don’t want to make the wrong decision in a lot of companies.
Angelique Rewers [19:38]
No matter how much we talk about higher trust levels, you’re still sort of penalized if you will if you make a bad decision. There’s sort of a lot that comes back on you. And so people feel like they need to do more information gathering they, they end up in an analysis paralysis right now they feel like, without certainty, they can’t move forward. That’s the last thing that leaders can do right now. So So many of the things that in an ideal world, as leaders, we like to make sure we get buy in from everyone, everyone’s had a chance to, you know, bring their thoughts to the table when you’re in sort of a battlefield situation, you can’t do that. You as the leader have to take the information and the data that you have asked for what you need. And then you have to make a decision and move forward. And what’s interesting about that is most employees right now are going to respond really positively to that because they want a degree of certainty.
Angelique Rewers [20:33]
So with their leader at that home of the ship is like, Well, I’m not sure if we should go this way or this way to avoid that iceberg. That’s just creating a lot of fear and doubt in your people. So now is really the time to keep making decisive decisions, make them quickly move forward on them. It’s going to give your team a sense of purpose to be able to move forward with you know, a mark on the map to move toward and if you have to come Back in a few weeks and say, You know what, we’re gonna have to change gears again, then make that decision with certainty as well. But the last thing you want to do is inject more uncertainty into the workplace right now and let your team want to waffle. That’s not a good plan of action on a battlefield.
Gene Hammett [21:16]
I am hearing back from my clients, a lot of teams are rallying in the situation, they’re unsure. So there, maybe they’re wanting to protect their jobs. So they’re like, really, I’ve noticed this within my own team. My clients are saying this or you know, noticing this across your client base.
Angelique Rewers [21:32]
Yes. And no, you know, we had a couple of clients, one in particular who shared a workplace tragedy I won’t go into the details because I don’t you know, want to break any confidentiality, but a workplace tragedy that came up because the leaders actually didn’t kind of check-in with their people to really see how they were coping. And they were really trying to push everyone right into recovery mode without looking at it. Everyone’s sort of process, where we are taking a breath.
Angelique Rewers [22:03]
So I think in some organizations, you’re seeing this tremendous rallying. My hunch, though, on it Gene, is that what I’ve noticed more than anything about this situation is that it is an ultimate amplifier, meaning whatever was there before like if you had marketing and a sales team, that was already, you know, strong with high emotional intelligence, and understanding how to meet clients where they are, that just got better that just got amplified. If you have a work environment where people love where they’re working, and they’re valued, and they’re asked for their opinions, and they have an ability to make a difference, then that’s getting amplified, and environments where people are able, maybe feeling like it’s a command and control in a really negative toxic way that’s getting more toxic, right? So I just I think it’s important to understand whatever was already there before this crisis hit, it’s all being amplified.
Angelique Rewers [23:07]
So as a leader, you really have to be honest with is there toxicity in our workplace right now? Or was there already a sort of a team environment, a great culture and then we can bring that to the forefront? If not, then I think you do have to kind of step back and say, How can we shift it before we go pedal to the metal on this right now, but it’s like the great amplifier like I’ve never seen before.
Gene Hammett [23:29]
I want to switch gears one final time as we wrap this up, you are leading a team, many of them virtual, but you are now homeschooling as well. You’re dealing with a lot of the same things we’re dealing with, you know, you’re making changes to your offers. How do you as a leader, keep yourself balanced, keep your emotional energy, you know, on the right place and really find that grounding that you need to lead the team.
Angelique Rewers [23:54]
You know one is gratitude. There are some great benefits especially You know, from my perspective, right now, I don’t feel guilty about saying that, you know, I’m off the road a lot now. So I’m home with my kids and my husband way more than I normally AM. Because I do travel a lot to speak at conferences and meet with clients. So making dinner every night, being able to sleep in actually, we don’t have to get our kids off to school. I’m getting like an extra hour of sleep in the morning. It’s like the most magnificent thing in the world. So really just kind of counting all of the things that are really great for me right now.
Angelique Rewers [24:31]
That is tremendous at the end of the day to count those blessings that recharge me every night to go strong the next day. The second thing is really putting my focus on helping my clients right now and helping our community doing everything that we can do to be a light for them. I’m sort of a calming force for them. And because I move into that calming energy to help my clients and I know you do this too, it causes You right?
Angelique Rewers [25:00]
So when you’re putting the focus on helping others and not making it about you, there’s sort of an instantaneous, grounding impact of that. I think that’s really important. And then the third is, thank God that I invested all these years in myself, in mindset, in working with consultants and working with mindset experts, like all of that is paying off now. And so really just having those tools of sort of truth and remembering that even in chaos, those universal laws don’t go away. In fact, they bring order to our universe, even when the universe feels completely out of control. Those universal laws are never out of control. So I think for me, it’s all of those things from the basic taking care of myself and just really enjoying the moments I can enjoy right now to being the best possible service to my clients that I can be to and the leader at the same time. Right. That’s servant leadership. And then the other side of it is is a little bit more woo-woo, that sort of spiritual work and universal laws. That’s kind of for me what’s creating a sense of calm?
Gene Hammett [26:12]
Well, I appreciate you sharing that with us great insights today about sales and marketing and even leadership styles through this crisis. Angelique, thanks for sharing your wisdom with us and what you do for the corporate agent.
Angelique Rewers [26:27]
Gene Hammett [26:28]
Well, I love this interview. Angelique, can I go way back, we were able to catch up offline and really wish you could have heard some of that stuff in there we talked about. I’ve known her for about six years. She helped me through some critical moments in my life. And I really wanted to say thank you to her. She may not be listening to this, but I really do admire what she’s doing in the marketplace. And I also admire all of you leaders out there that are listening in.
Gene Hammett [26:52]
If you want to be a better leader to this crisis, then make sure that you keep tuning in to this podcast. also want to remind you. That the webinar that we have, if you want to sign up to be a better stronger leader to create the frontline leaders that your team deserves so that they can navigate through this crisis and beyond, just go to genehammett.com/webinar. Again, if you want to sign up and be a better leader through this crisis, go to genehammett.com/webinar. absolutely free. Sign up now. That wraps up today’s episode if there’s anything I can do for you, to help you evolve as the leader you need to be, make sure you reach out to me and I would love to help you, as always lead with courage. I’ll see you next time.
Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.
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