Sales Pipeline Radio

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Identifying the right time to PIVOT to a new business model.

September 12, 2019


So many topics were covered in this episode - some could be career or future changing for listeners.

In this episode, Matt talks with Guidant Financial CEO David Nilssen. They discuss his entrepreneurial journey and an important moment in time when he knew he had to pivot to a new business.

  • Nilssen describes how his aversion to being sold changed his model for selling
  • Why “cold calling” wasn’t an option for his business
  • How he moved from a monthly to a quarterly dashboard for planning
  • How he created “Inbound” lead generation tactics that fill his pipeline
  • How they created good relevant, credible content
  • Nilssen talked about The Pivot which is a process, a moment in time when it is suddenly clear that the time has come to PIVOT to a new business model
  • The PIVOT can be from one business to another
  • The PIVOT can be from one career or job to another
  • How to analyze the business gap


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A taste of the specific topic of the Pivot is here:

Matt:  That’s fantastic. One thing that stood out to me in that conversation is something I know a lot of people face, either in their businesses or in their career, and it’s the idea of a pivot, right? The idea that you see an opportunity and sometimes you move from what you were doing to something different. I think in hindsight those successful pivots always look like a slam dunk. In the moment, they’re not always a clear cut choice. Could you talk a little bit about that moment of making that pivot, and sort of what you had to go through just sort of mentally to do that? And I’m thinking about that not just for those that might be entrepreneurs, or are thinking about stepping out on their own, but people that are looking at their own even sales and marketing careers and facing an opportunity that isn’t certain, that it sometimes is scary.

David:  Yeah. I always love how we talk about it as a moment of time. There’s this moment where you pivoted and everything changed. The reality is, when I talk about the fact that our business shifted, that was a five-year process. So it’s something that you start to see, hey, this doesn’t really connect for me, and I’m wondering if this is the right path for us. And then over time what we saw is that we were investing more and more time and energy in the small business component of our operation. And less and less in the alternative asset. So you start to see these resource conflicts that came up within the business, those that were working on the real estate side were concerned that maybe they weren’t getting the time and attention. And so eventually we divested it. We sold that portion of the business to a company who wanted to continue to grow and expand in that area, and that was ultimately best for our customers best for our team members on that side.

And it would give the remaining organization a chance to focus in on who they really wanted to serve, and who we wanted to be long term. I’d like to say that it was a moment in time, but the reality is it was a long, painful decision because you’re talking about people, your clients, your employees. And as entrepreneurs, you have this sort of emotional attachment to this thing that you’re building. So, not easy.

Matt:  No, not easy at all. And I think we could probably spend the whole show talking on the concept of the pivot as a process. Which I think is something that a lot of people that have been through that, both successfully and unsuccessfully can talk about. But I want to cover today, and we talked before, as we sort of talked about all the different topics we could cover in this conversation. I want to talk about the sales and marketing engine you have built. As a lot of people, you start the business, you start to figure out what are people looking for? What does our sales process look like? And as you’ve grown the business successfully over the last 16 years, you really have developed an engine for growth of the not only supporting your growth goals but also you’re doing it without making cold calls. You’re doing it without having to do a lot of complicated, and sometimes just frustrating outbound selling efforts. So I wanted to talk a little bit about sort of how you came to that process, and how you’ve been able to sort of systematizing and scale that.

You'll need to listen to the full episode to get the full benefit of David's experience and success.


Sales Pipeline Radio is hosted by Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing which is a program on the Funnel Radio Channel.  Heinz Marketing is the sponsor of Sales Pipeline Radio.

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