In April 2017, I made the biggest decision of my professional life. After 15 years of running my own marketing agency, I made the commitment to merge with three co-founders to launch a new digital selling training company. And Vengreso was launched.
The vision behind Vengreso is the dream-child of founder and CEO Mario Martinez Jr., to be the world’s largest provider of digital sales training and technology.
Mario is the catalyst who approached Kurt Shaver, Viveka von Rosen and myself with his vision. We listened to his impassioned pitch. We caught the vision quickly and after several detailed conversations we signed an operating agreement to give birth to our new company.
The brains behind the Vengreso name is Mario’s wife (the smartest of us all). She suggested the mash up of two Spanish nouns: Ventas (sales) and Ingresos (revenue). We tweaked the spelling and arrived at Vengreso! Our name is meaningful since we exist to enable our clients to prospect better and sell more.
When we launched Vengreso in 2017, my role was CMO, which made sense given my background running my own content marketing agency, as well as my previous experience as VP of Marketing for a software company.
As a new company looking to hit the ground running, my marketing focus was primarily branding, followed closely by demand generation. The priority was to build brand awareness for Vengreso as the premier social selling training company. This was a challenge because we were ahead of our time. Our category of sales training – virtual, instructor-led digital sales training – was not well recognized by sales leaders in 2017 (pre-COVID19).
We set out to build our brand in three ways.
- Publishing SEO-rich thought leadership content.
- Aggressive distribution of content through social media.
- Partnering with established firms to reach their audience.
We committed to publishing between three and five robust blog posts each week on relevant topics pertaining to sales, sales leadership, social selling, digital selling, video, LinkedIn, sales books, sales podcasts and more.
We partnered with established firms such as Corporate Visions, Frost & Sullivan, XANT (formerly InsideSales.com), AAIP, Sales & Marketing Connect, Selling Power Magazine, to name a few. We delivered webinars together, published content on their websites, spoke on the main stage of several of their conferences and collaborated with them on demand generation activities.
Vengreso produced two podcasts on a weekly basis – The Modern Selling Podcast, hosted by Mario Martinez Jr., showcasing sales leaders and, The Modern Marketing Engine podcast, hosted by myself featuring B2B marketing leaders.
We published the State of Digital Selling report in 2019 summarizing research we conducted on nearly 1,000 sellers to capture key insights on how sellers used digital selling tactics on LinkedIn. It was eye opening to learn that nearly two-thirds of sellers rarely or never shared content on LinkedIn to build their personal brand and to attract their buyers. This report generated thousands of MQLs.
A huge milestone in building our brand is winning the prestigious Gold Stevie® Award for best sales training in 2019, 2020 and 2021! Check out the video of Mario’s acceptance speech.
Along the way of this brand building journey, Vengreso had the privilege of winning contracts to deliver social selling training to B2B brands in insurance, technology, professional services, industrial and even the world’s largest vanilla extract company! Perhaps the biggest feather in our cap was being selected to train the entire sales team at Miller Heiman Group (MHG) in 2019. This was the first time in their 40-year history that MHG hired anyone outside their firm to deliver any form of sales training. If you don’t know MHG, they are the world’s largest sales training firm (recently acquired by Korn Ferry). The reason our conversation started with them which led to them selecting Vengreso is due to our rapid rise in brand along with our social media reach, which surpassed theirs by orders of magnitude. These metrics were noticed by their CEO, resulting in our contract to train their sellers on social selling.
One of the metrics I’m most proud of is our brand impressions, reaching more than 50 million people each year since we were founded in 2017 as reported by Brand 24. This is higher than any of the traditional sales training firms who have been in business for decades, and by a lot, like 35M more!
Another branding metric I’m proud of is the growth of our our LinkedIn company page. We started with less than 1,000 followers and in four years we’ve have grown it to over 10,500+ followers. If you compare our LinkedIn company page to the top 20 sales training companies, Vengreso is approximately 500 followers away from the 3rd largest in following! I’m extremely proud of this as a key accomplishment in our brand building journey.
Similarly, using modern marketing techniques, I’m proud to say we’ve achieved the second largest following on our YouTube page compared to the three largest sales training companies out there. Again, our focus in marketing was to build a mega brand even as a small business. Along the way, we got noticed by the big guns in the sales training industry. The demand gen benefit to this brand achievement is getting found by sales leaders who search for sales training service providers.
When Salesforce filmed a documentary called The Story of Sales, they selected Vengreso’s CEO Mario Martinez Jr., as one of only 20 sales influencers across the globe to be featured in the film. Mario gets the credit for building his brand to earn this invitation. The Vengreso brand shared in the spotlight from Mario’s cameo appearance in this documentary film.
A New Role for Me at Vengreso
In July 2020, with our brand equity in a strong position the Vengreso leadership team decided to shuffle responsibilities to position our business for the next growth chapter. At this time, I assumed the role of Chief Customer Officer and handed the marketing function to Mario, who pivoted to a Marketing 2.0 strategy for Vengreso. With a strong brand in place, Marketing 2.0 became focused on accelerating our demand generation to fuel our growth, while I focused on leading the team responsible for delivering our virtual-instructor-led digital sales training and coaching services. The sales team was already in place across three regions in North America. They were ready (and eager) for acceleration of leads.
The success I had in the CMO role is only possible through the hard work and focus of the team I led in Marketing. Some of them have moved to another chapter in their careers, leveraging the experience they gained at Vengreso. A marketing leader’s achievements is ALWAYS a result of his or her team’s ability to produce results, and my team gives me great pride in our achievements.
In the CCO role, I have been privileged to lead a dream team on the delivery of our digital sales training and coaching services. In fact, we actually call them The Dream Team because of their attention to detail in the day-to-day planning, execution and measurement of our services to corporate clients. The Customer Success Dream Team is currently achieving a 97% approval rating from our clients on sales and coaching delivery, and over performing on customer service response time by 46%.
Accepting My Next Challenge
With a strong brand as the foundation to accelerated demand generation and the sales team firmly in place, the time is right for me to accept a new challenge. I’ve been recognized for the rapid rise in brand equity at Vengreso – as just a four-year-old company – and I’ve been invited to join the marketing team at a large brand in the BPO industry with a 23-year legacy. I’m excited to join iQor as Vice President of Global Content Marketing effective June 1, 2021 where I will focus on accelerating their brand equity to new levels.
As this post publishes, I’m in transition to a new chapter in my career. But, I’m not going very far from the Vengreso team. I’ll still be a co-founder, albeit not active in the day-to-day operations. I’m still a shareholder. I’ll be an advisor to the company as well as remain close to the Vengreso family.
I want to recognize and thank those who rolled up their shirtsleeves with me every day in marketing roles to help build the Vengreso brand. Likewise, I want to recognize and thank those who rolled up their shirtsleeves with me every day to deliver award-winning virtual sales training, prospecting and coaching services to B2B brands. You know who you are. I’m indebted to you all for your loyalty, work ethic and perpetual smiles.
As I think back to April 2017 and the planning that led up to the launch of Vengreso, I’m in awe of our founding leadership team. Viveka von Rosen, you’re the best social selling trainer on the planet, a charm to work with, an inspiring speaker, fun to ski with and a dear friend. Kurt Shaver, you’re the best social selling seller on the planet, impressively creative, likewise an inspiring speaker, funnier than the SNL cast and also a dear friend. Mario Martinez Jr., you’re the hardest working human being I’ve ever met, passionate and loyal beyond reproach, the most accomplished sales leader I know, quick to shovel out accolades along with constructive feedback and also a dear friend. I’m forever indebted to the three of you for the opportunity to be on this journey with you the past four years. I can sleep at night knowing that the Vengreso brand is strong and the three of you, along with a committed team of Vengresonians are driving the company forward to the next level of achievement. I’ll be cheering you on, advising you whenever you call on me and referring business to Vengreso any chance I get. I can’t wait to see where Vengreso goes from here.
As I close out this post, I have tears running down my cheeks. One tear is sad to leave my Vengreso family. The journey has been amazing, and the relationships have become “familia.” The other is a tear of excitement for the opportunity ahead of me to contribute to a large brand with a global footprint, doing what I love to do – tell their story, build the brand and reach millions for the benefit of their value proposition.