career

The road to GrowthX Academy was filled with plenty of surprising twists. My journey has taken me from the Rocky Mountains to a small village in Guatemala. I’ve worked in the NFL, chased a few startup dreams, and even traded the beautiful beaches of South Florida for the bitter cold of Appleton, Wisconsin to try and turn around a failing bobby pin manufacturing company. Yes, I said bobby pins.

I had some reservations about enrolling in GrowthX Academy. It was a start-up. I was going to be a pioneer in a brand new program. Think about making a $15,000 investment without any feedback from previous students. GX Academy didn’t even have a website at the time of my decision.

However, after spending an hour with Sean Sheppard, I was confident the reward would greatly outweigh the risk.

One of the more important aspects of GrowthX Academy is student projects. I had the opportunity to work with Partender, a fast growing technology company. Partender is a mobile application which enables restaurants to complete a full bar inventory in as little as 15 minutes with up to 99.2% accuracy. I gravitated towards them after a chance encounter with the co-founder, Nik, and the head of sales, Jason. Their passion and entrepreneurial spirit were palpable. I knew I would fit right in.

A unique characteristic of Partender’s growth has been the insane amount of inbound leads generated through a marketing partnership with the Spike television show Bar Rescue. They are living every startup’s dream, customers coming to them saying “we need your product.” After learning a little more about their business I saw a tremendous opportunity to add real value by applying what I learned in class.

The leadership team at Partender recognized the need to build a scalable and predictable outbound sales process to achieve their next market milestone.

They were just unsure about the direction to go. Cue the GrowthX Academy theme song.

Sean, and Max Menke, both GrowthX founding partners, taught me the skills I needed to tackle this project.  With their guidance, Jason and I reviewed the current customer list looking for any trends or commonalities. We then developed our Ideal Customer Profile, built a strategic list of contacts and wrote messaging around several value propositions that we believe spoke to our ICP.

After taking a closer look at their customer list, something emerged that proved to be worth investigating. Many of Partender’s customers were restaurants belonging to a larger restaurant group. We found instances where the restaurant group might own 10 restaurants, but only three of them were customers of Partender’s.

We had just developed our first ICP – multi-restaurant groups where only some restaurants were current customers!

And to think I had no idea what an ICP was six weeks prior to that important discovery!

The plan was to send targeted emails in a drip campaign to individuals with specific roles/titles, such as the director of bar operations at the corporate or restaurant group level. We were taking a top-down approach. We built the list of contacts, wrote tailored messages and set up the cadence for our email drip campaign. We A/B tested different types of value props, subject titles, and even send times. All things that six weeks prior were pretty much a foreign language to me.

The result was promising. Within several weeks of launching our campaign, Jason had booked several meetings. Instead of talking with the GM of a single restaurant, Jason was talking to decision makers at multi-restaurant owned groups. As Sean would say, we were maximizing their traction-effort delta, the least amount of work for the most amount of money.

My next breakthrough moment was when I met Max Altschuler at Sean’s house one evening. Max is the founder of Sales Hacker and a mentor in the GrowthX network. After I meeting him, I remember saying to myself, “that is a guy I want to learn from. I got to find out a way to work for him.”

As luck would have it, soon after graduating from GrowthX Academy, I reconnected with Max. I survived his gauntlet of an interview process and landed a job with Sales Hacker. Through the introspective work students do in the program, I knew I wanted to have an opportunity to build a business from the very early stages.

I am now in a situation where I am building part of a business alongside a mentor of mine. It is the best outcome I could have asked for when I walked through the doors at the Academy for the first time a little over five months ago.

It is fair to say, the people I’ve met at GrowthX have changed my life!


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