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Alex Winter

By Alex Winter

Jun 26, 2024

Topics:

Case Studies Inbound Success Advanced They Ask, You Answer Endless Customers Podcast
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Case Studies  |   Inbound Success  |   Advanced They Ask, You Answer  |   Endless Customers Podcast

Success with Endless Customers: The Massive Growth Story of Mazzella Companies [Endless Customers Podcast S.1. Ep. 44]

Alex Winter

By Alex Winter

Jun 26, 2024

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Mike Close
0:00:00
I think we really started to build confidence in ourselves and as an organization that we were becoming the industry experts within our respective spaces. And we were getting some really positive feedback from our peers within the industry. You know, at trade shows, we'd get feedback

Mike Close
0:00:17
from some of our executives. They'll come back and be like, you know, wow, you guys are making some waves within the industry with what you're doing, the content you're creating. And I think, you know, for leadership, for leadership down, it just

Mike Close
0:00:29
reinforced that they made the right decision and investing in it, and that it is kind of a game changer when it comes to how you can run your business and attract new customers.

Alex Winter
0:00:38
Welcome back to Endless Customers. My name is Alex Winter and today I'm joined by our friends from Mazzella Companies. We have Mike Miniseli, the Director of Marketing, as well as Michael Close, who is the Corporate Marketing and Communications Manager. Welcome to the show, guys. Hey, thank you for having us. Yeah, really excited to have you on the show. This is your first time, but you guys have been like the OG clients of Impact, and you have an incredible story that I can't wait for our

Alex Winter
0:01:11
audience to hear about today. So I think a good place to start is to give a little bit of the history and the background on what Mazzella Companies is, how it started, just give people a little background on what you guys do and what

Mike Close
0:01:25
it's all about. I could start. Okay. So this is kind of ironic. This is the 70th anniversary of Mazzella Lifting. It was started in 1954. Wow. So by our CEO's father, Jim Mazzella Sr. And now Tony Mazzella is CEO, and then he's got two sons, Adam and Matt, that are now presidents of the lifting business

Mike Close
0:01:48
and the metals business.

Alex Winter
0:01:49
Wow, 70 years, that's unbelievable.

Mike Close
0:01:52
Yep, small town company started in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland, Ohio, yeah. Now today we're 1300 plus team members and 45 plus locations

Mike Close
0:02:05
throughout North America.

Alex Winter
0:02:07
Wow, 1,300 employees and four and was how many locations I cut out for a second there. 4545 across the country. Wow, that's incredible. So I think a good entry point right for our they ask you answer community, our endless customers community. Where did where did that start to come into play for you as an organization? So you've had a 70 year run.

Alex Winter
0:02:28
At what point did you guys start to see either an opportunity or maybe you were having some problems with your marketing or you wanted to make a shift? Like can you paint that picture for us as far as where the company was

Alex Winter
0:02:38
and what got you into looking for new alternatives and new ways to market the business?

Mike Close
0:02:42
Yeah, certainly. So 2016, I saw Marcus speak at Content Marketing World in Cleveland, Ohio. And then ironically, a month or two later, our Vice President of Marketing, Bill Franz and our CEO, Tony Mazzella, saw Marcus speak at a Vistage meeting.

Mike Close
0:02:59
So we kind of compared notes and Tony said, ah, this is a secret sauce we've been missing. Um, you know, we've always been strong on the sales side, but we needed to kind of find that missing piece that, you know, kind of bring sales and marketing together. And then the first of 2017,

Mike Close
0:03:19
Marcus came in and did a private session with the company leadership and some managers. And then Mike Close was one of the first hires in May of 2017, and the journey

Mike Close
0:03:32
just kind of took off from there.

Alex Winter
0:03:33
Wow, wow, that's absolutely incredible. So you heard Marcus speak, which we've all heard Marcus speak. He's pretty infectious. He's got a ton of energy. It's undeniably hard not to pick up what he's putting down. So that was really the first shift when you saw him talk.

Alex Winter
0:03:49
And do you remember what Tony, like the big takeaway for Tony was or what he really brought back from that conversation that, like, started the moves towards where you are now?

Mike Close
0:04:00
So the session I saw was breaking down silos between sales and marketing. And we were really, really divided back then. Sales was the leader. Marketing was just kind of a small fish in the big pond. So I think that was the first way to sort of start bringing sales and marketing together.

Alex Winter
0:04:18
Nice.

Mike Close
0:04:19
I've heard Tony say, too, that we were in the process, I think, of implementing the Challenger sales model. And that was kind of the back end process for how you worked with the customer and how you managed your sales process. And really he saw they ask you answer as the front part.

Mike Close
0:04:39
This is how we get awareness and we build our brand to then start to build off of that challenger sales model.

Alex Winter
0:04:46
Gotcha, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So once he saw the writing on the wall, if you will, and he started to get the idea of like, all right, we need to really unify marketing and sales, what was the first step internally for you guys to actually make that happen?

Alex Winter
0:05:00
And what did that strategy start to look like as you started to bridge those gaps?

Mike Close
0:05:04
So I think it goes back to hiring the first video producer and content manager. I mean, the original book, They Ask, You Answer, says you need a dedicated team. You can't have anybody do a part-time. And that's certainly when Mike was brought on,

Mike Close
0:05:21
that Mike was a dedicated resource. Separate from the marketing theme was, we had a graphic designer, myself, and an intern. So we were very small, we couldn't take it on as a part-time job. Marcus really said, hey, it's so true.

Alex Winter
0:05:39
And we see that all too often where people maybe dip their toe in the pond or go half in with a part-time or they try to do it with their team in place and it doesn't always work out. So it was great that you leaned into that. So Mike, coming into that equation for you, what was that like coming into the team and hearing these new ideas and starting to figure out a way to actually implement this and get

Alex Winter
0:05:58
it going?

Mike Close
0:05:59
Yeah, well, it was exciting because I was brought in and our videographer, we were brought in pretty much at the same time. I started a week before our national sales and marketing meeting that we had down in Florida. We had about 150 people, I want to say. Marcus was actually the keynote speaker, so he was literally rolling this out to the entire organization as a new framework for how we were going to go to market and you know what our sales and marketing strategy was going to be going forward. So for me I was also kind of excited to hear from Marcus what I was going to be doing because I was so brand new that you know it was really exciting and then

Mike Close
0:06:37
obviously a ton of energy coming out of that. Really we got right to work as soon as we got back and we started meeting with the businesses and started taking the big five framework and coming up with new questions and topics that we could address through both written articles and video.

Alex Winter
0:06:55
I love that.

Alex Winter
0:06:56
I love that. So there's two things that I'm hearing, right? The first thing that I want to talk about is the all-in mentality. It feels like from the top down, from Tony and Mike, with leadership, it was like, this company is going all in on this and this is going to become the strategy. Is that fair to say that that's what happened.

Mike Close
0:07:14
100%.

Mike Close
0:07:15
Yeah, very much so. And I think even the book says that you gotta have buy-in from the top down. It doesn't work if Mike or I brought it and tried to go bottom up with it. Really,

Mike Close
0:07:26
Honey bought in wholeheartedly 110%. And I think that's a success of the program today.

Mike Close
0:07:34
Yeah, absolutely.

Alex Winter
0:07:35
That's a really important thing for our audience to hear, too, is that it starts from the top down, and the buy-in is so critical and important if you want to have the success like these folks have had. So once you've got the buy-in and the strategy, we get into the big five.

Alex Winter
0:07:49
So you mentioned the second piece here that I was going to bring up, Mike. You mentioned the big five, and you mentioned a few of these pieces. Can you talk a little bit more, for people who maybe don't know a lot about They Ask, You Answer, or Endless

Alex Winter
0:07:58
Customers, how much content we're talking about producing and what that actually translates into.

Mike Close
0:08:02
Yeah, so we were doing two pieces a week, articles and videos. And, you know, we've scaled it since then, and that's something that we've maintained in the seven years since we've been doing that. But really, yeah, I mean, it's all about consistency, consistently publishing. You know, I think another big thing, tying it back to support from the top down is that we knew that that was what we were brought in to do. We weren't going to get involved in like you know having to plan trade show logistics or you know plan other

Mike Close
0:08:37
meetings and things like that. We really had the commitment that that was our main focus and that's what we were brought in to do. So I really don't know how you could do it effectively in a part-time situation. One thing's always gonna win out, and it's probably gonna be whatever fire you're trying to put out.

Mike Close
0:08:54
So kind of shielding us from a lot of that in the very beginning, I think, was really why we had some early wins and some early success.

Alex Winter
0:09:02
Yeah, can we talk a little bit about that too? What were some of the early wins or some of the bigger pieces that impacted the trajectory of this and getting some traction?

Mike Close
0:09:12
Yeah, so we were in three coaching sessions with Impact every single week. So we were doing HubSpot training with you guys. We were doing content training and they were doing video training as well. And I think another thing that really made it so successful is we had a smaller team at the time, but our whole team was invested in being part of all three trainings. So our designer, our videographer, our content specialist, Mike.

Mike Close
0:09:39
We had an intern, we had the VP of marketing at the time. Everybody was sitting in, getting the same messages, learning the same things from you and you guys and your trainers at the same time. And really, I think that helped just get us laser focused. But some of the early wins we saw was,

Mike Close
0:09:58
we had an article, I think we did, what is an overhead crane? That showed up in the number one spot, literally within like 48 hours, we were number one. And that was one of our big pieces. That was, I think even at the time,

Mike Close
0:10:11
the content trainer told us like, hey, I've never seen something rank so quickly. That's awesome. And we started to see increases in traffic, month over month. We saw more and more keywords.

Mike Close
0:10:23
We were doing measuring and analyzing our keywords through SEMrush and some other tools. And really, I mean, it's kind of like the hockey stick effect. I would say it took a little bit, you know, maybe six or eight months before we really felt like we were getting some traction. But just being consistent and sticking with it and not giving up, we really did kind of

Mike Close
0:10:42
see that exponential hockey stick growth effect take hold and really ever since.

Alex Winter
0:10:48
That's so exciting to hear. Yeah. And you really have had that hockey stick-like effect. And it must be motivating to be able to see those results in real time, because it just keeps you wanting more and keep pushing that hockey stick-like

Alex Winter
0:11:00
effect to keep going in the right direction. So Michael, for you as the director of marketing, how was the coaching and training and your meeting on a regular basis three times a week with different facets of the company, with everybody in there, what was that like for you from a management

Alex Winter
0:11:14
perspective? And how did that make you feel from accountability and just making sure things were staying on track?

Mike Close
0:11:19
You know, I thought, well attended. Some of it was like drinking from a firehose early on until we kind of really fully grasped the idea, the concept, what have you. Sure. I think everybody started to get it at the same time

Mike Close
0:11:33
and everybody clicked and you know we use the termination the terminology of a flywheel. It started very slowly but when that flywheel got going it's a machine now. I mean it is just it's

Alex Winter
0:11:50
cranking you know when everybody's on board it's moving. Yeah that's so so cool to hear so wonderful to hear. So with the flywheel starting to crank it's a little time to get some traction going. It's like a slow down to speed up sort of mentality. But once it's really cruising, what were some changes that you saw in the process or like how it shifted the business and where it took the business as you started to get these results and as it

Mike Close
0:12:15
started to ramp up? I think one of the biggest things was, you know, one of the things that Tony Mazzella really believes in is the the idea of preeminence. So, you know, you're an expert at what you do. And, you know, either you know the answer or you know where to go to get the answer when it comes to, you know, kind of industry best practices,

Mike Close
0:12:42
questions that your customers have, solving complex challenges, things like that. I think we really started to build confidence in ourselves and as an organization that we were becoming the industry experts within our respective spaces. And we were getting some really positive feedback from our peers within the

Mike Close
0:13:00
industry. You know, at trade shows, we'd get feedback from some of our executives that would come back and be like, you know, wow, you guys are making some waves within the industry with what you're doing, the content you're creating. And I think, I think, you know, for leadership down, it just reinforced that they made the right decision in investing in it

Mike Close
0:13:19
and that it is kind of a game changer when it comes to how you can run your business and attract new customers.

Alex Winter
0:13:25
Yeah, yeah, no, absolutely. Is this typical for other companies or other organizations that are in your industry? Like, are other people doing this? Were other people doing this at the time? Or is this, because I feel like this isn't a typical thing for a metals and like

Alex Winter
0:13:39
heavy lifting company to have like a huge marketing squad with videographers it doesn't seem typical so is that true and do you have other competitors maybe that are trying to do the same thing or were you really the only ones doing it

Mike Close
0:13:50
in your field and in your space? No I think we're the only ones doing in our space there's some people that have started to dabble with it but I think we found out that they were gung-ho on day one and then they just, they couldn't have enough content to fill the pipeline and they just kind of fizzled out. So we've really maintained from day one in 2017 till today.

Mike Close
0:14:12
We haven't lost a beat.

Alex Winter
0:14:15
Yeah, no you've definitely been keeping your foot on the proverbial gas pedal and going full steam ahead. So two part question, how has that bridged the gaps with your marketing and sales teams as far as like sales using marketing to create content and to help them sell and close deals faster.

Alex Winter
0:14:32
And then part two of that is how did that scale Mozilla into companies, which is plural, and how much it's grown the business overall and all the subsidiary companies that have come out of it.

Mike Close
0:14:42
Question one, Mike.

Mike Close
0:14:43
I'll talk about how we scaled it and maybe Mike can talk about the revenue team concept. Perfect. But yeah, I mean, really, we, like I said, we had some early wins. We were starting to see, you know, we were ranking higher in search engines, our site was getting more and more traffic

Mike Close
0:15:01
each month, we had more leads coming in through HubSpot month over month. I think we started to get the buy in from the sales team. And like I said, we were showing some early wins to the executive team, which kind of validated the investment in hiring a team and investing in the training with Impact and HubSpot and all that.

Mike Close
0:15:18
Really, I think some of the other businesses started to get a little bit jealous. Like, well, hey, you know, you guys are focusing on overhead cranes right now. When are you going to switch over to metal roofing? So we were able to go and hire a second content team

Mike Close
0:15:33
pretty much within six to eight months after starting with the lifting business. And then probably even shorter time frame for that, we brought in more content resources, more resources to the team overall to start supporting, you know, all the design work that comes from creating things like e-books and and checklists and downloads and guides,

Mike Close
0:15:54
added more resources to the video team, added a video editor, added a couple additional content specialists to continue writing. So and even more recently within the past two years, we've created an internal team that focuses just on answering the questions that our team members have and then also creating content that can be used for recruiting and awareness about working for a company like Mozilla or Sheffield Metals or New Tech Machinery.

Alex Winter
0:16:24
Wow, that's incredible. That's absolutely incredible. I love that there were other facets of the business that were almost getting jealous of

Alex Winter
0:16:25
The content coming out for the heavy lifting or whatever part you were work you were focusing on and it was like hey We want to get in on that and that that sort of friendly competition or jealousy is what you want to have internally because it helps motivate the team to To bring their best work and to do their best work, which is just so cool to see You know Alex if I can add to that. They saw pretty much

Alex Winter
0:16:43
I'd like an answer to that.

Mike Close
0:16:44
They saw pretty much exponential growth too, like right away. It wasn't just on the lifting side. When the other businesses started, they saw significant increase in visibility, website hits, as content started to get produced. Wow.

Alex Winter
0:17:03
So let's talk about the other parts of the business because you guys have a lot of facets of this business and it's really incredible. So can you paint that picture for us first and then we'll talk about how this how this all played into that.

Mike Close
0:17:18
Sure, so Mazzella companies is really divided into two business units. One is a lifting side which does overhead cranes, slings, you know anything that a crane touches plus an overhead crane. The metals business is they sell architectural metals to the distributors and end users to go on, you know, commercial buildings, homes, etc. And then NewTek Machinery produces the machines that take the raw coils and sheets and produce the wall panels, gutters, or roofing panels.

Mike Close
0:17:56
Shellfield is kind of like the staple and NewTek Machinery is like the stapler. So they take the staple raw, put it in the machine and out comes the finished product. So really, they work hand in hand together. So, you know, NTM, you know, certainly has seen extraordinary growth, you know, when they're with this content out there for them. So, you know, every year they have a record, you know, sales volume, machine sales, the whole bit. You know, the other thing is when the team goes to trade shows, you know, Thad Barnett on the metal roofing channel for Sheffield Metals,

Mike Close
0:18:34
they like fanboy him. You know, they just love, it's like, hey, you're the guy from the metal roofing channel. You know, and I was somewhere with Mike Close a couple years ago too, it's like,

Mike Close
0:18:43
hey, you're the guy in the lifting and rigging channel.

Alex Winter
0:18:46
How cool is that though? Do you feel like that just opens up so many conversations that you maybe wouldn't have had in the past when you're at these trade show events and everyone's hitting the pavement.

Mike Close
0:18:56
I think so. I mean, I think it's so important for our branding and our branding strategy is, you know, we kind of intentionally don't tie the brands to the YouTube channels. We don't hide who we are either by, you know,

Mike Close
0:19:08
who we have on camera and our subject matter experts, but it really is huge for our branding. And then, like I said, it kind of goes back to that idea of preeminence and tying it back to being the experts at what you do. And even internally, it's funny,

Mike Close
0:19:24
we'll have people that have joined the company like 30 days ago and we'll sit down in a classroom with them maybe as part of new hire orientation. And Ben Hanks, who's the videographer for the Lifting and Rigging channel, they'll be like, oh, I know you.

Mike Close
0:19:36
You're the guy from all the training videos I've been watching.

Alex Winter
0:19:40
That's amazing. That's really cool. No, and that's the other thing we want to build trust, right? The goal is to build trust. Yeah, yeah.

Mike Close
0:19:46
We had a piece that Ben did on what's the difference of a shackle is and we even have manufacturers use that to train their own people. So we're using our content is being used by, you know, the competitors are using it, the manufacturers are using it to train their people, which is really cool.

Alex Winter
0:20:08
That's incredible, and that's the power of this, is when you become the trusted voice in your space, even the manufacturers, even other competitors will start using your content because it's accurate and it's building more trust and it's helping them do their jobs better.

Alex Winter
0:20:22
So that's just, I don't know, that's unprecedented. I don't feel like that happens very often. So let's talk about this, right, from 2017 when you kicked this off to present day. And this can be general, like rough numbers, but what have you guys seen as far as growth?

Alex Winter
0:20:36
Because Mike, you said there's been year over year, every year you're better than last year, which is insane and amazing. So what does that actually quantify and look like? Can you just paint that picture?

Mike Close
0:20:47
I mean, we've seen upwards of 10x in web traffic from when we started.

Alex Winter
0:20:53
Wow.

Mike Close
0:20:53
So, you know, we were, um, I think it's, I mean, really it's, it's just been steady, consistent growth year over year. And it's, it's something that we measure. It's something we track and we try to stay on top of it. If we start to see anything where, Hey, things look like they might be sliding or slipping.

Mike Close
0:21:14
It's really great to have access to you guys and your team because you guys kind of can provide that outside perspective. And we've had website consulting calls with you, we've had SEO consulting calls, we've dived into content strategy with you guys

Mike Close
0:21:29
and your trainers and coaches. And really it's so, I think it's almost like that safety net of, hey, what are we not seeing or what are we missing and how do we get this back on track? And like every time we've been able to course correct and then get back and start seeing that growth again,

Mike Close
0:21:45
which is great. But yeah, I mean, we've seen upwards of 10 times the amount of traffic that we were getting in 2017 to consistently getting 10 times that month over month over month.

Alex Winter
0:21:56
10x, that's huge. Sign me up. That's amazing. Wow, good for you guys. And you know, in present day, with endless customers and how that looks like for you as a company,

Alex Winter
0:22:07
Mike, you were saying this a little bit, but the coaching and training, to be able to have those resources, do you feel like from like an accountability piece that just helps keep you guys on track? And if there are speed bumps, which listen,

Alex Winter
0:22:18
we're in business, there's always gonna be, nothing ever goes perfectly to plan. There's gonna be issues and things you gotta adjust for. So does that help you guys do that? And do you feel confident as you move forward into the future having that in your back pocket?

Mike Close
0:22:29
100% and not only just for accountability, which for Mike and I, we have regular check-ins with the head coach on our team and our account and it's kind of like, hey, what's kind of the North Star for you guys this quarter? Let's put a 90-day plan together. Maybe we've already built that 90-day plan for just our own initiatives. And it's just having you guys aligned to that

Mike Close
0:22:53
and help us kind of keep ourselves on track and accountable and make sure that we're, you know, utilizing all the tools and resources on our team to the best of our abilities. But you guys have also provided so much value as we've scaled our team.

Mike Close
0:23:07
We've used you for onboarding for all of our new content specialists, all of our new videographers. We've kind of been a victim of success. We've brought a lot of new faces onto the team over the years. And a lot of people have actually, it's brought a lot of opportunities for people on our team to leave our department and go join another team for

Mike Close
0:23:25
another opportunity, which has been great too. But really utilizing you guys for maybe the first three to six months of those new hires, kind of their first journey into They Ask, You Answer, it's really helped maintain the consistency and the quality on our team as well to learn all the best practices and kind of the tips and tricks.

Alex Winter
0:23:45
Right, right. No, that's excellent to hear. You also said something earlier that really stuck with me. Having an outside perspective. Like, I think that's something that a lot of businesses tend to have struggles with and maybe they don't even

Alex Winter
0:23:57
realize it where you get so close to it and you're in your business bubble that you almost need somebody from the outside to give you that perspective. Do you feel that that's true and has that helped you guys on your journey?

Mike Close
0:24:07
Yeah, very much so.

Alex Winter
0:24:09
Yeah.

Mike Close
0:24:10
Yeah, I think just having that fresh set of eyes and really, we try to stay up on best practices and kind of what's going on with HubSpot and all the different tools, Google Analytics, Search Console, AI has been a big one that we've talked with you guys about.

Mike Close
0:24:25
Maybe what's that doing to what we're seeing with our traffic and maybe our search volume right now. So I think just having, you know, like you said, having you guys in our back pocket is kind of the experts in that realm and just kind of walking through and diving into the numbers and looking at things to see if we can identify trends or maybe, like I said, kind of course correct to, to adjust or account

Mike Close
0:24:47
for some of the outside factors that can affect our marketing efforts.

Alex Winter
0:24:52
Yeah, absolutely. So you've had an incredible journey, but the future looks just as bright if not brighter. Where, where is this taking you over the next year? Three, five? Like what does the future look like for you with endless customers and with Mozilla companies?

Mike Close
0:25:05
So I think as you know, mentioned it earlier with the revenue team, you know, we've, we've seen the sales team really start to get it. The last couple of events that you guys have put on, the Impact Live, we've had sales leadership. Now we've had some regional sales managers start to attend with the marketing team.

Mike Close
0:25:25
I believe that we had 10 people at the last event in Chicago, so which was half marketing and half sales. And I think that's super important going forward that the sales and marketing team are one team. I think that's a real powerful team

Mike Close
0:25:41
to certainly drive revenue going in the right direction.

Alex Winter
0:25:44
I couldn't agree more.

Alex Winter
0:25:45
Yeah, and that's something that we say a lot here at Impact. And it's something I learned when I came onto the team here at Impact as well. It's traditionally, sales and marketing tend to be in two different lanes. And there's always like this divide line

Alex Winter
0:25:55
in most organizations and industries where they don't always get along so well. And to bridge those gaps and to be able to have a revenue squad that everyone's on the same team having the same conversations and pushing towards the same strategies and goals,

Alex Winter
0:26:09
it clearly makes a very big difference.

Mike Close
0:26:12
You know, we've worked hard.

Alex Winter
0:26:14
Oh, go ahead, Mike, sorry.

Mike Close
0:26:15
No, no, go ahead. I said we've worked hard internally that, you know, Mike and I are, you know, bringing the marketing representation to the sales meetings. Some of sales leadership comes to the marketing meetings.

Mike Close
0:26:28
So we intermix very well internally together.

Alex Winter
0:26:31
Yeah.

Mike Close
0:26:31
I think too, you know, we were at the last event in Chicago and the introduction of the endless customers as a framework and maybe they ask you answer being just a part of that entire strategy. Mike and I just had, um, kind of a debrief with our sales leaders and really use that framework to kind of explain where we're headed with everything.

Mike Close
0:26:59
And even just, I think, presenting it in that format of, Hey, they asked you answer, I think was always, well, that's a marketing thing. That's what the marketing team did. It really connected everything together. And that flywheel concept where I feel like it really resonated more than it ever has. It's the they ask you answer part,

Mike Close
0:27:17
it's the assignment selling. It's having our CRM and our ERP integrated, which we're in the process of finalizing right now. It's building that culture of performance and alignment that's gonna drive the results that really ultimately our sales team cares about,

Mike Close
0:27:31
which is endless customers. So I really feel like that's the best position that you guys have kind of, you guys are super aligned now. Like it's a very tight formula and process that can really help make it stick with other organizations.

Mike Close
0:27:47
So kudos to you guys for kind of reframing that.

Alex Winter
0:27:50
Thank you so much. That's something that we've been working on tirelessly here at Impact. And it's something that we realized too. You know, they ask you answer is an incredible framework. Marcus Sharden, the author and creator of it,

Alex Winter
0:28:01
it clearly works. It clearly has a proven track record. But we realized that that really was focused on the marketing side of the equation. And what's really cool when you come to Impact Live and some of these events and being able to see you guys in

Alex Winter
0:28:12
person and other companies is you start to have this cross-pollination that happens. And we started to see that the ask and answer works with recruiting. It works internally. It's really more of a mentality and a mindset to

Alex Winter
0:28:25
help unify your teams to get to your goals and to clearly define these strategies. But the ultimate return is endless customers and having customers that trust you and like you and know you and wanna do business with you. So I love hearing you say that

Alex Winter
0:28:37
because that's been a journey for us too as a company. We're really excited as we move forward to continue to push that. That's why we have the podcast. We also have some pretty big surprises coming out towards the end of the year.

Alex Winter
0:28:47
A potential new book is happening. And we also have Impact Live in Hartford at the end of this year, which I hope you guys will be there. I'm sure you will. And we'll get to see you in person again soon, because we've got a lot of new stuff to share with you.

Mike Close
0:28:59
That's probably one of the hardest parts of our job, is trying to figure out who from the team we can bring, because if we could bring everybody, we would.

Alex Winter
0:29:06
Yeah, does that turn into an internal fight as to who gets the spot to go to the show?

Mike Close
0:29:12
No, I think we try to do a good job of spreading it out so that some of the newer team members can get exposure to it and to Marcus and to you and your team and maybe meet some of the coaches. But we're always really excited to see what the agenda is gonna be,

Mike Close
0:29:27
because that also helps kind of influence our decision.

Alex Winter
0:29:30
Yeah, so when you guys come to Hartford, you'll have to come here in studio. So instead of doing this virtually, next time you can be sitting right here with me and we can do this in person.

Mike Close
0:29:36
That would be great.

Mike Close
0:29:37
Yeah, we'd love that.

Alex Winter
0:29:38
Yeah, and there's a brewery right next door so we can grab some beers too. All right, awesome.

Mike Close
0:29:41
Before or after?

Alex Winter
0:29:42
Maybe after. I don't know.

Mike Close
0:29:44
What do you think?

Alex Winter
0:29:45
If it'll help you before, we'll do a little bit of both.

8
0:29:49
We'll see.

Mike Close
0:29:50
No, no problem.

Alex Winter
0:29:51
So, one last question for you guys before we wrap up here. What would you say to other companies that haven't heard about Endless Customers or haven't read the Ask U Answer or haven't been to an Impact Live event and maybe they were in the same spot you guys were in in 2016, 2017, looking for a way to optimize and to take it up a notch.

Mike Close
0:30:10
So this is gonna be off the record. No, just kidding. Hey, don't do it. We wanna be the preeminent company out there. No, just kidding. Hey, I mean, I think you're missing the boat on it.

Mike Close
0:30:21
I mean, this is, you're gonna grow exponentially, and this could only be good for your organization. And I've seen Marcus speak at, our CEO is part of the VISTA group. I've seen Marcus speak to other CEOs, and I've had good communication with other CEOs,

Mike Close
0:30:39
and they brought their marketing managers and saying, hey, you gotta commit to it though too. That's the other thing. You just can't say you're going to do it. It's a full-time commitment, both from the people side and the expense side.

Mike Close
0:30:58
I mean, I think people don't realize there's a big expense to it. You know, HubSpot's expensive. You're going to hire a video team. The video gear's expensive. It's an all-in for people and resources.

Alex Winter
0:31:12
That's a really good point. It is an investment and it's a substantial investment and it's something that depending on where you're at in your business, you really have to look at the books and the numbers to make sure that you can afford it. But clearly, if you're serious about it and you can lean into it, the return on that investment, I mean, Mike, you're saying earlier 10X on your web traffic, that's unbelievable.

Alex Winter
0:31:32
Yeah.

Alex Winter
0:31:33
Yeah.

Mike Close
0:31:34
And I mean, just month over month, we continue to break records with new leads coming through the website that are getting passed on to our sales teams. It's really exciting. I would just also add to like, you know, I think seven years ago, content marketing or inbound marketing, whatever you want to call it, was still kind of revolutionary.

Mike Close
0:31:52
I think today, you know, that that bar has been dropped with the invention of AI. And, you know, we are seeing some of our customers and others in the industry that are pumping out content. And it's, I think really the value of partnering with you guys goes back to that, that total framework. It's, you're going to learn how to do it the right way. You're going to learn how to do it so that it gets in front of your customers.

Mike Close
0:32:16
You're going to learn how to use the right systems and tools. Your sales team is going to get trained on how to use it as part of their process. And I think that's really, you know, the secret sauce right there. Anybody can go out there and hire somebody to write articles for their website as a freelancer, maybe put a couple videos together. But it's really the whole system that you guys provide and access to your team of experts that, you

Alex Winter
0:32:38
know, kind of sets the program apart from everything else. That's a really great point. Yeah, really great point. And it allows you to have ownership and you guys really do own it. You have your whole entire team, a huge internal marketing team. I think your marketing team might even be bigger than our marketing team at this point, which is incredible. And I think that just goes to show you that

Alex Winter
0:32:57
the ownership piece really allows you to do big things and become the trusted voice in your space and really have the success that you've had. So congratulations.

Mike Close
0:33:06
We're hiring, so if anybody out there is listening,

Alex Winter
0:33:08
that's interesting.

Mike Close
0:33:09
We got six open positions right now.

Alex Winter
0:33:12
Hey, you gotta go check out their website Mazzella companies. Wow, that's incredible Any any closing closing thoughts before we wrap up guys?

Mike Close
0:33:18
No, I just you know, I want to say, you know, we started early on with You know with a lot of great team members We've seen a big change in your organization, but I think you guys have been consistent and you know, we appreciate you know Everything you've done along our journey. I think you've learned from us and we've learned from you. Early on you had the philosophy, we're gonna teach you how to fish.

Mike Close
0:33:43
I think you've taught us how to fish. It's just all kinds of refinements over the years. I appreciate them.

Mike Close
0:33:49
Well, we appreciate you and the feeling is mutual.

Mike Close
0:33:51
We've learned a lot from you guys

Alex Winter
0:33:53
and from the team as well. Mike, how about for you? Any closing thoughts before we wrap up?

Mike Close
0:34:01
Yeah, it's really, they ask, you answer has been kind of a game changer for me just personally and professionally as well. I mean, being able to come into an organization like Mozilla Companies and start as a content manager and I was writing the blogs. Today I'm managing a team of eight people including three videographers, a video producer, a technical writer, three content specialists, it's awesome.

Mike Close
0:34:29
It's really changed things for me personally and professionally, and I've seen a lot of growth just by embracing the system and being open to something that I came in and I was not very good at.

Alex Winter
0:34:42
That's a testament, though, to how great you are and what you bring to the table, and that you continue to grow and learn and it's well deserved. So great job all around and congratulations to all your success. Thank you so much for being on Endless Customers.

Alex Winter
0:34:56
We really appreciate having you guys on the show.

Mike Close
0:34:58
Thank you Alex. This was really fun, thank you.

Alex Winter
0:35:01
Anytime, like I said, next time when you guys are here in Hartford, we'll have to have you in person. Sound good?

Mike Close
0:35:07
We'll do it live, absolutely.

Alex Winter
0:35:09
Excellent, excellent. All right, well for everybody out there listening and watching, this is Endless Customers.

Mike Close
0:35:14
I'm Alex Winter, we'll see you on the next episode. I'm Alex Winter, we'll see you on the next episode.

Mike Close
0:35:16
and watching. This is Endless Customers, I'm Alex Winter. We'll see on the next episode.




Transcribed with Cockatoo

About This Episode

"We really started to build confidence in ourselves and as an organization that we were becoming the industry experts within our respective spaces." says Mike Minissale, Director of Marketing at Mazzella Companies.

In this episode of Endless Customers, Alex Winter is joined by Mike Minissale and Mike Close, Corporate Marketing and Communications Manager at Mazzella Companies. They share the  journey of their organization from the old way of marketing to becoming a leader in their markets with industry disrupting content.

Mike and Mike dive into how the adoption of the "They Ask, You Answer" methodology has been a game changer for Mazzella Companies. They discuss the critical role of leadership buy-in and the importance of dedicated content creation teams. 

Mike Close recounts the early days, remembering the significance of having everyone on the same page. "We had three coaching sessions with IMPACT every single week... it was like drinking from a firehose early on, but everyone started to get it at the same time, and it clicked."

By staying committed and disciplined, they were able to experience the exponential growth that every business leader craves. "We’ve seen upwards of ten times the amount of traffic that we were getting in 2017 to consistently getting ten times that month over month," Mike states. This incredible growth has not only enhanced their market presence but also created healthy internal competition and motivation among their different business units.

Mike and Mike valued having the steady external perspective of the coaches from IMPACT. "Having you guys in our back pocket as the experts in the room... it’s really the whole system that you guys provide and access to your team of experts that sets the program apart.”

Connect with Mike Minissale and Mike Close

Check out Mazzella Companies

Connect with Mike Minissale on LinkedIn

Connect with Mike Close on LinkedIn

Keep Learning

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Endless Customers is a podcast produced and distributed by IMPACT, a sales and marketing training organization.

We coach businesses to implement our They Ask, You Answer framework to build trust and fill their pipeline. 

For inquiries about sponsorship opportunities or to be considered as a guest, email awinter@impactplus.com.

Want to tell us about a challenge you’re facing? Schedule a free coaching session with one of our experts.

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