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A Fireside Chat with Travis Hess

Posted by Megan Holett on Oct 1, 2019 2:14:12 PM

 

Hello, BVA! October Issue

Lindsey: Travis, how has your tour of BVA offices been going? Tell me a couple highlights about your Philly visit, followed by your week in San Diego. Maybe a fave person, place or thing about each city?!

 

Travis: The hospitality and vibe has been great and it’s been nice to get out and meet peeps in person (versus video). My Philly visit was highlighted by some really productive leadership meetings along with a happy hour with the Philly team as well as an emotional, personal reunion with chicken parm pizza. Despite being born and raised in the NYC area and living in Chicago for 10 years - Philly pizza is at the top of my list. San Diego was equally as fun and productive and it was invaluable to be able to interact with a ton of folks in person - several of which were remote and happened to be in town that same week, which aligned perfectly. Competing with Steve over Rosie’s (Chelsey’s dog) attention was privately a highlight - especially given my successful efforts there.

 

Lindsey: Sounds like a time well spent. Have you had a chance to dive into BVA’s client list? How do they differ in size from clients you’ve worked with in your past experiences?

 

Travis: I have and it’s certainly an eclectic mix of different brands and client sizes. To be honest, there are both similarities and differences from my past. I’ve worked a lot with brands and branded manufacturers in general - most recently at LiveArea where we worked with a lot of larger, global brands like Ralph Lauren, Yeti, Tumi, Canada Goose, Tommy Bahama and others that were usually tethered to more monolithic commerce and marketing platforms like Salesforce or SAP. That being said, we also worked with a lot of smaller or emerging brands like Saje, La Prairie, Trina Turk, Burts Bees, LUSH and others with high growth aspirations which maps very specifically to BVA’s client base. I personally prefer working with the smaller, emerging brands versus large brands and/or retailers for a myriad of reasons. These types of clients tend to need more help and are more receptive to receive it - and generally speaking, have more enthusiasm and less politics.

 

Lindsey: Quite the client portfolio you have! After spending some time with you in the Sales & Marketing meetings, I’m personally SO excited about the processes that you’re working on. What are you starting with? Why? And, what’s the timeline with rollout?

 

Travis: I figured you of all people Lindsey would be most excited about the process part :) Overall, myself and the team are focused on five key areas: 1) Sales Methodology (defining our One BVA approach towards engaging new prospects to remove friction, optimize visibility to delivery and optimize our close percentage), 2) Scoping/Workshops (standardizing our scoping/workshop methodology to bring a predictable, consultative and scalable process to how we scope new work), 3) CRM/Hubspot (architecting and rolling out a single source of truth for all client and prospect data and assets across the organization), 4) Defined Offerings (productizing service offerings across the entire agency to differentiate us from the competition, more efficiently predict & deliver work and drive value to our customers while optimizing our overall go-to-market strategy) and 5) Account Management optimization (standardizing roles and responsibilities, tiering accounts and service models, development of KPIs and metrics and inclusion of all BVA services). As for timeline, it varies a bit but the first two should be completed in the first part of October while the others will be phased throughout Q4.

 

Lindsey: Much to look forward to! Can you tell us about another area of focus and some improvements we can expect to see over the coming weeks/months?

 

Travis: I think one of the more exciting efforts is aligning sales with delivery. As daunting as some people may find that statement, I find it to be one of the most important and rewarding aspects of a growing a successful agency or consultancy. Without proper alignment, it is impossible to profitably scale the business or maintain happy customers (or CFO :)). If you read between the lines a bit, a lot of the aforementioned priorities are centered around driving this alignment directly or indirectly.

 

Lindsey: Completely agree this is something much needed.

 

Travis: Well I certainly can’t take credit for coming up with the concept - I’m just respectfully copying best practices and what I’ve seen work (or not work). At the end of the day, It’s hard to sell in this space when you have unhappy customers, employees or capacity challenges.

 

Lindsey: Well, we are just so glad you are here to get the ship running more effectively and efficiently. Thank you for sharing your insights! And, appreciate you not being too intimidated by Aaron’s interview last month.

 

Travis: No problem, Lindsey. This fireside chat was a little intimidating but enjoyable. Let’s do s’mores next time.