With nearly 20 years of sales and business experience, he guided Magento Commerce to a $1.8 Billion exit. He is a growth expert and leads hi-tech companies and businesses through growth transformations.
Key Points on The Best Way To New Growth In Your Business
- Randall grew up as an athlete, so going into sales was logical for him. He liked competing with himself and having total control over his earnings.
- He started working as a key account representative at IBM managing 6 financial services account.
- Eventually, he became a product marketing manager. Although he was successful, he felt like he was constantly running into brick walls with his innovative ideas.
- Randall started consulting on the side in Silicon Valley with smaller startups.
- He realized that he was very drawn to boutique consulting firms, as he could be creative. So he left IBM and joined Sales Benchmark Index.
- SBI didn’t have a marketing practice at the time, so in the second year, he already had the opportunity to start the marketing practice by himself.
- During this time he went through a big transformation within himself too. Although he was accomplished in his career, he wasn’t fulfilled and wanted to find his true motivation.
- After reading about the WHY statement by Simon Sinek, he realized that the most important thing in his professional life was to challenge the status quo, succeed in unconventional ways, and inspire others to do the same.
- Right around the time, he met Greg Shepard, while they were both working on Pepperjam, an affiliate marketing solutions provider company.
- Randall felt like he should do what he really cares about, but he was too secure and well respected in his job at SBI. It took him 2 years to be able to leave.
- He made a strategy for himself and sent it out to his family and friends to prepare them for the change. Fortunately, everybody was very supportive about it even SBI.
- He joined Greg Shepard to BOSS Capital Partners. They created a central product called BOSS (Business Operating Support System). They use that to find companies, invest in them, put them on the system, and help them reach success.
- Randal is optimistic about the future. He sees many new opportunities in the current pandemic and recession and hopes that the world will bond together.
- Who is your success role model? His grandfather
- What is your biggest success? Being a father and a husband.
- What does a typical day look like for you? He wakes up, eats breakfast with his family, and takes his children to school. Then he works from home. He likes to work out every day, and in the evening spending time with his family.
- What’s your favorite quote? “Begin with the end in mind” – Stephen Covey
- What are your hobbies? He likes playing baseball
- What is the best business book you’ve read? David Mead, Peter Docker, and Simon Sinek – Find You Why
- If there was one key piece of advice you could leave our listeners with about achieving success, what would it be? Don’t wait! If you have the feeling that you could be doing something else, just start doing it right now!
Abut our Guest, Randall LaVeau
Randall is a “Growth” expert with nearly 20 years of Sales, Marketing and Support leadership roles. As Chief Marketing Officer, Randall guided Magento Commerce to a $1.8B exit. He has also experience in business management consulting as a Practice Lead at SBI (Sales Benchmark Index) leading hi-tech companies though growth transformations.
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Randall LaVeau is a growth expert with nearly 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, and support leadership roles. He is the Managing Partner of BOSS Capital Partners and the co-creator of the Business Operating Support System. Today, he shares his journey and how he found his true calling in his career.
Randall grew up as an athlete playing sports like baseball, football, and basketball. He always had a competitive nature, and he wanted to fulfill that through his work.
He started his sales career very early at a basement level job. Randall was a door to door seller, trying to sell paper shredders. He worked in the hot and humid Chicago summer walking around in a full suit. But he enjoyed his work because he liked competing against his peers and being in control of his total earnings.
He rose through the sales ranks and eventually landed a key account representative position at IBM in 2008. He was managing 6 financial services accounts. Although he really enjoyed sales and the process was fascinating to him, he started to notice that his peers’ around the age of 40-50 didn’t seem very fulfilled or well-compensated. Randall started to think about if sales was where he wanted his career to go.
The position also came with a lot of stress and his numbers restarted every 3 months. So he decided he wanted something more.
Randall was very good at his job and was overall well respected within the company. One day he saw a job opening for a product marketing position for the same tool that he was actually selling at the time. Even though he didn’t have any experience, he contacted the hiring manager instead of just applying.
The hiring manager enjoyed his aggressive approach and gave Randall an offer: if he could put together the marketing materials in 2 weeks and present them, then he would be considered for the job. Randall spent the next 2 weeks preparing for the presentation and eventually got the product marketing manager job.
The Shiny Blue Pen
Randall spent around 2-3 years in this position. Although he enjoyed the job itself, he had a hard time accepting IBM’s status quo. Things were moving slow within the company, and Randall’s innovative ideas were not supported most of the time. By nature, he liked to challenge the status quo and do things differently, so he felt like he was constantly running into brick walls.
A perfect example is when he attended events to represent a specific product line. People would come to their booth handing out their business cards. Randall had the idea to collect these business cards and generate a database through these leads. However, IBM wasn’t the environment for that.
Their marketing strategy was the “Shiny Blue Pen” analogy. This analogy means that large companies, such as IBM, don’t really need to invest in demand generation. All they need to invest in are shiny blue pens. People will come to them because these pens show the company’s credibility and brand notoriety.
Smaller companies on the other hand, really need to invest in the demand generation and the branding aspect, because they don't have that credibility or notoriety. They have to be creative and innovative, as giving away shiny blue pens are not enough for them.
Randall realized that he liked the smaller company marketing environment more because he liked to wear several hats, be creative, and try new things.
Randall started consulting on the side. He mostly worked with small startups with around 5-10 people in Silicon Valley. Working at IBM held credibility because every startup wanted to become as big as IBM one day.
He enjoyed learning his client’s motivation and culture and developing processes for them. This made him motivated to find more consulting opportunities for himself or even transition into independent consulting full time one day.
Some of the boutique consulting firms were very attractive to him, as those were more creative and innovative than the big corporations like IBM. Eventually, he wound up at Sales Benchmark Index and worked there for 5 years. According to Randall, he learned more in those 5 years than the 15 years prior. The unique thing about SBI was that they didn’t hire business school students or graduates, but only people who worked in the same industry as their clients. This way they could understand their clients’ true needs.
Randall worked as a sales marketing consultant. SBI didn’t have a marketing practice at the time, only a couple of marketing engagements. He got the opportunity to start a marketing practice in his second year.
The WHY statement
As his career evolved, Randall went through a personal transformation too. He got used to going into companies as a consultant and building their strategies and operating plans, but he felt like he didn’t have a direction for himself. He read the book, Find your Why by Simon Sinek and that helped him tremendously. Randall learned about the “WHY statement”. It made him realize that he should build his own personal strategy, and find what motivates him the most in order to feel fulfilled in his life.
He realized that the reason he still felt unhappy and without a direction, despite being financially secure and on the peak of his career, was because his motivation was not financially based. Randall believes the popular statement among entrepreneurs “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” is only partially true. It should be corrected to: “know why you love what you do.” This way entrepreneurs could always determine if an opportunity is positive or negative for their personal WHY statement.
Randall’s WHY statement is that he likes to succeed in ways that people didn’t think was possible. He likes to challenge the status quo, succeed in unconventional ways, and inspire others to do the same.
After realizing his WHY statement, Randall knew that he needed to change his career to be happy. This was the time when he met Greg Shepard while they were both working on Pepperjam, an affiliate marketing solutions provider company. Randal worked as an interim CMO for about 6-7 months and Greg Shepard was the CTO at Pepperjam. They developed a good connection as they were not motivated by money. Both felt a lot of responsibility to help the entrepreneurial ecosystem and to help entrepreneurs succeed.
Right after Randall finished the project, he started looking into opportunities to start something new and be financially compensated as well. According to him, in a work situation when you are making good money and also having fun, you start to build a lifestyle around this success. This creates a lot of fear of change. It took him around 1.5 years to prepare himself to leave SBI.
Randall wrote down his obituary, his vision statement, and the 5 values he lived by. After he did that, he created a strategy document on how he was going to change his career. Then he sent it out to the most important people in his life, like his extended family, close friends, and some of his peers at work for accountability. He wanted to prepare them for the change that was coming, and the nice thing was that it inspired other people to do the same. Even SBI was supportive of his goals.
It was hard to take the leap because many people were relying on him. He was very secure and well-respected in the company and not being financially secure was also a concern. However, he is very happy that he could follow his dreams.
Building up BOSS Capital Partners
Upon leaving SBI, Randall started working with Greg Shepard and some other people. Together they created BOSS Capital Partners. They put together all their previous experiences and formed a central product, the famous BOSS (Business Operating Support System) methodology.
They use the BOSS method to find companies, invest in them, put them on the system, and help them reach success. The firm is very involved and selective about the startups it invests in. They have a 3-month investment cycle when they teach these startups the tools to start, maintain, scale, and ultimately exit a company.
Recently, BOSS Capital Partners partnered up with the University of California in order to get the BOSS framework built into their curriculum.
According to Randall, he is much happier now working in a boutique firm, than previously in bigger corporations. Even though he is less secure financially, as he doesn’t have a stable income like before, he knows he can scale his business up. He feels fulfilled in his career.
The bright future
Randall is optimistic about the future. He tends to see the positive side of things and he is excited about what will come out of this crisis we are in at the moment.
According to him, if we look at the crises historically, although the current one is a bit different than anything before, they always brought new opportunities. He hopes that the world comes together and that we can experience a more selfless time soon.
People will hopefully realize how they really need each other, and instead of looking at each other as competition, they help one another.