Interview with Voyage Chicago

For the full interview…


Marie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?

I have been an entrepreneur since the age of 22. At 25, I realized I needed to know more about what I didn’t know and sales was the first place I started to get my MBA on the streets. Over the next 10 years, my sales coach and I worked together on almost a daily basis. I owned a marketing firm and inevitably his closers didn’t have enough leads, and my marketing leads were not getting closed. After years of being each other’s biggest fans we became a family, and 2 years after that we opened our own firm, @revenue, putting sales and marketing under one roof…and it was lightning in a bottle.

We shot past our 1-year goal in under 3 months, our clients were marking unparalleled success, and we spent every waking moment together, and with our little Lily. It was every dream we ever had. Until the day he didn’t pick Lily up from daycare. Jim passed away suddenly on Feb 21, 2017, 3 months shy of our companies 1st anniversary. The life-changing shock was nothing compared to what I still had to face. I had to show up, save our company, raise our girl and keep living.

With the support of an incredible team of what was then contractors, whom became employees and partners, and my friends and family I got back on my feet and back to a fairly unrecognizable life. But our mission of empowering small business owners to create more revenue, be more aligned with their mission and grow from professional love kept me moving. We surpassed every goal Jim and I had set, according to the timeline we laid out when our dream was still new. Here, as we walk into our third year, we will surpass 7 figures of booked business before we hit the half-year mark.

A month ago I would have told you the story ended there. I reached stability because my best friend of more than 10 years took the role of office manager, and part-time helper with Lily as she lived with us 3 days a week. She was more than a set of helping hands, she was what held everything together. On August 7th she asked me to take her to immediate care, she felt like she couldn’t breathe. So after we picked Lily up from camp I took her to the ER, and 15 minutes later she was gone. She was 43. It was a blood clot that hit her lungs. No warning, no way to save her.

Looking at what my little business has had to endure I am constantly grateful to those that rally around us in times of tragedy and times of celebration. We are currently moving into our new offices and we have had an outpouring of support. Laura’s funeral boasted more than 500 attendees, some of whom had only spoken to her on the phone. We have had painters, and lifters, and, thank god, offers for cocktails.

Through it all, we continue to stand in a place of love. Professional love that helps us to truly understand that as life gets crazy, AND IT WILL, surround yourself with people of value. And if you are lucky, you will get to be there for them, too.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the @revenue story. Tell us more about the business.

@revenue is a revolutionary company that solves the revenue challenge. We work with nontraditional salespeople, owners, and teams to give them a permission-based sales process that can empower them to close more sales with clients that are going to be a wonderful part of their growth and say no to those that will drag them down. We also have a full-service marketing agency that looks holistically at a client’s needs and gives them a strategy for revenue creation, including digital marketing, public speaking, outreach campaigns and much more. We are one of the few firms in the country that train our clients to hold as much of their marketing as they want so that they can build a marketing department, or partner with them to keep it going so that they can focus on doing what they do best. And we do it all from a place of professional love.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?

Marketing companies are going to have to switch from having big ideas to producing great results, and that’s not easy. I see organizations that do not provide strategies that they can then see through to fruition as phasing out.

Sales training needs a woman’s voice and it needs it NOW! I can’t tell you how many times I hear ‘Well, yeah, you closed the sale, you’re cute. That always opens the door.’

We can show the industry that no matter where you come from, what your personal level of ‘cute’ is or how comfortable you are with sales, there is a way to make sales be about caring for the person across from you in such a way that you help both of you get to a decision that makes sense, on both sides of the table, and that the abundance lies in creating wins for everyone involved.