It doesn’t take 10 times as much money or 10 times as much effort to think 10 times as big.
That idea – originally attributed to Elon Musk – is a guiding concept for Brian Sallee, an entrepreneur who has launched and led Tampa Bay technology companies. Now, at his new company, Avorit, Sallee is helping other business scale.
“We help technology companies or companies that use technology for a competitive advantage to scale 10x,” Sallee said. “We help those companies figure out what are the levers that need to be pulled in sales, marketing, operations and finance so that they can grow 10x.”
Avorit, based out of a small office in Largo and with a boutique team of about a half-dozen people, officially launched in January, although Sallee has been doing executive coaching and consulting for the past two or three years.
He founded Reviora, a Tampa tech company, in 2008, and while there he literally wrote the book on cloud computing, publishing “Invisibilify: Cloud Computing and Its Impact on Business” in 2011, when on-demand availability of computer resources including data storage and computing power was still a relatively novel concept. Tampa software and cloud giant Tribridge bought Reviora for an undisclosed amount in 2015 and Sallee became a director at Tribridge affiliate, Concerto Cloud Services. In 2017, DXC Technology (NYSE: DXC) bought Tribridge and Concerto.
Sallee spent the next year as vice president of channel and marketing at DSM, a data center in Lakeland that provides managed cloud services.
“I was ready for not managing a big company anymore,” Sallee said. “At Avorit, I love helping companies innovate, small and large. My smallest company is a one-person startup, my largest client is $500 million. But they all have the same challenges. They’re all trying to grow. They’re all trying to scale. It’s no longer enough in 2019 to only worry about sales, or only worry about marketing, or only raise capital and everything will solve itself. You need to look at it holistically.”
A key takeaway from his career that he brings to Avorit is the 80-20 rule. “Twenty percent of the things you deal with as a CEO or an organization generate 80 percent of the results,” he said.
For instance, a CEO at a small technology firm might spend four hours a day marketing his company by posting on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
“But one phone call, one interview, one meeting with the right person, can take 20 minutes and then you actually have an article and news about you, whereas the four hours you effectively wasted on Facebook marketing your company didn’t really drive results,” Sallee said. “The same thing works with finance. If you are trying to raise capital, most of the meetings you take will never generate any capital for you. Twenty percent of the meetings will probably generate 80 percent of your capital. So it’s just a different way of thinking about how you go about your day … If you eliminate the noise and you focus on what matters, you will grow.”
There are three technologies that can help pare down the information flow and tasks to the most relevant and essential ones.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning. “It’s no longer when but how. I’m seeing AI and machine learning infiltrate every aspect of marketing, sales, operations and finance. Everything is being able to be moved along faster, processing more data quicker.”
Marketing automation. “It’s one simple dashboard that you can look at to control your social media, your emails, your blogging, your advertising – it’s one simple view. Tech companies that aren’t doing that are bogged down with the noise. The ones that are adopting marketing automation effectively are more quickly able to build their sales pipeline, react to customers’ needs, provide better service, market more effectively.”
Behavioral targeting, or being able to show messaging and content to people before they know they need to buy it. “Behavioral targeting is being able to – in a non-big brother way – help identify your ideal customer and proactively show them messaging and content.”
Avorit’s proprietary method for working with companies involves all three technologies at various levels, Sallee said. “There’s so many tech companies here in Tampa. I legitimately enjoy helping other companies find their stride and grow in scale. I’m having a blast. I think I have the best job in the world.
“I have the most diverse, eclectic range of clients. I have a small boutique team, we’re not trying to be a huge growth agency – which I realize is ironic.”