Tell us about yourself?
I am Vito Vishnepolsky the found and director of Martal Group, a sales as a service agency for B2B tech companies. I formed Martal Group as a solopreneur in 2009.
The business was bootstrapped entirely, and I relied on my expertise to generate revenue and scale my client base.
Now, Martal Group is rated as one of the top B2B lead generation companies.
We’ve also recently been named the 60th fastest-growing company in Canada by The Globe and Mail after achieving 761% revenue growth in three years.
What do you think is the single biggest misconception people have when it comes to startups?
The downfall of many startups begins with the belief that “a good idea sells itself.”
I have seen several entrepreneurs with fantastic solutions struggle because they lacked a game plan for lead generation.
No matter how good your product is, it won’t matter to the market unless they know it exists.
If you could go back in time to any moment from your journey, and give yourself one tip, what would it be?
In the early years of Martal, we relied on one main revenue source, which caused a cascade of issues that nearly toppled the business.
If I were to give my past self one tip, it would be to focus more on diversifying revenue streams.
While I am really excited about where Martal is now, I can only imagine how much further along we would be if I had known then what I know now about running a successful business.
What makes you stand out as an entrepreneur?
As I mentioned, I have bootstrapped Martal since the beginning and managed to grow exponentially without accepting funding.
Given that Martal is a lead generation company, this has been a huge testament to our ability to implement proven sales strategies that drive sustainable revenue growth.
What are some of the best working habits you’ve gained over the past couple of years?
Due to Martal’s growth over the past couple of years, I have embraced delegation, so I can focus on the big-picture.
Our employee headcount went from less than 20 to over 60 in just over 18 months, and the Martal team relies on me to keep the company moving forward.
I just couldn’t do that while constantly managing the day-to-day activities of each employee. I am still highly involved with my team, but I hired additional vice presidents and managers to oversee operations and customer success.
Finding time to unwind is another important working habit I have adopted. No matter how much you love your business, burning the midnight oil makes you just as susceptible to burnout as your employees — if not more so.
It may seem counterintuitive, but I am more productive and focused today than a few years ago because I schedule time to disconnect from work.
Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?
Initially, I offered strategic consultant services for startups.
Unfortunately, the business model wasn’t scalable. The project-by-project nature of consulting made it challenging to develop a recurring revenue stream that would fund a solid sales team. After my first major contract ended, I had to start from scratch.
It was a painful experience but one that completely changed the trajectory of Martal Group for the better. I kicked around the idea of offering business development services and was met with very receptive responses from my clients.
When it comes to sales, it’s one thing to understand the concepts and quite another to put them into action. That’s why I believe Martal really hit the ground running once we changed our offer.
Not only did the sales as a service model deliver the strategy, it provided the support. For startups especially, this is critical as speed to market and scaling fast are essential to surviving those first five years.
Where do you see your business in five years?
With business development representatives (BDRs) averaging only 17 months of productivity, many of our clients are experiencing significant revenue loss due to turnover alone.
At the low end, attrition costs these companies 30 percent of each employee’s annual salary. That’s a massive hit to the bottom line.
To alleviate some of the burdens of staffing a sales department, we are creating a hiring and training program based on the processes we use to develop our own award-winning team.
In five years, we aim to be the go-to global marketplace for businesses seeking North American sales professionals.
What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you in getting there?
Creating a new side to any business always comes with a multitude of challenges.
For service offerings, often the most significant roadblock is getting the right people in the right seats, to paraphrase Jim Collins.
Martal has a great team of collaborative and creative professionals, and I feel confident in our ability to put this program in motion quickly so we can start filling this gap in our clients’ needs.
Talk to us about your biggest success story so far?
We’ve had several big wins over the years, but I would say the biggest success story to date is our partnership with ClickWorker, the top crowdsourcing company.
Clickworker hired Martal to create a sales pipeline and revenue stream in the US. After fostering three service agreements with Fortune 50 companies and closing over 60 deals with new clients, Martal now manages $1.2 million in annual sales for Clickworker.
How do clients and customers find you? Are you much of a salesperson for yourself?
As a sales as service agency, our internal team operates like a well-oiled lead gen machine. I developed and continue to oversee the entire sales process for Martal.
We use a combination of inbound and outbound marketing channels to acquire customers, including referral partners, organic website traffic, email, LinkedIn, and phone calls.
We continuously pioneer and refine our sales strategies and pass the best of best practices to our clients’ campaigns.
What one tip would you give to fellow startup founders?
Fail fast. You cannot avoid failure, but by addressing failure early on in your journey, you can prevent a lot of pain down the road.
Learn from those failures and apply them to every facet of your decision-making process. From a sales perspective, failing fast means continuously testing.
If you are just starting out or planning on rolling out a new product, test a small portion of your target audience to validate the market fit. If the test fails, quickly adjust your marketing message and try again — rinse and repeat.
Quickly pivoting your strategy in response to the market will help you create an agile team ready to ebb and flow with the highs and lows of your business.
And finally, what do you hope the future brings both you personally, and your business?
As an entrepreneur, my aspirations almost always align with my professional goals.
That being said, I am passionate about empowering entrepreneurs and sales leaders to develop and scale their revenue streams.
My desire for the future is to help tech companies worldwide seamlessly hire top sales talent via our platform.