Meet Michael Whife, the Chief Executive Officer of Selling Simplified Group, Inc. Wife has exceptionally portrayed his unique ideologies and methodologies to lift him and his company to its current stature. As the leader of global B2B demand gen company, Whife has introduced various disruptive technologies to the industry that meet growing demand through an innovative, data-driven approach to business.
Tycoon Success admires leaders like Whife and takes pride in featuring him in this month’s special issue: “The 10 Most Inspiring CEO’s to Watch in 2021.”
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Innovative Services & Solutions
Selling Simplified Group, Inc. (SSG) takes a holistic, intent-driven approach to demand generation and martech solutions. Whife shared that the business was born from the idea that there are more opportunities to track engagement and garner insights from content consumption than traditional lead generation programs capture. The company offers two core solutions to helping marketers make more meaningful B2B connections:
Visionayr: This all-in-one marketing solution is designed to give B2B marketers a real-time view of organic demand and intent surrounding their products and customers. Operating atop SSG’s robust global database of 170M+ global B2B records, Visionayr offers a unique way to share content, track engagement, and drive high quality demand.
Integrated Programmatic: The SSG approach to programmatic display hinges on first-party data. While third-party data is costly and assumptions-based, first-party data ensures 100% targeting accuracy. Our programmatic offerings can be leveraged in any multichannel lead gen strategy, ensuring targeting efficiencies and reducing ad spend waste.
While Selling Simplified’s core mission has always revolved around helping its clients making more fruitful B2B connections, Whife and his team approached that mission in a few different ways before finally finding a path that set the company apart and enabled it to grow.
They developed the idea when they witnessed a need to capture intent. They realized that the company could provide more value for its clients by delivering digitally engaged sales leads. “To do this, we would need data,” he shared. As its proprietary database of B2B decision makers grew, the lead gen sphere became increasingly data-driven and started leveraging more digital methods. Whife’s team was able to grow over the past few years because they have built a vast global database and because their smart technology and global presence has positioned the company competitively in the market.
Selling Simplified primarily serves software and IT companies in the B2B space and has adopted a human-centered approach to demand gen, which can often be lost in the world of big data and marketing technology. Whife is committed to identifying and analyzing human behavior that’s useful to both its clients and their prospects. He stated that many SSG clients praise the company’s unique and out-of-the-box approach. Its core values center around customer service and localization, which the company believes go hand-in-hand. He and his team don’t believe in simply servicing clients from overseas; they strive to create jobs in the countries where the company does business. At the end of the day, Whife shared that the company’s technology is designed to help people. “This is core to what we do and the marketing message that we promote,” he said.
A Strong Team
The collective success of the company has contributed to the overall drive of Whife’s team. Thanks to an outstanding core leadership team, Selling Simplified has been able to create an environment that nurtures and cultivates its employees as professionals in the industry and allows them to grow within the organization.
Whife continues to emphasize the importance of corporate social responsibility and giving back to the community. “When we talk about Selling Simplified’s hyper-localized approach to doing business, one of the biggest elements is our model of hiring local to create fully operational regional office,” he said.
In the Digital Age, quality data plays a crucial role in understanding the market and empathizing with the buyer’s evolving needs. Data is an incredibly personal form of currency that, when mishandled, can have dangerous effects. Selling Simplified has always taken data security and privacy seriously, and Whife considers this a major responsibility of him and his company.
Whife also stated that some of the changes that the company made to its operating model over the years have been tumultuous for the company and were difficult to implement as a leader, but in hindsight he would now say that they were in the company’s best interest.
Lastly, Whife shared that Selling Simplified has nearly doubled the size of its team and continues to employ some of the most, talented, innovative, and seasoned individuals in the industry. This accomplishment is truly the result of all of its team’s tenacity, first-rate customer service, and knack for ingenuity. Whife expressed that he could not be prouder to work amongst such a fine group of global leaders in an innovative company such as theirs.
Effective leaders allow great people to do the work they were born to do -Warren G. Bennis
As the company continues to gain midsize status, Whife sees Selling Simplified becoming a truly viable competitor to top publisher and demand gen companies. While their presence in the Asia Pacific region continues to grow and further cement their status as APAC market leaders, Whife has expansion plans for Europe, North America, and Latin America.
“As we continue to expand throughout the globe, we pride ourselves on maintaining a data-driven, culturally sensitive presence,” said Whife. Around the world, Selling Simplified captures data in-language, and all their records come from a subscriber opt-in network that complies with global privacy & data regulations. As they continue to open offices around the world and build a data capture system that mirrors the nuance of those regions, they are positioned to be the largest demand generation and data service provider in APAC and a competitive force in the world.
Selling Simplified also researches market trends to understand evolving needs and continues to set up global operations in an agile fashion. The company focuses on developing tools that improve their global database and add intelligence to the data. In the future, Whife intends to adapt their products and hone their hyper-localized approach to demand gen, highlighting their opt-in framework that guarantees real-time, quality intent data for clients.
Awards and Achievements
- 94 new employees are hired
- 200+ new clients are added to the clientele list
- 65% annualized growth was witnessed from 2019-20
- 5 new offices are opened across the globe
- The company achieved industry benchmark gross profit margin with 84% increase
- Named on Inc. 5000’s list of Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America for fifth straight year
Whife stated that growth and success are huge motivators for any team, which includes collective success and individual success. He advised that one must be patient and believe in one’s team and their ability to deliver. One must also empower others to do their best work and continue learning and expanding one’s skill set, even if it has nothing to do with the day job.
For companies seeking global expansion, Whife shared some tips:
- Be patient with expansion and understand that it requires cultural adaptation
- Ensure leadership has an authentic sensitivity to culture and empowers the team to deliver
- Understand every market’s unique business challenges and business customs
- Account for data capture and privacy policies, and capture data in-language
- Strive to support local communities, hire locally, and contribute to the world