Simplifying Customer Networks – Gregory Browning of SinglePoint Global

Gregory Browning, CEO of SinglePoint Global

Gregory Browning, the CEO of SinglePoint Global, grew his company’s revenue from $2.2 million in 2014 to $7.2 million in 2017, a 224% increase, and to around $10.9 million in 2018.  

SinglePoint Global provides IT infrastructure, cloud-based voice, apps, data, cabling, and consulting services.  

In this interview with Eversprint‘s Malcolm Lui, Gregory shares how he and his team accelerated their high value sales by:  

  • Adding new products and services that they could offer to existing clients, and that allowed them to engage new clients who are looking for more than just IT support.  
  • Building out their sales team starting in 2016, as they had grown to a point where referrals were no longer enough to keep their team busy.  
  • Hiring really smart people who have the passion to do the right thing for customers, who are excited about what the company is doing and striving for.  

Computer generated transcript - SinglePoint Global (transcribed by Sonix)

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Malcolm Lui: Welcome to the High Value Sales Show of Eversprint.com. I'm Malcolm Lui, the Managing Member of Eversprint, and today we're speaking with Gregory Browning, the CEO of SinglePoint Global, a provider of IT infrastructure, cloud-based voice, apps, data, cabling, and consulting services. Welcome to the show Gregory.

Gregory Browning: Thank you. It's good to be here.

Malcolm Lui: Gregory, you grew your company's revenue from $2.2 million in 2014 to $7.2 million in 2017, a 224% increase, and in 2018 you hit around $10.9 million. Before we talk about how you grew your company so fast, can you briefly share what your company does beyond my quick intro, and how your company differs from the competition?

Gregory Browning: Yeah. So we started the company 13 years ago really focusing on I.T. infrastructure and noticing that around the Northern Virginia market there was a gap there and we found a lot of customers were needing a strong and valued MSP to support a lot of their needs. And the biggest feedback on that is what we listen to them and engaged in to issues that they had within their infrastructure and addressing those issues and then listening to what they wanted more of. And I believe by expanding our business from just I.T. support to circuits and voice over IP and data center and managed services and starting to add of those products slowly over the years really gave us the ability to do it right. I kept up with the ability to address the client's needs as they grew and allowed us to grow our revenue in different areas that whereas our original focus as well as provide a level of customer service that we felt was doing more and providing more than a typical MSP around here and with making sure that their voice is always heard. You can ask any my guys around here that I will always focus on not chasing revenue which means I will sometimes go to a fault. As far as we can to support our customers and do the right thing whenever possible

Malcolm Lui: Right now what you said before you identified a gap in the Northern Virginia area. Was it a physical gap meaning that there weren't any I.T. management companies in the area that that sort of gap or was it more of a service gap and an offering gap.

Gregory Browning: More of a service gap for finding MSD that did good work. It was amazing because I obviously didn't. I'm from a tech background. I'm not a salesperson in any way shape or form but talking with other I.T. people and just businesses in the industry whether it be at a happy hour or anything it's amazing how much people were looking for strong I.T. support knowledgeable staff and and people to be able to resolve issues that either weren't resolved or took too long or wasn't the right solution first. So that's what really drove me to start pushing into that career after I had left to pump ever acknowledging

Malcolm Lui: All right. Got it. Now those sort of things that you mentioned seems pretty basic though right. He entered providing good customer support and timely resolution is not the norm for the most part. I mean you perform critical systems for a car for a business right. A need these sort of things

Gregory Browning: You'd be surprised how often it's it's not the norm though and why that's helped our success. It's it's easy to do some I.T. work and then walk away and go to the next client. I mean that's what anybody can do really but doesn't mean it's always done right. If you're coming back consistently for the same issues and not looking ahead focusing on reoccurring issues addressing what the client's doing in the future and how they're going to grow their business and and taking all those into consideration with how you grow your business you're just going to be like everyone else. And I feel those are really important key factors that have helped our growth by not just being oh they came and they fixed my computer and left by meeting with them consistently getting feedback addressing the feedback at the best positive way. Maybe you don't do everything that they want today but you recommend strong partners to help you grow all of those areas are very key in becoming a strong and solid MSP for your customers.

Malcolm Lui: Right now. Now you probably touched on a number of these already but maybe we can go through them again and maybe go a little bit deeper. You agree a business pretty fast almost fivefold from two point two million in 2014 to around ten point nine million in 2018. What were the three biggest drivers behind that growth

Gregory Browning: I would say just adding the products is one that is growing from just I.T. support to all additional divisions we have is one of the biggest ways we grew. It allowed us to sell to our existing client base. When we came out with the new product but it also allowed us to be a player on the table for customers who were looking for more than just I.T. support. So I think having a not too large of a product base but enough that makes sense within your market are are super important. Another driver of growth for us was to was literally a lot of our business game. I don't think I hired a sales guy for till maybe 2016. All the years before that since 2007 we grew on referrals and me being the sales guy. And so we were making leaps and strides before we even started doing any marketing or regeneration or working with a sales team. And I think that speaks to a lot of how we were addressing our customers and listening to them and building out a solid product base that they were doing a lot of selling for us. And if you can't call seventy five percent of your customers and have them want to do a referral for you then you probably have something still that you need to address either in the customer service side or there are things that you probably need a little better process on to make better to for them to be able to want to do that. And we strive in all those areas to make sure that any customer on our Rolodex would talk and say great things about us and because they they meet a lot of people in themselves as they grow. I've had a lot of customers grow not just as fast if not faster than I have and they have they meet a lot of people along the way. And if you can't have them talk about you and grow organically through that then I still feel that you can have as many salespeople as you want. You're probably not going to keep the customers that you've gotten over the years.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Exactly. Is there a third driver

Gregory Browning: I'd say just having a solid team we've done coming from a tech background I was able to hire really smart guys in I.T. they grew throughout the years took a chance. I mean most MSP is especially small ones growing out they don't pay as well as big conglomerate companies or have all of the same plans and benefits that a small company has. But I think they joined because they liked what we were doing our what we were trying to strive for. They liked the people that I was hiring because they felt like they could relate to them and I feel like having a knowledgeable staff that can play well together considering they're working half their lives together throughout the company before they go home is as important and trying to grow that culture is super important in the service and I see that because your staff or the people that are talking to your customers all the time right. And if your customers don't like them they're not going to like you as much either especially when in our role we're meeting with them and all their employees all the time employees start having conversations with their managers that we're not doing our job. And of course it changes the relationship. So if you don't have a solid backing of employees that can feel your passion to do the right thing for your client as often as possible within reasonable expectations then it's you're not going to have that much of growth. I mean your your people help portray how you are in your company and they all have to be working and in the customer service role whether they're a customer service representative or not

Malcolm Lui: Let's go to deeper into these three drivers that you share. So first driver adding new products and services. How did you get that idea to begin. Begin with is it a strategic decision you made early on or were your clients is asking for it and you realize that here's a gap that you could fill

Gregory Browning: Really it was clients asking for more listening to their frustrations whether it be their Internet service provider and it's always going out or they talk. Call some big company and know they don't know them from the million others that they're talking to. You'd be surprised how many people will just want to be heard and talked to and when they get automated prompts are forced to use portals or really no feedback. They feel like nobody cares or nobody listens to what they're going through. So that's one of the reasons why we brought in doing Internet circuits and services NPL us all the type of circuit you can do was because we we we answer we know what's going on with their infrastructure and if we don't and we do all the work for them to find out those answers and when they call for an update they can actually call and talk to people that will hear them versus either waiting and along to you or getting some other representative that's asking for a ticket number that know what they called before. So just again strives to customer service and it's helped us score a lot of big accounts because doesn't matter the company size. A lot of them we found still feel the same frustrations small or big when it came to circuits and really just having somebody to talk to that understands technology that's giving them reasons why things are they way they are right now pushing for redundancy and offering alternatives that are truly redundant versus somebody saying they are Providing it with technical knowledge behind it really goes a long way with many customers

Malcolm Lui: Right

Gregory Browning: So that that is just one example of probably almost every product line we have. I'll say that about our voice over IP systems. There was a lot of resellers back then and when I started and the competitors would always have three to five year contracts with evergreens that renewed for the same amount. And people would feel trapped when they get bad service or they didn't give notice in time and they they the service wasn't as good because were either didn't know the technology well enough the vendors that were deploying it or they just didn't care or we're just going for scale. And so we opened up a voice over IP division within SPG. We wanted to be more informative of what's going on because a lot of customers especially retail customers rely on their phones for their business. So if those go down there their livelihoods down and not only are they wasting the money in that that they're paying for their employees but they're losing incoming money that is their life. So we wanted to know more instead of just calling somebody else each time their phones went down. So we started building out that infrastructure test testing clients what they thought about it and being able to ride a higher level of service by using the Internet circuits we could quality of service the voice side to give people better experience. So

Malcolm Lui: Right

Gregory Browning: And with the I.T. support side already having the customer service and people that know who they are Sorry for that

Malcolm Lui: Now. No worries might be a customer calling.

Gregory Browning: I got stuff for that. So hopefully they're doing their job. Matter of fact I definitely know they are. But to that point that that is just another reason why we we scaled our products because our customers wanted more out of the vendors that they were using. It led to kind of a name change that we had because we used to go buy new to Corporation and our vision then was to work with new companies and grow with them. So we used the word NewCo and just added t at the end of it. We wanted to grow when they grew. That's why I started the company with when I went out full time with it. And then we decided that we were getting so many customers that weren't Yukos. They were they were big customers. They were much bigger than us and and trusting in us to do their work. So we were like well we really need to we've added all these products right. And we're trying to figure out what's the next name that we should do and what we found was we were becoming their single point of contact for all of their different needs within I.T. and by providing redundant solutions with multiple different carriers by providing extra levels of support IE doing data center and using D.R. between two different companies and just going through all the different aspects of I.T. and looking out how we can bring that in-house give them a familiar name face no email address to get information for no matter how many offices they had across the nation. So they weren't knowing what Internet circuit they had in Washington state or what phone provider they were using in Texas by us offering all these different products they now had one contact that they could use one support contact one call center that knew right away everything they had no matter where they were calling from.

Malcolm Lui: Right

Gregory Browning: And typically with the monitoring we knew before they even had a problem

Malcolm Lui: Right now

Gregory Browning: So

Malcolm Lui: Where do you draw the line as to why you won't often offer those services

Gregory Browning: I really think that depends. So we like most companies as you grow we'll start putting in floors. Right. Will grandfather our existing clients that we have and then start putting in new floors for the sales team of saying well let's try and drive our growth with bigger companies. So we're going to say don't go after the small ones anymore we want to make sure we can still offer our same level of service but have it a little more targeted. So I'd say that is one of the changes we've made over the years as we grew is focusing on the market that we really wanted which is in this higher small business but not large medium businesses say anywhere between 50 and 500 employees.

Malcolm Lui: Right. But in terms of the services you offer I mean your clients are always asking for more I imagine because everything is hooked up to their network. So where do you draw the line and say you run like an ad that service is getting a bit beyond our core competencies.

Gregory Browning: Really if it depends on how well we're running if we feel that we've gotten things down and our guys are feeling like hey we can take on more where we start looking at that and see is there something more clients need. And that's what we've done since the very beginning. We don't we're not rushing to do products right away. Just because one client asked for. It's really can we do it and can we do it right. Do we need to partner with someone instead. Or is this even an area we want to be in. And I think a good example of that is we're not a software development company. We will not develop software but we do a lot of other things in I.T. we find that software development companies are best when that's all they do they work in teams they know how to produce good work and that's something that requires a lot of effort and focus. That's not like the other services that we do. That doesn't mean we won't develop our own Web sites for our own uses portals et cetera to collaborate and combine our services. It just means we're not going to go out and build software for others but

Malcolm Lui: Right

Gregory Browning: That's an example of one division that in I.T. that doesn't really fit well with what our focus is

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Gregory Browning: On the core infrastructure

Malcolm Lui: Got it. So the second driver you talked about was providing it. Initially it was a core level of service and they really easy for customers to assure you. I mean their throat before you. And then in 2016 you brought on onboard a sales team. And I assume you also started doing some marketing tool to help generate to meet with them. What did you see happening in two thousand fifteen or sixteen that said it was time to hire salesperson

Gregory Browning: Really we just wanted to grow. I mean we we felt like we could take on more clients than just the referrals or me going out and doing the work could bring in the one we were obviously at at a certain level where I needed to focus on other divisions of the business side sales. And we felt that with those two aspects in mind it was time. You never want to be having our You never want to have guys that are just sitting around waiting for the next Customer to come in before they do work. And so we do have onboarding teams that onboard new customers and we love keeping them busy. And when we found that the referrals. And me doing it myself was not enough anymore. We said OK. We really need to bring in somebody who knows how to sell I.T. sales. And we had some ups and downs in the beginning but we then brought on my V.P. of sales who is knocked out of the park for the last two years he joined us at the end of twenty sixteen and has been with us through 2017 2018. His name is Robert linear and he's been really kicking butt and listening to the clients and from his background. He used to sell circuits but now he's learned to sell so much more.

Malcolm Lui: Right. All right. Fantastic Four. Driver number three. You talking about having a solid team being able to hire people really smart people especially when you are a smaller business and you can practically speaking pay as well and give as good a benefit as the larger companies. How is that now today. How you funny it a lot easier to bring on board the people you need or is it still quite tough given the current robust economy. We have

Gregory Browning: I feel it's definitely a little tougher than it was a few years ago. This market in Northern Virginia is growing very fast. There's a lot of new businesses there's a lot of new data centers coming up in the area and it's even though there's a lot of people coming to Northern Virginia we also have some I guess other businesses that can drive up salaries beyond that make it difficult for smaller businesses to be able to compete with You figure we got the Booz Allen and the Lockheed Martin is all the big government contractors in the area who feed the government and can offer much more to their employees than smaller I.T. companies. So what really we have to focus on when competing against them for job markets is culture is like do you really want to sit in a facility offsite where you get to meet and or as a contractor for the government and go that route or would you rather come to a smaller business or on on our side and collaborate with your peers be able to grow outside and try different things versus being stuck in a specific contract doing a specific thing. Would you like to have more opportunities to work with different networks so you're not doing the same thing every day within an MSP we get to every new customer is a new challenge. So really what we found is if you really like I.T. and you like trying to do a lot of solution analysis and providing what you feel is going to be the best for the client then we're definitely the place for you. There's always something new when a new client comes on board because not everyone did everything the same. So

Malcolm Lui: Right

Gregory Browning: We get to enjoy that. It's never the same thing you're never just showing up to work doing the same thing and going home. With a small dynamic MSP with multiple different clients it's always a new issue. And I know I couldn't do one of those type of jobs and I respect everyone who can who literally can show up and do the same thing every day and go home and be completely happy with it. With my I.T. background I love a challenge. I love change and I love keeping up with technology to the best of our abilities.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Switching gears a little bit and looking a bit bit further bit ahead. What are your 2019 plans that you can share with us. But sales target targeted you looking to achieve this year compared to last year where you did ten point nine million

Gregory Browning: We have two major focuses this year we're putting together and finalizing plans to really blow up a market that we touched on at the end of last year. We expanded into Austin and we've been there really for over three years but we didn't have an office down there so or staff we were really just flying people in. Handling disaster recovery and infrastructure in a data center down there and as you started getting a couple of clients down there we realized OK let's see what happens. So this year we're really going to be focusing on expanding in that market and seeing what that brings us which I think is a good challenge. I know a lot of people go through a lot of risk and analysis to see should they expand into a new market or not. You've heard the scary stories of when they did they failed or they lost focus on their existing market where they were doing such so good and when they tried to scale to a new market. So I think we're up for that challenge. I think we're ready. We've got a great team up here and they're scaling and able to handle already multiple different states. As far as where customers reside. So we feel like just by focusing on a market we're still kind of doing the same thing we do well we're just going to target one area instead of just having the customers tell us where they have offices and expanding into those. So that's one good thing for us that we're trying to do this year as well as we have a higher revenue target. I mean we try and push the sales team a little more each year. And we're hoping we can grow another 3 to 4 million this year. It's a tough goal to do when your. I think we're 40 employees full. So it's it's challenging we like it and we're going to try and push hard for

Malcolm Lui: Now in Austin and say expanding into Austin. So you're going to open an office you can hire people who would be based in Austin permanently but the idea

Gregory Browning: Yeah. We have an office we should open up an office towards the end of Q4 last year. It's there today. It's small. I mean it's really out there we work facility if you call that it's your own office it's really not. I mean we're we're basically subletting out. We work facility and we do have team a team down there. We've moved two employees down there and we have probably about today five contractors working full time down there

Malcolm Lui: Okay

Gregory Browning: And we're hoping that doubles or triples this year if we're lucky

Malcolm Lui: Right now you can have a sales person down here a business development person down here. Now growing the market

Gregory Browning: Not yet. I think we have enough going on down there that we're going to try their organic approach first. I mean while we are diving in we're not going to spend a lot of money. Pushing in a lot of employees to try and see what happens. I think we are happy with the slow growth we're doing there already and the accounts that we do have down there are growing and expanding and adding more products and services. I feel like that's a good way for us as 90 company to test it out is to really not dive head in with everything and throw everything at it and see if it makes it or breaks it. We like kind of slowly moving in doing right and guiding it guiding the customers and trust that even though we're based out of Ashburn we can do in Excel. Your expectations in this new market that we're we're expanding into

Malcolm Lui: Right in time and Austin has a pretty strong tech focus right. I imagine the referrals or start rolling in here as well as a bit more quickly than in other markets.

Gregory Browning: That's what we're hoping.

Malcolm Lui: Now you also mentioned that you have a revenue target you want to add another 3 to 4 million this year so be roughly a 30 to 40 percent growth for this year. What do you need to do to make that happen.

Gregory Browning: I'd really say drive in leads. I mean sales leads are important at this type of growth now growing organically is just too slow. It was great in the beginning and but now it kind of hit these bigger numbers you really need to get the leads in and have your marketing and sales campaigns working as best as they can. And one thing that probably any I.T. guy will tell you is they are not sales and marketing and good at that. So and they they rely on specialized people to do that. So we luckily hired a good V.P. Who who's hiring strong sales guys and girls to work for that growth. And by using outside marketing firms we found have been pretty successful in generating leads for us. That's all they do right. That stuff goes back to where I say self and relevant companies should be software companies that's what they do well. And so when we look for a lead generation company we want to make sure that's all they do and that they do it really really well. And so far it's been working out well for us. We they we started a new one at the beginning of this year and they're already paying for their self probably three or four times over. So I'd definitely say you have to try a few before you find a golden egg and keep looking we're going to try and open up a few more doors with a couple more companies sometime this year and see if we can have the same success

Malcolm Lui: Right. So from a marketing perspective and perhaps even from a sales perspective what do you see as the biggest obstacle biggest challenge that your team needs to overcome to hit your targets.

Gregory Browning: I actually I mean I really think it's just bringing in the leads I mean we do a really good job at closing almost every deal that comes to our door. I can tell you that we don't lose very much. It's not to say that we don't lose. We definitely do. But I believe with the way we put our package together the way we speak and the way our clients speak about us when we give referrals it really drives it home to the success of SPG. So I think our only and biggest challenge that would keep us from making that goal is not reaching enough people. And that's why are we're really focusing on getting our name out there Working with new lead teams and figuring out what are more ways we can expand our brand.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Speaking about ways of expanding your brand. I fired up my my tools my online marketing tools before we started our conversation and I took a look at your paper ticket presence and your SVOD presence and by the tools I have not really seeing much of a presence on either front. What's your thinking behind paper clicking SCA

Gregory Browning: Typically we've been we have not used the Web site as much or those ads to gain our growth. That's not saying that they don't work. We just haven't really vested too much into that side of the business because we found dialing for dollars if you will or reaching out to clients and speaking to them has been more successful than using LinkedIn or Facebook ads or those type of things to drive success. Majority of all of our leads when we tried that in the past never came out. All came from when we made phone calls. It wasn't from our website it wasn't from ads and banners and LinkedIn shares or anything like that. So we're really focusing on lead generation as far as them are counting on these outsourced marketing companies to send the emails make the phone calls reach out to people for us to really get that name out there.

Malcolm Lui: Right. So far the companies that you've hired to help you with their legion. What. What's the offer that they're making the businesses that get them. Get them to say yeah. I could learn more about this

Gregory Browning: You know I would love to be able to answer that but I could force all of that responsibility onto my V.P. of sales and he did a really good job and he continues to. Again it's not to say that we didn't have a few bad eggs in the beginning but now we've gotten a couple of companies that are working well for us. And on that front and we're always looking to see who we're going to use next when budget becomes available

Malcolm Lui: Right. Got it three last questions for you. Especially now that you're coming to Austin or you're here here you're looking to expand your presence in Austin. Say you were to put a billboard up here for a single point global. What would be your billboard message.

Gregory Browning: We. I'd say I'd probably go back to really focus on our our vision and simplifying customers networks. We want to give them an easier way to run their I.T. so it would be definitely focused on showing how I.T. can be easy. What the exact slogan would be I probably could tell you that right off the top of my head but I would say it would be to definitely focus on simplifying and giving an easier way to write I.T..

Malcolm Lui: Right. A simpler easier way to run I.T. might be it right there. All right. And two last questions for you Who are your ideal clients and what's the best way for them to reach you.

Gregory Browning: So we really it's amazing. And when we look at our client base it is so dynamic. There is no one market vertical that we've been focusing on. We've seen have been doing really well just having our sales guys open up the phone book if you will. And as the easy way of saying it to talk to anyone. The nice thing about our products is they do really work for almost any market. If you were to say which ones we scale best in and what we gain the most traction from it would probably be into Discovery technical firms surprisingly moving and storage firms and anyone that has a large amount of offices no matter what vertical you're in to simplify their vendor management by having all of their services really generated on a single invoice single bill. It really makes an I.T. directors day when you're signing one bill versus a stack of 100 when they got a hundred offices across the nation. So it that's really our focus is to find those places that have a lot of locations a lot of different vendors simplify that aspect and deliver a strong customer service and I.T. service that meets their needs.

Malcolm Lui: Right. And the best way for those companies to contact you and your team.

Gregory Browning: I'd say reach out to our sales team. You can email sales at a single point global dot com or call our main number at 8 8 8 2 3 1 9 3 1 7

Malcolm Lui: All right Gregory it's been awesome having you on my show today. I really enjoyed hearing how you grew your company so fast

Gregory Browning: Malcolm I appreciate you having me. It's definitely been a pleasure.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. And next I'm in Austin. Look me up to grab some barbecue or something.

Gregory Browning: Definitely should be sometime next month.

Malcolm Lui: All right let's do it.

Gregory Browning: Thank you.

Malcolm Lui: We've been speaking with Gregory Browning, the CEO of SinglePoint Global, about his company's rapid growth. For interviews with other fast growing, high value sales companies, or to learn how we can accelerate your firm's high value sales through automation, visit Eversprint.com.

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