How To Escape Founder-Led Sales for Agency Owners With Corey Quinn

Corey Quinn is a self-employed Fractional CMO and Go-To-Market Strategist at Corey Quinn, Inc. He is also a seasoned entrepreneur, sales leader, and marketing executive with a mission to empower agency founders through mentoring, consulting, and coaching. Corey graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and has been an entrepreneur for 25 years. His focus is on helping agency owners to get out of founder-led sales. 

Before starting Corey Quinn, Inc., Corey was the CMO at Scorpion, where he helped grow the agency’s revenue from $20 million to $150 million in seven years. He hosts the Vertical Go-To-Market Podcast and is the author of the upcoming book, Anyone, Not Everyone.

In this episode of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast, John Corcoran sits down with Corey Quinn, a Fractional CMO and Go-To-Market Strategist at Corey Quinn, Inc., to talk about how agency owners can escape founder-led sales. They also discuss Corey’s tech background, the challenges agency owners face selling to lawyers, and the benefits of building a niche business.

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Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • [02:25] Corey Quinn’s entrepreneurial background and his experience launching a broadcasting business
  • [11:32] The lessons Corey learned from running a tech business and working with rich people
  • [15:38] What drove Corey to business development and sales?
  • [21:20] How working with agencies prepared Corey for his current role
  • [24:39] The challenge with selling to lawyers
  • [25:48] Corey talks about giving away a Tesla, the importance of company culture, and why he transitioned to entrepreneurship 
  • [30:25] How Corey helps agency owners to scale
  • [33:19] The peers Corey appreciates for their support

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

Sponsor: Rise25

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Episode Transcript

John Corcoran 0:00

Today we’re talking about how to escape founder-led sales for agency owners. So if you are an agency owner and you want to get out of founder-led sales, you want to delegate that to your team. This episode is gonna be really helpful for you. My guest today is Corey Quinn. I’ll tell you more about him in a second. So stay tuned.

Intro 0:18

Welcome to the Smart Business Revolution Podcast where we feature top entrepreneurs, business leaders, and thought leaders and ask them how they built the relationships to get where they are today. Now, let’s get started with the show.

John Corcoran 0:35

Alright, welcome everyone. John Corcoran here. Thanks for tuning in. I’m the host of the show and you know if you’ve listened before, which of course hopefully you have, we’ve had all kinds of great guests on this programme, including CEOs and founders and entrepreneurs from companies like Netflix and Kinkos, YPO, EO, and Activision Blizzard. We’ve had Redfin, recently, we had Grub Hub, go check out the archives, lots of great episodes in there. And if you are interested in the topic of how to grow and scale an agency, a digital agency, Carl Smith is a great past guest I have in there, David C. Baker, Roger Hurni, go check out the archives, you can look for some of those episodes and and find them in the archives. 

Of course, this episode is brought to you by Rise25, my company, where we help b2b businesses to get clients, referrals, and strategic partnerships with done-for-you podcasts and content marketing. And you can learn all about what we do by going to our website, which is, or email us at [email protected]. Alright, and I’m excited about today’s guests introduced to me by my business partner, Dr. Jeremy Weisz, who introduced him and his name is Corey Quinn. He’s a fractional CMO and Go-To-Market Strategist at Corey Quinn Inc. His name is his business. He’s also a seasoned entrepreneur. He and I graduated from college, the same year, both went to UC California, different campuses, he went to Santa Cruz, I went to Santa Barbara, and he’s a seasoned entrepreneur, sales leader marketing executive, for about 25 years, he’s kind of found his niche in helping agency owners to get out of founder-led sales, as I mentioned in the preview, and really fun fact, in his last agency Scorpion, where he was CMO in his team took revenue from 20 million to 150 million in just seven years, which is a phenomenal results. So we’re going to talk all about what that was like. And also be sure to check out his podcast, which is the Vertical Go-To-Market Podcast, and he’s got a forthcoming book that’s going to be coming out soon, which we’re gonna talk about in a second. Cory, it’s such a pleasure to have you here. And I want to start with I love to hear about how people were as a kid and these little like businesses that people start, right and left and little fun stuff that you play around with. And you were the neighborhood Geek Squad growing up in a neighborhood of LA, you have neighbors who were asking you I my printer doesn’t work, my inkjet doesn’t work. And you came down and help them out with their gateway or their Dell or whatever I imagine. So tell me about what that was like and how you got into that. 

Corey Quinn 2:54

Yeah, so, at a very early age, my my parents bought me an Apple TV. And I was sort of raised on the on the computer learned how to play games and code and basic. And so I was sort of a real natural when it came to technology and began to be you know, just get random requests from folks whose printer was offline, or, you know, they couldn’t dial up to the internet, are they having stroke, they’re struggling with AOL back in the day, whatever that was. And so that, that led to me running this little, this little business, that it was basically just me and I would put flyers up around the neighbourhood. Letting people know that if they are having a challenge when it comes to their, their printer, or their computer, internet, anything that they can call me. And yeah, that kept me pretty busy nights and weekends was pretty good, pretty good gig.

John Corcoran 3:45

So some real grassroots founder led sales there in the early days. Were people calling you off these flyers you put up on the on telephone poles, they

Corey Quinn 3:54

were they were it was it was sort of within a very small radius of my house. So it wasn’t wasn’t going too far out. But it definitely, like I said, it may have kept me busy and it gets gave me some nice pocket cash.

John Corcoran 4:06

And where are your parents happy about this? Or were they like, whose house are you going to read? Some random person who called me this

Corey Quinn 4:14

is this is between high school and college. I was not I was not a Super Junior kid running around these random probably

John Corcoran 4:22

just happy that you’re making some money. And so you go off and you were proud banana slug. At UC Santa Cruz, where my sister-in-law Leanne went and I went to Santa Barbara. And you know, what I think is really amusing here is, you know, this was natural. It was in Boom, you’re in Northern California. Like every kid who gets a BA in cultural anthropology. The next step is, let’s start And there you go. And you raise 6 million bucks for something called cast pro what was cast Pro?

Corey Quinn 4:57

First before I mentioned that we should talk offline About the crew at Santa Barbara because I had a tonne of friends who all came from my school, the schools I grew up with all went up to Santa Santa Barbara. So I bet you probably know some common Yeah, that’s it. So we’ll have after the after the interview, but yeah, so I coming from a technology background, I made a family friend, who was also very technologically sort of savvy. And we were both very eager to launch a business, we wanted to raise a bunch of money. And the impetus behind it was this idea of webcams. So, back in the day, they’re still around today where you could log into a specific website and look at through a camera through the internet. And so it’s

John Corcoran 5:43

not the webcam that we’re talking on right now. But like webcams that are trained on the national park or something like that, or Supreme Court or something. Okay. Yeah,

Corey Quinn 5:50

it was. So for us it was, it was bars. And the

John Corcoran 5:55

big idea, well, naturally, you were in college.

Corey Quinn 6:00

So the big idea was, we would have a network of bars that would be that would be online, you can go to our website and check out like, what’s what’s happening at the local bars before going out to see if there was a scene there if it was empty, and so on, so forth. Okay. Well, we learned we learned pretty quickly was that the bar owners were not that interested in having live streams coming from their bars for various reasons, as you can imagine. But ultimately, that wasn’t the idea that helped us to raise the money what it was, was we, we adopted this idea from news vans, so you know, like these, these news vans that have the telescoping pole that goes up with the with the antenna, well, it turns out about that time, there was a an innovation in microwave technology, which was digital microwave, which allowed us to be able to shoot live video on location, encoded on location, and then stream it wirelessly to a server can be broadcast out. And so the idea is really interesting,

John Corcoran 6:56

because my father actually was in TV news, he was with kcal nine, he was an entertainment reporter in the 90s, you probably around the time you were there. And I don’t know if this is related to this, but there was a change. I don’t know if it’s in the law or what. But we were big fans of the now the Washington commanders than the Washington Redskins. And so was my dad’s boss at this new station. Hopefully, I’m not getting him in trouble all these years later, but we used to go down on the weekends, because it was hard to get NFL games from out of your market back then. But the boss could redirect these massive satellite dishes to watch a like literally like they had to redirect these massive satellite dishes to be able to see a game that was happening that was not being broadcast in Los Angeles. Yeah, so we used to do that. But then a couple of years after that, it became a lot easier to do because of changing shifts in either the law or technologies.

Corey Quinn 7:50

Probably a little bit of both. But yeah, the technology was rapidly changing. At that time, everything was being digitized. And that allowed us to do take this crazy idea of doing this, like streaming media on location streaming media and applying it with like a new like a news truck idea. And we ended up raising a bunch of money. I was the CEO, my partner was the Chief Technology Officer. And we hired a bunch of people. We leased some office space here in West Los Angeles, and bought these trucks and, you know, fill them out with all this amazing broadcast quality equipment. And we ran the business it was it was an amazing experience was who are the highs. 

John Corcoran 8:27

So if it wasn’t ours, who did you end up selling this technology to?

Corey Quinn 8:31

So we have sort of a variety of clients. But if I if I was a group, any of them it would be live concerts. So we did K rock weenie roasts, which is a big sort of rock. It’s a big radio station here in Los Angeles. And every year they throw this amazing concert with all these headliners. And so we got to be the be the company that came on location and would take the feed from the concert we broadcasted live on And we would do other types of live music events. We also did things like city parades, like the city of Garden Grove, they had their annual Fourth of July parade. So we would broadcast that to the local audience. And

John Corcoran 9:14

so this is 99 2000 2001 time period. This is beyond I think before broadband. This is before a lot of people have reliable internet. This sounds really like a bit ahead of its time, from a user’s perspective. From the from the end consumer. Did you find was that a struggle with getting people to be able to watch it?

Corey Quinn 9:33

You nailed it, John. So the challenge was we were we were pumping out broadcast quality streaming media, but people were dialling up to the internet with a 56k modem right the dial up noise that’s classic now and so the their ability to enjoy the stream was very, very low and so they would get a frame refreshed every couple seconds. And so it was it was it was not the right medium based on the limitations bandwidth. Interestingly, this is about the time when Mark Cuban sold his company to Yahoo, I think it was for 300 some odd million dollars. The difference for his platform is it was all audio. So not not as bandwidth intensive.

John Corcoran 10:16

If you look back on that, I can see why you went after a video, you know, you say, this is a revolution. This is an amazing technology, people are going to want to watch video, but you’re just ahead of your time. If you made that decision, maybe to pursue audio instead of video. Maybe it would have been Mark Cuban yourself, or do you know or is that a harsh thing to even think back on?