Hair-clubI realize I’m perhaps not the best person to be using this particular analogy, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately.

For those not familiar, before the days of Rogaine, there was Hair Club for Men. It was a referral business to local hair replacement specialists, and the pitchman in their frequent television ads was the president of the company.

His famous tagline at the end of the commercial was always “I’m not just the president of Hair Club for Men, I’m also a client!” This would be accompanied by before & after pictures of his head.

I’m been speaking more lately to groups interested in learning what’s working right now to build efficient sales & marketing programs, cut through the clutter and leverage the right strategies, channels, tactics, best practices, etc. to win.

At our B2B FastTracks event earlier this month, my particular presentation focused entirely on how we’ve used content, relationships and social to grow from nothing five years ago to a $1M+ services firm with nine employees and growing.

And what we’re teaching people via speaking engagements, plus helping to implement in client engagements mirrors significantly what we ourselves are doing as well.

I’ve always been proud of the fact that our senior people at Heinz have spent the majority of their careers in operational roles vs. agencies. I think that gives us a better perspective on client needs.

Equally important, I believe, is to walk the walk. From sales pipeline management to social lead generation, marketing automation usage and beyond, we’re doing it ourselves too.

In fact, we use our own marketing as a proving ground of sorts, testing new ideas constantly, weeding out what doesn’t work, and then sharing and implementing the best practices with our clients.

The idea that you can find real prospects and build actual sales pipeline from the social Web draws a material level of skepticism and raised eyebrows from many people I speak with. But when I can tell them specific stories of how it’s worked in our business, in our pipeline, they not only start to see that it’s real but also expect we know what we’re talking about because it’s first-person experience.

But it’s not just our use of social. The ROI we get from social stems from our use of content and relationships to drive engagement, action and conversion. We take a disciplined, focused approach to how we execute across our various channel programs & campaigns.

And more important than anything, we focus intently on culture and values. We want the right people we can trust implicitly to do the right thing for the business and our clients.

That’s our secret. Content, relationships, focus, culture & values. And if you look at the successful modern marketing and sales organizations today, you will most often find the same foundational elements.