We’re Launching Our Sales & Revenue Operations Agency to Build Foundations for Chicago’s Growth
The Windy City. The Second City. The City of Big Shoulders. Our city has a number of well-worn nicknames. But many of us aren’t familiar with perhaps Chicago’s first nickname: Mud City.
Chicago was built on a swamp, meaning that the city’s foundation was literally in the mud — not ideal from either an infrastructure or health standpoint. In the mid-1800s, Chicagoans literally raised the city multiple feet out of the mud. This innovation provided the solid foundation Chicago needed to grow into not just a big city, but one of the great architectural cities the world has ever seen.
More than a century and a half later, we are officially launching Mud City, a sales and revenue operations agency here in Chicago. Our origin story isn’t quite as dramatic as Chicago’s, but it is instructive nonetheless: we met in November of 2016 at Jellyvision, where Jessica was Director of Business Development and Jeremy had just become Director of Sales Operations.
Our working relationship was born out of the common tension experienced between sales and ops, but it improved and kicked into high gear when we understood the value of each other’s strengths. We soon realized our two areas of business were not only complementary — they were vital to each other’s success and that of Jellyvision’s overall. Even the best strategies and processes need seller adoption and manager buy-in to be effective in practice. And on the other hand, increased quantitative accountability and visibility, coupled with forward-looking technology, can have a multiplying effect on impact and success.
The following three years resulted in a complete overhaul and transformation of Jellyvision’s revenue organization, which grew from a few dozen people to over 100. It was during this time that we started thinking about how we could make an even greater impact through our combined skills and expertise. Eventually, after talking it over with — and receiving crucial counsel and support from — Jellyvision’s CEO, Amanda Lannert, we realized that meant starting our own company. A few months ago, we began work with our first client, Rheaply, and we’ve continued to build out our client roster since.
It is important to note here that our company is not a consultancy, at least not in the traditional sense. Today, most consultancies will come in and slap a band-aid on whatever issue the client tells them about. That band-aid might stop the bleeding (and it is certainly profitable for the consultant), but it doesn’t address the underlying issues. We’re not just trying to straighten out the building; we’re putting down a whole new foundation. To that end, we will not take business that asks us to address one symptom or pain point — we want to work with companies who are willing to do the hard work of completely rebuilding their revenue engines.
So what makes Mud City unique? Our combination of sales and operations expertise enables our clients to see the whole picture. We are deeply embedded with clients, understanding their customers and building long-term processes instead of band-aid solutions. We focus on structure and measurement, so that our clients know exactly what success looks like. And we have a deep expertise in Chicago’s tech ecosystem, having worked for companies including Jellyvision, GrubHub, Corporate Executive Board (now Gartner), and Belly, amongst others.
To that final point, we not only know Chicago — we love Chicago, and we are driven to help our city fulfill its potential as a birthplace for growth companies. Chicago has lagged behind other major cities in terms of attracting outside investment, and our local companies are losing talent to coastal giants (Google, Salesforce, etc.), who have come here and set up regional offices. We envision a future where Chicago talent helps build Chicago companies. And as for outside investment, if you can’t change the way the funding flows, you can change how far the funding goes — by building a solid foundation of a company’s revenue engine, we will protect that company’s investment and make sure it gets the most bang for its buck.
It is also not lost on us that we are launching in a pandemic. Our current situation provides many challenges, but recessions are catalysts for innovation because they force you to think differently. Many of the past decade’s leading companies grew out of the 2008 recession, and we expect the same to be true in the 2020s. Perhaps Marc Andreessen said it best recently: now is the time to build.
Which brings us back, once again, to our name. Just as early Chicagoans raised their city from the mud and built a solid table foundation, we need to help Chicago companies build stable foundations to solve pressing revenue issues and thrive in the long run. We realize that to be true partners to our clients, we need to work through the mud with them, especially in times like these.
We’re excited to get our hands dirty and start building.
-Jessica and Jeremy
If you are a B2B technology company looking to restructure or grow your revenue team for scale, planning to launch a new segment or product, or seeking pre-raise support, we’d love for you to fill out our free assessment. Our initial engagements are flexible anywhere between two to 12 months, and can be tailored to your specific needs.