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IAM2022 – Founder Unveils the Secrets in Building Bridges Between Businesses and Marketing

Podcast Interview with Behdad Jamshidi

In this episode, we have Behdad Jamshidi, founder of CJAM marketing.

Behdad shares his experience and expertise in strategic marketing and sheds light on common mistakes businesses make, like focusing on short-term plans without considering long-term strategy.

He also discusses the importance of a holistic approach to marketing that looks at the bigger picture. Jamshidi further explains the value of building resilience and embracing uncertainty as a business owner.


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Full Interview:


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Behdad Jamshidi Teaser 00:00

A lot of the times it's like someone comes for one thing and they're like, I just need SEO or I just need ads or I need like influence or marketing or just all these pieces. And when you dig into the business, you realize, hey, there's no bottle funnel strategy. There's no email marketing done.

No yeah, we send out some flows. Okay, then what do you do afterwards? Always send one newsletter out a month. There's no strategy on this. You're spending all this money on this top of funnel to bring people in and collect their emails, but you haven't even segmented it, probably not even targeting people properly.

Intro 00:23

Are you ready to hear business stories and learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and level up your business from awesome CEOs, entrepreneurs, and founders without listening to a long, long, long interview?

If so, you've come to the right place. Gresh values your time and is ready to share with you the valuable info you're in search of. This is the I Am CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:52

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I Am CEO podcast. And I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Behdad Jamshidi. Behdad, it's great to have you on the show.

Behdad Jamshidi 01:00

Thanks for having me. I'm excited to be here.

Gresham Harkless 01:02

Yeah, super excited to have you on. And of course, before we jumped into having a great interview, I want to read a little bit more about Behdad so you can hear about some of those awesome things.

And Behdad started CJAM marketing after realizing that most business owners don't know how to evaluate the value of a marketing agency or assess their own needs since every business is different. not only in their needs, but where they're at in their growth process. It isn't a one size fits all.

In the past four years, Behdad or B has met with and assess 710 plus marketing agencies and vetted them down to a lean 90 preferred partners across all marketing niches.

After pairing hundreds of businesses with the right partners, he's found his skillset lies in the matchmaking process featured in MarketWatch, Bloomberg, National Post and the Financial Post.

B's unique background in marketing, engineering, consulting, leadership, sales and strategy has allowed him to serve as a conduit between business owners and their marketing needs.

And I absolutely love the concept that B's been working on. It's really cool and being like the tender or the match. com for marketing and the business owners.

But one of the cool things I was listening to during this interview. you was how he actually built and grew everything. He had his full-time job, if I understand correctly, as he was growing. And I think a lot of times you don't see the behind-the-scenes on what it takes to really grow something and what that looks like.

So excited to hear about that even more excited to have you on. B, are you ready to speak to the I Am CEO community?

Behdad Jamshidi 02:25

I am let's do it.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 02:26

Let's get it started then. So to kick everything off, what I wanted to do was just rewind the clock a little bit, and hear a little bit more about that story.

That CEO story. We'll let you get started.

Behdad Jamshidi 02:35

No, absolutely. So, as you alluded to, so I used to work full-time as an engineer, a sales engineer for a company in Canada was called TELUS. And so I was working with mid-market companies, anywhere from about 50 to 1000 type employee range talking to C level executives, talking to it, understanding like what's going on in businesses and building out roadmaps.

Like, how do you get from A to B to C. And so that's where a lot of like my business consulting sales, leadership and technology experience came from. And then on the side, I was building out my business and now I'm going up about five years doing the business, but basically three and a half, four of those years was between doing the full-time job in the marketing.

And I started building out websites, Google ads, SEO. I got to a point where I really just didn't enjoy doing ADR websites on the weekend. I was making too much money as a sales engineer to do that. So I started finding partners to work with. And as you talked about it, marketing agencies didn't understand business and business people didn't understand marketing.

Massive gap in the middle. And I thought, what if I was able to bridge that gap? And originally I thought I could find like 10 partners and just help a lot of businesses. As you talked about, I'm actually at 726 now marketing agencies and partners that I've met over the last five years. And I basically kept that list about 90 plus that I work with.

Across all facets of marketing from fractional CMOs to branding websites and all that stuff. So it took a long time to build out this network.

Gresham Harkless 03:53

Yeah, absolutely. And that's why I love, just hearing about your story and the journey again, they say the secrets of overnight success is to say 10 or 15 years, you don't see all the behind-the-scenes things that are having the conversations, all the, drilling down sure.

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And making sure that, you're making those right fit and those right connections. So absolutely. Like love, hearing that. So is it like a really long, thorough process that you go through to find those?

I guess those, I don't know if the people that get over the burning sands that actually make it into your list of preferred vendors.

Behdad Jamshidi 04:21

Yeah. It is quite hard to get in because as you do more and more of it, you, I just am able to catch more and more things that I don't like types of people that I want to work with, or just like certain things that people say around like their agency or how they run their business or that kind of stuff.

But also it gets easier on the other side where you know people who say the right things. It's not just about saying the right things, but like truly seeing that. Like today, for example, I was talking to a fractional CMO, man, 25 years experience has done everything from the ground up, started three of her own businesses, has an MBA just talks about marketing in the way where okay, she knows the end to end piece.

And it's very rare to find fractionals like that, that can speak that way or think that way. So like over time, yeah, it gets hard. But it's also quite, it gets easier and easier over time because your intuition kicks in a little bit more.

Gresham Harkless 05:06

Yeah, I can't remember who said the quote, but I know it's along the lines of the harder I work, the luckier I get.

That's what it sounds like. Because you put in all that time, you start to be able to hear those things that people probably don't even pay attention to or know are like those indicators of, hey, this is somebody that's really great at what they do. And probably on a deeper level, like you alluded to, really loves what they do as well.

Behdad Jamshidi 05:27

Yeah, it's like finding that passion, that love, like when you find those people they're going to be good or just hearing things like when agency goes, yeah, we're like 15 to 20 people and we don't want to grow anymore. We just want to work with 20 customers a year and this is the type of customer we work with okay, you've gone through the ring and they've been around for 12 years, right?

So, they know who they are, they know what they want, they know what they can help support and win at and you just get excited when you find those partners, because, if you have a customer coming in they're going to be happy with that type of partner. It feels good.

Gresham Harkless 05:52

Yeah, absolutely. It definitely feels good. You create a win, win, win scenario where the agency wins, the client wins, of course. And of course, you've been able to win as well. So I wanted to drill down a little bit more here, how you're serving clients, how that process works.

Could you take us through like how exactly it works, how you're making that impact for the client you work with?

Behdad Jamshidi 06:09

Yeah, absolutely. So, with customers, I'm always doing my front-end business consulting. So back when I used to work at Telus, we're dealing with quite large businesses, right? Like 500 million plus. So most of the businesses that I speak to now are between that one and 30 million range.

Yeah, you get some bigger, some smaller, but you can pretty much understand businesses within an hour of what they truly need, right? You don't need to do the long sessions we used to do back in the day. So I always will do that business consulting on the front end to really figure out what a customer actually needs versus what they're telling me they need.

And then from there, it's a process of okay, after I heard what the business needs, I go, this is how I would think about it. And this is the strategy that I would take in terms of the partners that I would look at and the steps that I would take to get the marketing into the right place. And when a customer is on board and they go, yeah, that makes sense to me.

That's strategic. And I, it's very rare for them to say no, because I've done this so many times at this point that they're like, yeah, that makes sense. And so when I know I can help a customer, that's when I charge a front-end fee of as a marketing broker engagement. And then I work very similar to a recruiter.

So I go and I say, Hey, these are the people that I recommend you chat with. If you haven't ended up hiring anyone, I get paid. For successfully connecting, right? And then I make referral fees on the back end for marketing agencies as well, because they have their marketing referral model built out to as a part of their sales process.

And so overall, that's like literally how my model works. And so, it's not a big front-end cost, like most recruiters, because I do get paid on the back end. And it's just that marrying of the two that just creates that right balance of using me and you're serious and finding the right partners.

Gresham Harkless 07:33

Yeah, I love how you go. I think it's deeper as far as like having those conversations and knowing exactly like what That ship would be not even just hey, these are the personalities that mesh well together This is actually the strategy that we're thinking of and you making that connection the same this is probably the agency or the company or the CMO or whatever it is a fractional whatever it is that could kind of Which is the biggest thing.

Execute on what that strategy is.

Behdad Jamshidi 07:57

Exactly. Yeah. And to give you like, just maybe more of a direct example. . of one I just had recently was dealing with a customer that was like, look, we've worked with one marketing agency in the past. They did well, but they owned our website and they owned our Google Ads account, so that's like red Flag times two.

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So they moved away from that partner and tried two other businesses two other agencies. Didn't work over the three to six months. And they're like, B, can you help us find another agency or partner? I was like, cool. Yeah, no, I can help. As you dig into the business, though, you start understanding the founder is like, Oh, I want to really niche down.

We are in the health space. We do cosmetic surgery and all this different kind of stuff. We want to create this like really high-end luxury type service. I'm not going to use the numbers or anything to protect their thoughts, but when they said something like that, I was like okay, this changes because one is it, do you want me to find you an agency?

That's going to help you get you more leads based on what your current model is, or are you hyper niching into this like high-end service? And do you actually know if people actually want it, how big is your email list? Have you actually done the research? Have you done the surveys? Have you done the stuff to go?

If we shift our entire strategy, which means we have to shift our entire messaging and we have to fix the website and then we have to fix all of our ads. Like you have to go through a whole process. To change your service model to be niche, have you done the research upfront to do that? And so I told them like, you have two, two ways to go about this.

One, you either need to hire someone super strategic that can do the market research before you invest, tens of hundreds of thousands of dollars into this to make sure it's the right path. Or do you keep what you currently have and use that as an additional product line that you add in that 5% Of your customer base might use, but you still have your core offering.

That's making you your seven figures a year currently. And so not a lot of people will do that. If you go to an agency, they'll just sell you their agency stuff. They're not going to tell you, you need a strategic resource to figure out this next piece. They'll pretend they can do it, but they can't.

Gresham Harkless 09:44

Yeah, no, I appreciate you really breaking that down.

So, I wanted to drill down more and hear a little bit more on something that you said that really resonated with me, where you said a lot of times the clients or the people that come to you think that they know what they want, but they don't actually know what they want is usually by having those conversations, drilling down more usually find that affirmation.

Gresham Harkless 10:03

Do you find that's the case a lot where people hear buzzwords or hear that the things that they should do, but When you actually have those conversations, it ends up being, something else or maybe more refined and more drilled down. Do you find that happens a lot?

Behdad Jamshidi 10:16

So many, so many times.

And a lot of the times it's like someone comes for one thing and they're like, I just need SEO or I just need ads or I need like influence or marketing or just all these pieces. And when you dig into the business, you realize, hey, there's no bottle funnel strategy. There's no email marketing done.

No yeah, we send out some flows. Okay, then what do you do afterwards? Always send one newsletter out a month. There's no strategy on this. You're spending all this money on this top-of-funnel to bring people in and collect their emails, but you haven't even segmented it. Probably not even targeting people properly.

You haven't cross-selling properly. There's so much missing in the overall funnel. That when I start highlighting those things to go, Oh, wow. Yeah, no, we don't know what we're doing. And a lot of the times there's no strategy even at the top end.

The whole system has to work together.

Gresham Harkless 10:55

Yeah, I appreciate you sharing that. So do you feel like that's part of what I would call like your secret sauce? It can be for yourself, the business or a combination of both.

But it's something that you feel like sets you apart and makes you unique. I almost wonder if it is that I'm going to use the word holistic kind of outlook you have on business, whether you're talking with clients or even building your business, it sounds like you are able to see the forest for the trees and see that it's not just as one thing is how are these things going to interconnect.

In order to, reach your goal or sometimes when it's happening, not reach your goals on how to alleviate or fix that.

Behdad Jamshidi 11:25

Yeah, absolutely. One of my secrets in my business is everything that I do is typically long-term. Like I did all the long-term stuff first before I started even thinking about any of the short-term stuff.

When I'm talking like short-term stuff, I'm talking like LinkedIn, cold reach outreach, like email outreach, like Google ads, Facebook ads. I don't even run ads yet. But I will be soon because now I actually have a funnel that I want to build into it cause I have a whole holistic strategy behind my email marketing stuff that's giving business owners a lot of value.

Like I was building the groundwork first and that's also one of the reasons why I worked full time for so long, right? Like I was running C jam in this for three and a half years. I was doing like 12 to 16-hour days and not taking a lot of weekend time to get CJAM to where it was.

But that's because I wanted to always think okay, if I left my full-time job in the middle of a recession, if I get hit, I want to have two to three years of runway without making any money. That allows me to play in the game longer. And so everything I do is long-term based. So my SEO, I do a ton of content.

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This podcast stuff is all content, right? But I do content on LinkedIn, on Facebook and all these different areas. And the way that I think about a lot of it is in two to three years, maybe even five years. One at one point, one of these flywheels is going to take a hit and when it takes a hit, like that's what I've been working towards.

And I've seen other people do it over and over and over again, where it takes them two to three years and all of a sudden you go, Oh wow, you started with 3000 LinkedIn followers and then all of a sudden went to 8000 and then 15 and then within three months you're at 60, 000 right? It's just the flywheel takes effect and then you just let it take control of what's happening.

So yeah. You just have to have faith and do the right things for a long amount of time.

Gresham Harkless 12:58

Yeah, that makes so much sense. So I wanted to switch gears a little bit and I want to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app, a book or even a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

Behdad Jamshidi 13:09

One of the things that has made me super effective recently. And outside of I hired a business coach was really excellent. But the hypnosis aspect of the business coaching is actually probably something that has been the most transformative. And it's not a silver bullet because I've done 5 years of counseling before I've done business coaching.

I've done leadership courses. I'll just I'm going to stop. But the hypnosis feels like it's bringing everything together. And it really helps you move. I know a lot of business owners have a whole scarcity mindset. They're always trying to move out into a growth mindset. It's one of those things that I think has done the most shifts for me into getting into a much more like growth and opportunity mindset.

And taking the punches that business will throw at you way like you're just kind of like, oh, okay. Yep. Got hit again And you just like you're back up way faster than you used to be.

Gresham Harkless 13:56

Yeah, and that resiliency. I think I Forgot is Carolyn Drek. I believe I wrote the book about how powerful, real resilience is in business. So what would you consider to be what I call more of a CEO nugget, a little bit more word of wisdom or piece of advice.

It's something that you might tell a fellow partner and agency owner, somebody you're partnering with, or if you were to hop into a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.

Behdad Jamshidi 14:20

The biggest advice is as a CEO or just any type of business owner is that you need to build up your resilience and your grit.

You need to do stuff that you don't want to do, and you need to keep doing it until your brain gets comfortable with that. It's the same thing with uncertainty. I think the most wisest people are the people that are comfortable in uncertainty, because that's what it takes to get through business is knowing that you're comfortable in uncertainty.

So, grit. Being comfortable in uncertainty would be the two things I'd work on the most as CEOs.

Gresham Harkless 14:50

Yeah. And those things are so powerful as we've been talking about, like they end up building strong foundational layers.

So now I want to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And our goal is to have different quote-unquote CEOs on the show. So B, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Behdad Jamshidi 15:04

Being a CEO for me is running a business that I'm really, really proud of that does good work.

And also I'm helping enable the people that are working in my company to also do what makes them happy.

Gresham Harkless 15:16

Nice. I love that definition, especially that word enable.

I truly appreciate that definition B and of course, I appreciate your time even more. So what I wanted to do now is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional that you can let our readers and listeners know, and of course, how best people can get out of you and find out all the awesome things that you're working on.

Behdad Jamshidi 15:32

Thanks for having me on the show. It's been absolute pleasure. If anyone does want to reach out to me, I'm very active on LinkedIn. So Behdad Jamshidi you'll be able to find me there. If you ever want to get in contact, going through my website, you can book a call, you can find my email.

And if you want at the bottom of if you go to the footer, there's a resource section on questions that you should be asking agencies when you're hiring them. So free resource feel free to grab it there. And yeah, that's it. That's the best way to contact me and stay in contact with me.

Gresham Harkless 16:02

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. What to make it even easier. We'll of course, going to have the links and information the show notes as well, too, so that everybody can follow up with you, but B, truly appreciative of all the awesome things you're doing.

So thank you so much, my friend, and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Behdad Jamshidi 16:14

Thank you for having me and some great questions. Have a great rest of the day.

Outro 16:17

Thank you for listening to the I Am CEO podcast, powered by CB Nation and Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at I Am CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community.

Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google podcast, and everywhere you listen to podcasts. Subscribe and leave us a five-star rating.

This has been the I Am CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless Jr. Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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