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March 11, 2020 | Tom Ballard

Joey Gilkey wants to inject humanity and empathy back into the B2B space

Joey Gilkey wants to inject humanity and empathy back into the B2B (business-to-business) marketplace.

The South Florida native moved around a good deal with his parents as he was growing-up. That included stops in North Carolina, Texas and Atlanta as his father’s job with one of the major home supply businesses required frequent moves. Knoxville was not on his radar before Gilkey and his now wife, a Knoxville native and University of Tennessee graduate, met in San Diego where both were working in campus ministry programs.

Today, he is the Founder and Chief Relationship Officer at Tribe Prospecting, a unique outbound marketing company, and Founder and Principal at Tribe Commercial, a sibling company that invests in apartments. The former is now in its third year of operation, while the latter is in year number two.

“At Tribe Prospecting, we are building a community of loyal customers for our clients,” Gilkey explains, noting this promise on its webpage: “We are so confident in our account-based, outbound sales process that we guarantee positive ROI (return on investment), or we’ll buy you a Tesla.”

One might reasonably be expected to ask what Tribe Prospecting’s secret sauce is?

Gilkey explains that it starts with reversing the sales generation funnel. Instead of starting with the total addressable market and seeing how many prospects can be turned into customers, he and his team begin by identifying the “dream clients” of its customers and focus on them.

Tribe Prospecting markets its services under the Dream 500TM. The offering is based on the results of running more than 400 sales and growth campaigns for more than 100 high-value service businesses in the past two years.

“We treat each of their accounts as its own client,” Gilkey explains. The result is a multi-discipline, multi-channel, hyper-personalized, highly targeted, account-based sales outreach to the 500 companies that a Tribe Prospecting client wants to sign-on as a new customer in the next year. The goal is to sign these prospects to six- and seven-figure deals.

“We treat your prospects like humans,” Gilkey adds, noting that, “I believe solid businesses are built on solid relationships.”

As you might expect, Tribe Prospecting is not seeking a large portfolio of clients, but rather those that catch the vision and see the impact that can achieved. The average client has a sales volume of between $3 and $20 million in annual B2B sales. In addition to domestic firms, Tribe Prospecting also has two clients in Canada and one each in London and Singapore.

Does it specialize in a particular sector? Gilkey says the client group is very diverse – from building materials to cybersecurity.

The company is virtual, headquartered in the Sunsphere, but with only one employee other than Gilkey in Knoxville. There are 19 employees in all plus eight subcontractors.

“It’s been a fast journey,” he says of the past 24 months, noting that his faith is an important underpinning of Tribe Prospecting. “I believe Christians are created to do excellent work. Christians are called to care and be empathetic. That has shaped the way we do our work.”