Blue Sky Exit Planning Achieves a 60% Email Open Rate Without Lifting a Finger

Joseph Gitto

Managing Director, Blue Sky Exit Planning Services

Joseph Gitto is an accomplished senior finance, sales and operational executive, entrepreneur, coach, thought leader, and board member with more than 25 years of experience in various industries. His areas of expertise include business development, forecasting, planning, P&L management, marketing, exit-strategy planning, and key partnership building. In 2023, he became a founding member of the Exit Planning Institute’s Orlando chapter.

Business Challenges

Gitto began Blue Sky Exit Planning Services because he wanted to “democratize the exit planning process for small businesses.” Gitto and his team focus on blue-collar business owners who have owned their businesses for over 20 years. While he advised successful entrepreneurs, many of them didn’t understand the importance of an exit plan.

He needed content to educate owners on the importance of thinking about their exit. The difficulty is that most owners are bombarded by advisors. He needed a way to intelligently break through the noise and avoid sounding like everyone else.

Recalling a common business owner complaint he said many feel as though “everybody is trying to reach in your pocket and sell you something.” Not a trained marketer or writer, Joe needed content to introduce the exit conversation, without turning off owners.

Once prospects turned into clients, Joe needed a simple way to benchmark where business owners currently stood. He needed to identify their strengths, weaknesses and identify areas that would improve their company value.  

Ultimately, Blue Sky Exit Planning was seeking software that provided the right content and technology to distribute exit-focused content. Secondarily, Joe was looking for a diagnostic tool to help him better understand the root cause of pain for business owners and demonstrate where he could make the most impact.

Why the Value Builder System?

Joe was first drawn to Value Builder for its email marketing system, Nurture Cycle. Through automation, Joe entered his list of business owner contacts and began nurturing them with a weekly email. The emails are pre-written but are sent with Joe’s byline. Nurture Cycle emails are proven to perform 5X better than the industry average marketing email. So far, Joe’s average email open rate stands at a whopping 60% and a click-through rate of 5.6%.

To his surprise, that was just the tip of the iceberg.  Joe quickly discovered Value Builder’s Contact Manager and Dashboard – a mini-CRM (customer relationship manager) that houses all his prospects and client data. Even more, Value Builder’s Activity Feed provided him with real-time data into his contact’s actions, including opening and clicking on emails, downloading eBooks or completing questionnaires – essentially prioritizing who to reach out to first.

With Nurture Cycle educating and activating his contacts, and with the Activity Feed serving up his warmest leads, Joe got overwhelmed with the engagement he experienced. He couldn’t reach out to all the interested prospects on his own, so he partnered with a business development firm to conduct outreach on his behalf. He uses this firm to book meetings with interested prospects.  Explaining its impact, Joe said, “It has been extremely helpful in getting dialogs going.”

To solve his second challenge of benchmarking owners, Joe turned to the Value Builder Questionnaire, a 34-question survey that assesses a company’s value through eight attributes important to acquirers. Once completed, a report with results is auto generated.

Impressed with the tool, Joe said, “One of the beautiful things about the Value Builder Report is that at the end you get that beautiful summary that shows the different scores on each key driver of value. This really helps me drive the conversation with the business owner about growth opportunities and the impact of those changes. The data points are tremendous.” Joe uses the report in his sales conversations. Once he opens an owner’s eyes to their growth potential, 90% move forward to a long-term coaching engagement.


Value Builder proved to be the sales and marketing software Blue Sky Exit Planning needed. With Nurture Cycle activated for his list of business owners, Joe is already seeing results, saying, “We can target our marketing follow-up with contacts that are most engaged. We feel we have only scratched the surface.”

With Value Builder’s library of 500+ pieces of marketing content, Joe spends less time on marketing but has grown his firm by 70%. He’s also experienced incredible email marketing results, achieving a 60% open rate and a 5.6% click rate, outpacing the industry averages of 22% and 2.5% respectively.

Once prospects have been nurtured, Joe turns to the Value Builder Questionnaire to close the deal. He’s converting an impressive 9 out of 10 prospects who complete the questionnaire to a long-term exit planning engagement.

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