Welcome to Talking Shop Tuesday, where we sit down with sales and marketing leaders to learn their tips for achieving #peakexcellence.
Today, we're chatting with Kevin Bobowski, former CMO of ActOn Software and former VP of Exact Target, about the importance of importance of aligning demand gen and sales around a single story.
Account-based marketing is taking over the world, but its face is changing through being more targeted and knowing more about the customers today than ever before. Our CEO, Manny Medina, and SVP of Revenue Ops, Matt Millen, talk to Kevin Bobowski about the importance of aligning demand gen and sales around a single story. Watch the video above for the full conversation or skim below for the highlights!
According to Bobowski, one important piece of this is making sure you know who your target buyers are. The other piece is the allocation of your sales and marketing investment. In the old demand-gen world, a lot of the dollars went into classic inbound marketing tactics and the process of bringing leads in. This led to an entire industry focused on how to score leads and allocate leads. Today, a lot of demand-gen teams maintain this mindset, and it means they're having to focus much more on how they go after accounts. This is a good thing since it creates a tighter alignment across marketing and sales.
Let's say someone starts a brand new company and wants to go after new accounts. Should they focus on sales development or marketing first? Bobowski thinks you have to build your story and understand what you want to tell. Once you know the audience and have a strategy, it's safe to hire your reps.
Without a solid story, you have nothing in the marketplace. As such, you need to establish your story before you can go to market. Marketing can supplement a great deal of the story development process, but the focus should always be on alignment between sales and marketing. If a prospect goes to a company's website and it's different from what the rep has pitched, or the pitch deck is different from the website the prospect viewed earlier, it creates confusion.
You have to get the story right, for one, but you also have to keep the story consistent. A great sales organization will outrun the company's ability to keep the website current, but leads will lose confidence if these things aren't kept current. This means sales and marketing teams either get aligned, or the pipeline fragments very quickly.
Take a great marketing individual and get them into the field. You can learn a lot in the field, and it can help keep the entire team on-mission. When you spend time out there, you can start to understand how business is getting done. In every marketing department, sales teams need to know what's going on.
Unfortunately, the standard approach to this doesn't work. Extensively bullet-pointed email updates seem like they might work to keep teams up to speed, they inevitably phase out to a point where nobody reads them. There is no replacement for face-to-face communication between teams; the best way to keep sales and demand gen on the same page and telling the same story is to have marketing spend time with the sales leaders.
This is the beauty of field marketing. When it's done well, it's a permanent extension of the selling arm of the organization. With a robust communication channel, field marketing is feeding back to the rest of marketing and can provide real-time insights. This feedback from the field marketing team can be surprising. It can help shine a light on places your team is missing the mark and can afford to improve, and helps marketing ensure the story they're crafting is the right one. It also gives teams a huge appreciation for what it takes to close business in the real world.