How to Create a Unified B2B Marketing & Sales Team


In many organizations, marketing and sales operate in silos.

Sales complains that marketing delivers crappy leads while marketing claims sales can't close deals.

In an ideal world, sales and marketing operate as a cohesive team that collaborates to effectively attract and engage prospects.

On the Marketing Spark podcast, April Palmer provides insight into how startups and entrepreneurs can create powerful marketing and sales teams.

As well, she talks about the mistakes that many companies make when hiring a sales leader, and how to build a sales organization in the right way.

For companies looking for sales help, April has advice on how to hire a third-party sales organization.

Hi, it's Mark Evans and you'relistening to markets park for many companies, sales and marketingoperating silence. What inevitably happens is sales complains thatmarketing provides them with proby leads, while Marquis suggested salesare just bad at so well, that's not a good way to be, ideally, sales andmarketing wore cohesively and collaboratively create a powerful one.Two growth combination April Palmer is a sales and revenueexpert who have small and medium sized businesses, great structures, systemsand plans for success. She's worked with many entrepreneurs who want todrive sales but struggle to make it happen. So I'm looking forward to herinsight and expertise about startups success and revenue growth welcome tomarketing spark April. Thank you so much for having me I'm soexcited. So, let's get to the heart of thematter and the reality that, for many companies, especially startups, is thatmarketing and sales operate in silos, and it's almost like they're opposingforces as opposed to teammates. So I want to get your insight into whythis happens like. Why do these separate structures exist and what arethe dangers for startups that are looking to? Not only get product marketadoption but actually drive sales. It's such an interesting question andyou're right. It is almost like the age old. You know why are marketing insales fighting all of the time when they actually are the opposite sides ofthe same coin: Right you're, looking to build a brand, create loyalty andcustomers and get them excited about what you're doing so that they'll buyit, and so they should be working together. But I think that thatmisalignment is actually one of the top like waste of resources withinorganizations, especially when you look at small, the midsize businesses thatare trying to grow, because if you, if you create a symbiotic relationshipbetween your marketing and sales, so that they're working together in tandemto not just bring really great inbound, leads into your sales organization, butalso to support your sales organization to get those leads excited about whatyou're doing. Then you create a machine that just it starts to grow exponentially right.You create these raving fans of what you're doing, because you're able toget them excited, and I've always said that that sales is a type of marketing right. Like I mean,if you, if you think about what a sales team is supposed to, do, they'resupposed to go out and do do exactly...

...what marketing does, which is getpeople excited, get people to buy into what it is that your brand does enoughthat they open their wallets. That's the same thing at that marketing doesso I've never really understood why they operate in silos, but getting them to not do. That is reallyreally hard. I don't know that there are any great answers for it, but I do think that there are some ofthe best organizations who have managed to solve this. Riddle are the ones whoare growing and really making the difference in their industry, and one of the things that I found isthat there's a tension between marketing and sales, especially within small organizations- and I don't knowif that's because the founders lash entrepreneur, starts with sales andthen hires marketing or whether there's different ways that they have in terms of the ways they operateor whether it they're just not used to working cohesively, is that in an Adraworld, as you said earlier, marketing the sales and sales as marketing andthey should be moving forward and lockstep, and there should be a lot ofcollaboration and a lot of ways that they can exchange ideas with that oneplus one equals three. But do you blame the entrepreneur for creating a landscape where there are silos, asopposed to trying to bring people together right away? Is it theentrepreneurs vault or is it just traditional ways of doing business? Ithink it's I M. I think it's how we define them right when you think aboutwhen somebody thinks about marketing. Sometimes they think about brand right.Like I teach entrepreneurship at VC here in Virginia and when I ask aboutmarketing a lot of the students, talk about your logo, your tag line, whatyour brand looks like things like: Google, ads and soand all of thosethings- that's marketing right and then sales is B to B or B, B C or B Coutreach like pitch slapping people always be closing type of thing, and so,when you think about defining them, we've created very, very differentdefinitions for what it is that they do, and I think that it's not traditionalto recognize them as one as flowing into each other, and so I'm not surethat it's the entrees fault. But I do think that, as a founder, you have aresponsibility to step back and say you know. This is the way it's alwaysbeen done around here, but I'm going to do it differently, and I think thatthat starts by by defining what is marking in sales. One of the big thingsthat I see in start up says that you've got. You do have a marketing team,often times they come after the sales team right like sal seam is supposed topay for them, but marketing is coming...

...up with, like we talked about the logo, thebrand that adds those types of things, but what they're not doing isunderstanding what the sales process is and creating really impactfulcollateral for the sales team. So you've got, you know, visuals about what you do.You've got sales decks, those types of things, the sales team oftentimes areresponsible for creating those themselves and then, as soon as themarketing team sees them, the marketing team is like no, that doesn't mean allof our brilliant standards right and like it's not like tecs people havebeen trained in Kanva or a Doby, or anything like that, and so that's whereI think that that, from a found or perspective that youreally have to figure out, how do these teams work together so that you have amarketing team who's? Creating I really really impactful collateral for yoursales team that allows them to go out and close more deals, the more dealsthey close, the more information you get about, your buyer, what they like,what they don't like, how to how to interact with them, which helps themarketing team in turn, get better ideas about how they're going toconnect with their buyers and with their target market. So it should bekind of full circle, but I think often times that's just not a connection.That's made okay, so you're not, and you understand,or you recognize, the importance of sales and marketing and you're one ofthese entrepreneurs who recognizes that sales and marketing need to worktogether to meet collaborative units. Where do you start like? How do you setthe stage so that you don't have silos so that right from the get go you'reputting the systems and structures in place so that marketing and sales arejust one unit, they're, just working together, they're, exchanging ideas,they're, actually a powerful combination and that silos will neveremerge, because it's just not the way business has done like what are thesteps at an entreprenant needs to take? Well, I think the first part isrecognizing. What does sales look like today, different than what it lookedlike a couple of years ago, even like five years ten years? That's ancienthistory even two years ago or two thousand and nineteen, it was sodifferent. The way that you connected with with your buyers. Today, you havethings like organizations using podcasts to bringin hot, leads or helping their ceased executives to write books to bring inleads. You have people appearing on Podcast, you've linked in, which is the mostamazing platform right now for the generation. It's what Lindon and tick.Tock are the only two platforms today where you can create content orcomments on other views contents and get in front of Second Party. Secondlevel connections it without having to... right like that is huge, and so manymany organizations are utilizing that. So I think, if you look at that- andyou say okay, how? How do we generate sales today, which is very differentand many many organizations than it used to be, and how does that play in amarketing? Well, then, I think you kind of throw them in the ring together andyou say: okay, this is how we're going to generate business, we're going tobuild out a podcast. That means that marketing you have to help us to figureout. What does that sound like what are the themes? What is the content that wewant to cover and then sales you have to help us figure out who are the leads?Who We bring in and we invite to this and then together we have to create acompelling message to get people to actually appear on the podcast. We haveto produce it, and then we have to market it in such a way that we createa wider audience. So, if they're co creating that plan together, thenthey're going to be much more likely to work together, not just for that, butthen any type of other future revenue growth initiatives that you have it'seither that or like put them in the boxing ring with those big big like ablow up gloves and just let them duke it out until somebody wins, I don'tknow you go off in a bit of a tangent here.There's a lot of talk these days about the dark web, the fact that prospectsare educating themselves learning talking to each other and getting asense of how they want to move forward with their purchases, but companies,sales, people, marketing people have no clue and no visibility into. What's going on. So I'm interested inyour take on when you've got sales and marketingworking cohesively. How do they deal with the dark web like?How do they get a sense of what's happening and howdo they feed that insight back into how they move forward together as a unit? Ah, it's that is such a complicatedissue. Here's! What I would say is educating educating, educating rightjust putting out as much information as you can of what I see a lot, especiallyin the startup world, is this idea of like we can't give away our secretsbecause somebody's going to steal it and do it or do it better? And I'm justhere to tell you like: that's bullshit, you if you can't get out there and tellwhat makes you different and how you do it then you're never going to cornerthe market and somebody else will who's more transparent. And if you givepeople information and they go to your competitors, then you need to belooking at your competitors and seeing what they're doing different or betteror even, if you want to capture that market, like not all business, is agood business right. There's this the school of thought.It's called, they ask you answer and it's to me it's really reallyfascinating. There's a book about it:...

They have facebook groups and all thesethings, but the premise behind it is, and I'm not sponsored by them oranything, I'm just kind of like fully obsessed with this idea that they have,and that is, if you are having sales calls, then you should record them andthen you should put them into a program like Dret, like atter, dot, ai or Gong, or something and start to pullout the common themes and every question that a prospect asks duringthat sales call should be addressed by marketing in one way or another,whether it's a white paper and in Phorai a podcast episode, an article inan industry, a magazine blog linked in content whatever it is. So if you findthat in five out of six of your sales callsthat somebody says, but how much does it cost, then you need to put outcontent about how much it costs right. If they say how does this work with mycram, then you need to put out content about how it works. Complete and totaltransparency proactively, educating your consumer, and that is that ismarketing. All the way right there and getting them to feel like they areeducated and empowered about the decisions that they're making will leadthem to more times than not seek out the sourceof that empowerment and that education, and if you are that source, thenthey're going to be more likely to buy from you, and so that's for me. It'sjust all that education, transparency, proactively answeringquestions and making people feel really comfortable with the decisions thatthey're making, because otherwise there are just so many options. How do youchoose? How do you know how to choose? But if you teach them how to do that,then they'll rely on you and they'll trust. You Yeah. It's interestingperspective, because I've heard that for me to be BB sales bed, softwaresales is that a prospect could be seventy percent down the line beforethe even touch sales, so they've been consuming marketing content they'vebeen doing their own competitive research, and so that's. The reallyinteresting part is that by the time a sales person gets involved, theprospect is educated, informed. They know the competitive options, and sothey need to know that market has been doing their job so that they can. Theycan actually just continue to accelerate the process and lead theperson to the Promised Land and that's, I think, the way that that's primarilywhy marketing and sales have to work together these days right, it's sointeresting when you throw out that statistic right once you get your handson the buyers, there's seventy percent of the way through their decisionmaking process what, if you use that information and transparency to catchthem at fifty percent through the process for thirty percent through theprocess, not only is your teammore...

...likely to close it, but my guess is youclose it higher at a higher value to start, and you have a higher lifetimevalue of that client. So that's where I'm like catch them, catch them whenthey first start thinking about it, educate them. You know, who does thisreally really well, is hub spot right, hub spot has one of the mostcomprehensive marketing platforms that I've ever seen. I mean Igo to them all the time as a resource, and so because I know that they'reproviding trainings and certifications and white papers and all these things.When I go to my customers and say you need to serm guess what hub spots topof my list every single time and it's not just because they're a really greatplatform, but it's also because they there in front of me all the time- andI know that they're growing and developing their answering questionsand they're, making me smarter and better at what I do. Switching here's a little bit when a startup emerges. What inevitablyhappens is the entrepreneur is the visionary, the Salesperson, the markingperson, the customer success person, they're, raising money, they're talkingto the media. They do everything, but at some point in time they understandthat they need to sales professional, they need to sales leader. But I thinka lot of entrepreneurs make a mistake because they expect that they're goingto hire a sales unicorn somebody who's going to do everything, and I know thatyou've had lots of experiences with entrepreneurs who have stumbled andfumbled the ball when they're hiring a says leader. So can you talk about themistakes that they make and what inevitably happens? And then,conversely, talk about, you know what is the right way to hire? Our saleslater was particularly when you're a small company, okay, so just prepare for me to get onmy soap box here, because this is this. Is this is a topic that is so near anddear in my heart, and it's also the reason why I have as many gray hairs asI have and probably as few like, I'm always pulling out my hair, because it's just so freaking stupid. Whathappens? Is these companies a lot of times, especially when they reach seedstage funding, or they boot strapped enough that they're ready to scale?They have investors who come in or advisers who come in and say: okay, now,you're ready to sell and and say, you've really got to drive a lot ofrevenues. So it's time to hire a VP of sales. Now, let's just start with thefact that a really really good vp of sales is going to cost you a hundredand fifty two hundred two hundred fifty thousand dollars a year right, fullstop. But if you're, if you're a small, the mid sized business, your budget isprobably seventy five to a hundred thousand, so you're. Looking at half ofwhat a VP F, sales on the market would cost from a compensation perspectiveand that's fine. You can make it up by by offering equity and other incentives,like you know, flexible... arrangements and wellness programs,and all of these you know super good insurance and those types of thingscomprehends. That's super good, like that's, not even a super gory supersuper good. It's super good super, comprehensive health careprograms, those types of things, but where the rubber really hits the roadis, then they bring in this vps sales. Who is underpaid but really excitedabout the possibilities and they're like okay? Here's your job, you need tobuild out our revenue grow strategy, okay, awesome that is like theirspecialty right. This is a really good job for them and they're. Like also,could you build out our text sack and our revolts? Well, maybe, like I think, maybe I can workmy way around to cram, but like most sales, people, like I hate cr M, soI'll do my best right and then they're, like also. We need you to buildrelationships with these enterprise level or national level accounts thatwould take a normal person in a normal organization, nine to twelve months toclose, but your special. So we think that you'll be able to close one or twoor maybe even three of them in sixty days, that's going to be awesome and because we need smaller deals rightlike this, your mind melting, yet because it should be melting, becausethis is where it gets really really fucking stupid. It's sorry pardon mylanguage is that then they're like, but then wealso need smaller deals to show our investors that we can actually sellthis and to get some revenue coming in to cover our burn rate, because, eventhough we're paying you a hundred thousand dollars, we kind of couldn'tafford to pay you a hundred thousand dollars. So we're really freaking outright now. So if you could make fifty cold calls a day scheduledisappointments once their schedule due the discovery, call the demo clothesand on board and by the way, when you do Ge Demo, you're going to have tobuild out your own deck because we're not paying our marketing departmentenough to do that, because they're focused on se what it's, the stupidest thing I've everheard, and yet it's conventional wisdom today. This is what every singleinvestor is. An every single CEO is faced with when they say how do I growmy organization from a revenue perspective and it just melts my mindlike I just I don't know who ties those people's shoe laces for them in themorning, but anyone who is listening, I'm just telling you right now that is dumb, do do not do it so elstad. They should do what what'sthe better smarter way, because that that way seems irrational and insane Imean it. There's I mean you just can't do it all? No one can do it all right.What's the better approach,...

...there are quite a few different ways todo it, but here's if it were me- and it has been me- I do this fororganizations what I would do is I would go in and I would hire a salesmanager and if they want to be called the VPS fine, but they really need tobe sales manager level. You need to still have founders involved infounders at like lead sales. In some of this right now and then I would hire anoutsource legion organization. There are some really good ones out there,there's full funnel, which is based in Boston. There's title which is based inso falls South Dakota. There are some that are smaller. I have an affiliationof a title, so I'm just going to throw it out there like I'll. Just tell you,I love what they're doing, because I think the way that they approach it isreally special. But regardless of who you use, what happens? Is You find? Anorganization has really really talented BBC or SDR every calls them differentthings right people and they come in your organization and they say: Okay,help US build out. Personas help US use psychographics to understand who yourbest buyer is. Then, let's design an audience and pool leadless that are veryspecific to your best buyers and then, let's craft, the outgoing message toget people excited just get them intrigued about what you're doingenough to take a message or to take a meeting. Sorry and then, let's just getthem on your calendar, so you have the sales manager. Who knows yourorganization is within your organization, and then you have thisoutsource team that has an email address from your organization. Theylist you on their linked in they have the ability to call email linked intext. Anybody your prospects and just get them excited enough about whatyou're doing to have a sales meeting with that sales manager. If you cantake that person and have them fully focused on doing the discovery,calls doing the demos and closing the business, and you harness yourmarketing team to make sure that their sales dack as solid that their followup processes solid, that they have, and you know a cadence after the fact to keep peopleinterested and pull them through to the close, then that's where you're goingto see your revenue just absolutely skyrocket and once it starts happening,what's really fun about that is, instead of hiring more people to just sit and makeoutbound calls right. You just ramp up with that with that side that you canafford to hire a true vp of sales, and you have the capes and the metricsabout your growth. All of this data. That's amazing: You can listen to thephone calls. You can look at the at that. You know the Gong report. You cansee how many calls it makes said make... appointment. How many of thisappointments is a take to close a new business? How long does it take to getthem ransom? All those things that you can take back to your investors and say:okay, if we increase the spin if we grow the organization like this, thisis a very, very solid projection of our revenue in the next year or eighteenmonths, two years, and this is why you should give us more money to grow.Investors will fall over you for that, because other sale, other organizations,small missige businesses- they don't have that they just have they just havepine in the sky, like hope, numbers right, they're going. Oh No. We havethis one person doing all these things and they're going to be able to drivethis much revenue. We think we hope cross our fingers but you're looking atthem and saying, there's no magic to this. It's process, it's numbers, it'sactivity and you can actually see you know how this has affected ourorganization now and how it will in the future, and that to me is it's likethinking that science is magic, it's the best type of magic okay. So thatsounds great in theory. But how do you hire how to discover and hire the rightoutsource sales organization because there has to be a cultural fit there is their interestshave to be aligned? Maybe you know summarize: What are the steps to makingit happen in the right way, so that you end up with the right partner, becausereally what it is, is a partnership? Well, there are a couple of things youcan do. You can hire a consultant who knows this and implements thus on aregular basis, they're, usually very familiar with the differentorganizations and what they do well or you can make a list, and if you reasonto me, I can give you a list of a number of different organizations andwhat they're really good at. But then you should spend time with themschedule and our call and understand what their process is and then linkthat to what your goals are from a growth perspective. The things that I think are the mostimportant is that if you are using a team that uses PDRs and SDRs so business development, raps and salesdevelopment raps that you have small teams with a manager over them,so that they're really like keeping track of. What's going on they'relistening to calls on a regular basis, they're identifying where they'relosing customers and they're saying: okay, let's iterate what it is thatwe're talking about how we're talking to them. So you want a you, want anorganization that is going to proactively look at what's happeningwith these sales calls and make changes to help you be more successful. Anotherthing is, you went them proactively, reporting to you, so you should be ableto either log into a dashboard or get a...

...daily or weekly report. That says thisis the activity that we did here is how it's broken down. Calls linkedin emailtext message: here's what resonated here's! What didn't resonate here? The changes that we made and hearthe connections that we made that we think will lead to you, know more business and thenchecking in with you to how many people are showing up for the calls. How manyof those are you closing do when they show up? Are they warm? Do they feellike that? They're? You know ready to do business with you. Do theyunderstand what the offering is all of those things? What you really want istransparency, proactive outreach in partnership. One of the other areas that I want totalk to about is personal branding. I know that this is something you spend alot of time on and clearly you're dealing with entrepreneurs working for startups, that, yes,marketing can drive awareness and it's important to have sales out there formany of its organizations is a entrepreneur with a strong, vibrantpersonal brand can be very powerful in terms of driving sales and marketingforward. So you know what- and this is a loaded question admittedly, but youknow: Where does an entrepreneur start as far as building a personal brand,because there's there's lots of different takes on personal brandingand how important it is and how you do it? And you read a lot about this onlengthing these days, but you have any thoughts orsuggestions jonches who want to build a personal brand, but they don't knowwhere to start. Oh, my gosh, I have so many thoughts about miss. I love this.I accidentally built a personal brand. I had no idea what I was doing. Ididn't have the intention to do it, but what's happened since I realized it andreally started putting time and energy into. It is just been exponentialgrowth both for my consulting business and from a personal and professionalperspective. I've created friends, and I call them my linked in family right.These are people who will come to my children's weddings. Right like this.Is it's crazy? Making friendships like finding friends as an adult is reallyhard, and it's amazing how this happens when you start to build a personalbrand on a platform like Linkedin, and I really think that linked in is is themagic for that right now there are. There are a few things. Iwould encourage you to look at people like Josh Brown and Casey Graham havecreated just an absolutely amazing blue print for how to build a personal brandas an entrepreneur and a lot of times. When I hear from people- and I teachcourses on this- and I hear it they're like I- don't want to put out content-I feel uncomfortable with that. I don't know what to say it's really hard andwhat I h, what I always tell them is... can build a personal brand and ahuge network that will benefit both. You personally Ange your businesswithout ever putting out one piece of content if you're in Linkedin and youare building out a network of people whoare your potential buyers and potential investors and in customers and you'relooking at their content and making real authentic impactful comments, that'sadding to the conversations that they're starting. That goes a long way.I mean I make probably on average over a hundred comments a day on linked inand that's because the information that other people are putting out is reallyreally interesting. It's insightful, but again it puts me in front of people,I'm not even connected with second level. I don't have to pay for so theway that I do it is pretty easy. I make a list of people I want to connect with.I go into their lindon profile to the activity page and then I book mark thatand every day I go into all of my book marks. I learned this from Aria Lee.This is not something that I made up so right, Ariel is amazing person tofollow, but every day I open up every single one of those book marks. I lookat what they've been commenting on or what they've posted, and I make my owncomments and not any in that auto fill bullshit like if somebody announcesthat they get a new job, then you need to you need to jump in there and saylike this is really exciting. You know what are you most pumped about, or Ilike to say, like the strategical folks, that wherever you're going to work aremaking the right decisions, if people are posting information about sales andmarketing find an article that really speaks that topic and pace it in thereand say you know, tag some people and say hey like this. This is mirroringwhat this article in Forbes said and start to make other people. Icontribute to the conversations there. I think that you'll find that withoutever posting one piece of content, you build a brand that gets people to startto come to you and say: Hey your you're, smart and you're insightful, and youobviously know what you're doing and I'd like to learn more about whatyou're doing, and maybe I like to invest in the company that you'vestarted or maybe I'd like to buy the product, or maybe I'd like to refer youto other people in my network, who, I know, have this problem and there are a lot of organizations thatyouse linked in as their number one LE generation tool by far for their seals people and fortheir founders. And if you, if you have again your sales and your marketingteam, working together to make sure that the message that you're puttingout there is impactful, then you're going to have a win every time we have covered a lot of ground inthirty three minutes and fifty seconds.

So thank you for that. For a lot oforganizations, marketing and sales are very mysterious creatures. They work inways that they can't imagine they work in ways that they can't see. So theinset that you've offered has been has been great. One final question is:where can people learn more about you and what you do? I am. I live onLincoln. I'm there all the time. That's my job! I see you can find me I'm April Palmershe her. I also am my moniker as hotness boss. For manymany reasons, my employees dog, be that so you can find me there. I my whole job is to help educatepeople about revenue, intelligence and Revenue Generation. How to bridge thatGAP BETWEEN PR marketing and sales, and so you can find me on Linkedin but feelfree to reach out in my calendar is open. I'm here for minor, hip hours, workshops anything that can help youand your team be successful, and it's my favorite thing in the whole ID world.So I would love to hear from you. Well, thanks for listening to another episodeof marketing spark. If you enjoyed the conversation, leave a review subscribedby Itunes, spotify or favorite podcast APP and share by a social media tolearn more about how I help PBS companies as a Fractional Co Tragitoadvisor in coach send an email to mark a marking, spark on co or re o to me onLinkedin I'll talk to a.

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