How to Create a Unified B2B Marketing & Sales Team

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

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're listening to marketing spark. For many companies, sales and marketing operate in silos. When inevitably happens is sales complains that marketing provides them with proppy leads, while marketing suggest that sales are just bad exposing beatings. Well, that's not a good way to be doing business. Ideally, sales and marketing more cohesively and collaboratively to create a powerful one two growth combination. April Palmer is a sales and revenue expert who helped small and medium sized businesses creates structures, systems and plans for success. She's worked with many entrepreneurs who want to drive sales but struggle to make it happen. So I'm looking forward to her insight and expertise about startups, success and Revenue Growth. Welcome to marketing spark, April. Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited. So let's get to the heart of the matter, and the reality that for many companies, especially startups, is that marketing and sales operate in silos and it's almost like they are opposing forces as opposed to teammates. So I want to get your insight into why this happens, like why do these separate structures exist and what are the dangers for startups that are looking to not only they get product market adoption but actually drive sales? It's such an interesting question and you're right, it is almost like the age old. You know, why are marketing and sales fighting all of the time when they actually are the opposite sides of the same coin? Right, you're looking to build a brand, create loyalty among customers and get them excited about what you're doing so that they'll buy it, and so they should be working together. But I think that that misalignment is actually one of the top like waste of resources within organizations, especially when you look at small the midsize businesses that are trying to grow. Because if you if you create a symbiotic relationship between your marketing and sales so that they're working together in tandem to not just bring really great inbound leads into your sales organization, but also to support your sales organization to get those leads excited about what you're doing, then you create a machine that just it starts to grow exponentially. Right, you create these rating fans of what you're doing, because you're able to get 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're supposed to go out and do do exactly what marketing does,...

...which is get people excited, to get people to buy into what it is that your brand does enough that they open their wallets. That's the same thing that that marketing does. So I've never really understood why they operate in silos, but getting them to not do that is really, really hard. I don't know that there are any great answers for it, but I do think that there are some of the best organizations who have managed to solve this riddle. Are the ones who are growing and really making the difference in their industry. And one of the things that I found is that there's a tension between marketing and sales, especially within small organizations, and I don't know if that's because the founders entrepreneur starts with sales and then hires marketing, or whether there's different ways that they have in terms of the ways they operate, or whether it's they're just not used to working cohesively? Is that in Anhyder world? As you said earlier, marketing a sales and sales is marketing and they should be moving forward and lockstep and there should be a lot of collaboration and a lot of ways that they can exchange ideas. With that one plus one equals three. But do you blame the entrepreneur for are creating a landscape where there are silos as opposed to try to bring people together right away? Is it the entrepreneur's fault or is it just traditional ways of doing business? I think it's HMM, I think that's how we define them, right. When you think about when, when somebody thinks about marketing, sometimes they think about brand, right. Like I teach entrepreneurship at Vcu here in Virginia and when I ask about marketing, a lot of the the students talk about your logo, your Tagline, what your brand looks like, things like Google ads and Seo and all of those things. That's marketing, right. And then sales is be to be or be Tob Toc, your B Toc Outreach, like pitch slapping people always be closing type of thing. And so when you think about defining them, we've created very, very different definitions for what it is that they do and I think that it's not traditional to recognize them as one, as flowing into each other, and so I'm not sure that it's the entrepreneur's fault, but I do think that as a founder, you have a responsibility to step back and say, you know, this is the way it's always been done around here, but I'm going to do it differently, and I think that that starts by by De Finding what is marketing and sales. One of the big things that I see in start ups is that you've got, you do have, a marketing team. Often Times they come after the sales team right like the sales team is supposed to pay for them, but marketing is coming up with like we talked about the logo, the brand, that...

...adds those types of things, but what they're not doing is understanding what the sales processes and creating really impactful collateral 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 are responsible for creating those themselves and then as soon as the marketing team sees them. The marketing team is like, no, that doesn't mean all of our brand standards right, and it's not like these sales people have been trained in Kianva or adobe or anything like that. And so that's where I think that that, from a founder perspective, that you really have to figure out how did these teams work together so that you have a marketing team who's creating really, really impactful collateral for your sales team that allows them to go out and close more deals. The more deals they 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 the marketing team in turn get better ideas about how they're going to connect with their buyers and with their target market. So it should be kind of full circle, but I think oftentimes that's just not a connection that's made. Okay, so you're in entre and you understand or you recognize the importance of sales and marketing and you're one of these entrepreneurs who recognizes that sales and marketing need to work together to meet collaborative units. Where do you start? Like, how do you set the stage so that you don't have silos, so that right from the get go you're putting the systems and structures in place so that marketing and sales are just one unit. They're just working together, they're exchanging ideas, they're actually a powerful combination, and that's silos will never emerge because it's just not the way business is done. Like. What are the steps that an entrepreneurs it needs to take? Well, I think the first part is recognizing what a sales look like today different than what it looked like a couple of years ago, even like five years, ten years, that's ancient history. Even two years ago or two thousand and nineteen, it was so different the way that you connected with with your buyers. Today you have things like organizations using podcasts to bring in hot leads or helping their CSWEET executives to write books to bring in leads. You have people appearing on podcasts. You've linked in, which is the most amazing platform right now for lead generation. It's one. Linkedin and tick tock are the only two platforms today where you can create content or comment on other people's content and get in front of Second Party, second level connections right without having to pay. Right...

...like that is huge and so many, many organizations are utilizing that. So I think if you look at that and you say, okay, how how do we generate sales today, which is very different and many, many organizations than it used to be, and how does that play in a marketing well then I think you kind of throw them in the ring together and you say, okay, this is how we're going to generate business. We're going to build out a podcast. That means that marketing you have to help us to figure out what does that sound like? What are the themes? What is the content that we want 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 a compelling message to get people to actually appear on the podcast. We have to produce it and then we have to market it in such a way that we create a wider audience. So if they're co creating that plan together, then they're going to be much more likely to work together, not just for that but then any type of other future revenue growth initiatives that you have. It's either that or like put them in the boxing ring with those big, big like blow up gloves and just let them do get out until somebody wins. I don't know, to go off in a bit of a tangent here. There's a lot of talk these days about the dark web, the fact that prospects are educating themselves, learning, talking to each other and getting a sense of how they want to move forward with their purchases. But companies, salespeople, marketing people have no clue and no visibility into what's going on. So I'm interested in your take on when you've got sales and marketing working cohesively, how do they deal with the dark web, like how did they get a sense of what's happening and how do they feed that insight back into how they move forward together as a unit? That it's that is such a complicated issue. Here's what I would say. Is Educating, educating, educating, right to putting out as much information as you can. What I see a lot, especially in the startup world, is this idea of like we can't give away our secrets because somebody's going to steal it and do it or do it better. And I'm just secure to tell you, like, that's bullshit. You if you can't get out there and tell what makes you different and how you do it. Then you're never going to corner the market and somebody else will who's more transparent. And if you give people information and they go to your competitors, then you need to be looking at your competitors and seeing what they're doing different or better or even if you want to capture that market. Like, not all business is good business. Right. There's this the school of thought, it's called they ask you answer and it's to me, it's really, really fascinating and there's a book about it. They have facebook groups and all these things, but...

...the premise behind it is, and I'm not sponsored by them or anything, 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 and then you should put them into a program like Drit, like otter dot ai or Gong or something, and start to pull out the common themes and every question that a prospect asks during that sales call should be addressed by marketing in one way or another, whether it's a white paper and Infographic, a podcast episode and article in an industry magazine, blog, linkedin content, whatever it is. So if you find that in five out of six of your sales calls that somebody says, but how much does it cost, then you need to put out content about how much it costs. If they say, how does this work with my crm, then you need to put content about how it works. Complete and total transparency, proactively educating your consumer, and that is that is marketing all the way right there, and getting them to feel like they are educated and empowered about the decisions that they're making will lead them to to, more times than not, seek out the source of that empowerment and that education, and if you are that source, then they're going to be more likely to buy from you. And so that's for me. It's just all that education, transparency, proactively answering questions and making people feel really comfortable with the decisions that they're making, because otherwise there are just so many options. How do you choose? 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 interesting perspective because I've heard that for BEB beby sales, bed software sales, is that a prospect could be seventy percent down the line before the even touch sales. So they've been consuming marketing content, they've been doing their own competitive research, and so that's the really interesting part, is that by the time a salesperson gets involved, the prospect is educated, informed, they know the competitive options, and so they need to know that marketing has been doing their job so that they can they can actually just continue to accelerate the process and lead the person to the promised land. And that's, I think, the way that that's primarily why marketing and sales have to work together these days. Right. It's so interesting when you throughout that statistic. Right, once you get your hands on the buyers, they're seventy percent of the way through their decisionmaking process. What if you use that information and transparency to catch them at fifty percent through the process or thirty percent through the process? Not only is your team more likely to close it, but my guess is you close at higher at a higher value...

...to start and you have a higher lifetime value of that client. So that's where I'm like catch them, catch them when they first start thinking about it, educate them. You know who does this really, really well is hub spot right. Hub spot has one of the most comprehensive marketing platforms that I've ever seen. I mean, I go to them all the time as a resource, and so, because I know that they're providing trainings and certifications and white papers and all these things, when I go to my customers and say you need to Crm, guess what? Hub spots top of my list every single time. And it's not just because they're really great platform, but it's also because they they're in front of me all the time and I know that they're growing and developing their answering questions and they're making me smarter and better at what I do. It's whishing. Here's a little bit. When a startup emerges, what inevidly happens is the entrepreneur is the visionary, the Salesperson, the marketing person, the customer success person. They're raising money, they're talking to the media, they do everything, but at some point in time they understand that they need to sales professional, they need to sales leader. But I think a lot of entrepreneurs make a mistake because they expect that they're going to hire a sales Unicorn, somebody who's going to do everything. And I know that you've had lots of experiences with entrepreneurs who have stumbled and fumbled the ball when they're hiring a sales leader. So can you talk about the mistakes that they make and what inevitably happens and then, conversely, talk about, you know, what is the right way to hire a sales leader was, particularly when you're a small company? Okay, so just prepare for me to get on my soapbox here, because this is this is this is a topic that is so near and dear in my heart and it's also the reason why I have as many gray hairs as I have, and probably a few like I'm always pulling out my hair because, ah, it's just so freaking stupid. What happens is these companies a lot of times, especially when they reach seed stage funding or they boot strapped enough that they're ready to scale, they have investors who come in or advisors who come in and say, okay, now you're ready to sell and and so you've really got to drive a lot of revenues. So it's time to hire a VP of sales. Now let's just start with the fact that a really, really good vp of sales is going to cost you a hundred fifty, two hundred, two hundred fiftyzero dollars a year. Right, full stop. But if you'RE A if you're a small to midsized business, your budgets probably seventy five to a hundred thousand. So you're looking at half of what a VP of sales on the market would cost from a compensation perspective. And that's fine. You can make it up by by offering equity and other incentives like, you know, flexible work arrangements...

...and wellness programs and all these you know, super good insurance and those types of things comprehends a super good like that's not even super good, super super good. It's super good, super comprehensive healthcare programs, those types of things. But where the rubber really hits the road is then they bring in this vp of sales who is underpaid but really excited about the possibilities, and they're like, okay, here's your job. You need to build out our revenue growth strategy. Okay, awesome, that is like their specialty, right, this is a really good job for them. They're like, also, could you build out our TEX STAC and our revops? Well, maybe, like I think maybe I can work my way around a crm, but like of sales people, like, I hate crm, so I'll do my bast right. And then they're like, also, we need you to build relationships with these enterprise level or national level accounts that would take a normal person in a normal organization nine to twelve months to close, but you're special. So we think that you'll be able to close one or two or maybe even three of them in sixty days. That's going to be awesome. An because we need smaller deals right, like, is your mind melting yet? Because it should be melting, because this is where it gets really, really fucking stupid. It's sorry, pardon my language. Is that? Then they're like, but then we also need smaller deals to show our investors that we can actually sell this and to get some revenue coming in to cover our burn rate, because even though we're paying you a hundred thousand dollars, we kind of couldn't afford to pay you a hundred thousand dollars or we're really freaking out right now. So if you could make fifty cold calls a day, schedule those appointments once their scheduled, do the discovery call, the Demo, close and on board. And, by the way, when you do the Demo, you're going to have to build out your own deck because we're not paying our marketing department enough to do that because their focus on Seo. What's it's the stupidest thing I've ever heard, and yet it's conventional wisdom today. This is what every single investor is and every single CEO is faced with when they say, how do I grow my organization from a revenue perspective? And it's just melts my mind like I just I don't know who ties those people shoelaces for them in the morning, but anyone who is listening, I'm just telling you right now that is dumb. Do not do it. So well said they should do what should what's the better, smarter way, because that that way seems rational and insane. I mean 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 to do it, but here's if it were...

...me, and it has been me, I do this for organizations, what I would do is I would go in and I would hire a sales manager and, if they want to be called the VP of sales, fine, but they really need to be sales manager level. You need to still have founders involved and founders at like lead sales in some of this right now. And then I would hire an outsource 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 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. There are some that are smaller. I I have an affiliation with 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 is really special. But regardless of who you use, what happens is you find an organization has really, really talented BBC or SDR or recall them different things, right people, and they come into your organization and they say, okay, help us build out personas, help us use psychographics to understand who your best buyer is. Then let's design an audience and poll leadless that are very specific to your best buyers and then let's craft the outgoing message to get people excited, just get them intrigued about what you're doing enough to take a message or to take a meeting sorry, and then let's just get them on your calendar. So you have the sales manager who knows your organization, is within your organization, and then you have this outsource team that has an email addressed from your organization. They list you on their linkedin. They have the ability to call, email Linkedin, text anybody your prospects and just get them excited enough about what you're doing to have a sales meeting with that sales manager. If you can take that person and have them fully focused on doing the discovery calls, doing the demos and closing the business and you harness your marketing team to make sure that their sales deck is solid, that their follow up processes solid, that they have and you know, a cadence after the fact to keep people interested and pull them through to the close, then that's where you're going to see your revenue just absolutely skyrocket. And once that starts happening, what's really fun about that is instead of hiring more people to just sit and make outbound calls, right, you just ramp up with that, with that side, but you can afford to hire a true vp of sales and you have the KPIS and the metrics about your growth. All of this data. That's amazing. You can listen to the phone calls, you can look at the at the you know the Gong report. You can see how many calls it makes to...

...make one appointment. How many of those appointments is it take to close a new business? How long does it take to get them ranked up? 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, this is a very, very solid projection of our revenue in the next year, eighteen months, two years, and this is why you should give us more money to grow. Investors will fall over you for that because other sales, other organizations, small missize businesses, they don't have that. They just have they just have pie in the sky, like hope, numbers right. They're going, oh no, we have this one person doing all these things and they're going to be able to drive this much revenue. We think, we hope, cross our fingers, but you're looking at them and saying there's no magic to this, it's process, it's numbers, it's activity, and you can actually see, you know, how this has affected our organization now and how it will in the future, and that to me, is it's like thinking that science is magic. It's the best type of magic. Okay, so that sounds great in theory, but how do you hire? How do you discover and hire the right outsource sales organization? Because there has to be a cultural fit there, just their interest have to be aligned. Maybe you know summarize, what are the steps to making it happen in the right way so that you end up with the right partner, because really what it is is a partnership. Well, there are a couple of things you can do. You can hire consultant who knows this and implements this on a regular basis. They're usually very familiar with the different organizations and what they do well. Or you can make a list and if you reach out to me, I can give you a list of a number of different organizations and what they're really good at. But then you should spend time with them, schedule an our call and understand what their processes and then link that to what your goals are from a growth perspective. The things that I think are the most important is that if you are using a team that uses bedrs and SDRs, so business development reps and sales development reps, that you have small teams with a manager over them so that they're really like keeping track of what's going on. They're listening to calls on a regular basis, they're identifying where they're losing customers and they're saying, okay, let's iterate what it is that we're talking about, how we're talking to them. So you want a cut, you want an organization that is going to proactively look at what's happening with these sales calls and make changes to help you be more successful. Another thing is you went them proactively reporting to you. So you should be able to either log into a dashboard or get a Daili or weekly report that says, this is the activity...

...that we did, here's how it's broken down. Calls linkedin email, text message, here's what resonated, here's what didn't resonate, here are the changes that we made and here are the connections that we made that we think will lead to, you know, more business. And then checking in with you too. How many people are showing up for the calls? How many of those are you closing? Do when they show up, are they warm? Do they feel like that they're, you know, ready to do business with you? Did they understand what the offering is? All of those things. What you really want is transparency, proactive outreach and partnership. One of the other areas that I want to talk about his personal branding. I know that this is something you spend a lot 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 for many of its organizations. Is Entrepreneur with a strong, vibrant personal brand can be very powerful in terms of driving sales and marketing forwards. So you know what, and this is a loaded question, admittedly, but you know, where does an entrepreneur start as far as building a personal brand? Because there's there's lots of different takes on personal branding and how important it is and how you do it, and you read a lot about this on linkin these days. But do you have any thoughts or suggestions to entrepreneurs who want to build a personal brand but they don't know where to start? Oh my gosh, I have so many thoughts about this. I I love this. I accidentally built a personal brand. I had no idea what I was doing. I didn't have the intention to do it. But what's happened since I realize it and really started putting time and energy into it? It's just been exponential growth, both for my consulting business and from a personal and professional perspective of I've created friends and I call them my linkedin family. There 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 really hard and it's amazing how this happens when you start to build a personal brand on a platform like Linkedin, and I really think that Linkedin is is the magic for that. Right now there there are a few things I would encourage you to look at. People like Josh Brawn and Casey Graham have created just an absolutely amazing blueprint for how to build a personal brand as an entrepreneur. And a lot of times what I hear from people, and I teach courses 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 and what I what I always tell them is you...

...can build a personal brand and a huge network that will benefit both you personally and your business without ever putting out one piece of content. If you're in Linkedin and you are building out a network of people who are your potential buyers and potential investors and in customers and you're looking at their content and making real, authentic, impactful comments, that's adding 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 Linkedin and that's because the information that other people are putting out is really, really 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 the way that I do it is pretty easy. I make a list of people I want to connect with, I go into their linkedin profile to the activity page and then I bookmark that and every day I go into all of my book marks. I learned this from aerial lead. This is not something that I made up. So right, Ariel is amazing person to follow, but every day open up every single one of those bookmarks, I look at what they've been commenting on or what they've posted and I make me own comments and not any of that auto filled bullshit. Like if somebody announces that they get a new job, then you need to be you need to jump in there and say like, this is really exciting. You know, what are you most pumped about? or I like to say, like the strategical folks, that wherever you're going to work, are making the right decisions. If people are posting information about sales and marketing, find an article that really speaks that topic and paste it in there and say, you know, tag some people and say, Hey, a like this, this is mirroring what this article in Forbes said, and start to make other people a contribute to the conversations there. I think that you'll find that, without ever posting one piece of content, you build a brand that's gets people to start to come to you and say, Hey, you're you're smart and you're insightful and you obviously know what you're doing and I'd like to learn more about what you're doing and maybe I'd like to invest in the company that you've started, or maybe I'd like to buy the product, or maybe I'd like to refer you to other people in my network who I know have this problem and there are a lot of organizations that use Linkedin as their number one lead generation tool by far for their sales people and for their founders. And if you if you have again your sales in your marketing team working together to make sure that the message that you're putting out there is impactful, then you're going to have a win every time. We have covered a lot of ground in thirty three minutes and fifty seconds, so thank you for that.

For a lot of organizations, marketing and sales are very mysterious creatures. They work in ways that they can imagine, they work in ways that they can't see. So the insight 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 on Linkedin. I'm there all the time. That's my job. I so you can find me. I'm April Palmer, she her. I also am my moniker is hot mess boss. For many, many reasons, my employees dubbed me that. So you can find me there. I my whole job is to help educate people about revenue intelligence and Revenue Generation, how to bridge that gap between PR marketing and sales, and so you can find me on Linkedin, but feel free to reach out. I'm my calendar is open. I'm here for mentorship hours, workshops, anything that can help you and your team be successful, and it's my favorite thing in the whole world. So I would love to hear from you well. Thanks for listening to another episode of marketing spark. If you enjoyed the conversation, leave a review, subscribed by itunes, spotify or favorite podcast APP, and share by a social media to learn more about how I help BBS as companies as a fractional Cmostra Gigi advisory coach, send an email to mark at marketing sparkcom or reach out to me on Linkedin. I'll talk to you next docum.

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