How Field Marketing Can Align Marketing and Sales: Nick Bennett

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In an ideal world, B2B SaaS marketing and sales teams move forward in lock-step.

In reality, they often operate in silos.

The result? Sales complain that marketing gives them crappy leads. Marketing counters that sales can’t close deals.

How do you address this conundrum? The answer may be field marketing.

While it may not be the best-known marketing term, field marketers quarterback sales and marketing activities. 

In this episode, Nick Bennett offers insight into field marketing; what it is, how it works, and why it is so effective.

It's Mark Evans and you're listening tomarketing spark. Ask People about field marketing and you may get a variety ofanswers and perspectives. It's not as high profile as growth hacker, content marketeror social media media specialist, but field marketing plays an important role in bridgingthe gap between marketing and sales to a tract and engage customers and drive revenue. To peel the propriable onion about field marketing, I'm talking to Nick Bennett, director of account based and Field Marketing and Alice in Boston. Welcome tomarketing spark. Hey, thanks having mark. Super excited to be are obvious.First question. What is field marketing? Does it have a low profile ordoes it operate under the radar? Because, to be honest, untilI ran into you, I didn't even know there was something such as fieldmarketing. I think honestly, I think it varies company to company, especiallylike the Bob World, and so like my definition of field marketing is thatyou're the person that's quarterbacking all of the programs on the marketing side to drivepipeline and revenue for the sales team. So it's like field marketing to Dato. Field Marketing has always been thought of as strictly events. Like I've beentrying to solve in kind of debunk that that myth, that it's only eventsand it's really you want to be looked at as as another tool in thearsenal for the sales team. Okay, well, it's a good start.I'm still not getting it. It might be easier if you describe what thedaytoday world like for a field market or what do you do? How doyou work with sales and marketing? What do you responsible for? How canyour success be measured? Yeah, so I think, honestly, one ofthe biggest things is every day is completely different, at least in my world. It's like perfect example this week where at Friday lady it's Great. SoI have been putting together account specific landing pages. So like leveraging that oneto one personalization. I've also been jumping on sales calls. We're being inthe MARTECH space. The sales team leverage is me to hop on calls withthem a lot to just talk about how we use it ourselves. So I'vebeen spending a lot of my time on sales calls listening to gone call seeingwhat our customers and prospects of talking about so that I can make sure thatthe messaging that we're leveraging on, say these landing pages or the events thatwe're doing, all come back to tell an actual story. That is interesting. Besides that, I'm also hopping on qbrs. I am running events,is another big piece of it that we do, whether it's, you know, sponsored events or hosted events. So like every day's completely different and it'sI've never met a field marketed where, Monday through Friday, they're doing thesame exact thing every single day. So how is that different that a marketingcoordinator or the VP marketing? Because obstensively, a marketing leader should be working withsales, should be looking at landing pages, overseeing content. But itsounds like a field marketers almost like a jack of all trades, where theirtheir job is to actually get their fingers and a lot of different pies underthe auspicus of the head of marketing. Is that? Is that accurate?Yeah, yeah, I think that's definitely a good representation of it. It'slike you want to be a full stack marketer. It's like you got toyou got to understand events. You got to understand the digital piece, yougot to understand content, creative like how does it all come together? Butyou're the one that is, I guess, pulling those levers in determining with thesales team where we need to go and then leveraging the other pieces ofmarketing. So what's the power dynamic? Maybe that's the wrong term, betweena field marketer in the head of marketing, because if you're the one who isactive on a number of different fronts and helping the sales team make betterdecisions connect with prospects better, how does...

...that align with what the head ofmarketing is supposed to be doing and their responsibilities? Yeah, I think itcomes back to their goal should be more strategic of like, okay, thisis the overall theme, or messaging a goals that we need to hit.The failed marketer is usually the one that's doing a lot of the tactical work, that is, like rolling up their sleeves in every single day. Likethere that got person that the sales team can kind of leverage. Okay,so to borrow a baseball term, and it's well known that you are youhave a passion for baseball and sounds like you're a pretty good pitcher. AreField marketers five tool players, given that they're involved in brand building, customerbuilding, Lee Generation Marketing? Is that? Is that an accurate depiction of someonewho's a field marketer, because they they're good at a lot of differentthings. Yeah, I mean, honestly, I think some of that that thatthat's a great example, because I've never even thought of that, butI think so. It's like you have to be able to understand everything andlike I've never worked in other functions within marketing. I've always I started offin sales, went straight to field markets, like I've never done product marketing orlike content or anything, but I still have to understand how all thosepieces work can tell that story so that the prospects and customers at the endof the day, are driving pipeline it ultimately revenue. I guess one ofthe ways to look at is that field marketing could be like the perfect pathwayto be the head of marketing, because as the head of marketing, notonly do you have to operate strategically, but you really have to have understandingof how the different pillars work and how they come together. So when you'rea field marketer. You're really getting your hands dirty in a lot of differentplaces and that stritch me as awesome experience. If you want to become a marketingleader and you really want to drive strategy, because you've been there,done that. Yeah, exactly. And so it's funny because they mention thatbecause, like a lot of people will say, okay, you know what'syour long term gold you want to become the cmode, you want to becomelike a VP of marketing, because it's like you. You understand all ofthose pieces and I feel like it's an easier path. And I mean ultimatelyyou could go from like failed marketing to a head of demand Jen to ultimatelyleading a marketing organization. At least that's the path that I know a lotof people have taken. There's a lot of talk these days, growing nowamount of talk about ABM, because I think as it becomes increasingly difficult toconnect with prospects, the idea of account base marketing has a lot of appealbecause you can focus your efforts on a small group of customers. I'm interestedin getting your take on the relationship between field marketing and ABM. Are youis it just another marketing activity that you're involved in, or is it adifferent kind of relationship? Yeah, it's honestly, it's the same thing.Like I've always had the the understanding that failed marketing really equals ABM because ifyou think about it, like field markets. I guess this more pre covid butlike they were always in the field. They would be responsible for specific territory, save the east coast, and so like within the East Coast theyare responsible for driving pipeline for target accounts with the sales team. That's reallyall ABM is. They're just doing it on like a smaller scale versus likea national or global scale. But yeah, I mean I think it's definitely thesame thing. And it's funny because a lot of people be like whyis your titles say account based and field marketing? Personally, it's more ofthe feel and more of the the ABM side of it. But I justI've been in film marketing for so long that I didn't want to lose thatas part of my title. So it's like important that I had it forthe community that I've built. But honestly, it's the same exact thing. Curiousabout your take on ABM and the amount of tention that it is receivingright now. You see companies like terminus and they're actively waken the fly forABM, and Chris Walker will talk about the value of ABM. Are welooking at a matter of Marketing Focus and a marketing efficiencies? Because as marketerswe can spread our efforts all over the place and as markers we love todo that because it's a lot more fun to be using different channels. Butwhat is the focus on a BM mean...

...to you've given that so many BBSas companies are trying to implement it. And, as important, what aresome of the keys success when you haven't actually done ABM before? Yeah,I think it's yeah, and I definitely think it's, you know, beingable to figure out, okay, we're working on the the subset of accountso it's more of a targeted approach which honestly, should help with spend becauseif you think about if you're going back to that like spray and pray mentalityof like everything else that's out there, you just spending money across channels andlevers and all these things. But they may work, they may not,they may not even be your ICP accounts, unless you've really identified what those are, but it's like okay, you've come up to for us it's fiftyaccounts on the net new seven and fifty accounts on the expansion side. Andso out of those fifty accounts on the net new side, for example,we are very strategically and personalize the one to one experience for each of them. So it's a very targeted we know the path that we want that totake them down. There's content specific to that. There's a specific kind ofeven with gifting, like how we play across in that journey it. Ultimatelyit's going to lead to a higher conversion versus just sending it out to youknow, alicecom, because if you send them to a website and it's justlike okay, they may or may not convert. They may raise their handand kind of requested demo. But if you're personalizing that experience for the personand not just the persona it hopefully works a little bit better. And thenthe second piece of your question is the biggest thing, I think, isthe list. Nailing the list is like fifty percent of the job because it'slike you can't market, you can't say okay, we're going to go afterthese these accounts. Sales are going to say, Hey, you know notthose, those might not be great accounts. You have to develop the list togetherand you have to develop the KPIS and metrics together to make sure thatit's accepted, it's a successful program and if it's just like marketing doing theirthings, sales doing their thing, it's still very siload. It's not goingto be it's not going to be that successful and you have to really rallythe entire company around in ABM strategy and it more becomes not even just aPM, but it's like account based everything, or account bays. Your abx isas another hot term that a lot of people are using right now,and it's like okay, you've got sales and marketing. You really just bringit in like the customer success side. That's what we're doing to it's just, Um, the US was the the biggest piece. So a couple wayswe can go here. One follow up a little bit on the list.And so are you talking specifically about a list of customers? And once youhave that list, how much deeper do you need to go to determine?Okay, these are the influencers. These are the decision makers. To haveto be precise so that you've got not only personas but you know exactly whoyou want to talk to. Yeah, absolutely. So it's like we breakit out into a few different pieces when we're starting to determine. Our repsonly cover named accounts. So each trip has about ninety named accounts. Wedon't cover a territories currently, and so within those ninety named accounts per rep, there is four things that we look at when picking a like Tier Oneabm account and so the first thing is accounts with the biggest potential for growthto complement kind of our line expand strategy. It's just like what our product isand so like, once we can get into say, marketing, ithelps us kind of break out into other functions within a company. The secondpieces accounts that are already identified on our named accountless. So basically the salesteam actually develops that named accountless we then together develop this abm piece. Thethe third pieces, you know, best fit accounts that are based on ourability to service them and make them successful present day. We don't want wedon't want to set accounts up for failure. That we know are going to endup churning because we can't do something for them. We want to makesure that they're successful, like, say, we signed today and we're launching themon Monday, like we want to make sure that by Monday we ahundred percent are able to make them successful.

And then the last piece, andI think this is a big one for us, and I think justABM in general, is accounts to add credibility to our brand and the enterprisespace. And so when you see, you know, adobe in other largeaccounts like that that are customers it, you know, like similar companies thatare in the same space or same size as them, we'll see that.I'm like, Oh, Huh, okay, if they're using it, maybe Ishould check them out too, and just kind of like mix our joba little bit easier. And as to the credibility piece, where we canthen still personalize and experience for them, but it just kind of adds thatextra layer. You mentioned something earlier about marketing and sales working together and notoperating in silos, and podcast that it did recently with John Matique, andthat was something that we explored a lot because what happens in a lot oforganizations is sales is doing its thing, marketing is doing its thing and inmany cases customer success is doing in it's thing, and there's no coordination,there's no sense of we're moving in lock, stop to block, step together,so that we have a plan of attack and we're all coordinated. Whatrule the field, marketing play and making sure that all those pieces come togetherso that you work as a team as opposed to sort of individual players,if we're going to go with the baseball or sports and hellogy. Yeah,I mean I think, honestly, I think you're that middle person between everything. It's like it's a two street. So you've got the field, whichis really the sales team, and so you're kind of that person that ishearing things from the field relaying it back to HQ. From HQ, you're, you know, the marketing team, you're passing stuff to the sales team. So you're that like middle person within the two way street that's delivering informationand also relaying information, and so it's like you want to be able tonot be another corporate marketer that's jamming stuff down people's throughout, specially the salesteam or, you know, customer success team. Everyone's busy, they're tryingto close deals. Like how can you be looked at as a like assetversus just another marker? That's, you know, trying to get me todo too many things and not make me hit my number at the end ofthe day. And so that's where I feel like that's where a film marketingreally shines, like being able to be that that leverage piece and build thoserelationships. Like I started off in sales before I went to marketing, butI always walk a pretty fine line between sales and marketing, where I don'twant to be looked at as like a corporate marketer, but I also don'twant to be looked at as a salesperson. I kind of balance that line andI build these relationships where they trust me because I can deliver value,but then when I need something from them, they know that they'll be able togive it to me without issue. Sounds Great. You spend a lotof time on link talking about content and the value of content, which Ifind obviously is a content driver marketer. I find that interesting and relevant.I do want to get your take on the role of content within the ABMprocess because obviously, if you're developed in personalized campaigns and you're being very focusedon specific people with specific interest then how do you make sure that your contentis relevant, is on point and is developed an offered at the at theright time in the right place? What kind of strategic approach do you takeand how do you make sure that you can tactically execute in a very flexibleand agile way? Yes, I think it's understanding where they are in likethe the buyers life cycle, in developing or developing or, if you havethe content already, like figure out where to deliver it within that life cycle. Because if they're, you know, top of funnel, where they're juststarting to understand, or say they're going down that the gifting path, it'slike, okay, you know there's some companies out there starting to explore it, but right now we just kind of send gift cards to people. Okay, want to kind of do one piece of content down there, and that'smore of like the one too one, too many, one too few approach, where it's going to be delivering content where they are. When you getto the one toone and developing specific content, force kind of your tear one accounts. It kind of brings it up...

...and notch and I can tell youright now we're not currently doing this just because we don't have the bandwidth.It's on the list to get to. But you could also purchase software thatcould help with this, and it's like developing the content that one speaks toyour prospects but also has like their name all over, so it they thinkit's a personalized piece of content or infographic or whatever it is for of them, it just kind of usually does a better job. You want to beable to I mean you could use like a uber flip or a path factoryto kind of curate content where they are too. I've used, you know, a couple of those in the past and it's worked out really well.They just kind of tell that story and take them to the next piece andjust kind of keep on going down. It's just important to figure out,one, do you have enough content, the content that you do have,is it relevant for your prospects? And then it's like how can you takeyour existing content and maybe personalize it to it as specific a car? Iwant to talk a little bit about Linkedin. I mean, a lot of peoplehave been on Linkedin for a long time, but I would I wouldargue that most of us have really used it in a different way for thelast fourteen, fifteen months. And to talk about your linkedin experience because,as you probably mention another podcast, you're one of the few field marketers thatis active on Linkedin, or at least who declares that Earth there are fieldmarketer. How have you used linkedin over the past year or so and howhas it evolved? Like really curious about the journey that a lot of peopleare on, because, as much as people say everybody's on Linkedin and we'reall using it the same way, we're not. I mean a very smallpercentage of people are actually using it to drive content, and I'm curious aboutyour experience and how that is changed over time. Yeah, it's you know, when I first started out, like I just wanted to get people tounderstand what field marketing was and like that it wasn't just events and how importantas a pillar it was to any be to be company. And it workedreally well because, again, like, there was no one talking about there'sstill no one talking to think it just I don't know, that blows mymind that there's millions and millions of people on Linkedin and there's thousands and thousandsof film markers, because I can tell you every betb company has field markers. Maybe it's only one, maybe it's you know, you get into someof these larger companies, you've got, you know, Fifteen, twenty fieldmarketers at a certain company and it's like no one, no one talks aboutit. And I'm connected to a lot of fail marketers and, you know, all they do is post, you know, events that they're doing,a webinars that they're doing and like they don't add any additional insights to iton a regular basis. And I was just like, okay, this,this is like a niche path that like I could go down and I couldbuild an audience that like create a community of look minded people, because therewasn't anything where I could learn from others or I could bounce questions off ofpeople. And since then we've been able to create a slack group for fieldmarketers and event people and there's over a thousand people that are in there andwe I host a monthly field marking meet up with over, you know,three hundred people. We're actually doing one this afternoon with Chris Walker. He'scoming to talk about field marketing, ABM. Where's he see events going post covidso it's going to be really exciting and like for me, I actuallyposted about this today, but it's a side hustle for me, like Idon't gain anything financially from it, but I don't monetize anything, although peoplewill tell me I should. I just give it away for free. Andit's starting to get to the point where I have a lot of people thatwill say, Hey, can I pick your brain or, you know,would you be open to mentoring me? And just like a bunch of differentthings that, like I've always just said yes, and it was fine whenit was one to two people, but when that one, the two becomes, you know, seven to ten per week, like and I have aregular job that I'm trying to do. I have a three year old daughter, so like I'm you know, I'm trying to balance that. It's it'stough and like I've just had to start to say no and like have peopleunderstand that I'm not going to be able to please everyone, but for mymental health it's okay to say no.

And, like, who knows,five years from now, maybe I go down the consulting path and you knowI consult fulfield marketing teams all over the world. I've thought about it andI've had the piece of marketing seamos come to be saying hey, you know, would you be interested in like doing some like consulting for my team tohelp them, and I'm just like, honestly, I don't have the bandwith right now. It sounds really fun, but I just can't do it.It's like posting on Linkedin every single day for over a year now haslike opened a lot of those doors for me that I probably wouldn't have before. In the end, goal for me is whatever people talk about field marketing, I want them to associate my name with it and whether that's good orbad, just so hey, this is the guy that post on Linkedin,like I love your stuff. You know, people talk about Abim. There's alot of people to talk about Abim on Linkedin, so it's it's alittle less niche. There's a lot of people to talk about events, butthere's no one that talks about field marketing. So I am forming that kind ofcommunity and then growing it over time. One of the things that I findinteresting about Linkedin, specially as marketers is everything's about attribution. We wantto measure everything, we want to quantify everything, and when it comes tolinked I think one of the interesting things that I found over the last yearis that there's a lot of benefits that you just can't quantify. There's opportunitiesthat come up, there's podcast interviews that you that you get, there's allkinds of different ways of people want to work with you. That helps youpersonally and professionally. You joined Alice three months ago. What role did linkedinhave in terms of that relationship? Because it sounds like you knew the peoplebefore, but it certainly must have helped that you had this stature and thatyour brand profile was a lot higher than it was before. Yeah, yeah, it's funny. I was like, I always joker. I'm like,did you guys just hire me because of my network? And then I gotyou know who knows? Probably deep down that that's definitely part of it,but it's like it's interesting because in the three months that I've been here I'vebeen able to get three people hired through my network for open rules. I'vebeen able to pass about thirty sales opportunities over to the sales team it's funnybecause one of the sales as sent you a slack. Yes, he's likeyou produce more opportunities as a marketer than the entire BDR team which was inthe do they do it? They do a really great job. He's like, for him personally, he's like, you know you, you provide aton for me and it's great. You know it. Marketers, especially filmmarkers, and that's who we sell to. Like they would much rather hair fromanother field market versus a salesperson. Like I feel like being in theMARTECH space is probably the perfect path for me because, like, outside ofthat, if I was in engineering, developing developers or whatever, selling tothem, my network would be useless and I wouldn't I could probably do agreat job at the actual job itself, but delivering the network piece of theinbound that, you know, the amount of marketers that come to me inbalance a hey, you know, we use X Y Z, which isa competitor of your it's like, I'd be open to hearing about you.Awesome. That wouldn't have happened if, like, they didn't start to associatemy name with like working here, and it's just it pops up so it'sa really great spot to be. One final question. Interesting Book that you'veread recently or podcast that you love? ANYTHING COME TO MIND? Yeah,I mean I'm definitely really big into Chris Walker's podcast. I feel like anyeverything that like he do, I listen I don't listen to I don't reallyread many books, although I did read Latin, he's from six senses,her book recently, like the no form, no whatever. It was really good. I don't read a ton of books, but I do listen toa lot of podcasts and Chris Walkers is one that I listened to probably everysingle week in just I always pull a lot of things out of it.As a field marker, he talks a lot about, you know, attribution. He goes out, he goes down a lot of different pathsies not afraidto tell it like it is or go against the grain and whereas like alot of people will just like, you know, regurgitate information that's already outthere, and so like that, I...

...always walk away with some piece ofknowledgeable information. Great to have you on the podcast and explain to me andother people what I feel murder does. I feel like I've been educated,got field marketing one on one today, which is really great. Appreciate that. Thanks for having me. Was a blast. One final question. Wherecan people learn more about you and Alice? Yeah, definitely find me on Linkedin. It's where I spend most of my time. Nick Bennett, althoughI found out there is a few other Nick Benetts in B tob so findthe one that works at Alice. And if you want to learn more aboutAlice, go to alicecom or ship shoot me a note. I'm happy todenload the product myself. Well, thanks for listening to another episode of marketingspark. If you enjoyed the conversation, leave a review and subscribe by Itunes, spotify or your favorite podcast APP. You'd like to learn more about howI helped me to be SASS companies as a fractional CMO, strategic advisor andcoach, send an email to mark the marketing sparkcom. I'll talk to younext time.

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