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 to marketing spark. Ask People about field marketing and you may get a variety of answers and perspectives. It's not as high profile as growth hacker, content marketer or social media media specialist, but field marketing plays an important role in bridging the 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 to marketing spark. Hey, thanks having mark. Super excited to be are obvious. First question. What is field marketing? Does it have a low profile or does it operate under the radar? Because, to be honest, until I ran into you, I didn't even know there was something such as field marketing. I think honestly, I think it varies company to company, especially like the Bob World, and so like my definition of field marketing is that you're the person that's quarterbacking all of the programs on the marketing side to drive pipeline 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 been trying to solve in kind of debunk that that myth, that it's only events and it's really you want to be looked at as as another tool in the arsenal 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 the daytoday world like for a field market or what do you do? How do you work with sales and marketing? What do you responsible for? How can your success be measured? Yeah, so I think, honestly, one of the 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. So I have been putting together account specific landing pages. So like leveraging that one to one personalization. I've also been jumping on sales calls. We're being in the MARTECH space. The sales team leverage is me to hop on calls with them a lot to just talk about how we use it ourselves. So I've been spending a lot of my time on sales calls listening to gone call seeing what our customers and prospects of talking about so that I can make sure that the messaging that we're leveraging on, say these landing pages or the events that we'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's I've never met a field marketed where, Monday through Friday, they're doing the same exact thing every single day. So how is that different that a marketing coordinator or the VP marketing? Because obstensively, a marketing leader should be working with sales, should be looking at landing pages, overseeing content. But it sounds like a field marketers almost like a jack of all trades, where their their job is to actually get their fingers and a lot of different pies under the auspicus of the head of marketing. Is that? Is that accurate? Yeah, yeah, I think that's definitely a good representation of it. It's like you want to be a full stack marketer. It's like you got to you got to understand events. You got to understand the digital piece, you got to understand content, creative like how does it all come together? But you're the one that is, I guess, pulling those levers in determining with the sales team where we need to go and then leveraging the other pieces of marketing. So what's the power dynamic? Maybe that's the wrong term, between a field marketer in the head of marketing, because if you're the one who is active on a number of different fronts and helping the sales team make better decisions connect with prospects better, how does...

...that align with what the head of marketing is supposed to be doing and their responsibilities? Yeah, I think it comes back to their goal should be more strategic of like, okay, this is 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. Like there 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 you have a passion for baseball and sounds like you're a pretty good pitcher. Are Field marketers five tool players, given that they're involved in brand building, customer building, Lee Generation Marketing? Is that? Is that an accurate depiction of someone who's a field marketer, because they they're good at a lot of different things. Yeah, I mean, honestly, I think some of that that that that's a great example, because I've never even thought of that, but I think so. It's like you have to be able to understand everything and like I've never worked in other functions within marketing. I've always I started off in sales, went straight to field markets, like I've never done product marketing or like content or anything, but I still have to understand how all those pieces work can tell that story so that the prospects and customers at the end of the day, are driving pipeline it ultimately revenue. I guess one of the ways to look at is that field marketing could be like the perfect pathway to be the head of marketing, because as the head of marketing, not only do you have to operate strategically, but you really have to have understanding of how the different pillars work and how they come together. So when you're a field marketer. You're really getting your hands dirty in a lot of different places and that stritch me as awesome experience. If you want to become a marketing leader and you really want to drive strategy, because you've been there, done that. Yeah, exactly. And so it's funny because they mention that because, like a lot of people will say, okay, you know what's your long term gold you want to become the cmode, you want to become like a VP of marketing, because it's like you. You understand all of those pieces and I feel like it's an easier path. And I mean ultimately you could go from like failed marketing to a head of demand Jen to ultimately leading a marketing organization. At least that's the path that I know a lot of people have taken. There's a lot of talk these days, growing now amount of talk about ABM, because I think as it becomes increasingly difficult to connect with prospects, the idea of account base marketing has a lot of appeal because you can focus your efforts on a small group of customers. I'm interested in getting your take on the relationship between field marketing and ABM. Are you is it just another marketing activity that you're involved in, or is it a different 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 if you think about it, like field markets. I guess this more pre covid but like they were always in the field. They would be responsible for specific territory, save the east coast, and so like within the East Coast they are responsible for driving pipeline for target accounts with the sales team. That's really all ABM is. They're just doing it on like a smaller scale versus like a national or global scale. But yeah, I mean I think it's definitely the same thing. And it's funny because a lot of people be like why is your titles say account based and field marketing? Personally, it's more of the feel and more of the the ABM side of it. But I just I've been in film marketing for so long that I didn't want to lose that as part of my title. So it's like important that I had it for the community that I've built. But honestly, it's the same exact thing. Curious about your take on ABM and the amount of tention that it is receiving right now. You see companies like terminus and they're actively waken the fly for ABM, and Chris Walker will talk about the value of ABM. Are we looking at a matter of Marketing Focus and a marketing efficiencies? Because as marketers we can spread our efforts all over the place and as markers we love to do that because it's a lot more fun to be using different channels. But what is the focus on a BM mean...

...to you've given that so many BBS as companies are trying to implement it. And, as important, what are some 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, being able to figure out, okay, we're working on the the subset of account so it's more of a targeted approach which honestly, should help with spend because if you think about if you're going back to that like spray and pray mentality of like everything else that's out there, you just spending money across channels and levers 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 fifty accounts on the net new seven and fifty accounts on the expansion side. And so 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 to take them down. There's content specific to that. There's a specific kind of even with gifting, like how we play across in that journey it. Ultimately it's going to lead to a higher conversion versus just sending it out to you know, alicecom, because if you send them to a website and it's just like okay, they may or may not convert. They may raise their hand and kind of requested demo. But if you're personalizing that experience for the person and not just the persona it hopefully works a little bit better. And then the second piece of your question is the biggest thing, I think, is the list. Nailing the list is like fifty percent of the job because it's like you can't market, you can't say okay, we're going to go after these these accounts. Sales are going to say, Hey, you know not those, those might not be great accounts. You have to develop the list together and you have to develop the KPIS and metrics together to make sure that it's accepted, it's a successful program and if it's just like marketing doing their things, sales doing their thing, it's still very siload. It's not going to be it's not going to be that successful and you have to really rally the entire company around in ABM strategy and it more becomes not even just a PM, but it's like account based everything, or account bays. Your abx is as 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 bring it 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 ways we 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 you have that list, how much deeper do you need to go to determine? Okay, these are the influencers. These are the decision makers. To have to be precise so that you've got not only personas but you know exactly who you want to talk to. Yeah, absolutely. So it's like we break it out into a few different pieces when we're starting to determine. Our reps only cover named accounts. So each trip has about ninety named accounts. We don'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 One abm account and so the first thing is accounts with the biggest potential for growth to complement kind of our line expand strategy. It's just like what our product is and so like, once we can get into say, marketing, it helps us kind of break out into other functions within a company. The second pieces accounts that are already identified on our named accountless. So basically the sales team actually develops that named accountless we then together develop this abm piece. The the third pieces, you know, best fit accounts that are based on our ability to service them and make them successful present day. We don't want we don't want to set accounts up for failure. That we know are going to end up churning because we can't do something for them. We want to make sure that they're successful, like, say, we signed today and we're launching them on Monday, like we want to make sure that by Monday we a hundred percent are able to make them successful.

And then the last piece, and I think this is a big one for us, and I think just ABM in general, is accounts to add credibility to our brand and the enterprise space. And so when you see, you know, adobe in other large accounts like that that are customers it, you know, like similar companies that are 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 I should check them out too, and just kind of like mix our job a little bit easier. And as to the credibility piece, where we can then still personalize and experience for them, but it just kind of adds that extra layer. You mentioned something earlier about marketing and sales working together and not operating in silos, and podcast that it did recently with John Matique, and that was something that we explored a lot because what happens in a lot of organizations is sales is doing its thing, marketing is doing its thing and in many 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. What rule the field, marketing play and making sure that all those pieces come together so 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, which is really the sales team, and so you're kind of that person that is hearing 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 information and also relaying information, and so it's like you want to be able to not be another corporate marketer that's jamming stuff down people's throughout, specially the sales team or, you know, customer success team. Everyone's busy, they're trying to close deals. Like how can you be looked at as a like asset versus just another marker? That's, you know, trying to get me to do too many things and not make me hit my number at the end of the day. And so that's where I feel like that's where a film marketing really shines, like being able to be that that leverage piece and build those relationships. Like I started off in sales before I went to marketing, but I always walk a pretty fine line between sales and marketing, where I don't want to be looked at as like a corporate marketer, but I also don't want to be looked at as a salesperson. I kind of balance that line and I 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 to give it to me without issue. Sounds Great. You spend a lot of time on link talking about content and the value of content, which I find 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 ABM process because obviously, if you're developed in personalized campaigns and you're being very focused on specific people with specific interest then how do you make sure that your content is relevant, is on point and is developed an offered at the at the right time in the right place? What kind of strategic approach do you take and how do you make sure that you can tactically execute in a very flexible and agile way? Yes, I think it's understanding where they are in like the the buyers life cycle, in developing or developing or, if you have the 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 just starting to understand, or say they're going down that the gifting path, it's like, 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's more 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 get to 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 you right 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 that could help with this, and it's like developing the content that one speaks to your prospects but also has like their name all over, so it they think it'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 be able to I mean you could use like a uber flip or a path factory to 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 and just 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 take your existing content and maybe personalize it to it as specific a car? I want to talk a little bit about Linkedin. I mean, a lot of people have been on Linkedin for a long time, but I would I would argue that most of us have really used it in a different way for the last 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 that is active on Linkedin, or at least who declares that Earth there are field marketer. How have you used linkedin over the past year or so and how has it evolved? Like really curious about the journey that a lot of people are on, because, as much as people say everybody's on Linkedin and we're all using it the same way, we're not. I mean a very small percentage of people are actually using it to drive content, and I'm curious about your 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 to understand what field marketing was and like that it wasn't just events and how important as a pillar it was to any be to be company. And it worked really well because, again, like, there was no one talking about there's still no one talking to think it just I don't know, that blows my mind that there's millions and millions of people on Linkedin and there's thousands and thousands of 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 some of these larger companies, you've got, you know, Fifteen, twenty field marketers at a certain company and it's like no one, no one talks about it. 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 it on a regular basis. And I was just like, okay, this, this is like a niche path that like I could go down and I could build an audience that like create a community of look minded people, because there wasn't anything where I could learn from others or I could bounce questions off of people. And since then we've been able to create a slack group for field marketers and event people and there's over a thousand people that are in there and we 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's coming to talk about field marketing, ABM. Where's he see events going post covid so it's going to be really exciting and like for me, I actually posted about this today, but it's a side hustle for me, like I don't gain anything financially from it, but I don't monetize anything, although people will tell me I should. I just give it away for free. And it's starting to get to the point where I have a lot of people that will say, Hey, can I pick your brain or, you know, would you be open to mentoring me? And just like a bunch of different things that, like I've always just said yes, and it was fine when it was one to two people, but when that one, the two becomes, you know, seven to ten per week, like and I have a regular 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's tough and like I've just had to start to say no and like have people understand that I'm not going to be able to please everyone, but for my mental health it's okay to say no.

And, like, who knows, five years from now, maybe I go down the consulting path and you know I consult fulfield marketing teams all over the world. I've thought about it and I'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 to help them, and I'm just like, honestly, I don't have the band with 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 has like 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 or bad, just so hey, this is the guy that post on Linkedin, like I love your stuff. You know, people talk about Abim. There's a lot of people to talk about Abim on Linkedin, so it's it's a little less niche. There's a lot of people to talk about events, but there's no one that talks about field marketing. So I am forming that kind of community and then growing it over time. One of the things that I find interesting about Linkedin, specially as marketers is everything's about attribution. We want to measure everything, we want to quantify everything, and when it comes to linked I think one of the interesting things that I found over the last year is that there's a lot of benefits that you just can't quantify. There's opportunities that come up, there's podcast interviews that you that you get, there's all kinds of different ways of people want to work with you. That helps you personally and professionally. You joined Alice three months ago. What role did linkedin have in terms of that relationship? Because it sounds like you knew the people before, but it certainly must have helped that you had this stature and that your 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 got you 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've been able to get three people hired through my network for open rules. I've been able to pass about thirty sales opportunities over to the sales team it's funny because one of the sales as sent you a slack. Yes, he's like you produce more opportunities as a marketer than the entire BDR team which was in the do they do it? They do a really great job. He's like, for him personally, he's like, you know you, you provide a ton for me and it's great. You know it. Marketers, especially film markers, and that's who we sell to. Like they would much rather hair from another field market versus a salesperson. Like I feel like being in the MARTECH space is probably the perfect path for me because, like, outside of that, if I was in engineering, developing developers or whatever, selling to them, my network would be useless and I wouldn't I could probably do a great job at the actual job itself, but delivering the network piece of the inbound that, you know, the amount of marketers that come to me in balance a hey, you know, we use X Y Z, which is a 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 associate my name with like working here, and it's just it pops up so it's a really great spot to be. One final question. Interesting Book that you've read 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 any everything that like he do, I listen I don't listen to I don't really read 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 to a lot of podcasts and Chris Walkers is one that I listened to probably every single 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 afraid to tell it like it is or go against the grain and whereas like a lot of people will just like, you know, regurgitate information that's already out there, and so like that, I...

...always walk away with some piece of knowledgeable information. Great to have you on the podcast and explain to me and other 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. Where can people learn more about you and Alice? Yeah, definitely find me on Linkedin. It's where I spend most of my time. Nick Bennett, although I found out there is a few other Nick Benetts in B tob so find the one that works at Alice. And if you want to learn more about Alice, go to alicecom or ship shoot me a note. I'm happy to denload the product myself. Well, thanks for listening to another episode of marketing spark. 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 how I helped me to be SASS companies as a fractional CMO, strategic advisor and coach, send an email to mark the marketing sparkcom. I'll talk to you next time.

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