How could sales and marketing collaborate more effectively for growth?

Sales and Marketing have thier differences, but both benefit from cooperation....

4 Feb 2021 428 Views

 

 

Sales and Marketing have their differences, but both benefit from cooperation.

Sales and marketing can sometimes feel like sales vs. marketing. In a recent episode of the podcast, “sAles with ASLAN,” Scott CassidyKevin McCaughey, and I discuss the important interplay between the two functions for balanced growth.

Here is a transcript of the audio.

Scott Cassidy:

Welcome back to another episode of sALES with ASLAN, your weekly therapy session for those who sell for a living and those who help those who sell for a living.

I’m going to introduce a little bit different kind of idea this week. We’re going to talk sales and marketing integration because we are teammates in this thing too. Selling is a team sport and I’m bringing in some marketing experts to help us talk about that whole process. I have with me Sean Duffy and Kevin McCaughey from the Duffy Agency. Did I get that name right, guys?

Sean Duffy:

Absolutely.

Scott Cassidy:

All right. Well, today, as I said, we’re going to talk a lot about sales and marketing integration. We’ve got three major ideas to run by you folks. But first, since this show is called sALES with ASLAN, we have to start with a beer. I’m going to look at you first. What do you have that’s cold frosty and refreshing in that hand of yours?

Sean Duffy:

I have a beer called Doc Duffy’s Miracle Health Elixir, and under that it says, “Control alt delete beer,” tagline, “Because 2020 sucked, it’s time to reset life.” So, yeah. Big promises. I don’t know.

Scott Cassidy:

That’s big promises. I liked that. I liked that. When you crack that open and tell us how that tastes. All right, Kevin, what are you working on over there?

Kevin McCaughey:

All right. I’ve got a Paulaner HefeWeizen. It’s a Munich wheat beer, and I picked that one out because I loved the days when I was working in Munich. It doesn’t have a catchy tagline like Mr. Duffy’s there, but it’s a big bottle.

Scott Cassidy:

That should get you through the next 30 minutes. Okay, then. Excellent. What’s the alcohol by volume on either of those?

Sean Duffy:

I’ve got 6.2%.

Scott Cassidy:

Okay. Wow. That’s that’s getting up there. How about you, Kevin?

Kevin McCaughey:

Five and a half.

Scott Cassidy:

All right. I’m going to go with something a little lighter than the two of you. I have a Grayton beer company, 30A Beach Blonde Ale. The tagline is, “Beach blondes have more fun.” So there’s that. We’ve got a 4.6% and the IBUs on this bad boy are 13. Kevin, I think you said yours was 16?

Kevin McCaughey:

Yeah.

Scott Cassidy:

So we have some listeners out there that are really getting into the IBUs. So I’m going to crack this and let them know what this Beach Blonde tastes like. Let’s see. Oh, that’s tasty. Little fruity. Tasting a little accent of sorts. That’s pretty good. Well, guys, welcome to sALES with ASLAN. First time for both of you on the show, although longtime listeners, I hear, so that’s awesome.

Let’s talk a little bit about sales and marketing and the importance of that integration. We always talk about sales as a team sport. The team of sales leader and sales manager is a team. Sales rep and SE, system engineer, is a team. What about this idea of marketing and sales being a team? Let’s talk a little bit about that because I know, Sean, you’ve written a book it’s an international best seller. Did I get ahead of us a little bit?

Sean Duffy:

Well, released this week. So maybe not today.

Scott Cassidy:

But on it’s way to being. Yeah. But tell us about the book and tell us a little bit about your ideas from a marketing and sales perspective upfront.

Sean Duffy:

Well, the book, International Brand Strategy,  is really aiming towards helping people who want to develop strong brand equity anywhere. That’s a marketing technique, but the idea is for sales growth. The two can’t be divorced and this book makes, I think, a compelling case on why it’s possible and how they can be integrated together, sales and marketing. And it has a focus on international. Duffy Agency has been working on international branding  for many years. So this is particularly poignant for companies that are selling in more than one country.

Scott Cassidy:

Excellent. Please, Kevin.

Kevin McCaughey:

Scott, I want to jump in. So Sean mentioned for those who want to develop brand equity and the question might be for a sales audience, why would that matter?

Scott Cassidy:

Right.

Kevin McCaughey:

And it matters very much, because the way we see the world when the marketing function is really working well for sales in an organization, then sales and brand are working equally hard to attract customers, to create receptivity, and that translates into more margin. We’ll get into more of that, I’m sure. But just real briefly, I think there’s a real strong connection there.

Scott Cassidy:

Yeah. I don’t know how a sales rep could disagree that the brand that is associated with the company that they sell for is important. If you’re selling for a brand, that’s got a negative impression, that just makes your job very, very difficult. If you’re selling for a brand that’s a top brand in the world, conversely, that makes your job much easier. I think, Kevin, I told you this story, and, Sean, I may have told you.

I worked for a top 3 brand in the world back in the early ’90s when I sold for Kodak, and I was very proud to be a part of that. I’m not as proud now because I don’t even know what Kodak is anymore. But when I was there, Mercedes, Coke, Kodak, those were three brands anybody anywhere in the world could know. And so it was super easy for me to get appointments when I said I’m with Eastman Kodak. Not easy, but it was easier probably than working for Konica or Minolta or some of the other ones that were lower down on the copier food chain.

And so, I’d like to get your impression. Do you see that with other clients that you deal with, do you see brand being as important as I once recognized that when I was at Kodak?

Sean Duffy:

Yeah, I think so. I’m assuming, were you on the B2B side of Kodak?

Scott Cassidy:

Yes, absolutely.

Sean Duffy:

Yeah. I think a big misnomer is that brand only matters if you’re a Coca-Cola or selling to consumers. It’s just as strong with B2B, and there’s a lot of evidence for this. Another great example is Honeywell. Honeywell rarely sells to consumers, yet since its inception, they have really focused on building their brand. And the value of that was obvious when they got bought by Allied Signal who was twice their size. Allied retired their brand and called themselves Honeywell from there on in, because they recognize the greater brand equity.

Scott Cassidy:

Yeah.

Kevin McCaughey:

Yeah. When you’re talking B2B, this connection, the importance of brand is I think ever greater when you consider that in a lot of complex B2B sales, these days, the decision maker is a committee, and now you’ve got lots of decision makers that need to get comfortable with who you are. One way they can do that is through a strong brand.

Scott Cassidy:

That’s a great point. It is a very good point. I love that illustration, Sean, you told, because I’ve heard of many companies that when they acquire a super brand and then try to change that brand to fit the parent company, they’ve struggled mightily. I know of a couple right off the top of my head. I shouldn’t name them, but that’s a dangerous thing. It’s dangerous for the company, but it’s dangerous for the sales reps. You’ve been selling a world-class brand and then a company comes in over the top and wants to change the brand and you lose all that equity. Right?

Sean Duffy:

Absolutely. Especially if your brand is known for certain things. Let’s say, an easy example, Rolls Royce, and then Rolls Royce buys VW, and now you’re trying to sell a VW Bug under the Rolls Royce brand. It’s not going to work. And I think that’s where it’s really important when brands are acquired, or merged especially, that great care is taken. Sometimes it’s better just to leave the brand separate if they’re not compatible because it gets impossible to sell them. Especially if each brand has succeeed at creating a certain brand image with buyers over the years.

Scott Cassidy:

So let’s do this. Let’s get into the academic side of the brand. Just a few minutes for the reps, because I know in your book, you’ve got a pretty good diagram that explains how this all works together. Can you take us through that?

Sean Duffy:

Yeah. I’ll let Kevin walk through the details. I can just let you know that the first model we use is basically the three functions we believe marketing should be doing. And I think a lot of the disconnect between sales and marketing folks is when salespeople, or the marketing department itself, might only be doing one of these three functions or failing at one of the functions. We see marketing as having three core functions, and I’ll let Kevin explain.

Scott Cassidy:

Sure.

Kevin McCaughey:

Sure. Thanks, Sean. So if you think of a Venn diagram where you’ve got three circles that are overlapping, one of those circles is sales. And what is marketing’s role when it comes to sales, it is about helping sales increase the probability of making sales today, or this month, or this quarter. On the other hand, another circle you’ve got is a brand equity. And so what’s the role that brand equity should be playing when it comes to sales and the performance of the company? And that is brand equity is increasing the probability of future sales.

So like we were talking before about that strong brand that’s out in the market, working and being active, and people are paying attention. People are seeing it. People are considering it. So there’s that sense that the brand is working to draw customers to you next quarter or next year. And the other key component then is margin. There’s a sense in the marketing and branding world that if you’re not a brand, you’re a commodity. I don’t think any salesperson wants to compete at the level of a commodity. And so that’s the other thing that brand is really doing for any business; it’s elevating them into the upper level of the marketplace, where the margins are richer, the air is thinner, and the competition is far and few between.

Scott Cassidy:

Yeah. That’s really good. And for those that are on their treadmills or walking right now, we’ve got to figure out a way to get you a look at this Venn diagram, because it’s crystal clear now that I’m looking at it, and hopefully the word pictures that Kevin used made that clear. But the bottom line is these things have to be managed in relation to each other, and sales and marketing play a key role in all of this. Brand supports sales. It all supports top-line growth and margin.

Anything else on the academics of this before we move into some of the other topics we want to cover today?

Kevin McCaughey:

Just the point that you made, I’ll reinforce it, that these things have to be managed in relation to each other. They’re not independent operations. They go hand in hand, the sales effort, branding, and marketing efforts. That’s what really drives the performance and the margin for salespeople and the company overall.

Scott Cassidy:

Which is super important. And so now, another thing, as we were talking about this podcast, we talked about how important this concept of- sALES and ASLAN listeners will know this concept of receptivity. Because we talk about it all the time. You cannot persuade someone with logic when they’re closed, and so you really need to focus on them from a receptivity standpoint. It’s like that seed and soil analogy we use all the time. If you throw the best seed in the world on baked Georgia clay, it’s not going to grow very easily. But if you till that soil and have a very receptive soil, your message, this seed, is much more likely to grow and germinate.

Scott Cassidy:

And so, it’s crystal clear to me that marketing and brand play an important role in opening the receptivity of a prospect. And this is where the two have to really work together. But let’s talk a little bit about how the brand can soften that soil and get that audience more receptive. What are your thoughts on that?

Sean Duffy:

Well, the process that we go through in branding is very similar to what a sales person would do one-on-one.

First you have to know who you’re talking to and identify them. And that way you can have some degree of empathy with them, if nothing else, and know what their topics are.

Then you have to get in front of them. You have to get their awareness.

After that, they have to understand what it is you’re there to sell. For some products that’s really easy. For other products, less so. ‘

But even after they understand what you sell, well, typically these days there’s five other versions of what you sell. So “Why should I pick yours as opposed to the guy who was here yesterday in your place?”

And even if you get through that with a good value proposition, you’re then down to, “Well, okay. But I’ve never heard of you before. Can I trust you?” And especially if it’s something where failure would result in that person losing their job, trust becomes even more important.

And lastly, of course, is then how easy is it to purchase. Let’s say, finally, okay, I do trust you. How hard is this going to be to buy? Not just the logistics of acquiring the product.

Listen to the Podcast

Scott Cassidy:

Yeah. Super points. I know we’re in a world where … Gosh. Going back, I don’t know, 2012, ’13, there was that study, I believe it was CEB that originally did it, which is now part of Gartner, but it was all about the idea that a person, a buyer of any sort, is somewhere between 53, 54, maybe even as high as 70% of the way through the buying process before a sales rep is even invited in to the conversation. And if that’s the case, brand would play a key role in softening that beachhead, is a term we’ve used before.

But making sure that people understand some of those things you just mentioned, that relevance, that awareness, that understanding, the interest in developing that trust; that’s all a part of what marketing and brand can do before that sales rep is even invited in. That’s such an important message for our group on the phone today, I think. Oh, they’re not on the phone, on the podcast.

Kevin McCaughey:

Scott. As marketers, we look at that as our contribution to the new customer acquisition process. That’s what salespeople are out there doing every day, trying to bring in new customers. And so the point that you made about the customer’s buying cycle, maybe they’re 54% of the way through it, maybe as much as 70%, according to some reports. I don’t know which is right.

But the fact is, they’re a long way into the buying process. So how do they find out about your company before they engage with the sales person? And that’s where marketing is able to work this process, which is really very aligned to their decision-making process, helping them understand it, gain interest, and trust it. And, so I think there’s real nice, one-to-one alignment there in the way sales and marketing are approaching that customer acquisition.

Scott Cassidy:

Well, when a well-oiled machine where the marketing department and the sales department are both using what we just refer to as an other-centered position in their statements, whether it’s a sales rep making the statement, or a marketing person putting together a piece of collateral, or a social post, or whatever that is, when it starts with what’s important to the customer, deliver some sort of disruptive truth, and then ends with a proprietary benefit that’s unique to your company, there’s magic that can happen, whether it’s marketing or sales. And so, I think it’s important that the audience recognize that if marketing truly is your partner in this whole thing, you guys should be talking on some level. And we haven’t really gotten into that yet, but I know you guys have opinions on marketing is a two way street. Sean, you and I talked about this. It’s a to and from. If I’m the sales guy and you’re the marketing guy, you should be taking input from me and vice versa.

Sean Duffy:

Absolutely. I think a lot of marketing departments, or most marketing departments, are judged by their output. And that is how many brochures, how many trade shows, etc. did they do this year? How many things did they make.

But a real marketing department, and the test of a good marketing department, is the quality of their input and the volume of their input as well. And a big part of that is listening to the sales team. They’re out there, face-to-face with the target, every single day. And if there’s a wall between sales and marketing, that input doesn’t flow to marketing, and marketing can easily head off in another direction that doesn’t make any sense for sales.

Scott Cassidy:

Yeah. And since we migrated over to that section, let’s expand on that a little bit, because I think I told you guys when we were talking about doing the podcast that I’d worked with a company called Impact in 2020, and I’m still working with them now. They talked about this idea of, they ask, you answer, marketing, meaning your customers have these same questions. 80% of customers have these exact same questions. And so if you answer these questions in your marketing, then your sales reps don’t have to answer them every time they meet someone for the first time.

Because if there’s that much research going on beforehand, that 54 to 70%, we estimate, then we then give them what they’re looking for in that. And so this idea of marketing teams and sales teams working together, maybe pick the top 10 questions sales reps get and build out your marketing around that. That’s a real solution to that issue, isn’t it, Kevin?

Kevin McCaughey:

Yeah. So, Scott, when I was on the corporate marketing side of the table, I used to say, “If customers don’t have a problem, then we don’t have anything to sell.” They’ve got to have a problem. There’s got to be something that you’re doing for the customer that’s either helping them solve a problem or take advantage and capture an opportunity.

And so sales and marketing, working as partners toward understanding what those problems and opportunities are that customers are trying to attend to, and then showing them how your solutions can help them attend to those problems and opportunities better, that’s when it really starts working. That’s when the magic happens. When you’re both focused in your own way, playing your own roles, sales and marketing, on those customer problems and opportunities.

Scott Cassidy:

Yeah. That’s really good. Anything else from that perspective of marketing being responsive and interactive with the sales team? Do you have any other pearls of wisdom or things that the marketing teams should be relying on sales to provide?

Sean Duffy:

Well, I think that input from there is important, but also if the marketing department is doing a lot of research into the market, they can actually feed the sales department some terrific insights, whether it’s about a competitor who’s coming up with a new product that they should start to prepare for, or there’s a certain sentiment growing among buyers that they should be aware of. And that can really give a heads up to sales as well.

Scott Cassidy:

Yeah, that’s good. So it truly is a two-way street. I think sometimes, and I ran into this in that 2012, ’13 sort of arena, where sales looked at marketing as a threat because of the 54%. They were looking at us as competitors to them. We overcame that where I was working, but truly, this is a team effort. And I think we showed with just a few examples that this can be a very, very fruitful two-way street by doing that.

Kevin, I know we’ve talked about, there’s also three levels of marketing, so why don’t we talk about that top level, bottom level, and middle level of marketing and how that contributes to this whole idea of a two-way street.

Kevin McCaughey:

Sure, absolutely. So, it’s interesting when we talk about three levels, it’s almost three different types of approaches that corporate marketing departments take to the support that they provide to a business. And so on one level, for lack of better term, I just call it the top level. This is where corporate marketing is really structured and designed to deliver a top down marketing approach through the business. So it’s very oriented on that one big message and painting everything blue or whatever the brand color happens to be.

On the bottom level, if we jump down to that layer, it’s really an approach where the marketing team is really looked at as a sales support team. They’re really not doing marketing as much as they are supporting sales with handling the brochures, handling events, things that are very tactical. There’s nothing very strategic to it.

Scott Cassidy:

managing my golf tournament or something like that, are you? That’s not …

Kevin McCaughey:

Scott, you can manage your own golf tournament.

Scott Cassidy:

No, I need a strategic marketer to do.

Kevin McCaughey:

Yeah, right. Exactly. So if you think about it, it’s like the top level is almost too strategic and the bottom level, it isn’t strategic at all.

Scott Cassidy:

It’s the wild west, isn’t it?

Kevin McCaughey:

It’s in that middle layer where the marketing department and the sales team are really functioning as partners. As Sean pointed out, marketing is providing really high quality information about what’s happening in the marketplace, what’s happening with competitors, what’s happening with changing customer needs and requirements. Marketing has a function called market research. And so, that’s something that a good marketing department, when it’s doing it really well, can make the sales team a lot smarter than the competitions’ sales team, and that’s a good thing.

And then, the other aspect is what we talked about before, where they’re working together around the complement, around the opportunities and questions, problems, rather, that customers have, where marketing is reaching out to the market on a one to many basis, to soften that ground, and sales as walking in on a one-to-one basis.

By the way earlier, Scott, you were talking about when sales might’ve been at one point in time maybe threatened by this idea of 54%.

Scott Cassidy:

Yeah.

Kevin McCaughey:

That’s something that customers did. Marketing didn’t do that. The market did that because of the internet. But there’s one role, when I think on that, that sales plays that is indispensable, that marketing can never touch, and that is the human relationship with the customer. In spite of all the digital and all the technology and all the internet customers, especially in a complex B2B sale, they’re going to want that human relationship and a person that they can trust. So it’s like marketing is giving them the company they can trust; sales is giving them the person they can trust, and it’s pretty good.

Scott Cassidy:

That’s a great point. That is a great point. Well, that’s a lot that we’ve unpacked here. I truly believe that that selling is a team sport and the more people that we can have on our team that are high performing members of the team, the better off we’re all going to be. And so, one of the takeaways for me from a conversation like this is if you don’t know who your strategic marketing person- Every company is organized differently, but if you don’t know someone in your marketing department, you probably should, as a sales rep. And certainly as a sales leader, you should be aware of who these people are, because I think we’ve shown you today, that when you talk about the brand as that overarching umbrella, that all of us benefit from, it behooves all of us to have this two way dialogue ongoing between sales and marketing.

Scott Cassidy:

And so, Sean and Kevin, I’m going to give you the last word. Tell me a little bit about the book and a little bit about where you’re headed with your organization as you seek to integrate sales and marketing around.

Sean Duffy:

I’ll tackle the book, Kevin. I’ll let you talk about the company.

Kevin McCaughey:

Sure, go.

Sean Duffy:

Basically, the book is written in two parts. The first part is  how to prepare the organization: internal issues that you should be working with when opening up a new market and preparing sales, and your marketing activities.

The second half, it really has to do a lot with providing value to the buyer. I think this is something that, although it’s written from a marketing perspective it’s a very similar process we have to work through — with the one exception that we’re talking to thousands of people, as opposed to one person at a time. And in that context, when you’re dealing with multiple markets, it can get very complicated very quickly. The second half of this book tries to provide some easy models to reduce that complexity, not ignore it, but make the complexity manageable when trying to increase value in a market for your buyers.

Scott Cassidy:

Excellent. And they can pick that up where? Amazon? Anywhere they buy books?

Sean Duffy:

Everywhere. Yeah. It’s pretty much everywhere now.

Scott Cassidy:

And it’s already a bestseller after three days. I mean, that’s amazing.

Sean Duffy:

Yeah. Go figure.

Scott Cassidy:

You must be one heck of a writer. That’s awesome. Kevin, any parting shots?

Kevin McCaughey:

Yeah. I would say that where we’re going with a company, we love what we do. And I just came over to what I call the dark side, the agency side, from the corporate marketing side of the desk. And Sean always laughs because he’s always been over on this side, but I really wanted to move to the agency side and experience life over here. And it’s a lot of fun.

It’s really fulfilling getting to work with lots of different customers that have different problems. Sometimes the problems that they’ve got have some commonality and there are great solutions we can bring. One interesting thing is that there are a lot of those companies out there that are at that bottom level of marketing and a lot of the people in that organization understand that marketing can be a lot more than it is. And so one thing that we’re doing to help those teams in particular, whether it be the leadership of the company or the leadership of the marketing department, is to really help them, through training or workshops or what have you, understand what should you be striving for to break out of that sales support mode and move into a more strategic contribution to the company. And then, we can help them do that, or let them take that from there.

So that’s one other aspect that we get a lot of pleasure and fulfillment out of, is just helping those marketing teams that are looking to change, understand what is that change, and then make that change.

Scott Cassidy:

You do realize that for all the folks out there that use those strategic marketers for their own personal assistants, we are poking a hole in that strategy. So hopefully we haven’t lost any listeners over this. They always say you can’t BS a BS-er. Like we’ve all done that, guys. So if you’ve had your own personal strategic marketer for a while, it’s time to give it back. We got to work as a team. This is a two way street.

Well, guys, this has been awesome. He’s Kevin McCaughey. He Sean Duffy. They’re from the Duffy Agency. The book is called, International Brand Strategy: A guide to achieving global brand growth, and it’s available anywhere you buy books. Go check them out. You can find them on LinkedIn. We are so happy to have had them. And we’ll see you in another week on sALES with ASLAN.

 

 

Like this post? You'll find more marketing insights in my new book: International Brand Strategy: A guide to achieving global brand growth, now available from booksellers globally. Order your copy here.

Sean Duffy | @brandranter
Speaker, consultant & founder of Duffy Agency, the flipped digital agency that provides accelerated growth to aspiring international brands.