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Whistle Talks: How Marketing Is an Extension of Sales

Listen in to Whistle Talks as Elad Hefetz shares how sales and marketing share the same DNA despite the traditionally different goals in B2B.

Elad Hefetz
1 July 2024
Videos

Key Moments

01:28 – What’s the difference between marketing people and salespeople?

04:44 – How does the marketer’s role differ in B2B compared to B2C?

06:45 – How marketing teams KPIs should be measured

07:58 – Indicators of broken synergy between marketing and sales

09:23 – Strategies to improve alignment between marketing and sales

11:11 – How marketing can support sales effectively

14:20 – How sales can assist marketing

16:51 – Tech stack recommendations to improve alignment:

The Transcript

Kayla (00:00):

Hello, Elad. Welcome to Whistle Talks, episode two. It’s great to have you here with us today. We’re going to be speaking about something that you have extensive knowledge about, and that’s how marketing is an extension of sales. Before we start, can you give us a little bit of a background about what you do and where you’re from?

Elad (00:23):

So first of all, thank you for having me, Kayla. Happy to be here. I’m Elad. I’m the CEO at Airfleet. And basically the way I see it is I love marketing and I love technology. And what I love even more is the combination of both. So what we do at Airfleet is we focus on creating and optimizing revenue generating websites for Tech B2B. We strive for the perfect combination of technology to really help marketers do their job better, including playbooks for how to generate revenue between marketing and sales. But if you think about it, there shouldn’t be any handoff between marketing and sales, right? It’s something that started long ago when we first started doing digital marketing. We started collecting leads and then handing them over to sales. So sales can call the prospect and sell to them.

Elad (01:28):

But if you think about that today, both marketing and sales are in charge of generating revenue or pipeline. It doesn’t really make sense to hand off leads between marketing and sales. It’s more about phasing in and phasing out marketing and sales. And now companies understand we can’t grow at all costs. We really want both marketing and sales to generate pipeline, working together. When you define a handoff between marketing and sales, you actually tell marketers, this is where your job ends. And you tell sales, “You start only from here,” and that’s fundamentally wrong if you want to succeed as a business.

Kayla (02:24):

But can you speak a little bit about the differences between marketers and salespeople?

Elad (02:29):

Yeah, sure. The job of a marketer is actually doing the same things salespeople are doing but on a broader scale. At the end of the day, they’re still doing the same things. They’re still working towards the same end goal. So the way I see it is if you think about marketers and salespeople, since they’re both in charge of the pipeline of generating the pipeline, marketers are actually doing the same job as sales is doing. But on a broader level. They don’t do the one-on-one relationship building and the one-on-one interactions like the salespeople are doing. But they are still handling objections, reframing the product as a solution to a problem, and even coming up with a differentiation of what’s unique in their product versus the other products. Both marketers and sales are doing the same thing. But since sales has the ability to do this one-on-one relationship, they’re actually more focused on the specific people that they’re working with.

Elad (03:47):

Do they have kids? What makes them, specifically, tick and what are their goals in their company? And then based on that, sales can actually have this one-on-one relationship with a client that marketers can’t. Also, the way I see it is that sales needs to learn the in and outs of a specific account and try to understand who are the champions and who the buying committee consists of. Marketing needs to focus on the broader audience. They can support account-level marketing, but it’s sales’ job to do one-on-one outreach and deeper research about each account.

Kayla (04:44):

How does the marketer’s function differ in B2B as opposed to B2C?

Elad (04:51):

Wow. So this brings me to even a bigger conversation about what’s the difference between B2B and B2C marketing in general. So not just the marketing function differences, but what’s the main difference between B2B and B2C. And a lot of marketers would say it’s the same because at the end of the day, you are marketing to a human. But the main two differentiations I see is the deal size and the number of people involved in the buyer committee. So in B2C, we don’t really have a buying committee, maybe one or two people, which obviously is a big thing in B2B, especially for high ticket sales.

Elad (05:44):

But the marketing team owns more in B2C because they don’t have a sales function. Usually, the marketing departments in B2C are in charge of the full funnel from acquisition to pipeline, which makes their KPI revenue based. And in B2B, we are only starting to see that when we are talking about PLG-led companies. Usually, in B2B the KPIs would be somehow connected to pipeline, but not the pipeline goal itself. So marketers at B2C are performing the sales function, and that’s their job. They’re doing their marketing and the sales while marketing in B2B are working with sales to close the deals. And now we’re seeing this change with PLG, that marketers are also in charge of signups and revenue.

Kayla (06:38):

So with that being said, the key KPIs for marketing teams have changed. How should they be measured? 

Elad (06:45):

Now, if you give them a different set of KPIs, they will work differently. Take, for example, a field marketer at an event since sometimes their KPI is how many badges they just scan. So what do they do? They’re scanning badges all day. That’s what they do. So when you measure marketing by MQLs, for example, or even meetings booked, what do you think will happen? They will just bring more MQLs and try to book more meetings – not necessarily make sure that those MQLs and those meetings are going to translate to an actual pipeline generated. But if you give the sales and marketing teams the same set of KPIs, which is not just a meeting booked number but pipeline and revenue, you can get the sales and marketing team working better together. It doesn’t mean that you don’t need to measure MQLs and meetings booked and engagement. Those are leading indicators for pipeline and revenue. But at the end of the day, marketers must be accountable for pipeline.

Kayla (07:52):

What are some of these clear indicators that the synergy between marketing and sales are broken?

Elad (07:58):

Obviously, as I mentioned before, if you have a different set of KPIs. If marketing is talking about leads and MQLs and sales is talking about pipeline, you have an issue. But also if you see that less than half of their pipeline is not sourced by marketing or is sourced by sales, that’s an issue. It’s not a magic number, it’s not always 50%. It depends on the industry and stuff like that. But in general, as a marketer, you need to strive for 80% of the pipeline to be sourced by marketing and not just sourced by sales. That’s ideally what you need to strive for. Otherwise, you’ll see sales working in a silo and marketing is pushing what will help them achieve their lead volume goals. That’s going to create a conflict. And as a marketer, if you see that in your day-to-day work, most of your work with sales is fixing or creating presentations and brochures for the sales team. You’re doing it wrong. something is broken, and you need to work with sales on more important things than just what’s the next step? If you ask both marketers and sales, what is your ICP? If you get totally different answers between both, definitely start there. That would definitely show a misalignment between sales and marketing.

Kayla (09:20):

And how would we fix this?

Elad (09:23):

Yeah, that’s a good question. I wish I had one magic solution to fix alignment between marketing and sales, but smarter people than I have tried and failed. I think that the marketing leader must be the sales leader’s best friend, and obviously the other around. If marketing is going to commit to pipeline as the main KPI, then they will have more incentive to work together with sales to make sure that they are more aligned. Salespeople are getting bigger budgets and have bigger teams because they are in charge of the pipeline. Often marketing has been seen as a cost center. If you’re a marketer, you must start talking about pipeline. You’ll no longer be a cost center. And then you can actually start being much, much more aligned with sales – even getting access to sales budget to drive more marketing tactics.

Elad (10:28):

And sales will like you for that. It doesn’t mean that the marketing should be an assistant of sales, so just do whatever sales thinks should be done. But if marketing will not listen to sales and will not hear the actual reasons why sales are doing what they are doing, like having their own leads and stuff like that, it’ll be a constant battle. So just to sum it up, you need to be the best friend of the sales leader and you need to truly listen to why sales is walking away from your leads. This is just where the journey starts.

Kayla (11:07):

Okay. So could you tell us a little bit about how the marketing team can help sales?

Elad (11:11):

First of all, as I mentioned, listen. Listen and accept that not every form that you’ve got on a website is a bottom of funnel lead. Some marketers think a form fill is a great opportunity. But at the end of the day, it’s just someone filling in a form. It’s not more than that. As a marketer that is in charge of a website – as a digital marketer that is in charge of the website – the more information you can give to the prospects, to the website visitors that are often raised in sales conversation, the better you’ll prepare the prospect for the sales interaction. So if you can explain more about the product, the features during comparison between your product and other products, even show pricing. I know it’s a touchy subject, but even show pricing on your website, you will actually support sales by better qualifying leads that are coming to your website. Now we are currently working on pricing on our website because I want to make sure that whomever is reaching out to me, they understand that that is what they’re expected to spend. If they don’t have this budget, I don’t even have a reason to discuss with them. So sales will actually appreciate that. And of course I would assume it’s known by now, but never send form fills that are not requested demos. If someone is requesting gated content, it’s not a self qualified lead. Just don’t send it over.

Kayla(12:48):

Some key pieces of information that marketing should be sharing?

Elad (12:52):

I would say arm sales with actual benchmark data, like what is the key differentiation between your product and other products in the market because this is where a lot of the prospects are actually smarter – where they’re doing heavily research about different products. And if you can support your sales team with that information, you can actually help them handle objections and move forward the deals in the pipeline. And as I mentioned before, if you can create more pieces of information like features, use cases, case studies either as web pages or as even PDFs, that sales can immediately share with the prospect to both educate them and counter an objection, the reps will have to do a lot less talking during the discovery meetings. This will just make the sales cycle much shorter and will help them actually focus on what they should be focusing on, which is the personal relationship between them and the account, them and the prospects, which is much more important for sales versus marketing.

Kayla (14:11):

Absolutely. And now that we’ve spoken about how marketing can assist sales, could we flip that and speak to how the sales team can help marketing?

Elad (14:20):

I’m seeing that a lot when I’m working with different marketing teams. They see the salespeople as a master to their own sales. Sales is doing what they want, but they don’t always share why. So tell us why this lead doesn’t make sense. Provide feedback to the marketers, explain to them why. What’s wrong with this lead? Beside that, if you are a salesperson and you change the messaging and the way you talk to clients – you are using different jargon and stuff like that – share that with the marketing team. Maybe it’s something that makes sense to change as a global thing and not just in a one-to-one interaction. What type of qualification questions are missing? Think when, especially SDRs, when they jump on a call and they do these qualification questions, you will start and see different SDRs that are going in different directions, adding their own qualification because they know what the sales reps are looking to understand and to know.

Elad (15:27):

So if you can add that and prequalify the leads in marketing, you are going to help the sales teams. So as a salesperson, as a rep, just help the marketer by telling them what you’re looking for, sharing with them what is most important to you when you are getting a lead, and what information are you looking for. I understand that you want to close deals. I understand that this is where the commission is coming from, but if you are focusing on non-ICP deals, you are actually doing a disservice both for the business, for the marketing team, and for yourself because this client is probably not going to be a good fit for the company. So when you are doing that, you’re actually confusing marketing about what’s working and what’s not. Because if a company which is not in any of the industries you’re targeting, but you close the deal knowing they’ll probably churn, marketing will see it and ask, “Oh wait, what am I missing here?” And sometimes it will lead the entire go-to-market strategy astray.

Kayla (16:44):

Is there a tech stack that can help keep these two departments aligned? And if so, what does that tech stack look like?

Elad (16:51):

As much as I love technology, I don’t think that this is an issue that technology can solve by itself. There are tons of tools that can assist once the departments are aligned, but I would say nothing will replace face time or one-on-ones between marketing and sales. Just talk it out in terms of the alignment. But nevertheless, you do need one proper dashboard that both marketing and sales are looking at and ideally the teams share the same KPIs that you’re looking at and trying to optimize for. There are some tools unrelated to alignment, which can definitely help them. Marketing and sales can improve the buyer journey in general. Tools like scheduling tools, ChiliPiper, RevenueHero, any of or HubSpot meetings would work. Adding a chatbot like Drift, for example. Definitely adding enrichment data platforms to add more value during the buyer journey to both marketing and the sales team and even automate scoring tools like Me or Fold that can help surface leads that are currently in the works that might be super engaged but just not yet converted. So you can use those tools to actually surface those to sales and then they might decide to act upon those leads.

Kayla (18:26):

Elad, it’s been great having you here on Whistle Talks. An absolute pleasure. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise and can’t wait to chat to you again.

Elad (18:36):

Amazing. Alright. Yeah. Thank you very much Kayla, for having me. It was a real pleasure talking with you today.

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