606: 3 Reasons Sales Should Ask Marketing For Help w/ Sam Mallikarjunan

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode we talk to Sam Mallikarjuna, Executive Strategist at HubSpot and teacher of advanced marketing at Harvard University Division of Continuing Education.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mallikarjunan/

Wouldn't it be nice to have severalthought leaders in your industry know and Love Your brand? Start a podcast,invite your industries thought leaders to be guests on your show and start reaping thebenefits of having a network full of industry influencers? Learn more at sweet fishMediacom. You're listening to the B to be growth show, podcast dedicated tohelping be to be executives achieve explosive growth. What you're looking for techniques and strategiesor tools and resources? You've come to the right place. I'm JonathanGreen and I'm James Carberry. Let's get it into the show. Welcome backto the BE TOB growth show. Today we are joined by Sam Malik Carjanon. Sam is the executive strategist at hub spot. He also teaches advancedmarketing at Harvard University Division of Continuing Education. Sam, welcome to the show.Thanks for having me. Looking forward to it. It's a pleasure tohave you on here. We got connected through mutual acquaintance and today we're goingto be talking. We were talking a little bit off live. We're reallytalking about this idea that ABC is dead. You know, the always be closingmentality is dead. What's more important than that? Why sales should activelyseek out marketings help rather than avoiding them. And I think it's going to bea really powerful topic and I want to get into it. But Sam, before we do, maybe you can tell our listeners a little about yourselfand what you're up to these days. Yeah, so I work at ahup spot, which is a software company based out of Boston. It's asales marketing and customer success software platform. Man, I also teach at twouniversities. I teach at Harvard and I also teach at university south Florida's booma college of business. Even though we're based in Boston, I actually livein Tampa because I cannot tolerate snow. I tried it for a few yearsat the hume office and just could not handle it. Now that's all right, I get it. What and Sam and I are practically neighbors. Ofcourse, WE'RE OUT HERE IN ORLANDO.

So you know, it's been gettingdown to. I got to say, it's been getting down to I thinkthe the S, but that's that's about as bad as it gets out here. That's brutally cold by our standard. Yeah, all right, so seam. You know, again we were joking a little bit about this idea that, you know, ABC is dead and that's a that's a captivating topic.But we are really going to be diving into this idea of of course,the sales and marketing alignment we have. We've seen, you've mentioned offline.You know, sales reps may have less power than ever before. Alignment needsto go way up, but people continue to talk about it because, youknow, even though everyone is interested in this concept, not everyone is executingon and there's and they're not executing on it well. So that's why we'vegot you here today. We're we've got a few points we're going to make. So seeing where do we where do we start? Where we starting today'sepisode? I mean, I mean, I think defining what everybody already knows. Like you said, it was weird for me when I started at hubspot because I started my career in sales before hub spot and, as Itold you prior to the beginning of the show, I was the most obnoxious, always be closing oriented sales rep that you could possibly imagine, as Imentioned, those people who like harass you in the ball try to sell yourcell phones. You know them? No, man, they are just the worst. Yeah, so I used to trade them and apparently you used tobe what. Yeah, I absolutely did it. Did it. Did itfor a summer and it was sort of the best idea that we had atthe time right, like we would trade, you know, you got a Greekto eat sort of mentality, and it was we didn't have spend anytime on watts, wot, waste of time. You know, we literallyshowed Glen Garry, Glen Ross and boiler room in new higher training and itwas it was that mentality. And the problem is, you know, there'sthis quote that's always bothered me. That's when what you're doing is it working, you tend to do more of the same with greater intensity. HMM,that is not working anymore and our reaction...

...to that is generally to do moreof the same with greater intensity or at best to talk about well, youknow, maybe the marketing folks aren't so bad after all and they can helpus with us. So it was weird because then I switched over to themarketing team. That's really given me a, I think, a unique perspective onthe ways that those two teams can work together and what's sort of likecausing them to hate each other and causing them to not get along. Yeah, and that's perfect. That's exactly why you're the guy to come on todayand talk about this. You know you've got some additional perspective. You're notnot speaking in a vacuum or just just from one side. So you know, we had a we had a couple points that we're going to get to. We were talking. Number One, you had this idea to in orderto enhance alignment, is that you want to create a sort of bidirectional serviceagreement. Can we unpack that talk about what that is? Yes. Sothe the key to any relationship is communication and clear expectations. Right, it'sjust as true in my marriage as it is between a sales and marketing team. And it's funny when I do these workshops I actually call it couples therapyfor sales and marketing leaders, because what what the breakdown really is is afailure to communicate and failure set expectations. So having both the lead, thesales leader, and the marketing leader and the sales or in the marketing orgagree on what numbers each of them is going to try and move have ashared dashboard that, on a day to day basis or a month to monthbasis, they can all see how the other team is performing and they cangive feedback in advance. So at hub spot, our Sola from the marketingteam to the sales team, for example, is based on what we call pipelinerevenue. So every type of lead, from every type of source, acertain percentage of those historically, are going to turn into a customer thatspends on average a certain amount of money. So each one of those conversions countstowards US filling the pipeline. Our job as the marketing team is tocover the sales teams quota. When you position it that way to the salesteam, it's amazing how much that one...

...small thing changes the relationship you havewith sales because helping me hit quota, helping me make more money, issomething that I really understand, is the sales rep I'm pretty fond of money, so I really understand that and it makes me much, much more willingto not only work with you but also go in the other direction where I'mgiving you information. One of the hardest challenges is actually getting sales ups tolog data and a crm or something like that. Yeah, the we don'treally have a ton of problems with that because the sales reps know that everytime they log data, the marketing teams looking at that and they're getting betterand smarter about how to help them close more leads, how to help themmake more money and how to also make the experience better for the prospect becausethey're going to use all that information to sort of customize experience the prospect.So for the sales org a lot of this was activity oriented. So it'sfirst of all data like you have to fit. Even I it's just ratingleads high, medium and low so I can look at where they came fromand see what it is. But then also, you know, let's behonest with ourselves, sales are reflected cherry pick and we like to, youknow, make a call, make maybe one or two or three calls andthen quit. Well, we have good, solid data that, at least ourcompany, your probability of closing the lead doesn't start to decrease until afterseven attempts have been made between calls and voice mails, so the voiceones ofemails, and so we have a dashboard with little like graph like you havein your car, you know, saying fold of empty right. That showswhether or not the sales drifts are actually making the appropriate number of attempts onthe leads and if they're not, that's a conversation that we can have,but at least it's communication and clear expectations. So, you know, it's almostI'm getting this in this image of, you know, when you're talking aboutclear and open communication, it being like a marriage, being like couplestherapy. So you want to you want this relationship to be more like amarriage, less like a one night stand between sales and marketing, where marketingslike all right, here's your you know, we here's your lead, like yougo do it, it's it's it's...

...much more collaborative and sharing of informationand data, which makes a lot of sense. And I mean, andyou you're sort of touching on this. This second point already is that marketingneeds subjective and objective data from sales about the quality of their leads. Let'stalk about that real quick. Yeah, so one of the most impactful thingsanybody said to me. Her name was Ge Hopkins. She was one ofour original VPS, and she told me that to think of sales as mycustomer. I am producing a product for the sales organization. The sales organizationis consuming it. Now, who among us is going to send product toa customer and then never ask them questions about it? Right? I havethe benefit that my customer lives in the same building that I do or theywork in the same building that I I do. We go to the samerestaurants, we go to the same bars, we hang out all the freaking time. But a lot of marketers don't use that as an opportunity to docustomer development, customer research, which is asking the sales organization, even ifit's just rating the leads high, medium and low, and not just lookingat volume right, really looking at the quality first. The benefit is Ican look at my marketing campaigns and see what conversion events and what sources drovehigh quality leads. So, for example, the sales team threaten to throw meout of the fourth floor window once because I tried to make the ECOMMERCEThe e commerce marketers guide to advanced statistics. And well, our software doesn't doadvanced statistics. It's not a statistic software. But you know, intrue marketer fashion, I was trying to write something that made me feel smartand impress my friends and family and the sales or was like rating all ofthose leads very, very low, and I was able to dig in andbe like, okay, why? It's because they had missaligned expectations and everythingelse that you would expect. So first, like, I can make those pivotsin great detail. Second, I can, I can look for aberrations. Right. So I noticed a weird thing. If one time one ofmy sales are ups Ted am and was...

...actually making more attempts on his mediumrated leads than his high rated leads. And when I went to ask himabout this, it's because he had developed the sort of different process for goingafter the medium rated leads, and then I was able to sort of codifythat process, scale it up for him, so build it into my marketing automationas him, and then also do it for everybody else on the team. So we were able to actually get better at selling to medium rated leadsbecause I was asking for that subjective data back from the sales team and withoutthat, especially when you have a small team like everybody wants to use bigdata. If you're closing a hundred new customers a month or really, ifyou're closing less than like five hundred new customers a month, it's really hardto use big data to get a statistically significant sample, unless you're like theAmazons of the world, where as subjective data just literally asking the Sales Repsyour customer, is this what you wanted? Did you achieve what you want andif not, why? What was wrong? They had the wrong expectations, wrong size, a company whatever. Figuring that out and then either givingthem tools to address those concerns or changing what I'm doing to make sure thatI'm sending them a product that they like perfect. That sounds great. Andthis third point that you had wanted to make, Sam is that you know, and this is this is very much related to the idea that the ABCalways be closing. Mentality is dead, is that the lines have blurred.This is no longer a linear process. This is not a this is nota one night stand handed off. You have to be able to pass theball back and forth. Let's talk about that a little bit. Yeah,so one of one of my favorite quotes is from Jeff Bezos, and whenhe first added negative reviews to the Amazon website to get an angry letter fromhis investors. That said, the KGFF, we know you think this Internet thingis going to be a big at all. They by the way,they make two hundred and fifty eight thousand dollars a minute. But you obviouslydon't know how to run a business. You make money when you sell things. Why would you discourage anybody from doing that? basils replied. We don'tmake money when we sell things, we make money when we help people makepurchase decisions, and that's how they've tried...

...to structure it, with varying degreesof success. I can show you my inbox where they're emailing me three tofive times a day, literally with basically by now messaging. So they don'talways walk their talk. You know who among us is perfect, right?But the thing that the thing that that quote at least helps us understand,is that our goal should be to help someoney make a decision, and decisionsare not linear, especially in marketing. Automation, like we we like tomake fun of sales. Marketing Automation is not much better. Right. Ourstrategy generally is send them an email asking them to do something, wait threedays, if they haven't done the thing, send them an email asking them todo it again, and then way three days and if they haven't doneit, send an email ask them to do it again, but be likereally snarky and passive aggressive this time. This is the innovative marketing automation strategythat people are going after. Instead of acknowledging that people move back and forthas they learn more, they might be ready to buy a product, haveit added to their cart and then they discover something new about a feature andit kicks them all the way back out to the research phase of the buyingcycle where they're thinking about what is it help defining what their actual problem isand what the solutions are. And I think what's really missing is the abilityof this and the willingness of the cells and marketing team to pay close attentionto where the customer is in the cycle and make that passed back and forthbetween the sales and marketing team seamless, because the marketing team is really good. It's sort of at scale helping people in the awareness and research and comparisonphases of the buying cycle, and a real human being is needed to helppeople actually make a decision at the end, especially in the be tob space.It's needed to help people make a decision at the end. But ifsomebody isn't ready to buy this quarter again, generally we put them on our listand we spend them three times a week with a coupon, instead ofpassing them seemlessly back off to the marketing team figuring out where they were,like is a budget authority need timing, like what's the hold up that waspresenting them from buying and having the marketing...

...team nurture them and then, oncethey express those signs of signals that maybe they're ready to talk to human beingagain, then passing it back and forth between sales. If you've ever seen, like I'm blinking on the name of the play in football, but atthe end of some football games they'll just start tossing the ball back and forthto each other because time has expired and they're just hoping that somebody makes amistake and be able to run down the field. That's the fumble Roosky sortof thing right that's sort of how the past back and forth feels right now. It's very disorganized and it's not necessarily doesn't have a clear objective and,like nobody it's sort of like crazy and exciting, but like nobody feels goodat the end of that play, right, and so that's that's what that's tobe changed. You have to understand and that you're helping sting to makea decision, figure out not where you want them to be but where theyactually are, and serve up the relevant experience. And then the the salesteam has to be willing to say, just because somebody's not ready to buynow, I'm going to feed good data back to the marketing team, becausethe marketing team then is going to pick that slack up until they're ready totalk to sales and then they may get passed the bark to marketing again thatthey make it pass back to sales. But it all has to be seamlessenough that the customer experience is not degraded. Yeah, I love that and sayingone of the last things we were we were going to talk about.I'd like to just touch on a briefly since we just we've got a minuteleft, but I know you did have some data on sales characteristics and theones that lead to we're talking about, you know, not the not theshort term gains, but like hitting that long term quota. Yeah, andagain, like I don't want to pretend like my past is pure, isthe driven snow, because you know, anybody who's been to them all andknows how focused on closing we were. But we've done good sort of correlationanalysis on this where we asked sales managers to rape their sales reps and thenwe tracked over time who actually hit quota over the long term, and wetracked some normal things that you would expect like overcoming objections, building rapport orclosing, ability, needs, identification, these sorts of things, and thenwe tracked some other weirder dimensions such as...

...previous domain experience, like had theybeen the customer that they are selling to, adaptability, preparation, those kinds ofthings. You may be able to guess that I'm going to say thatprevious domain experience and adaptability by far had the highest correlation to people hitting quotea long term. You know, I love it when I can hire xmarketers sales reps, because x marketers cell to cells reps really really, youknow, sell to marketers very, very well. I'm a marketer marketing tomarketers about marketing rights. Like I get to be very honest about this.Yeah, but what my surprise you is that the classic seals characteristics don't havea lower correlation, they have a negative correlation. You are actually less likelyto hit quote a long term if you're just a really good closer or reallygood at overcoming objections, then if you're actually just mediocre at everything, whichis bullshocking and disheartening. It's it's shocking because that that was my main focusalways be closing. It's also disheartening because I can't imagine how many hundreds ofsales reps I've trained to do this exact thing and how we structure COMP plansto incentivize them to focus on closing. And we're not only doing them aprofessional disservice and taking money out of their pocket by making them focus on that, but we're also hurting our companies long term. Yeah, well, youknow I mean. And selfishly, it's good for our show that you knowwhen the when the Times continue to change and and the process continues to evolve, because that way we get to keep on bringing bringing on fantastic guests suchas yourself to help talk to us and our listeners about what's going on.What's the latest and greatest and and saying this has really been a tremendous episode. You know you've got some you've got some great insight. You know you'revery witty and this has been a tremendous experience for me and I know ourlisteners are going to get a lot out of this episode as well. Ifany of them want to connect with you after this episode, What's the bestway for them to go about doing that? Absolutly you can google anything even closeto my name. You'll find my...

...website, my linkedin my twitter.They're all just at mally cargon on or Mall Cargan on. If you wantto learn more about the data specifically, go to research dot help spotcom andwe published way more research to you and I could ever possibly talk about inthis period of time when it comes to sales and marketing and so and pretend, especially the alignment between the two. Now well, that's fantastic, Sam. Thank you again so much for your time. It really was a pleasurehaving you on the show today. My pleasure. Thank you for having meto ensure that you never miss an episode of the B Tob Growth Show.Subscribe to the show and Itunes or your favorite podcast player. This guarantees thatevery episode will get delivered directly to your device. If you or someone youknow would be an incredible guest for the B tob growth show, email meat Jonathan at sweet fish mediacom let us know. We love connecting with beto be executives and we love sharing their wisdom and perspective with our audience.Thank you so much for listening. Until next time.

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