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 several thought 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 the benefits of having a network full of industry influencers? Learn more at sweet fish Mediacom. You're listening to the B to be growth show, podcast dedicated to helping be to be executives achieve explosive growth. What you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources? You've come to the right place. I'm Jonathan Green and I'm James Carberry. Let's get it into the show. Welcome back to the BE TOB growth show. Today we are joined by Sam Malik Carjan on. Sam is the executive strategist at hub spot. He also teaches advanced marketing at Harvard University Division of Continuing Education. Sam, welcome to the show. Thanks for having me. Looking forward to it. It's a pleasure to have you on here. We got connected through mutual acquaintance and today we're going to be talking. We were talking a little bit off live. We're really talking about this idea that ABC is dead. You know, the always be closing mentality is dead. What's more important than that? Why sales should actively seek out marketings help rather than avoiding them. And I think it's going to be a really powerful topic and I want to get into it. But Sam, before we do, maybe you can tell our listeners a little about yourself and what you're up to these days. Yeah, so I work at a hup spot, which is a software company based out of Boston. It's a sales marketing and customer success software platform. Man, I also teach at two universities. I teach at Harvard and I also teach at university south Florida's boom a college of business. Even though we're based in Boston, I actually live in Tampa because I cannot tolerate snow. I tried it for a few years at 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. Of course, WE'RE OUT HERE IN ORLANDO.

So you know, it's been getting down to. I got to say, it's been getting down to I think the 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 needs to go way up, but people continue to talk about it because, you know, even though everyone is interested in this concept, not everyone is executing on and there's and they're not executing on it well. So that's why we've got 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's episode? I mean, I mean, I think defining what everybody already knows. Like you said, it was weird for me when I started at hub spot because I started my career in sales before hub spot and, as I told 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 I mentioned, those people who like harass you in the ball try to sell your cell phones. You know them? No, man, they are just the worst. Yeah, so I used to trade them and apparently you used to be what. Yeah, I absolutely did it. Did it. Did it for a summer and it was sort of the best idea that we had at the time right, like we would trade, you know, you got a Greek to eat sort of mentality, and it was we didn't have spend any time on watts, wot, waste of time. You know, we literally showed Glen Garry, Glen Ross and boiler room in new higher training and it was it was that mentality. And the problem is, you know, there's this 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 more of the same with greater intensity or at best to talk about well, you know, maybe the marketing folks aren't so bad after all and they can help us with us. So it was weird because then I switched over to the marketing team. That's really given me a, I think, a unique perspective on the ways that those two teams can work together and what's sort of like causing 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 today and talk about this. You know you've got some additional perspective. You're not not 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 order to enhance alignment, is that you want to create a sort of bidirectional service agreement. Can we unpack that talk about what that is? Yes. So the the key to any relationship is communication and clear expectations. Right, it's just 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 therapy for sales and marketing leaders, because what what the breakdown really is is a failure to communicate and failure set expectations. So having both the lead, the sales leader, and the marketing leader and the sales or in the marketing org agree on what numbers each of them is going to try and move have a shared dashboard that, on a day to day basis or a month to month basis, they can all see how the other team is performing and they can give feedback in advance. So at hub spot, our Sola from the marketing team to the sales team, for example, is based on what we call pipeline revenue. So every type of lead, from every type of source, a certain percentage of those historically, are going to turn into a customer that spends on average a certain amount of money. So each one of those conversions counts towards US filling the pipeline. Our job as the marketing team is to cover the sales teams quota. When you position it that way to the sales team, it's amazing how much that one...

...small thing changes the relationship you have with sales because helping me hit quota, helping me make more money, is something 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 willing to not only work with you but also go in the other direction where I'm giving you information. One of the hardest challenges is actually getting sales ups to log data and a crm or something like that. Yeah, the we don't really have a ton of problems with that because the sales reps know that every time they log data, the marketing teams looking at that and they're getting better and smarter about how to help them close more leads, how to help them make more money and how to also make the experience better for the prospect because they'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's first of all data like you have to fit. Even I it's just rating leads high, medium and low so I can look at where they came from and see what it is. But then also, you know, let's be honest with ourselves, sales are reflected cherry pick and we like to, you know, make a call, make maybe one or two or three calls and then quit. Well, we have good, solid data that, at least our company, your probability of closing the lead doesn't start to decrease until after seven attempts have been made between calls and voice mails, so the voiceones of emails, and so we have a dashboard with little like graph like you have in your car, you know, saying fold of empty right. That shows whether or not the sales drifts are actually making the appropriate number of attempts on the 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 almost I'm getting this in this image of, you know, when you're talking about clear and open communication, it being like a marriage, being like couples therapy. So you want to you want this relationship to be more like a marriage, less like a one night stand between sales and marketing, where marketings like all right, here's your you know, we here's your lead, like you go do it, it's it's it's...

...much more collaborative and sharing of information and data, which makes a lot of sense. And I mean, and you you're sort of touching on this. This second point already is that marketing needs subjective and objective data from sales about the quality of their leads. Let's talk about that real quick. Yeah, so one of the most impactful things anybody said to me. Her name was Ge Hopkins. She was one of our original VPS, and she told me that to think of sales as my customer. I am producing a product for the sales organization. The sales organization is consuming it. Now, who among us is going to send product to a customer and then never ask them questions about it? Right? I have the benefit that my customer lives in the same building that I do or they work in the same building that I I do. We go to the same restaurants, 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 do customer development, customer research, which is asking the sales organization, even if it's just rating the leads high, medium and low, and not just looking at volume right, really looking at the quality first. The benefit is I can look at my marketing campaigns and see what conversion events and what sources drove high quality leads. So, for example, the sales team threaten to throw me out of the fourth floor window once because I tried to make the ECOMMERCE The e commerce marketers guide to advanced statistics. And well, our software doesn't do advanced statistics. It's not a statistic software. But you know, in true marketer fashion, I was trying to write something that made me feel smart and impress my friends and family and the sales or was like rating all of those leads very, very low, and I was able to dig in and be like, okay, why? It's because they had missaligned expectations and everything else that you would expect. So first, like, I can make those pivots in great detail. Second, I can, I can look for aberrations. Right. So I noticed a weird thing. If one time one of my sales are ups Ted am and was...

...actually making more attempts on his medium rated leads than his high rated leads. And when I went to ask him about this, it's because he had developed the sort of different process for going after the medium rated leads, and then I was able to sort of codify that process, scale it up for him, so build it into my marketing automation as 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 leads because I was asking for that subjective data back from the sales team and without that, especially when you have a small team like everybody wants to use big data. If you're closing a hundred new customers a month or really, if you're closing less than like five hundred new customers a month, it's really hard to use big data to get a statistically significant sample, unless you're like the Amazons of the world, where as subjective data just literally asking the Sales Reps your customer, is this what you wanted? Did you achieve what you want and if not, why? What was wrong? They had the wrong expectations, wrong size, a company whatever. Figuring that out and then either giving them tools to address those concerns or changing what I'm doing to make sure that I'm sending them a product that they like perfect. That sounds great. And this 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 ABC always be closing. Mentality is dead, is that the lines have blurred. This is no longer a linear process. This is not a this is not a one night stand handed off. You have to be able to pass the ball 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 when he first added negative reviews to the Amazon website to get an angry letter from his investors. That said, the KGFF, we know you think this Internet thing is going to be a big at all. They by the way, they make two hundred and fifty eight thousand dollars a minute. But you obviously don'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't make money when we sell things, we make money when we help people make purchase decisions, and that's how they've tried...

...to structure it, with varying degrees of success. I can show you my inbox where they're emailing me three to five times a day, literally with basically by now messaging. So they don't always 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 decisions are not linear, especially in marketing. Automation, like we we like to make fun of sales. Marketing Automation is not much better. Right. Our strategy generally is send them an email asking them to do something, wait three days, if they haven't done the thing, send them an email asking them to do it again, and then way three days and if they haven't done it, send an email ask them to do it again, but be like really snarky and passive aggressive this time. This is the innovative marketing automation strategy that people are going after. Instead of acknowledging that people move back and forth as they learn more, they might be ready to buy a product, have it added to their cart and then they discover something new about a feature and it kicks them all the way back out to the research phase of the buying cycle where they're thinking about what is it help defining what their actual problem is and what the solutions are. And I think what's really missing is the ability of this and the willingness of the cells and marketing team to pay close attention to where the customer is in the cycle and make that passed back and forth between 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 comparison phases of the buying cycle, and a real human being is needed to help people 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 if somebody isn't ready to buy this quarter again, generally we put them on our list and we spend them three times a week with a coupon, instead of passing 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 was presenting them from buying and having the marketing...

...team nurture them and then, once they express those signs of signals that maybe they're ready to talk to human being again, 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 at the end of some football games they'll just start tossing the ball back and forth to each other because time has expired and they're just hoping that somebody makes a mistake and be able to run down the field. That's the fumble Roosky sort of 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 good at the end of that play, right, and so that's that's what that's to be changed. You have to understand and that you're helping sting to make a decision, figure out not where you want them to be but where they actually are, and serve up the relevant experience. And then the the sales team has to be willing to say, just because somebody's not ready to buy now, I'm going to feed good data back to the marketing team, because the marketing team then is going to pick that slack up until they're ready to talk to sales and then they may get passed the bark to marketing again that they make it pass back to sales. But it all has to be seamless enough that the customer experience is not degraded. Yeah, I love that and saying one 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 minute left, but I know you did have some data on sales characteristics and the ones that lead to we're talking about, you know, not the not the short term gains, but like hitting that long term quota. Yeah, and again, like I don't want to pretend like my past is pure, is the driven snow, because you know, anybody who's been to them all and knows how focused on closing we were. But we've done good sort of correlation analysis on this where we asked sales managers to rape their sales reps and then we tracked over time who actually hit quota over the long term, and we tracked some normal things that you would expect like overcoming objections, building rapport or closing, ability, needs, identification, these sorts of things, and then we tracked some other weirder dimensions such as...

...previous domain experience, like had they been the customer that they are selling to, adaptability, preparation, those kinds of things. You may be able to guess that I'm going to say that previous domain experience and adaptability by far had the highest correlation to people hitting quote a long term. You know, I love it when I can hire x marketers sales reps, because x marketers cell to cells reps really really, you know, sell to marketers very, very well. I'm a marketer marketing to marketers 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 have a lower correlation, they have a negative correlation. You are actually less likely to hit quote a long term if you're just a really good closer or really good at overcoming objections, then if you're actually just mediocre at everything, which is bullshocking and disheartening. It's it's shocking because that that was my main focus always be closing. It's also disheartening because I can't imagine how many hundreds of sales reps I've trained to do this exact thing and how we structure COMP plans to incentivize them to focus on closing. And we're not only doing them a professional 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, you know I mean. And selfishly, it's good for our show that you know when 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 such as 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're very witty and this has been a tremendous experience for me and I know our listeners are going to get a lot out of this episode as well. If any of them want to connect with you after this episode, What's the best way for them to go about doing that? Absolutly you can google anything even close to 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 want to learn more about the data specifically, go to research dot help spotcom and we published way more research to you and I could ever possibly talk about in this 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 pleasure having you on the show today. My pleasure. Thank you for having me to 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 that every episode will get delivered directly to your device. If you or someone you know would be an incredible guest for the B tob growth show, email me at Jonathan at sweet fish mediacom let us know. We love connecting with be to 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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