746: 4 Ways to Align ABM & Sales for Customer Success w/ Kristen Novak

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode we talk to Kristen Novak, Account Based Marketing Manager for Strategic Accounts, National Instruments.

Kristen shares 4 practical ways to align your ABM efforts with sales for better results:

  1. Get together during the planning stages, not later in the process

  2. Attend the same training & conferences as the sales team

  3. Share the same tech stack to share common language & responsibilities

  4. Visit customers with the sales team for better customer conversations when both departments are represented.

Kristen will be speaking more on this topic at next month's #FlipMyFunnel conference, August 8th in Boston.

Get your tickets at: https://flipmyfunnel.com/2018-flipmyfunnel-conference/

Use the exclusive promo code for B2B Growth listeners to get 50% off: B2BGROWTH

Click here to connect with this guest on LinkedIn.

Looking for a guaranteed way to create content that resonates with your audience? Start a podcast, interview your ideal clients and let them choose the topic of the interview, because if your ideal clients care about the topic, there's a good chance the rest of your audience will care about it too. Learn more at sweetfish MEDIACOM. You're listening to be tob growth, a daily podcast for B TOB leaders. We've interviewed names you've probably heard before, like Gary Vander truck and Simon Senek, but you've probably never heard from the majority of our guests. That's because the bulk of our interviews aren't with professional speakers and authors. Most of our guests are in the trenches leading sales and marketing teams. They're implementing strategy, they're experimenting with tactics, they're building the fastest growing be tob companies in the world. My name is James Carberry. I'm the founder of sweetfish media, a PODCAST agency for B Tob Brands, and I'm also one of the CO hosts of this show. When we're not interviewing sales and marketing leaders, you'll hear stories from behind the scenes of our own business will share the ups and downs of our journey as we attempt to take over the world. Just getting well? Maybe let's get into the show. Welcome back to the B tob grows show. We're here today with Kristen Novak, account based Marketing Manager for strategic accounts at national instruments. Chris and, how are you doing today? Hey, loo again, very good. Thanks for having me. I'm excited to be here. Hey, we're really excited to have you. Thanks for making some time for us, Kristen. Before we dive into today's topic, Kristen, I'd love for you to take a second and share with our audience what you and the team at national instruments are up to these days. Sure. So. I'll start with a little bit about and I. We're headquartered in Austin, Texas, and we're test and measurement company for large industries like semiconductor and automotive. We're about a one point two billion dollar company selling to to customers like that. Our ABM team, we has been...

...around at an eye for about six years now and we focus on large account marketing. So there are twelve of us on the team. Globally, America is a Paknemia and we support about thirty accounts on a one to one basis and we've been with through the work that we do. We've seen on an individual basis that we're influencing anywhere from one to five million dollars in the sales pipeline for each account. Wow. Well, you got some big responsibilities in your team there. Yes, yeah, we do, but it's been fun and the more successful we're we're being though, more and more sales wants to work with us, which has been really awesome. Yeah, yeah, that's great to hear and that really sets the stage pretty well, Christen, for our topic today of aligning ABM efforts and sales for overall customer success. So you mentioned, you know that sales is liking you guys, that you guys have done some things to to work well with your sales counterparts. So excited to jump in right here. You know, people have been talking about sales and marketing alignment for a while now, but it's not an old topic, I don't think, because I don't think any of us have mastered it. So would love to hear some specifics from you on things that you guys are doing to find success for your marketing team, for the sales team and ultimately, for your customers. So the first thing that you wanted to share, kristen, was, you know, the aligned approach between sales and marketing, starting at the planning phase. Tell us a little bit about that. Sure. So when we sat down with sales to even pitch that we were going to do a companies marketing for them and what that meant, we started with their needs in mind. They were reading a book called crack, the Sales Management Code, and it's basically about how to set up your sales team for success by building sales and marketing plans for based on the customer needs. So we read the same book. We went to sales leadership and we said Hey,...

...we read this book, we really like the approach to create an Arroway plan, which is your results, objectives and activities, and we'd like to do this with you. So, rather than building our own marketing plan and then throwing a bunch of things that sales that may or may not have been aligned with their plan, we actually sit down with each individual sales manager that we work with for an account and we build our plans together. So our objectives come from narrow objectives our activities are really defined by what are the customers at these accounts have actually asked for. We will survey them, we'll get to speak to them in person and will actually build our plans to specifically meet the needs of the sales team and our customers. HMM. So what was the reaction from the from the sales team in the sales leadership when when you came to them with with this approach from really early on? So they were excited. They they were a little skeptical that we were actually going to be able to be so aligned with them, but they definitely were up to the challenge. So we started by just working on a couple of accounts in this format and we basically had a full day workshop where we all kind of got in the room and white boarded and stuck some post it notes up and and built a plan. And from there, you know, they were more sellers kept calling and saying can you support my account, I want to work with you, can you help me with this? And we're still seeing that that. Every year they want to add more accounts and more support and it's really been a pretty seamless process for us. Hm and you were mentioning a little bit about, you know, the size and scope of your marketing team, just our listeners have some context to Christen what's size and in scope of your sales team, just to give us an idea of kind of what the teams are like and how they're working together. Sure. So our sales team globally is about six hundred sellers. We have field in inside and inside sales,...

...where direct sales for so our account face marketing team is only supporting a very small subset of that. For the accounts that I work on, I work with eighteen sales managers and some of the other account base marketers work with less than that. So we're only hitting maybe ten percent of the sales base with the actual one to one account planning and approach that we're taking. But we're in the process of taking those best practices and that approach and scaling it out to additional accounts that more sale sellers can benefit from it. I love that. I love that. The next thing you were you and I were talking about offline, Kristen, was, you know, efforts that you guys have made to make sure that sales and marketing are speaking the same language and the ways that you guys have done that has been sharing some of the the same training, the same text St Act. It's a Lus a little bit about what you guys have been doing in that area to continue that alignment from the planning phase onto the day to day. Sure. So in that aspect, our ABM team is essentially treated like another member of the sales team. We're invited to the same trainings that they attend, so that we've gone through a series of trainings lately on a customer engagement process as well as how to do prospecting and d diligence and activities like that, and we sit in those trainings with them. We attend all of the sales conferences that they attend, so we hear the information that they here firsthand. And and as far as the text sac goes, we have the same access to our crm system that they have. We have the same license that a sales manager would have, so that we can see the same data that they see. We can pull the same reports, we can create leads, we can create opportunities, we can convert them and we can collaborate with them in the same environment that they work in. I love that. I imagine that you know just simply using the same text st AC and having those overlaps has really eliminated some of the the...

...silos. It seems like such a simple concept, but it sounds like it's had pretty good results for you guys. Yeah, and it was. It was simple to integrate as well because, you know, while you know, we didn't just say hey, we want this access and they turned it on. We had a little bit of a process to go through that, but we didn't have to, you know, go add new add new trainings for marketing or add new platforms. It was like, we just want to work the same way that sales does and have a similar workflow to sales. And it was it was a no brainer. And and now we've been quite easy to get to get additional marketing in these trainings and on these platforms and and so far it's been working really well for us. HMM. Did you guys get some sideways looks from the Sales Team in sitting in on some of the same trainings? And in the beginning? In the beginning they were like, oh, what are you doing here? And then yeah, and they were like and then on Nan it was like wow, I think more of marketing needs to be here. I think more marketing needs to hear this. This is actually really good that you're here. And the same thing with the technology. We learned about a week or so ago that I actually have some more access in our crm then some of our sellers do. That was pretty funny thing to learn, but they seem to really appreciate it. Yeah, yeah, well, I love that and it's got to be you know, creating just more opportunity for dialog and and instead of sales having to come and, you know, explain things to you from from their perspective, you're getting a peek into, you know, what they're doing more often and what they're hearing, and so it eliminates, you know, that extra step of that relay of communication. So I think that's phenomenal and for sure, and it's really helped us when they have challenges and pains that they try to express to us. Prior to to working this way with them, we were like, okay, sure, I'll see what I can do about that. But it we...

...didn't feel it the same way and now do, like we feel the same pain that they feel and it's much easier to actually try to activate on it and get some change through the organization. Yeah, well, they say, you know, shared experiences or the quickest way to to deepen relationships, whether that's, you know, working relationship or personal relationship. So I think that you know, you guys are are seeing that played out in the interactions that you guys are setting up between your marketing and sales teams here, sharing some of the same text act sharing, you know, some of the trainings, going to the same events, just creating more opportunity for overlap. I love that. You know, in the area of large account marketing, you mentioned something that's that's somewhat unique that in your role you're actually visiting accounts and sometimes even along with the sales team, or at least kind of phrased, as you know, an extension of the sales team. Tell us a little bit about that approach and what you guys have found through using that with some of your large accounts. Yeah, so this has been a really valuable experience for me. I go out to my accounts on a quarterly basis. So I support three of our largest accounts right now. So I take about I take, you know, eight to ten trips a year to visit these accounts and they're typically in conjunction with sales visits and I will actually go and sit in on a technical meeting with the sales manager and a customer. Are Several customers, and the beauty of that has been that when there's a non technical person in the room, the customer is willing to just spill their guts and just black about all these little things that they may have never talked to the sales manager about, because our sales managers are engineers and our marketers, for the most part, are not, and we are working with engineers when we go out to see these customers. These are these are testing measurement engineers that were visiting. So a lot of things go over our heads and the customers are very willing to just put it in lay terms for us and really explain it,...

...and it's made it even more valuable for the sales managers because they're learning more information just by allowing us to ask a couple of questions and get some of those insights on our own. So that's been truly valuable. Another interesting thing that we do there that that has been helpful for the sales team is that will develop our own relationships and we'll go on a couple of our own visits or meetings while we're there. Those are typically with people in the in the in the training organization within an account or even human resources or customer relations, and we build those relationships so that they can help us be another avenue to get our messages out throughout the accounts. So, are we're hosting an event or a training or we have some new asset that we want to make sure is consumed, those those folks will actually partner with us and help us promote those materials to get them wider spread the account yeah. So so going deeper and wider into those large accounts right alongside sales. Yeah. Yeah, and you mentioned also, Christen, that you know you're dealing with with engineers. You've got sales managers or in sales engineers, you know, kind of speaking the same language. Have you found that just being able to be in in those meetings here how they're talking with each other, then hear how maybe they change their language or something as they you know, unpack something that you ask or things like that as that I imagine that's helped with your messaging, has helped with thinking through. You know what you're saying in your marketing messaging and how that's being received or not received by these sorts of customers. It's made a world of difference. So we can figured quite a bit of our of our content from the ABM approach based on those conversations. So, oh wait, you don't actually say it that way. We've been saying at this way and our Flyer and the engineer will be like, Oh yeah, that doesn't resonate with anybody here. You shouldn't, you shouldn't use that word,...

...and we're like Oh wow, okay, I'm not going to use that word anymore. I'm going to use this word instead. So it's made a huge difference. It's made us really be able to communicate with them, even if it's through an email or webcast or something in their terms rather than in marketing terms. So it's now viewed more like a training or useful piece of content rather than a piece of game fluff. Yeah, yeah, people can definitely tell that difference when some thing's written in in the language they're they're used to talking with their their peers about it in. And the more that you can kind of pick up on that and infuse that into your messaging and all your various pieces of content. I've just got to think that that has been able to yield, you know, phenomenal results for you guys. Well, Kristen, this has been a great conversation. Again, anytime we can talk alignment between marketing and sales, I think it's valuable for our audience. You've had some great takeaways for folks today. If people want to connect with you learn more about what you and your team are up to, what's the best way for them to go about connecting with you? Kristen? Yeah, love for anyone to reach out so you can find me on linkedin again. It's Kristin Novack. I'm on twitter occasionally under the handle Austin Marketer, and I'm also going to be speaking at flip my funnel on this exact topic on August eight and Boston. So hopefully a bunch of the audience can come and see me there and and meet in person. Yes, well, we've got a brief little annountment on that point, Kristen, so thank you for that Nice segue. Excited to hear you at flip my funnel. We at the sweetish team will be attending and we know a lot of our guests and audience are planning on going to the flip my funnel conference. Kristen, along with a host of other phenomenal speakers, are going to be sharing on some awesome topics August eighth in Boston. As Kristen mentioned, if you are a B tob growth listener, we've got a special Promo Code. Be To be growth. Be...

The number. To be growth, just like the show name, will get you fifty percent off the price of admission to flip my funnel. So if you go to flip my funnelcom use the two thousand and eighteen conference link. When you go to get your tickets, use that Promo Code, be tob growth, and we look forward to seeing a lot of our listeners there. There are lots of ways to build a community and we've chosen to build the BEDB growth community through this podcast. But because of the way podcasts work, it's really hard to engage with our listeners and without engagement it's tough to build a great community. So here's what we've decided to do. We're organizing small dinners across the country with our listeners and guests. No sales pitches, no agenda, just great conversations with likeminded people will talk business, will talk family, will talk goals and dreams, will build friendships. So if you'd like to be a part of a be tob growth dinner in a sitting near you, go to be to be growth dinnerscom. That's be to be growth dinnerscom. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time.

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