Think About Field Marketing Differently

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, we speak with Heidi Eisenstein, VP of Global F ield Marketing and Event Strategy for CX at Oracle

Yeah, welcome back to be to be growth. We are here today with Heidi Eisenstein, she is the VP of global field marketing events and alliances at oracle Heidi. I'm so excited to have you on the show today. Thank you James. It's a pleasure to be here and really looking forward to our conversation today. Yeah, this one is going to be fun. So Heidi, we were talking off line right before we hit record here and we were talking about how there's this common myth in field marketing where you know, field marketing is really seen often times as an execution arm as opposed to a strategic arm. And this is something you've run into time after time throughout your career in field marketing. Uh and so as we were talking off line, you really had what I think are some really smart ways that field marketers can position themselves and really think about the role a little bit differently so that they can be seen as a strategic arm of the business and not just essentially an order taker. Um so so to start down that path, Heidi, what do you think, you know, as we were talking before, you know, you really pressed in on this with two different questions that I asked you, you talked about this, you know, than than being seen as execution instead of strategic. What's the number one thing that that field marketers can focus on coming out of this interview, they just listen to this interview. They're going back to their desk from there, you know, walk around the block or whatever, what is something that they can do that's really actionable this week to start to take that turn from being seen as more execution to being seen as more strategic. Yeah, it's a great question and certainly like part of any field marketers role, there is an execution component. We do plan and execute events and programs initiatives all the time and we have to do that with excellence. But there's this whole...

...other side to the role that is about understanding the strategic priorities for the business, understanding how you align to the sales, go to market, understanding what the growth objectives are or those business priorities are for a given quarter or fiscal year and you have to build a field marketing plan that is really tied to that tightly and that's how you position yourself as a strategic leader and a partner to sales, I'd say really getting in close with sales to understand what is their business, How are they aligned, how are they going to market? What are their core challenges for that given quarter or year? It might be an issue with pipeline creation, it might be more of an issue with scale pipeline and they need help progressing that pipeline to close. There are different field marketing tactics that have field marketer can do to help in those, both those scenarios. So my single advice to a field market or who might be listening to this today is do you understand the business that you're trying to grow or sustain or retain and if you don't know your number, if you don't know who you're equivalent kind of sales leader is that you're supporting, really get closer to the business, Ask those questions. You shouldn't be building field marketing plans, programmes, initiatives in a vacuum because they're fun or cool. Yeah, but like really trying to understand like who are you building this for and what is the business objective you're trying to achieve? Yeah. So Heidi for for folks listening that maybe they're in a seat like yours where they're tasked with finding field marketers for their organization. What types of qualities, characteristics are you looking for as you're growing your field marketing team, honey, I've really, you know, certainly you need somebody who understands the marketing mix and marketing framework. Somebody who can really think through what are all the different tactics that we can use to drive a strong marketing plan and therefore reach those business...

...objectives. So yeah, marketing experience is key for sure. But given the uniqueness of the film marketing role, a lot of what we do is about relationship building and trust with sales if we want to get in there and really understand the business, like sales may or may not have, you know, the history with marketing, where they feel comfortable pulling marketing into their pipeline calls or forecast calls, really sharing where they're struggling and where they might need help. And so hiring folks who can build relationship, who can instill trust, who can really prove that they're in it to support that sales objectives alongside that sales leader is going to be so much more valuable than somebody who comes in with the brightest marketing ideas. So you really need folks who know how to have relationships and build trust first and foremost and then build the plan and then of course we want folks who can execute with excellence, but that's secondary or tertiary to those first, foundational people. Does it make sense at all? Heidi to look for people with a background in sales or are the disciplines a little too disconnected for that to make sense? I think I had lots of folks on the sales side who are interested in changing careers and kind of coming into marketing and vice versa. And I do think with regards to field marketing in particular there is a natural connection point when you think about that sales marketing continuum and how that continuum is more connected than it's ever been in years past and now we have software and different technology that really mergers that sales marketing continuum. I think the closest marketer to fail in the field marketer, so we often are the ones that are closest to the customer were closest to the business. We speak in terms of pipeline, we understand growth objectives. So I do think there's crossover between an account executive and a field marketer. So I can see folks go back and forth between those roles. They are, they are distinct sometimes in marketing, we have to take a longer investment view, were...

...oftentimes thinking a year or two out and making investments to drive something like awareness. If our plays awareness, we're not going to achieve awareness in a single quarter, we have to make investments now to achieve awareness over the course of a year, two years, three years in a particular category. And that can be a different way of thinking for a sales person who certainly nurtures relationships long term and is thinking of future business but is really focused on the quarter at hand or the fiscal year at hand and the number that they have to go after makes all the sense idea. I want to I want to go back to this idea of getting field marketers out of the mindset of being execution focused and being more strategy focused and being seen really more as a strategic partner for the field market are listening to this, they want to go do this, they want to ask the right questions to the right people really get aligned with sales objectives. What could you foresee that field marketer who it kind of falls into the myth that you shared earlier that they're thinking of themselves just as execution. What could be something if they're trying to follow your advice, What's a potential way that they could screw it up in, trying to actually do what you're saying? It's a good question. That's not where I thought you were going to go with that one. I am at this great question because you can't just walk into a room and say I'm your strategic partner and it just doesn't work that way. You do have to commit yourself to understanding the ins and outs of the business. You do have to commit yourself to conversations around business priorities. You do have to push back. In some cases, sales will often want what they might need in a moment and it might not align to the marketing strategy and plan that you've agreed to for that quarter for that fiscal year. So sometimes you have to have that confrontation or that conflict respectfully to push back and through the course of time, you establish yourself as somebody who can speak on business terms, who can look...

...at pipeline numbers or scorecard and you know, take insight from that and pivot their plans based on those insights and the sales leader, sales folks that you're working with, see that and that trust, you know, grows over time and therefore you earned the reputation as a strategic leader. So you have to lean in, you have to know where to lean in and you have to be patient and I think if you're looking at like step one, if you haven't sat down with your sales leader, your sales team that you're supporting to really net out what their business priorities are for the quarter or for the year, you need to do that first and foremost. And we started our physical, you're doing the same thing because you owe a marketing plan to that sales team, you can have the best ideas in the world and like a gut sense for what that group needs and maybe you're spot on. But if you don't start with their business inputs and kind of forced them to think through their priority industries, is this a year where we're going after net new business or retaining our current installed base? Like if you haven't gone through that conversation of understanding what the business priorities are, you can't possibly serve up a marketing plan, that strategic, you have to start there really digested ask questions center in on that and then come back with a marketing plan that reflects those business priorities. That's step one. So step one, you've got to have those conversations and ask the questions that you need to ask So that you can get aligned on what those objectives are, what those goals are. Step two is you're gonna build a plan to then present to them to say, hey, this is what I think we can do, that is going to align what we're doing in our field marketing efforts with the goals you're trying to achieve then, is it just a matter of being a dance back and forth because sales inevitably is going to want to go off track of that plan. And is it just a matter of pointing back to that North star that the plan that you guys really came up with together? Yeah, that I think is where the rubber meets...

...the road. So a lot of the initial sourcing of business priorities and building of the plan can happen in the first month or two of a fiscal year and now you've kind of got your plan and we all know it's build marketers, nobody sits on a plan for a year and calls it good. Like we are constantly evolving and optimizing our plan based on how sales is performing each quarter. And sometimes we're putting into the mix some new marketing tactics throughout a given quarter if if we're not seeing the performance that we want to see, you know, and so we have to stay on our toes in the way we stay close to the business. And the way we're able to pivot and optimize our plans as we go is we stay close to fails and that means we we asked to be part of their team, We have to be part of their strategic teams. So can you join pipeline calls weekly where they go through every opportunity that's in cycle. That's expected to close that quarter and they talk about where they might be stuck or things are going really well, You can create a top deal list with your sales partners like what are the top 10 deals you absolutely must close. And maybe two of those 10 actually could use marketing support to help bring those over the line. Others you can't touch as a marketer and that's fine. But having those conversations to say where can I lean in to support you be successful this quarter and if they're looking a quarter or you're looking at some film market or a quarter or two quarters out and you see that you're not going to have the pipeline, you need to hit your revenue target that quarter. You can start putting in place programs this quarter that will impact pipeline, build next quarter of the quarter after so that you can get in front of that problem. So you're just constantly reviewing the data, the sales performance together, you're measuring the impact of your own marketing programs to say what's working. Not working any good sales leader will say let's dial up what's working and let's dial down and pivot on what's not and as a marketing professional field market or you have to be able to say these executive engagement programs are...

...thriving. Look at all this great impact we've been able to have on the business, these kind of generic horizontal roundtable series, not really performing. Let's create an industry lends to those and see what we can do to read our accounts that that you know are organized by industry for example, God, we touched on this a little bit in the pre interview Heidi. But I I want to press in a little bit more here because you've had a really storied career in field marketing. What's something that you have changed your mind about or maybe evolved your thinking on as it relates to field marketing throughout your career? You know, it's it's a great question and I have been doing this profile and so it's like what did I initially think? And I think we've we've touched on a lot of it here. You know, I I think I thought at one point that if you if you are the brightest marketer in the room and you come with the most creative ideas that that might be enough. I also have thought that if you just simply have the best relationship and you get along really well with sales, that maybe that's enough. And what I've learned over time is that there is a healthy tension between sales and marketing and that's good. It needs to be respectful and you need to know their business to be able to hold that tension respectfully, but it's appropriate to push back. It's appropriate to share more about your discipline and why you've made investments in certain areas. I love personally learning about sales discipline and how they approach their business and how they generate interest in an account and then how do they move it to the next level. And then at what point did they expand that buying committee and get closer to a different L. O. B. To actually be successful in closing the deal like that side of the business is fascinating. Marketing is the same way. And so I think pulling each other into understand kind of the anatomy of what it is that we do is really important and it's something...

I've I've kind of slowed down and build confidence to do through my career. And sales are super receptive to that. Like they want to see you as an owner of your discipline and they want to understand the logic behind the investments that you make or the recommendations that you make and so slowing down to explain those and sometimes push back or shared different rationale with the direction they might want to go that you don't agree with is also appropriate. Yeah I think something you mentioned earlier, how did it's just an important reminder here that if this hasn't been how you are operating in your organisation, this kind of change. The perception shift doesn't happen overnight. It takes patients, you mentioned that earlier but I think there is a path to you being seen as that strategic partner. If you start doing a lot of the things that you've outlined here asking those questions really getting that alignment eventually you're going to see the tide turning you're going to start to see your sales counterparts, looking at you through the strategic lens, like you want them to be seeing you. So I really appreciate your time here today, Heidi. This has been fantastic. If there's somebody listening to this, they want to stay connected with you, what's the best way for them to do that? Certainly, I mean, I love too learn from others. I love to connect with marketers and folks who are looking at marketing as a potential career path or they're looking to shift gears, move from sales to marketing or vice versa, so feel free to reach out to me on linked in. I'm out there and would love to touch base and connect. That might be the best way to do it. We'll have a link to Heidi's linkedin profile in the description of this episode. So if you want to check out Heidi just find her on linkedin and that link. And Heidi, thank you so much for your time today. This has been incredible. I really appreciate it. It's been so fun. James, thank you for the opportunity.

Are you on linkedin? That's a stupid question. Of course you're on linkedin here. Sweet fish. We've gone all in on the platform. Multiple people from our team are creating content there. Sometimes it's a funny gift for many other times. It's a micro video or a slide deck and sometimes it's just a regular old status update that shares their unique point of view on B two B marketing leadership or their job function, we're posting this content through their personal profile, not our company page and it would warm my heart and soul if you connected with each of our evangelists, we'll be adding more down the road. But for now you should connect with Bill Read, our Ceo Kelcy Montgomery, our creative director, dan Sanchez, our director of audience growth Logan Lyles, our director of partnerships and me, James Carberry. We're having a whole lot of fun on linked in pretty much every single day and we'd love for you to be a part of it. Mm.

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