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 arehere today with Heidi Eisenstein, she is the VP of global field marketingevents and alliances at oracle Heidi. I'm so excited to have you on the showtoday. Thank you James. It's a pleasure to be here and really looking forwardto our conversation today. Yeah, this one is going to be fun. So Heidi, wewere talking off line right before we hit record here and we were talkingabout how there's this common myth in field marketing where you know, fieldmarketing is really seen often times as an execution arm as opposed to astrategic arm. And this is something you've run into time after timethroughout your career in field marketing. Uh and so as we were talkingoff line, you really had what I think are some really smart ways that fieldmarketers can position themselves and really think about the role a littlebit differently so that they can be seen as a strategic arm of the businessand 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 reallypressed in on this with two different questions that I asked you, you talkedabout 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 outof this interview, they just listen to this interview. They're going back totheir desk from there, you know, walk around the block or whatever, what issomething that they can do that's really actionable this week to start totake that turn from being seen as more execution to being seen as morestrategic. Yeah, it's a great question and certainly like part of any fieldmarketers role, there is an execution component. We do plan and executeevents and programs initiatives all the time and we have to do that withexcellence. But there's this whole...

...other side to the role that is aboutunderstanding the strategic priorities for the business, understanding how youalign to the sales, go to market, understanding what the growthobjectives are or those business priorities are for a given quarter orfiscal year and you have to build a field marketing plan that is reallytied to that tightly and that's how you position yourself as a strategic leaderand a partner to sales, I'd say really getting in close with sales tounderstand what is their business, How are they aligned, how are they going tomarket? What are their core challenges for that given quarter or year? Itmight be an issue with pipeline creation, it might be more of an issuewith scale pipeline and they need help progressing that pipeline to close.There are different field marketing tactics that have field marketer can doto help in those, both those scenarios. So my single advice to a field marketor who might be listening to this today is do you understand the business thatyou're trying to grow or sustain or retain and if you don't know yournumber, if you don't know who you're equivalent kind of sales leader is thatyou're supporting, really get closer to the business, Ask those questions. Youshouldn't be building field marketing plans, programmes, initiatives in avacuum because they're fun or cool. Yeah, but like really trying tounderstand like who are you building this for and what is the businessobjective you're trying to achieve? Yeah. So Heidi for for folks listeningthat maybe they're in a seat like yours where they're tasked with finding fieldmarketers for their organization. What types of qualities, characteristics areyou looking for as you're growing your field marketing team, honey, I'vereally, you know, certainly you need somebody who understands the marketingmix and marketing framework. Somebody who can really think through what areall the different tactics that we can use to drive a strong marketing planand therefore reach those business...

...objectives. So yeah, marketingexperience is key for sure. But given the uniqueness of the film marketingrole, a lot of what we do is about relationship building and trust withsales if we want to get in there and really understand the business, likesales may or may not have, you know, the history with marketing, where theyfeel comfortable pulling marketing into their pipeline calls or forecast calls,really sharing where they're struggling and where they might need help. And sohiring folks who can build relationship, who can instill trust, who can reallyprove that they're in it to support that sales objectives alongside thatsales leader is going to be so much more valuable than somebody who comesin with the brightest marketing ideas. So you really need folks who know howto have relationships and build trust first and foremost and then build theplan and then of course we want folks who can execute with excellence, butthat's secondary or tertiary to those first, foundational people. Does itmake sense at all? Heidi to look for people with a background in sales orare the disciplines a little too disconnected for that to make sense? Ithink I had lots of folks on the sales side who are interested in changingcareers and kind of coming into marketing and vice versa. And I dothink with regards to field marketing in particular there is a naturalconnection point when you think about that sales marketing continuum and howthat continuum is more connected than it's ever been in years past and now wehave software and different technology that really mergers that salesmarketing continuum. I think the closest marketer to fail in the fieldmarketer, so we often are the ones that are closest to the customer wereclosest to the business. We speak in terms of pipeline, we understand growthobjectives. So I do think there's crossover between an account executiveand a field marketer. So I can see folks go back and forth between thoseroles. They are, they are distinct sometimes in marketing, we have to takea longer investment view, were...

...oftentimes thinking a year or two outand making investments to drive something like awareness. If our playsawareness, we're not going to achieve awareness in a single quarter, we haveto 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 differentway of thinking for a sales person who certainly nurtures relationships longterm and is thinking of future business but is really focused on the quarter athand or the fiscal year at hand and the number that they have to go after makesall the sense idea. I want to I want to go back to this idea of getting fieldmarketers out of the mindset of being execution focused and being morestrategy focused and being seen really more as a strategic partner for thefield market are listening to this, they want to go do this, they want toask the right questions to the right people really get aligned with salesobjectives. What could you foresee that field marketer who it kind of fallsinto the myth that you shared earlier that they're thinking of themselvesjust as execution. What could be something if they're trying to followyour advice, What's a potential way that they could screw it up in, tryingto actually do what you're saying? It's a good question. That's not where Ithought you were going to go with that one. I am at this great questionbecause you can't just walk into a room and say I'm your strategic partner andit just doesn't work that way. You do have to commit yourself tounderstanding the ins and outs of the business. You do have to commityourself to conversations around business priorities. You do have topush back. In some cases, sales will often want what they might need in amoment and it might not align to the marketing strategy and plan that you'veagreed to for that quarter for that fiscal year. So sometimes you have tohave that confrontation or that conflict respectfully to push back andthrough the course of time, you establish yourself as somebody who canspeak on business terms, who can look...

...at pipeline numbers or scorecard andyou know, take insight from that and pivot their plans based on thoseinsights and the sales leader, sales folks that you're working with, seethat and that trust, you know, grows over time and therefore you earned thereputation as a strategic leader. So you have to lean in, you have to knowwhere to lean in and you have to be patient and I think if you're lookingat like step one, if you haven't sat down with your sales leader, your salesteam that you're supporting to really net out what their business prioritiesare 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 amarketing plan to that sales team, you can have the best ideas in the worldand 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 themto think through their priority industries, is this a year where we'regoing after net new business or retaining our current installed base?Like if you haven't gone through that conversation of understanding what thebusiness priorities are, you can't possibly serve up a marketing plan,that strategic, you have to start there really digested ask questions center inon that and then come back with a marketing plan that reflects thosebusiness priorities. That's step one. So step one, you've got to have thoseconversations and ask the questions that you need to ask So that you canget aligned on what those objectives are, what those goals are. Step two isyou're gonna build a plan to then present to them to say, hey, this iswhat I think we can do, that is going to align what we're doing in our fieldmarketing efforts with the goals you're trying to achieve then, is it just amatter of being a dance back and forth because sales inevitably is going towant to go off track of that plan. And is it just a matter of pointing back tothat 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 initialsourcing of business priorities and building of the plan can happen in thefirst month or two of a fiscal year and now you've kind of got your plan and weall know it's build marketers, nobody sits on a plan for a year and calls itgood. Like we are constantly evolving and optimizing our plan based on howsales is performing each quarter. And sometimes we're putting into the mixsome new marketing tactics throughout a given quarter if if we're not seeingthe performance that we want to see, you know, and so we have to stay on ourtoes in the way we stay close to the business. And the way we're able topivot and optimize our plans as we go is we stay close to fails and thatmeans we we asked to be part of their team, We have to be part of theirstrategic teams. So can you join pipeline calls weekly where they gothrough every opportunity that's in cycle. That's expected to close thatquarter and they talk about where they might be stuck or things are goingreally well, You can create a top deal list with your sales partners like whatare the top 10 deals you absolutely must close. And maybe two of those 10actually could use marketing support to help bring those over the line. Othersyou can't touch as a marketer and that's fine. But having thoseconversations to say where can I lean in to support you be successful thisquarter and if they're looking a quarter or you're looking at some filmmarket or a quarter or two quarters out and you see that you're not going tohave the pipeline, you need to hit your revenue target that quarter. You canstart 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 thatproblem. So you're just constantly reviewing the data, the salesperformance together, you're measuring the impact of your own marketingprograms to say what's working. Not working any good sales leader will saylet's dial up what's working and let's dial down and pivot on what's not andas a marketing professional field market or you have to be able to saythese executive engagement programs are...

...thriving. Look at all this great impactwe've been able to have on the business, these kind of generic horizontalroundtable series, not really performing. Let's create an industrylends to those and see what we can do to read our accounts that that you knoware organized by industry for example, God, we touched on this a little bit inthe pre interview Heidi. But I I want to press in a little bit more herebecause you've had a really storied career in field marketing. What'ssomething that you have changed your mind about or maybe evolved yourthinking on as it relates to field marketing throughout your career? Youknow, it's it's a great question and I have been doing this profile and soit's like what did I initially think? And I think we've we've touched on alot of it here. You know, I I think I thought at one point that if you if youare the brightest marketer in the room and you come with the most creativeideas that that might be enough. I also have thought that if you just simplyhave the best relationship and you get along really well with sales, thatmaybe that's enough. And what I've learned over time is that there is ahealthy tension between sales and marketing and that's good. It needs tobe respectful and you need to know their business to be able to hold thattension respectfully, but it's appropriate to push back. It'sappropriate to share more about your discipline and why you've madeinvestments in certain areas. I love personally learning about salesdiscipline and how they approach their business and how they generate interestin an account and then how do they move it to the next level. And then at whatpoint did they expand that buying committee and get closer to a differentL. O. B. To actually be successful in closing the deal like that side of thebusiness is fascinating. Marketing is the same way. And so I think pullingeach other into understand kind of the anatomy of what it is that we do isreally important and it's something...

I've I've kind of slowed down and buildconfidence to do through my career. And sales are super receptive to that. Likethey want to see you as an owner of your discipline and they want tounderstand the logic behind the investments that you make or therecommendations that you make and so slowing down to explain those andsometimes push back or shared different rationale with the direction they mightwant to go that you don't agree with is also appropriate. Yeah I thinksomething you mentioned earlier, how did it's just an important reminderhere that if this hasn't been how you are operating in your organisation,this kind of change. The perception shift doesn't happen overnight. Ittakes patients, you mentioned that earlier but I think there is a path toyou being seen as that strategic partner. If you start doing a lot ofthe things that you've outlined here asking those questions really gettingthat alignment eventually you're going to see the tide turning you're going tostart to see your sales counterparts, looking at you through the strategiclens, like you want them to be seeing you. So I really appreciate your timehere today, Heidi. This has been fantastic. If there's somebodylistening to this, they want to stay connected with you, what's the best wayfor them to do that? Certainly, I mean, I love too learn from others. I love toconnect with marketers and folks who are looking at marketing as a potentialcareer path or they're looking to shift gears, move from sales to marketing orvice versa, so feel free to reach out to me on linked in. I'm out there andwould 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 thisepisode. So if you want to check out Heidi just find her on linkedin andthat link. And Heidi, thank you so much for your time today. This has beenincredible. I really appreciate it. It's been so fun. James, thank you forthe opportunity.

Are you on linkedin? That's a stupidquestion. Of course you're on linkedin here. Sweet fish. We've gone all in onthe 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 aslide deck and sometimes it's just a regular old status update that sharestheir unique point of view on B two B marketing leadership or their jobfunction, we're posting this content through their personal profile, not ourcompany page and it would warm my heart and soul if you connected with each ofour evangelists, we'll be adding more down the road. But for now you shouldconnect with Bill Read, our Ceo Kelcy Montgomery, our creative director, danSanchez, our director of audience growth Logan Lyles, our director ofpartnerships and me, James Carberry. We're having a whole lot of fun onlinked in pretty much every single day and we'd love for you to be a part ofit. Mm.

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