RESTING PITCH FACE EP 9: TEAM EFFORT
On this week’s episode of Resting Pitch Face we are talking about the power of an integrated Sales and Marketing Team.
We touch on the sales-first competitive nature often associated with these departments, and how a lack of communication between these teams might be damaging your business.
See below for a full transcription of episode 9.
Dan: So, Polly, this week you posted something very interesting on LinkedIn.
Polly: Was it about making people take their lunch hours?
Dan: It wasn’t but that was also a good post, and I did today, got drenched, and so did you. It was the one about sales and marketing teams working closely together or should they work closely together, all that sort of stuff. I know spending a lot of time on LinkedIn and also reflecting back on my career being in a sales position, I’ve had different structures and I know it’s quite a debated topic.
Dan: So I think we should talk about it a little bit more, see what we think is right, wrong, if there is such a thing, what our experiences have been. So how long have you been in a marketing role here at Flaunt?
Polly: Started in July, so what’s that? Coming up to seven months, no? More than that, isn’t it? Eight months, something. Clearly, I’m not in a mathematical role.
Dan: Not a year. We’ll agree not a year.
Polly: Not a year, near to a year.
Dan: Is this your first marketing role?
Polly: Where I’m just doing marketing, yeah.
Dan: And is the first role where there has been almost like separation, for you, separation between marketing and sales, and you’re just looking after marketing and only marketing?
Polly: Yeah. So previous role, I’ve been an account manager where you obviously kinda do a bit of marketing but you also…less like internal marketing, more like client-side marketing, obviously, and sales. So I’ve kind of been like in your role. So this is the first time I’ve been like…I guess I am an internal marketer, aren’t I?
Dan: I guess you are.
Polly: I guess I am.
Dan: I just realized.
Polly: This is just coming to me. So I guess it’s the first time that I’ve been in that position and then working alongside sales. Typically, the way that I’ve seen it and the way I’ve seen it play out, and I bet you’ve seen the same, is marketing and sales often sit very separate. I mean, it’s different in agencies. It’s different in different businesses, you know, that if you’re selling products and things, you probably work a little bit closer, side by side or whatever else, but they’re often almost like pitted against each other, aren’t they? Or they pit themselves against each other like, oh, marketing. Oh, sales.
Dan: So true. Yeah. And to be honest, I’m guilty of taking the piss through my LinkedIn posting about that. And to be fair, you then brought it down to a serious level with your post this week talking a little bit more about how we’re structured here, and if I got the correct end of the stick, how it’s working well for us. I think the power of sales and marketing working closely, being as integrated as possible, and that can be as surface level as they talk to each other, I think it’s quite evident when it works here. We’ve got proof of it. We’re working on something at the moment that’s been quite exciting where very early on we’ve seen the fruits of sales and marketing working closely together to put a bit of a campaign, if you want to call it that, together, and it’s generated, so far, the action that we wanted it to generate.
Polly: Yeah. And that’s sort of what we’ve been building up to, isn’t it? Obviously, there’s the everyday side of marketing like…I think what I mentioned in my post was if you’re out there making sales, how can that not be aligned with what you’re saying about your business? So what you’re telling potential clients and potential new customers or whatever else, how can you not make sure that that lines up with what is being said on your business pages or what people land on when they get to your website or whatever else? So we’re very good at that. We’re very good at taking note of who you guys are talking to, like what areas we want to be focusing on, where we want to be going, and making sure that things are tailored towards them. And if that is as small as, you know, just sharing a snippet from a case study, sharing some stats from…
Dan: Or snacks, we could share snacks.
Polly: Or snacks. I started saying snapshot and then I started saying stats.
Polly: …from a successful campaign that links to a conversation that’s being had, it’s just like an extra layer to what’s going on. Likewise, that could lead to extra people in a certain sector that you want to focus on. I’ve never understood how people do manage to do both of those roles without talking it through and without making them line up. But we see it all the time.
Dan: Yeah. I’ve lived and experienced it. My first job out of uni, which I know I’ve talked about on previous episodes, was a marketing role in house industrial engineering, real ugly nitty-gritty sort of stuff. I mean, it was old school. I know, again, I’ve told you about this so I won’t go into it, but simply the layout of the office. I was the only person in marketing so I was managing the website and whatnot. I had my own room because it wasn’t your open-plan office, although there was a little bit of open-plan elsewhere for finance and legal and stuff.
Polly: Are you sure they didn’t put you in a room for another reason?
Dan: [inaudible 00:05:57] graduate, get him in there. He needs a wash. So yeah, me the marketer, marketing department, marketing team whatever you want to call it in one room, door closed, all that sort of stuff, the old school office layout, and then not even next door were the sales team and it was three or four guys. I can’t remember. Again, behind closed doors. And it was so disjointed that the business didn’t even think to…I mean, I was a graduate so I probably wasn’t confident enough to put my hand up and question it.
Polly: Yeah, and be like, oh, we should be talking to each other.
Dan: Exactly. But now I look back and think, “Shit, how did that ever operate in any which way that was to the benefit of the business from either a sales or a marketing or both perspective?”
Polly: I think that’s what’s mad. It’s like how can you have these two functional teams both of which can be worth a certain amount of money to a business? But when you join them up, you will quite quickly see that level go up and the amount they’re worth to you go up because what you can achieve by actually working together talking…and sometimes it’s just about ideas as well. Like, if you’re by yourself in a single-person marketing team, which I would be if we didn’t work so closely together, you can’t possibly have all those ideas yourself. Who do you bounce stuff off? Where do you go for your brainstorms? Who are you consulting on that? That’s never gonna be the most productive way to use that person because you need that feedback and you need it from the people who know what’s going on and know what needs to be talked about.
Dan: You also need to give the other team, person, whatever, the opportunity to say something or help or…what I’m thinking here is you join our pipeline updates, don’t you?
Dan: At any point, I could name a company that we’re hoping to meet with or have a meeting and you could jump in with an idea. If you weren’t aware of that unless I knew I needed your help with something. So for example, I know that you’ve thought of case studies that we can put front and center in front of x company that I’m trying to speak to or I’m about to speak to and you’ve thought, right, let’s bump, I don’t know, whatever industry experience in the form of a case study top of the list front and center for them on our website. That wasn’t something I came to you and said, “Can we do this.” This was simply because you were in those conversations where we were talking about pipeline, for example. So it works completely the other way. It works in the impromptu way as well.
Polly: Yeah, massively, because otherwise, what are you gonna do? Come off the back of that. You come out of your sales WIP and you’ve gone through prospective clients, and you’ve gone through all the stuff coming up. And then you have to go make a list of what you need to tell marketing at that point and whatever else. And you might have had the odd idea but all they get is like second-hand information at that point. And it’s not…
Dan: It’s transactional that because your way…
Dan: Like you have to go to marketing or the other way around and say, “I recognize that I need this from you.” But think of all the possibilities where no one recognizes anything without the other person saying something and going, “Oh, shit. Here’s an idea.
Polly: Oh, yeah, that’s a thing.
Dan: So I think we’ve nailed it quite…when I say nailed it, obviously, I’m not saying that we’re their finished article, but we’ve done a damn good job very early on in having the sales and marketing teams has almost just been…I almost see it as a commercial, just a commercial-driven department.
Polly: Yeah, definitely. And I think I suppose it helps. We’ve talked about this before. Obviously, I’ve come from a sales background which I suppose does kind of help. That’s probably helped us early on to marry up those teams because I can see it from your point of view as well, and you’ve been in a marketing background so you can see my role from my point of view which probably will help massively in how well our teams function together. But then alongside that, like you said, it’s the bigger things that we’re now looking at. It’s those big campaigns that actually we’re sat working on for hours at a time as a team and looking at it from every angle. And it’s not just from a commercial angle, it’s from everything. It’s from the creative. It’s every element of it. I’ve never really seen that happen between those two departments. Unless it’s an outright pitch that’s a response to a brief, then obviously you see that. But I’ve never seen it just off the cuff because we’ve had a good idea that we think is gonna work well for both of our departments and for the business.
Dan: There are loads more examples that as you’re saying that I’m thinking of what we’ve done in the last…less than a year, however long we said that you’ve been here for, where I’m having a conversation, impromptu conversation on LinkedIn and someone client-side has said something about our operating model and I’ve told you immediately. The reason why I’ve told you is firstly, we’re much for muchness in terms of our experience, which is what you’ve just talked through. Secondly, I do wonder if it’s to the benefit from a messaging perspective, a marketing perspective for you to hear this kind of feedback that we’re getting in the real world.
Polly: Well, yeah, because that’s what I also find mad. It’s like marketers aren’t necessarily talking to clients.
Dan: No, not always. No.
Polly: I talk to some of our clients and we’re doing that thing more and more we’re making the effort to go out and speak to them because I want to know what they think. I want to know what they think of the business because that’s really important. I never mentioned anybody that thinks you don’t need to do that, but that’s a whole different topic. So how can your talking to the people that are seeing us and understanding…and they’re people that are seeing us often. They might have only seen our website. They might have only seen something on LinkedIn. They’ve only seen short snippets. They don’t know our business inside out like a client would. It’s really important to hear what they think of us. And if marketing aren’t always in a position to be having those conversations but sales are having them on a daily basis, how the hell can you ignore that? Surely you’d want to know that. Like, that’s massively important to your messaging. It’s also massively important to the success of what you’re putting out there. Are people seeing you in the way that you intended?
Dan: It’s bonkers to think that…and there are still…and I think we’ve said it quite early on in this conversation. We’re obviously in the marketing industry so you’d expect integration. I can say first-hand previous places, there has been shit hot marketing team and a good shit hot, whatever you wanna call it, sales team, but there’s no meat in the middle apart from [inaudible 00:13:06] we do this as well a WIP meeting, a weekly WIP meeting where everyone is there from both sides. But beyond that, it was almost like a tick box exercise like…
Polly: Yeah, we’ve seen them.
Dan: Yeah. But what’s the follow-up with that? What does that actually translate to? And genuinely, a lot of it can be helped by communicating.
Polly: Oh, yeah. Massively, yeah.
Dan: Sitting closer obviously helps facilitate that and sometimes you don’t sit close to sales and marketing teams, which I still think is bonkers but it happens. But the impact that just simply communicating every day about what you or I internally might think this is trivial, this doesn’t matter to the other person. It’s nonsense. Try it, say it, tell them everything.
Polly: That actually can have a massive impact, yeah. I think the other thing is, and I’ll see what you think of this, there’s often in each team an arrogance that stops them communicating. Like sales think they’ve done everything. This isn’t a case of every salesperson. This is just purely an example. Say somebody in sales thinks that they’ve facilitated a call, they’ve got this client on the books that they’ve found via social media or whatever and they’ll take full credit for that because they want that praise whereas they don’t want to admit that actually, they might have come off the back of a social media post that was part of a wider campaign that was part of a wider strategy that was facilitated by the marketing department. And same thing, if marketing get a direct lead into them, they don’t always want to acknowledge that actually might have come off the back of a sales conversation that happened with somebody else that could be a mate of someone. And I think there’s often that arrogance of people want their own win and that’s why they refuse to integrate. They almost like look at each other and they’re like, “Oh, no.”
Dan: Yeah. And that goes as far as I’ve seen it where each team member wouldn’t even congratulate the other, you know, well done for that win. It’s bonkers that I can see it and remember it so vividly and clearly, yet thinking how we’re set up here, it’s just the complete opposite of that. The amount of times you and I have said well done to each other on something that obviously we both know.
Polly: Sometimes it’s just about funny GIF.
Dan: Exactly. Exactly that. Yeah, memes and GIFs. It goes as far as just even saying don’t even wanna congratulate the other person. And if you really think about it you can’t have the company’s best interest at heart because if a new client came in and if you track it all the way back, it stems from something marketing had done, you plus marketing, I’m saying you as in sales, me, plus the marketing team, plus the business need to do more of that.
Polly: Oh, definitely. If you’re in sales or you’re in marketing just for your own ego… I mean, unfortunately, those people do quite well in sales and they also do quite well in marketing.
Dan: And there are plenty of them. Yeah.
Polly: But it all comes back to you have to genuinely give a shit. You can’t be like that in a business. It can’t be focused around you and your achievements. Yeah, it’s fantastic. When you do something you should be congratulated and everything else, but there is a team. If someone else in your team makes a sale, that’s a win for your team, that’s a win for your business. Surely that’s like the most important thing.
Dan: Of course. And at the end of the day if you’ve then got future targets looming over you, one of the best ways to figure out how you’re gonna get there is looking back at what has worked. And if you are not being true to what has worked, so in other words, giving marketing the credit where they played a part in the journey of getting x client on board or the other way around, sales, you’re skewing the data and then you’re gonna look at the wider business and go, “That worked, let’s do more of it.” But if you’re not being honest about what that more of it…
Polly: You’re repeating the wrong thing.
Dan: Exactly. So actually, you’re possibly shooting yourself in the foot because you’re not actually repeating what worked and then the business is therefore as a product of that, is obviously gonna be affected as well. I can’t believe we’re saying all of this for what? Twenty minutes? Seventeen minutes? And there are still…
Polly: I could talk about this forever.
Polly: I mean, a lot of what we’re saying as well though does come back to something which we talk about an awful lot on this podcast, which is culture. If you have a culture where you do put your teams in competition against each other or even put individuals in those teams…like for example, we’ve seen sales teams where you are ranked against each other, you know, you get prizes for being a top biller or whatever else, that is never gonna give you the integration between teams that will lead to success, and that’s culture.
Dan: No. It drives the wrong values at a person level and then that obviously feeds its way back up into the wider culture of the team and then the business. And everyone knows that new business is really the heart…like what is needed for a business. The commercial department is incredibly important and it’s mindblowing to know and think of a sincere lack of integration between marketing and sales teams that exist as we speak in many businesses. Hopefully listeners that will be wanting to get in touch with that, “How do you do it?” But it’s really not that hard though, is it?
Dan: We’re almost saying that we’re one end of the spectrum versus the other, we’re not.
Polly: No, we’re not doing anything extraordinary. We’re not doing anything that has some amazing formula that makes this work. It’s as simple as have a conversation, talk through what you’re doing, involve everybody in the team in what’s going on and that’s it.
Dan: I think we should probably talk about something else that taps into this on a future episode. But remove the fact that me and you are officially in sales and marketing in different teams, think of the activity that you and I do, for example, on LinkedIn. We’re building our own networks. Think of the value that you would have in your network for me in my role and the other way around. Forget that we’re sales and marketing, just two people with different networks that we’re building, integration. Just talk to each other. You know, look at this person who has commented on my post, Dan, and me, the other way around.
Polly: Yeah. “I had a really good conversation with this person. I think you’d really get on really well with them.” That’s massively important. How can you not…I mean, we’re all taught to share contacts in terms of like a sales contact, but actually, it’s not about that. It’s really not.
Dan: Think about that approach that we did for last week’s webinar. Generating interest for the webinar or looking in, then the webinar itself, spotting people, asking questions, following up after the webinar with them on a one-to-one basis. It’s not sales and marketing really if you think about it. They’re terms that we’re all used to in business. It’s just being human and…
Polly: Being decent people. What’s the point in putting on a webinar that you’ve put loads of work into, loads of effort into to then just ignore anything afterwards. Actually, you wanna talk to the people, find out why they came. But that’s massively important to anything you do.
Dan: Yeah. And it doesn’t have to be the responsibility of sales or marketing to do that. It’s just one team effectively striving for the same goals.
Polly: Yeah. And that’s it. Or doing a little bit of something that makes everything so much easier and then you know every little bit has also got the right care and attention given to it than it being one team’s responsibility to do absolutely everything. Again, that’s just a bit of decent teamwork there.
Dan: I think a future episode should be about personal branding if we wanna call it that, but the benefit of network building outside of your day-to-day tasks because I think we’re invested in that so we’ve got stuff to evidence and talk about. And I know that a lot more companies are looking at that.
Polly: Seeing the importance of it.
Polly: And seeing the actual value of it.
Dan: Let’s do it.