GUEST: Carman Pirie, Principal and Co-Founder of Kula Partners
It’s not that sales and marketing are out-and-out fighting with each other.
It’s more that they just won’t acknowledge that the other one exists.
As if they don’t desperately need each other to achieve even the basic level of competence at their jobs.
I got to talk with Carman Pirie, Principal and Co-Founder of Kula Partners, about how customer experience becomes seamless when sales and marketing collaborate.
Carman’s respect for sales came from running as a member of the Canadian legislative assembly at age 23. “It's hard for me to put up with objections I hear from salespeople about not wanting to do cold calling,” Carman said.
Carman co-founded Kula to help leading B2B manufacturers craft digital experiences that transform how they engage buyers and serve customers and really outpace their competition online.
So, getting marketing and sales to talk is his day to day.
“Marketers ought to be a little less afraid to sell. And sales ought to be a little less afraid to market.”
A Seamless Customer Experience = A Seamless Sales & Marketing
In marketing, we talk a lot about seamless customer experience.
Yet, we create these seams within our organizations—particularly between sales and marketing.
There seems to be a fundamental disconnect between those two ideas.
“Beyond that, the game changed completely once marketers became responsible for lead gen,” Carman said. They’re the ones whose heads will roll, which upped the quality of the leads considerably.
“Sales and marketing can't be operating in a silo. That doesn't work for today's technology, it doesn’t work for today's buyers, and it doesn't work for what we want to do as organizations in terms of delivering a seamless CX,” Carman said.
Emphasizing inside sales processes, which lend themselves to more digitally crafted experiences, forces us to think about marketing and sales as a whole.
“The salesperson needs to think of themselves as the conductor of a sales symphony versus playing a solo.”
Tell Me About Marketing Forward Approaches
The legacy of old school sales performance is just not working the way it used to.
(You can identify these people because when you ask them what they do, they don't tell you, like it's all wrapped in mystery.)
Carman takes the HESO approach when it comes to modern account-based marketing.
H = Halo
Create a halo around the accounts you want to target.
Build connectivity at the executive level, keeping in mind that mid-size B2B manufacturing organizations are usually family-owned.
Communication, relationships, and meeting needs.
Get people within the organization talking to each other.
“The salesperson needs to think of themselves as the conductor of a sales symphony versus playing a solo,” Carman said.
They could orchestrate what’s happening at the halo level, the executive level, on the marketing teams, and so forth.
“If we could just get them thinking that, salespeople would be more successful,” he added.
Overcome Organizational Barriers
And sales and marketing should collaborate.
“Salespeople don't need to have this massively wonderful, integrated whole of an organization to start down this path. Salespeople, if you want to start selling in a modern way, go find somebody in your marketing department that wants to talk to you,” Carman said.
The marketer would almost certainly love a salesperson who would actually talk to them about this in a meaningful way.
The street runs both ways.
“Marketers would do well to sell a little bit every once in awhile,” Carman said.
“Marketers ought to be a little less afraid to sell. And sales ought to be a little less afraid to market,” he said.
“Sales and marketing can't be operating in a silo. That doesn't work for today's buyers.”
How to Align Marketing and Sales
Thankfully, there’s just one magic bullet that everyone needs to apply in order to...
Oh, wait, no, that’s completely wrong.
But there are a couple of generalizations that, if applied specifically, can help sew up that seam.
1. Customize your content.
Start with a core piece of content, be it a white paper or what have you, that is more industry focused but not overly personalized to the particular corporate entity.
Then make that level of customization in your email and phone outreach as you're trying to prospect into that account.
“That blend is often the sweet spot for people to start,” Carman said.
2. Do your contact research.
If you’re considering personal background research on each individual, like what sports teams they root for and what breed of dog they have—well, it doesn’t hurt.
“The more data that you have and the more detailed it is, your options for what to do with it grow exponentially,” Carman said.
A lighter level of contact research is probably going to be appropriate for accounts that aren’t haloed.
3. Put sales & marketing in the same room.
“Ideally, get the marketer to go on some sales calls and get inside that skin,” Carman said. “It’s hard to create content for something that you have never been a part of in some way.”
If your marketing team is disconnected, sales will probably resent it, and collaboration is far, far away.
What are the results of sales and marketing alignment?
“Marketing forward sales approaches will absolutely change your cold call prospecting,” Carman said.
It changes your customer experience, too. Makes it—if you will—seamless.
“It's not even so much providing them value is as it's actually asking them to create something with you,” Carman explained. “Then as they help you create marketing, you build a relationship with them and can then have a sales conversation.”
Contact Carman at kulapartners.com.
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