Cats and dogs. Fire and ice. Sales and Marketing? Why is it that the separate Sales and Marketing divisions from the same company, with the same goals, and the same direction, spend so much of their valuable energy competing against one another?
Why can’t we all just get along? On this episode of INSIDE Inside Sales, Darryl speaks with Matt Hayman from Refract.ai, a Marketing mastermind who has a deep passion for finding a common ground between Sales and Marketing teams. Darryl and Matt go over valuable strategies and techniques that can assist once mortal enemies of the business world, and help them to successfully collaborate, so that all may benefit. If you find yourself butting heads against your very own co-workers from separate divisions, then this podcast is just the tonic you’ve been looking for!
Not in the mood to listen? No problem, you can read the transcriptions below.
Host: Darryl Praill, VanillaSoft
Guest: Matt Hayman, Refract.ai
Darryl Praill: Hey there everybody. It’s Darryl Praill, coming at you for another episode of INSIDE Inside Sales, the only podcast where we talk about the meat and potatoes, the tactics, the actual execution you need to do to be a more successful, more rich, more prolific sales development rep. We do not talk vision. We do not talk strategy. If you are an executive, if you set the big picture, this show is not for you. On this show, we only talk about what matters, how to make more sales. I am delighted to have you here today. Today’s going to be an interesting show. We’re doing something we’ve never done before. We’re actually doing a show that’s going to be, if you will, simulcast. It’s going to be shared across more than one podcast. So it’s going to be on this show and it’s going to be on another podcast, the exact same podcast. However, it’s going to be to our respective audiences. So what’s the show all about? I’m glad you asked.
Darryl Praill: Today’s show is done in conjunction with my good friend Matt Hayman from Refract. Check him out at refract.io, I think it’s .io or .ai. Now I’m going to have to go look it up. What are you going, oh, look what happens. Okay. But the point of the matter is this, Matt is a marketer as I’m I, but Matt like me has accountability for driving revenue and to do that well, we need to work with sales, which then leads to the conversation of how should sales and marketing align? Which then leads to the conversation, how should marketing leverage you? You in the sales trenches doing what you do, how should we leverage you? And then conversely, for you to be successful, how should you leverage us? We have lots of knowledge and content and you know what, we have budget. What are you doing to leverage our program spend, our budget, our knowledge, our insights, our anecdotes so that you can be more successful?
Darryl Praill: So really it’s at that kind of operational level. How do the two teams work together to leverage one another? And if it’s done right, you’re going to be a more successful sales rep. So with that, I’m going to segue to the recording we did together just a few days ago and you’re going to hear the entire conversation. Enjoy it. I had fun doing it, I hope you have as much fun listening to it. Take care guys. Here’s the show.
Matt Hayman: Darryl, welcome to the show. How are you doing?
Darryl Praill: I am doing so well sir, thank you so much for having me.
Matt Hayman: It’s great to have you on the show. I followed your work at VanillaSoft for some time. You and I have spoken online and offline a few times as well which has always been a pleasure. So great to have you on. So we’re talking about sales and marketing. It’s something that we’re both involved in. Two marketing people talking about sales. What could possibly go wrong?
Darryl Praill: I always find that hilarious, right? I always tell people I’m a marketer, but I’m talking about sales and I’m like, why do people even take me credibly? I don’t understand it, but in fairness to me, I have been a salesperson before. I have carried a bag. I’ve even held the title of VP of sales, but I much prefer marketing. Just between you and I.
Matt Hayman: And my background as well, when I had my own agency, I was involved in sales there, so I do have some experience similar to you. We have a very similar background in that regard as well. Let’s just briefly-
Darryl Praill: You’re good looking too. Is that what I’m hearing you saying?
Matt Hayman: Phenomenally. Yeah, phenomenally. That’s why this is an audio-only podcast as you can tell.
Darryl Praill: All right. I’ll shut up now so you can [inaudible 00:03:49] get focus on the show. Go ahead.
Matt Hayman: So one of the things I thought when we were putting together ideas for the show was around the concept of sales and marketing alignment. And I don’t about you, but I’m not particularly comfortable with that phrase, alignment, because for me that’s sort of, it sounds a bit like there are two parties, two warring factions, and they need to be forced to sort of combine with each other so they both think the same way and I’m not entirely convinced that’s the right way to think about it. My personal preference would be collaboration. What about you? What’s your take?
Darryl Praill: I don’t have a problem with alignment. Collaboration is, in fact, I think collaboration and alignment are almost two different aspects and I can explain that what I mean, for me, alignment says that we both understand respectively, so we say the sales department and the marketing department are the sales leadership and the marketing leadership. We both understand the rules of engagement, right? Because I’m top of funnel and sales is bottom of funnel, right? I have a quarter by quarter, to a year or multi-year outlook. They have a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly outlook. I mean, our views on the world and the expectations of us individually depending on where we’re at are vastly different. And it’s so easy. I saw literally last night, this is a perfect example. So I’m on LinkedIn and you may or may not be familiar. There’s a character called Corporate Bro. No one knows who Corporate Bro is, right?
Matt Hayman: Yeah.
Darryl Praill: Although I have my suspicions. And Corporate Bro posts something along the lines of, and Corporate Bro, if you don’t know Corporate Bro folks, it’s a cheeky, parody of sorts, of salespeople. And Corporate Bro makes a comment along the lines of, Oh, I have to go back and hammer out another thousand cold calls while marketing sits around debating the color of what lanyard, the lanyard should be in the next trade show.
Matt Hayman: I like it.
Darryl Praill: And of course the marketer in me gets indignant right away and my response was, you guys cold call? I thought you’re all just busy spamming everybody with template emails looking for 15 minutes on their calendar. But that was me and then right there I think you have the perfect aspect of, sales has this stereotype of what marketing does, like picking out colors for lanyards, and marketing has this stereotype of what sales does. They never pick up the fricking phone. I don’t know what they do. Right? And so to me, alignment is all around rules of engagement. What do I do and what do I expect of you? And what do you do and what do you expect to me? And what are our shared performance metrics? And what are our sales level agreement, our service level agreements, sorry, our service level agreement between the two teams? Let’s get aligned around that so then we can do what we need to do respectively.
Darryl Praill: Collaboration to me says, hey, how are we going to tackle this together? Maybe it’s a trade show, what do you need from marketing? What is sales going to do? Or maybe we need a topic or maybe we need to go after the competition. We need a one-off, let’s collaborate and let’s take that hill. That’s kind of how I would differentiate the two.
Matt Hayman: Yeah, I think that’s fair. I think my resistance to it is more that it sees the two functions as very separate and they need to be brought together. And that may be because of the nature of the debate around it. And I think that’s absolutely true. I agree with you. They definitely do, but I think when you’re in there day to day, the closer those two teams work, and if that then fosters a sort of a culture of collaboration which almost supersedes the idea for this constant process of let’s make sure we’re all in the same direction and check-in. It should be de facto understood that that’s exactly what we do day to day. It’s then about collaborating to make it work for both parties.
Darryl Praill: I agree with you and I’ll give you even examples. So I view both parties as really, we are colleagues, we are teammates, we are, I’m using more military metaphors, were in that foxhole together side by side. We have each other’s back and we’re trying to earn revenue. It’s as simple as that. You have, one’s the sniper and one’s in another role, whatever you want to call it. My point being is that we have unique sets of skills that when combined allows us to generate revenue and that’s how I view it. What I find funny and I’ve had this conversation in more than one occasion and by the way, this goes both ways. I had a salesperson recently say, yeah, but Darryl, marketing isn’t, they’re not compensated to really get the sale. You could go do your show and make your leads and it doesn’t happen, it’s not going to happen.
[bctt tweet=”Sales and Marketing alignment? ‘We have unique sets of skills that when combined allows us to generate revenue and that’s how I view it.’ @ohpinion8ted #SalesAndMarketingAlignment #B2BMarketing #B2BSales” username=”VanillaSoft”]
Darryl Praill: And it’s a lot of these falsehoods that are held by both sides, because there are fine people on both sides. Who am I parenting? And like I said to them, I said, really? I said, do you understand, at least in my level I’ve got a large portion of my compensation tied to how much money this company makes and that’s falling on you and I can’t speak on the phone for you or draft your emails for you. So I’m 100% relying that you’re not going to screw up the leads I give you. So I’m motivated, dude. I’m motivated. And you can see their eyes get this big. And that’s the thing. Both teams are in fact motivated, compensated, incented, held accountable to generating revenue.
Matt Hayman: Yeah. I think you’ve used a military analogy. I’m always disappointed on our podcast if we don’t include at least one sports analogy.
Darryl Praill: I’m going to into sports, go for it.
Matt Hayman: I’ll beat you to it because I’ve got one ready to go here. So from my perspective, I think that marketing, if you take professional cycling, Tour de France, that type of thing, these big, big pelotons of cyclists going many, many miles an hour or kilometers an hour down these roads, all of the teams have a support vehicle. And in that support vehicle, they have people who are giving them maybe the necessary things they need. Maybe it’s hydration, maybe it’s some nutrition, whatever it might be. But it could also be insights. It could also be reading the road ahead of them, giving them team advice. And I see marketing a little bit like that support vehicle, working alongside sales to help them get where they need to get to, by providing them with some extra resources to make them better at what they do. How’s that for a sports analogy?
Darryl Praill: I love it. I love that sports analogy. That’s fine. Although I was disappointed because I like suspecting you with your fine accent to give me a football analogy. And I don’t mean American football. I mean what the rest of the world knows as football.
Matt Hayman: And that’s the reason why I didn’t.
Darryl Praill: But well done because you recognized me and you said, Darryl probably doesn’t know a damn thing about it. So you went to cycling. Well done. Know your audience. There’s a marketer right there.
Matt Hayman: Thank you very much. Thank you very much.
Darryl Praill: All right, so let me ask you this. So what do you see, whether we count on alignment or collaboration, what do you see happen on a regular basis that is causing a lack of alignment or a lack of collaboration?
Matt Hayman: For me, I think where I’m at at Refract, we are a sales led organization and I’ve come in to Refract knowing that from the outset, but I think in other businesses, what’s probably going on is that marketing historically has done those things that have led to that parody that you talked about a moment ago about what color should we put on here or what should we do there? My approach is I’m more of a direct response marketer. I like to put material out there. I like to see what comes back. I like to look at the data, iterate and improve and be able to demonstrate the impact of the work that I’ve done. So I think some of that alignment historically hasn’t been there because the types of activity that those two departments are involved in is actually quite different and doesn’t necessarily have that commonality where the hungry salesperson wants the leads, the hungry marketer wants to give them the leads. And I think that’s one of the reasons is because historically the activity has been quite separate.
Darryl Praill: I have a theory I want to bounce off you.
Matt Hayman: Fire away.
Darryl Praill: I am a firm believer that a sales rep needs to spend a period of time, let’s call it a month, three months, no more than three months, but let’s say a month in the marketing team and that the marketing people need to spend a similar amount of time in the sales role. I am a firm believer that if we were to have this role swapping, that the two teams will be far more aligned and a lot of the stereotypes and misunderstandings that exist today would disappear. What are your thoughts on that?
[bctt tweet=”‘I am a firm believer that if we were to have this role swapping, that the two teams will be far more aligned and a lot of the stereotypes and misunderstandings that exist today would disappear.’ ~ @pixelatematt #SalesAndMarketingAlignment” username=”VanillaSoft “]
Matt Hayman: Yeah, I think that’s something that I see at Refract because I share an office with the sales team, we are constantly conversing, they’re constantly giving me feedback on some of the material that we’re putting out. I’m constantly hearing what they’re doing, that conversation happens all the time. So rather than it be a discrete event, like you’re suggesting, it’s something that just happens by osmosis almost. We’re in the same room, that’s constantly happening. But I think as well, it’s also about my willingness to embrace sales and understand the process, the methods, the technology around sales. And I think equally there’s a part of the business that sales team, in particular, are keen to find out more about how I work and the work that I do. So I think it happens naturally. But I can imagine in larger organizations if they were to spend that dedicated time, I think a lot of good things would happen definitely. How does it work with VanillaSoft?
Darryl Praill: So we don’t do this at Vanilla Soft. I mean that we, so just because I bring that up doesn’t mean I’m doing it so we’re clear on this. But how it does work is, my counterpart in sales, so his name is Scott Amerson and he’s in a different geography than I am, but through the powers of the telephone and the wonderful capabilities of Slack, the messaging platform, we talk a gazillion times a day. And what’s interesting about Scott and I is that we literally did have that rules of engagement discussion when I came on because I’ve learned over time that if I don’t do that, it blows up in my face. So for us, we sat down and we went through just some basic stuff, right? So we kind of said, and I said, “Okay Scott, so just so I’m clear on this, I want to give you leads, right? Marketing qualified leads.” Yup. Okay, great.” “How do you define a lead my good friend?” “Oh, that’s a good question. Well, what do you mean? We might be talking revenue. We’re talking employee size, talking industry, talking what, like what, how do you define a lead?”
Darryl Praill: So we had that conversation and then I went on and I said, “Okay, so who’s our target persona?” And it was one, they’d never had that conversation. That conversation alone became like three hours around the whole executive team, right? Just like, because what we learned by doing that was how we all thought and we all agreed at the surface level that we knew who our target persona was. As the head of sales, it will go with that. So the head of sales, start with that, that persona there. Great, what does that mean? And all of a sudden, are they 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, what’s their background? What products do they read? Do they read? Are they on social media? They’re not on social media. Do they go to events? Do they not going to events?Yad, yada, yada.. And all of a sudden we realized when we drilled down on this persona, we were all like years apart. So it was all said and done. Everybody was like, damn, that was a really good conversation.
Darryl Praill: So some basics, and then it got a little more tactical. Okay Scott, if I generate, and now we have a consensus on the lead definition, I might give you a lead, a marketing qualified lead, in what timeframe do you commit you will follow up with that lead? And next, how many touches do you commit you will do before you finally say, I give up? Just those two little things. What’s the speed to lead and what’s the cadence? And getting that down part, just those little basic rules. What’s the lead? Who’s the target persona? What are our target industries, if you will? And then what are the rules of engagement once a lead has been generated by the sales team themselves, says we now have a common understanding of expectations. But then we went one step further. We said, okay, what’s the consequence? And ironically, we didn’t come to an agreement on what the consequence was other than we both have permission to call each other out. And there can be no offense taken because we define the rules of engagement. So if I said, Scott, you need to follow up with a lead within, I don’t know, eight hours, a new lead.
Darryl Praill: And I can look back and say, okay, I have spent a lot, I looked at the last 30 days of data and I see that on average we’re taking 28 hours. Scott, what the hell is going on dude? Like you’re killing me. We all know the percentage just drop like a rock and now that’s where the collaboration comes in. Okay, instead of me blaming him, I just ride his attention. He’s not offended with me. Okay, let’s collaborate on what we can do together to improve this metric so that we all gain on the revenue side. So that was what worked really, really well for us. And when I don’t do that, man, is that like just a mistake. And what’s very important here in all this is none of this is done with an expectation that anybody’s trying to screw anybody. It was just done around, let’s just, you know your role, I know my role, let’s agree on how we’re going to engage together and let’s go and we all want the same thing. And that’s really, really important to understand, we all want the same thing.
Matt Hayman: Yeah. And I went through a similar process when I started at Refract, I sat down with nearly all of the sales team and went through the ideal persona and it was so, so valuable for me to be able to understand, I have my preconceived ideas about who would be buying Refract, who would be one of our good fit prospects. But it was only when I talked to the sales guys that I actually understood, they started to, some patterns began to emerge. And even just talking to one of the sales team, I wouldn’t have got that picture. It needed to be the SDRs, the BDMs, our head of sales. It needed to be across the board for me to really understand who that persona is, who are those personas and how can we find them and get to them in the right way. And one of the things actually that came out of that was, we early on, we’ve started to develop some lead magnets going back to my background in more of a direct response, we started to put together some lead magnets.
Matt Hayman: And one of the things that we, some of the assumptions that were made to begin with were that anybody who was a good fit persona would find the lead magnet useful. But again, talking to the sales guys, I recognize that actually we really are working with two distinct different groups. We’re working with people who don’t listen to sales calls currently and we’re also working with people who do listen to sales calls. And just that important distinction meant that we could target those different markets with different lead magnets, different followup sequences in a completely different way that’s more relevant and better for those two. And that only came about through a conversation.
Darryl Praill: So let me ask you this. So you did all this, so then once you were kind of, you established that alignment, that spirit of collaboration, how did you as a marketer subsequently benefit, what happened that you glean new intelligence, you’re able to achieve a win that you might not have otherwise achieved without having done that?
Matt Hayman: Yeah. I think there’s the macro and the micro. The big picture is that I understood who we were really trying to speak to and what we were trying to say and the nuances of that. But on a micro level, it was also about improving things like the click-through rates, the conversion rates, some of our acquisitions, some of our paid acquisition. Costs would come down. We would have better fit prospects and all of that went into a snowball effect of me producing better content. So it was both big picture and small picture. I got so much value and get so much value from being involved in that. And in a way, one of the reasons for setting up this episode was to sort of advocate on behalf of marketing to the people who listen who are salespeople, sales leaders, was to say to them, look, you have insights. You have deep, deep insights that you probably work on, on a completely subconscious, unconscious basis when you’re working with prospects. That data, that information has a huge value to a marketer like me, not just big picture, but even down to the type of cover we might have on a lead magnet.
Matt Hayman: Does that speak to that person? Does it speak to their aspirations? Right the way through from big picture to small picture, it’s hugely valuable. And I can’t do it unless, I can only do it when I’m listening to calls, listening, using Refract, listening to some of the calls our guys make, having conversations with them and making it a conversation as opposed to something that’s done and then put on a shelf.
Darryl Praill: So I’ve heard, to your point, I’ve done a lot of the similar things and for me, what I find interesting is that every sales rep, you can give them a script, you can train them, but they are going to personalize the value prop and the messaging, the objection handling, all that usual stuff. And what’s interesting about that is often when you eavesdrop or you listen to recordings, you hear them express things or use a metaphor and analogy that you yourself hadn’t thought of, and you go, Oh my goodness, that is freaking brilliant. Why didn’t I think of that? That is like gold. And then I turn around and I use it in all my outbound messaging and etc, as just one more way to kind of convey our value prop and hook the lead. And I wouldn’t have benefited from that without that spirit of cooperation.
Darryl Praill: And it goes both ways. I’ve had it before where I’ve had salespeople staff events and I’ve listened to them engage, and then I’ve gone over to my sales leadership colleague and I’ve said, “Listen, I listened to Susie and Susie was asked a pretty straight forward question and Susie went, whomp, whomp, whomp, whomp, I don’t know what I’m talking about, whomp whomp whomp.? And I said, “I just spent like $30,000, $40,000 on this show and respectfully, I never want Susie in my booth again. And I like Susie. I just don’t want her in my booth.” And what I love about when you have alignment is that your colleague will listen to that and instead of getting offended and defend their teammate, they’ll go, “Yup, I get it. No problem. Dealt with.” When you have that spirit of cooperation because you’re both so singularly focused on the same thing, the organization just goes bonkers on achieving its goal.
Darryl Praill: But now let me ask you this. In your opinion, is it incumbent upon the head of sales and the head of marketing to initiate this alignment and this spirit of cooperation or does it start even further up? So for example, typically a CEO, a managing director or maybe, Oh yeah, let’s start with that. And then afterward I want to talk to you about what your thoughts are on the role of a chief revenue officer, but let’s, so what do you think? Is that incumbent upon the two leaders to do that? Or is it incumbent upon the actual, their shared mutual boss?
Matt Hayman: I’m always, this sounds like a get out, and I will answer the question, but I’m always cautious about trying to develop a universal theory of everything. There are lots of nuance to the question that I want to sort of preface my answer with. So one would be the size of the organization and the maturity of the organization. So at Refract, we’re quite a young startup, ambitious, similar values across the team, known people for a long time. People have worked together for a long time. I sit next to our head of sales. It’s a constant, it echos everything I’ve said. If you came into the office today, everything I’ve said would be on display for everybody to see that collaboration, that working together is there. Now for a bigger organization, for a more mature organization, a more corporate organization, it may be completely different. And I do think that there’s an element of setting the tone that the senior leadership needs to set the tone and they need to set the tone with some specific ways in which the two teams can work together.
Matt Hayman: I agree. I think there are lots of places where there will be discussions about what’s an MQL, MQL handover, what’s an SQL, what’s the SQL handover process look like? I think from my perspective, I’m always keen to see the culture, the senior management set the culture and set the tone and not necessarily for it to have a sort of an undercurrent of blame, which I think some of those MQL, SQLs handover conversations can have-
Darryl Praill: It’s all about blame. Yeah.
Matt Hayman: Exactly. And it’s rife and I think what it needs to be is there needs to be genuine pockets of collaboration which they themselves have clearly defined outcomes associated with that then set the tone and set a precedent for other people to follow. So one or two examples maybe where sales and marketing have worked together on maybe smaller projects, but they have borne a lot of fruit. I think things like that set a tone and set an expectation amongst the rest of the team but ultimately senior leadership needs to take responsibility. So what about you? What are your thoughts?
Darryl Praill: I believe it’s incumbent upon the two individual leaders to proactively work together. I believe it’s going to be far more successful if it’s either initiate, well, let me rephrase that. I believe it’s going to be more successful if it’s sponsored, encouraged, supported by the leadership. Where I don’t think it’s going to work as well, but it’s still necessary, is that leadership, in this case, the CEO in my example, if they started, if they say, you two folks, head of sales, head of marketing, you need to get together and sing kumbaya and make sure you have an understanding and I’m going to hold you accountable to that. It’s tough. Yes, that has to happen. That has to happen. But I genuinely think the leaders of sales and the leader of marketing should be the one proactively initiating that. It should not, if it requires the CEO to jump in and say, you guys haven’t done this yet, you need to do it, then to me there’s some symptoms going on that you may not have the right leadership in one or both of those departments because-
Matt Hayman: And that’s where I think there needs to be some diagnosis of the reasons why that’s happened as opposed to saying, right, come on guys, this is the right, we need to really do this. It’s actually to spend the time and energy on the diagnosis as to why that’s happened in the first place. I think that’s probably going to be far more revealing than just standing in the ivory tower saying, come on, let’s really knuckle down and do this and let’s make this happen. I think for me it’s about the deep reflection, deep diagnosis on some of the reasons why it hasn’t happened.
Darryl Praill: And we’ve run out of time. I’m sorry. I know we’re right in the middle of things. You were intrigued. You want to hear how it ends, so do I. stay tuned because the next episode of INSIDE Inside Sales will actually finish the story. But in the meantime, Hey, you know the promotion, the selling, closing the deals, it never ends. And that includes me asking you to help me close the deal on getting this show out there. So please go like, follow, share, review, espouse, talk about, comment on the INSIDE Inside Sales show. If you like this, so do your colleagues. But with that, we’re going to be back with the next episode where Matt and I are going to wrap this conversation up. We hope you enjoyed it. Don’t miss part two. In the interim, my name is Darryl Praill. You can find me on Twitter. You can find me on LinkedIn. You can find me at vanillasoft.com. Thanks for joining us today. We’ll talk to you soon.