Podcast Transcript: Marketing & Sales Disconnect

 

Participants

John Arms co-host, Unified Funnel Metrics

Jessica Kelley, HPZ Marketing

Transcribed by Edna Ahts (Thank you!)

[Audio Length: 0:25:58]

RECORDING COMMENCES:

 

John Arms:

Welcome to The Fractional Life. I’m your host John Arms, along with our co-host, Jason Voiovich. We’re obsessed with the market shift away from the full-time employment workforce or what we’ll start calling Fractional World or Gig Life, particularly as it relates to marketing and communications. If you like marketing and communications, we hope you find new ideas, inspiration, and motivation to join the fractional workforce here. The Fractional Life is a production of Unified Funnel Metrics, your ticket to joining The Fractional World. Welcome, and we’re glad you’re here.

Today’s topic is going to be kind of fun, I’m sitting with Jessica Kelley, who is a UFM trained marketer. Jessica and I often talk about sales and marketing alignment, don’t we?

 

Jessica Kelley:

Every day.

 

John Arms:

We’ve been exploring the topic, it’s obviously critical to success, so I thought I’d have Jessica in today to talk about the subject of why is it so hard to get sales and marketing aligned and what do we do about it so that we can have that lift in sales that marketing is supposed to do. My first question for you is, why is it so hard for sales and marketing, why do they live in silos?

 

Jessica Kelley:

Why do sales and marketing constantly fight?

 

John Arms:

Yeah.

 

Jessica Kelley:

Sales folks, if you are listening, does this sound familiar? Marketing gives me crap. I don’t know what they do. They never listen. That’s really hard for us marketers because we are supposed to be the eyes and the ears of the organization. So, why is there such conflict? Well, many times they are different departments.

 

John Arms:

Just structurally?

 

Jessica Kelley:

Completely structurally. At the end of the day, sales is responsible for sales and marketing isn’t. I call it The Stink Test.

 

John Arms:

Tell me about The Stink Test.

 

Jessica Kelley:

The Stink Test. At the end of the day, sales people, they don’t care about a pretty brochure. They don’t care about the right messaging and the words that us marketers want to make sure they do. They care about driving sales and protecting customers. The Stink Test is can I stand in front of the sales team and will they clap or will they boo? Then you know you have a win and you’re getting some traction.

 

John Arms:

Your Stink Test is for the marketing team?

 

Jessica Kelley:

No. It’s for the sales team.

 

John Arms:

Tell me more. It’s that the Stink Test is, does the work marketing put together, will the sales people clap?

 

Jessica Kelley:

Absolutely.

 

John Arms:

It’s a test to see if marketing is doing its work.

 

Jessica Kelley:

Absolutely. But it’s also a strong partnership. Reaching across the table, extending your hands to work together and that’s where the hard work begins.

 

John Arms:

Riffing on that a little bit. You’ve entered the fractional world. You’re a gig marketer now.

 

Jessica Kelley:

I am.

 

John Arms:

Isn’t it wonderful?

 

Jessica Kelley:

Love it.

 

John Arms:

We won’t change how companies are organized. That is what it is. Now that you’re free and independent of structured organization, you serve customers in a very authentic way, how are you going about bringing that Stink Test and that discipline of reaching over, not needing to know what the internal structures are? How do you do that? How do you get people to align and work together, or what’s your plan to make that happen with your client base?

 

Jessica Kelley:

It’s not easy because there is natural friction. At the end of the day, it gets back to the analog way. You pick up the phone and you ask and you talk to them. They know what’s going on in the field. They have the information so how can you take that information and put it into marketing and to drive sales.

 

John Arms:

What I’m hearing is strong need for a feedback loop.

 

Jessica Kelley:

Yes. How do you get that?

 

John Arms:

The powers of interpretation.

 

Jessica Kelley:

Sometimes marketers have a hard time doing that because we work so hard on this thing to give to them. I have had to scrap complete rebrands because it didn’t pass The Stink Test.

 

John Arms:

Then you have people, expectations, and things to manage when you do that, so that doesn’t work.

 

Jessica Kelley:

It doesn’t work.

 

John Arms:

It didn’t pass The Stink Test.

 

Jessica Kelley:

Again, it goes to the partnership. Hey sales team, this is what we’re thinking from a strategy standpoint to execution that ties in to our business and revenue. Does this work? Many times they are just thrilled that you are asking and they will provide great feedback. I actually had a head of sales say to me, I know everybody is loving this campaign, Gartner loved that campaign. He said to me, I don’t get it.

 

John Arms:

That’s the most important feedback.

 

Jessica Kelley:

I don’t get it.

 

John Arms:

He’s on the front line.

 

Jessica Kelley:

I don’t get it. I’m thinking, it’s working. When you have Gartner say it’s working, so I had to step back and say if he doesn’t get it then the customer doesn’t get it. We need to reframe it and we need to change it. Great. Let’s roll up our sleeves and change it. Being vulnerable to that type of feedback is what can help advance the sales and marketing relationship.

 

John Arms:

Vulnerability is not easy for a lot of people. Could I press you to talk for a minute or two about why is there a different barometer? Your Stink Test makes perfect sense. Why is there a different barometer in marketing for what is effective and good? Then another barometer for what is effective and good in sales. Those should be the same. They literally exist within an organization for the same outcome, which is driving revenue. What has happened in the American marketplace to create such a dichotomy?

 

Jessica Kelley:

A disconnect?

 

John Arms:

Yeah.

 

Jessica Kelley:

I’m sorry to say, us marketers have made it all very complicated. There’s 7,000 marketing technology tools out there and we are so excited about it. It will tell us this information, it will tell us this information. We have Google Analytics. We have heat maps. That’s too complicated. The sales guys don’t care. What actions can happen that drive sales? We need to step out of that and get back to simplicity which has worked perfectly for UFM.

 

John Arms:

UFM is a sticky note sale simple operating system and that’s part of the reason we did that. There are 7,000 or more marketing technologies available in the marketplace today for marketers to use. I understand that because just that that exists, that they can be pulled in the direction of those technologies which with limited time and energy, if you’re pulled into the direction of using a percentage of those for marketing, where are you taking that time from? You’re taking it from your time with your sales team. I think this is an endemic crisis in marketing today. There is so many things pulling people away from the revenue in the middle, marketing technology being one. I’m sure we’ll get beat up by people who — and we definitely, on our dashboard we use marketing technology.

 

Jessica Kelley:

Absolutely.

 

John Arms:

But we command it. We don’t allow it to command us. Meaning yes, I know I can go a mile deep on this particular tool but I’m not going to do that because it doesn’t serve revenue. The marketing technology plays a role in that. I’ve always thought, and I’d love your opinion on this, that marketing rewards itself on style, beauty, story, awards, and a little bit of ego and that then has become its barometer. I think that has historically been true, that’s why we’ve got Mad Men as a TV show. There was an article last month in Adweek talking about the dying ad agency model. It wasn’t referring to that but I’m curious as to your take of why ad agencies are at the precipice right now and will they come back.

 

Jessica Kelley:

I thought we were talking about sales.

 

John Arms:

What’s that?

 

Jessica Kelley:

I thought we were talking about sales.

 

John Arms:

Yeah, that’s true. I know. They’re supposed to live together, right? It’s not even in the conversation.

 

Jessica Kelley:

I’ll change the topic back to sales. I have this great agency, they’re going to come up with this great strategy, and we’re going to get this target market and we’re going to grow sales 10%. Again, Stink Test. They’re going to look at me and say, why did you spend that money? I would rather take this money and spend it on customer A, B, and C and work on spending money for prospect D, E, and F. It gets back to that vulnerability of standing in front of the sales team and saying, what works? How can we partner together to drive that? I know I’m probably not even answering your question.

 

John Arms:

No, you are. It really is The Stink Test is a critical factor. It’s really not often thought of or brought to. You bring it to your customers. You live as a fractional marketer. You have fiduciary responsibility. You do have a line of sight on your customers budget and what allocations should be set forth towards different areas of the customer journey. The siloization of marketing whether it’s technology, people like sales teams or even how a company’s organized, that accountability has been spread so wide and so thin that you can hardly see it. I think your Stink Test sounds like a heavy lean into accountability.

 

Jessica Kelley:

I would tell many of my teams the reason why the lights are on is because of the sales team. If they call, if they ask something, we will drop everything to meet their needs. You know what? They’re working for a customer and we need to help serve that. There have been many senior leadership meetings that I left because a sales rep called. They need something and we are here to serve. That ties closely together of economical marketing to sales.

 

John Arms:

You’re in a meeting with leadership, high level meeting, CEOs, and I know your history. You played at very high levels of sales and marketing in your career. You had to say, time out. I’ve got a mid-level sales person I have to pay attention to. You’ve applied it in your life.

 

Jessica Kelley:

I have absolutely applied it in my life. But how you get there is establishing trust with that sales person and that takes time. One story that I will tell, being in the medical device world, very high level sales people working for surgeons and this particular sales director, she was really tough. Nothing that I did or my sales team did was good enough, fast enough, right enough. Left that organization and we met socially. She said, I save every one of your emails.

 

John Arms:

Really? What was in those emails?

 

Jessica Kelley:

It was the right information at the right time for the right customer. Again, getting back to the trust and the value marketing provides. Sometimes it’s not the pretty brochure.

 

John Arms:

No, it’s not. Again, the barometer. What is the barometer for success and the ultimate measure and the only measure — I shouldn’t say that. Not just the only measure but is it driving revenue and can we find that it contributed to that? If we can’t find it contributed to that, it doesn’t belong in the mix.

 

 Jessica Kelley:

Don’t do it. The sales guys will appreciate you for doing that.

 

John Arms:

You or I were at a ClubE meeting not too long ago here in the Twin Cities and I was speaking on that subject matter and I do believe this to be true. Which is, the old adage, I know half of my marketing is a waste, I just don’t know which half.

 

Jessica Kelley:

Who is the guy that said that?

 

John Arms:

John Wanamaker.

 

Jessica Kelley:

Yes.

 

John Arms:

This was 1921, so we’re almost 100 years since then. It was interesting because when I presented that to the audience I said, well we spend $240 billion on advertising and marketing a year. Advertising and marketing, this isn’t just media spend, a year in the US. It seems to me like we have a $120 billion problem. Obviously a lot of people laughed at that. Oh, how funny that is. But then there was a pause of, oh crap that’s true. Since then I’ve interviewed several CEOs, company owners, and CFOs and I ask them that question. I say, do you know what dollars that you’re investing are returning revenue?

 

It usually comes out to be the same thing as John Wanamaker’s statement in 1921. Some of it, maybe half. 100 years later. So, let’s talk about solutions. How do we fix it? How as fractional marketers with customers that are using the best of you in smaller pieces, which is super cost effective for them, how do you intend to go forward and knowing what you know, repair that when it comes up? You have a Stink Test.

 

Jessica Kelley:

You have to be bold. Being a fractional chief marketing officer, a fiduciary relationship for your client, you have to be bold and say you’ve wasted money. You’ve wasted money that could have been spent elsewhere. That shows your vulnerability and that probably will tick people off.

 

John Arms:

Yeah I was going to say, you just ripped off a Band-Aid by saying so but isn’t it really important to do that?

 

 Jessica Kelley:

That is one of my approaches. Stop marketing waste. But then how you go about it with your relationship with your client is, let’s look at the numbers.

 

John Arms:

Now we’re talking about the UFM dashboard and how the operating system of UFM operates.

 

Jessica Kelley:

Absolutely. Everything that we do must serve sales. Then when you get after the initial, oh God I’ve wasted, let’s reallocate. Can we reallocate to existing customers to make sure that they are satisfied, staying within the family, and becoming advocates. You’re just shifting some money from here to there.

 

John Arms:

What we have found early with using UFM for our customer base as fractional marketers, Jason and I, was oh that’s the first thing that UFM reveals is the waste. It requires accountability for expenditures done on behalf of sales and marketing. That can be the performance of a sales person, that can be the performance of marketing. We have found tens of thousands of dollars in waste per month with almost every client that we’ve helped. On the one hand, it does require vulnerability to get there but boy, it’s a relief once you’ve identified it. It’s sort of like, I hate to tell you, all that expenditure in the website or all that expenditure in…

 

Jessica Kelley:

SEO or trade shows.

 

John Arms:

Any number of things that you and I call these shiny objects is, yep I get it. You almost have to give people a pass and say, you know, it’s an entire industry giving you pressure to buy it and you don’t really have that many other options so you just buy it. No one really has expected it to be accountable until now but now you and I do.

 

Jessica Kelley:

We are making them accountable.

 

John Arms:

The fractional marketers that we represent and all of that.

 

Jessica Kelley:

Our clients that we represent.

 

John Arms:

Yeah. I can’t have this discussion without asking you about a couple of war stories. If you’ll share. If you can’t share…

 

Jessica Kelley:

The name shall not be revealed that I have bullet holes in my body. Absolutely.

 

John Arms:

I think history is a great teacher of future activities. I’d love to hear a couple of meetings that happened or whatever, but a couple of war stories of sales and marketing gone bad. Also, maybe how you fixed them.

 

Jessica Kelley:

Personal stories here. National sales meeting. Marketing does a lot of work for these meetings. You’re usually recognizing the high performing reps. They had their ceremony and the next day it’s an 8:00 AM session, I’m leading it and the sales person of the year strolls in late to my presentation.

 

John Arms:

You’re kidding me.

 

Jessica Kelley:

Of course I tease him that he was late. Afterwards I was taken aside and said, you never talk to a sales person and call them out in front of his peers.

 

John Arms:
Really?

 

Jessica Kelley:

Absolutely.

 

John Arms:

You were taken aside by that sales person?

 

Jessica Kelley:

No. My boss.

 

John Arms:

Really?

 

Jessica Kelley:

What do you mean? He had to be at my session. I’m teaching, I’m learning. What did that teach me? At the end of the day it’s partnership. We’re great friends now but it made me think. Everything that I do, it needs to be tone and how we approach it.

 

John Arms:

Yeah. Anymore war stories? That’s a good one.

 

Jessica Kelley:

That is a really good one. As a little baby marketer I inherited a $100 million business and replaced a marketer who was a sales guy. Of course, his ego was hurt. He looked at me and said, Jess, you don’t know anything. I can’t believe I’m turning this business away to you. What did I do? I went out in the field with the sales people to learn the dealer business, to learn the distributor business, to learn the challenges that the sales team faces. All the stuff that I came up with was aligned closely together. It’s all about learning.

 

John Arms:

Did that person come back and say, hey?

 

Jessica Kelley:

Absolutely. I had asked the CEO for an $11 million tooling investment and he said, you met the financial hurdles but that’s not good enough. You’ve got to go back and sharpen your pencils. This was the first guy that I brought in. All right, what are we going to do to make this together? You normally bring in your finance guy. You don’t bring in your sales guy. Bringing them into your world, they bring you into their world, and you work closer together.

 

John Arms:

It’s interesting that you say that because that is inside a structured organization in both of those with decision trees, employment trees, and roles, superiorities, non-superiorities, and classic company structure. I read an article recently that was talking about the future organization is going to have a CEO and a CIO. Everybody else will be sort of scattered to the winds. The article was talking about the realization of when you put people in a room and structure them thus, you’re immediately creating a conflicting dynamic. Misaligned incentives, distrust, and toxicity are born out of that.

 

I contend that the – and that’s what we’re seeing – as people move in to the fractional world, whether they’re marketers like us or anything else is, that stuff gets stripped away. Now that you’ve been a fractional CMO for half a year at least, what are you not spending time on that you’re now pointing towards poor activity, that you were spending time on in a structured environment? I’m just curious.

 

Jessica Kelley:

That’s a really good question.

 

John Arms:

I know there was a commute.

 

 Jessica Kelley:

Absolutely. The commute has gone away. The eight to ten meetings a day have gone away. Then you normally have to do your job in the evening, so that actual time plus the thinking time is now applied to your client.

 

John Arms:

To productivity time.

 

Jessica Kelley:

The stress as well. There’s probably tons of studies out there. The impact of stress and not being able to do your job. Not being able to do your job well and meet your numbers. That productivity can help your thinking and strategy time.

 

John Arms:

Which wasn’t there before.

 

Jessica Kelley:

Which wasn’t there before.

 

John Arms:

The structured environment is rife with issues. I think a lot of people explain the demise of marketing as we know it and as it has been for the last 100 years. There’s some easy candidates. Amazon has changed everything. The proliferation of media has changed everything. Technology has changed everything. You didn’t mention a single one of those. Those were all people things. Decisions made by people and then time invested by people. I just find that interesting. Are you also taking that time, return to your wallet of time, taking some of it back to obviously turn it into productivity. But they also talk about how important health, mental health, and physical health is to be productive. Are you able to repurpose some of your time into your own self.

 

Jessica Kelley:
Absolutely. The beauty of this fractional world, it’s the choice of time. Where I choose to spend my time with my clients, with building my business, with my fitness health, with my sleep health, with my food health. Being in the healthcare industry, there’s a triangulation of fitness, food, and sleep. All three of those experts would say each is more important than the other but they’re not. It must be in balance.

 

John Arms:

Balance is the key. Well, this has been a really good talk. I’d love to go more but I’m sure we’re already past our half hour here that we were going to do. We’re with Jessica Kelley here who was talking about the challenges of sales and marketing being in silos. Any advice to anybody listening, wherever they are, fractional like you and I or somewhere else? Any advice that you can leave them on how to overcome those challenges?

 

Jessica Kelley:

Absolutely. Pick up the phone. Don’t get behind your email. Don’t get in your cube. Think about our sales team. Every day they’re in the field. Feet on the street. Pick up the phone and ask them how it’s going. Learn from them and you can take those learnings and make a better business.

 

John Arms:

No agenda.

 

Jessica Kelley:

No agenda.

 

John Arms:

No written thing.

 

Jessica Kelley:

People have a hard time picking up the phone.

 

John Arms:

Having a conversation.

 

Jessica Kelley:

Sometimes young marketers, they really do. I can’t talk to the sales people. Why not? Pick up the phone. It’s amazing what you’ll learn. Then that extends the relationship. Trust. Partnership. Moving the business forward.

 

John Arms:

It builds, builds, and it builds. That’s awesome. Pick up the phone. You didn’t say invest $3,000 a month in a new software pitch.

 

Jessica Kelley:

Absolutely not.

 

John Arms:

Well, this has been great. This has been a conversation with Jessica Kelley. I’m John Arms. Jason Voiovich, the other part of Unified Funnel Metrics and this podcast, was not able to join us today. Thank you so much for listening and we look forward to our next podcast, which won’t feature you, Jessica. We have another guest. But we look forward to having you back soon.

 

Jessica Kelley:

Thanks, John.

 

John Arms:

For more information on joining the Fractional Life, visit www.unifiedfunnelmetrics.com and be sure to subscribe to future podcasts.

 

END OF RECORDING

 

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