Welcome to another episode of B2B Marketing & More. My guest is Lindsay Baggett, a Senior Field Marketing Manager at Couchbase. Couchbase is a NoSQL database platform that works on creating the next generation of database platform.
Lindsay has been doing field marketing for over ten years, and today she will share more about what field marketing is and tips for creating a good field marketing plan.
In this episode:
- What is field marketing?
- How is field marketing different from account-based marketing, sales enablement or sales operations?
- What are some of the planning elements that should be incorporated when creating a field marketing plan?
- What makes field marketing different from the corporate marketing plan? Are they the same? Why are they different?
- Get familiar with some new terminology such as “green field” and “white space”.
- The biggest drawback in terms of field marketing, especially in trends of scalability?
- Who should be included in a field marketing process?
- The top challenges of a field marketer career?
Quotes from the episode:
“We’re not going after everybody, and we’re not just about brand awareness. We’re about increasing engagement within our target accounts.”
“Communicate and educate yourself as much as possible with your sales team on each of their territories. Then make sure that your ideas arch back to the directors and what their strategies are for their overall team, for their particular region.”
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A big hello from Portland, Oregon. Welcome to another episode of B2B Marketing & More. I have a unique guest today: Lindsay Baggett. She’s a senior Field Marketing Manager from Couchbase. They create the next generation of database platform that will take you… Take you to where? I don’t know, you know. I’m going to have Lindsay tell me about it.
So, Lindsay, it’s so good, so good to have you on the show!
Lindsay Baggett: Thank you for having me.
Pam Didner: Yeah, so I did not even finish a sentence about the Couchbase. Can you tell me a little bit about Couchbase regarding the next-generation data-based platform and what it does?
Lindsay Baggett: Yes, Couchbase is a NoSQL database platform. And we work with some of the largest companies, uh, large enterprise companies. I won’t name them in case some of them are, uh, legally not allowed to be public,
Pam Didner: Yeah, under NDA, I understand.
Lindsay Baggett: But, um, but you probably use this every single day. Whenever you travel, whenever you use your phone, um, shopping online, all kinds of things. You probably don’t even realize it. That’s Couchbase.
Pam Didner: Alright. So it’s something that’s back-end, and it makes our life easy.
Lindsay Baggett: Oh yeah.
Pam Didner: Can you also tell us a little bit about yourself, especially field marketing?
Lindsay Baggett: Yeah, so I’ve been doing field marketing for almost, um, geez, over ten years, 11, 12 years now. And filed marketing is kind of, you think of—you know, there’s lots of different aspects of marketing. I think of field marketing as like the shotgun and sometimes even sniper rifle of marketing.
Field marketing aims to get our sales face-to-face with the right titles within their targeted accounts. They can have high high-level interactions with those prospects, build their relationships and hopefully, you know, get into accounts. And also, for their prospects where they already have established relationships and maybe are within the sales cycle, so marketing should be able to help them speed along that field, that sales cycle.
Pam Didner: Got it. So field marketing is a marketing role within the sales organization that tries to support sales to accelerate their conversion. And how is that different from account-based marketing or even sales enablement or sales operations?
Lindsay Baggett: Yeah, there are days where, um, it’s kind of hard to distinguish field marketing from ABM or what people started saying like, “Oh, we need to start integrating more ABM tactics.” It’s like, “well, wait a minute. Like, we’re, we do this already.”
Pam Didner: Yeah, so I’m pretty sure that’s a part of your scope. Yes. (laughs)
Lindsay Baggett: While marketing is not ABM, um, we utilize ABM day in and day out. It’s our bread and butter. Um, and it may also depend, I guess, kind of along the lines of how mature your, your market is, how mature your, your prospects are and your relationships there. So, um, it, it delves into to sales enablement and operations as well. How well we can equip our sales teams with content and collateral tools to get in front of their prospects more effectively and increased engagement.
Pam Didner: It sounds like the ABM is nesting very nicely as a pod of your job scope. And depending on how the organization is structured, you know, there are some overlapping, obviously among sales enablement, sales operation, and field marketing. But in general, all three organizations, uh, work together collectively to support.
Lindsay Baggett: Yep.
Pam Didner: That’s a fair statement?
Lindsay Baggett: Yes.
Pam Didner: Excellent. Excellent. What are some of the planning elements that should be incorporated when you create a field marketing plan? And how is that different from the overall, say, corporate marketing plan? Are they the same? Why are they different?
Lindsay Baggett: So I think that they go hand in hand. I think like overall, the overarching plan is the marketing plan. And the field marketing plan should play alongside that. Right? Like we should be going after or strategizing with the same verticals, topics and that kind of thing. Because you’re going to be recycling a lot of content, or you want to be recycling a lot of the messaging and making sure that you’re sending out the same messaging simultaneously. So it should be a cohesive plan.
But how it differs is the field marketing plan is so much more targeted. We’re not going after everybody and we’re not just about brand awareness. The thing is, we’re about to increase engagement within our target accounts. So, um, the most important element, I would say the number one, the first thing that you should do, um, even before you start your field marketing plan is talk with your sales team, and that’s not just your sales rep–
Pam Didner: So true. I’m so happy you brought that up. I mean, my God, that’s the most important thing to see when you want to create any kind of sales enablement, or even field marketing plans, number one, the thing is to talk to your sales. So true. Go ahead.
Lindsay Baggett: Yeah, you can’t. You can’t begin anywhere unless you’ve talked to your sales team. So your sales reps, their BDR, SDR–whichever acronym you use–the area directors, even your VPS, what is their strategy? What are they going after? What is, how are they focusing their team? So you take their overall strategy, then you’re going to take it to the rep level. You’ve hit. You’re going to have a lot of one-on-ones, and hopefully, you’ll continue to have one-on-ones throughout the quarter.
Um, who are their target accounts? This is the most important thing for you, too. It’s tactical, but also from a planning perspective, who are their targeted accounts? Start with their top 25, top 25, top 50, and then on down. That way, you can prioritize, um, your activity around different accounts. If you do not know who your target accounts are if you don’t know your sales team’s tactics and strategies for the quarter for the year, you won’t know where to begin with field marketing. So I would start there,
Once you get a feel for their focus, what verticals, um, what prospects, and where are they within these prospects? Do we need brand awareness? Are they in these accounts already? You have to understand each rep’s territory’s landscape because some reps may have many green fields or white space accounts where they don’t know who your company is. Some may have very well established territories, where they have many relationships with a lot of their prospects. They have many customers, and you’re going to create tailored content and activity for them that will match the landscape of their territory.
To communicate, communicate, communicate, educate yourself as much as possible with your sales team on each of their territories. And then make sure that your ideas and everything else arches back to the directors and their strategies for their overall team, for their particular region.
Pam Didner: You mentioned “greenfield.” What is that? That sounds like very special terms. So can you explain that a little bit?
Lindsay Baggett: Yeah. So depending on their sales organization, we’ll call them “white space accounts,” “greenfield territory,” and “greenfield accounts.” It’s accounts that may not know who you are. We’re not in there. They’re not customers. They’re completely brand new, and maybe it’s completely oblivious to your company. But they’re within their target accounts. They’re trying to get into, try to penetrate these accounts.
Pam Didner: Understood, understood. So with that being said, I understand your point of view on I 100% agree with you that corporate marketing tends to be like an overarching marketing strategy. Then field marketing needs to complement that and make sure that it is aligned. And that’s where you, you know, from corporate marketing, that’s where you get the messaging. And that’s why you get some of the support, as well, in terms of doing field marketing.
You mentioned that fuel marketing is very much account-specific centric. That makes me think field marketing is very hard to scale. I mean, Lindsay, you are one person that’s assumed you have a big team. That’s only so many accounts that you can support. So what is the biggest drawback in terms of field marketing, especially in trends of scalability?
Lindsay Baggett: Yeah, so scalability is, is a challenge. I think this is where we as field marketers are– I mean, everyone, we’re all trying to do more, right? Every single day, we have to do more
Pam Didner: With less, I know. Uh-huh.
Lindsay Baggett: The biggest, I think the biggest challenge is scalability. And, um, I help scale the activity by creating a menu of activities appropriate for different levels of engagement. So if you put your reps with very green field territories, they’re going to have more activities that are more around just brand awareness, maybe relying on third parties. Things that will help increase awareness, increase engagement, and just get their foot in the door or get the notoriety that people may even answer an email. That’s your goal.
Then for those with maybe more mature territories with many customers, they have many relationships with their target prospects. You can have more hosted, networking, engaging high-level interaction, networking events where they’re just establishing or progressing their relationship within those accounts.
Um, and so it was like creating different buckets, essentially for each territory’s different personas and the, um, different, um, maturity levels.
Pam Didner: That makes a lot of sense. So it’s. You have to find a balance between a very tailored type of, uh, support, uh, to very standardized support. The field marketing depends on the accounts that sales are engaging with and depending on a different stage. You need to somehow find a balance.
You cannot do 100% customize and tailor engagement all the time, but you cannot standardize everything to the point that you cannot differentiate in terms of why you do for different accounts. So you need to find somehow that balance and create kind of, you know, ala carte type of menu and you as a team, you as a, uh, as an individual or as a, a team of the field marketers know how to engage and to support as many accounts as possible.
Lindsay Baggett: I think a good analogy would be, um, almost like a prescription, right? You’re the doctor; they’re the patient. They come to you and say, “Hey, here are all of my symptoms,” right? “These are my target accounts. These are the challenges that I’m having with them.” And then based on that, you can create, you know, once you’ve interviewed all of your, uh, your rep, we have different ideas too, for activities to address the different levels.
And then, from there, you can prescribe, essentially, an activity or activities, a sequence of activities for those particular symptoms for their situation.
Pam Didner: That makes sense. That makes sense. And addition to the marketing team and the sales organization, are there any stakeholders that you need to work with very closely to get your plan completed and approved?
Lindsay Baggett: Yes.
Pam Didner: Who are they?
Lindsay Baggett: So I think the most important stakeholders will always be your sales organization and team. Especially your number one stakeholder is your sales rep because you cannot do any activity without 100%. Buy-in from your sales rep. If they are not 100% committed (laughs)
Pam Didner: So true! Amen to that! You know marketers can do whatever they want. Sales, if they’re not bought into it. Forget it. Don’t support sales, period. They have to buy into it before you do anything. I’m 100% agree with that statement. I learned that the hard way (laughs).
Lindsay Baggett: “Oh, I’m Marketing! I’ll just be able to them this on a silver platter. They’re going to have all these prospects there, and it’s going to be amazing.” You are marketing; they are sales. They own the relationships with their prospects, and I speak of it as it’s my job to create the watering hole, right. “I build the watering hole. It’s your job to get your prospects to the watering hole, and then hopefully, it’s your job to get them to drink it. It’s not my job to get your prospects to drink water. I just built the watering hole.”
So like, while we provide air cover, we’re going to market it, and everything else is going to try and make it as appealing of a waterhole as humanly possible, but it’s (Pam laughs) their job to get them to the watering hole. (laughs)
Pam Didner: So, with that being said, what are some of the top challenges if someone wants to be a field marketer? What would be your advice?
Lindsay Baggett: Scaling is a huge challenge because, I would say nine times out of 10 or 11 times out of 10, your sales organization will grow at a much more rapid pace than your field marketing organization. And what does that mean? That means that you’re going to be handling a lot more reps very, very quickly, and that’s going to grow very, very quickly. And so you’re going to have to find ways to standardize your practices, the types of events. You’re going to have to get good at diagnosing what types of activities need to happen for different territories and different levels of or activity?
So scaling number one, number one challenge, I would say. Especially when you have a rapidly growing company, especially in the high tech space, they’re growing, you know, 60, 100%, 200% year over year. It’s an exciting space, but it’s, it’s fast-paced.
The other thing is that I think, um, really taking the time to establish relationships and build relationships with your sales organization, reps, and area directors. They should feel like you are, um, as close to them as their sales development rep, you know, the people that are helping them, you know, make the calls and cold call and make meetings and prospecting, they should feel as close to you, I think as they do with, um, their SDR, their BDR.
What that will do for you is not only be able to be more effective because your sales team will be on board with your activity, your, your activities with them be more successful. So I think that’s the number one challenge to get successful at your team is how well your sales team is driving traffic and attendance to your activity. And if they’re not, they’re not engaged because they don’t have that relationship. And then you won’t be successful.
Pam Didner: So, you know, do you have any parting thoughts that you want to share with anybody in terms of if that they are supporting the field, uh, the field or the sales team, or even channel partners for that matter, that, uh, any thought that you want to share with them in terms of being, uh, as a field marketer in the past 10, 11 years?
Lindsay Baggett: Yes. So I would say, um, I think it’s easy to feel invisible as a field marketer, right? It’s like you see all of your sales team going to President’s Club and being able to party in the tropics, and you’re sitting back thinking like, “I hope against those deals!” (laughs)
Pam Didner: “I mean, I’m doing all the work! (laughs) They get all the glory. What the hell?
Lindsay Baggett: It’s not that they get all the glory. You know, it’s like we, I created the watering hole, and I feel like we have– I think it to be intrinsically motivated. I think the most thing is like, don’t lose heart. It can be so hard. Right? It’s like you take out, let’s take a networking event, for example, right? Pre COVID (laughs).
Pam Didner: I hear you. I get it.
Lindsay Baggett: Because in person, it stings a little bit more when no one shows up or when you have a very bad turn out like we all have those days. Um, and I think that it hurts; it stings. I see you. I feel your pain. It’s like, no one’s showing up to your birthday party when you were a little kid, but. Refine, refine, refine. Always have that follow-up. Always have the debrief. “What went wrong? What could we have done better? And what do we think happened here?” You know, and not, and it’s not, don’t do it in a silo. Don’t do it in a vacuum. Ask your sales team. Work with your other field marketing counterparts. Hopefully, you’re not the only one (laughs), right? And collaborate.
And I think it’s always, um. I think it’s so easy, especially when you’re feeling markings, not scaling as fast as sales to just get, get bogged down in the day-to-day, and, you know, it can feel very hand-to-mouth. But look up, find education, collaborate, ask for help, talk to people even in marketing. They may have some amazing ideas and talk to the people. Here’s one more thing.
Talk to the people in your target demographic for who you’re marketing to because I’ve been in the high-tech space for a long time. I am not my target demographic. Do not be a one-person focus group. If you think like, “Oh, this would be so amazing! We could do a custom handbag!” Guess what? Software engineers and enterprise architects? Not interested!
Pam Didner: They don’t want custom handbags! (both laugh)
Lindsay Baggett: That’s what I think would be an amazing event! So don’t be a silo. Don’t be a vacuum. Ask for help, collaborate. And think about your target demographic. And talk to those people, get in front of those people. Um, especially when you’re at one, you know, we’re in-person, and you’re there, you’re onsite at an event. Talk to them. It’s like, “Oh, what are you guys doing? What are some exciting things that are happening in the industry?” And they may talk to you about some of the exciting things that a partner or a competitor may be doing. And then maybe you can take it and make it even better.
So always just be on the lookout for new, fresh ideas and creative content.
Pam Didner: Yeah, I love it. I love it. Thank you so much for sharing your insight, Lindsay. So, um, I’m going to ask you a silly question. So now, too, and you can choose one to answer. Number one. What is your most useless talent? Like literally a talent that you have, and everybody was like, what? Now the question is, do you have a ridiculous goal in your life?
Lindsay Baggett: Oh, well, I can answer both of those questions. I’ve got lots of ridiculous goals. I just asked my husband. So my most useless talent, and it’s one. I’m not sure if I’m proud of it, but I have a lot of fun with it is I don’t know if you’re familiar with the card game Speed or California Speed?
Pam Didner: No, I’m not.
Lindsay Baggett: It’s a card game where you’re you, it’s like there are two cards face up, and it’s, it’s a two-player game. It’s very face to face. And, um, and you lay down cars and like sequential order as fast as possible. So you don’t have any cards left. I am so amazingly good at this game that no one will play with me anymore! Like if there’s like family holidays and the kids are like, “let’s play speed” and I’ll be like, “Okay, I’ll play”, and I don’t let them win.
Pam Didner: They’re like, uh,” no, you’re not allowed to join us!”
Lindsay Baggett: And then all the adults, all my brothers, all my, you know, my older nieces and my husband, no one. No one is willing to play with me because they know they’re like, “no, there’s just no point I’m going to lose.” And so, um, that’s a useless talent I have. It’s been like that since middle school or high school (laughs).
Pam Didner: I know any listeners out there can like to challenge you and California. Yeah. All right. You know why you guys can do it probably on Zoom together. I know I’m speaking on Lindsey’s behalf. If you want to challenge Lindsey, reach out any time. (laughs)
Lindsay Baggett: Yes, I would love, I would just love to play again. No, one’s played with me for years. And as far as the ridiculous goal, um, I mean, maybe it’s not ridiculous, but it’s, I’ll say, a bucket list thing. I would love to challenge myself and not only live in a foreign country with my kids. I want them to experience living, not just visiting in a foreign country, but to be able to, um, be a field marketing manager or director in a foreign country, you know, with, uh, whether it’s Europe, APAC. What a ridiculous goal. Um, if you were to ask anyone around me, but at the stretch goal and. You know, I think it’s a unique market. So while I’ve done it from afar, I would love to do it within the region. That’s, that’s a bucket list for me.
Pam Didner: You know what now we are talking, and that just put you a wish out there. And the universe is listening. So if anybody is listening, someone will like to be stationed in Asia, the Pacific or EMEA. You know what looked out for Lindsay. All right, everybody. Excellent. This is a great conversation. Thank you so much for joining me. It’s wonderful to have you.
So again, thank you for listening to my podcast. It means a lot to me. Suppose you can subscribe to my show on your favorite listening channel. If you have a guest that you would like me to invite or interview, please reach out and send me a quick email. I love to do that. If you have any questions, please reach out on any social media channels or email me at hello@ pamdidner.com.
You can also join my Facebook community, Build Your Marketing Skills to Get Ahead. That’s how Lindsay and I got to know each other. And as she is part of the, uh, the community member and she asks such an insightful question about field marketing, and I thought, you know what? I am going to invite Lindsay to my podcast.
So, uh, in that community, I answer everyone’s questions. So if you have any specific questions, I will take care of them.
Again, love, love, love to hear from you. Take care. Bye until next time.