Today we talk about where marketers can better help sales boost revenue.
In this episode:
- What are some of the biggest challenges when working with sales?
- How can marketers help sales define the problems at hand?
- Regarding trends, what can marketers do to help the sales in the middle of the purchase funnel?
- What is the course of action if companies want to be incredibly successful with ABM implementation?
- Why is it important for sales reps to have their social media presence in order, and how can marketing help?
- How to get to know the sales team better and how can marketing help sales boost revenue.
- How should marketers structure their impact?
- What should success metrics look like on the marketing side?
- How should marketers quantify the marketing’s contribution to sales and sales revenue?
- What is the number one thing marketers need to do if they want to start or initiate ABM with the sales team?
Quotes from the episode:
“There has to be a stage check-in all the time on their top tier accounts. The middle of the funnel and the end of the funnel focus should be on the top tier accounts. And whoever owns it just needs to be a team player with everyone else.”
“Sales needs more help in the middle to the bottom of the funnel. I think the marketing’s got top of the funnel nailed. It’s marketing’s job and their duty to create content, create case studies, create an article, whatever it is, to push that further so that they can have that very personalized approach.”
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To expand your knowledge about how to help sales boost revenue, check out some of my previous podcast episodes, blog post, and videos.
A big hello from Portland, Oregon! Welcome to another episode of B2B Marketing & More with Pam. I have a fantastic guest today – Kristina Jaramillo, and she is the president of Personal ABM. Kristina is also the co-host of the Stop The Sales Drop podcast.
Today we talk about where marketers can better help sales boost revenue.
Kristina Jaramillo: Thank you for that rousing introduction, Pam. You have so much energy. Do you like mainline caffeine or what?
Pam Didner: Yes. I’ve been drinking a lot of coffee today. Mostly tea. So you mean working with the sales team? Tell us about some of the challenges you have seen in the past several years supporting and working with sales?
Kristina Jaramillo: Yeah, I think, unfortunately, that’s that age-old dynamic of sales doing one thing, kind of marketing doing another, or just hitting something over the fence. So I feel like sales are just not getting the support that they need. Like they’re getting leads, which is, you know, it’s great, but it’s not everything. It’s not helping close the deal. It does not help drive the conversation. It’s not helping retain or expand accounts. And that’s what they need help with. I mean, leads are great, but that’s only one small piece of the giant puzzle that is sales.
Pam Didner: So, with that being said, what do you think that sales need the support?
Kristina Jaramillo: Well, I think what it is is that they think that they have a lead problem. And I don’t think that’s like if they have a lead problem and, you know, speaking with a lot of sales and marketing teams, they have a conversion problem. So, for example, I’m just going to share a couple of different conversations that I had because I will explain to you why I think this is the reason. I spoke to a FinTech firm’s sales director, and they sell FinTech right into enterprise banks, credit unions, and insurance companies. And she was telling me they’re stage three to close rate is about 48%, But their stage one–
Pam Didner: Do you think that’s bad?
Kristina Jaramillo: No, no, no, that was not the bad one. This is the bad one. I had to write this down because I was like, “what?” Didn’t it make sense? Stage 1 to close rate was 5%. Okay. And she said, “they need more leads so they can hit their quota.” But when I got started diving deeper down and seeing, you know, are you guys getting enough leads? Are they quality leads? She goes, “Yeah, yeah. They’re fine. They’re fine.”
And I don’t think of it that they were having problems with leads. I think they were having problems converting the leads. I think they need help with the conversion. Like marketing loves to convert for other parts, they need to convert leads and help convert these quality conversations into actual revenue. I think that’s another conversion they should focus on.
Pam Didner: Are you talking about like, uh, the middle of the purchase funnel in terms of like now the prospects are very interested and, uh, the salespeople, I having a conversation with a prospect and–given that the purchasing cycle tend to be a little long, especially in the B2B side–that’s where marketing can, uh, can jump in and right.
Kristina Jaramillo: Yeah, they need help– I think sales needs more help in the middle to the bottom of the funnel. I think the marketing’s got top of the funnel nailed. Fr the most part, it’s not an issue. I think it’s continuing all the way through because the conversations get stuck because the story that sales and marketing are telling is not relevant enough to the person. They don’t see themselves in the story, or there’s something that’s not happening behind closed doors that they’re not creating consensus.
And I think it’s Marketing’s job and their duty to like create content, create case studies, create an article, whatever it is to push that further so that they can have that very personalized approach because the top of the funnel is very um,
Pam Didner: It’s broader.
Kristina Jaramillo: It’s more broad everything, you know, it’s very generic, and yeah, nothing is exciting about it when you want to close a deal. And I think that’s where sales need help. And I even was talking to a CMO, and she’s like, “yeah, we’re having great conversations. You know, with these large accounts that we want to win, like Walmart, MasterCard. But we’ve been talking to them for 14 months, and they’re still not closing a deal.” She was like, “we need to hire closers.”
And I’m like, “I don’t think that it’s just sales responsibility to close that. I think the issue is that they’re not set up as a revenue engine. They’re just set up as a lead engine. I think that’s the diff the switch that people need to make.” You know, I think they’re not working together to accelerate those accounts to revenue, and that’s like the next step that marketing, I think, needs to take.
Um, and I think that’s why there’s such a discrepancy in pipeline numbers versus actual revenue close. The pipeline’s great, and I know we have to keep track of it, but I don’t care how much is in the pipeline if it’s not leading to revenue and growth.
Pam Didner: Yeah. I think there is a fundamental or philosophical discussion in terms of the middle of the funnel. And many sales organization, they feel like that’s their job or the sales enablement’s job if you will. And then the marketing team, they feel like that part of it is a gray area and that their jobs tend to be focused on top of the funnel and the, get the MQL in a very fitting and proper way and qualify them and a neutral end to the point that they can pass to the lead.
So I have encountered talking to a different sales and marketing organization, the middle funnel that they have a hard time defining who owns it. Right. And, um, and who should take the lead. I understand that the content plays a role. I understand there are many ways that that marketing people can support them.
So can you be very specific in trends of why the marketers can do to help the sales in the middle of the purchase funnel?
Kristina Jaramillo: I think there has to be a stage check-in all the time on their top tier accounts. This is, you know, the middle of the funnel is really, and the end of the funnel focus should be with the top tier accounts. The big accounts will be six, seven, plus figure deals because they require a lot of personal relevance layer and the outreach and whatever it is that they’re creating. So I think that there needs to be that open level communication.
I know that it’s a gray area. I don’t know who really should own it. It depends on the size of the sales team, the size of the marketing team. If sales enablement is a role they have, and they would probably take it. But I think it needs to be that, you know, whoever owns it just needs to be a team player with everyone else and say that “we own it, but we’re reaching out to you for help because it’s going to be a team win no matter what.”
Pam Didner: Understood. So what you are suggesting is sales and marketing need to work together, and there’s got to be regular communication. You call it check-in, and I call it, uh, you know, the collaboration and the continuous meetings you can be monthly, bi-monthly, or can be like weekly. It has to be something that they have a conversation about, and you keep that conversation going. You also need to have, um, the key strategic account. And you talking about like, uh, six or seven key accounts– depending on the company. Some companies depending on the revenue side, can be top 25.
So they’ve got to have some specific accounts that will tie the sales and marketing together. Hence, that’s where ABM comes in. So can you share with us, uh, some of the specific examples that your clients have done in making the ABM incredibly successful?
Kristina Jaramillo: Yeah, so we’ve been able to help clients gain traction with accounts that were unresponsive for five-plus years. You know, this particular account is interesting because they were ignored, basically, by this enterprise. We were working with Schneider Logistics, which has yellow or orange, excuse me, trucks. And they are a 3PL third-party logistics provider. It’s not an exciting thing. And like in most B2B worlds.
Pam Didner: In the B2B world, our products are not exciting (laughs).
Kristina Jaramillo: No, nothing is exciting, but they are very lucrative. So, you know what you give, and you take. So they were pushing out this generic messaging that I’ve seen across the board in B2B–even in the tech space and now in the 3PL space–we have better people, better processes, and better technology. Yeah, no idea what that means, but okay, fine. (Pam laughs)
I don’t know what that means to me at the end of the day, how it helps me or whatever. Um, but they were trying to target Sigma, which is an account that they were. They knew they could get into and help well. But, you know, they used that same “better people process” tech story, um, and their competition was saying the same thing. So, of course, they didn’t say the difference between switching from one provider to another. They weren’t talking about the gaps that Sigma had. They weren’t talking about how those gaps were creating personal impact.
So it wasn’t giving them that reason to change. And you know, how we spoke about earlier, they didn’t see themselves in the story that sales and marketing told them. So they were ignored outreach. They tried social; they tried email; they tried, you know, the old school would visit them; they tried phone conversations and ignored everything.
So, you know, content and messaging were generic. Like we talked about, and it had no commercial impact on that buyer. So they were challenged there. It wasn’t a challenge of who they were connected with or who they, they didn’t know who their decision-makers were. They were connected to the key decision-maker who happened to be the VP of logistics, but they weren’t having the right conversation, the right content to make that human-to-human connection.
And so, we redesigned their LinkedIn profiles. We redesigned the content to show how mid-market firms–which is what Sigma was–were underserved by transportation management systems, TMS. It’s the software they sell in this, in this space. Because they were too small for the big guys and too big for the little guy, they were that middle child syndrome. So they showed how they were being treated like a middle child and, you know, not fitting into either thing.
And they needed the count to acknowledge their gaps and impacts, you know, and how they were affecting the supply chain. How are they affecting customers? How are they affecting employees? Across the board, not just, we’re going to save you X amount because that’s again not exciting. But if you can say how you’re going to affect me in five different areas, now you’ve piqued my interest. Now you’ve got me to talk to you.
Ultimately, Schneider Logistics helped them create buyer-centric profiles, content messaging, and outreach that spoke to the actual individual buyer. So you’re speaking to them on a one-to-one kind of basis versus at them. So we got down to the individual level. Like what was important to them as people, what was important to them as their role, company, and then in the industry. And I think that helped turn it around. They could see sales cycles cut down from 12 to 18 months ago to a 6-months sales cycle—which is a big deal for them. And this account became worth $2-6 million depending on how long they stay and continue to nurture that relationship. So that was something that we were excited about, but people have also been able to.
We were talking about getting people stuck or pushing them through the funnel. We had an e-commerce firm use our ABM approach to drive consensus so they could move that client further down the funnel to a close. Also, we had another one create a margin growth depending on where their focus will be–this particular organization created a margin group with Sephora.
So these are mid-market players selling into enterprises, and they’re able to gain some pretty good deals and results.
Pam Didner: It sounds like you were able to identify some of the areas they are working on, and that’s, didn’t resonate with the target, the prospect. And the one thing is their messaging, or the talking points are very generic. Also, you articulate, identify and hone what needs to be said that will resonate with the prospect.
Then once the messaging and the talking points are solidified, you create the content and then use the content to act as a hook to drive the additional conversation or even educate the prospect. And then, from there, it builds momentum and moves forward.
Kristina Jaramillo: Yeah. And that particular story that I shared with you as we would work hand in hand with sales. So the sales team would have a conversation with this particular prospect, come back to us, and they would tell us what hit, what didn’t hit, what they were stuck on. And whatever they were stuck on, or whatever we saw, was going to be like a point of contention with them. We created a piece of content to supplement that conversation and fuel the next step.
Because it’s such a personal conversation that you’re having, this has to be the bigger sized deals and the bigger customers. But that’s why that communication that you were talking about is like any relationship sales and marketing is like a relationship; you have to have that open communication, or it’s not going to work.
Pam Didner: I understand. So the next thing I was thinking about is having the marketing identify some of the key talking points, or even have marketing creating content (which is great) that complement and supplement the sales needs to accelerate the conversion. But from marketing’s perspective, they are just creating the talking point. They are just creating the content. So how should they structure their impact? And also, what should that success metrics look like on the marketing side?
Kristina Jaramillo: So I think, um, metrics should be win rates with Tier1 accounts–so not just the standard marketing metrics, those always have their place, but on top of that. You know, one rate with those Tier1 accounts that we’ve been talking about. So there’s high, big fish. Stage progression, sales cycle time: Are we impacting that at all? Are we shortening it? Deal sizes? Are we expanding those? Sales velocity. Also, retention rates should be something that, uh, marketing should be honing in on.
Pam Didner: Yeah, but a lot of those are sales-centric dashboards. It’s very hard to differentiate or identify or quantify the percentage of a contribution, say to the deal size or even the closure rate. Do you have any suggestions on how should marketers go about doing that? Or do they need to use a specific tool to make that happen?
Kristina Jaramillo: Um, I don’t know that there’s a particular tool. I think they need to be the senior marketers–not the, you know, the managers and maybe even directors of marketing should be privy to this, but– the senior marketers should be able to see what the metrics are that sales are using.
Pam Didner: And in general, they do.
Kristina Jaramillo: Oh, okay. Yeah, And make sure that they are trying to tie their metrics to that, making sure that basically at the end of the day, no matter what we do, is it tied to revenue? Is it leading to revenue? Are we doing what we can to progress to that stage? They need to hold a quota, just like sales needs to hold a quota. It might not be the same. It might be 80/20, or 60/40, depending on the organization.
That’s something they’d have to figure out. But I think they need to hold a quota, too, to be more revenue-focused. And it forces them to say, “are we doing XYZ activities just to do them? Or are we putting these strategies and implementing these procedures in place so that they lead to revenue or lead to faster sales cycle or lead to expansion or greater retention of customers?” So I think that’s where marketers need to focus on, as well.
Pam Didner: I understand that their success metric needs to be aligned with the dashboard. But, uh, one of the key challenges I have encountered is quantifying the marketing’s contribution to sales in terms of the sales dashboard.
One way I have noticed, like some of my customers are using, are they make sure that they can look, get, um, the different pipeline and also the sales stages, what are some of the marketing’s contribution? For example, is marketing doing the ABM outreach? Is marketing doing customer events? Is marketing doing customized and personalized content actually for sales to use?
A lot of stuff that the marketing, it’s very hard to say, “okay, you know what? I created this piece of content, and it contributed $10 million of a closure.” But there’s got to be some sort of discussion at the management level regarding what type of marketing activities are doing. Also, to talk through and have a system in place that some of the marketing campaigns or marketing activity does contribute to sales. What I have noticed is that very, very few companies have cracked that nut.
Kristina Jaramillo: Oh, I’m sure. I’m sure. I, it’s very hard. It’s very hard. And I don’t think that there’s a tool in place yet, whether that’s an actual piece of tech or just a basic spreadsheet. That’s why I think the focus would be pretty much on the Tier 1 accounts. Are you working hand in hand together? Are you helping them close it?
Sales are the ones that physically or close the deal, but did they need support behind the scenes and was that marketing or not? And yeah, you’re right. I think that’s a good gray area kind of figure out how much do we contribute? Did we contribute where we wanted to? But, yeah, I know I very few have cracked that nut, and hopefully, we’ll, we’re on the road to figuring it out.
Pam Didner: Yeah. I hear you. And also have a system to support it and also the, uh, the tools to make that happen. Very, very good. So talk to us and tell us what we can find you.
Kristina Jaramillo: Well, you can always reach out to me on LinkedIn. I love to hang out there. Uh, it’s Christina with a K. Yeah, and you can check out, StoptheSalesDrop.com for articles, podcasts, videos–a couple of things with Pam that you could check out. And also, personalabm.com is a great place.
Pam Didner: Okay. So what is the biggest takeaway? If you have one lesson, you want to share it with any marketers who want to start or initiate ABM with the sales team. What is the number one thing they need to do?
Kristina Jaramillo: Number one, that’s a good one. From my perspective, cause I like to do the one-to-one part of ABM, always increase your relevance. You can never be too relevant. You could never add enough layers of the intention of what you’re doing. So it’d be intentional. That’s what, that’s what I would say. Be intentional and be relevant.
Pam Didner: Yeah. And, uh, I’m going to ask you one silly question before I let you go. And you can pick one of these two questions to answer. So what is one place you always wanted to visit and never did? Why? And another question: what is the most useless talent that you put that.
Kristina Jaramillo: Useless talent that I possess. I’m going to go. Well, I guess I could probably do both, but I want to go to Australia because I’d love to see nature and visit the Outback.
Pam Didner: Oh lovely.
Kristina Jaramillo: And just be in another part of, of the hemisphere, because I’ve been to Europe, but that’s the next stage that I want to go.
Pam Didner: I love Australia.
Kristina Jaramillo: Have you been?
Pam Didner: Yeah, I’ve been there.
Kristina Jaramillo: I’m so jealous.
Pam Didner: I did outback
Kristina Jaramillo: So jealous! I have to pick your brain about that.
Pam Didner: Worth it. The scenery is amazing.
Kristina Jaramillo: I wouldn’t even know where to start.
Pam Didner: I mean, seriously, like that’s 300 miles, you cannot even see one single car serious.
Kristina Jaramillo: That sounds like heaven.
Pam Didner: And the landscape is immense, and you see wild horses. I mean, seriously. When did you ever see wild horses? I was like, “oh my God, that’s amazing!”
Kristina Jaramillo: It’s what it used to be like.
Pam Didner: No, it is. So I think that’s a great choice. So you mentioned that you want to talk about useless talent.
Kristina Jaramillo: Useless talent. Well, I used to work for Disney, and they taught us not to point when you’re showing directions to a customer with one finger cause it’s rude. So you put the two fingers together. You put your index and your middle finger together. When I am quiet, I sometimes point like that because it was ingrained in me. It’s very awkward, but I guess I don’t know if it’s a cultural thing that might be offensive to use one finger, and they wanted to make sure that they didn’t offend anyone visiting.
Pam Didner: I think one can sometimes be like, you know, commanding.
Kristina Jaramillo: Yeah, it reminds me of my mom when she got mad at me, so I get it. I can understand that.
Pam Didner: Yeah. I’m pretty sure that generation of parents, they all do that. My mom did.
Kristina Jaramillo: Yeah, probably.
Pam Didner: Kristina, it’s so wonderful talking to you and thank you for sharing all your wisdom and knowledge. So, so happy to have you on my show. All right.
Kristina Jaramillo: Thank you for having me, Pam. Appreciate it.