Peanut butter and jelly; Bert and Ernie; Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen; Marketing and sales. Some of the greatest duos have the greatest results when working together. But what happens when these duos don’t work together?
Sometimes they do just fine (I mean, peanut butter and banana is pretty awesome) but other times, they realize they are better off working together (Michael Jordan’s post-retirement three-peat). That’s kinda how D. Fish sees the world of marketing and sales. A marketer can be a better marketer by walking in the shoes of sales, and sales can be a better salesperson understanding the data marketers need to bring successful leads to the sales team.
In this episode of AMP Up Your Digital Marketing, we meet D. Fish, author of the book Hyper-Connected Selling, who discusses how marketers needs sales and vice versa, and how we can do our jobs better with each other.
Glenn: Welcome back to the show. Today we're speaking D. Fish. D., welcome to the show.
David: Thank you for having me. I'm excited to be here.
Glenn: D., tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?
David: Yeah. I'm a speaker, coach, author, consultants. I help organizations and individuals really harness digital tools and old-school human-to-human communication skills to build better customer relationships and move business forward.
Glenn: Wait a minute, you can't mix technology and old-school techniques, can you? Is that possible?
David: Well, I'm going to suggest that you have to in today's world. And I won't say it's easy, but technology is not going away and neither is thousands and thousands of years of human evolution. So, we have to figure out how to marry those two things together.
Glenn: You know, it's always interesting to me is, like, so many times when people get technology, they kind of start with the solution rather than the problem they're trying to solve. And as a result, what happens is, you're like, oh, we've got some great technology, it's going to solve the world's problems. They bring it in and nobody uses it.
Glenn: Is there a way to think about it differently, particularly I mean, you spend a lot of time on the sales side and coaching sales people. How do you connect with sales people to get them to buy in to whether a program or – usually some program that marketing is asking them to be involved in, involves with some technology, right?
David: Right. And that idea of going to the problem first, I think, is so important. And I've seen this play out time and time again, where it's the latest, whether it's a social media platform or another great video platform or there is this new bright, shiny object, and marketing is always on the forefront. And they go, wow, this can really be fantastic! And then they do this whole rollout to the sales team and it's just crickets. And I think what it really has to be is more – as you said – problem-oriented, but it really requires – in this the marketing team going and the sales team going, hey, what would make your life easier? What would make your life better? What would actually help you have more conversations, better conversations, bring in more revenue? Which is all of our responsibility in this organization. And I think when you kind of go with that kind of service mentality, it then allows, in this case the marketing team to go, oh! you want to be able to share content more easily. Hey, let's first of all make sure we got the content for you. And then it might be something like GaggleAMP or another tool that will be useful. And so, instead of just going, I've got a hammer, here's the hammer, go hit things. Ask, what are you trying to do? And it might be a hammer, it might be a screwdriver, it might a pneumatic press, let's figure that problem out first.
Glenn: So, I think one of the hardest things for marketers a lot of the times is, to wrap themselves into the mindset of that sales person. What advice do you have for marketers listening to this podcast, in terms of, it's more than just empathy, I think, but it's just really an understanding of their world.
David: Yeah, exactly. I think the best thing – this idea of marketing and sales alignment; kind of a hot topic right now, as it should be. But I think we often overcomplicate the issue. If you're in marketing and you want to understand what sales people are going through every day? Go hang out with them. Spend a morning with one of them. Ask – you know go to the sales manager and say, hey, I'd love to get some experience of what customers are actually saying or what prospects are actually saying, is there a sales person I can shadow for a couple of hours? Can I go on a sales presentation? Can I listen in on some prospecting calls? That will open up your eyes so quickly to two things. One is you'll see where maybe the sales people are just griping about the quality of their leads maybe a little too much. We're all human, we'll will just complain if things aren't completely simple for us. But you'll also, I think, see opportunities where you're like, oh, I get this objection that is coming for the sales people and now I understand that, hey, if you change our marketing or if use this other avenue or we change some of the content, we can give them some ammunition, they'll have much better conversations. But you can't just osmotically, you can't just know it from down the hall, you actually have to spend some time with them.
Glenn: One of the things that we do here actually is, no matter what somebody is hired for, they always spend some time during the first few weeks jumping on sales calls with our reps.
David: Love it. That's the way you got to do. It's hard. My background. You know, I came from field sales. I came – as they say – I had a bag under my arm, going out and talking to customers. You just learn so much so quickly. And I think organizations do a disservice when they don't have their marketing team – and in your case, the entire team really understanding, this is not only what prospects and customers are saying, but these are the problems they're running into, this is what we're trying to solve for them. Really good things happen when you start to have that understanding throughout the organization.
Glenn: Yeah. It really is interesting. And I spent part of my career in sales. And what's really struck me is the amount of technology that has been layered in for the average sales person.
David: Oh, my gosh! Yeah, the sales stack gets higher and higher.
Glenn: It really does, doesn't it? And so, can you speak a little bit to that and, like, again, you know, from a marketers perspective, one of the things that we may be asking sales people to get involved in is a program or something, even sometimes just research, you know, we want more input from the field. And salespeople are as about as close as you're going to get to the customer than the customer themselves, right? And so, from that point-of-view, what do I think about introducing technology to these technology stacks that are already – in some cases – overwhelming to them?
David: I think it goes back to something we said earlier, which is, the idea of helping them solve a problem. So, if you're a marketer and you want to introduce something else into the stack, especially if it's going to just help you, I think you still have to enlist the sales people to want to help you. I actually think that this goes back to the idea of just doing some shadowing, because then you can start to build relationships. The idea that marketing and sales – you know, alignment really comes from people spending time together working together. And I think that marketing and sales reps spend – for too long, they've been in, like, two different silos completely. But if you can go to a salesperson to say, hey, I need to get this piece of information which will allow me to then to make better marketing decisions, which will ultimately get you better leads and help you make more money, then the salesperson is onboard. If you just say, hey, can you fill out these additional seven spots on sales force for me, that would be great? They're not going to do it, right, because they haven't been enrolled at all. As I said, they haven't been enlisted in helping you. And, yeah, sales people – they tell us in marketing all the time – I mean, salespeople are paid to be on the phone talking to people. Every time I have to fill out a CRM field, that's taking me away from my job. And that doesn't mean that there isn't value in that CRM, but you've got to help me understand that how – and basically show me what's in it for me? And the more that that happens, more that conversation happens, the more effective you're going to be.
Glenn: You know one of the interesting things that I think comes up for most marketers is, I need better data, right? So, I need source data. Like, which one of the programs that were out there doing some amount of lead gen is actually working? And then there tends to be, you know, unless the information is coming in automatically, right – like, maybe a search term or something, but even that is still a little sketchy these days – the frustration always builds up, and the marketing side, saying, God! Why wouldn't the sales people just put that information in, I can make their lives better? I can help them be more successful.
Glenn: And I think what you're pointing out is, sometimes in marketing, we just assume they know this?
David: You know 100%, right? We're talking about how marketing should get more involved and see what sales people are experiencing. I would flip it around and say, in the same way, let the sales people really understand what you're doing. Try to get them involved in, you know, whatever capacity that means. Let them kind of understand what you're going through. We make so many assumptions about what people do or do not know. And so, I think this is a great example of where, yeah, the marketers are like, hey, if I had this really granular data, we could be super-effective with where we're putting our time, attention and resources, we could drive better leads, everything would be great. Why aren't sales people doing this? And the sales people are just sitting there going, hey, I got to hit my quota for the month, right. I got to hit my activity numbers for the month, whatever it might be. And so, just like in a – if you're in a marriage and you're not talking, it's going to be hard to be successful in that marriage. This is a marriage of two different departments and you got to have that communication.
Glenn: Right. What have you seen that has worked for you? And like, can you give us some examples of really good, kind of, combination of this sales, marketing and technology scenarios, in terms of maybe introducing it or just how to talk about it?
David: Yeah. One thing that is key is that leadership has to be onboard. So, where I've seen this work very well is where-
Glenn: Do you mean specifically sales leadership or-?
David: I mean, sales and marketing leadership. But definitely – both. And then this depends a little bit on the size of the organization, of course. But having, whether it's a director of sales, VP of sales and then the director of marketing or VP of marketing. It really helps when those two individuals have had experience on the other side of the fence, for sure. So, then they can speak to what the other side is experiencing. But at least that they are in alignment, like, if they both get that the other is important, that starts to trickle down. So, that has to start. Like, this is definitely a hard grassroots thing to do, right. And so, whatever it takes to get that leadership team onboard is important. Beyond that, I think one thing I've seen that's worked really well is actually bringing a representative of each silo. So, in this marketing and sales. Bringing them somehow or at least a representative from the opposite into the meetings of yours. So, if you're having sales meetings, have somebody from marketing in that room. Conversely, if you're having marketing meetings, ask a representative of sales to be there. You know, what you'll find a lot of times is happening now is, there will be a few sellers who are just really cranking and doing great. And if you actually pay attention what they're doing, they're naturally talking to marketing a lot, because they're saying, hey, can you do this for me? Or, hey, can we have this kind of outreach right here. Hey, this is great. But, again, it's not systematic, they just figure out, hey, I need to have these resources, I'm going to marketing to get them. What you do is you institutionalize that, right.
Glenn: Yeah. No, it makes sense.
David: And one thing that I often suggest to organizations is to do kind of a system or a program where you go, hey, let's get the marketing team together, let's interview a couple of the sales people, say, hey, give me the top objections you're hearing, the top success stories that you're sharing, right. Just getting some feedback from the sales people. And then going and making some content directly to that. And basically, making that content with the sales team and then saying, hey, now can you share this? So, can you then now use something like LinkedIn or just emailing this to your prospects and clients? Can you share this and tell me how that goes? And it sounds strange but even that little bit of collaboration can have huge effects, because then each part of the team goes, oh! this really is useful, how do we do this more?
Glenn: Right. You know, one of the interesting things is, once you get to that point where it's kind of all married and everybody sees the value in all of this, I think sometimes there's also being able to raise the value proposition in a level that it just becomes ingrained in the organization. And one of the things that we've certainly being championing is that, like, particularly with getting more employees involved as advocates within the organization to the outside world. It really comes down to creating human connections at the end of the day. You can throw as much technology as you want into this but at the end of the day, the digital connections turned to human connections or at least you're hoping that they will. You just wrote a book called Hyper-Connected Selling.
Glenn: How do you view the world through that lens?
David: It's very much in alignment with what you just said. I really think that technology is simply a tool. And what does that tool do? It allows us to engage in this offline world more effectively. And so, what I think – and even going back to that question about sales stack, like, how do we get people to use the technology and the sales stack? Well, we make sure it actually has a purpose. And we make sure that it's always pointing towards the end of having more or better conversations on a human-to-human level. And I think that what we're seeing and what we will continue to see is that even though we put all this technology around us, on a human level, this human craving is to be able to connect with another person, right. There's a lot of research that shows the more time you spend on social media, the more isolated you feel actually, which of course is a horrible irony. But people are looking for that human engagement. And so, for example, employee advocacy becomes so critical for organizations because to be blunt, I mean, I don't want to connect with your company, I want to connect with the people at your company, right. So, if you can give your team content and information that helps them speak about what they do with a good majority of their week, they're going to want to share it, right. And they're – you know, whether that means in a sales capacity or just in a, hey, I do graphic design for this company and I'm excited about the work that we do. That just allows for all of their relationships in the offline world, right, whether that means going to a conference, whether that means talking to a friend, whatever it is, it's going to be more effective.
Glenn: You know, it's funny because as we start thinking about – again, from the sales person perspective – this idea, like, I think they intuitively get the human connection. But it's not always readily apparent that the digital connections and digital engagement aspect actually leads to that. So, we have to get them out of this mindset sometimes where it's a chore, right?
David: Exactly. And I think that this is where, unfortunately – when a lot of these digital tools came around, they really were championed by the marketers, right, and for good reason. But I think that meant a lot of salespeople kind of – they shut down a little bit before really listening to the value proposition of what technology would allow them to do. And what I tell people about technology is that, all – let's get really specific here, so, I'm a big user of LinkedIn, I've written books on it, I speak about it all the time. LinkedIn, it's not about just living on LinkedIn or really any digital platform, right. And I think that's in fact, I think, what a lot of sales people were afraid of. You know, when Twitter first came out, they were like, why are all these people just putting pictures of their lunch, that's so stupid, right.
Glenn: Telling me they're in the bathroom.
David: Right. And so, we have these blanket statements or this broad brushstroke idea that all social media updates are dumb, right. It's just narcissistic and shallow and stupid. Whereas now what we really found as we become a little more mature in our use of these platforms – again, going back to LinkedIn – I can share content, I can share what I'm doing, I can share projects I'm working on and people respond to me and I can actually build a relationship. And then the next time I see that person in the offline world, instead of starting from square one, our relationship is a little farther along, right. They go, hey, I saw you spoke to that conference. Or I can go, hey, congratulations on that promotion or, hey, I saw you just post that you're going to this conference, so am I, let's meet up. Or, hey – I mean, I have friends that I have met through LinkedIn, for example, who I've never met. But I'm very specifically using the term 'friend,' like we built relationships and now we talk offline, we talk over the phone, they come through Chicago, we have a beer. And it's somebody who I would have never met before. And there's a lot of wonderful human benefits to that, but also, I've gotten business from that, right. Because I sell, I sell my services, that's a powerful way of building that trust. You know, they always say, you have to have ‘know, like and trust’ to sell. So, it allows me to build that even when I'm not physically in front of the person. And that's really – where I think if we help sales people understand that, that's when they embrace it and they go, whoa! hey, this is cool, I can now scale my engagement with my prospects and my customers. Yeah, give me more of that. And then they go, oh, but how do I do this more effectively? I need good content this year. Hey, marketing department, can you make some good content, I'll share it. And then instead of you pushing it on them, they're pulling it from you, right, your sales people are going, yes, give me good stuff. But that process has to happen first.
Glenn: Yeah, with the audiences and the clients you've had, you must have seen this evolution over time. And I know this is highly unscientific, but you know, in the beginning, you know, if you want to go back to when you first started this and you kind of – what percent of the folks got it versus where they are now? My guess is, a lot more know about it now, and they kind of buy into it now and they're doing it. How would you – you know, was it, 90% didn't see the value in it back then and 80 now or how does that work?
David: You know, I still think we are in the middle of the curve. So, there's the early adopters and then kind of the people that follow. I started – to be very specific, again on LinkedIn – I started doing trends on LinkedIn in 2008. And at that point, you're like, no, no, no, it's linkedin.com, not links.in or anything. But I will say that in the last, probably, two to three years people have really started to accept that this digital world is a place where they can communicate professionally, where they can actually do business, whether that is LinkedIn or Facebook or Twitter. But I still think we're in the midst of that evolution. If I'm in a room, let's say, whether it's a sales audience or marketing audience, it doesn't matter. Yes, there are going to be a higher percentage now. Heck, let's say it's 20% that are kind of onboard and active, there's still probably a good 10% or 15% that's really not interested at all and has been shown the value. But then that big chunk in the middle, they kind of get it. Or what's happened is that they kind of get it but life is busy and they've got a lot of other things on their plate. And, you know, hey, I guess I can see how this can help me, but I got to do these three reports and, you know, if I'm sales, I got to hit my quota, if I'm marketing, I've got to do this editorial calendar for my boss, whatever it is. So, I don't think we've fully really engaged with this as just a daily part of our lives, especially in the business world, quite yet. And so, there's a lot of room for growth, but we'll do that. Again, these platforms aren't even 20 years old, we're learning as we go.
Glenn: Right. D., if there was one thing that our audience could put into action today to really have an impact with their digital marketing, what would that one thing be?
David: The one thing I would suggest is to share some content that you feel is valuable on whatever platform you feel is where your audience is, right. So, I think the one thing people make mistakes doing is that they don't share enough of their knowledge expertise and most importantly perspective and they wait too long. So, that's a very simple thing they can start doing right away.
Glenn: D., if people want to get in touch with you, what's the best way?
David: Yeah, my website, davidjpfisher.com is probably the best place to find about me and the work I do. I write a lot and post it there. Also, I mentioned LinkedIn or on Twitter. Would love to chat marketing, sales, and digital world. Always enjoy a conversation.
Glenn: Awesome! Thanks so much, D. Appreciate having you on the show.
David: I had a blast.
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