In this episode, we’re diving deep into a topic we’re all too familiar with—the friction between Marketing and Sales. Collin Stewart sat down with Austin LaRoche, CEO of ATAK Interactive, to explore this complex relationship.
Austin, like Collin, runs an agency, and his hands-on experience in B2C and B2B marketing brings a new dimension to this age-old debate.
Let’s be honest: silos between marketing and sales can kill business growth. We’ve all been in those frustrating situations where the left-hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. Austin succinctly says it’s time to “kill all silos” and get on the same page.
Where Marketing Fails Sales
In the early days of business, it’s easy to get swept up in the allure of branding. From crafting the perfect tagline and mission statement to obsessing over visual identity, we often lose sight of what drives revenue—demand generation. The pitfall? Even seasoned CEOs fall into the trap of hiring brand-focused marketers when the need is for experts in demand generation.
While branding can feel good and is undoubtedly important, it’s not what will keep the lights on. In a data-driven world, we can’t afford to guess or operate on gut feelings. The rise of A/B testing and data analytics has democratized marketing insights, making it clear that a brand is not just what we say it is—it’s what the data says it is.
Accountability and Data-Driven Decisions
Now, more than ever, marketing needs to be accountable. Every dollar spent should be aligned with clear, measurable business outcomes. That includes resisting the allure of over-automation. Automation may promise efficiency, but you risk losing touch with customer preferences, needs, and behaviors without a balance.
Attribution is another stumbling block. With the multitude of touchpoints in a customer’s journey, knowing where to allocate credit for a conversion is complex but crucial. Misattribution can distort your strategy and set you on the wrong path. Let data, not ego or assumption, guide your decisions.
The Bottom Line
In the B2B space, focusing too much on brand at the expense of demand is not just unproductive—it’s risky. It’s time to let go of outdated notions and embrace a marketing approach grounded in data, focused on demand, and designed for measurable impact.
Where Sales Fails Marketing
The relationship between sales and marketing often resembles a dance requiring both partners to sync. When one falters, the entire performance can crumble. Below, we’re diving into some common ways sales teams may inadvertently undermine marketing efforts and how to correct course.
Not Updating Salesforce: The Hidden Costs
Salesforce isn’t just another tool; it’s the backbone of any modern sales and marketing strategy. When sales teams don’t regularly update CRM data, they create information black holes that can misguide marketing efforts. Just as a chef needs the right ingredients, marketers need updated, accurate data to craft strategies that convert.
Sales teams must understand that neglecting CRM updates isn’t just “another admin task” but a critical component in the marketing-sales workflow.
Why Good Notes Matter: Beyond Bullet Points
We’ve all been there—scribbling notes during a client meeting, promising ourselves we’ll decipher them later. But those hurried scribbles are potential gold mines of insights. Proper note-taking enables marketing teams to understand customer pain points better, refine messaging, and create more targeted campaigns.
In essence, thorough notes are the low-hanging fruit that can substantially improve the feedback loop between sales and marketing.
The Opportunity Cost of Neglecting Follow-Ups
Let’s be clear: a lead that isn’t followed up is an opportunity lost. It’s like finding treasure but leaving it behind because carrying it is “too much effort.” Marketing departments spend considerable resources to generate leads; not following up is squandering those resources.
Sales teams, remember, the follow-up is where genuine relationship-building happens. Don’t let those opportunities slip away.
The Communication Gap: A Two-Way Street
Often, sales teams are the front-line soldiers gathering intelligence from the field. The entire strategy suffers when this vital information isn’t relayed to marketing. It’s a team sport—marketing can only optimize strategies if they know what’s working and what’s not straight from the horse’s mouth.
Joint Responsibilities and Alignment
Magic happens when marketing and sales collaborate. But how do you navigate the murky waters of responsibility?
It’s not a one-team show regarding list building, target accounts, and finding contacts. Both marketing and sales bring invaluable insights to the table. Regular team meetings can help refine this list and ensure that efforts are concentrated where they matter most.
Brand-building and demand generation often feel at odds, but they don’t have to be. A strong brand makes demand generation easier, and meeting quotas can fuel brand investments. Balance is the name of the game here.
Technology should serve as an enabler, not a stumbling block. The key is to select tools that bridge the gap between marketing and sales, streamlining processes rather than complicating them.
Lastly, none of this can happen without alignment at the top. Leadership sets the tone for collaboration. If the higher-ups aren’t aligned, the teams below them can’t be either. The importance of leadership in orchestrating a unified approach cannot be overstated.
M2S – EOS for Sales and Marketing
After dissecting some of the most significant pain points and mistakes that marketing and sales teams can encounter, it’s time to introduce an approach that can fundamentally change the dynamics: Meet M2S, short for Marketing to Sales EOS.
Here’s how it works:
First off, let’s not ignore the elephant in the room. The resentment between sales and marketing often stems from a lack of alignment and, sometimes, financial incentives. The sales team may see the marketing department leaving the office on time, with no risk to their salaries, while they sweat away at commission-based roles. M2S urges marketers to step into the shoes of their sales counterparts.
The ‘Attract’ phase isn’t just about drawing in potential customers; it’s about attracting a sense of shared responsibility and aligned incentives within the team. You’re not just hitting KPIs; you’re making someone’s livelihood better.
The ‘Convert’ stage is all about fine-tuning the middle of the funnel. It’s where marketing’s grand visions meet sales’ granular, client-facing strategies. But what if the marketing strategies are causing more confusion than clarity? The marketing and sales departments must remember that automation can be a double-edged sword.
It’s tempting to nurture a prospect for months using automated processes, but we’re not making anyone’s life easier when automation interferes with a critical sales conversation. M2S prioritizes alignment over automation, ensuring that technology serves the deal, not interrupts it.
The salesperson’s endgame is closing a deal, but it’s also the marketing team’s win. M2S underlines the need for seamless transitions between stages. Imagine a salesperson moves a prospect to ‘close-won’ in the CRM.
With effective M2S alignment, this action can trigger an automated services agreement, allowing the salesperson to focus on what they do best—closing more deals. The marketing department’s role here is to enable this efficiency, not to create more obstacles.
But let’s not forget the journey doesn’t end after the handshake. The ‘Delight’ phase emphasizes that marketing’s role is far from over once the deal is closed. The post-sales experience must be as captivating as the pre-sales pitch for sustainable growth and customer retention.
Your best friend is not just the person who helps you move; they’re the one who brings you coffee the following day. Likewise, marketing can set up automation to facilitate onboarding or distribute a well-timed ‘Thank You’ note, ensuring a delightful experience for customers who just committed to your brand.
Real-time Feedback and Persuasion Reimagined
Sales and marketing aren’t just connected; they’re symbiotic. However, the role of persuasion in sales has been a subject of debate. Is it about convincing prospects or aligning with their needs? I believe it’s time we update our persuasion view. Modern sales is less about pushing and more about understanding—identifying the customer’s problem and presenting your product as the solution.
This brings us to real-time feedback, the vital link between sales and marketing. No longer can we afford to wait weeks for data analysis. Real-time or near-time feedback can dramatically improve strategy and reduce waste. Feedback is not just a loop; it’s a lifeline that keeps our sales and marketing teams in sync. When sales inform marketing quickly about the quality of leads, it leads to instant, actionable insights.
Now, how do tools fit into this? Technology, from AI to CRM software, has been a game-changer. Forget CRMs as mere repositories; they’re now your ultimate productivity tools. Innovations like Dooly AI for Salesforce and AI-powered transcription services like Fireflies are automating mundane tasks, allowing sales to focus on what they do best: selling.
Unpacking the M2S Framework
When simplifying complex business processes, the EOS often comes to mind. However, its brevity in marketing strategy has been criticized for potentially oversimplifying what is inherently a difficult discipline. Austin LaRoche’s M2S framework offers a more nuanced approach, allowing CEOs and marketing strategists to align their marketing activities with clear, revenue-driven objectives.
Depth Over Simplicity
Unlike EOS, which often distills the marketing strategy into three lines, M2S pushes the envelope by going deeper into critical pillars such as brand vision, communication strategies, and data analytics. By “defining the right principles of your brand across your vision, comms, and audio understanding your target audience,” M2S allows for a more comprehensive roadmap.
One of M2S’s strengths lies in its structured yet flexible framework. It emphasizes four core areas: Attract, Convert, Close, and Delight. In Austin’s words, “We go into those four buckets. We create a KPI tactic and a base creative approach.” This blend of structure and flexibility means you’re never tied down to a rigid plan, giving room for innovations and pivots.
Clear Accountability and Collaboration
The framework doesn’t just define what needs to be done; it outlines who is responsible for each segment, whether an internal team or an external agency. This clear delineation of responsibilities fosters a collaborative environment where everyone knows their role and what they’re accountable for.
Austin clarifies that there’s often a gap between planning and execution. M2S addresses this by focusing on “implementation that always needs to happen,” involving elements like technology, resources, content, and process. This makes the transition from strategy to action seamless and more efficient.
What sets M2S apart is its relentless focus on key performance indicators (KPIs). “We’re always looking at the KPIs that we put together. Because again, we’re responsible for the results,” Austin points out. This ensures that every tactic and strategy is measurable and aligned with the business objectives.
Finally, M2S dispenses with the ambiguity that often plagues other frameworks. Everything in M2S is designed to lead to “X amount of revenue,” making it a highly pragmatic approach to aligning marketing and sales activities.
The M2S framework offers an actionable, accountable, and revenue-centric approach that fills a much-needed gap in existing methodologies. It’s not just a framework; it’s a philosophy that insists on measurable results tied to a clear plan, making it an invaluable tool for any modern marketer.
The M2S framework, as highlighted by Austin LaRoche, offers a groundbreaking approach to an age-old challenge—aligning marketing and sales. This isn’t just a nice-to-have; it’s a business imperative for sustainable growth. M2S eliminates silos and prioritizes actionable insights, clear accountability, and measurable outcomes.
So, if you’ve felt the tension between marketing and sales, now is the time to act. The health of your entire organization depends on it. M2S provides a roadmap and a call to action for achieving unity and efficiency across these critical functions. In today’s digital age, this alignment isn’t a best practice; it’s a survival tactic.
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