Now is the Time: Revenue Team Alignment – Sales Enablement Soirée, Summer 2020

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SS: Welcome to the Sales Enablement Soiree session entitled Now is the Time: Revenue Team Alignment. Whether your sales teams recently went into remote work or whether they’ve always been dispersed globally, sales enablement is responsible for ensuring that there’s organizational alignment across key initiatives, processes, and goals for the organization.

I’m excited to have Jeff Davis, the author of “Create Togetherness” join us today to talk about sales it’s enablement’s critical role in ensuring that revenue teams stay aligned to drive tangible business results for your organization. Okay. With that, I’ll hand it off to you, Jeff.

JD: Hello. Welcome everybody. Thank you for taking the time afternoon to join me in my presentation, super excited to be working with Sales Enablement PRO and their live virtual event. Today’s presentation is entitled Now is the Time: Revenue Team Alignment. I think this is a very, very timely topic with everything that’s going on.

Hopefully you’ll get a lot out of our time today thinking about you as a sales enablement professional. As my really good friend Roderick Jefferson says, “taking you from being the fixer of broken things, to be able to really strategically align these two teams and optimize the way that you go about connecting with the modern buyer.”

Again, my name is Jeff Davis. I’m a keynote speaker and author of the book “Create Togetherness”. So, many of you may feel like this, where you are treading to just keep your head above water. I felt the very same way in the early stages of my sales career and it really has led to me doing the work that I do.

What happened to me was I was in healthcare sales for quite some time. I was doing very well, was able to reach the top 5% of the sales force. And then, all of a sudden, overnight we had huge regulation changes in the healthcare industry and majority of the strategies and tactics that I had used to be successful were basically taken off the table.

The very thing that I thought was going to happen and the very thing that kept me up at night and I worried about, was that my numbers started to slip, my market shar started to slip. And I really was like, “Oh my God, what’s happening?” And I think I did what every true-blue salesperson would do.

My knee jerk reaction was to just do more of everything. So, it was more meetings, more emails. I literally became that stalker in the parking lot that was trying to get some time with my customers. And after a quarter or two of beyond being exhausted, nothing changed. My numbers were exactly where they were terrible and, in some cases, they were actually worse.

And so, I knew in that moment that something wasn’t working. I was working really hard. I was exhausted, but I couldn’t move the needle because the tools and the strategies and the tactics I was using, were somehow not working. So, I had this really serendipitous meeting with our marketing director at the time and that really allowed me to have my aha moment. When I really got to understand the power of working with marketing in a different way. And so he shared a tool that they had developed for the sales reps that really looked at all the data in our territory, all the customers in our territory and helped us understand who were the most likely to purchase from us and buy from us and how to communicate with them so that it resonated.

I mean, it talked about messaging and what they cared about and the things that they cared about as far as the product goes and what features we should really talk about versus others. And it was a super helpful tool in helping me understand that marketers weren’t this ivory tower where they just gave their orders around strategy and that if it didn’t work, it was salespeople fault. But they were really able to leverage marketing in a meaningful way to help me sell more efficiently, more effectively.

And, that’s when I got it. That was my aha moment. And that has led me to doing the work I do today, as I said. It’s really helping all B2B revenue leaders, so that sales enablement professionals like yourselves, sales leaders, marketing leaders, the CEOs understand the power of when we’re able to work together what we’re able to achieve.

Today I want to share some key insights that I have learned over the years. Whether it be through consulting with clients, speaking engagements, or just my career, so that you can think about your relationship with your sales and marketing leaders and your sales and marketing teams in a different way.

We’ll go through a couple of things. We’ll talk about the costs of marketing/sales misalignment. (Because there is a cost.) We’ll talk about the modern buyer-seller relationship. We’ll talk about how we can think about calculating marketing ROI in a different way and last but not least, we’ll talk about how you can optimize the buyer’s journey by really sitting down with sales and marketing and thinking through that process.

I like to start the conversation with a poll. You don’t have to answer, you don’t have to raise your hand. This is purely for you to really think about ‘what’s really going on in my organization and this is the issue that we really need to tackle?’

The question I always ask folks is, “are we misaligned?” I come across a lot of folks that say, “Oh Jeff, sales and marketing alignment. Yeah, I know it’s a thing, but we’re okay.” And I say, “Okay, let me ask you a couple of questions.” So, let’s go through some of the key triggers that, if you can identify, typically are symptoms that you need to take aligning sales and marketing more seriously.

First and foremost, a high-volume of leads coming in from marketing with low conversion rates. So, this is the stereotypical sales is complaining about, “Oh my God, we get these marketing leads that are terrible. I don’t even want to look at them.” If that is happening, it’s time for us to have a conversation.

Second, different goals. The minute I see this, this is a clear indicator that sales and marketing are not in the same page. This means that marketing has their one set of goals. Sales has another set of goals, and they’re not aligned in any kind of way. A major, major issue and super dysfunctional.

Third, lack of tribal knowledge. So, what does that mean? That means that sales and marketing don’t really do a good job of sharing business intelligence or business intel. I tell my marketing leaders all the time, ‘salespeople are the best market research.’ First of all, they’re free. You don’t have to pay them. And their insights are really real time because they’re talking to the customer every day, they’re in front of them. They’re hearing a lot of things really quickly in real time, making sure that back with the marketing organization, if you have a really good relationship.

And then fourthly, dysfunctional relationships. And that doesn’t mean combative, like we’re fighting. A lot of people think oh, we’re getting along, so sales and marketing are aligned. And that’s not necessarily true. A dysfunctional relationship means you don’t really either have a relationship or it could be combative relationship where you just fundamentally don’t work together very well.

More often than not, I see when I talk to sales and marketing leaders, it’s not that they don’t like each other. Many times, they get along. They have a great personal relationship. But their professional relationship is the one that is suffering because they don’t understand how to leverage it so they can both be more effective at achieving their individual and team goals though. That’s what I’m talking about. So, if you have a number of these or even one of these, it may be time for you to get serious about really thinking through how you can align some of the marketing to optimize your revenue growth.

So why is this timely? Why is this important? Beyond the fact of all of what’s going on in the world today around COVID and us just really changing the way that we do business. This has been happening for quite some time and that we’re doing more, but we’re not really getting better at doing what we do.

So, if you look at the data that was provided by CSO Insights, they show us year over year that although we’re doing more, we have more salespeople, we’re doing more meetings, or doing more content. We do all this stuff. Year after year, we get worse at B2B sales reps reaching quota. What that means to me, is that we have to get out of this mindset of doing more stuff and concentrate and understand doing the right things.

Because what we’re finding is that we’re having the wrong conversations. It’s not about more. It’s about increasing our productivity, increasing our effectiveness, increasing our efficiency. And that’s what we have to change the narrative. What we find is that, a lot of people are still stuck in this old school mindset of just expanding and doing more and we know that that’s very costly, a lot of times and waste a lot of money. So, what does that look like?

Well Inside Sales, now Xant, has some really compelling data that shows us that little over a third of salespeople’s time, 36.6%, is actually spent on selling. Think about that in context of you have really expensive head count. They’re working really hard. The majority of that is going to non-revenue generating things, activities that could be updating CRMs, right? It could be a prospect looking and doing research on and customers. All these things that are not directly related to them being on the phone with customers and making those things happen.

In addition to that, we find that on the marketing side of the house, that 80% or more (some studies show upwards of 90%) of marketing generated leads don’t actually get attention from sales. So again, you have two parts of the organs that are working really hard, doing more, but they’re not working together in a synergistic way.

And so, a lot of the stuff that they’re doing goes to waste because they’re not working in lockstep. What we find is that we then have an issue where we have a problem with our productivity. So there was a great study done by ReachForce and Marketo that found that lost sales productivity (and this is really important) and wasted marketing spend can cost a company upwards of one trillion dollars. And yes, that is $1 trillion dollars. Literally you could go out and you could buy Apple. You could buy some companies. If you look at their GDP, it’s a lot of money.

But when you think about the fact that I have salespeople that I’m paying a lot of money to. Only a third of their time is spent actually selling. You have marketing folks, also expensive head count. They’re doing all this great work, they’re generating these leads, or they’re running campaigns, and nobody is working together to actually leverage these things to close deals. So you can imagine that the fact that you have this dysfunctional relationship between sales and marketing, all of these missed opportunities are happening. And that’s really where we’re wasting a lot of time, energy, and money.

So why is this happening? Why is this continuing to happen? Well, digital has changed modern chains of modern buyer’s behavior. In reality, most companies were selling like we sold three, five, 10 years ago and we haven’t updated our approach and that’s the problem. Beyond just digital disruption, what is really happening is that we have something called information inequality. Now information inequality is not necessarily new. We haven’t necessarily called it this, but it’s a thing that’s always existed and it was in our favor.

The flow was always, if a customer needed information, they called, “Hey Jeff, the sales rep. We want to know, you know, how we can fix this issue. Come on in and talk to us about what your new product is, what your new solution is. Help us understand what we need to do for do for our business.” They were dependent on us.

So, all the information flowed from us to them. Well, that is completely off the table. Digital disruption has come in and empowered the modern buyer with unlimited access to information resources. They no longer need us and they’re not dependent on us for information.

If we’re still showing up to the conversation talking about features and benefits only; we’re truly missing the mark because they’ve already done that research. They’ve gone to your website; they’ve gone to third party websites. They’ve gone to your competitors. They know the basics. Now you need to level up the way that you’re approaching them and really try to become a strategic advisor to help guide them through the buying process.

So, a really great point that I talk about my book “Create Togetherness” is the several disruptions we have in the car buying process. And I’m probably aging myself. But if you think back in the day, when you would go to buy a car from a used car salesman or a new car salesman, whatever that may be, you went to a lot. You had an idea of kind of what you wanted, not really. And that salesperson really held the key to all the information of guiding you toward what car you should purchase. And a lot of times, those are the cars that they want you to buy because they had incentives, or they were looking for a bonus, or whatever it is. Fast forward. First, it was digital disruption or information inequality disruption, I should say, with Consumer Reports.

Right. So, we, all of a sudden, as consumers now have more power and leverage in the conversation. That I have also information about the prices, what I should be spending, I can compare cars directly. So, when I’m showing up in power with this information, all of a sudden, the conversation changes, and I kind of have an idea what car model I want, why I want it, and what I’m willing to spend.

So that dynamic of their relationship is has changed. And that salesperson can’t adapt or doesn’t adapt. You then become of no value to me because I have this new resource. Fast forward again, to what we’re going through today. You don’t even have to go to a lot at all. Things like Carvana have completely changed the game and I can literally buy a car completely online. At a click of a button, have it show up at my front door.

So, this is what’s happening in B2B. We really are in this disruptive period where the modern buyer is empowered with all this information. So, we’ve got to change the way that we approach them. So, because they’re empowered with all this information, this is what the new sales journey looks like.

It’s not this linear stepwise process that we’re so accustomed to. Which has really been the standard in the sales space for so long. It’s all over the place and we really don’t understand or completely know where they’re going to come from. They could have read a piece of content and then want to speak directly to a salesperson. They could have gone through the entire process with us. And then somebody new enters the conversation or somebody leaves the buying team. And we have to seemingly go back step one. So, we have to be much more agile and fluid. What that means is that we have to have a coordinated effort between marketing and sales, because here’s the truth of things.

The modern buyer doesn’t care where the information come from. They just want the information that they want, and they want it when they want. We have to be ready to give them that. And if we’re not, they’re going to go to our competitors.

Because of that, we really have to focus more on the buying experience. Beyond having a number of different competitors in the market, we’re starting to have these amazing B2C experiences outside of work. And for some strange reason, us as a B2B community, forget that we are humans. And we can bring ourselves to work. That same person that was looking at Netflix with the family had an amazing experience, found the movie.

They want it too; I didn’t have to go through a bunch of bells and whistles and snags just to get you expect that same buying experience at work. And when we have experiences that, you know, cause us to hit robots and that caused friction for no reason, we get really frustrated. And to be honest with you, we’re opting out more and more B2B buyers are saying, look, if you can’t figure this out, I’m going to go somewhere else. I want this to be easy. I want you to be able to give me what I need to make the decision that’s right for me. And, you know, with companies like Amazon and Netflix and Zappos, the bar continues to get higher and higher for the customer experience.

Walker did a study that is what we’re living right now and it showed in 2020 the customer experience would be more important than price and product. So, people are willing to buy an inferior product or even a more expensive product if the customer experience is amazing. And so, I implore you as sales enablement professionals, this is where you can come in and make a huge impact. Really pushing your organization to get out of thinking in a very linear step wise and really raising the bar and thinking in holistic terms of the overall experience. How do we get somebody from identifying a problem that they have in their business all the way to actually buying from us, to becoming a customer and moving forward, how do we onboard them and turn them into brand loyalists and even influencers that impact others to become customers.

And that’s what I want to do a deep dive in today, on the back end of our presentation, to really go through. And do a tactical look at how you can start to change a narrative with your organization and empower you with some tools to think about this differently. So, one thing I wanted to hit on before we get into that is that buyers need help making a decision. There is no shortage of content and resources and, and blogs and webinars and virtual events and all of that stuff, especially now in the middle of COVID.

So how do you break through the noise and actually make a difference for customers? Do you become that guy that says, look, I know there’s a lot of confusion in the market? There’s a lot of stuff and we’re not going to give you just more stuff. We’re going to help you declutter and break through the noise and give you a clear path of how you make a decision that’s best for you.

Those are the people that are winning. They’re really helping lay out the journey. They’re really facilitating their buyers to make a decision, not just giving them more content. In order for us to do that, you, as sales enablement professionals, need to have full visibility of the entire buying journey and buying process. And as we look at ROI and determine what’s working and really optimize things that go on within the process, we can’t do that until we sit back and are able to see everything.

When I work with my clients and what I worked through with them is helping them understand that if you are a sales professional or sales leader, and you’re trying to optimize your silo, literally you’re operating like this. You can only see one part of the buying process. And if you’re a marketing leader and doing the same, you can only see this part of the process.

Well, here’s the reality of things. Buyers go through both sides of the process and you can’t optimize if you don’t know what’s coming before you or what’s happening after you. In order for you to be able to really optimize your buying process and be able to really determine what it’s going to take to change things, you have got to all step back, map out that whole journey, and then see, ‘Oh, people are falling off after reading this piece of content. People are falling off at the handoff between marketing and sales. People are falling off once we have a demo. Whatever that looks like. And then we can have a holistic conversation on how we improve that.

So, let’s do a deep dive in what I call the moderate, buying cycle. And I talked about this in detail in my book “Create Togetherness”. Feel free, if this resonates with you and it’s helpful to you, to pick up the book. I don’t have time to go through all of that within this presentation, but I do want to walk through with you, at a very, very high level, so that you can start to think through how you utilize this tool, this resources framework, with your internal business partners.

This is a great way to look at the entire buying cycle. And what I encourage people to do is to sit down with their team and do an audit of all of these sales and marketing interactions that you have with the buyer. And notice I said interactions, I don’t use the word content. So again, going back to what I said before, the modern buyer doesn’t care if it comes from sales or marketing, they don’t care. For me, I think it’s great for you to start thinking of every time that that buyer interacts with our organization. That is considered interaction. Not a sales, not a marketing, just an interaction. We as sales and marketing professionals have to think about what are the sales and marketing interactions that are best for that particular buyer to have in that moment.

As you see, here we go all the way from being problem naïve through decision and the different stages that we have throughout the buying cycle. The second layer of that is, what is the buyer objective. So, it’s really important to not be focused on what we want the buyer to do, but what they need to achieve, what do they need to learn? What do they need to know in order to feel comfortable to move the next space? That really how the way we should be changing our mindset, not thinking through like, ‘okay, we’re in the problem naive stage. How do we get them there?’ No. What do they need to know? What are you to understand and get to the next stage?

The next level is the interaction goal. In order for us to help them understand what they need to, what do we need to do? What is that goal? And then map out the different interactions that you have already in place. And then this is the right way to find where holes exist. Where could you optimize? Or are there some sales interactions that you can move up and use in multiple places? Cause we know the line between sales and marketing responsibilities are blurring, but I think this is a great way of starting to conversation with your sales and marketing leader of how you can work together to map out this entire journey, inside of your process.

So, we’ll go into some of the upfront stages in detail to give you some ideas of what that looks like for you as you’re working with your teams. So, we’ll look at stage two, which is realization. As you see here it’s once the buyer realizes their business faces challenges, they research all issues to discover their specific business problems. That’s the mindset of where the buyer is. When we look at interactions that will engage them and get their attention, there’s a couple that we can think about. We can focus on educating buyers on relevant variables to narrow down the causes. It’s really helping them understand what is your problem.

So, I use the leaky roof example. If my roof is leaking, I need to know at what scale this problem is. Is it something I can just patch? I can just get up there and myself, if you’re handy, and patch it yourself. Or is there black mold and I have to completely redo the thing. I may not, as a buyer, understand the gravity of the problem. You, as a subject matter expert, will be greatly positioned to come in and help me understand what I’m really dealing with. And that goes into quantifying the impact of the problem. Is this something small that’s going to be a $500 problem or is this a $5,000 problem? And then help me be able to understand the sense of urgency I should have around fixing it.

These types of engagements should be non-promotional and or slightly branded. This is really about education. A lot of people are pushing brand too early in the process. We really want to step back for two seconds and become an advisor and educate the buyer first to help them feel comfortable with us and help them go on our journey together.

And then some of the resources you can focus on this particular stage, this realization stage, are social media marketing and social selling, podcasts with guests and target accounts, which is a really great way to have a conversation, engage them, ask questions, learn more about them. And if your marketing team is in charge of that podcast make sure you’re somehow typing up or distributing those learnings to the sales team so they can follow up and provide them continuous feedback about what they learned in the podcast and how we can help them. Speaking at trade shows and conferences. So not just having booths, but actually speaking. And then eBooks highlighting customer success stories are some of the ways that you can think about engaging in this particular phase.

If we move on to the exploration phase, which is phase three, the buyer’s mindset or their objective is to, with a clear understanding now of the business problems they face; buyers now look to explore all available solutions.

We now understand, okay, you got a leaky roof, but it’s not black mole. We just need somebody to patch it. Okay. So, what are all my options? Where can I go? And so, the interactions that are going to engage them in this particular phase is you want to help buyers understand the different categories of solutions that exist to solve their business issues.

So, is this me getting little patches and patching it up? Is there some type of phone thing I can use to do that? Do I just need a hammer and nail? What are my different options? And it’s okay if you talk about categories that are not yours. Because again, you want to be an advisor and you want to help them think this problem. They’re going to value you because you’re not just pushing content, but you’re actually helping them understand the problem.  You’re educating them. And that’s what’s going to separate you from the competition.

And then secondly, you want to help review both the short-term and long-term impact. So, it’s important that you understand their goals and what they’re trying to achieve. There’s opportunities to say, ‘you know what, it may sound great in the short term because you may be saving money in the long-term, if you don’t really actually replace the whole roof, you’re going to have a leaky roof in a month or two. And then you’re going to get black mold that dah, dah, dah.’ And so that’s when you really are able to help them think more strategically.

And then some of the resources you can focus on a great to use third party review sites. For folks that are SaaS solutions, we all know G2 is a great resource. Depending on your industry there may be others. Case studies are great. Educational events focused on key industry topics and then product webinars and other sales presentation. Those are some resources that you can use that actually will help you pull this through.

Fourth is confirmation. If we look at the mindset of the buyer, buyers understand what solutions are potential good fits. They now look to confirm that solutions capabilities required for their unique business challenge and organizational dynamics. So, we look at interactions that we engage them with, you want to demonstrate that you understand what solution capabilities are important to the buyer and then you also want to share how other similar companies have successfully leveraged your solution to achieve success.

So, this is really where we start to kind of sell, but it allows us to understand what their unique goals those are. And up to this point, we are really just gathering information and asking questions and giving feedback and educating. And now we’re on with information to really speak specifically to them. Some of the resources you want to think about using: the solution or what I call ROI calculators are really good. And I’m seeing more and more people use it. Because this helps them understand the cost of inaction. If you say, ‘Oh, you can save 30%,’ that doesn’t resonate as much as if you say, ‘If you don’t take action (because many times we’re selling against change, not just against our competitors). That will help them understand what will happen if they don’t take action.

So, for instance, if you don’t change this leaky roof, it’s going to turn the black mole, which means you’re going have to replace the whole roof, which is instead of a $500 solution is going to be $50,000 solution, whatever that looks like.

Personalized sales videos, and then competitor comparison charts. So, they can see, those old school checkmark boxes, of if you go with us, this is what you get. If you go to these folks, this is what they’re missing. And then by virtue of that you know what’s important to them and you can highlight those as well.

And then the decision phase. Buyers are clear what solutions can meet their needs and they make a final decision on which company they think will be a best fit for them. So, it’s important, right? This is beyond just the product or solution. We know that people a lot of times buy into the salesperson or buy into the company because they’ve had a great experience with you. It goes back to the 2020 data that Walker showed us about customer experience, being more important than price or product.

The interactions that will engage those folks in the stage, it’s just demonstrating how much you know them. You’ve gone on this journey with them. You learn so much. Marketing has all this great intelligence. Be really personalized, be very specific, and try to talk in specific terms versus general terms about that particular buyer and that account.

And again, act as a trusted advisor focused on not just selling a product and pushing a product, but really helping create value by understanding what they need and giving commentary about what you feel is best for them now that you’ve been with them along this journey with them. And then personalize all your interactions to make sure you’re talking specifically to that buyer or that account versus again, this general, broad, random sort of stuff.

Some of the resources you can think about putting into this particular phase: free trials, always work, obviously depending on your product. customer success stories always a great opportunity to highlight folks that are doing really well. Not only to give them some airtime to promote themselves, but also to make that connection of, this is somebody that looks just like you and they’ve been successful with our product. You can too. Then again, potentially, looking at a personalized implementation plan. If you come on board, this is exactly what that looks 30, 60, 90, whatever that is, so they can feel like they’ve already bought from you and they know what that looks like.

Hopefully those were really helpful for you to kind of think through the different stages of the buying cycle and how you can really help sales and marketing come together at the table and be that change agent and really get them to start thinking about going beyond their silos. And not only thinking about their silos, but to think more holistically and creating a unified customer experience that really helps the buyer navigate the process to making a decision, which hopefully at the end of the day will be you.

If you enjoyed that, I really hope that you will pick up my new book called “Create Togetherness”. It really is a strategic roadmap, which goes into much more detail than we could cover on this particular presentation today, about the cost of inaction. Of really digging into all the three pillars of alignment transformation, which are data, process, and communication. So, I think you’ll really enjoy this if it’s a topic that is something that you’re dealing with currently. Also excited to announce the audiobook will be coming out very soon. If you do not want a paperback copy, the audio book will be out, and you can listen to it while you’re doing your laundry or cooking or all the things that we do in our home now that we can’t go anywhere. Feel free to check out, check that out at And I hope you enjoy if you choose to purchase the book.

And then let’s stay connected. I love, love, love, love, love talking to and helping B2B revenue leaders like yourself with sales enablement practitioners, head of marketing, head of sales, and CEOs about how we work together in a different way. It is so important that we really sit down at the table and figure this out. We can no longer afford to operate in silos. It does not work anymore. The modern buyer is more savvy. They have more access to information, and they don’t need us for features and benefits conversation. They need us to be a guide and help them think strategically about what’s the best solution for them.

I welcome you to reach out to me if you have questions or if you think there’s opportunities to work together. Please follow me on all social media. I’m @meetJeffDavis across LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, as well as Facebook, that we just launched fairly recently.

And then all of my content, my blog, my podcast can be all seen at So again, hope this presentation was helpful for you thinking differently about how you can create a bond between sales and marketing that will take your organization to the next level. And I encourage you to make things a little different this year with your teams.

And as I always say in closing, create togetherness. Thank you for the time.

SS: Thank you. That was a fantastic presentation. Now, before we cut over to the live Q&A, I want to just take a moment to say thank you to all of our sponsoring partners that you’ll see on the following slide. As a reminder, we’re taking live Q&A questions in the chat box below, please enter them and we’ll open up the livestream now.

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