Cats and dogs. Fire and ice. Sales and Marketing? Why is it that the separate Sales and Marketing divisions from the same company, with the same goals, and the same direction, spend so much of their valuable energy competing against one another?
Why can’t we all just get along? On this Part 2 continuation of INSIDE Inside Sales, Darryl finishes his conversation with Matt Hayman from Refract.ai, a Marketing mastermind who has a deep passion for finding a common ground between Sales and Marketing teams. Darryl and Matt go over valuable strategies and techniques that can assist once mortal enemies of the business world, and help them to successfully collaborate, so that all may benefit. If you find yourself butting heads against your very own co-workers from separate divisions, then this podcast is just the tonic you’ve been looking for!
Not in the mood to listen? No problem, you can read the transcriptions below.
Host: Darryl Praill, VanillaSoft
Guest: Matt Hayman, Refract.ai
Darryl Praill: And welcome to another episode of INSIDE Inside Sales, the industry’s only nonstop podcast that speaks exclusively, solely, and just about all things sales development. We do not talk strategy, we do not talk vision. We talk actionable, key takeaways that you can apply at the end of every single episode. My goal, my objective is to bring the world’s best, the industry’s smartest, so they can share their secrets with you. They can share their wisdom and you can apply it and see an immediate uptick in your results. I was talking to Steve Burton here today. If you don’t know him, he is UK’s most award winning sales trainer and he talked about the theory of marginal gains. The whole point of improving a process, just 1%, that if you do this in enough aggregate ways, you end up having an incredible overall increase in your performance and your results.
Darryl Praill: I like to think that every single one of our episodes is a marginal gain of 1% where we introduce a new topic and a new issue that you maybe haven’t thought of or you could refine nominally so that you get just slightly better results and are slightly more successful. So that says, if you keep on listening to the show forever and ever, you’re going to just be on fire in a year or two or three’s time, maybe sooner. Who knows? All depends on how good you are.
Darryl Praill: Today’s episode is a lot of fun. In fact, it’s the first time we’ve ever done this. This is part two of a show that we recorded cause it was just so long, there’s so much good stuff. So if you missed the last episode, you missed the last episode, then I suggest you go listen to it first.
Darryl Praill: The whole two parter is called The Sales Rep’s Secret Weapon Is Marketing with the big, you know, lilt in your voice. Like, “really? Marketing is the secret weapon to sales?” And I do it with Matt Hayman. He’s the head of marketing for Refract AI and whilst he and I are both have a marketing bent, we both have a strong sales background so we can actually speak to how sales can leverage the marketing resource to actually achieve greater success in your day to day activities. And there’s incredible content there. So with that, what I’m gonna do is I’m going to say to you, if you missed the last one, go listen to this one first. If you didn’t, and you’ve been waiting for this episode to come out, wait no more. Here it is. I hope you enjoy it.
Darryl Praill: Now, I’ll speak up on behalf of marketers out there specifically. This is a legacy thing. Many people just don’t understand, but marketing does. We understand sales. Sales, you know, I may not be a salesperson, but I understand sales. Sales makes the money that keeps these company’s doors open. God bless sales. I get what you do. You may not do it well, but I get what you do. And I’m going to keep you even though you’re kind of “eh eh,” in your results, because if you were not here, I’d have no results. Therefore I get sales.
Darryl Praill: But marketing, you know you did trade shows and press releases and their press releases. Do press releases work anymore? And social selling. Come on guys. Does that generate anything? Like, I don’t know. There’s a lot of airy fairy stuff going on there. So and, and I guess I’m being tongue in cheek, but a lot of people think this way. They don’t understand marketing.
Darryl Praill: So when you’ve got a leadership, and again, a managing director or CEO or whatever you want to call it, who doesn’t understand the role of marketing because they’ve never had to do it. Often CEOs have come through the ranks of either finance or sales. Traditional tracks. It’s not often it comes from marketing. So they just don’t get it. This, this is why it’s so important for the head of marketing, if nobody else is doing it or stepping up, you need to be the one to step up and say, “we need to get together and understand our roles and our responsibilities and how we are going to achieve this and how we are going to be held responsible and held accountable.”
Darryl Praill: Because you’re the odd man out. If they don’t know what you do, you’re going to get your budget cut, your staff cut or they will just replace you because they don’t know. But if you take the initiative to say, “I get it’s all about revenue, how can we do this?” Then all of a sudden the rule of marketing and what you do becomes far more accountable and respectable and valuable. And again, you’re winning, sure, but the company is winning. Because marketing is critical to fill in the funnel for sales.
Matt Hayman: I also think as well, you’ve got, with marketing, marketing is such an incredibly broad church. There’s so much that could go into it. Print advertising versus SEO, search engine optimization. It’s such a broad church and I think the way you and I both come from an agency background and my approach when I was working with clients was always to sort of, was almost to be tactic agnostic. Where’s to say, “we’re not going to go down a particular route. First, explain to me what it is you need in detail. Is that a lead? Is it a sale? Is it an eComm sale? What is it you’re looking for?” And then use that as the outcome and then use a bag of tricks, a pool of resources to try and make that happen. And I think that there’s definitely, where I am at Refract, there’s definitely a culture of that which is, “we want marketing qualified leads, we want them to fit this broad, these broad parameters, now go make that happen. But keep us in the loop and let us know and educate us on how you’re doing that.”
Matt Hayman: And I think that’s probably what’s missing a little bit is more of a focus on if you have a particular background, you’re strong in events, you’re strong in print, your strong in PR, that that then, if you are part of the marketing leadership, that then becomes what marketing does. So I think it’s about understanding that marketing as a whole is a huge area and that there will be technical specialists in all of those areas but the focus should always be, “what’s our outcome and what methods are we going to use to achieve that outcome?”
Darryl Praill: I love everything you’re saying. And that’s why I always, when I work with my colleagues, I always say, “let’s not focus on a tactic. What’s the outcome we want? You tell me what you want as an outcome.” It could be awareness, could be leads, could be something else, could be combination. I don’t care. Just tell me what the hell the outcome is. And then let me move the pieces that I have available on the board to me to make that happen. Because that’s what you hired me. And I’ve worked at companies where you know the CEO or the head of sales were powerful personalities and they control issues and they would say yes and they could never do it. They had to micromanage. And those companies failed.
Darryl Praill: I’ve been blessed here at VanillaSoft where everybody on the team kind of goes, “okay.” And, and that’s kind of like be careful what you ask for because if you said, “let me do what I do cause this is why you hired me,” and then you don’t deliver, and it might not even be your fault, but you didn’t deliver? You’re not in a good position. So, but I love that. You know, and if I could tell anybody who’s in a marketing role or even a sales role, the same thing applies here. When you’re looking for that next job that you’re going to take, a big part of that is, you know, “what autonomy do I have,” you know, it’s like, you know, “measure me on outcomes and incentivize me on outcomes, financially or otherwise, and let me worry about the little things and you go do something else. Cause we don’t need two of us micromanaging sales or two of us micromanaging marketing, you should be doing something else while I do this.” And when I’ve had that culture, wonderful things happen.
Darryl Praill: I mean there’s a funny story. When I came here at VanillaSoft and after the first month or so I had my bearings, “okay, I get what we do.” You know, I thought I knew but now I really know. I went to my CEO and I said, “okay, so I got a plan. I’ve been here a month, I got a plan now. Other than the hundred day plan I told you I was gonna do in the interview, I’ve got a real plan.” And he’s like, “okay!” And I’m like, “okay.” So I said, “but it requires some ground rules.” So this was with my CEO and not with my head of sales, but it’s the same thing, guys. Alignment and collaboration is okay. I said, “first things first,” I said, “there’s two speakers for this company.” He’s like, “okay, who are they?” And I said, “it’s you, it’s me. No one else. No one’s allowed to talk or open their mouth or say anything.” “Okay, got it.” I said, “rule number two, we have roles.” He’s like, “what’s my role?” And I said, “you’re the good cop.” And he goes, “and you’re-”
Darryl Praill: “I’m the bad cop.” And he goes, “so I like it. I like being a good cop. But what does the good cop do when you’re a bad cop?” I said, “you clean up after me, I’m going to make a mess. And you clean up.” And he’s like, “I can do that.” So I said, “fantastic.” I said, “and rule number three,” I said, “for me to do what I need to do, to move those pieces on the board, we need to promote me more.” You know, historically the social media here at VanillaSoft was on the corporate channels. And I said, “but people buy from people.” So I said, “we need to promote Darryl more, cause I’m one of those two spokespeople.” Or Darryl and David because he’s the other spokesperson. I said, “so there’s more of a face to the company, not just this, you know, unknown anonymous vendor.”
Darryl Praill: And he’s like, “we need to invest in you? Like, because I’m already paying you and now you want me to invest more in promoting you, so then you’ll get poached and I’ll be starting all over again.” I said, “yes, but I promise not to get poached right away. So we’re all good.”
Darryl Praill: But once you have those rules, you know, so here we are with my CEO, he let me move the pieces on the board. You know, and it’s amazing what happens. Everybody wins. And what I would do is when I was doing stuff they hadn’t seen before, I would explain it with them. Because this is in my own selfish interests. “Hey guys, just so you know, so this is the outcome we want, these are the pieces I’m moving, and this is what I expect to happen.” And they’d be like, “oh, well that makes sense.” So you do that a few times and then you know what settles in with the revenue team between sales and marketing? It’s a wonderful thing. Trust takes place.
Matt Hayman: Yeah, for sure. And also as well, I find that you get, you have, as a marketer, now this is a sales podcast and we’re going to get onto some specific tactics in a second, particularly around LinkedIn, but I think it gives me as a marketer the creative freedom to try new things, to try out new approaches when that trust is there and to take some risks. And sometimes those risks might pay off, sometimes they might not. But ultimately it’s a lot more freeing and certainly a lot more creative freedom to try the things that I’d like to try. So yeah, I agree. I think it’s super important.
Darryl Praill: The funny part about that is even in the communications side, because again, communication is really, really important to sustain that alignment. So even when I’m experimenting, you know where it might not pay off, to your point. And I’ve done that many times. I’m straightforward about it. So I’ll give you a simple example. You know, we sell a sales engagement solution so our circular audience has been sales folks. Early into my career here I kind of, I had a bit of an epiphany, which most people would say I was kind of slow having it. But my epiphany was like, you know, it’s great we’re selling to sales people, we shouldn’t stop that. But you know what? Nine times out of 10, sales doesn’t own the actual tech stack. That’s owned by marketing. Marketing’s got the budget that pays for all that tech stack, not sales, in nine times out of 10. So why am I going to all of these sales trade shows and events and conferences, but no marketing conferences.
Darryl Praill: So I went to my leadership team and I said, “here’s my theory. I want to go drop, you know, like $30,000 and try this marketing show out.” And they all, you know, God bless them again, cause that trust had been built. They said, “okay, let’s drop 30K on a onetime thing and let’s go see what happens.” Turned out, best decision ever. We do way more marketing shows now than we do sales shows, because it was exactly what we thought. The marketers had the stack, the marketers had the budget, the marketers were the ones actively looking for solutions to the problems. And often being sponsored by the sales guys and saleswomen saying, “you know, yo marketing, can you find us a solution to fix this problem?” So for us, that was an example of experimenting, but communicating what I was doing, explaining there’s going to be a risk. “This might be a bus. I might not generate, I might lose us money, but at least we’ll be a little smarter afterwards and we won’t do it a second time.”
Matt Hayman: Yeah. It’s a brilliant example and I’m going to share one as well. And this, with one eye very much on the fact that we’ve got sales professionals listening to the show, I wanted to share an example of how sales and marketing at Refract have worked particularly well using LinkedIn. I think LinkedIn, to your point around that personal brand I think has never been as important as now on LinkedIn. I think it is so phenomenally important for sales professionals to be on LinkedIn, to have a presence, and to be their face of the company. I think it’s never been more important. But let me just share an example of a time when it’s worked well for us, that collaboration or that alignment. We put out a video just over a month ago, our CEO, his 10 year old son told him that he wanted to come in and have a go at cold calling.
Matt Hayman: So we jumped on this opportunity and in one of the school holidays he came in and he did some cold calling. We gave him some coaching. I, as the marketing person, was there filming and editing everything down, but we had him come in and he was practicing his cold calls. So imagine the scene of this 10 year old kid calling up these prospects, calling up these companies and having these sales conversations with them. Now, as you can imagine, that got traction. We had over a hundred thousand views organically on LinkedIn and we had 50,000 paid views on LinkedIn as well. So we’ve got a huge amount of traction.
Matt Hayman: So the traditional marketing approach is to say, “we put it out there, didn’t we do a great job? You know, look at all this attention, look all of these eyeballs.” But our approach at Refract was for then the sales team to go into all of the comments on those videos and respond to those comments individually. No real science behind it. Just if you’re free, and at one point we were getting comments literally coming in by the second, just jump on LinkedIn, post a comment, a thoughtful, valuable comment thanking somebody for their input, whatever it might be, and start to generate that relationship. And we got huge engagement and sharing off the back of that and we generated deals, but it was about those reps taking that piece of content that I had created and seeded and then they had amplified it with their own techniques and their own approaches.
Matt Hayman: But in doing so, back to your point, had developed a community and a following around them as a representative of Refract. And that worked incredibly well for us. The difficulty is, how do you engineer a viral hit? Very difficult to do it. We’re working on a few ideas. But that approach, that alignment worked phenomenally well for us.
Darryl Praill: Total Sidebar, I love your example, if you figure out how to intentionally generate a viral hit you, we’ll share that with me, right? Just, we’re clear on this?
Matt Hayman: Well I’ve got two ideas, we’re working on two ideas at the moment that I bet one of them is going to be a hit, but we’ll, yeah, oh absolutely. I’ll let you know how to do it for sure.
Darryl Praill: And you know the funny part of that is, for example, the other day we had a webinar we did. A big debate with Keenan, I don’t know if you know Keenan.
Matt Hayman: I do, yeah.
Darryl Praill: But Keenan is, okay, so Gap selling, he’s quite the influencer, and Keenan has a reputation for being, you know, colorful with his language. Let’s go with that. So when I got him on this debate and I was going to hit him around his language, talking about, you know, generating a viral aspect. And when we got him like two months in advance of this date and hooked it all up and we’re trying to schedule. And all I say to my crew was, I said, “this is going to be huge! We got Keenan, I’m going to call him out. People know I’m not afraid to debate people so they know my reputation. They know his reputation. This is going to be epic!” And it was a good show, but it was just kinda like a blip in the night. It’s, you cannot predict what’s going to be viral and what’s not going to be viral. But hey, if you haven’t watched it guys and gals, go watch it. It’s great show.
Darryl Praill: Anyway, that was my story about unable to manufacture a viral video. Your video you guys did was fricking awesome. I was, I will fully admit to being a little bitter and a little jealous that you had that and I didn’t. So there you go [crosstalk 00:15:52]-
Matt Hayman: You wait till you see the next one we’ve got coming up. I’m really excited. But again, like you, who knows? It might just be a blip in the ocean. No one ever hears about it. But to come, to bring it full circle back to the listener, somebody in sales, all of that goes into me getting the feedback from the sales guys as to what’s working and what’s not working so that we can create more content like that. And one of the things that I did that I tested, cause I’m always testing, I still think as a marketer I’m always testing, whether it’s ad copy, whether it’s method, whatever, whatever it might be, I’m always testing. And one of the things I was doing off the back of that video in particular was reaching out to people who had liked that content. So not people who commented. I’d done a little bit of that, but that was the sales guys were on that.
Matt Hayman: What I decided to do was let’s take the list of whatever it was, 1500, maybe 2,000 people who liked the video and let’s find within them some interesting people, possibly prospects, possibly good fit prospects and what about reaching out to them and not reaching out to them necessarily with, ‘hi, saw you liked the video. Would you like to buy Refract?” I’m being glib, but you get the idea, that kind of old school, pushy, pushy approach. But actually say to them, “I’m pleased you found the video enjoyable. By the way, did you know we also have a podcast? We also have this piece of content.” So shared two pieces of content and that itself allowed me to grow, I probably did a 500%, 600% increase in my followers on LinkedIn. Not by being pushy, but by playing the long game.
Matt Hayman: By looking at how people were engaging with some content that I knew we had something that would compliment, I’m reaching out to them as well. So from a sales perspective, that’s how me as a marketer, I can test out ideas in the wild, then I took that approach back to the sales team and that’s something we now do on a regular basis. We look for people who are engaging with content, giving it a thumbs up if it’s just that, that’s fine. Letting them know that we have other content, if that resonated, we have other content. And that for me is what collaboration is all about. Me trying out ideas in the wild, seeing what works, creating a bit of a lab and then sending to the sales guys these for them to run with. So for me, that’s what collaboration is all about.
Darryl Praill: And the beauty of what you just described, following up on those likes and offering additional value, is something that somebody in sales or somebody in marketing or both, you know, collaborating on, you know, your divide and conquer strategy can do. And it opens up great chances to have additional conversations with the sales crew or with a marketing group. It grows your social influence, it grows your reach, it grows your cred, and that’s what it’s all about. That’s totally what it’s all about. So I love what you’re doing. We started to do something similar several months ago where we would always look for content on LinkedIn that was, for lack of better word, contentious. You know, “the dress is blue!” “No, the dress is gold!” And you have all these, you know, hundreds of comments, “it’s blue,” “it’s gold,” “it’s blue,” “it’s gold,” “it’s blue,” “it’s gold,” whatever.
Darryl Praill: And then, so we would do a Webinar or a video or whatever on “is the dress blue or is the dress gold?” And we would go on LinkedIn and we would identify every single person who commented and we would personally message them and say, “we saw you, you jumped in, you had a strong opinion on here. You may enjoy this live event we’re doing between dress manufacturer A and dress manufacturer B, where we debate the merits of blue versus gold. And if not, you don’t have time for that, sign up anyway, and we’ll send you the on-demand recording.” That did, because they already had somewhat prequalified themselves as having, you know-
Matt Hayman: Of course.
Darryl Praill: They’ve taken sides, which I love. Once you’ve taken a side then as a marketer or a salesperson, you can leverage that to build upon their emotion.
Matt Hayman: And somebody clicking the like button, I know it’s now different because they have the reactions to the last couple days [crosstalk 00:19:30]
Darryl Praill: They can laugh, they can love.
Matt Hayman: Yeah, all these reactions. But in the good old days, a like, a comment, could be positive or negative. A like is a lot easier to sort of differentiate. But yeah, I think that’s absolutely it. It’s about creating those novel approaches, finding out what the outcome is and then working back from that. So yeah. Phenomenal. So just one eye on the time, Darryl. Any other thoughts, or in terms of insights, how could somebody working in sales take what we’ve been rambling on about for the last 40 minutes and implement it? Somebody in sales particularly, what advice would you give somebody in sales who wants to improve their results by working with marketing? Any thoughts or ideas for them?
Darryl Praill: So this is what I do on a regular basis with my team here and they seem to value that immensely. And I’ve been hearing a lot of comments back, like “I’ve never had this experience before with with the CMO,” which I shake my head at. So here’s my story. If you’re in sales, you know, I would be on a first name basis with the key colleagues in your marketing team, including your head of marketing. Do not let a title intimidate you, all right? They’re just like you, news for you. And ask them any question you want. I bet you I get pinged a dozen times a day with my sales guys saying, “hey, I see you’re connected to John Doe. You know, can I reference your name when I reach out?” “Sure.” Or, “yeah, I’m connected but I don’t know who John Doe is,” you know, whatever. So we have those conversations. Or, “hey, can you do an intro for me?” Or, “hey, do you have a piece of content?” Or, “hey, I got this objection, how would you respond?” Or, “hey, they want to know if we have any content that does this or that.”
Darryl Praill: You know, again, don’t wait for marketing to initiate the conversation. The one who is proactive and asks for stuff will do a couple of things. A, they’ll get the attention of marketing because marketing just wants to help you. Believe it or not. We genuinely do. B, you will become the inspiration. So then we’ll make stuff, and whatever we’re making, we have a lot to make. If you’re asking me for it, chances are I’m probably gonna make that first cause I know there’s a need for it. And then C, you can influence how marketing spends their monies. So it sounds stupid, but if you have a certain patch, a certain product that you’re advocating for, cause that’s what your job is, you know, by you’re getting in front of my face nonstop about that product, chances are I’m going to maybe do more shows or do more AdWords spam, or do whatever to get more leads because I just want to shut you up.
Darryl Praill: So engage your marketing team. They’re actually wired to help you be successful. Because if you have success, this is the part that you guys forget. If you ask me for something and I do it for you and that results in more sales, guess what I get to say? I get to say marketing drove that revenue. And that’s what gets me up in the day, every single morning. How can I help my company drive more revenue?
Matt Hayman: I love it, I love it and I absolutely endorse that. And from my side, my take on that is salesperson, salesperson, sales leader, listening to this, you have within you huge untapped resource around understanding pain points, demographics, frustrations, lots and lots of data, lots of information around your prospects. Share that with marketing. And one approach I would advocate you try is put yourself in the position of your ideal prospects. You’re waking up in the middle of the night, you go onto Amazon, you’re trying to find a book, you’re trying to find something that is going to alleviate this concern, this stress, whatever it might be. What would that book look like? What would that book contain? If you start to jot down those ideas, pass that to a marketing person who is sympathetic to your cause. Get them to work that up into a lead magnet and test that and I guarantee you will see positive results.
Matt Hayman: But it has to come from the idea that you have insights into those pain points and what keeps that person up at night. Put together some of those ideas, send it to marketing, get them to create lead magnet, test it in the wild and I guarantee you’ll see big improvements in the quality of the, and number, of MQLs that you start to get through. So that’s my take on it as well.
Darryl Praill: Brilliant. What you said.
Matt Hayman: So just as we wrap up, Darryl, how can people find out more about you guys? We didn’t start the episode with a big long intro about you and your products, so maybe now’s the opportunity if they’ve lasted to 50 minutes, maybe now is a good chance to introduce VanillaSoft and what you guys do. How can people find out you, about you, your work and what VanillaSoft does?
Darryl Praill: If you’re still here after 50 minutes, I want to tell you that you should be busy selling, guys. Just get on, you know, why are you listening to me? I’m Darryl Praill. I’m the chief marketing officer with VanillaSoft. VanillaSoft is the industry’s longest standing most successful sales engagement platform. We help you make more contact attempts via phone, email, social media, whatever than anybody else in the planet. So you know, if you want more revenue, come check me out. I am available on LinkedIn, Darryl Praill, do a search, you’ll find me. You can always find any of my posts, #prailltale. P R A I double L T A L E. Or find me on Twitter with a rather unique handle called ohpinion8ted, with a capital O, capital H. So that’s me.
Matt Hayman: Fantastic. And I never, in these podcasts talk about Refract, I talk about my work too much at Refract. But if you have a team of sales leaders, sales professionals, and you want to have better sales conversations in seconds, then go to refract.ai and find out more about how we can help you improve those sales conversations, those quality of sales conversations using artificial intelligence. It’s like having a virtual sales coach sitting in on every single sales call, surfacing insights and then sharing them with you on a silver platter for you to implement. So give Refract a try. Refract.ai is the URL. Have a look at that. And thank you very much for your time, Darryl. It’s been great chatting with you, really enjoyed it and hopefully we’ll speak again soon.
Darryl Praill: I look forward to it in the meantime, happy selling folks. We’ll talk to you soon.
Matt Hayman: See Ya. Bye.
Darryl Praill: All right, so that wraps up the conversation between Matt and I. What did you think? Did you agree with the topics? Did you disagree with the topics? Do you think you can now go to your marketing colleagues and have a meaningful discussion where they will give you the crown jewels so you can more successfully work with your prospects and develop and qualify and close those deals that you perhaps are struggling with right now? Are you better equipped? Do you better understand how marketing works? Let me know. Follow me on LinkedIn. Follow me on Twitter. Just do a simple search for Darryl Praill. But in the meantime you should always be listening to Inside, Inside Sales. Do us a favor, share this show, point your friends to it, like, follow, review, all that usual stuff. That’s the only ask I give, and in return you get to keep on hearing us give you great content every single week. I am so glad you joined us today, folks. My name is Darryl Praill. I’ll talk to you soon.