Bridging the Canyon Between Marketing and Sales | Chris Wallace

“Marketing needs to generate more leads,” says sales.

“Sales needs to follow up on the leads we’re sending them,” says marketing.

Sales and marketing: two functions that are critical to a business’s success. And from the first time something was sold, sales and marketing have worked independently.

This gulf, this canyon, this gaping sinkhole between sales and marketing has been around for a long time. That’s where Chris Wallace (@ChrisWallaceIVG), Co-Founder and President of marketing consulting firm InnerView, comes in.

In this episode, you’ll hear Chris’ solution on how to bridge the canyon between your marketing and sales teams. Listen in.

Read The Transcript
Brian Massey: Sales and marketing two functions critical to a businesses success. They worked tightly arm in arm to build awareness, to engage prospects and to help their customers choose the best solution for their problem. They have common goals and cooperate closely to achieve them. The mutual respect and gratitude they have for one another is palpable. Now, if you’re wondering what planet I’m on, you’re not alone. From the first time something was sold, sales and marketing have worked together. God created desire by positioning the fruit as forbidden. The serpent closed the deal. Marketers created the gold rush. Sales people sold the picks and shovels. Sears wrote the catalog, Roebuck shipped the merchandise. Yet not all is well in sales and marketing land. Marketers need to generate more leads as sales sales needs to follow up on the leads we’re sending them says marketing the leads. Marketing is sending aren’t qualified, so sales sales isn’t selling the right products. It says marketing. My company is usually hired by marketing to optimize a website. We learn a lot from sales people when we interview them. Yet. We often don’t have access to the CRM, the customer relationship management system because it belongs to sales. This Gulf, this Canyon, this gaping sinkhole between sales and marketing has been around for as long as I’ve been in business.

Chris Wallace: What we’re finding to be the best way to sort of bridge that gap is to disrupt that one way flow and really increase the the the two way dialogue and collaboration and really you know, helping marketers look at their sales teams, their frontline or it could be sales, customer service, even technicians and even non-selling roles, non revenue generating roles and looking at those folks really as the face of their brand and an audience that they need to engage in and really win over.

Brian Massey: That’s why I invited Chris Wallace to be on this podcast. He’s the co founder and president of interview, an agency that is totally focused on this problem. Now, I was skeptical at first. This problem also exists with customer support and with the training teams, but by the time we were done talking, I knew his solution was perfect. Now find out how he convinced me.

Break: (Commercial Break)

Brian Massey: I always like to start off by understanding what it is that brought you to this place, CEO and founder of interview group, and you can go back to high school, college, whatever makes sense to help us understand what combination of experiences and neuroses brought you to this point.

Chris Wallace: well, how much time do we have If we’re getting to neuroses then that we might need some more time. But, I think there’s, there, there’s a couple of combination or I can, if I’m thinking back that far, there is a combination that I think, has really helped lead me to this point. My team to this point. And I would say that, the first is I, I’ve always sort of been a, an optimizer, somebody who looks at things that are not functioning smoothly. and I’m always trying to find ways to improve upon those things.

Brian Massey: Now, can you, can you come up with like, when you were a child or something you optimized, am I pushing too hard or the first indications that you were going to be an optimizer?

Chris Wallace: That’s where I was going next actually. So the other thing I would combine it with is sort of my DNA as a salesperson. I’m, I’m, I’m a sales I, I don’t say I’m a sales person by, by profession. I’m, I’m sort of a sales person by DNA and my, my younger, or excuse me, my older brother and I, when we were younger, we used to sell raffle tickets for the fundraiser for the little league. we were baseball players growing up and we had figured out that if we, we optimized the, the selling process of raffle tickets and we would go camp out at local grocery stores. And this was before even girl Scouts were doing it. We would camp out at the local grocery stores and we would stand there as people were coming in and out and we would sell raffle tickets for the little league there. And when it came time to start the season and you cashed in, you know, you turned in all your stuff and all your money, they couldn’t understand how we sold thousands of raffle tickets and the next closest person sold 75. So I think that sort of combined my, my DNA as a salesperson and my, my desire to sort of optimize situations and sort of hack it so to speak and that and find a better way.

Brian Massey: Was there a, was there a key strategy or a key thing you did that got you to above a thousand?

Chris Wallace: It was, well, it was really the positioning. I mean, most people would sell them to their friends and family or they’d go knock on doors in their neighborhood or, but we went someplace where all we had to do is stand still and people were coming to us all day long.

Brian Massey: location, location, location.

Chris Wallace: Right, exactly right. And listen, I had to give an elevator elevator pitch. We were eight years old, nine years old, and we had to stand there and give an elevator pitch and it does teach you a lot of humility, but it was, it was definitely part of what molded my experience in wanting to optimize things, but also bring in my, sort of my, my background as a salesperson in what we do today.

Brian Massey: Interesting. So, how has that translated into, why did you start this organization? How did that translate into that? What drives you?

Chris Wallace: I think that the, the the best way to describe it. As, you know, having been a salesperson in much of my career and been in a lot of frontline roles, I had the opportunity to go out on my own and start up my own organization. This is going back to 2011. And even going back all the way to there, what we found was my team and I found was that, you know, people who sit on the front lines are asked to do a lot. They have a lot of things being thrown at them. They’re being asked to sell a lot of different things. Rep represent a lot of different stories and messages and those folks don’t really get the support that they need. They don’t necessarily get the tools that they need to do to do their job. You’ve got corporate really pushing a lot of stuff down the funnel and trying to jam it down to the people at the front line so it gets to the customer eventually. But, we, we recognize an opportunity where organizations just really weren’t following through and helping those folks be as successful as they could be. And you know, that goes back to my optimizing looking at that and saying, how can we optimize this So these frontline folks really are really bought in and excited about the things their company’s doing as opposed to just having another flavor of the month put forced upon them.

Brian Massey: Yeah. Well, so a lot of marketers listening to this podcast and so your history in sales puts you squarely in the camp of the enemy. Now I say that pejoratively sales isn’t the enemy, in any organization, but they do seem to have their own way of doing things. And you know, honestly, we don’t look over and say, Oh those poor sales guys, they’re like us. They have too much to do and too few resources, and that might be part of the myopia, but there’s always been this Canyon between sales and marketing. Sales is blame marketing cause they’re not getting the right leads. Marketing’s blaming sales because they’re sending the leads over and they’re not closing them. And that that conversation never ends with, and here’s what we’re doing about it. I’ve heard like put marketing and sales into the same leader, the same VP, I’ve heard the opposite. They need to have their own managers fighting for them. And your business is squarely focused on building bridges across that chasm. Can you kind of give us an overview of what you guys do

Chris Wallace: Yeah, I mean I, I hope hopefully people don’t, don’t think of me as the enemy. And I think that one of the things that is interesting about what we’re doing, you talk about building bridges, we really do sit in a spot where we understand the challenges of the sales organization. But at the same time we’re, we’re a marketing consulting organization and we have people that have worn both hats and organizations. I’ve done it for, for major brands, both in sales and marketing. So a number of my colleagues. So, we really have seen both sides of it. And really what we think it comes down to is most organizations, the biggest reason organizations struggle with this is information typically moves in one direction. Information flows from the top down and the marketers are really the ones developing the, the go to market strategy and developing the products and then that gets for black or better word over the wall or pushed down the funnel toward the the sales organization and what we’re finding to be the best way to sort of bridge that gap is to disrupt that one way flow and really increase the, the the two way dialogue and collaboration and really, you know, helping marketers look at their sales teams, their frontline or it could be sales, customer service, even technicians and even non-selling roles, non revenue generating roles and looking at those folks really as the face of their brand and an audience that they need to engage in and really win over looking at them as, I mean if we can really win their hearts and mind that, tell them what to do, but when their heart to and minds the way we’re, we’re out there trying to win customers hearts and minds every day.

Chris Wallace: We know we can, we can, like you said, we can build that bridge. We can, we can close that gap in a significant way. And that’s the work that my team is doing every day.

Brian Massey: Now you said a couple of things that were interesting there. So first of all, you come from the sales background and sales is part of the problem but you still primarily to marketers. Is that what I understood correctly That is true. That is 100% true. And you also said something that is interesting. So you saw sales as downstream from marketing and I think most marketing departments and sales departments would see them as side-by-side. And maybe that’s part of the conceptual problem. Do you really see sales as kind of the next step And I don’t mean down as in down in importance, but they’re the receivers of what marketing is doing.

Chris Wallace: I, I think, I think it depends on the organization. I think that, a lot of the work we do is in the B to C world. We’ve also worked in the B2B world as well. And I think that the, when it comes to the brand really sits with marketing, right The brand sits with marketing. What the, what that promise is, what that really the, the, the core strategy, the positioning, all those things. And I think that in most organizations the influence of brand is, is becoming even greater by the day, right The brand is really starting to dominate a lot of different things and we really do see that sort of coming out of the marketing suite coming out of the marketing department and marketing’s developing those key messages, those promises and tucked underneath that is the products and services and they’re the ones responsible for bringing them to market sales.

Chris Wallace: A lot of cases is executing. So I think it depends on the flow. I’m not necessarily talking stature, I’m talking about the actual process of bringing something to market where we rarely find sales involved in that process of sort of concept and bringing to market, they become the executional arm of the go to market strategy. And I think that that rift is really between the strategy and the vision and the execution. It’s the, the, the bridge needs to be built between those two things and it can be accomplished it, even if it’s improved the results for an organization and can be a lot better.

Brian Massey: Yeah. Well I think that’s, I think this is important because if you, you know, the, the way it typically works is we came out with this new positioning. We came out with a new branding for this product. We came out with this new campaign and sales, we tried to get sales to do these things and they didn’t, and it’s kind of this, we have equal power in the organization. They decided not to, to execute. So what can we do if you see sales as receiving services from marketing and you know, that kind of a service is downline, not a, not a power downline. That pretty much puts the onus on marketing and say, well, if sales isn’t getting it, then there’s something I’m not doing. And I think that opens up some, it’s first of all, it opens some anxiety about, Oh, I’ve got, I really got to work harder. And it also opens up a little bit of power. And lets marketing take a little bit more control of that relationship.

Chris Wallace: That’s really, it’s really well put. I want to jump in on that real quick. I that’s, that’s really well stated. I think that there’s a couple things we can appoint to a lot of this comes back to accountability, right Who’s, who’s, who’s job is it, who’s responsible for it. We really do think that marketers should start looking at this insane. It’s not about blame, it’s about results. And we actually did a study earlier this year with a consumer insights company called focus vision. And we did research with 250, executives that were in marketing, product and customer experience. And we asked those folks how much of the success of how you are measured in your job depends upon the sales team and the people out there talking to your customers doing their job. How much does your evaluation of your success depend upon them 81% had it in the top two categories, which was agree, strongly agree.

Chris Wallace: So 81% said how I am judged is dependent upon them being successful. So I look at that as a very telling statistic to say it almost doesn’t matter who’s to blame it, who’s going to step up and take the responsibility too. I don’t want to say solve it. These aren’t solvable problems. They can be made better. And I think to your earlier point, the question we typically ask marketers when we’re, we’re having a dialogue with a prospective customer or you know, just having a a, you know, an introductory conversation we ask how confident are you that the people who represent your brand can tell the story the way you built it? How confident are you, whether it’s a product or the brand overall, the brand’s positioning or a new service line or, or a a merger you emerged in new business in and you’ve got to merge those logos together. How confident are you that people can tell that story the way that you built it?

Brian Massey: Those of you listening should be asking that question and what would you great. Have them grade themselves on a scale of one to 10 how confident am I that essentially my sales team is able to sales customer support. There’s several parts of that are capable of expressing the brand, and value proposition that we’ve defined.

Chris Wallace: That’s exactly right. you know, at the end of the day, it’s about delivering that value proposition. And what we find in a lot of cases is when you talked before about it’s not, it’s not a matter of being downstream and stature, it’s not downstream and statutes downstream and timing. And a lot of times what happens is the sales team ends up getting a, you know, a new product, a new service. And if they can sit through a training and they can be told what the value proposition is, there’s a difference between them knowing it and then believing in it. Because if you know something you can answer, you can answer a question if asked. If you believe in something, you tell it unprompted. And what do marketers need They need to cut through the noise. They need people to be telling the story out of enthusiasm and passion, not out of a sense of obligation. Or my boss is gonna yell at me if I don’t try to sell this product. That doesn’t move the needle compliance and and things like that, that’s not moving the needle, especially with sales people. They want to be inspired and there’s an opportunity to

Brian Massey: just like customers just like prospects.

Chris Wallace: It’s really no difference

Brian Massey: is sales and customer support is it, should marketing look at it as another channel to get its message out and be optimizing that channel The same way would be a Facebook advertising campaign or a search engine optimization program or a paid search advertising campaign.

Chris Wallace: I mean what you just described is exactly the way that we run our process, we run it like a marketing campaign. We treat the any channel who talks to the customers. We segment them based on how they talk to the customers and we measure how aligned they are to their brand Story. We developed, and this is going back to what we’ve learned over the years and we talk about optimizing. We worked with a market research, a company that was in the market research and customer insights space to sort of take their process and learn from their process and figure out how to optimize that. For an internal audience. We developed what we call the brand transfer score. And essentially what I mean is that it’s actually very literal. How well is your brand message, your brand story transferring from your, your corporate marketing department down to each one of these customer facing channels. It’s internal market research. So everything that we do is led off of gathering the attitudes and opinions and perceptions about product service, brand positioning, all those things, and using the data that we have to target those audiences with new campaigns, new messages, and in an effort to really win them over or fill the gap.

Brian Massey: Yeah. So brand transfer score is kind of like a return on ad spend for your internal communications. It’s a, it’s a metric that you can actually attach a quantitative value to and see if you’re doing better or worse.

Chris Wallace: That’s correct. Yeah. And I look at it as a lot of people will say, well, how does this compare to something like a net promoter score and NPS and what we, we look at it as, it’s a leading indicator. A net promoter score is trying to give you a metric. It’s an indicator of what one of your customers is likely to say to another potential customer. It really is. It’s a number that is trying to give you an illustration of what they’re likely to say. What we’re doing to brand transfer score is what wouldn’t you like to know what one of your people is likely to say to a customer in the first place and that that idea of recognizing that the attitudes, perceptions, and biases of the people in a retail store, in a call center, driving around in a van, whatever it is, whatever that customer facing touch point is. If you understand their attitudes and their biases, well, it’s easier to reach them with a message. You can be more surgical with that approach as opposed to we’ll just train everybody again or give them another product manual. You can be a little bit more surgical, a bit more targeted just like marketers want to be.

Brian Massey: Yeah. Well let’s have a little bitch test for it before we dive into kind of some of the things you can do. And I have, I have some definite concerns about this. but what are, what are the, the main things that marketers are doing wrong that is lowering their, their brand transfer score

Chris Wallace: So, I’m going to be a very low tech and unscientific in my answer, but I think it’s, it’s, it’s a very real answer and that is they’re focusing so much of their time and their effort and their resources telling sales what it is that they need to do and not enough time asking them what they think. And it doesn’t mean that you’re going to completely change a product. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to go back and completely redo your campaign. But if you were asking somebody what they think, if you understand they’re starting, if you want to get them from point a to point B, if you are constantly guessing at what the, what message is going to resonate with them to move them from point a to point B and you spend all your time, effort and energy blasting that message at them. In this case it could be product trainings or product manuals or whatever the case may be. if you spend all your time guessing and pushing messages out, you’re actually pushing your audience further away if you spend more of that.

Brian Massey: (interrupts) I’m sorry. I’m also going to bet that a lot of folks tell sales about the campaign, about the time that you push send.

Chris Wallace: Yeah, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a great point. the timing of this is really important. The sales team feels like you’re out in market with it before they’re even prepared to talk about it. Right. The phones start ringing before they’re even prepared. That happens a lot. We see it all the time. But so timing’s really important. But really that the answer is ask versus tell. Stop focusing so much on trying to tell them something and sort of drill it into them. And really try to build that dialogue and understand what their starting point is. If you’re only focused on filling a gap and not just guessing as to what message is going to help them, you’re going to find yourself spending a lot more time, effort, and energy and getting better results.

Brian Massey: Let me push back on that a little bit. Now sales suffers from something we call availability bias. I think this is Economen diverse ski, concept that basically it says that we’re most likely to remember things that were peak points, emotional points, our biggest wins, our biggest losses and things that were more recent. So when we interview sales people as a part of our process, we inevitably get their opinion really based in the last seven, 14, maybe days. And so they’re going to be giving us feedback in that space. We, on the marketing side, have done all of this research. We’ve done the focus groups, the user studies, we have the history of previous. And so the, the little ideas that tend to come into it’s from sales, to the ideas from sales tend to get discounted. Along those lines. And I think this gets in the way of marketers listening and hearing what sales have to say. How do you, how do you combat that?

Chris Wallace: That’s really hard. I, think that’s a hard problem to address. I think that some you talk about your sort of that, that, you know, recency bias or you know, things that were big moments or something they heard recently. one of the things that we really try to help our clients do is not look at the dialogue between sales and between the marketing team and the sales team as getting ready for a point in time, but sort of an ongoing and ongoing dialogue and ongoing collaboration. I’ll give you an example. If there’s one, there’s one problem that we could solve in corporate America that that would help us retire faster. It would be to solve this idea of what we call launch and leave. Organizations are constantly trying to diversify their revenue streams, so they’re trying to bring new products and services to market to compliment what they already have out there and expand share of wallet with their customers and they’re pushing all this stuff out.

Chris Wallace: It’s such a rapid clip and they’re so focused on getting it launched and getting people ready for the day that it launches. W we really stress with our, with our clients is don’t focus so much on launch as an event. Get them enough so it launched, they know what is happening, but then get them actually equipped to tell the story over time. Post launch now that they can actually go out there and sell it, give them a small piece of the story and say, go out and try this or go out and try that and feed them these little nuggets over time and have this be something that builds up. You know, you use a fitness analogy, you can’t, you can’t go into one workout in the gym and lose 20 pounds. Right. It has to be something that’s done through, you know, through repetition and commitment.

Chris Wallace: And we look at trying to improve that. That dialogue between marketing and sales is the same thing. Don’t try to make them experts right way. Try to help them build momentum, try to get them comfortable with something. Don’t try to get them to swallow the entire thing whole. So when you talk about trying to keep it top of mind, a great way to keep things top of mind is to feed them interesting little nuggets, bit by bit, by bit over a period of time, rather than attaching the firehose to their face. Almost every organization that we come across goes with the fire hose approach.

Brian Massey: So if we see sales and support as another channel, we have to nurture them. Like we would a social media account. We’re going to send content over and over and slowly people are going to be following us and then they’re going to be spreading it and it becomes this growing thing. I, you know, I had this in my own business recently where I went and looked at, we have a, an email that goes out to all of our employees that shares with them what content we’re sharing on the blog and sharing on the podcast. And I looked at the click through rates on it and it was a Bismal and I was like, Oh, I’ve got to go have a come to Jesus meeting with these folks. They need to know what we’re talking about. And some of this stuff is going to help them be better at their jobs. I had that moment. What I’m hearing from you, a better idea would have been to go out and ask them to subscribe, and give them reasons to subscribe and grow my internal mailing list. Like I would my external mailing list. Am I, is this, am I over taxing this metaphor or is this what we’re talking about

Chris Wallace: No, I don’t think you are at all. I, I don’t think you are at all. I think that the, I’ll give you an example. I’m speaking to the head of head of employee experience for a very large B2B technology company and she comes from the marketing world and she’s completely revamped the, the role in, in, in sort of the view of the employees in everything that she is doing. she talks about buyers she doesn’t call them employees. She calls him buyers and she has a whole metrics driven culture around how many people bought this as a PO. Like if it’s an HR program, you know, if people opted in, she doesn’t say 23% opted in. She says, we had, you know, 23% of the people bought this. So she is literally treating their employees every single initiative she has. It’s not about compliance, it’s not about thrown into at the end of an employee newsletter. It is. We have to sell what we are doing to these people every single day. We have to get them to want to do things, not feel like they have to do things.

Brian Massey: They have to see what marketing is doing for them is helping them get better at what they’re doing. Helping salespeople make more money, helping support people, meet their goals for completed successfully completed calls and interactions. Is that right

Chris Wallace: Now, not only is that right, but how about have a little bit more fun in the process I mean, I’ll give you an example of that. We have, a client of ours, we went out and did a, we had some dialogue and into gather some feedback from their frontline sales team, 500 person national sales team, and they said, please, please do not give us another webinar. Whatever you do, don’t give us another webinar. Most organizations in our research, we found product trainings, whether it’s via webinar or instructor led and email are their two primary vehicles for getting information out. So they said to us, please, no more webinars. So we took a lot of the information that they wanted to get a lot of the messages rather than jamming it into a 90 minute webinar. We broke it out over a series of, I can’t remember the exact number, six, seven, eight different podcast episodes and they launched an internal podcast series. So for this initiative, their sales teams out, driving around from appointment to appointment, they don’t want to be chained to their desk. They don’t want a boring webinar. This was an opportunity for them to hear some fun and engaging content around things that mattered to them in a format that was on their terms. So just that simple change, we were able to say, we listened, we heard you, we made an adjustment and we’re packaging up what you need in a much different way.

Brian Massey: so, let me play devil’s advocate a little bit here. I’m in marketing. I’ve already got SEO going. I got paid advertising going, I’ve got Facebook going and now Instagram is on and we’re struggling with, with LinkedIn. And we’ve always had this, this burden of the email channel because it’s very effective. So now I’ve got to add another channel, another set of duties, to my, my list is this, do I need to go get more budget? I guess my question is how do your clients fund this for both from a a dollars and a time standpoint Did he talk to you?

Chris Wallace: Yeah, I think that the, a lot of times what ends up happening is organizations are looking at this as part of their readiness plan around a big initiative. Most of the stuff that we are doing is tied to something. that’s, that’s time sensitive. It’s, it’s something that’s, that’s timely, something that’s coming up. So if it’s a product launch, if it’s a rebrand, things like that. Really what we’re doing is we’re essentially having, I guess budgeted repurposed from what they thought they were going to do with it to something that, you know, hopefully they think can, can really drive the end of the day. What do they want They want conversions, they want results. we think we are a high leverage spend. So if you’re investing on something that’s to drive conversions and that’s how we measure our success. Did more people buy as a result of it

Chris Wallace: We do not measure an employee experience, employee satisfaction. We only tangentially even measuring customer satisfaction. Ultimately this is about if we can help people deliver that value proposition more effectively and more consistently, your sales are going to go up and we’ll be able to prove it. So, we’re a high leverage spend. So when you look at the things that they’re doing, what we’d ask them is, are those things actually going to drive conversions for you Because in a lot of cases we’ve actually done guaranteed deals. We’ve done upside revenue share deals where we’ve said we’re so confident that it’s going to drive more conversions for you, that we’ll either put a significant portion of our fee at risk or no fee at all. If you’re willing to pay us a higher portion of what comes in on the back end and improvement because it, again, I’ll say that, say the phrase again, we’re a high leverage spend and you can look at your marketing budget and say, man, I have a lot of low leverage spend here. That’s not getting me a conversion. That’s, that’s just getting me a, a click that’s going to get me to an impression that’s going to get me to a, it’s a long chain. We’re a very direct link to results.

Brian Massey: Yeah. Well, and we know that many a product has died because the sales team sold what they knew and didn’t prioritize the new product, a new product line and stuff like that. When you go in and you, and you say highly leveraged, are you looking at lead to sales rates are those the metrics that you’re using to measure that or do you bank everything on this brand transfer score and does the brand transfer score have some of those

Chris Wallace: monetary metrics integrated? It doesn’t have an integrated, we see it as a correlation. It’s we believe that an improvement in the brand transfer score, which T to say it in more plain language, that would be an improvement in the alignment between the way the frontline teams view the product story of the brand story and how corporate sees it. So this is getting people to see. It’s a measure of wether or not you see eye to eye. And if we can show that gap close in that score, that alignment metric, and we believe we can correlate that to and we’ve shown, we’ve demonstrated we can correlate that to an improvement in in revenue conversions, upsell and cross sell rates, average ticket size. Now it depends on if you’re an a B to B or B to C environment. A lot of what we’re doing is in a B to C environment where sort of the lead to close ratios and things like that. They look a little different. It’s phone calls. So phone calls that come into a call center, what percentage are converted into sales So is that lead to sales It really is. At the end of the day it’s if the phone rang, marketing made, it rang. Our job is to make sure that on the backend they can pull that through, treat that customer the right way, deliver the message and convert

Brian Massey: well. I completely buy that. This is one of the higher leverage channels. Tell me what some of the, let’s call out some of the listeners. I know that they’re, they’re sitting here going, yeah, but yeah, but. What are some of the objections that you get from marketers when you say you really need to be doing this What are the habits that get in the way

Chris Wallace: One of my partners, one of my partners says this all the time, that he knows the look on somebody’s face when he’s telling them what we do. And he can tell they believe in what we’re saying. But they have the, yeah, but that sounds expensive and hard to do. So. So my answer to that, yeah, but is if you look at the way organizations are doing it now, if you take an honest look at how you’re doing this now, throwing something over the wall to your training team and a lot of cases that training team is starting to schedule a lot of things on your sales team’s calendar. It is expensive to schedule webinars and trainings and pull people away from sales and things like that to give them this information. And it’s one of those things where it’s almost treated as a sunk cost.

Chris Wallace: So they’re looking at this as incremental and they would never concept of, Oh well we’re not going to train them the same way we always have. Our answer back to that would be, well why we don’t look at what we do is training or competitive to training. They need to know the product specs. They need to know product details. But if they know product details but don’t how to deliver the story, all the training that you did was a waste. So what I would say to that. Yeah, but you know really simply is we’re challenging to think about it in a different way if it’s not working. I’ll give you an example. I was talking to a prospective customer the other day and he kept saying, well we have an internal agency that does this. But then he kept saying, but we’re struggling with it. And then I would talk about something that we do and he would say, well, our internal agency can do that. Well, we’re still struggling with this idea of message consistency. So if you have somebody who can do it, why are you still struggling with the consistency It’s not about doing more of what you’re currently doing or even spending more. In a lot of cases you can spend less. It’s not as hard. It’s not as expensive as it sounds. It’s just asking you to look at it in a different way. It’s trying something new and that’s hard for people. And I understand that.

Brian Massey: What are the best vehicles for listening to sales you know, I, I raised an objection, but, I, I assume that if you’re listening to sales on a regular basis, that goes well, what’s your, you’re checking in with them on a, on a regular basis. What are the, what are the best ways to get them in a room or get their feedback

Chris Wallace: So, we believe in it in a structured and, and a structured approach and ongoing intervals so they can, they can start to know that they’re going to get that outreach at some point, whatever interval that might be, whether it’s on a, on a biweekly basis, a monthly basis. We have a partner, a major telecom provider up in Canada that does pulse surveys weekly. So their frontline teams are giving them feedback weekly and they’re working on the back end to take that feedback and optimize constantly. so I would say set it up in a regular interval. The way we do a brand transfer score, it is distributed electronically. We do have different mechanisms, whether it’s internal focus groups or frontline observations that could be rideouts with your sales teams. It could be sitting next to a call center agent in a call center. We do that. That’s not scalable, that’s not a scalable activity. Gathering the feedback electronically is, and then we sprinkle in some of those, those other activities, a little bit more labor intensive for validation. We want to do a sniff test to see if what we’re seeing in the data is true and if we can, we can sort of confirm it with our own eyes. But that data that we’re able to gather in a scalable, regular, consistent way really becomes the driver of the insights that we derive in the campaigns that we end up running.

Brian Massey: So I love this concept of marketing, taking responsibility of seeing our internal communications with sales support and training as another marketing channel, another group of people that we want to capture and change the hearts and minds of a smaller chunking is what I’m hearing in terms of how we’re communicating podcast you, you had brought up, are there other good ways to deliver small chunks of information

Chris Wallace: We’re developing anything from a webisode concepts where organizations are creating content that looks a lot more, and I’m not talking about corporate video, somebody sitting behind a desk telling you how important something is. I’m talking about creating content that looks more like what people are watching on YouTube and Netflix and distributing that to their frontline teams. Having, having themes that really engage them. We’re developing, instead of doing your typical product trains, we’re developing escape room concepts. We’re working with virtual reality companies. You know, VR. It has a tremendous application for employee engagement in, in, in frontline readiness. So we’re looking to tap into, what I would throw back to you is you talked about all the different marketing channels that you have, the way that you’re able to engage with your customers is more dynamic as a marketer now than it ever has been. And we look at it and say, take a lesson from that and look at all those different drips in those different nuggets and channels that you’re distributing small pieces of information through and find different vehicles to get that information out to your own people. And by the way, most people don’t look at themselves as an employee one minute and the consumer the next minute, those habits are very similar. So take what we know about the customer and let’s leverage that for the employees.

Brian Massey: I think that’s great. So bring the same kind of creativity that we’re bringing to capture the heart and minds of our prospects to our internal teams and do what ever works. Try things and find out what works and Facebook groups and whatever. Even even targeting them with ads perhaps would be,

Chris Wallace: we’re doing Facebook groups right now about workplace by Facebook. One of our clients has that they have a large 1300 frontline employees all over the country and they’re using, we’re using a face, a workplace by Facebook group right now as a way to gather input. People are taking pictures of great customer experiences, all sorts of user gen content that they’re feeding back to us.

Brian Massey: Yeah. I wonder if there would be a benefit because we also struggle with this gap because we need data from sales when we’re doing lead generation, optimizing for lead generation and phone calls and it’s notoriously siloed with our customers. If they were sharing some of the test results in the, in the sense of, Hey, we just had this big win, we’re going to see a spike in phone calls, be on the lookout for this. And also let us know if these aren’t as good a quality cause that’s really what we want to know. We can increase conversion rates, but sometimes we can decrease the value of those conversions. and so that kind of brings the Mar brings the marketer into this. Interesting. I think it’s interesting data. That’s a really interesting strategy. So already my creative wheels are spinning and I hope that our listeners are in the same boat. Take control of that relationship. see it as another channel and invest in it with the same creativity and Verve that you would for prospects. Chunk it in the way that they can best consume it and enjoy the benefits of having a sales team that is, on the page with you and, and selling in sync with what you’re doing. A training team that is in line with that and the customer support group that is keeping the delight factor going, on the back end. I love this. I love this model.

Chris Wallace: Well, I appreciate that. I, I’m glad to have the opportunity to talk with you about it. And I’d be, I’d be very surprised if there’s marketers out there who, if they answer that question honestly, how confident am I that the people who represent my brand can tell that story effectively and consistently, that they’re, that they’re going to have a tremendous amount of confidence. So it’s easy to say, well, we have a training department to do this, but you know, people in marketers need to look at themselves and say, who’s responsible for the brand At the end of the day?

Brian Massey: When you get back to the office, instead of using sales to learn about your customers, learn to see sales as your customers. When marketers get fresh data about their market, it’s like their birthday. You need to find that same excitement, learning about the sales training and customer support teams that you work with. Think about the next thing you have coming up, that thing you need to get right and then ask what percentage of your sales team are women versus men What percentage are humanists who build relationships versus methodicals who persuade with logic How do you those What’s in it for me Arguments that will grab their attention and make your campaign a success. How do you equip sales and support to be successful with your product You may have to start on a budget that includes this new marketing channel, the one inside your company. Now go science something.

Resources and links discussed:

Connect with Chris
Learn more about InnerView
Check out the brand transfer score blog
Follow Brian on Twitter @bmassey
Learn more about Conversion Sciences

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