Tell Marketing and Sales Teams That They’re Married!

Published on: | Updated on: | Rachel Canter



Reader, say it with us: marketing is not sales’ customer! 

Our very own Caroline Lane, Partner at ProperExpression, knows a little something about that. She recently joined Brandon Lee and Thomas Ross on Digitize HQ for an insightful conversation on how to de-silo marketing and sales...and why it matters so much. 

At many companies, there’s cultural stigma and animosity between the marketing and sales department. The path to revenue growth truly begins when that animosity ends and marketing and sales fully align, and that precedent must come from the top. 

It’s primarily up to a company’s CEO or senior leadership to understand what marketing and sales care about, how they communicate, and how they can work in harmony towards the ultimate goal: revenue growth. 

But of course, it’s easier said than done! Discover how to simplify marketing and sales alignment in a company of any size. 

"Where we always like to start is report on sales and marketing together in the same dashboard, just be done with, ‘Oh, this is marketing’s dashboard, and this is sales’ dashboard.’ You want them to act as one team, so you start with reporting on all of the metrics together. "

-Caroline Lane, Partner at ProperExpression 

tell your marketing and sales team that theyre married

How to Help Sales and Marketing Say “I Do” 

Listen in as Caroline talks with her fellow experts about everything from memes to marketing. They’ll answer the big questions that arise when it comes to marketing and sales alignment, including: 

  • How to align marketing and sales goals from day one 
  • What it takes for marketing to gain a seat at the table 
  • Why there can be animosity between the two departments 
  • The problem with the sales commission system 
  • How closed lost deals can be extremely helpful 
  • And so much more! 

When the CEO sets common goals that all teams want to optimize, then marketing and sales can work together to become a revenue-generating machine. 

Watch the full interview or check out the transcript below for invaluable insight into the power to transform revenue marketing. 


Video Transcript:

Brandon Lee: We are live. Hey, welcome everybody and thank you for coming back to another day of Digitize HQ. I am super excited about today because our guest has written some really awesome social posts that have helped me think through sales and marketing. And today's title is Tell Your Sales and Marketing Team That They're Married, which is something that our guest, Caroline Lane, has shared on LinkedIn. So, Caroline, I'm going to tell everybody that you are the founder of ProperExpression, or one of the founders, I think. And you are also the host of, why did all this stuff pull up. You're the host of Growth Marketing Chat. Welcome to Digitize HQ. Thanks for joining us. 

Caroline Lane: Thank you. Thank you for having me. 

Brandon Lee: Of course. Do you want to tell us a little bit about you and your company and Growth Marketing Chat? 

Caroline Lane: Yeah, absolutely. So I've been in marketing for over 10 years and I've worked with a lot of startup companies, high growth companies. And throughout the journey, I met the founder of ProperExpression, Nick Ilev, and we really had the same outlook on marketing and how it should really impact revenue and impact sales, and how we should work together with sales to make this happen. This is how I joined his company to help him grow it. We started Growth Marketing Chats as well, as a way to talk to marketers about what they do to really impact the growth of their company and everything that's involved, from the tactical things to the most strategic things and team alignments and making sure that we deliver value in the long run for the company as a whole. 

Brandon Lee: Very cool. Do you want to tell everybody, as you shared with us, you live in Washington, DC, but clearly you have this beautiful accent. And so you want to tell everybody where that came from? 

Caroline Lane: Yeah, well that came from the fact that I was born and raised in France for maybe 20 years and then I moved here. So, never losing the accent. 

Brandon Lee: Yeah. Good for you. Well, I would love to jump into this... Actually, Thomas, I'm sorry. 

Thomas Ross: Oh. That's okay. 

Brandon Lee: We've got to invite you. I get so excited to talk. 

Thomas Ross: The guests always come first. 

Brandon Lee: They do. 

Thomas Ross: I'm Thomas Ross. I'm the founder of Digitize HQ and I've been involved in sales training and sales development for over 20 years now, working very closely with the founder of FunnelAmplified, Mr. Brandon Lee, and bringing our combined solutions to the market in a way that really changes the results for sales and marketing people combined. And that's why today's conversation is so interesting. 

Brandon Lee: And Caroline, I'm going to jump in because the way that you and I got connected is, and I don't even remember how I found it, but you had a post that I'm going to, it's right here, it's big red X. It says "Sales is not marketing's customer." That caught my attention and I kept reading. And one of the things you say is, "Here is what you should do instead, tell your sales and marketing teams they are married." And that's the topic of our conversation today? What do you mean by that? And where did that come from? I think it's fascinating. 

Caroline Lane: I've heard so many times that sales is marketing's customer and this is just something that is ingrained in the way we do marketing. And I think it's because at one point there were misalignments, right between sales and marketing and someone thought, "Okay, well we're just going to tell marketing sales is their customer and they're going to align to sales." And the problem with this is this very one sided way of seeing things. If you really want to work and have money, both of the teams need to work together. One of the team is not working for the other one. So I just thought the energy was very wrong because it creates a lot of issues to have one of the team accountable to the other and then vice versa. And when you think of a true partnership that is both people working together, then you can get much better results because they're both accountable to each other. 

For example, one of the things that made me really unhappy with the customer and energy is that first of all, your customer is the customer, the customer of the company. It's not sales. And so sales will tell you what they're thinking about at this moment, because they're closing deals, this is what they're about and this is great, but they're not going to look at the customers all together. They're going to look at what they're closing right now, and that makes sense, this is their job. The job of marketing is not to do this. The job of marketing is to look at the customers in general and how to grow that customer base. 

Brandon Lee: Thomas, what do you think about that? 

Thomas Ross: Well, I think those are very valid points. I think one of the things that we want to do and I love your suggestion, the marriage idea is really what it's all about. And I think as the industry continues to develop, that is to say sales and marketing, the evolution is they're coming closer and closer together, at least in theory, but not necessarily in reality. And that's where your comments is so well taken. One of the questions I would have for you would be, what are some of the physical things or the tactical things, if that's a better word, that companies can do to create that marriage in today's reality. 

Caroline Lane: It needs to come from the top. If the CEO is not aligned with this idea that both of the growth teams needs to work together. If the CEO is giving points makes me think of my children sometimes. I have two kids, they come to me and they want to know who's right and who's wrong. This is all they want. And my answer is often when it seems that you guys are both wrong because you are not solving the problem. How about you go back and you solve the problem. If the CEO treats their team as, I'm not going to tell you who's best, I'm not going to tell who's right and who's wrong. Rather, I'm going to tell you, this is the goal that you need to achieve together and you need to achieve it together. Then it really aligns the teams on working together instead of changing their metrics or changing the story to see how they're going to spin it so that it's going to be good for them. I think I would start there. 

Brandon Lee: Yeah. Do you have good examples of that working well, because one of the things that you said, Caroline, that I agree a hundred percent with is it's got to start at the top. If it doesn't start at the top, it immediately silos and then they have different goals, they have different data points and it just keeps taking them further and further apart. And it takes that strong leadership to be able to cast vision and say, "Here's the goal and we're going to work together to get there." How can organizations, let me back up, we'll say one more thing before I ask the question. I think there's a lot of organizations that have that in theory, but then they have a hard time of really coming together and enacting that on a day to day basis. How can teams do that better? 

Caroline Lane: Where we always like to start is report on sales and marketing together in the same dashboard, just be done with, "Oh, this is marketing dashboard and this is sales dashboard." You want them to act as one team, you start with reporting on all of the metrics together. I think it doesn't make a lot of sense to go and look at how much leads did marketing bring in? How much opportunities did marketing bring in? If you don't take it as part of the whole, did marketing bring 50% of the revenue? Did marketing bring 20% of the revenue? How does it align to the goal of the companies in general? So all of a sudden you can have both teams see the same thing and work on the same thing. So I would start there and then it seems you have a question, so I'm going to stop talking. 

Brandon Lee: No, I was just enjoying it. Thomas, go ahead. 

Thomas Ross: Yeah, sure. What do you think of this, and this is actually something I did a couple years ago with a client and it was met with some resistance, I'm going to be very honest. But it did create an amazing new environment, an atmosphere and the company actually, I don't know if I want to use the word evolved, but changed dramatically because of this event. What we did is we took all their sales meetings and all their marketing meetings and we made them sales and marketing meetings. So we made all the marketing people meet with the sales people and the sales people meet with the marketing people, so we no longer had two separate sets of meetings, we had one meeting. And I was in on a couple of the initial meetings, which were very quiet, I will say initially, because [crosstalk 00:10:45]. 

Brandon Lee: Was there are a lot of this going on. 

Thomas Ross: It wasn't really that bad to be honest because I think everybody kind of liked the idea. They don't speak the same language. That's number one. 

Caroline Lane: Yeah. 

Thomas Ross: So it's not a French versus English thing. It's a sales versus marketing thing. And so that sort of had to happen and it did over time. They did end up having a few separate meetings going forward afterwards, but they always made sure to have a combined meetings twice a month going forward. And that has dramatically changed their market positioning, the way they work with content, the way they set up the sales and marketing initiatives. And they did what you suggested, that is to say they created a unified dashboard, because they suddenly realized they're actually on the same team. 

Caroline Lane: Yeah. 

Thomas Ross: So what do you think about that? 

Caroline Lane: I reported into a sales team for a while and this was my favorite job ever. What was really incredible to me was to sit in the pipeline meetings where you have the head of sales look at the pipeline and look at everything that's coming through and discuss everything, opportunity by opportunity to understand what's going to close this month. And this is something that is so essential to the way a sales team functioning, and marketing has no idea why this is happening, how this is happening. I didn't contribute into this meetings. I was just a fly on the wall, but it made me adjust so much better how to communicate with salespeople, what they cared about, and how to really make their life easier with the things I was working on. And to communicate it in a way that aligns with what they cared about. If you're a marketer and you know when the pipeline review is, go and walk into this room and stay there for an hour and listen to it, this is the best thing you can do. 

Thomas Ross: Yeah. I would just add to that and I think that's fantastic. To me, I've always viewed sales and marketing, if I can use the military comparison, the marketing team is the air force, the sales force are the ground troops. 

Caroline Lane: I love that. 

Thomas Ross: Yeah. And successful ground troops know when to call in the air force. And in your example, vis-a-vis, they're being going over their opportunities and we got to close these ones this month. Well, geez, I'm calling in the air force. I need some support on that front line. We're not breaking through, let's call in the air force and support what we're doing to get those deals done this month or sooner than we might have otherwise, and that's not happening. So I don't see that. In fact, what I see is the grenades being thrown the other way. 

Caroline Lane: Yeah. So, that's really interesting. I think there's a lot of animosity in between sales and marketing, as much as we want to say, they need to be friends, this doesn't happen. And when you look at the cultural differences between the teams, or what people are saying, there are plenty of sales groups that have content that is very funny, but really makes fun of marketing being, "Oh, these people really don't know what life is about." It's like, "Why are they talking to me?" And so sales and marketing teams have to get over this cultural stigma that we have to make the effort and work together and not see each other with this, "Oh, I don't like you because you're in sales," or "I don't like you because you're in marketing." And I think this is really the hard part for any team. 

Brandon Lee: As you guys were talking, I had this image. You guys, there's a, I don't know if it was a meme or a picture, it was a oversized t-shirt and there was two brothers that were stuck in it together. And the caption was, "When they don't get along, mom just puts them in one t-shirt and tells them to figure it out." It forces them into close proximity with each other and they had to have an arm around each other or something. As you were talking about that, that's what I kept visualizing because it is such a, it's also a challenge. And we had a conversation over the last several weeks with the company where we were having conversation with the marketing people and we were having conversation with the sales people. And from the third party perspective, you could just see the chume, chume, I mean, just completely missing each other. 

One was saying, "Well, this is what we want to achieve." And the other one was saying, "Well, I get that. And this is what we need to achieve our goals." And it was just a lot of, "Yes, but," and it ultimately came down to who owned a budget and they got what they want. And the other one was left in the cold, still going, "Well, that didn't work." And they're still in the same company. And there's that, I don't know if I want to say there's animosity, that might be a little stronger, but I think it is, there's a little bit of animosity there because it's our needs, our goals, what we think we need to talk to more customers, to do X, Y, Z was heard and neglected and ignored. And that's, as you guys keep talking, that's what I keep hearing. 

I guess the question is, how do we help teams? How do you help teams, Caroline? How do you help them see that? Especially with your Growth Marketing Chat, I'm sure you have a lot of these conversations. How do you help? My bias here is going to be more the marketer side, see the value of sales input and working with them. How do you help them see that and experience the success that comes with it? 

Caroline Lane: Yeah. So we have a very unique way of working with teams is that, we really report on revenue. And if you start reporting on revenue, you have no choice but working with your sales team. From the beginning of our engagements, this is always what we drive towards, so that really helps, I think, for marketers to really see the value in sales. 

I like to think about the big picture. Marketing has the highest turnover of any role in the company. The CMO is replaced every two years. This is terrible. And a lot of it is because there is misunderstanding of what marketing is and what marketing does, but at the end of the day if you bring in revenue, you are going to become credible in your position. And I think that should be a strong incentive for marketers everywhere to really get a seat back at the table, not be this outcast in the C-suite, "Oh, this is marketing talking." This should be a driver to really align back to revenue. And once you do this, the conversations, and then it's your goal, you don't have mismatched goals. Your goal is revenue, this is the same as sales. Then you can really walk toward this together. 

Brandon Lee: Thomas, I know you've got something to say on that. 

Thomas Ross: Oh, sure. And I couldn't agree more. I think that's the crux of the problem right there, and in fact, the misunderstanding. Those two facts that you just said with respect to the highest turnover in the company is marketing people. To be honest, I didn't know that. Now, I'm the opposite. And I don't mean this across the board, but I'm the opposite of Brandon in that I'm the sales guy, if you will. So I live and breathe sales right out of the shoot. So for me, my understanding of what you just said, wasn't there, and that's a pretty critical factor to know about marketing and how they feel coming into a job and how they feel when they're performing that job. Because sales does also have a very high turnover, for some of the same reasons. But I would argue the sales management probably doesn't because sales managers turning over every two years, I wouldn't say that. 

Brandon Lee: Yeah. That's really interesting. And I think, sorry, did I interrupt you, Thomas? 

Thomas Ross: No, please go ahead. 

Brandon Lee: I'm wondering out loud if the narrative is, so sales leaders don't turn over nearly as much because their response is, "Well, the frontline people didn't do their job and we had to..." And Gartner data, 70%, I think it's like 68%, I round up, of sales people don't even hit quota. 

Thomas Ross: Right. 

Brandon Lee: But sales leaders don't lose their roles very often because it's, "Oh, we got to bring in new people. We got to bring in new tech and marketing is not giving us enough leads." 

Thomas Ross: Right. 

Brandon Lee: That's the narrative. And then the marketing team is turning over because they're not bringing in enough leads or, and Caroline, I know you had a post the other day that I saw on MQLs and let's stop saying MQLs are bad. But that is a big challenge, I think for the marketing side to say, identify what an MQL is and then when to hand it off and what happens with it. And I think there's this value between marketing and sales that is marketing creates the MQL, hands it off to sales. It never becomes a sales accepted lead because sales says it's a rubbish lead and rejects it. And then there's this argument across the valley of, "We gave you a perfectly good lead," and sales saying, "Well, that lead sucked." And that argument doesn't ever really get resolved. So I think we need to bring out the oversized t-shirt and throw them in it. 

Thomas Ross: I would agree with that. I would also add to that MQLs and SQLs should be abolished. And QLs should live on. It's either a qualified lead or it isn't a qualified lead and those two need to come together in marriage and that t-shirt would create that right quick. So I love that. 

Caroline Lane: Yeah. So the reason we still measure our marketing qualified leads is because basically what it means is, these are automation because marketing qualified leads are often, it's not me as a person that goes and is, "I'm going to send this to sales." We put criteria in place and automatically this goes to sales. What I want to know is, is sales accepting 80% of my leads, ish? If they're not, if they're accepting less than this, it means that I'm too broad. I'm sending them needs that are not good. Or somebody on the sales side is just simply not looking at the leads at all. In either case this needs to be resolved. And that MQR stage is the tool that helps me improve the process. But this is not the goal, the goal is to create actual opportunities and that should be the KPI for marketing teams. 

Brandon Lee: Yeah. So the KPI becomes the lead and then there's a process in place of refining both sets of processes of either creating... The terms I tend to use is marketing, it's more creating better leads at the top of the funnel, nurture those leads through the funnel and create a better qualified lead. And on the sales side, it's how do we equip them, train them better to generate their own pipeline and really bring the best of both worlds together to figure out what do they need to generate more pipeline, and what information does marketing need from sales to help refine that funnel process? What do you guys think about that? 

Thomas Ross: Go ahead, Caroline. 

Caroline Lane: Yeah. I mean, something that I think is always really valuable is to seek through with the sales team and understand what leads got qualified, what leads didn't get qualified and why. And then just get this feedback. And then also understanding, I love to understand close last reasons as well, because if we went all the way to have a conversation, did we miss something in opposition messaging that made the sale not happen? All of this feedback is always really important to just improve performance in general. 

Brandon Lee: Can I ask you a question on that, Caroline, and it comes from a place of curiosity? I really appreciated what you just said there, because you're saying if it became a closed loss, let's take a look at the content. Let's look at the process. I find often marketers will stop with, "Well, it became a closed loss because sales didn't do their job well." End of discussion, period, walk out the door and move on to other things. Is that a fair comment for me to make in most cases? 

Caroline Lane: Yeah, no, I think you're right. I think it happens quite often and I guess it all depends on, again, really depends what goal your teams are on. If you goal your team on only creating your opportunities or only creating new leads, it's going to be very difficult for them to care about the close last, because it's done. They already opened the opportunity. Why would they care about it? So there needs to be a lot of nuances in what goals are set for teams, because the goals that you set for the teams is what they're going to try to optimize on, which makes sense to them. 

Brandon Lee: Yeah. I think it speaks back to what we chatted about on the silos, is when those silos are thick, I think there's a tendency to blame and to push blame, or push the problem to the other side and kind of wipe our hands and say, "Well, that was their fault, their problem." But when those silo walls, those silos get destroyed and you've got to be, as Thomas said, you got to be in a meeting together. And you've got a common goal of revenue, not the micro parts of leads, a qualified lead, an accepted lead, a sales lead, whatever. I think that's a way of starting to break those down. 

What would you guys say is, and I know we talked about putting them in the same room. Caroline, you talked about making revenue the goal, and one dashboard. What are some other ways that teams can come together? Or what are some of the other obstacles that they have to overcome to get there? 

Thomas Ross: Did you want to jump in there? 

Caroline Lane: Well, I would love to have your thoughts about... So some companies have started to have head of sales and marketing, and this is one person that the entire two teams report into. And I would love to have your thoughts on this, there's a lot of people love it or people hate it. 

Thomas Ross: I think it's a great idea. I would go further. The key driver for anybody, and I don't care who it is within reason, is compensation. Sales people are known to be driven by compensation and commission, and marketing people are much more salary based. In fact, they're generally all salary based. I think it should be a happy marriage in compensation. And I think that sales people need to be less commission driven and I think marketing people need to be a little more commission driven. And I think they need to be tied together in the revenue objectives, not just for the company, but in some part for themselves. And maybe that becomes a bonus system as opposed to a commission system. But at the end of the day, when you tie, not just the goals, but how they benefit from those goals together, that t-shirt gets pretty tight. So it really is a great way to get them all working to towards the same goal, because now they actually benefit from this in that process. So that would be a suggestion, a tactical step. I don't know, what do you think? 

Caroline Lane: I love it. I have never seen this really done well anywhere though. But that's definitely as you said, "People would actually benefit." It's just not achieving the goal for achieving the goal, but it's going to have a direct impact on their compensation. I bet you people would be much more motivated to make these things work if that was the case. 

Thomas Ross: Well, the interesting thing is you couldn't have done that five years ago, but you can do that today because the world is digital and most of the activity, not all of the activity, but most of the activity that we do from a sales or marketing perspective is online, it's in the digital world. And those things can be measured and they need to be worked together so that when marketing creates great content and does great things, activities, videos, webinars, in combination with sales, it's the engagement and the development of conversations from those activities that sales can take advantage of and put together and turn into real customer experiences, and ultimately, turn into the sales and the revenue that we're all after. And change the names to protect the innocence because who cares. But at the end of the day, they all become part of that process. And now it's in the online world rather than knocking on doors, or just making cold calls, or attending trade shows. We're all working together online to create that unified customer experience that leads to the end result. And when you do that, now we can work together with the KPIs within that digital journey to align the bonus system and to align the ultimate goal of what we're doing in a way that gets everybody working together. Just my thought. 

Brandon Lee: I think you two just solved the world's problems. 

Caroline Lane: Yeah. Well, we solved it. 

Thomas Ross: Yeah. 

Brandon Lee: My thoughts go to a couple things. Number one is the size of company is a big difference and, Caroline, I think, I can't remember if we chatted this or I commented it, but in 2016 I was speaking in an event and I was talking about blowing up the silos and why sales and marketing needed to come work together. And a lot of people have heard my story before, but literally there was a woman, hopefully my Air Pods won't go flying out, but she was in like the fourth row with her team. There's 300, 400 people in the room, I'm on stage and she just could not shake her head in disagreement enough to the point that I was so disrupted, I finally was just like, "You obviously are having this sole response to what I'm saying, can you please share?" And she goes, "You're wrong. You are just wrong. That is not the way that sales and marketing works." 

I've never experienced anything like that before, and I remember it. But I remember thinking there, "I'm not wrong, you're just not seeing it." And as digital becomes more and more prominent, I mean, you were able to hide a little bit in marketing. We're creating banner ads, we're creating social ads. We create materials for the trade shows, we create materials or we run webinars and things like that, which are valuable in certain companies. But with more and more digital being that sales is the one that sits across from the buyer in a digital world, they're the ones talking, they're the ones hearing. They're the eyes, ears, and relationship of the company. If those two are not working together, then everybody in the team is moving forward less equipped than they should be. 

As you said, air force and ground troops, they've got intel that would serve each other, but they're just not speaking to each other at all. So, is it the size of companies? Is it industry, or does it really just still come back to leadership forcing those two to be in the same t-shirt together? Or is it combinations of all those? 

And last thing and then I'm going to throw it to you guys., I've seen these trends of sales enablement and the goal I think, was supposed to be, to bring these two together. And it hasn't really worked in my opinion, in most cases. And now we've got this trend into more rev ops, which I think what I see and here, and of course everybody has their own definitions, but it seems more of, "Hey, we're going to bring all of the functions together that influence revenue creation and put them under run one roof." My question is always, "Is it going to work? And is this the right strategy to get there?" 

Caroline Lane: Well, so the rev ops is really interesting and I think it solves a lot of the issues we've been talking about. And size definitely matters here because the more your company grows, the more your marketing team or large part of your marketing team might not be involved with creating revenue this year. Maybe they're involved into figuring out how to enter a new market, which is not going to influence revenue this year. So, it's a huge part of your marketing team that you take and they do something else, or they might work on rebranding and repositioning, which is not going to impact your place in the market this year, but probably in two years, three years from now. 

I think as you grow, there's a part of your marketing team that naturally is not that much aligned with sales, because their role is not to help sell right now, but more position your company as it grows. Or, they could be working on acquisition strategies and exit strategies. So all of this has nothing to do with the actual sales process. And so I think as you grow, this is what you need to consider. What is the part of my team that needs to be totally aligned with sales and what is the part of my team that is more removed from the sales process? 

Brandon Lee: Interesting. Yeah, that's a good point. So where my brain was going with that is, there's all these different terms from product marketers to demand gen and sales ops and rev ops. And I really do think the bottom line for me comes down to alignment and are they really aligned on accomplishing the same goals? And if they're not, I just feel it ends up creating a lot of disjointed energy and activity that works against each other a lot more than they realize, because they can put lipstick on the pig and make it sound like they're all working in harmony, but they're really working against each other. And that, I mean, that's just what we see a lot. And it's hard to crack in getting that awareness because I think in corporate America too, we've gotten so protective of our little fiefdums and domains that we know we've got to protect more than collaborate. And I know that's a pretty negative stance on things, but unfortunately I think that's what I've experienced and seen more often. 

Thomas Ross: Yeah. What I would say to that is, and Caroline, you've made this point repeatedly with respect to leadership, so when you bring those two departments together, leadership needs to be in the room at the same time to get that process going and to be the catalyst and not just the catalyst, but to be the example for everybody involved in order to come by. But I read an article maybe a week ago from an, doesn't really matter, but from the old school of sales, if you will, and this person got on and I was going to jump on it, but I decided that the energy put into it wasn't going to be worth the potential fallout, so I didn't. But the point of the person's article and blog and rant in this case was that customer experience is BS. 

There's no such thing as customer experience, there are sales and there's marketing. We either sell to them and market to them and they buy from us, or they don't. This whole customer experience thing is just a bunch of hooey. And my blood boiled almost immediately. I had actually stepped back from it, because I was about ready to just [inaudible 00:38:47]. I was going to pull out the missiles. And I didn't, but the point that I took from that, and that is so important to this discussion is that it is the customer that we're here for. What they do and how they do it is what pays our bills or not. And customers today do not behave as they did five years ago and certainly 10 years ago and their behavior and how they buy from us as buyers or as customers determines our success or failure. So to not include that in our discussion and further to not understand that. 

Sales doesn't understand how their customers and buyers actually make decisions, and marketing does or vice versa, you have a problem. So you've got to get everybody on the same team. Now, if leadership doesn't understand that and they don't understand that the year is actually 2022 and buyers do 70% to 80% of the research long before they talk to anybody in your company, you don't understand that basic principle, your days are numbered and the numbers don't go very high. You really have to get on the same page. And then once you get on the same page, this whole sales marketing thing goes away right quick. And whatever term you align to it, whether it's rev ops or whether it's, it doesn't really matter. What really matters is that we all work together to create the best customer experience in the way that they relate to quickly and effectively and efficiently, and that they buy from us. And they see us as a long term trusted partner in those transactions. And that's my rant. 

Brandon Lee: That's a good rant. Go ahead, Caroline. 

Caroline Lane: Yeah, no, I was about to say, there's also a good deal of, if you have a sales and marketing leader that really like each other and really like working together and that see each other as the team. And they can come to the table and being like, "Okay, this is what we're doing. Great. These are the problems we need to fix. Let's go and fix it." Then you don't have any problem. If the sales and marketing leader really work together and enjoy this work, then that's it, you don't have problems. Things are working much better. The question is how do you get these people to like each other and work together? 

Brandon Lee: Yeah. I think I keep hearing Caroline, when you're saying that is your message was, tell your sales and marketing team they are married. You didn't say, tell sales and marketing that they should meet each other. You didn't say that they should date each other. You didn't say maybe they should consider getting engaged. You said, tell them they're married and that is a statement that can only come from the top, so to speak, I mean, it's an arranged marriage from leadership of sales and marketing- 

Caroline Lane: It is. 

Brandon Lee: ... and bringing them together. Everything that we said, I think it keeps coming down to that. It's got to start at the top. I think the challenge still is, the top either doesn't see it, doesn't want it, or they're too scared to try and cause that kind of change because so much of, especially corporate America and we can talk more about smaller business or midsize, SMB businesses, success comes through not rocking the boat, just be consistent. Cover my butt, protect my job by not making big changes and just do what we've always done. And if it doesn't work, I can go, "Well, we did what we always did. It didn't work." Somebody's got to step up and be courageous enough to start making change. That's where I see the biggest problem is. What do you guys think? 

Caroline Lane: I mean, I can't argue with that. If you're bringing steady results and you don't have a really good reason to be like, "Yeah, I could get lots more results, but nobody's upset with me with the results I'm bringing right now." Why would you go and risk it? 

Thomas Ross: Right. 

Brandon Lee: Yeah. I think that makes sense. Thomas, what do you think? 

Thomas Ross: Well, I think you're either somebody who makes a difference or you aren't, and if your decision is to simply sit there and enjoy the ride for as long as you get away with it, I guess that's a decision. But if your decision is actually to make a difference and make things happen. And as a leader, the old days, the old job hierarchies and the old job descriptions really haven't changed since the 1960s. That org chart has not changed. Well, I'm here to tell you, it needs to. And the big discussion that we're having with respect to sales and marketing is a huge component of that conversation. And in fact is driver. 

Oh, I'm here to tell you that does need to change. And the leaders do need to grab the baton and they do need to lead. Not just because every year at the annual meeting, they get up and they do their little spiel, whatever that is. It's because every day of that entire year, they were out in front of everybody, including their customers and the company on social media and on digital, letting the world know what they're doing, why they're doing it, who they are, both as people and as companies and showing the teams how to lead and using digital to make that message crisp and clear. 

Brandon Lee: So are pilot groups the best way to go about doing this? I mean, let me, I'll just summarize what I've heard. And I think what I think is it's got to come from the top. It's a scary proposition for leadership to make this kind of big change. So the three of us who are so enlightened and brilliant, how do we help them move to that? One of the things that we like to talk about internally is crawl, walk, and run. So how do we help customers? Or how do we help companies crawl and experience some of the fruit of this new way of doing things to give them confidence that they can take a much bigger change? 

Caroline Lane: Thomas, I'm going to let you go ahead and take this one? 

Thomas Ross: Okay. Well, there are examples. There are examples of leaders that are doing this and you can name quite a few of them from the Elon Musk's of the world to some of the other smaller, less known leaders who have changed their roles. You've got to, I'm trying to remember the gentleman's name and I can never remember it, but this is the gentleman who set his salary as the owner of a fairly large company at the same level of his staff. And in fact, gave them raises and bonuses and such over himself consistently, and is still doing it. And that type of leadership and that type of, not just empathy, but being with your teams, working with them every day to reach those goals, whether they're sales and marketing teams or whatever type of teams they are, that's where we need to bring this. And that's what true leadership is all about. And there are examples, both at the enterprise level, as well as in the small and medium market. So what I would say to people is, look for those examples and there's lots of them out there. If you need some suggestions on that, I'd be glad to help. And I'm sure any of us would be. We know them. So I think that's [crosstalk 00:47:08]. 

Brandon Lee: I think any leaders that were watching us and listening to us, as soon as you said that example, they left. "You want me to cut my salary and do this?" And I do think that all contributes to the challenge of change. 

Caroline, I'll say, I do think that piloting something, creating a pilot team from sales and marketing with some clear objectives, I think there's an educational piece around the entire digital space as we're talking on Digitize HQ here. I think there's some generating goals and vision for how a company can use digital from a customer's perspective and then work backwards into what does marketing's role need to be, what does sales role need to be to accomplish this common goal? And then for leadership to say, "Well, what do you need to get there? What is the different tech stack that you need? What are the resources you need inside of content?" 

What I'm getting to is things like, Caroline, you have Growth Marketing chat as a group, and I would ask you why you have that group and I'll answer for you, but then I want you to share it, is you have that as a group, because it's good for brand growth. It's good for relationship building. It's good for sharing your message in a way that I see as that combination of sales and marketing because sales people can use it, invite people to it. 

Marketing can use it to work on the content and then take that content, kind of like our recording today is going to be reused in multiple places. So is this a marketing activity we're doing? Or is this a sales activity we're doing? And the answer is yes, but I think it's getting into some of those smaller pilots with a, not a blank check, but the opportunity to go be creative and dream and go for it in a small combined space. Because I think change, there's so much change, especially after COVID. I mean, we were moving there, but COVID escalated it, that I think leaders have got to get to the point where they could at least carve out a small pilot something and say, go and create and find out what works. And so I'm going to stop there and throw it back to you because I know I asked you a few questions and didn't let you answer. 

Caroline Lane: Yeah. So Growth Marketing Chat is definitely sales and marketing, it's really what it is. We have to be both marketers and sellers when we develop this program. And having pilots like this, I think there was a time where marketing didn't talk to prospects. We talk to prospects in studies and stuff like this. But there was no way for marketing to have the chance to experience what a discussion with a prospect can look like the same way a seller does it. 

And now, this is gone. With social media, marketing is out there. If marketing is doing their job, they are out there. They're talking to the prospects every day. This barrier, as you mentioned several times, it is fading away and we have to catch up as leaders. We have to make sure that we are aligning ourselves together. There's no, this is what marketing is supposed to do and this is what sales is supposed to do. And I think this concept of having pilot programs is fantastic. What else can we discover together and come up with and be more creative and create more exciting jobs, as well. 

Brandon Lee: Yeah. You made me think of several things and I'm writing notes down. Sorry guys. I was like, that was brilliant. I'm writing notes down. You guys, I wanted a little shout out to our friend, Nikki, who tends to jump in quite a bit from us. Nikki, thanks for joining us today and have a great weekend. And then I'll add, this is a total inside joke, Caroline. You're not going to understand this, but Robert jumped in and added monkeys. Long story everybody. But Robert, thank you for reminding us of that silly commercial that he shared with us. If anybody wants to see, it's a really dumb and funny commercial, just do a Google search for monkey in the trunk. That's all I'm going to say. 

Caroline Lane: I will definitely Google that. 

Brandon Lee: It should be all over YouTube, but anyway. Well, we've got a few minutes left here. How would each of you summarize this conversation? Because I think we said some big stuff and we said some things that would separate companies. I think we said some pretty strong things to challenge leaders. And I think at the end as we start talking about, here's ways that you could take, oh, sorry, Robert corrected me. Trunk monkey, that's the proper one, trunk monkey. Thank you, Robert. I appreciate that, you jumping in and clarifying. 

Thomas Ross: Going to make your day. 

Brandon Lee: I thought it was hilarious. To be honest, and people know me with my dad jokes. We have five kids and I like to try and do the combination of make them laugh and roll their eyes at me. And I shared that with my family and they were all, "I don't get it. That's not funny." I'm like, "Really? I thought that was hysterical." No, didn't fly over well with them. Well, you all be the judge. 

I think, and this is my passion and what I've been doing for the last six years. I think today's conversation is the conversation that companies need to be having when it comes to revenue creation and moving forward into the rest of the 2020s. What do you guys both think of that? Am I wrong or am I drinking my own Kool-Aid? And then secondly, how would you summarize this? If there're are leaders that are listening to this saying, "Okay we're getting closer, we're realizing numbers are dropping, all these other things." What would you say to them that they need to be doing at this point? 

Caroline Lane: First of all, I think you're absolutely right. If, as a leader you don't solve this problem of sales and marketing alignment, you're creating a huge gap in your funnel that basically you can do a million other things, put as much money as you want into it, you're still going to waste a bunch of this investment in the middle of your funnel. So, that is definitely the most important problem to solve. And I guess, I think I really like... I got distracted by this video. 

Brandon Lee: Sorry. I'm sorry. 

Caroline Lane: Yeah, so we kept bringing back these analogies of the kids in the t-shirts. But yeah, I think it's really important. And make sure you don't pit them against each other. And I think in a lot of the times, if you go back to your KPIs, if you go back to the compensation models that you have for people, are these creating alignments, or are all these creating separations between your team and probably start there, because this is what people think about every day when they go to work. And they're going to work towards the goals that you've given them as a leader. So making sure that these are not working against your goals is really important. 

Thomas Ross: Well, I think all that was is just excellent. I would just add to that, start getting tactical and start actually putting in real activities that align the departments, whether it's creating the joint sales meetings, whether it's as Nikki was saying in her comment about Pangia where they're combining the individual. So the individual, instead of being a CMO and a VP of marketing, they created the head of sales and marketing. I think that kind of tangible, real activities that actually start to bring about change and just remember, and don't be frightened by this or scared by this, but that change is going to create a lot of ripples and the boat is not going to sit steady. And there are going to be some big waves, but that's a good thing because that mean you're making progress. 

Sitting dead in the water is not necessarily a good thing. You want to start moving and creating real tactical activities that you can do, such as maybe the ones that we've been talking about today will start you in that journey. And you're going to learn, and you're going to learn a lot and you're going to learn about a lot about your teams and sales is going to learn about marketing and their perspective, which is so different than theirs and vice versa. And that's when people start to come together. So that would be my add for that, but great discussion. 

Brandon Lee: Yeah. And I think not to take anything away from what you said there, Thomas, at all, but Caroline, I think, is your processes aligning or separating your teams, I think is a great way to do it. And it brings us full circle back to tell them their married and all the good side of marriage, not any of the negative side that people may think of marriage. I'm 24 years married and I think it's awesome and wonderful. So tell them they're married in a way of aligning goals and future. And as Thomas, you keeps saying, compensation and everything. I believe that the teams that get there sooner are the ones that are going to win bigger. 

Thomas, you've heard me say this before, Caroline. I think that we are in a period of history that in a 100 years from now, 150 years from now, they're going to look at us the same way we currently look at the industrial revolution, that those that made the bold moves for change were very successful. And we still see it today, we still see Ford cars because that was a big, bold move and made a very different change with the assembly line. And we can go on and on, but I think we're in that season of history right now, and those who make those changes fastest are going to win. What's the expression I keep blanking on? Success favors the bold, is that the right way of saying it? 

Thomas Ross: Yep. 

Brandon Lee: Yeah. Anyway, well, Thomas, last words from you, and then Caroline as our special guest, you get to wrap us up. 

Thomas Ross: Well, what a fantastic conversation and it's the oldest conversation in sales and marketing, is that big chasm, and you really helped illuminate how we can close that chasm and put people together. I really loved the conversation, Caroline, thank you for joining us. 

Caroline Lane: Well, thank you so much for having me. I really loved the conversation, as well. It's having these kind of conversations in real life with the people you actually work with every day, that will make it possible to achieve this alignment. So to anyone that enjoyed this conversation, I would encourage you to go and have this conversation with your sales team, with your marketing team today. 

Brandon Lee: Absolutely. And Caroline, before we leave, I'd love for you to be able to let people know where they can find you. You and I are now connected on LinkedIn. I went through and looked at some of your older posts. I love everything you're sharing, and I'm going to become a big fan of what you're sharing, because it's great stuff, keep it up, but let everybody know where they can find you and follow you best. 

Caroline Lane: Yeah. So you can find me on LinkedIn, if you Google Caroline S Lane, because there are many Caroline Lanes, but I believe Carolyn S lane, you will find me. I'm connected with Brandon, so you can find me there, as well. And then you can find our work at We have a blog on which I publish a lot and we have excellent resources. Some of them are about sales and marketing alignment, so I would encourage you to visit this, as well. 

Brandon Lee: Awesome. Thank you, Caroline. Everybody, thank you so much. Nikki, Robert, Butch, everyone else that chatted in or commented in, thank you all so much. And I'll leave you with Robert's trunk monkey. Go, Google it. Tell us what you think. All right, everybody have a great Friday. Take care, everybody. Bye-bye. 

Caroline Lane: Thank you. 

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