Aligning Sales & Marketing for Growth: A Conversation with Jill Rowley

October 04, 2017

Posted by ljmcnitt. Published in Chapter News, Tips and Tactics

Jill Rowley is a leader in social selling, demand generation, and digital sales transformation. She spent 20 years in Silicon Valley, which included bringing social selling to Eloqua and Oracle, before starting her advisory company three years ago. Here she shares her insights with BMA Colorado in an interview.

Why does digital transformation matter to marketers?

The lines between marketing and sales are blurring and the roles are blending.

Buyers are increasingly ignoring marketing messages, scripted sales calls, and generic email blasts as they become more overwhelmed and inundated in every channel. Data show that salespeople are being ignored and that buyers want to self-educate.

Salespeople are being replaced by social media and search engines, and this isn’t just consumer-focused. B2B buyers are doing their research here, too. If a buyer is digitally driven and socially connected, sales needs to be, too.

What are the biggest challenges you see companies struggle with when it comes to sales and marketing alignment?

Often sales and marketing are working from different data sets, so they are not looking at one version of the truth. They should be looking at a shared set of metrics.

There is also often a lack of knowledge of what is helpful to the other. For example, a lot of companies are using marketing automation to track website activity by individual. This is valuable for a salesperson to know, but often they don’t have access to the data, or it isn’t provided in a format they can use. So, how do you provide it so they can use it?

There is a lot that each doesn’t understand about the other and even more that neither know about customers. Know thy customer. Be where you buyer is. Be visible and valuable. Be an advocate for them always. 

Do you have any advice to B2B marketers who want to encourage their team to embrace social selling?

First, stop calling it social media when you talk to sales. Social media is not a sales channel, but social networking is because salespeople network. Social networks layer on identity (your skills, past jobs, where you went to school), relationships (shared connections), and interests (who you follow on Twitter), and these things help sales people connect the dots.

In selling, the more you look like the buyer and the more you know the buyer, the more the buyer is willing to engage with you.

Second, stop training them on social media — that is marketing. They aren’t marketers; they are salespeople who need to embrace these new channels. With social selling it is about relationships vs. reach.

What key metrics should every B2B marketer track to show the C-Suite value?

In his blog, “What’s the ROI of your mother?”, Gary Vaynerchuk asks, in selling when we train our salespeople to use the phone or email, are we calculating the ROI of phone or email selling? Then why are we trying to calculate the ROI for social selling?

To Vaynerchuk’s point, use common sense — if data show email and phone are less effective, then we must find another way. Right now, social media is the least used channel by salespeople. They haven’t ruined it yet. When they do, we’ll then have to figure out what’s next.

What strategies do you use to connect forms of marketing that are harder to measure back to ROI?

If marketing and sales are truly going to unify and align, and if the CEO is not going to look at one as a cost center and other as a revenue center, then they need to be measured on similar metrics. This is why you see the push to revenue marketing.

If I’m measured on the number of leads from a trade show, I’ll give a Starbucks card to everyone who walks by — everyone — to let me scan them. This is a waste of money. It is not targeted, relevant, or personalized.

Marketing should consider how marketing source and influence relates to pipeline. As marketers are more focused on revenue marketing, they need ways to impact conversion rates and pipeline velocity. What is it that marketing can do? What are the assets they can create? Maybe sales needs more customer success stories. Your customer advocates are your best salespeople.

Net Promoter Score is a great metric. If you have a variable compensation structure based on NPS, your people will focus on that. Compensation models change behavior and matter not just in sales. 

What social networks are a must-use for today’s sales team that you see companies still struggling to master?

The networks your sales team uses should be prioritized through the lens of your buyer. If you’re in B2B, ask where your customer or people influencing your customers — subject matter experts, consultants, journalists — are. If your buyer isn’t on social media, then you don’t need to be.

The fastest growing segment of Facebook users is women 50+, so if that is your target market, then yes to Facebook. If you are trying to capture attention of senior IT directors at Fortune 500s, then find out where they are and that’s where you need to be. 

Ideal Customer Profile “ICP”, buyer personas, customer journey — sales doesn’t understand this language and they need to. Millions of salespeople have read The Challenger Sale, but how many have read The Challenger Customer?

Should salespeople be sharing content on social networks and, if yes, what types of content?

Content 1.0 is salespeople sharing your company’s content, while Content 2.0 is when they realize they should share content that is compelling to their buyer. Content 3.0 is sharing customer’s content and engaging with it. It’s about being more targeted and interesting (to the buyer) in our approach.

October Keynote: Learn to Accelerate Revenue Through Marketing with Jill Rowley

Learn about social selling, digital transformation, sales and marketing alignment, and sales enablement with Jill Rowley in our October 17 Keynote. Jill will be giving a presentation followed by an interactive session.

Register today! Space is limited.


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