Marketing and Sales work together but don’t always work well together. That’s understandable–as organizations grow, there are different objectives, different measures, and a different focus for each function and stage of focus in the funnel.
While there’s a lot of talk of marketing and sales alignment–how does everyone actually work from the same framework?
In Hot Take fashion, Dave Shanley, founder and CEO of Content Camel will break down where your teams are losing focus, why there’s probably a gap in your strategy, and cover some legit insights that helped Content Camel double ACV and achieve stretch goals.
[Transcript] How Not to Suck at Driving Urgency in B2B Sales
Stage, I hope you enjoyed that last session. I think we’re going to learn even more around how to shake things up in the sales world. We’re joined by Dave Shanley, he is founder and CEO of Content Camel. And we’re going to be talking about how not to suck at driving urgency in B2B sales. Is that right, Dave?
That’s right, yeah, urgency is the name of the game.
Awesome, I’ll let you take it away.
Alright, awesome, yeah, thanks, Gary. Yeah, so I guess my background is that I’ve built and exited a couple of companies. And I’m definitely coming at this from a unique angle in the sense that I am a technical founder. So, my background is actually in engineering.
And so, over building a couple of companies and actually seeing the impact of good go-to-market and how that’s a massive multiplier in your success, go-to-market is a super interesting place to focus, right?
And you see companies really struggle on kind of like trying to do go-to-market or trying to copy what other people are doing and things like that. And it’s really like if you can focus on just one thing in aligning sales and what their activities are with marketing and what their activities are, it’s all about driving urgency, right?
So, what I find is that marketing teams typically don’t have a framework for this. My background is from the engineering mind; it’s all about building a framework and building systems. And so, how can you put a framework in place that’s repeatable? It’s not just a jumble of tactics or gimmicks or things like that. But it’s like month over month; how can you actually put systems in place that are going to give you the results?
And that’s where I think a lot of sales teams get stuck, too, right? Where they’re just chasing gimmicks and tactics and just sort of throwing stuff against the wall and seeing what sticks. And it’s really about what’s the one thing you focus on. It’s urgency and driving and getting deals done.
So, this is definitely not about brand. So when marketers want to rebrand or talk about the esoteric branding stuff, it’s not about that. It’s not about strictly value propositions. So it’s not just value and gain messaging. It’s going to completely whiff and miss people. It’s not organizational pain points.
So when you’re thinking about your messaging and where you’re going to market, whether that’s in sequences from a sales rep perspective or literally what you’re putting on the homepage, it’s not, “Hey, we’re going to save your organization $10 million.”
I like to say to the folks that I advise that you could literally be handing out gold bricks on the side of the street, and people will be like, “No, I’m too busy. I’ll come back later,” or something. It’s like literally handing out gold bricks.
I think that’s where a lot of people feel like their products are amazing, and they are, but you’re just completely missing on driving that urgency. And I’ll talk about in this session before a little bit, it’s when are you speaking, how are you engaging. And it’s not biasing the conversation from a sales perspective.
It’s not entering the conversation and having a conversation that’s really biased towards your product, your service, and thinking that you’re getting great feedback, thinking that you have a deal in motion, and then going into ghost mode where you’re not going to hear from them maybe ever again, right?
So it’s not this bucket of things. What it is, is making sure that you make this super tailored for the audience that you’re trying to reach. And again, it’s not the organizational reach. Like someone is a decision maker, they are a real person at an organization.
From a marketing standpoint and from a sales standpoint, you cannot lose the focus on the action. They are actual people. They’re actual people that are actually one person reads your email, one person reads your homepage. They don’t gather around in a conference room and decide to take it all in, right? You’ve got to reach that one person.
And so, you need to understand what are they triggered by in their mind. In their head, they have a mental model of the checklist of all the stuff they need to do, all of their…everything that they’re struggling with on that day, that week, right, that month. What are their quarterly objectives from a very personal standpoint?
And so, you need to basically remind them about the pain or the frustration that they had relative to that. That’s how you push your topic to the very top of their list and like, “Oh yeah, I totally had that problem and it was really painful and I’m super frustrated about it.”
Okay, and then you just need to lower the friction, lower the friction of taking the next step.
And so, if you just focus on really finding out what is going to trigger them and then again, motivating those fears and frustrations, and that’s it. Does your marketing content focus on that? Is it supporting your sales process in the sense that every time they go and they’re looking at pages, downloading PDFs, whatever on your site, the collateral that you’re sending over from a sales rep perspective, is it reinforcing those pains and those frustrations and reminding them?
And then, when you’re kicking off your calls, are you listening to them? Are you engaging them and saying, “Hey, this is what we’ve heard. Most people struggle with this, this, and this. Does that resonate with you? What would you add to that list?”
Because the thing that they’re going to add to that list is absolutely the thing that’s top of mind for them. And whatever’s top of mind for them, you just bump that up into their priority list. And then guess what, in your follow-up and everything like that, you get to highlight that gap between what they’re frustrated about and where they want to be.
The impact of doing nothing, like, “Hey, in their own words, this really resonates with you, and you said this is actually really important to you. So, what happens if you don’t do anything?” If there’s no impact or no consequences for them not taking action, you don’t have a deal, right? They’re disqualified. You don’t have a deal. There is absolutely no urgency.
But what you get to do to drive this urgency and get these deals across the line, and you know, get them started, get them all the way to finish, is just keep repeating back everything in your prospect’s own words, right? “You said this, and you said this is going to happen if you don’t take any action.”
It’s really as simple as that. And so, the marketing team can use that on the front end for all of the collateral they’re producing like blog posts, site pages, all of that can basically echo in your prospect’s words, their actual words, and how they frame the problems they’re struggling with, and make it super personal again. Like, not organizationally broad.
So that you’re really driving those fears and frustrations, highlighting that gap, and then people are hardwired to be consistent. So they don’t want to be inconsistent. So in all of your follow-up, you’re making sure that you are repeating back to them, “This is what you said was really painful, right? We hear this all the time. We have the solution, and there’s a really big deal here if you don’t take action. And you said this in your own words.” Super consistent, right?
And from a system standpoint, I highlighted here, it’s basically First Principles. As you’re building up this part of the system and weaving this into what you’re doing, you want to think through this and really just think this up from the ground up.
What I see marketing teams, and sales teams doing is just sort of copying what other people are doing, whether that’s about sequences or the messaging on their website. You need to think about what is going to resonate with the real person that is going to read your stuff and interact with your message wherever they are.
And by thinking that up from the ground up as a team collectively together, you’ll get to better tactics, better execution than you will trying to follow what everybody else is doing because it’s not necessarily working the best that it can work for those other folks, and what you read online is not always the truth.
Yeah, I’d love to dive into more detail and take questions and things like that.
Hot Takes Live
Catch the replay of Hot Takes Live, where 30 of the top SaaS leaders across Marketing, Sales, and RevOps revealed some of their most unpopular opinions about their niche.
These leaders shared what lessons they learned and how they disrupted their industry by going against the grain (and achieved better results in the process).
Hey, Dave, super interesting presentation.
Oh, and also, yeah, we have a template on this. Sorry, that is not like the generic, honestly, super lame template that you know is like psychographic information. This is the real deal, really focusing on what are your personas triggered by, what are their pains and frustrations again, at a personal level, and then how do you translate that into product or service messaging, right? I would definitely check these out.
And so, where could people find that template?
The links are here. You can go on our website, contentcamel.io, and they’re featured on our Resources page. You can obviously search for them on the site, and if you get a copy of this deck, you can check those out.
Awesome, perfect, cool. A couple of quick questions from my side. Many B2B sales are a committee sale, right? Like there’s a buying committee, right? And there may be different pain points.
I’ll give you an example, a very personal example for us at Breadcrumbs, right? Often the go-to-market leaders, right, the demand gen leader, the CMO, whoever, very revenue-focused, that’s what they want to fix, right?
But there’s usually like an Ops person or a tech person involved and they’re like, “I got six other projects, right, that I gotta get done.” How do you use this principle in a matrix-type scenario?
Yeah, so there’s always more buyers involved in the decision than you think, right? That’s a trap for salespeople is they think, “Oh I’ve got that quote-unquote champion and we’ve got two people that are basically involved in the deal.” Well, behind those two people are 10 people that influence that deal, right?
I mean there’s going to be like 12 people basically for any significant expenditure and you got to get it through purchasing too, right?
So the thing to do is every time you have that conversation–and again this is not obvious but super basic play–every time you have the conversation because they’re gonna bring more people in ideally, they bring more people into the conversation like, “Hey, I’m gonna invite my boss and she’s gonna come check this out, can you show us like a demo, right.” They usually go to something very concrete.
What you’re going to do is rewind and do it all from the beginning. You’re gonna rewind and have the conversation like, “Hey, this is what we heard, you know, and it’s great to meet you Sarah but like, hey, this is what Emily shared are her frustrations and what she’s tackling.”
And you literally update the slide. The slide is the very first slide of your deck. It’s not like, “We do this, and we solve for this, and you can gain all this, and it’s the solution’s all this big thing.”
It’s just like, “Hey, this is what we heard people are really frustrated about this and this is what Emily shared on our previous call.” It’s there on the slide.
“What resonates with you? What are your frustrations?” You have to start the conversation so that they’re talking. And then Sarah just joined the conversation, she’s like the next level DM, and she’s gonna start echoing back what’s really important to her and that’s what you map to, right?
Next Level DM, just so everybody understands, Decision Maker, right?
Yeah, yeah. And so as those people come in, you want to aggregate the things that matter to them and then echo that back. That’s gonna, you know, what the boss cares about you get to replay that back in your follow-up.
What the individual contributor cares about, you get to replay that back and to keep needling that, keep moving that forward, right? Echoing that back, “Hey, you said this. You said this was really important. And you said this is what happens if you don’t solve this right now.” That’s gonna drive it.
Two more quick questions before we run out of time. One, interesting macro-economic condition today, right? Lots of companies are fearful, and hesitant to spend money. We’re seeing the CFO more often in every deal.
How, you know, how does this work in this situation, like in today’s environment?
Yeah, I mean, I think obviously if, you know, you’re a lot of times you, the CFO is involved but you can’t necessarily speak to them, right? So they are the sort of kind of like hidden persona. I mean, I start to build up a pattern of what they care about, right? What’s it, what is what are they angling for?
I mean, they’re managing the overall budget, purchasing departments, you know. I mean it’s a classic thing they love to get, they look for discounts, right? And so it’s sort of anchoring, playing the game, you know, understanding how the purchasing process goes.
And the thing is, is that I like to think of a different way of approaching the end-to-end sale where you’re working backward and you have all of the materials from, like, if you imagine the sale closed and the post-sale state.
Basically, have your deck and have your materials backing up from that state where, “Hey, we’ve been, it’s really successful. The CFO signed off on it and now you’re launching it to the team,” and then they’re giving the overview of what Breadcrumbs or Content Camel or whatever is going to do for the organization.
And if you work that, like if you envision it from that working backward state, then you are equipping your, they’re not really champions, but you’re equipping the coaches and those decision makers to basically present the pains and frustrations and the solution to what would be the CFO and the sellers, right?
Basically, turn them into sellers, but in a really systematic way. It’s not like the gain messaging, it’s not just simply, “This is gonna save us 10%,” or, “We get to do this thing that we think is amazing and the company that’s selling to us thinks it’s amazing.” It’s like, “No, we get to solve, we’re frustrated by this all the time. This is really painful for us and this is the impact on the organization if we don’t do anything.”
For sure, Dave. I have a ton of other questions. I’d love to dig into this fear and frustration concept. Maybe you and I can get together and do a webinar or something on that topic one day.
But yeah, last question because we’re pretty much at time. Matt Anderson asks, “The pain points you are echoing, are they found through discussions as a result of a warm lead or are they the result of a lead gen funnel?”
It’s all of the above. So in a systematic approach, things break down where marketing, sales, and everybody on the front line is sort of getting siloed and is now aligned. So the more sessions and parts of the system that you can implement to start surfacing these insights, the pain conversations are basically happening everywhere.
I mean, you can do things like if you’re a brand-new product and you don’t have customers right, and you have nobody to talk to, go on Reddit, go on Twitter, go online and search for what people are talking about, and people will echo their frustrations online.
It does come from conversations, inbound, outbound conversations that are sourced and you’ve kicked them off the right way because you’ve introduced, “Hey, this is what we’re hearing,” and that what we’re hearing can start with a brainstorm if you literally don’t know, “Yeah, what do you think they care about?”
And then they’ll correct you. Like, you’ll start having literally the first conversation that you have, they’ll be like, “No, I’m actually, that’s not where I’m frustrated. I’m actually frustrated about this.”
Awesome, Dave. Thank you so much. Great topic, great job. Obviously, people can check out Content Camel online. If folks want to get in touch with you directly, what’s the best way for them to do that?
Yeah, so I would, I’m on Slack groups like Online Geniuses and Superpath, so you can direct message me there. It’s just email@example.com as well, and I’m also on LinkedIn. So yeah, feel free to hit me up. Actually, right before this, someone connected. I got an alert from LinkedIn, so that’s great. I happened to check.
Awesome. Listen, everyone, thanks for joining. Thank you again, Dave.