article | May 10, 2017
Why Field Marketing is Sales' Best Friend
I recently interviewed Ted Hunting, a Vice President of Marketing who knows how to generate measurable results with field marketing. Today’s topic is how a well-trained, well-staffed, and well-funded field marketing team can make a measurable difference in pipeline and revenue. It’s difficult to grow revenue faster than your industry’s growth rate and faster than your competitors. Leverage the How to Make Your Number in 2018 to access a revenue growth methodology to hit your number quarter after quarter, and year after year.
Ted is uniquely qualified to speak on this topic of field marketing. As the Vice President of North America Marketing for Genesys, Ted is focused on generating pipeline and revenue for the field. Genesys is the market leader in the customer experience space.
Why Field Marketing is important? Corporate programs without localization fail to produce revenue. Each region is different and each message/program needs to be adjusted to the needs of the different customer types. Corporate marketing not influenced by the field is a waste of funds. Field marketing is the connective tissue between corporate and the field.
I have included the full transcript of my conversation with Ted, or if you prefer, listen to the full interview through an audio podcast.
What are the business outcomes that the field marketing team needs to deliver?
With my team this year, as we were planning, our mantra, if you will, was think business outcomes first. So, I love the first question, because people tend to do things, but there’s really an end in mind. There’s a reason we’re doing things. At the highest level, I think the outcomes that are most successful are when we first start with the company outcomes that we’re looking for. And then really the sales outcomes, because we must have totally 100% congruent goals.
For example, it could be that there might be a company outcome around a certain number of new logos. That might be one of the guiding lights we look at. Another one, I want to use your phrase of coming down a little bit more to ground level … If we want to get into specifics, the really one key outcome that I look at every day, and we measure our programs on … And that’s effectively pipeline revenue. So, the two-key metrics that I look at for our team … And it’s really all we care about, at the end of the day … Is marketing source pipeline revenue, and marketing influence pipeline revenue.
Just for some of the listeners who may not be familiar with those terms, these are terms I have learned about from SBI, for example. Marketing source pipeline is when a lead becomes an opportunity, and it’s sourced by a marketing campaign. A marketing influenced pipeline revenue opportunity is where we might help with the opportunity. For example, if I’m doing a one-on-one Genesys day with a key account like Royal Bank of Canada, where we might have 100 of their people together in a room, but maybe the lead came via the sales, the account exec, that would be an example of influence. To put it very succinctly, the biggest outcome is something that aligns with the company’s success. Which typically, for me, is either marketing-sourced revenue, or marketing influence revenue.
Okay, fantastic. Great examples of business outcomes. The reason why I start with that question, sometimes us in marketing, and field marketing we get a little too caught up in operational metrics. Here, we’re talking about a revenue pipeline, and marketing’s contribution to it, so that’s a great example of a business outcome.
If I dive one level below that … We now know what the outcomes are that we want to get. We’ve got to focus our intentions. What are those strategic focus areas of the field marketing team? In other words, the programs that you’re going to run, the focus areas to deliver marketing-sourced pipeline, and marketing-influenced pipeline.
Basically, as we look at that business outcome, there’s probably three key strategic areas of focus to help us get there.
All right, very good. We’ve got business outcomes we’re going after. We’ve got three very specific, strategic focus areas. We’ve got a very well-aligned and highly focused field marketing team, which is great.
My last question of this segment is regarding the field marketing organizational chart, and how the reporting relationships work inside of your company, with both sales and marketing. Tell the audience a little bit about the field organization … The field marketing organization, excuse me … And then how that fits into the broader marketing team, and then how that interconnects to sales?
In terms of the field marketing team, I’ve got a team, and I have team members who are aligned with each of the respective sales VPs, under the larger SVP of sales for North America. So very much an alignment type of model is key. We don’t report to sales. I report to the SVP of Global Field Marketing, who reports to our CMO. You know, you hear a lot of these discussions sometimes around where should marketing report, and so forth, and I’ve always found it … I sort of smile when I hear these conversations. Because ultimately, if you’re sales-focused, and you understand sales, and you think like a sales person … And you understand customers, and you think like a customer, it does not matter where you report. It’s about being one team with sales. We do report up through the CMO. However, I consider myself equally, and my team members, equally a part of the sales team.
Ted, next question for you is, what role does field marketing play? Specifically, between corporate marketing and corporate sales and the marketing team?
I find that often, people have a view of field marketing that can be very narrowly defined. I’ve done every job in marketing over the years, so I tend to think field marketing is really being one face of marketing to the sales force, and to our customers. What we tend to do is, we need to have a communication to the field, but we also need to be listening and feeding information back to the central marketing team. For example, we’ll have weekly interlock calls with each of the sales VPs, where we’ll talk about leads and new opportunities for bringing them. We’ll also talk about new central and new field programs that we’re bringing to the sales force. Conversely, we’ll also be listening to the sales force about the customers, the pain points, and the issues they’re seeing, so we can provide feedback back within our own field programs, as well as the central programs. So, very much a two-way interlock to the sales force, to the customers, and really presenting one face of marketing to both our customers and the sales force.
Great example, audience members, on how by having field marketing well-staffed, well-funded, deployed with experienced people like Ted, the impact that it can have. Sometimes marketing without field marketing isn’t as productive.
Let’s go to the next segment here, which is campaigns. You mentioned earlier, when I asked you a question, that you wanted to talk about some specific campaigns that the field marketing team runs. I think now would be a good time to do that, so can you share some examples with us?
Yeah, absolutely. I’m going to start with one that relates to something we did last week. I mentioned how we often want to get into new brands and new personas. For example, last week we were at an executive contact center event. These are the biggest brands in the world. I mean, we’re talking biggest hotels, biggest shippers. People like Amazon, Hilton, CIBC, Bank of America, Cigna. I could go on and on and on. In this event, we have an opportunity to do everything from private dinners, where we’re sitting down with, like last week, 25 VPs or C-levels that were hosting. We have an opportunity. We did some shop talks, where I did basically three speaking sessions to these various people.
For example, there was an SVP from a major hotel who came up to me after the presentation, and spent 15 minutes talking with me, and now wants to meet with us. Ironically enough, a person who never wanted to talk to Genesys, who I met there a year ago. One of the biggest retailers in North America. I’m going to be meeting with her and her counterparts at their headquarters next week, in the Midwest. So, this is a good example of how you can build relationships with key brands and new, very high-level people, through some targeted programs like that.
That’s just one example. Obviously, we do other things, like traditional trade shows. But it’s not just how you do a trade show. It’s making sure you’re bringing digital elements. For example, where you might do a great blog ahead of time. Where you might have social aspects. Where you might do a private reception with analysts or consultants or customers at the event. And then even digitizing those events, where you might film a customer speaking, and then have that as a digital asset you can use later. It’s not just trade shows, it’s really blurring the lines between digital and physical.
In addition to that, it could be things like seminars that we lead, that we did a road show last year. It could be vertical syndication or vertical webinars that we might do. The reason I mention vertical is because often, to get into new logos, you need to speak in the language of your customers. I’ve found that that’s typically a vertical conversation. For example, not to go into too much detail … But if you were looking at a callback solution, where you call in to a company and they say, “Would you like to get a callback, rather than waiting on hold?” If you talk to the product marketing guys, they’ll say, “We’ve got the best queue management solution.” But if you say that to a customer or prospect, they’ll fall asleep. If you’re talking to a bank, you might want to say, “Hey, are you leaving your high net worth clients on hold?” So, very much putting things in vertical terms in our programs, as well.
Then finally, we’ve even done some account-based marketing things, like what I would call Genesys days. These are one-on-one days where we might bring in the IT and the business leaders from a major company, like an American Airlines, where we had close to 200 people not too long ago. We come in and we talk about issues that are important to them, and we maybe share some innovative demos and show how we can help. Basically, just sort of to summarize, it’s a combination of things that are both traditional trade shows, but with very many digital elements, webinars, vertical syndication, executive contact center events.
Then, could even be some things that we do, such as our CX leaders forum, a private event where I did a panel of customers talking to about 100 prospects last year. Where, quite frankly, we had almost 100 million dollars of pipeline revenue on the table in that event. This is where we might bring in a SVP from a Ticketmaster. We might bring in a VP from Royal Bank of Canada. We might bring in a VP from Ralph Lauren. And they’re talking about their experience using Genesys, effectively selling to these other prospects.
Just great examples all around, and the key takeaway I want the audience to realize here is that we’re in B2B sales and marketing. Many of the marketing techniques that you might be considering, or have used before in the past, are a little consumer-based, especially many of the elements of digital marketing. In the B2B world, people buy from people. These are complex decisions. They’re made by committee. They’re big dollar amounts. Often, when somebody’s thinking about buying from you, they’re putting their career at risk. So, having events like the events that Ted just walked us through, where you’re mixing customers and prospects together, and you’re getting face time with people, is essential. This is what field marketing can do for a company, and this is how field marketing can support a sales team.
There’s real tangible outcomes from this, measured in marketing-sourced pipeline and marketing-influenced pipeline … I’m just trying to put an exclamation point here at the end of this segment. If for some reason, over the last two, three, four years, the field marketing teams have been reduced. The field marketing budgets have been reduced. I think we’ve over-rotated to digital marketing. Not that digital marketing is unimportant. Quite the contrary, it’s very important. But field marketing in a B2B sense is essential, and you just heard several great examples on what it can do for a business from Ted.
Ted, one of the main reasons why field marketing exists is that by deploying marketing resources in the field, into these jobs, it allows the field to kind of customize or tailor the marketing messages, based on the needs of those customers in that vertical or geography. Do you all do that at Genesys?
One exciting part of being in this role, Greg, is … I used to run the corporate marketing team, where I created our initial vertical sales content. All the brochures, all the content on the website, and so forth. So, I’ve got a strong messaging, strong PR background. Really coupling that, from a field marketing standpoint, I’ve found has been very helpful. As a matter of fact, I’ll often bring feedback to our central marketing team about what we’re hearing from prospects.
For example, if I’m at a key event, like a Forester event in New York City with CX leaders, and they’re talking about the importance of effortless and personal journeys … Hearing their words and bringing that back to the central team, so we integrate some of that into our marketing messaging, has been a key part of that. Similarly, where we might be using some, what I’ll call high-tech jargon, centrally, and there’s some confusion in the field … I’m talking with customers and prospects every week, and I have a good ear to the ground, if you will, in terms of what’s important to them. So, we often will take some of that feedback, and feed it into the central marketing team, but we’ll often customize it as well.
For example, I recently was speaking last week, and then shortly before, at a Gartner event. Where, rather than talking about Genesys and who we are, what I prefer to do is take a more consultative approach, where we might talk about things that are important to the prospects. Like keys for creating a great customer journey, and really taking more of an outside-in approach to the messaging, versus inside-out. By talking in their pain points, about what they care about, and making sure that our messaging is put through that lens, it’s really … Makes for a much more stronger connection with the prospect or the customer, if that makes sense.
Yeah, it does make a lot of sense. That’s another great example of how listening to the market, field marketing is collecting all that rich customer insight, feeding it up back through the corporation. Then it comes back down to the field with improved communication, messaging, tools, enablement items for the field sales team. Just another great example of all the great things that you guys are doing there.
Earlier, you talked a lot about how marketing and sales is interlocked. They’re in alignment. You even discussed how you have weekly interlock calls, which is fantastic. I want to talk a little bit about the sales rep, him or herself. Field marketing and their partnership, all the way down to the rep level. The reason why I’m bringing this up is because Genesys is … Like a lot of the people that are watching and listening to this show … That these are big enterprise-level engagements, and your experience level of your field sales team is very high. As a result, they require the field marketing team to be very capable. Tell me a little bit about how field marketing works directly with the field sales rep?
I’d say that … A couple of ways. First off, I had mentioned, Greg, the interlock calls. Those are key, because that lets us share with each of the sales VPs what we’re bringing to them in terms of central or field programs, and in terms of the lead conversation and the opportunity conversation that we previously discussed. In addition to that, I think one of the best ways to really get down a level to the AE level is … We have, typically, quarterly business reviews, where we’re physically meeting with the larger sales teams. Often, we’ll have then a similar conversation there, where we might share several the programs and what’s possible. I think that’s key, because quite frankly, often, account executives … They’re off hunting on their own, and they don’t always realize how marketing can help them. By sharing some of the ways we can help them, they can then think about how they could work us into the mix.
A great example of that is, one of our most successful sales people … I remember he was at our sales kickoff a few years ago. They called him the 23-million-dollar man, because he closed a huge deal. He’s a good guy who’s a friend of mine, as well. But anyway, the reason I mention that is … He’s very familiar with how marketing can help him, and he fully leverages and utilizes marketing. Having those communications with the sales force, down to the AE level, really helps make that connection even stronger, and really helps them drive deals and opportunities.
Fantastic. All right. Well, I think we’re out of time here. To summarize what we talked about today for the audience … If you are somebody out there that wants to get more revenue contribution from the marketing team, and you’re in B2B, you should seriously consider increasing your investment in field marketing. We heard today, several examples how a well-trained, well-staffed, well-funded field marketing team can make a measurable difference in pipeline and revenue. We saw a great example today from Genesys and from, specifically, Ted Hunting. That’s the purpose of the show today. I hope that got through to everybody. Let’s make sure that we’re not over-rotating to these digital communication mechanisms. The world is suffering from too much digital touch, and we are not as human as we could be these days. The way to become more human with our customers is through field marketing, or one of the ways.
Thank you, and we’ve learned so much from you guys. You’ve really helped us. I’ve just, probably playing back some of what SBI has taught us as well. Thanks again, Greg.
The impact of field marketing campaigns surpass those of corporate marketing with tighter and more meaningful value props. Would you like help developing your field marketing strategy? For your next executive offsite, come see me in Dallas at The Studio, SBI’s multimillion dollar, one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art executive briefing center. A visit to The Studio typically results in getting three months of work done in three days. The immersive sessions accelerate everything, dramatically reducing the time it takes to diagnose a problem, develop a solution, and create an implementation plan.
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