How Marketing Can Help Sales Spot and Close Winnable Deals – With William Tyree and Spencer Miller

Speaker

William Tyree has served in leadership roles at B2B SaaS companies for over 15 years. William is currently the Chief Marketing Officer at Revenue.io, assisting clients in optimizing their entire revenue operation. He was awarded a patent for systems and methods involving real-time communications platforms and/or processing. Additionally, William volunteers with SPCA International to assist with their Digital Marketing.

Quotes

“Usability is key, right?…  Having all of your pieces together in one place is really how you can change the game for your sellers. Having this information pop up right when it is needed really helps their conversations flow in the way that everyone in the sales cycle intends to.”  

Key Points

  • You need to ensure that you have a fully filled out buying committee.  
  • The importance of aligning your sales and marketing teams.  
  • Insurance buyer content is just as important as sales-side content.  

Transcript

William Tyree:
Hi there. I’m William Tyree, Chief Marketing Officer for Revenue.io and I am here with my esteemed colleague Spencer Miller, fellow Director of Sales Enablement at Revenue.io. Hi, Spencer.

Spencer Miller:
Hey, thanks for having me and thanks for letting me join in talking about this particular topic.

William Tyree:
I’m really excited to do this. It’s a really big one right now, especially heading into a recessionary economic environment. So how marketing can help sales spot and close winnable deals? This is something that’s really near and dear to my heart because, you know, talking with a lot of my peers out there, other marketing leaders, you know, I know marketing spends 99% of its time creating pipeline that is primarily the focus either that or branding, but something that’s often lost is how to help sales actually get more wins out of that pipeline. Right. Because you didn’t create all the leads in the world. All the meetings in the world, all the opportunities. But it’s really all for naught unless it’s really converting into pipeline. So, you know, let’s for a minute just talk about, you know, how important it is for sales and buyers to be aligned.

Right. You know, what you’re looking at right now is a pretty complicated grid. But what it’s talking about is, you know, buyers and sellers really kind of start along this continuum in which, you know, we’re trying to attract demand in demand comes in. And, you know, buyers have really one goal typically, you know, as we’ll talk about in a minute, those buying committees are getting pretty big.

So if you’re, say, running point as a buyer in B2B software or any other B2B sales cycle, what you’re really trying to do is move your buying committee along to get consensus agreement through this journey. And it’s not linear. Sometimes it goes back a couple of steps, you know, depending on who’s coming in on the buying committee and essentially so.

So you’re trying to get consensus agreement. Meanwhile, the sellers are trying to get validation. Right. You know, continually validate for all those different people in that buying committee along the way. Right. And there’s so many ways that it can go wrong in and lead to something other than in an ideal situation. So as we talk about this as marketers, I think that it’s really are imperative.

I almost think it’s like marketing mal-practise not to, you know, look at things that are closing and really be aware of warning signs. And Spencer, I think these are three of the biggest ones. You know, one is just is that buying committee deep enough?

Spencer Miller:
Absolutely.

William Tyree:
And a lot of times we’re looking at opportunities that come in and we say, yeah, that looks like a really solid opportunity. But then when you drill into it a little bit, you’re like, how many people from this account are really engaged, right? How senior are those people? Is there are at least a director level of VP, a C level associated with that?

Spencer Miller:
Mm hmm.

William Tyree:
Then the second thing is about overall and key account engagement. Right. And is the account engagement low or is it about on par with your internal benchmarks? How much conversation engagement is really happening as well? The one thing I’ll say about that, too, is that as marketers, we love deal stories. So when we see a closed deal, we’re often look at, you know, how good was our website during this engagement?

You know, was the was the buying committee actually regularly going to the website and self-serving with things, downloading, watching videos, things like that that helped them get to that consensus validation or make a decision. Right. Yep. Then finally, you know, sellers aren’t enabled with the right content and talking points. This is a really big one and I know it’s one that you spend a lot of time helping with our team and throughout your career, right?

Spencer Miller:
Yeah, absolutely. This is in many ways one of the most important things that enablement can do, right? It’s that very intersectional point between sales and marketing, and often where enablement gets involved.

William Tyree:
That’s 100% right. All right. So let’s go let’s kind of talk about these items and give people some kind of actionable takeaways. So, first of all, kind of on the left hand side, we’ve we’ve got a stat here. So 11 stakeholders in an average complex B2B purchase. That’s a recent Gartner stat, right. That is way bigger than it was just like four or five years ago.

Yeah, right. So, you know, there’s lots of reasons for that that we could go into. But like let’s just take it at face value, and say that that’s a reality. It resonates with me for sure. On what we see in Revenue.io. So Spencer, my question to you is how can marketing and sales enablement helping gauge the right stakeholders for an opportunity?

Spencer Miller:
I mean, the stat is extremely personal to me because I’ve been in so many organizations where, you know, the first thing in talking to sales leadership is, look, we just need to get better penetrated, we need to have better coverage. We need to have access to power in all the right ways. And marketing can really help support by being the broad base through which we really get to the rest of the organization.

While you’ve got your AP or your seller really engaging with direct champions and hoping to up level the the amount of content and information that can start to expose the account to what they need is is really, really important. And it really helps to establish like a firm ground to kind of move up further into the account, just getting the information that marketing has back to the seller as well of, you know, these are the key personas, the key types of awareness that we’re generating, what’s garnering interest from anywhere within the account – that really helps change the nature of your engagement with all the different personas and contacts that you could be exposed to.

William Tyree:
I completely agree with that. I’d say even getting more tactical, I would recommend that that teams actually identify, okay, like you might have different types of deals that you run depending on what the product packages that you’re selling, different types of personas that are leading the effort or whatnot. But there should at least be three or four templates for here’s what an ideal buying committee looks like.

Depending on what you’re selling, it could be bigger or smaller, but you might need everybody from operations there, like in our case, you know, we all we almost always sell to a sales leader or a marketing leader that’s managing business development reps. Do you need – with your sale, is there somebody like a general manager included?

Is there procurement IT? People like that. Look at those items and what I would say is it’s worth it to actually go deal by deal and, and maybe even set up some automated workflow to, to actually detect the absence of those kinds of titles on deals. And then what marketing and sales enablement can do also is either recommend or just bring those people into the deal and start nurturing them.

So for example, one thing that’s really effective is like let’s say that sales is talking with four or five people in a buying committee. Marketing can actually bring those other people in by starting to engage them on social media, offer them some great content, you know, raise awareness with them so that when the people actually running point on that deal internally go then to procurement, say, procurement says, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve heard of those folks and actually like they have some helpful content.’

What are your thoughts around that?

Spencer Miller:
Yeah, I think anything we can do to sort of set the expectation with the rest of the buying committee going into that conversation is always going to make it easier, right? Because so much of sales is going in and managing and reeducating customers on both their own processes, and what they might need in an organization. And so anything that we can do to lay the groundwork and the foundation of that education is extremely helpful because procurement might go, ‘Oh yeah, I know of this company, but also I know vaguely what they do.’

So can you tell me basically like, are you going to get what you expect out of them rather than I don’t even think that this is a useful thing for us to go down. I don’t see how sales could use a piece of technology like this, and being able to start the conversation from a place of better understanding facilitates the conversation going faster, as well as requiring a little bit less negotiation.

William Tyree:
That’s absolutely right. I couldn’t agree more. All right. So here on the left hand side, you’re looking at, again, another number 27 is the number of buyer interactions in an average close one deal. This stat courtesy of our friends over at Forrester. So in in that stat, we’re talking about a lot of different things, right? We’re talking about self-service interactions.

So, people from the buying committee actually going and downloading things from your website or in interacting with things. We’re also talking about emails and conversations. I would even say that if we’re talking about like a really big, complex enterprise deal, it might be four times the number. Yeah, it might be more like 100 interactions, right over time.

Spencer Miller:
Absolutely.

William Tyree:
So, you know, I guess this is kind of a, you know, a similar question. But, you know, before we’re talking about the right kind of people – making sure that we have the right kind of people on that buying committee. Spencer Like how do marketing teams in and sales engagement teams, sales enablement teams really try to like generate enough engagement all along the way and make sure that that we actually have the right stuff going on.

Spencer Miller:
Yeah. So, you know, in my experience, what’s really been changing over the last decade is how well-educated buyers are when they’re going into these conversations. So the creation and distribution of these self-serve resources really helps to frame the conversation that the buyer is going to be having with your seller, right? So if they go into it and they’ve been prepped with a buying guide, for example, looking out at cross industry, what should you be thinking of in terms of features and functionality?

What makes or breaks this type of software that you might be looking for? Buying guides can help steer the conversation for the buyer and also give your customers something that they can engage with ways to explore further and deeper. The more rich that the information is within the content that you are serving up to them – even better.

William Tyree:
Yeah, I agree. What are examples of things that you feel like you’ve seen work and generate that kind of engagement over time?

Spencer Miller:
Ooh. So I always love, I like, I personally love anytime I get exposed to live elements like parts of the website, things like that, that can very quickly morph into a real conversation with someone. And then that leads to that greater level of interaction, having things where, you know, you can both engage with a piece of content. You’ve got the seller there that can answer any questions that you might have.

Getting best practices, things like that from the content can really drive. My knowledge of a situation further. And then with my own sellers, what I’ve seen work really, really well is having leave behind documents that can be provided to, you know, hand out and very quickly educate, having resources that the customer can pass along and be like, Oh, I’m really excited about this.

Take a look at this. And, you know, click this button if it’s something, again, live and interactive that you can continue to to drive towards.

William Tyree:
I couldn’t agree more. And by the way, we’ll talk a little bit more about this in a minute. But in terms of the type of interactions completely, we’re on the same page in terms of in terms of content. You know, one of the things that just kind of a sideline tip that we see in her revenue video is there’s a much higher likelihood that a deal is going to close. If the sellers themselves get on a texting basis with the buyers. That’s a sign of a more, shall we say, like close knit relationship. I think there’s a level of trust, you know, when you’re when you’re comfortable with somebody like texting you. And so, you know, that’s the kind of thing that I that I think it’s worth. Like everybody in a revenue team starting to look at and monitor.

Spencer Miller:
Absolutely. Yeah. And that’s one of the things that we’ve coached our reps internally to try and do, pretty much as quickly as possible is establish that level of trust where you can actually have a text relationship with this person. Because people are much more comfortable responding to quick requests that way or even just checking in or you know – it’s a low pressure but high engagement style of communication for most of our buying audience nowadays.

William Tyree:
100%, absolutely. And you know, speaking of that, that’s a great kind of segue way to this topic, right. Which is that must have decision assurance content. Right. So analyst validation, I’ve already kind of shouted out to Gartner before starting this call, love those folks. But really having an like solid content where analysts are including you in the right grids, including you in the right reports, buyer’s guides, markets guides, you know, things like that is really important.

We know that case studies are really instrumental. I mean, I personally love case studies just for lead generation in general, especially if if you’re looking at a case study for saying, hey, we’re helping your competitor, you know, or people in your space, your peers do X, Y and Z.

Spencer Miller:
Yeah. Especially like those those drive so much value being able to to point to real customer benefits it changes the game for your sellers and Tyler I just want to shout out all your hard work on our case studies here. They’re really good.

William Tyree:
Now, like you’re part of that too. And I think that, you know, it’s really, really helpful to have that as a seller. You know, that’s what I would want for sure. But also we’ve learned implementation guides in our ROI calculators absolutely are critical in those kind of decision assurance phases. Yeah, sometimes upfront, but all the time I would say like on the back half of the deal for sure.

Spencer Miller:
Absolutely.

William Tyree:
I want to get into something that’s really like right in your wheelhouse. Spencer So you know, this is something where I think that, you know, you absolutely lead this and then let’s talk a little bit about what you’re looking for from marketing to kind of help enable sellers here, which is stage based conversation guidance. And what do we first of all, what do we mean by that when we say that?

Spencer Miller:
Yeah. So marketing has this wealth of knowledge and this wealth of information about our customers, about the status of the market and where our products are positioned and how to best communicate those things to a wide variety of audiences. And so, any amount of enablement that we can provide to our sellers to use that best practice, to use that language in the deal, will make the conversation flow so much better and will really help the reps engage with their customers better, sound, more intelligent and just generally be capable of up leveling their conversations to focusing on the the outcome and the value that they’re going to help them unlock, rather than just the functionality within the product themselves. And so having this information prepared and usable delivered to you in real time, based on either the stage of the deal, the type of person that you’re talking to, what they’re even talking about all makes that immediately more usable for the seller. And usability is key, right? We’ve seen so many different documents and pieces of material be created but not used because it’s not being shown at the right time, in the right place, with the right knowledge of how to trigger the behavior you’re looking for, and so having all of those pieces together in one place is really how you can change the game for your sellers. Having this information pop up right when it is needed really helps their conversations flow in the way that everyone in the sales cycle intends to, even if it doesn’t have all the necessary like coaching and recurring to make sure it happens every single time.

William Tyree:
It’s very, very well said. And I just want to, you know, kind of zoom out a little bit for people just to make sure they understand what we’re talking about. So marketing, sales enablement, we have automated just about everything that can be automated for sellers like lead scoring, lead prioritization, calendar booking, you know, sequence based email, you know, drips and, and, you know, we automate even like messaging things like that.

This is actually the last mile. This is this is actually like a AI powered assistant that is with you when you are on video meetings, on voice conversation. Is that actually saying like, ‘hey, Spencer, it sounds like they just mentioned your competitor. Here’s what to say, right?’

Spencer Miller:
Absolutely. Yeah. And part of the reason that I was so excited to join the Revenue.io team was because we had this product that changed the way that enablement would need to engage with their sellers. We have a solution that really allows for this real time provision of help and support in a way that I’ve never seen implemented before, and I was so excited by the opportunity of like, what does coaching look like when you have AI ensuring that you can really, truly help your reps whenever they needed it? It changes what what my whole job is, because now I can focus on these triggers and these behaviors that we are looking for that we want to help support, rather than just trying to drill into people’s heads, content and information, talk tracks.

It’s a very different style of enablement. It’s wonderful.

William Tyree:
I couldn’t agree more. So I think just to kind of recap like our job here then is to basically say, you, hey, what are the conversations, what are what are the objections, for example, questions that sellers are going to get, you know, within deal cycles? You know, we’re not talking about SDR’s going out and calling and trying to create meetings.

This is like within these deal cycles and then, you know, making that content and those torque tracks available like and firing at those moments, right?

Spencer Miller:
Absolutely. Yeah. And that requires a strong feedback loop of which enablement is part and parcel of having enablement present to really help sales and marketing communicate about what’s happening when what’s the right stance to take, what’s the right language to use and helping to to really accelerate that cycle of feedback is key.

William Tyree:
Amazing. All right. Well, listen, Spencer, thank you so much. This has been a great conversation. And for everybody out there, I just want to say, feel free to reach out to Spencer, reach out to myself on LinkedIn. We would love to hear from you. Also, if you need help generating pipeline for your team, if you need help with your team on quote entertainment Revenue.io is a great place to find help for that.

In addition, we offer a bunch of great options for you. We’ve got the Rebels Podcast, the Sales Enablement Podcast, and the Sales Academy where we’ve got tons of resources and tools to help with all these things. So but again, the door’s open. Reach out to us and thank you so much for your time.

Spencer Miller:
Yes, thank you all.

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