[2:37] Pam’s Family
[7:20] Pam Talks About College
[10:59] Pam’s Career Path
[15:33] Pam’s Love for Templates
[18:32] Speaking at Conferences
[22:53] Best Practices for Aligning Sales and Marketing
[28:20] Pam’s Workshops on Sales and Marketing
[30:26] Tools for Better Communication Between Sales and Marketing
[35:26] Companies Doing a Good Job Aligning Sales and Marketing
[43:27] Pam’s Biggest Achievement
[46:33] Pam’s New Projects
[48:19] Pam’s Advice for Marketers
[52:49] What if Pam Had $10 Million?
The changing mindset of consumers has led to a change in the purchasing process. Old methods of marketing and selling your products are no longer relevant. The traditional process called for disjointed marketing and sales divisions, But today, the process requires them to be aligned for optimum results. Nearly 95% of world-class brands claim that they’ve aligned sales, marketing, and customer service to better meet the needs of their customers.
Aligning them led to the invention of the term “smarketing.” This means that the two departments are merged into a single department that works together to generate more revenue. Doing this makes it easier to track results and also make changes to both.
To help you align your sales and marketing, I’ve got with me, Pam Didner. She is a B2B tech marketing consultant, author, and speaker. She is a passionate B2B marketer with more than 20 years of experience in sales enablement and product, partner, and content marketing for clients such as Cisco, Intel, 3M, and Microsoft.
Here’s what you need to do for aligning your sales and marketing to achieve marketing success.
1. Develop a Single Customer Journey
The first and most important step for aligning your sales and marketing is that of developing a single customer journey. You need to restructure your current customer journey and develop one where the customer’s experiences aren’t siloed.
Right from the awareness stage to the bottom-of-the-funnel, they should be able to get a uniform brand experience.
This can help you create a single customer experience and help your team track your prospects throughout the funnel. A great way of facilitating this is through the use of CRM, marketing automation, email marketing, and analytics.
2. Meet Regularly
Whenever any new salesperson is joining your team, you should have an onboarding smarketing meeting. This is to help them understand the way your department functions and also to figure them out.
As Pam mentioned in the podcast, it’s crucial for organizations to understand the personas of their salespersons as well. This can help them figure out how to assist them in optimizing their output.
You should also conduct weekly sales meetings to track the progress of your sales team. That can help you understand where they’re excelling and where they’re lagging behind.
3. Create Content for Sales
When marketing and sales are disjointed, marketers usually concentrate on creating content to market the brand. A lot of the content that they may create is top-of-the-funnel content, which is practically of no use to the sales team.
To align your marketing and sales, you need to start creating content for the entire customer journey.
You should focus not just on the top-of-the-funnel but also on the bottom-of-the-funnel and create valuable content that your sales team can use. This way, you’ll not only be able to market your brand well but will also be able to generate more sales.
4. Adopt a “Marketing First” Approach
When marketing and sales are misaligned, both teams do their functions independently. Marketers create campaigns that are targeted towards a particular buyer persona. On the other hand, the sales team may end up conducting cold calls or sending out cold emails to a different target group.
When this happens, neither group of consumers has heard from you before. Due to this, you miss out on the chance to do brand reinforcement.
Instead, you should opt for the marketing first approach. In this, the marketers target potential customers and convert them into warm leads.
Once the leads are fully-informed about the features of your products or services, the sales team can take over. They can reinforce what the marketers have said and push them towards the bottom-of-the-funnel and close the deals.
One way of doing this is by coordinating your content marketing campaigns with the sales team. You should build a shared calendar and share the dates and times of your promotions on this with your sales team.
It’s also important to pass on the leads to your sales team as soon as you get them.
5. Show the Salesperson’s Expertise
Salespersons are your brand’s representatives who’ll be directly in touch with your leads. You need to prove their credibility to the leads to improve their chances of conversion.
This can be done by showcasing the expertise of your salespersons. You should consider ghostwriting under the name of your salesperson on topics related to your products and services.
Alternatively, you could ask them to use social media to share your company’s content. You could also create some messages that they can share on social media, so all they have to do is copy and paste them.
The goal should be to establish them as authorities in your product’s niche. This way, every word that they tell your leads will sound more believable.
6. Track KPIs
When sales and marketing are misaligned, it’s still crucial to track KPIs to understand their success.
Sales teams usually measure the number of new accounts, deals closed, retentions, and upsells. On the other hand, marketing teams track pipeline, lead quality and quantity, and brand awareness, among other things.
Tracking is also necessary when you align sales and marketing. However, you need to come up with joint KPIs for your smarketing team.
Through these, you can find out how your business is faring in both sales and marketing. It also helps you find any loopholes in your current strategy, and you can fix them to improve your sales.
The key is to find these KPIs by organizing regular meetings between your marketers and salespersons.
Sales and marketing may not be the same, but you should consider integrating them to offer a unified brand experience to your customers. Both teams can support each other and help strengthen your entire funnel to increase your revenue.
You must organize regular meetings between the teams and help them work together. It’s also necessary to build the reputation of your salespersons to improve your conversion rates. Create quality content that they can use and also track all the joint KPIs to understand where you stand.
What are the other ways through which you can align sales and marketing? Let me know in the comments.
Shane: Welcome to the podcast. I am Shane Barker, the host of Shane Barker's marketing Madness podcast. In this episode, we'll be talking about sales and marketing. My guest today is Pam Didner. She's a B2B tech marketing consultant, author and speaker with over 20 years of experience in the industry. She has a diversified background in finance, accounting, product support and global marketing strategy and has a comprehensive understanding of how marketing impacts a company. Listen as she talks about salespeople, buyer’s personas, sales journeys and more.
We have Pam today on the podcast. I’m excited to be talking about how to build better alignment between sales and marketing. It's that age-old question of sales and marketing and being able to better align them. That's always the goal. And it's always a hard task because sales and marketing don't always see eye-to-eye on everything. So, we're going to talk about that a little bit today. But before we jump into that, for those of you on the podcast that do not know about Pam, we'll talk a little bit about her background, where she grew up and some of the other fun stuff. And then we'll go into what she's doing today, her being a keynote speaker and all the other fun stuff. So, Pam, how are you doing? Thank you so much for being on the podcast.
Pam: I’m doing very well. Thank you so much for having me. It’s a beautiful Monday.
Shane: Absolutely. And are you in Portland?
Pam: Yes, I am. I’m in Portland, Oregon.
Shane: Awesome. I'm down in Sacramento. We just had some rain. I was the first rain. It was a little overcast this morning. I went on my walk this morning and it was overcast and I said “nice, I can start bringing out a sweatshirt and everything.” I enjoy when it starts to rain. You guys see quite a bit of rain in Portland as well. Don't you?
Pam: Yes, we only have two seasons. Rain and August. That is, it. And unfortunately, due to climate change, we’ve seen quite a bit of rain in August this year which has never happened. I’ve lived here for 20 years and August is usually very nice. And you don't see much rain, but this is a very different year.
Shane: That’s interesting. So, did you grow up in Portland?
Pam: No, we came here because of our jobs. My husband got a job with Intel at the time. So, we came to Portland because of his job way back in the 90s. I was born and raised in Taiwan and I came to the State's when I was 16
Shane: And how big was your family in Taiwan?
Pam: Both sides of my family are huge. I have both my parents. I have brothers and sisters like everyone else. For us, I’m the oldest and I have two brothers.
Shane: Okay, so three. That's small for a Taiwanese family.
Pam: Yes, at that time. These days everybody only has one or two kids or none to be honest. Just like any other modern family.
Shane: Yeah, you get too busy, I guess. That's what happens sometimes.
Pam: Yes, double income. Everybody needs to have double the income to live these days. It doesn't matter which country you go to. I think with that and raising, I don't know if you are married Shane, but having a child or raising a child nowadays is quite expensive.
Shane: Yes, it is. My son is in his third year of college, so I understand the expense of that, and he went to a private high school. So, I was in awe.
Pam: Does he go to a private college right now or just a regular college?
Shane: Yeah, he goes to a regular college. So, it's kind of funny. He went to a Jesuit school here in Sacramento, and my wife wanted him to go to the Jesuit school just because of the curriculum and the networking.
Pam: The quality of the education. I get it.
Shane: Yeah, and so we did that. But it's funny. We're helping him with college, and it was cheaper for him to go to college that it was to go to high school which was so crazy. I was saying “aren’t the other kids going to the high school for free? I think my high school is free.” I'm being facetious. And my wife would say “I know but we're investing in our son” and I would say “okay I get it”.
Pam: I get it. So, we did the reverse. We sent our children to private elementary school and then we yanked them out and had them go to a public junior high school and high school. And we were thinking if we had sent them to a private school, they probably would have had a good foundation and understand how to manage their time when they got much older. Hopefully, they are being trained or educated in a certain way and that they can take what they've learned and better prepare themselves for junior high and high school. So, we took a slightly different approach and it worked out well.
Shane: Yeah, it does make sense because what it comes down to is the foundation, right? So, when you're starting in those earlier years, I think that's where you're setting, not only guidelines but you're establishing how you do things in life. So, you build that foundation.
Pam: I agree. I think one thing they learned then was time management. It was very interesting because they had a small class and the teacher was teaching them how they should manage their time. They had a timesheet every day. Not only did the teacher share with them what they had to do, but they also had to show how they were going to complete their homework. And that makes sense.
They had to add the details of when, how and how to do it, etc. So, that turned out to be the biggest benefit. We didn't anticipate it that at a time, but it turned out to be a great skill set that they were able to carry forward on to the junior high school. I have 2 boys. They are in college just like yours.
Shane: Oh, so they are both in college right now?
Pam: Yeah, I'm broke.
Shane: I wasn’t going to ask about your financial situation, but when you said two, I thought “oh my God, one is enough.”
Pam: It’s just amazing. They go to the public school in-state but it’s still expensive. That’s as much as I can say, it’s expensive. I don't know how the other parents do it. Those that are sending two or four kids to private school. I don't know how they do it.
Shane: My son was looking at a school in Arizona. The University of Arizona. And it was crazy, the out-of-state tuition. I'm not going to spend a quarter of a million dollars to send you to school. You're not going to be a doctor.
Pam: I completely agree with you. Even if you want to be a doctor, you can join the military. It's totally fine.
Shane: That is too funny. Well, it is crazy. He's at an in-state college as well. And it's pricey. It’s a lot every month.
Pam: It’s more affordable.
Shane: For sure. When I saw a quarter-million, I was thinking “I just don't know if I'm willing to do that.”
Pam: We are on the same page, Shane.
Shane: We are. It seems as if we parent the same. So, what college did you go to?
Pam: I went to the University of Kentucky at Lexington. So, go Wildcats. But I lived in California at a time for about three or four years and I went to Kentucky for my college education. The first year was an eye-opener. It's a very different environment. The south is very different. I love the hospitality. The people are genuinely nice. But it's very different.
Shane: That's interesting. So how long were you in California, a few years?
Pam: Yes. I was there for a few years before I went to the South.
Shane: And where in California?
Pam: Los Angeles. I lived on the east side, Riverside.
Shane: I know exactly where that is. San Bernardino County.
Pam: Yeah, that's right. Around that area.
Shane: I taught in the past at UCLA. So, I was going down there and I know the area very well. And so, the University of Kentucky, interesting choice. Well, you came to the US when you were 15 and then suddenly you were at the University of Kentucky. That’s must be a bit of a culture shock, right?
Pam: The first year was a little bit of a shock. As I said, it’s a lot more proper. California is a more casual type of place and the south is a lot more proper. The customs, values, and way of life are completely different than California.
Shane: That's interesting. And now you've been in Portland for 20 years. I've already talked about this in another podcast. I was in love with Portland and I just went back recently and I’m not going to talk negatively about Portland because I still think it's a phenomenal city but there were tons of homeless people. I was downtown.
Pam: The situation is horrible. I think that's very consistent in the sanctuary states. And unfortunately, they’re still working through the solution and you can see similar issues or challenges if you're in San Francisco or Seattle. Portland has changed a lot in the past 10 to 15 years. It's not the same city I used to live in, but I don't have a solution for it. I'm not a politician or a policymaker but I think everybody agrees that it needs to be resolved. Currently, they are working through the solution, so we'll see how that goes. The homeless situation is most unpleasant.
Shane: It broke my heart. Portland was in my top 5 cities to move to because it was so clean. And then I went last time and once again, the people of Portland are still amazing. They're still phenomenal. The restaurants and the people are great.
Pam: The restaurant scene is phenomenal.
Shane: Yeah. It was good; I could not complain about that. We had some great food out there. But I feel bad for not only the people that are homeless but also for the people that stay there. It's hard to solve because you don't want to kick somebody out to go to another state. There are still some issues there that need to be resolved.
Pam: Yes, I am completely in agreement.
Shane: I would still go back to Portland. It's still a phenomenal city. I just remember it being so clean, over-the-top clean. The cleanest city I have ever been to is in Singapore which was insanely clean. Portland was up there, it’s just that it dropped down the rankings a little bit. I still love the city. I'm sure you guys will go back up in the rankings by few numbers
Pam: It will go back up by a lot.
Shane: And when you got out of college here, the University of Kentucky, what was your first job?
Pam: My first job was waiting tables. I worked in a restaurant for a little while. But I went to graduate school and got my master’s degree and from there I started working in the corporate world. So, I was at KPMG Peat Marwick for about two or three years and I was a corporate auditor. And then from there, I moved to Accenture and then the last company I worked with was Intel and I was with them for almost 20 years.
Shane: So, the same as your husband. Your husband worked there as well, correct?
Pam: Yes, he did. He got a job with Intel first, but he left five years before I got there. So, he stuck around for a little while and then joined another company.
Shane: And then from there you started Relentless Pursuit, right? Isn't that where you are currently?
Shane: Tell me a little bit about that.
Pam: I was in the corporate world all my life. I call myself a corporate junkie. Then in 2011, I don't know, maybe it was a midlife crisis. Whatever you want to call it. I didn't have an affair, I didn't buy a red Ferrari, but my heart was in a different place. But I didn’t cut the tie right away and that was in 2011. I kept thinking “I need to do something different, but I don't know what it is”. So, I started this soul-searching journey and it was just a baby step. I always believe that your heart’s desire manifests itself. When you start thinking about something the universe starts to listen. Does that make sense?
Pam: Suddenly, little things start to manifest whether subconsciously or consciously. The things that you do and the people that you meet steer you to in direction you either want to be or you desire to go. Then from 2011 to 2014 before I left, I was doing some soul-searching and self-discovery. I was asking myself what I wanted to do when I grew up. That's the question I was asking myself. I'm not kidding. And then I did not know what that was, but there were several options and I started talking to people and I started meeting different sets of people that I used to encounter in the corporate world. And one thing led to another and I started to write a book.
Originally, I wanted to write a fictional book and I discovered that I had no caliber. It’s like you wanted to do something and then you discover that you have no talent for it. That was my discovery, to be honest with you. But I said to myself, “even if I can't write a frictional book, I definitely can write a business book.”
So, I took what I learned at Intel. One unique experience I had was at the headquarters and wherein I did things on a global scale and worked very closely with geographies and regions as well as the country marketing manager. And I leveraged that experience and wrote a book about global content marketing, how to scale content across the region. But it's a B2B type of book. And I used that as a launchpad and to pave the way to work for myself. So, that's the highlight of the story.
Shane: Nice. It sounds like you took what you learned from Intel and put it into a book for the global content marketing in terms of how to apply those methodologies and things you guys use at Intel, which is huge. And that was your platform for starting your own business.
Pam: So, they have a lot of processes, but I didn't take Intel's process. I used from the framework what I thought made sense and could be scaled to other companies. Does that make sense?
Pam: Intel's processes can be very complex, and I simplified some of them and then customized them with my unique thoughts and observations and that's what the book was about.
Shane: I think that's an important part of it. There are those processes. I have friends that worked at Intel and a lot of time goes into that but how do you take that and adjust it so that people can understand it?
Shane: That’s the hard part. And you did that. That's phenomenal.
Pam: I love creating templates. I especially love modifying templates that can be tailored for my customers and client’s needs. After I left Intel, I taught at universities for a couple of semesters. And what I realized when I work with students is that most of them are millennials and a lot of them enjoy templates. They would say “Pam, can you give us templates?” And I would say, “well, marketing can be situational.” And they would look at me and say “Pam, we want templates.” And I would say “okay, I’ll make it happen.”
Shane: That's funny. It’s the same thing at UCLA. If we have something to look at, something that we can mirror image or something we can work from, it is helpful in those situations. So, you taught at the University of Oregon and before that, it was West Virginia?
Pam: Yes. I taught for one semester at West Virginia University and that was online. That was a master’s program online course and I did that for two semesters.
Shane: Awesome. So, you have quite a bit of experience and not only in academia but also in the corporate world.
Pam: I wouldn't say a lot. It was enough to get by. But I learned a lot from the corporate world and then applied it because a lot of times academia can be very theory driven. So, when I taught the courses, I tried to bring applications and real-life examples as a part of my teaching. And that was appreciated by the students because it's not just the framework and the theories. I was telling them what we did in the corporate world and the types of questions that they should ask or if they were putting a marketing plan together, what it should look like. So, they appreciated me sharing the real-life examples.
Shane: Well, that’s how I got the job at UCLA. It was because of my being a practitioner and being out in this space. That’s the difference, right? There was a local college here in Sacramento that reached out to me. They were saying a lot of their instructors weren’t in touch with a lot of the software and things that were happening. They didn't say that, but they sort of did.
And so, they need somebody that is in the space and doing things so that even if you have a methodology or a framework, you can put the real-world examples in there and things you've done which I think the students appreciate. You've done it so you can talk about the good things, the bad things and things that you're going to have to go through as an individual going into the corporate world.
Shane: Yeah, that's awesome. So, you do a lot of speaking and workshops, etc. So, you were just at CMI 2019 which happened not too long ago. How was the conference and what did you speak about there?
Pam: I went to the conference. It was the CMI conference. It's called 'the content marketing world'. This year was the ninth year and I’ve been to that event every single year and I was very grateful that they invited me back every single year. In the past, I would just do sessions but about four or five years ago I started doing workshops. So, I have a workshop and a session. And I change my workshop every single year and try to challenge myself so I can cover different topics. And for several years, it has been about global content marketing. I wrote my second book and it is about effective sales enablement, how to enable sales as a marketer. How can we better support our sales team?
So, this year, both my session and my workshop were about how we as marketers can better support our sales team. The second topic was finding creative ways that you can use marketers to better enable your sales team and I dived into the know-how, case studies, and templates. I shared templates with everybody so that they could use them and take them with them.
Shane: I think that's key. It's nice to be able to have something that you can take and start using instantly at these conferences. You learn a lot through that whole process, but it is nice to have something that you can take away and say, “okay now I can take what I've just learned or put it into a template.”
Pam: Yes. And what I’ve come to realize by speaking at many conferences and talking to many attendees is that a lot of them want the know-how but when you do a session, you don't want to dive into all the nitty-gritty details and overwhelm people. There is a balance that you must find. It cannot be too high-level or detailed. It’s about finding that balance and giving people enough information to internalize and digest without overwhelming them.
Shane: I know how it is because I do speak at events as well. And it's so hard because if you do certain things, you lose half the crowd you if you do another thing, you lose half the crowd. So, how do you keep them engaged? How do I keep them excited about things and at least give them some examples? I have been to plenty of conferences where the information was so high-level that we weren’t able to agree and figure out what needs to happen. And I have been to others where the information was so specific to one example, which is great, but I wasn’t that one example. So, it is a delicate balance.
At UCLA, for the first class that I was teaching, I felt bad for the students. It was a three-hour class and once a week I would fly down there and teach for three hours. I used to wonder what could be done in three hours. My workshops are an hour to eight hours and that's it. But this is three hours for a whole quarter. We would have guests and there were other ways to fill the time to ensure it was a well-rounded class, but it's a lot. It's a lot when you're putting these things together. It's a lot of information that goes into it. It's very time-consuming.
Pam: I agree with that completely. And at the same time, you must entertain them. They are students. They want to be entertained.
Shane: It was a 6:30- 9:30 class. They had already worked so the attention span was already low. And so, I would have to dance and do whatever else I was doing to keep people's attention in the class. It was a phenomenal experience. We had a good time so. Let's talk a little bit about sales and marketing. The whole point of the podcast today is to talk about the alignment and how you better align those. I know this is only an hour podcast and I'm sure what you're going to say is going to be epic, but some persons may still say “listen, this is sales and marketing. I’ve got it. Pam told me the secret and I'm going to use this one thing.” But what are some of the best practices to better align sales and marketing in your opinion?
Pam: There are a couple of things I would like to share with your audience if you will. And the one thing I do talk about in my session is keeping our friends close and our enemies closer. In this case, we must keep our friends close and our salespeople closer. And the way to do that is to try and understand your salespeople better. So, you might ask me what templates you need to use. I know that a lot of you may have buyers’ personas. You may fictionalize or personalize your buyers and have a buyer persona. However, can you take whatever that buyers template is and create your salespersons’ persona?
Can you write down as much as you can about your understanding of your salesperson? And I'm not talking about the basic things e.g. 37 years old, loves to ski. I’m not talking about those personal things but what does a day in his life look like? What does he go through? Not a day in his personal life but a business setting. What does he do? How does he manage rejections? How does he manage leads? How does he facilitate the conversation from the level of the prospect to solid qualified lead for the company? What is the process he goes through? What kind of content does he use?
From my standpoint, you should document what I call a salespersons persona and then take that and review and compare it to your salesperson to validate that information. You can write a statement such as “my salesperson only has the attention span of a goldfish”. Share that with your salesperson. Is it true that I cannot get your attention? How can I get your attention? Suddenly, it's a conversation opener. It facilitates a discussion concerning how you can work with them better.
So that's one. The other one is, marketers, create a lot of content. They tend to create more marketing-centric type of content. Many marketers map their content into a buyers’ purchase journey. How is this possible? You can understand your salespersons' sales journey. How do they sell? A typical B2B sales process can look as follows; they must prospect an individual, they must qualify them, they must do a demo then they must send the proposal and hopefully they close the deal. That is assuming it follows these five stages.
Can you identify specific steps that they do at each stage and identify the possible content or potential content pieces that they will need? Then, you can look at your content Library and determine what content pieces that may be useful or beneficial for your salespeople. Now you can map some of the content in a way that they understand because that's their sales process. You are now providing value to them. You’re not shoving the marketing content to their throat. You are saying,” let me categorize the content in a way you understand based on how you sell. Is this the type of content that you will use?” Again, use that to drive the conversation with them. Is that helpful?
Shane: Yes, it is. It’s so funny. When you say it out loud and you talk about a salesperson persona, I was wondering how that would work. And when you started to talk about examples, it made total sense because not everybody is the same.
It's very easy to say, “hey let's develop some content for all these salespeople” but when you talk about rejection, how they sell, the way that they sell, different things that go into that, everybody's different. And I suppose with the bigger organizations, you must figure out how you're going to be able to manage that.
Pam: And how to scale it.
Shane: Which I think is the big part because it's almost a personalized thing in theory. Each salesperson is saying “this is the general thing” And it’s also a matter of better communication wherein if you are this type of person and you feel bad because of something that's happening, how do you address that? How do you open the line of communication?
Pam: Many times, there are different types of salespeople in a sales organization. There can be internal sales, external sales, SER, etc. And so, if you decide to write a salesperson's persona, you also need to determine what the job titles and who are the salespeople that you are supporting so you don't overwhelm yourself and say “oh my god. Do I have to create 20 salespeople personas because there are 20 different roles and responsibilities within my sales organization?” No, you don't. Identify which salespeople you support and start from there.
Shane: The workshops you do now seem to be heavy in terms of marketing and sales. Do you also work with sales teams on how to better understand marketing? Is it a two-way street? Or is it a case where someone is a marketer and you’re saying to them “this is how we better work with sales to be able to have that alignment.”?
Pam: That's a very good question. Generally, most of the projects that I work on now tend to be with marketing organizations and explaining how they can better support their sales teams. And if I do work with the salespeople, it's not necessarily with salespeople directly. It's more with the sales operations and sales enablement teams. Whereas it concerns salespeople… How should I say this nicely? I love them dearly. They are very busy and it’s very hard to change their behavior. To get them to change their behavior, there must be a huge incentive.
A massive paradigm shift would have to happen to change their behavior. So, most salespeople will not hire me to help them understand marketing people. Does that make sense? It is their support team that will need to work with the marketing team to better support them. From time to time I will have a conversation with the VP of sales, not necessarily to work with the sales team directly, because they don't want to bother the salespeople unless there's a real reason that we need to talk to them.
They are busy selling. Anything they do outside of their work such as training or any non-sales activity is considered taking them away from selling. So, most of the time when I do talk to salespeople, it’s to try and understand what they do and find a better way to support them. Most of the time on the sales side, I work with the operations and enablement teams.
Shane: And that makes total sense because your background is in marketing. So, you’re saying to them “this is how we see it as marketers” but you must look at it from the perspective of the salesperson and how to make that synergy work better. So, are there any software or tools that companies can use to better align their sales and marketing strategy? I know it’s hard to say, “just go use this tool and suddenly your sales and marketing will be better”, but is there anything they can use to help that communication and to get them on the same page?
Pam: That's a good question too, Shane. There is a tool. It's used to facilitate sales and marketing collaboration. The tool is called ‘Engagio’, E-N-G-A-G-I-O, and it tries to work between the sales and marketing team. It provides a platform for them to communicate better.
And they are other tools, but they are classified as sales enablement platforms and some of them are sales-centric, content management libraries. These allow marketers to look at their content and determine what content is appropriate for the salespeople and they upload it to a sales-enablement platform or to a sales-centric content management library that is easy for salespeople to find. Does that make sense? So, there are multiple tools out there. And my recommendation for listeners is to look at your process and determine what part of the engagement and collaboration you would like to make happen or manifest between the sales and the marketing team.
And then determine what questions and issues that you would like resolved and then ascertain what kind of tool you should use. Is that helpful? I always tell people not to look at the kind of tools they need for sales and marketing alignment but look at the process that you want to fix, identify that specific issue and then source the appropriate tools to resolve that issue.
Shane: And that makes sense. For your organization, it’s easy to say there are tools and software for everything. CRM is a good example. I've tried almost all of them and some of them are great in one area, some of them are great in others. It depends on what your process would be. A CRM would be great for what you guys do but it's difficult to say this CRM is going to be great for every organization or this software is going to be great for sales enablement because it depends on your process. That makes total sense.
Pam: I do agree. I use Nimble as a CRM tool and I use Pipedrive and then eventually I settled with Salesforce. Salesforce is the enterprise version of it. But the thing is most of my clients are Enterprise clients, so guess what CRM tool they use? Salesforce. So, I need to get myself up to speed. I decide to use for CRM is not necessary for independent consultants. I use it just to get myself educated so that I can work with my clients better. So, there is a completely different objective.
Shane: We use Nimble right now.
Pam: Oh yes? That's nice. It’s a very good tool.
Shane: I like the social side of it as well and there are some good tie-ins. So, we've been happy with that. We used Salesforce many moons ago in another business that I had. We had quite a few seats. We were one of the biggest salesforce users. This was about 10 or 15 years ago, so I'm familiar. It's changed a lot over the years. They're huge now.
Pam: Yes. They are huge now. And it’s a very complicated tool. It horrifies many marketers when they look at it.
Shane: What’s cool about it is that there are so many things you can do with it that are out of the box, but you must customize it. It's awesome, but there are so many plugins and different things you can do. It can do anything, but of course, somebody must be able to put that together for you.
Pam: Yes, you must hire someone else to understand your process and customize the whole platform for you.
Shane: That is a sobering experience too.
Pam: It’s expensive as well.
Shane: Oh my God. That’s what I said after the first bill. I was saying “okay, wow. Alright, there we go.” But it's great to be able to learn that because you don't realize how broken your process is until you have to physically put it on paper and be able to figure it out and you're saying “wow, this process goes through 48 different people's hands and it really doesn't need to.” So, I think that's helpful because then you can tighten it up a little. Because a lot of times, your process in your mind is pretty easy because it's in your mind and then when you have to put it down in a CRM, you realize you have to make it a little easier for the people that aren't as crazy as you are.
Pam: That’s true.
Shane: We talked about sales and marketing initiatives and different people. I think that's like the pinnacle, isn’t it? Being able to get sales and marketing to hold hands and run down a trail together and be happy. That's always the goal. It doesn't always happen. But as we talk about this kind of stuff and figuring it out, we get closer. But are there any companies out there that you think are doing a great job when it comes to sales and marketing and things that they've implemented or companies that you've worked with?
Pam: To be honest with you, every single company I talk to and I talk to quite a few, and if you even talk to the CMO or the VP, nobody will raise your hand say, “I'm doing a phenomenal job. We are living happily ever after.” Nobody's going to say that. They all still have challenges that they go through. It’s just like living life. For instance, if you have a child, you know that there is a challenge at every single stage. Even now, I'm sure your kid is fantastic and he’s probably very semi-independent and you're very proud of, I assume it’s your son, right?
Shane: Yes, my son.
Pam: You’re proud of him, but I’m sure there is always some sort of challenge with the son and father alignment. There is always something. So, to be honest with you, I don't know a single company that would raise their hands and say “guess what? We are doing a fantastic job.” Everybody is working through it. It’s like a journey. However, there is a book published by Wiley called “Aligned to Achieve” by Tracy Eiler and Andrea Austin. Tracy is the CMO of Inside View and Andrea Austin is the VP of sales for Inside View. And co-authored a book talking about how they work together.
So, if you have a book to prove that the sales and marketing teams of their company are working well together then I assume they have done a phenomenal job of aligning sales and marketing. So, as I said, I'm not affiliated with them in any shape or form. I don't even know Tracy or Andrea, but it's interesting to see this book, ‘Aligned to achieve’ by Tracy and Andrea. So, if you are interested, you can check it out. As I said, I'm not connected to them.
Shane: That's kind of cool because otherwise, it's hard to tell who is doing this well. It's easy to say “this company is putting out great content” based on what is put out there. It's a bit like marriage. Someone can say “our marriage is perfect” or “our sales and marketing is perfect” but there's a lot more going on. It is probably a nightmare. They probably hate each other. They're holding hands on Facebook, but outside of Facebook, they're ready for divorce.
Pam: It’s a completely different story.
Shane: I would be very cautious if somebody said: “no, everything's perfect in our company.” To me, that would sound fishy.
Pam: But everybody is working on that. And they all recognize that the sales and marketing collaboration is becoming more and more important because of the rise of digital media. And the rise of digital media is a catalyst, if you will, for sales and marketing to work together. Take email marketing, for example. In the past, only the marketers did email marketing, but nowadays, salespeople are using Salesforce and other CRMs to run their mini-email campaigns whenever they want to. So, if you don't talk to each other, you are not creating a seamless customer experience for your prospects or existing customers.
Shane: How do you do that? Because obviously, everybody can send out their emails. You must have a review process. Is there like an overarching marketing and sales god that sees everything? How does that happen? Because there are companies that I’ve either owned or worked for that have been huge and keeping that alignment going is very difficult because everybody has their personalities and manner of doing things. And this is a whole other thing, if you get into the legal industry or in the securities field, you can't even send out an email without going through 19 attorneys.
Pam: The legal review.
Shane: Those are fun.
Pam: I don't have a perfect solution for it, to be honest. And what I found that worked well when I was in Intel is communications. Over-communication is better than under- communication. For example, I would attend a sales meeting regularly and show them what content is coming down to a pipeline, what we are doing, the kinds of campaigns are we running at this point. Sometimes we will even share email templates or the content with the salespeople. And the salespeople are probably half-listening.
To be honest with you, when I would do my stuff, sometimes they would send out duplicated content to their customers. Of course, that does happen. With big corporations, there's not a way to minimize it. To be honest with you, the way that I do this is by attending their meetings or I have a forum of my own and communicate as much as I can.
And that's probably one way of doing it. The other one is leveraging technology, for example, the sales and the marketing collaboration platform. And is there any way that you get everybody to use that platform? And they can go into a tool and see what was done before and make sure that you don't overwhelm your customers. I don’t have a solution. I would be lying if I told you there was a perfect solution. There isn’t one.
Shane: I think it depends on the organization as well. It’s very difficult to say this is going to work for everybody. Communication is key in everything whether it be your marriage or whatever the relationship is. The more you communicate, the better for you. That open line of communication is going to be better. And sometimes if I find something that works, I share that with the team. Sometimes salesmen don't want to tell everybody because it’s working, and they are crushing it when it comes to this.
The idea of this is for everybody to do better. Especially if you like territories and things like that, why not? You can go and share what exactly is going on and what is happening there. So, I think that an open line of communication and the sharing of knowledge is important because there's power in that. If everybody sends out an email and somebody says “I just crushed it with this one” persons will ask “why was that? let's figure that out and figure out how we can create more content like that so the whole company does better. So, I liked that. I think that's a good way to go to better understand where the synergies are and where you can grow or where you're having potential roadblocks with people or messaging or anything that’s going out.
Pam: Solid point.
Shane: Thank you. It’s funny. I was excited about interviewing because I don't know what you haven't done and I’m trying to figure it out. This is the only thing we could disagree about at this point. Between writing books and universities and everything else, I feel like you should have been my mentor when I was younger or something. I could have learned a lot from you. But what do you think your biggest achievement to date is? What do you look at and go “this was it.”? If I were you, I would say writing a book because I've been talking about writing a book since I was nine months old or something. Not really but a long time
Pam: You can still do it if you just buckle down and sit. That’s all you must do. Buckle down and sit and then start writing. And then you just must commit about five or six months of your life.
Shane: You make it seem easy. First, sitting down is already a problem. My mom used to come over the house. She was close to me. She would come over and I would start doing things and she would say “God, you just don't ever sit down”. I said, “I don't.” Sitting down is so difficult for me. I feel like I’ve got to do this, and I’ve got to do that. Not that I don't sit because obviously, I’m sitting right now and I'm perfectly okay, except I'm twitching a little bit. I’m just kidding, I’m fine. But you’re talking about five or six months. My book will come out. It will come out one day. But what is your biggest achievement? Is it your book or is it speaking at workshops? What do you think?
Pam: Actually, my kids. My biggest achievements are my kids. I have two boys and they are fantastic. I'm not a tiger mom. Okay, everybody assumes that because I’m Asian, I must be a tiger mom. No, I am not a tiger mom. I don't push my kids. I tell my kids “if you don't want to study, don't. But you need to work.” I never really pushed them very hard and a lot of times they manage their time and very well and they do their things and I don't have to worry about them too much in terms of getting things done.
And I'm very grateful for that. And I attribute that to myself. I didn't do jack shit. I was working the whole time. My husband did a very good job of raising them. The teachers did a very good job of raising my children and their friends. It's good. So, my biggest accomplishments are my children. I'm very proud of them and what they have turned out to be. And I thank God because I worked all the time when they were growing up. And I apologized to them when they turned 14 or 15. I said, “I'm sorry I was never there for your first day of school, your first step, your first Christmas concert.”
I was always traveling so I apologized to them. But they said something to me that melted my heart. They said “Mom, I understand that you were not there for my first Christmas concert. You were not there for my first step. You were not there for my first day of school. But the thing is…” this is what they said to me. Both. “But we don't remember any of that. The only thing we remember is when we needed you, you were there.” And I said “oh my God. Okay. Can I take you out for a drink? Let's go out for a drink. You are now 21.”
Shane: I don’t know if that was pre-prepared but that was on-point. Your kids are smart. And it worked. That's awesome though. The beginning of my career was also very busy with traveling and everything else. I wouldn't say I was absent by any means but there were things that I missed and things that I look back on. I think you must sacrifice sometimes but, in your case, your kids recognize that you're there and you're still in their lives and good things have happened because of that. It's always about that balance. You could have been there all the time and not been working at all. And then guess what? They would have been paying for college themselves. So, there we go, right. Something's got to give here. I can't be here all the time.
Pam: I agree with you. But they are very grateful, and we have a close relationship. And as I said, I am super blessed that they found that perspective.
Shane: That's awesome. Shout out to your husband. He sounds fantastic.
Pam: He is fantastic.
Shane: You’re a lucky girl. So, do you have any other new projects or anything fun ahead? I know you have the Relentless Pursuit. Is there anything else that you're working on? Anything fun?
Pam: Yes. There are a couple of things? The first one is a keynote I will be doing in Vienna in October. So, I'm going to Vienna. Whenever I’m in Europe, I try to do a couple of things. And this time, I'm going to Morocco for five days so that's the fun part of it. And then I’ve got a couple of big projects coming up. One of them is going to be interesting.
I'm helping this decent-sized company to build their B2B marketing organization and work with them on the Montague evaluation. So not just the people part of it, but also work with them to build a process and the tools to help their B2B marketing organization to support their sales. So, I'm very excited about that project.
Shane: That's awesome. Is that something you do remotely, or do you go in and meet with them?
Pam: So, it's going to be a combination of both. The company is based in Texas so I will be traveling quite a bit to Texas. Some things I will do remotely but I will also be there on site.
Shane: That's awesome. So, is it Austin? Where is it in Texas? Are you able to say?
Pam: It's in Texas.
Shane: The big old state of Texas. Don't worry, Pam will be coming there. She’ll let you know when she's in town. That's awesome. That's great. A lot of my audience is marketing professionals and some salespeople as well. What is the one piece of advice you'd like to give to like aspiring CMOS? With all the knowledge you have, the classes you've taught and workshops you've done, is there one piece of advice that you would say “you’ve got to do this or you really should think about this or this is what you should do”? What is that one piece? Is there one piece or are there multiple pieces?
Pam: That's a good question. When I saw that question, I gave it a lot of thought and I was thinking “oh my God, that's a good question.” By doing many consulting projects and talking to different companies as well as teaching, there is one point of view that I had and it's changing and morphing. Because I worked in a big company for a long period and I worked very closely with my geographies and a country marketing team and the product marketing team, I always feel like a strategy is a very critical part of it. And I always believed that tools and processes are not technology.
You need to create a strategy first and technology is not a strategy. And then you need to create a very holistic strategy first. But Shane, what I'm trying to share with you is I had a little bit of a second thought about that. The reason is the technology platforms and tools are so big right now. When I say big, it’s not that they are hot, but they are an essential part of everything we do. For example, we are using Zoom to talk to each other, and we are using Google Docs so we can see the document and I can change and edit as I see fit.
And imagine that we work closely together. I do marketing and you do sales. And there are tools that we can use to make sure we can communicate better. So, technology becomes a huge part of everything we do. For the longest time, it was strategy first, technology second or process second. And now I feel that you must understand the technology well enough before you define strategy. Does that make sense?
I'm not saying that technology is the same as strategy. That's not my point. So, for people who are listening, please don't take that as the one takeaway. What I'm trying to say is when you define your strategy nowadays, you really must think through what technology you want to use. And, how you use that technology can define your organizational structure and the roles and responsibilities. Does that make sense? In the past, if you did social media, there's was a social media team. If you did event marketing, there was an event marketing team. If you did email marketing, there was an email marketing team. Things were organized by functions.
What if we used the technology and tools that we engage to determine how we organize and formulate our organizational structure? It's a slightly different type of thinking and I feel that moving forward, the next generation of CMOS needs to think this through. Not necessarily using job functions but think through how technology can dictate or define how we work and then use that to determine what your organizational structure will look like. Use that to determine even the roles and responsibilities. But as I said, I am not completely sold on that but that’s the idea that has been simmering in my head for a long time and I thought I share it with you on your podcast.
Shane: It makes sense.
Pam: Does it make sense? I don't have a solid answer. So, guys, don't take everything I say as gospel. But it's an idea that for you to think about. If you have any additional follow-up or thoughts, you can share them with me. I would love to hear from the audience as well.
Shane: For sure. Write in the comments below and Pam will make sure that once there are any comments, she can answer them. So, Pam, now we're switching from CMO aspirations and what they should be looking at. We're going personal here. What would you do if you didn't have to work? And I know you don't even know what that means.
Pam: Oh my god, that would be great. That would be fantastic.
Shane: I think I know your personality. If somebody gave you ten million dollars, would you never work? Would you quit tomorrow?
Pam: No, I would continue to work.
Shane: It would be hard for you. I knew it. I knew that was going to be your answer. I knew it. I could have bet a thousand dollars on that because I'm the same way. If somebody was going to give me ten million dollars, that would be super awesome. But I would still go to work the next day.
Pam: I would probably scale back a little bit. Working for yourself is hard and anybody who works for themself can attest to that. I've been working long hours for the past five years after leaving the corporate world. I did have the money; I would scale back a little bit and then I would do yoga every day. That's something I like doing.
Shane: Keep it mindful. So, you would scale back. So, what does that mean? Your husband asked me to ask this and we wanted you to answer this and we're going to have it on a recording. So, I don't know if he has 10 million for you or not. I'm just kidding. He did not tell me that. I just know that your personality is like mine. It's very active. My wife said, “I don't think you'll ever retire” and I said, “I might one day.” She said, “that is not very confident.”
Pam: That is so true. My husband said, “I’m going to retire at the age of 56.” I was surprised. And I was thinking I will probably retire at age 70. If can work, why not?
Shane: With what you do, you can be remote. You can be remote. That's what I like. My wife's a nurse so, she usually works for about six days.
Pam: She must be on site.
Shane: Unless she's a traveling nurse which we are looking into but that's a whole other conversation. So, I know you travel a lot. You've been traveling for a long time. What is your dream travel destination? Where have you been that blew you away?
Pam: Well, a place on my list that I want to visit but I haven't had the chance is New Zealand. Everybody tells me it’s fantastic and they love it. And the country I would visit repeatedly is Italy. I love the culture and food. I love the food. I eat all the time. When I'm happy I eat. When I'm depressed, I eat. When I’m angry, I eat.
Shane: I hear you.
Pam: I eat all the time. So, the food there is fantastic.
Shane: Well, if you're eating all the time, you're doing something right because I've seen pictures of you. I don't know what you're doing. You’ve got to be working out too then because you don’t look like it
Pam: Shane, that picture was ten years ago.
Shane: You’re still looking good. You’re keeping it going. That's awesome. This has been awesome. I think you've touched on a lot of things when it comes to sales and marketing. You brought up some phenomenal points. If anybody needs to get in contact with you, how they go about doing that.
Pam: I'm on every single social media channel. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook. You name it. Even Pinterest and Instagram. You can reach me on any of these channels. At the same time, you can always go to pamdidner.com. and fill out the ‘just-contact-me’ form. That works as well
Shane: That's awesome. Well Pam, thank you once again for the interview today. As I said, I think you've enlightened a lot of us. And if anybody needs to get in contact with you, there is your website. It’s the same thing with your books. I did see them on your actual website. You can download a free chapter of either ‘The global content marketing’ or ‘the effective sales enablement’, which I think is a good start for people who want to take a look at that and get intrigued by it and they can go to Amazon and purchase.
Pam: Very good. Thank you for sharing that. I appreciate it, Shane.
Shane: Not a problem at all, Pam. Have an awesome day. We’re looking forward to it. As soon as this podcast goes live, we’ll send you the information
Pam: I love that. Thank you so much for having me.
Shane: Thanks, Pam.
Pam: Bye, bye
Shane: Bye, bye.