When Marketing and Sales Work Better TogetherA Shark's Perspective Podcast

This is a recent interview I did with A Shark’s Perspective on their podcast.

overview

Over the years, we’ve seen a divide between marketing and sales teams in corporates and startups alike. But what happens when they work together?

In this interview, I share my thoughts with A Shark’s Perspective on how marketing and sales work better together, and how to achieve it effectively for your business. Some key pointers include:

  • Marketing vs Sales
  • Collaboration
  • Goal Alignment
  • Customer Focus
  • B2B Metrics

quotes

“I have a very firm belief that demand generation is not a role in marketing, it is marketing.” – Mark Donnigan

“Where you see success with account executives who really just seem to be hitting it out of the park or they’re consistently performing, you will find that they have become students of marketing.” – Mark Donnigan

“I wish salespeople would be better trained in marketing and marketing to be definitely better trained in sales because it seems like the biggest gap is often marketing to sales from a mindset standpoint; from a practice standpoint, sales seem to miss the most.” – A Shark’s Perspective

“The friction is not the biggest problem, but it causes some misalignment, if you will, that basically does not benefit your end customer.” – A Shark’s Perspective

“It’s our job to meet the buyer where they’re at. It’s not our job to force the buyer to meet us where we’re at.” – Mark Donnigan

transcript

[00:00:16.735] – A Shark’s Perspective

Welcome back and thank you for joining A Shark’s Perspective. If you’re in marketing, then how much do you truly know about sales? Not the numbers or necessarily carrying a bag, but how sales can connect differently with customers. And if you’re in sales, are you truly a student of marketing? Can you write copy better? Do you understand the journey? And so on. But whether you’re in either role, do you truly understand the views and values of the customer?

[00:00:39.295] – A Shark’s Perspective

Mark Donnigan is a Marketing and Growth Consultant who works with startup founders to design categories and marketing playbooks that produce real business outcomes. And on this episode, we’ll discuss sales versus marketing; marketing versus sales; how they both can collaborate and work together, video and codecs goal alignment that leaders should establish; focusing on the customer; Netflix; the Grand Canyon, and a lot, lot more. So, let’s tune in to a marketer with a sales background, with a shark of many backgrounds – most of them in the water – on this episode of A Shark’s Perspective.

[00:01:16.905] – A Shark’s Perspective

Mark, thank you so much for joining us today on A Shark’s Perspective. Tell us a little bit about your background story, your career to date, and what you’re doing today.

[00:01:24.585] – Mark Donnigan

Well, it’s great to be here, and I always love swimming with the sharks. So, thank you for inviting me. Yeah. So, you know, I’ll tell you what I do and then I’ll give you the 30-second how I got here.

[00:01:38.925] – A Shark’s Perspective

Give us about four or five minutes on you and then break it down to a 30 second…

[00:01:42.345] – Mark Donnigan

And then break it down. There you go! So, I work with technical founders, and largely what I do is architect marketing playbooks for new, you know, new solutions, and new products that are coming to market. Primarily, I focus on very high technology, you know, sort of disruptive innovation. And so, by definition, you know, these are often products and solutions that don’t exist or need to be explained to the market. And so, there’s a lot of, you might say education, there’s category design is very central to what I do. And my background is interesting because I started in sales. And so, I’m a marketer who has carried a bag and worked for many, many years, both as an individual sales contributor and then leading teams and ultimately getting to the point where, you know, at one point I had almost 50 sellers working for me. We were doing 30 million dollars a year in revenue. And, you know, it was really through that experience that I really fell in love. And I’d like to say, you know, fell in love with marketing; with the whole process of marketing, which now is becoming more and more linked to the selling process, especially as I’m sure we’re going to talk about the buyer’s journey and how that’s changed in B2B, you know, over the last five or 10 years. But, yeah, that’s me.

[00:03:21.105] – A Shark’s Perspective

So, why do you think that it’s important for the modern marketer to understand more about sales, in particular?

[00:03:30.175] – Mark Donnigan

Boy, that’s a great question. I’m very passionate about this! I think that for a marketer to succeed, they must understand the sales process because it is not possible to really message or communicate with your buyer if you don’t understand how they think. And this goes way beyond just sort of, hey, know your customer! Everybody’s heard that, right? Hey, know your customer, learn who your customer is, what they care about, et cetera. What I’m talking about is what that buying process is. And if you don’t have a command of sales and how sales works; the psychology of it, the process of sales, and the particular business model that you’re operating in, then as a marketer, it’s going to be really difficult. You know, it’s going to be a little bit random where if you’re successful, if a campaign or particular marketing motion lands, you’re not necessarily going to know what it was because you did intersect with where that buyer is. And so, understanding the sales process, understanding how it works and how that buyer wants to relate and how that buyer is making decisions, it’s just absolutely paramount. It’s critical.

[00:05:02.995] – A Shark’s Perspective

Well, a lot of marketers today, I think unfortunately sometimes know of a persona of John Smith who fits.

[00:05:11.155] – Mark Donnigan

Yes.

[00:05:11.455] – A Shark’s Perspective

There’s a certain look and feel but they don’t know who John Smith actually is. He lives at one, two, or three, Main Street, or he or she has kids. This is an important buying decision. And so, understanding that I think has really been tough. But at the same time, let’s flip that. What do you think about salespeople, in terms of what they need to learn better about marketing? Because I think it’s very easy to pooh-pooh on marketing very often. And I’ve carried a bag, as well, so I get it. But there’s a value to both that they both bring in – although sales is missing a lot, too.

[00:05:45.205] – Mark Donnigan

Yeah. So, you know, it’s interesting. I think that there’s a common theme. If you look at the successful account executives now, just for a point of reference, I work pretty much exclusively in B2B and I am primarily working in selling cycles that are long. That’s defined as, you know, six months – sometimes on the shorter end, but it can even go to multi-year. There usually are up to as many as 20 stakeholders. So, you know, this isn’t a nice 60-day sales cycle where it’s largely self-serving, and I’m not downgrading that. Some days, I would love to have that experience. But just for reference, where you see success with account executives who really just seem to be hitting it out of the park or they’re consistently performing, you will find that they have become students of marketing. Now, it’s interesting because I have worked with many great sellers who have become students of marketing. None of them would necessarily say, hey, I’ve made it my business to go learn marketing. They’re not necessarily thinking about it that way, but what they are thinking about is how can I best connect with my buyer? How do I communicate to them? What are the tools? What are the techniques even going down into? How do I write my emails? Which if you really think about it now, we’re starting to talk about copywriting, you know, at some level. And so, if you were to dissect the behaviors and what these really top sales executives are doing and these salespeople are doing, you would say, wow, whether they know it formally or not, they have learned some – or maybe a lot – of the art of copywriting. They have mastered the tools. You know, they’re exploiting the CRM and the marketing automation platforms as they have access to it. And they’re even pushing to get more access or to use it more, rather than just objecting and saying, hey, I don’t have time for that. You know, I need somebody to complete all my salesforce injuries because I’m too busy: Quote-unquote!

[00:08:09.985] – A Shark’s Perspective

Yeah, I just I think it’s interesting when you really think about how bad sales pitches are today, it stands out more than marketing pitches, especially like LinkedIn. And so I wish salespeople would be better trained in marketing and marketing to be definitely better trained in sales because it seems like the biggest gap is often marketing to sales from a mindset standpoint; from a practice standpoint, sales seem to miss the most. But then, why do you think there’s tension between the two? Because this is something that comes up all the time.

[00:08:44.545] – Mark Donnigan

So, the tension between marketing and sales really, I think comes from a couple of aspects. One is what we just talked about, it’s a lack of understanding. So, where there’s a lack of understanding, you might even say sort of empathy, but it’s beyond empathy. It’s a lack of understanding of what the seller actually does and what their role is in securing that revenue. And then, conversely, a lack of understanding of what marketing is doing to set the stage so that that buyer is going to make the decision we want them to make, which is choose our product and service and again, secure that revenue, lack of understanding, you know, just automatically kind of sets up, you know, tension. Now, if everything’s going well, if we’re making our numbers or hitting out of the park, then there’s probably not a lot of tension there. But as we know, you know, business plans are best-laid plans. And, you know, the market’s very dynamic but then a pandemic happens. And so, you know, if there’s not an understanding, then it gets super easy for marketing to point to sales, and sales to point to marketing. So, you know, I think what I found, just practically speaking, as is that whenever I’ve been in a situation where there’s been a little bit of that tension or you can feel it brewing whenever we’ve been able to close that gap, that understanding gap, it just goes away. It just melts away. And in fact, then collaboration is born, and now you have marketing proactively reaching out to the seller saying, what can we do? What tools do you need? Hey, we’re thinking about building this. Would that be helpful? And then sales says, wow, that would be amazing. But you know what? Can we do this? And they’ve got marketing rather than saying, well, you know, we don’t know if that’s what we want to do or we have a different idea. Marketing says, absolutely. Let’s adapt, because you are the seller, you’re the front line. And so, where there’s collaboration, then, that closes. Now, this all goes back to the leaders. Right? So, if you have a CRO and a CMO who are aligned, who are working together not only behind closed doors, but in front of their teams, and then ultimately, in front of the company, you know that right there will take you 50 to 60 percent of the way because the teams are obviously going to look at the leader. And so I think that this has been something that I have recognized through the years for me personally, is being a seller, carrying a bag, knowing just the pressure that is on sales, allows me to set the right tone for a marketing team so that when sales come in and appear in the last minute to have their demands, you know, that sometimes sales can make rather than the marketers sort of being, you know, upset by that or getting their feathers ruffled, you know, it’s a lot easier to say, hey, look, you know, I know that they’ve hit us to the last minute. I know this is I know they just reversed course. I know that what they’re asking for is going to require that we scrap, you know, this aspect of the campaign that we’re working on. But here’s why that makes sense, you know, and this is why we’re going to do it. And it’s amazing how all of a sudden the tension, you know, just sort of melts away between sales and marketing.

[00:12:35.605] – A Shark’s Perspective

Agreed. But, you know, to push back a little bit, I think. And this is not necessarily pushing back at your point, because it would be very hard for a CMO, or CRO, or CEO, or anybody else to not agree with every word you just said. And then you go still find the problem.

[00:12:53.725] – Mark Donnigan

That’s right.

[00:12:54.385] – A Shark’s Perspective

You know, I don’t know how much of it is just kids fighting for their own sandbox and for a bigger portion of the budget. But it’s one of those issues that it just seems like it keeps coming up over and over and over again. And a lot of what I’ve seen this year, as well, the pandemic hasn’t exactly helped that because we’re not even able to connect the same way to really gain that kind of understanding with each department. And so, it just causes some natural confusion. I’ll give you an example. There was a client that we worked with that had some marketing campaigns out. They went to the call center, would get the calls from the people for a complex sale. And there was a lot more attention than had been in previous years of working with this client. And so, I just noticed that was one example. I didn’t know every dynamic behind it, but. As much as we see this come up over and over again, where it needs to be a better understanding, it still seems like there’s a lot of swings and misses out there. And a lot of that, too, is the leadership changes. It changes frequently. So, there’s always a kind of a disruption that doesn’t help the problem.

[00:14:02.295] – Mark Donnigan

Yeah. You know, I think this comes back to reporting and metrics in some ways, so if you have a marketing team who is tasked with making an MQL number or an SQL number and you have a sales team that is tasked, of course, ultimately with revenue. Right? You know, that’s the ultimate KPI. But then, they have a different set of metrics. You set yourself up for a situation where marketing could be performing and sales are not. Or you can even have the opposite. You could have a situation where marketing actually is not hitting their MQL numbers or their SQL numbers. But, you know, sales is making the revenue number. And this is bad because at the end of the day, marketing and sales all rise together, succeed together. Or they fight the hill together. In other words, I do not believe that it should be possible that the marketing team is winning and sales are losing. And from my personal experience, one of the things that I’ve really tried to practice, I’m not saying, you know, that I’ve always really been as diligent as I’d like to be in this, but is to go to the sales leader and say, what can I do? I know that things are actually going well, but what else can I do? How can we help you more? There has to be more. What’s happening? What are you you know, what are you not telling me? What’s keeping you up at night? And by keeping that dialogue open and when there’s trust and when there’s a free flow of information back and forth, then it allows the marketing team, and I’m speaking from a marketer’s perspective to really support sales. But this goes all the way to the CEO. If the CEO or whoever is setting out the ultimate KPIs and the metrics that, you know, whether that’s on a monthly basis, quarterly basis, annual basis, you know, however, within the organization, it gets measured. If marketing can win, can make their number, make their KPIs, but sales can fail, then there’s a problem. I think a lot of it comes back to that to just alignment of KPIs.

[00:16:35.065] – A Shark’s Perspective

Do you think the pandemic is shifting that conversation? And in that every business right now is so growth-focused, it needs to be a lot of them just to survive.

[00:16:46.225] – Mark Donnigan

Yeah sure, it becomes venture capital-funded.

[00:16:48.565] – A Shark’s Perspective

Exactly. And so a lot of that becomes a lot more sales-focused than necessarily marketing-focused. And again, it causes some friction. The friction is not the biggest problem, but it causes some misalignment, if you will, that basically does not benefit your end customer.

[00:17:04.645] – Mark Donnigan

Yeah. Boy, you know, that end customer comment is also a biggie, because at the end of the day, if everything points back to what’s best for the customer, then some of these problems, I don’t want to say it’s too simplistic, say they take care of themselves. But, they certainly go further down the road of solving themselves. That’s ultimately what we’re doing, you know, we’re ultimately asking the question, what is best for our customer? We obviously have a product. We have a solution. We want to sell them. We really believe this is going to meet a very specific need that they have; solve a problem they have. So, there’s a value exchange there. But there also is what is the best way for us to interface as a marketing organization and as a sales organization that we can facilitate that customer’s decision more easily, more quickly, more efficiently? Because if the customer’s in pain if we truly believe that we have a solution that they need because there’s a problem to be solved, then on some level the customer’s in pain. So, why would we not want to join together marketing and sales to make it as easy as possible for that customer to not just say yes and choose our solution, but to then quickly get it implemented and and and get a solution to their pain?

[00:18:32.855] – A Shark’s Perspective

The other point of this, I think that’s important, too, and I love your viewpoint on this. I speak about this a lot in B2B, is it’s very often that the goals get misaligned with marketing and sales. Especially in the B2B space, because that sales team and the marketing team supporting a client, even if they think well about their customer, they don’t necessarily think about their customer’s customer. And the reason I mention that is your customer’s customer is not necessarily giving you, the external agency, a KPI to follow. But, if what you’re doing is not benefiting the people that they serve, it’s out the window. And that doesn’t mean that you’re trying to go directly to again, John Smith lives at one, two, three Main Street, the person that buys the product or service from the large brand that you’re a service provider to. But at the same time, sometimes those goals get misaligned and it’s hard to really get an understanding from you to the business you’re servicing, to their customer.

[00:19:32.335] – Mark Donnigan

Yeah, I think that’s so true and it just comes back to an original comment I made about why a marketer needs to have command of the ecosystem. You know, if you’re a student of the ecosystem, if you and let me explain really quick what I mean because I know ecosystem-based heads nodding, oh, yeah, ecosystem, ecosystem. A lot of times that people interchange the word industry and they’ll say, oh, of course, of course, you have to know your industry, you know, and everybody’s head kind of nods. Right. Like, well, of course, almost like, you know, why are you even saying it? That’s so obvious. I define the industry as different from the ecosystem. Industry is at a very high level, you know, a set of companies and the basic goods and services that are provided within that industry to a particular customer. And again, you can have different customer segments. You can split this up, right? And certainly, some industries are very much more fragmented than others. But, you know, there’s the industry, right? But an ecosystem is different. An ecosystem is what is the relationship between my company, the product or the service or products and services that I provide into this industry, and the other companies that maybe I have to interact with or the customer that I’m selling to has to interact with. And what are those intricate relationships such that if somebody outside of my company changed their offering, that it could affect how my solution works. OK, so let me try and illustrate this. I work largely in the video business and largely, I’m working around video technology that is called video encoding. And just to think about it this way, when you create a movie and it’s, you know, edited together and it’s pristine, it’s what you would see in a theater, you can just imagine that that’s a very, very, very large file size. There’s really not film, although, you know, yes, there’s a handful of films that are still being literally shown through film projectors. Mostly, it’s all digital. So, it’s easy to understand that these are extremely large files. Now in a movie theater, that works fine because I have effectively a computer that’s playing to a projector. And it’s amazing, right? And that’s why before the pandemic we’d pay fifteen dollars to go to the theater and watch it. Now, if I’m to stream that over the Internet, I have to reduce that file size. OK, so that’s called video encoding. And you can do that with software and you can do that with hardware. OK, so there can be different approaches to how you reduce that file size. Now, if I’m a supplier of video encoding software, OK, and so I have created better technology, a better solution that can run in a data center and can encode video. Now, someone like Netflix, for example, can say, wow, this is great. This allows us to stream higher quality to our users, give a better experience. Everybody’s happy. We want to use this. But what happens, if all of a sudden, the video market changes and all of a sudden advertisers say, I want to advertise a unique ad to Mark Donnigan and I want to be able to push a completely different ad load, something completely different to this person and to this other person into this demographic. And now we’re talking about this digital personalization. Right? Which everybody’s talking about. But, what’s interesting about this is now I need to create a video in code that is individual for every person. Now, if I only have 100 viewers, then that’s not that big of a deal. But what do I do if I am off the scale of a Netflix and I have 150 million users worldwide? Whatever their numbers are, it’s even higher than that, I believe. But now what do I do now? I need to use a hardware solution or a different type of solution. Now, if I am not a student of the ecosystem, I could be going along happy with my software solution, super, super happy, and oblivious to the fact that the market is fundamentally shifting and changing and how a video encoding function is deployed is changed. And I could find myself with maybe the very, very best software solution that the industry – it wouldn’t be accurate to say the industry doesn’t want – but the way that fits into the way that video is being distributed in the way the business models are being built changes. Now, that’s a little bit of a techy explanation, but hopefully, that illustrates the importance of understanding an ecosystem and why, if you don’t understand that and if you’re a marketer or if you’re a salesperson and you’re just kind of carrying your bag, you know, happy and you’ve got your can pitch and you’re so excited to tell somebody about what you’re doing, you could find that your success is fleeting.

[00:25:18.205] – A Shark’s Perspective

So, you brought this up earlier, I wanted to touch base on this. Why do you think demand generation is the responsibility of the entire company? Do you think should lead that?

[00:25:27.275] – Mark Donnigan

Yeah, yeah. I don’t know how controversial it is now –

[00:25:32.305] – A Shark’s Perspective

– Make it controversial. Add some flavor to it.

[00:25:35.215] – Mark Donnigan

So. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, I have a very firm belief that demand generation is not a role in marketing, it is marketing. And, and it’s even broader than that. It’s the job of the entire company because again, you know –

[00:25:52.945] – A Shark’s Perspective

– A lot of marketers would curse that.

[00:25:55.735] – Mark Donnigan

Yeah, exactly. They would now. Now you know, again, you know, some of these conversations have to be nuanced a little bit. If we’re having a conversation at the brand level of Coca-Cola or American Express, you know, then certainly, you know, there’s a place to say, hey, there is a very clear brand function and we can go down into their products segments and say, OK, there’s an individual marketing team that’s driving demand for this particular American Express product, for example. But, you know, we’re probably talking more to startups. We’re talking to the growth stage. We’re talking to smaller private companies. And really, it is the role of the entire company. And what I mean by that and how that manifests itself is that all marketing needs to drive a business outcome that is, of course, ultimately set by the CEO and the founder and the board. OK, so first of all, if there’s any marketing being done that cannot be directly mapped back to what the business outcomes are, whether that’s the quarterly objectives or, you know, the annual or there’s just a bigger strategic goal, then it’s marketing that is just marketing for marketing’s sake. It’s not going to really contribute to the business’ success. A second aspect where this plays out is in the product. The role of the product in terms of literally how the product is built, features that are selected, roadmaps, you know, really everything about the product, should ultimately be able to map back to where is their revenue, and how is what we are building going to drive again those business outcomes? And I find that more and more, you know, there’s discussion around product-led growth. I think that’s very helpful because that does bring the product team into, you know, this much bigger discussion, which is, you know, how how can we help and how can we further accelerate we as product accelerate growth for the company? You know, again, business outcome and obviously sales are, you know, sort of the primary, if marketing and all the go-to-market functions are the tip of the spear. You know, sales are the shaft that’s driving that spear all the way through the market to use that analogy. But yes, demand generation is not just MQL and SQL numbers. Then, hey, good luck. I hope you get it closed. It is the responsibility of the entire company.

[00:29:01.885] – A Shark’s Perspective

So, especially in the B2B world – how do you think today’s CMO can get their marketing team educated more in sales and then kind of vice versa? How does a revenue sales leader also help their salespeople get more experience in marketing?

[00:29:21.625] – Mark Donnigan

Yeah, so, you know, some of this is just spending time together, right? You know, and it’s intentional effort to say, you know what, we are not and we can be the marketing team or we could be the sales team. We are not so busy that we don’t have time to spend with the marketers and spend time with the sellers. I think, you know, it’s not possible through all of the sales processes that you could have. Marketers, for example, join sales calls, although now that so many things are virtual, it’s maybe a little more possible. But when we go back to in-person sales meetings, it is maybe a little more difficult to say, hey, let’s bring along some of the marketers so they can really experience. But to the extent that that that the marketers can. Actually, hear and listen and be a part of real sales meetings, real sales conversations, I think is incredibly helpful because we all know that you can read even a transcription of a sales call. But if you’re there and you hear the customer say the same words, it’s just different. It has different immediately.

[00:30:41.035] – A Shark’s Perspective

One objection. That’s absolutely a socialist platform.

[00:30:45.985] – Mark Donnigan

Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, I think in a way of the success of revenue operations and platforms like Gong, you know, and you think about why those platforms are needed and why they really seem to be gaining massive momentum? And it’s because they made it easy to listen, you know, to really- as much as possible – get into that sales conversation and then after the fact, be able to, you know, dissect, hey, what did that seller do? Well, what should they have done differently? You know, how can we learn from that? And then as you relay that through the organization, naturally, the whole organization gets better. And so, you know, maybe there’s room for kind of the marketing-sales interface. But, you know, maybe Gong is the perfect platform to be used.

[00:31:49.405] – A Shark’s Perspective

So, Mark, how do you think the end customer then really looks at this entire sales and marketing conundrum that we’re in with so many brands today, so many people in sales and marketing that are not, you know, kind of swinging and missing?

[00:32:04.945] – Mark Donnigan

Well, the customer doesn’t care exactly. At the end of the day in the customer does care about is that they have a job to be done. The job to be done is they are looking for a solution. That solution is for a problem. Now, they may or may not be that aware of what the problem is. Certainly, at some level, they are where else they would not be in the market. But it’s our job to ultimately make it as easy as possible, both as a marketing organization and as a selling organization to answer the buyer’s needs. And we ultimately want them to give us the PEO. That’s the objective. You know, we want to sell our products, but there are steps that that buyer is going to go through. And I’m not talking about a funnel, I’m talking about their own internal process. And, you know, I found it was super interesting. Gartner put some research out last year, if I recall correctly, maybe is even late 2018, but I think it was 2019. And one thing that really stuck out in my mind is that in their survey they found that I think it was greater than 55 percent maybe is even 60 percent of buyers were already more than halfway through their buying process before they even reached out to a vendor. Now, the reason why that’s significant is that almost all of us, the classic marketing funnel and the sales processes are built around this very early discovery and then this education phase and then this we have this process. Right. But guess what? The buyer doesn’t care about that process. And if they’re first encountering us when they’re already more than halfway through their research and they really phase, well, we better rethink. We better not be forcing them to start back at step one. And I think too many of the processes and the playbooks that are being run are still trying to force, you know, buyers and the buying committees into this process, which the buyer says, hey, look, I’m going to jump from step three to step one to step six to step. You know, I’m going to move around, however, I darn well, please. And it’s our job to meet the buyer where they’re at. It’s not our job to force the buyer to meet us where we’re at. And I think the marketing and the sales organizations that get that are winning, the ones who don’t get that are maybe they don’t know they’re not winning yet, but they’re certainly not on the right side of of of the process.

[00:34:55.855] – A Shark’s Perspective

Yeah. And I love what you added about the process because if I just think about my own days internally at brands. If somebody could, it would not have even mattered as much what the solution or product or service was, if I could have figured out an easier way to get it executed through an internal system that was worth more than what I was actually buying.

[00:35:19.585] – Mark Donnigan

That’s right. So, yeah.

[00:35:21.265] – A Shark’s Perspective

Well, Mark, I know you’re in a very dry place in the world in Arizona, but I ask this of all my guests, I have to ask you, what is your favorite kind of shark and why?

[00:35:29.665] – Mark Donnigan

Hammerhead, because they have 360-degree vision.

[00:35:33.655] – A Shark’s Perspective

There you go. Well, Mark, it’s a special time in the show. Are you ready for the five most interesting, important questions that you’re going to be asked today?

[00:35:40.735] – Mark Donnigan

Oh, boy. Here we go. I’m ready. Bring it on.

[00:35:44.245] – A Shark’s Perspective

Sales or marketing?

[00:35:47.715] – Mark Donnigan

Sales.

[00:35:49.225] – A Shark’s Perspective

Interesting, even though you wear the marketing hat more often.

[00:35:52.975] – Mark Donnigan

Yeah, yeah.

[00:35:54.985] – A Shark’s Perspective

All right, I’ve got to ring the cash register. number two. You get a weekend trip to Arizona, Grand Canyon, or Monument Valley?

[00:36:04.645] – Mark Donnigan

Oh, Grand Canyon. It is. It’s just harder to get to. And there are too many tourists. Yeah.

[00:36:11.305] – A Shark’s Perspective

Number three, it’s a movie about sales. Biff Loman in Death of a Salesman or Boiler Room? What’s a better salesman?

[00:36:25.205] – Mark Donnigan

Oh, you’re asking which am I know which one’s your favorite? Oh, well, who doesn’t like the boiler room? Yeah, you know, even though no one wants to operate, no one wants to operate that way, really. But and you could argue Death of a Salesman was a better play than it necessarily was a movie. So either one.

[00:36:44.765] – A Shark’s Perspective

Yes. Yes, yes. All right. Number four. All right, this is a video encoding question since I saw a lot of the world you live in, here we go, MPEG four or an ABI.

[00:36:58.005] – Mark Donnigan

Oh, MPEG four, which is also known as AVC and H2 six-four.

[00:37:05.395] – A Shark’s Perspective

Yeah, yeah. Now, it’s number five. The most important question that you’re going to be asked today is biscuits or cornbread?

[00:37:15.255] – Mark Donnigan

Oooh, cornbread. 

[00:37:17.895] – A Shark’s Perspective

All right. So Mark, where can people find out more about you keep up with what you’re talking about with all this marketing and sales and a lot, lot more?

[00:37:25.965] – Mark Donnigan

Yeah, absolutely. I have a lot of information and, you know, some articles. You know, my thoughts on my website. It’s https://growthstage.marketing/ – So, growth stage and then it’s a marketing domain. And definitely, I think people will appreciate reading what I’ve got up there.

[00:37:47.475] – A Shark’s Perspective

Mark, thank you very much for being with us today on A Shark’s Perspective.

[00:37:51.465] – Mark Donnigan

Hey, thank you for having me. Thanks again.

[00:37:56.945] – A Shark’s Perspective

So, there was my conversation with Mark Donnigan, a Marketing and Growth Consultant who works with startup founders to design categories and marketing playbooks that produce real business outcomes. Let’s take a look at three key takeaways from my conversation with him. First, it’s imperative to me that the modern marketer know more about sales and working in that role. And for me, a lot of that is simply because it gives you a better and different perspective of understanding your customer and what motivates them to buy personas and customer journeys are great, but it’s never the same as actually listening to and speaking with your customers directly and knowing them by their name rather than a unique customer ID you’ve met through your data. That also doesn’t mean that you must start carrying a sales book, but that also doesn’t mean that you should only hear from the customer through a social listening tool. Look, it ain’t easy. Allow me to use the fancy grammar here, but it ain’t easy for most people to get this, especially from a demand standpoint. It’s not just a focus on sales, but you can make more sales from a better understanding of your customer. Why? Quite simply because your customers care about their problems. Just like Dale Carnegie said, and I quote: People are not interested in you. They’re not interested in me. They are interested in themselves morning, noon and after dinner. So in order to sell better to them, it’s our duty to sell them in a better way that helps them. They don’t care about the sausage-making process at your company and they shouldn’t. So let’s serve them with better marketing. Second, it’s imperative as well that modern-day salespeople know a lot more about marketing and working in that role. As Mark said, where he sees a lot of successful salespeople, they are students of marketing. Some of the basic forms of communications and marketing provide much better sales results that don’t get applied enough in sales today. Think about how truly bad the sales pitches that you get on LinkedIn, for example, even suggest that applying better marketing would improve so much of some of the really bad efforts that people are making. Copywriting was an example you referenced, but even just better copy. Does it work if it’s simply a copy-paste effort that you as a customer can easily see-through when it’s done to you? Third, another thing that would help ease the tension between marketing sales is a better alignment of goals that leaders should establish, as well as some cross-training to better understand how each job role works towards completing those goals. As Mark said, where there is collaboration, that gap closes. And that takes leadership to understand why. Though sales enablement to me is not just a tactic, it’s also a mindset and it’s a collaboration. I love this quote. When Mark said at the end of the day, marketing and sales all rise together, succeed together, or fight the hell together. This isn’t just important from a leadership point of view or a sales enablement case study if you will. It’s important to your customers. Got a question? Send me an email at kenneth@asharksperspective.com. Thank you again for the privilege of your time. So I hope that I’ve sold you on one thing today, and it’s that I hope that you will join us on the next episode of A Shark’s Perspective.

The time is now for legendary marketing. Let's talk.

Mark’s contribution as head of marketing was foundational to our success. He gave Beamr a presence and impact in the market that provided the trust and exposure we needed to win business. Mark is creative, resourceful, a doer, and he knows how to lead a team to get the most impact. Mark’s cross-functional approach working with our head of sales and head of product ensured that we had brand, PR, and messaging unity across all our go-to-market.

sharon carmel recommendation for mark donnigan
Sharon Carmel
CEO & Founder, Beamr

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