How can modern B2B marketers do more to drive proven pipeline and value for their sales counterparts? Kevin Green, CMO at Truent comments further:
Welcome to this SalesTechStar chat Kevin, tell us about yourself and your marketing/sales journey in the B2B tech market?
I’m Kevin Green, the President and Chief Marketing Officer at Truent, a platform that improves the way businesses identify and connect with financial institutions to create, convert and retain revenue. I have over 20 years of experience in digital innovation and helping organizations embrace emerging technologies and extract value from them to maximize business results.
I was at the forefront of the emergence of social media, working on digital advertising and marketing before platforms like Facebook and Twitter existed. I even launched the T-Mobile Facebook page and grew it to a million members, and took Dell’s LinkedIn page to over a million followers, making it one of the first B2B brands to do so. I also launched some of the first influencer marketing campaigns for several brands before the term “influencer marketing” was even coined.
Now, as CMO of Truent, I’m focused on using data to better understand user behavior through predictive analytics, data visualization, and by blending quantitative and qualitative data. I’m passionate about helping organizations move beyond simple intent data to understand the true behavioral insights that can drive real business impact.
As a marketing leader, how do you drive alignment between sales and marketing and what tips do you have for fellow industry teams?
Sales and marketing have been operating on different planets for decades. Alignment between the two functions requires, more than anything, ensuring they have the right tools. The solution is revenue intelligence.
This is the information collected about a web user’s content consumption activities and research behaviors. In a digital world, the view into a prospect’s behavior is often limited to clicks and keystrokes. But revenue intelligence expands that view to include actual online discussions and interactions, enabling go-to-market (GTM) teams to segment their target account list. With deeper insight into a prospect’s peer influences and the intent derived from those peer-to-peer conversations, businesses can allocate their team’s time and resources to focus on leads more likely to convert.
Revenue Intelligence enables GTM teams to analyze peer-to-peer conversations. With this knowledge, sales teams are able to move up in the buyer journey. Marketing has traditionally focused on the “right time, right place, right message” approach, but sales teams tend to wait and act until there is lead conversion. The earlier Sales jumps into the buyer journey, the stronger marketing’s impact will be. Gathering data around buyer behaviors and intent can be a valuable tool for creating a shared understanding of the customer journey. This, in turn, helps the two teams identify the best ways to reach and engage customers at each stage of the journey.
How can the two teams align better to build better customer journeys and GTM experiences? A few best practices to follow?
Buyer journey mapping is key to building better customer journeys. This is the process of identifying common research and engagement trends among buyers to map the typical paths to purchase across buyer segments. It’s critical to GTM processes because it forces marketing and sales teams to look at how customers actually experience a brand, versus perceived interactions.
However, traditional buyer journeys do not go far enough. Teams have been using data to inform their buyer journey for years, but it’s often informed by first-party data alone. This is information collected directly from a customer base and is often comprised of anecdotal feedback or is assumption-driven. This data can show the steps a buyer takes, but it lacks the context necessary to draw accurate insights. On the other hand, conversational and behavioral data and insights provide a level of context that helps organizations get to the real “why” behind the actions.
It’s important to remember: buyer journeys are often static, yet buyers are not. Even if GTM teams use demographic and persona-based data to develop the perceived journey, it will only be accurate some of the time. There are too many variables in today’s buying journey for a static map to be representative. If the customer is in control of the buying journey, GTM teams need to be flexible and responsive, which puts immense pressure on them to create content, anticipate buyer moves and be prepared for all types of scenarios. Revenue intelligence enables GTM teams to get ahead of these unique circumstances, giving them more time to prepare, plan and meet customer expectations.
What do you feel drives the biggest disconnect among sales and marketers today?
The disconnect between sales and marketing is a simple problem that is often overcomplicated. In my 20 years of experience, I have seen it happen time and time again. Simply put – marketing doesn’t know how to drive value for sales, and sales doesn’t know how to tell marketing what they need. This is often a result of data silos and a lack of information sharing, which prevents both teams from having a complete understanding of the customer journey.
Both teams are customer-facing to a degree, yet they hardly work collaboratively in most organizations. In fact, sometimes they don’t talk to each other at all. Sales teams typically focus on closing deals and generating revenue, while marketing focuses on building brand awareness, generating leads, and nurturing those leads through the sales funnel. Despite having different daily tasks, both functions are ultimately working towards the same goal of generating revenue for their organization. However, they often fail to outline strategies in tandem to ensure they are operating in a mutually beneficial way.
A few thoughts on the impact of AI on the future of marketing and sales and how it will further impact how CMOs, CSOs will function? How can better use of AI bridge the gap between sales and marketing?
The AI revolution is comparable to the rise of social media. It’s a disruptive technology that, if used effectively, will create efficiencies and value beyond traditional marketing and sales tactics. AI will enable teams to do more to meet customers where they are with the right message.
With the rise of social media, marketers spun up teams, hired agencies and rapidly started trying to figure out how to take advantage of these new tools. It created an environment that did two things:
- Put more pressure on teams to meet customers where they were and in a timeframe that was significantly faster than traditional tactics.
- Created an environment that was based on volume.
It was the data-driven digital marketers who tried to apply traditional marketing metrics to entirely new behaviors and channels that sparked this. It was a fundamental error to associate marketing success with the volume of eyes, as TV commercials do. New technology had created an opportunity to learn so much more about the buyer and focus on the quality of leads or prospects rather than quantity, but the early adopters embraced an old thought process instead of taking advantage of the opportunity from technological evolution.
With the rise of AI, C-suites will need to avoid that same mistake. Before they evangelize and latch on to the first data points to justify investments or value in AI, they must consider the down-the-line impact. We’re already seeing some awareness, as AI is adopted at a rapid pace, with the identification of AI Hallucinations and other issues that can significantly impact ROI measurement – it took us years to identify click fraud and bot proliferation. What we don’t know now, could very well be our next challenge. But overall, AI will enable CMOs and other C-suites to achieve better outcomes from their sales and marketing strategies, and their teams will work more efficiently together to meet business goals.
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