Breaking Down Walls Between Sales and Marketing

Breaking Down Walls Between Sales and Marketing | CEO Campfire Chat | The Sterling Woods Group

Becca Apfelstadt and her team at treetree agency work with B2B giants. They partner with Fortune 500 marketing and sales teams and act as an extension of the in-house departments to achieve all the organization’s goals.

But as anyone who’s ever worked in an enterprise B2B environment knows, things aren’t always sunshine and roses between these two teams. In fact, there’s often tension. Sales feels protective over the leads they’ve cultivated and gripes that marketing doesn’t send them qualified leads. Marketing, meanwhile, feels pushed aside by sales. They get “make this pretty” requests but feel boxed out of real conversations around how to help the sales team close deals.

Becca has seen it all—the territorial stand-offs, the distrust. As the owner of an outside agency, she is empowered to act as a bridge between the two departments. While many organizations start out with an event-driven marketing approach, where marketing is only brought into the conversation when there’s something specific to promote, Becca helps the marketing teams she works with to get involved in broader discussions.

She says the misunderstandings between sales and marketing go way back to the Industrial Revolution. The sales function was created during that time, while marketing didn’t come onto the scene until about 140 years later. And when marketing departments did crop up, they were always framed as a function to support the sales team.

Only now is that really changing structurally, with some organizations having both functions ladder up to the same individual, a chief revenue officer or chief growth role. However, the individuals populating these roles often come in with a sales background, so more must be done to address the lopsided relationship.

Becca notes that internal marketing can be essential in evening the playing field. She encourages marketing teams to create case studies highlighting their role in a recent deal. 

She says it’s also crucial we educate sales about the tools, technology, and data marketers have at their disposal. Salespeople can be hesitant to hand over their contact list for fear that marketers will spam their prospects with blanket messaging. Marketers can prove that, with their knowledge and expertise, they are not trying to steal anyone’s fish. Instead, they’re trying to create more ponds.

Finally, there’s a vital role for leadership to play here. The tone from the top must support integration of the two teams. Favoritism or leaving certain people out of the conversation will only breed distrust and resentment.

Leaders should align sales and marketing on KPIs. While the two teams will achieve those goals in different ways, the underlying objective should be the same.

At the end of the day, Becca notes, these internal tiffs don’t matter to customers. Customers don’t care who did what; they just need the information. The goal of every individual in the organization should be superior customer experience and service, not remaining top dog within your four walls.

Becca suggests that, to do right by your customers, you stay focused on them. Pay attention to your segments and make it about their journey. When sales and marketing can unite in service of a common purpose, you’re all the more likely to see success.

Episode Transcript

Announcer: This is the CEO Campfire Chat, with your host, Rob Ristagno. Taped in front of a live studio audience, join us to hear successful growth stories from middle-market companies, just like yours. Sponsored by the Sterling Woods Group.

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Rob Ristagno: Welcome to the CEO Campfire Chat, recorded live in front of a studio audience of leading executives. I’m your host, Rob Ristagno. Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to Becca Apfelstadt from the treetree agency. Becca, Welcome.

Becca Apfelstadt: Thank you. Thank you, Rob. Happy to be here.

Rob Ristagno: All right. Well, we’re going to start off, like we start off all of our episodes with a game of five questions because CEOs don’t have time for 20. These are just rapid-fire questions, answers as quickly as you can. All right.

Becca Apfelstadt: Okay.

Rob Ristagno: Number one, what is the vision for your company?

Becca Apfelstadt: I want to create the favorite agency my team has ever worked and the favorite agency my clients have ever hired.

Rob Ristagno: Excellent. Who is your ideal client?

Becca Apfelstadt: We work with Fortune 500 businesses, primarily. We call them B2B giants, and their marketing and sales teams that have a lot of complexity in their work, and in their subject matter, and they are spinning a lot of plates.

Rob Ristagno: Nice. Number three, what’s your value proposition to them?

Becca Apfelstadt: We make it easy for them to say yes to new initiatives. We want to make sure that when the CEO walks by them in the hallway and says, “We got a new project.” Or sales comes to marketing and says, “Man, we got this big deal.” That the pit in the stomach is alleviated because they know, “Okay. I can say yes, because I’ve got treetree. I’ve got this agency in my back pocket that could help me get it done.”

Rob Ristagno: Nice. Nice. Number four, what is the best part of being the CEO?

Becca Apfelstadt: I think it’s about creating the ecosystem and the culture for the individuals to shine their brightest and really make sure that everybody has a place to feel valued and heard. That’s really anti-a lot of the things in our industry that can be tough about working in advertising and marketing and in the agency world. We’ve tried hard to eliminate a lot of those things, so that brings me a lot of joy to be a contrarian and prove that we can do it differently and still have a successful and profitable business.

Rob Ristagno: Excellent. Number five, what’s the one thing that is going to make or break the next 12 months?

Becca Apfelstadt: Oh, getting and keeping all of right people in the right seats. I don’t know about you guys and the industries you’re in, but for us, the talent war is real in our market, in our industry. It’s just incredible. I want to make sure that I keep all of the great people that we have now, and that we attract the next great talent that we’re going to need to continue to grow, because we will need to add people to meet our goals in 2022.

Rob Ristagno: Excellent. Well, thanks Becca, you did a very efficient job there with the questions. Very good answers there. We’ll move on to our deep dive topic about aligning sales and marketing in just a second, but I wanted to go probe a little bit on your answer to number four, this contrarian mindset–doing it differently.

Becca Apfelstadt: Yeah.

Rob Ristagno: Share with us a little more detail there.

Becca Apfelstadt: Yeah. Well, a lot of it comes from how I grew up in the agency world. I started in marketing and advertising when I was 17. I got to see from a real youngster’s point of view and grow up inside an agency as an intern, all the way to vice president at that place. I had the pleasure of working with a gentleman and as a husband wife team who owned it, who had just a really different view on culture. They created a place that was almost like utopia and really did things differently, and they had never actually been on the agency side, they’d only ever been on the client side. They created this agency to be very service oriented, extremely about what the client would want and need, about being anticipatory to the client and everything was through the lens of how the client was going to feel.

Becca Apfelstadt: That in itself was a little bit of a different model. They didn’t come with all of the baggage of how a typical agency operates. Therefore, I was never exposed to all the baggage of how a typical agency operates. But I have heard over my entire career, all of the stories and seen evidence and people who have joined my firm, that we have to break some bad habits and we have to help them understand that. The other shoe’s not going to drop and the things, the competitiveness, the infighting, the finger pointing, the shoving down on one another, or dimming one another’s light as we call it. That thing that they have had experiences other places isn’t really going to happen here. We’re genuine when we say that. We won’t tolerate it.

Rob Ristagno: Nice.

Becca Apfelstadt: We look for people who have those low ego points who are still very good at what they do and just come maybe with a different attitude. We tend to attract people who have been through that at other places.

Rob Ristagno: Yeah.

Becca Apfelstadt: They’re like, “This is not a real enjoyable way to spend 10, 12 hours a day and weekend work.” The industry can be that sweat shop mentality too, which we’ve also steered away from.

Rob Ristagno: Yeah. Because, it’s too bad, because marketing work is exciting. You got left brain, right brain being creative, being analytical, so it’s too bad if the culture brings some of that excitement and fun out of an organization.

Becca Apfelstadt: Yeah. Yeah. We’re here to serve clients and help them solve problems and challenges. I heard too many people say, “We do this work for clients at treetree that other agencies would turn turned down.” We’ve even heard clients say, “I’ve been on the phone trying to express, I need help with a deadline that’s this short or a project that’s this like chaotic. I know I’m coming to you behind the eight ball and I feel bad about that, but I still need help. The other agencies I’ve called have yelled at me, that I don’t have my act together or they’re not going to have enough time to work on it.” Instead we’re like, “Okay. These are human beings. This person made a mistake. Let’s help them out.”

Becca Apfelstadt: That makes us feel good. It helps them be successful. We’re all about helping the marketing and sales team shine. How can we make them look good for hiring us? How can we make them look good to their organization and their boss? What’s the underlying additional goal? In addition to selling more product or service, in addition to moving that prospect through the journey a little bit further.

Rob Ristagno: Yeah.

Becca Apfelstadt: How can we get really attached to the individual in the marketing and sales seat that we’re helping?

Rob Ristagno: Excellent, Becca. Excellent. Great. Well, let’s dive deep into the topic. I know, through your experience, you’ve become a bit of a thought leader on this area. I’m really curious to hear your stories and what you’ve seen in the space. We’re going to talk today about how we better align sales and marketing. What’s at stake? What are some of the problems and what can happen if you do it right? Maybe let’s start and maybe you should go both ways here, so it’s a balanced interview here. Behind each other’s backs, what is sales saying about marketing and what is marketing saying about sales in your typical organization?

Becca Apfelstadt: Yeah. Yeah. Well, we’ve actually studied this a lot. We’ve been on an 18-month journey to start at the beginning of the pandemic when we realized that marketing was being brought to the table by sales and by leadership a little bit differently than they had at in the past. A lot of our marketers were saying, “Man, I’m involved in meetings and conversations that I’ve always wanted to be.” Or, “This tool or software that I have always been pushing, now, finally, they’re listening to me. Now, they come. The whole world falls apart, and now I’ve got the answers. Finally I’m getting this moment I’ve deserved and been working for.” We started to hear things like that and we got really curious and we did one-on-one interviews with a couple of dozen marketing and sales leaders.

Becca Apfelstadt: Then, we took it a step further and worked with a third-party research firm and did a full quantitative and qualitative research study, and the report for that is called the curiosity report, but the subject is all on the relationship between sales and marketing. There have been a lot of things we’ve been looking at over the last 18 months, but what we’re finding in terms of that relationship and that tension is this finger-pointing that has been going on. That has been going on for a long time. Sales came on the scene way before marketing, just as a function, as an institution. It was about 140 years ahead of marketing in the business world, came out of the Industrial Revolution, so it’s always had more power in the organization, always had more access to decision makers. Many more CEOs come with that sales background.

Becca Apfelstadt: Then, marketing was really set up as a function to support the sales team. There’s this dynamic from the very beginning of when they were created that has made this a little tough to equalize, and COVID has helped put a little more equal footing out there because we’ve had to rely on each other more. Oftentimes, sales is looking at marketing and saying, “I’m not giving you all my customer information. These are my leads. These are my people. I’ve spent my entire career building up relationships with. You won’t know them, like I know them. I don’t want you spamming their inboxes with this blanket message that you think is going to be right for one is right for all. What have you done for me lately? Here’s this thing, go make it pretty.”

Becca Apfelstadt: This is not every single organization, but in the ones where it’s still in that real traditional, we haven’t advanced into more integration and more partnership. It can still be like that. Then, the marketers are trying to say, “We have tools and technology and data and ways of segmenting and things that can help you. We’re not trying to steal your fish. We want to help you create more ponds.”

Rob Ristagno: Yeah.

Becca Apfelstadt: Like, “Help us help you.” Is really the thing that’s going on from the marketer’s perspective. They’re just not hearing each other all the time. I think that when there is alignment, there is so much to be gained. But if we can’t first listen and hear one another, we won’t get very far. We haven’t gotten very far in a lot of organizations on this matter.

Rob Ristagno: What can be done to start making changes here? Because it sounds like it’s… I thought it was interesting to hear the power dynamics. Sales always was a little bit historically ahead of marketing. Now, there’s a shift because of COVID, and the importance of digital lead gen and nurturing, et cetera.

Becca Apfelstadt: Yeah.

Rob Ristagno: More technology, more data. It started to equalize, but it sounds like they’re still not quite talking to each other as peers.

Becca Apfelstadt: Yeah.

Rob Ristagno: What can an organization do to at least start the healing?

Becca Apfelstadt: Yeah. Well, some organizations are starting to have both teams ladder up to the same leader. We talk about like a chief revenue officer, chief growth officer or a person who’s in charge of both sales and marketing can sometimes help because there’s no us and them, it’s we, we’re all on the same team and we’re all at the same quarterly meetings and we’re all making the same goals and working towards the same KPIs. We have to align on what those are as well. We have different ones. We may have different ways that we’re going to approach achieving them, but ultimately the organization needs to go somewhere.

Rob Ristagno: Yeah.

Becca Apfelstadt: How does sales and marketing work together to get the organization there? We’re each going to bring different talents. We’re going to pick up different tools, but we’ve got to get this garden to bloom to a certain degree. What are we going to plant and what do we need to water it with? What are all the tools we need to have to keep that garden up so that we get the harvest that we want?

Audience Member: Yeah. In fact, before you mentioned org structure, I was going to ask about that. And maybe take a slightly alternate view, which is, I guess in my experience when the CRO, nine or almost 10 times out of 10 comes from sales, right?

Becca Apfelstadt: Yeah.

Audience Member: When you put marketing under them, sometimes you do end up with that sales support and make it pretty, and where’s my leads and set up this trade show stuff as opposed to being really a strategic partner. I’m just curious what you think about that and how marketing really can take a bigger seat at the table?

Becca Apfelstadt: Yeah. Well, I think that the top leadership in the organization, the organizations that care about this alignment and see the value in getting these two teams, not just aligned, but fully integrated look for CROs and CGOs and whatever, that next title is–who hope to achieve that, who see that as a problem, who understand that dynamic and want to break down those silos and are good change managers who are really good communicators, who are really good team builders, who not going to allow us and them mentality. I think part of it starts with, at the very top of the organization. Are we going to be the type of place that is solely focused on function? Or are we going to be the type of place that’s focused on a customer experience? Because at the end of the day, the customer doesn’t give a crap. Who did what part of it? They need, what they need.

Becca Apfelstadt: They’re more and more and more doing research online. They’re leaving the sales team out of the conversation more and more, even in a six figure plus B2B transaction. They’re more and more comfortable researching online, reading about everything online, even purchasing online without ever talking to a salesperson. We found a lot of statistics and information in our research that said, “We’d prefer as B2B customers to just be able to find everything we want out in the content. We already know the reputation. We’re getting referrals. We’re talking to our peers. We’re doing our own research and due diligence. We’ve got this buying committee. We can get pretty darn far in the process before we ever need a salesperson, if we need them at all.” Sales role is changing too, not just by what’s happening inside organizations, by what’s happening in the buying behavior of the customer.

Rob Ristagno: Yeah.

Becca Apfelstadt: I don’t know if that answers your question, Dave, but I do think it’s important for that top leadership to understand. This is a new age, and if we’re going to keep up and go where they’re going, it’s got to be approached differently from that hiring process too.

Rob Ristagno: It got me thinking, there’s basically two flavors of funnels. There’s the sales driven one. Where marketing support, and now what you’re just saying is now the marketing driven one is bigger, where you can find and nurture leads and even convert them online. We’ve seen cases of companies shifting to 50% of their sales–they used to be a 100% sales organization driven, and now 50% of their sales are coming online, even though there a B2B organizations.

Becca Apfelstadt: Yeah.

Rob Ristagno: Any ideas on how to put them together? Can you switch back and forth between a sales driven funnel and a marketing driven funnel? How do you think about crisscrossing and looping and circular logic. How do you sort through all that?

Becca Apfelstadt: Well, I think it’s about staying focused on the customer, and really understanding that customer and the segments of those customers and the whole journey and understanding where sales can have a big role and where marketing can have a big role and honoring that and not–you know, making it about them and not about us.

Rob Ristagno: Yeah.

Becca Apfelstadt: It’s all about them. If we stay focused there, then we’re going to naturally have content that is richer. We’re going to have it in places where they’re looking, we’re going to know where those places are. We’re not going to be hiding information from one another so that we can capture those leads, so that we can nurture them through, so that we have a better chance of closing. One of the things that we’re finding is that in any given category, if you are not the brand that’s willing to do this, someone in your category is going to, and you’re going to get left behind.

Rob Ristagno: Yeah.

Becca Apfelstadt: Because the buyer is so in the driver’s seat right now. There’s so much more, that’s happening digitally. It doesn’t mean that forever. There’s never going to be another dollar put in traditional tactics, or we’ll never have a conference or a trade show again. I’m not saying those things are going away forever, but are we ever going to go back to pre pandemic spends in those? Highly doubtful.

Rob Ristagno: Oh, no.

Becca Apfelstadt: Highly doubtful. The buying behavior has changed in a significant way and that’s driving a lot of this.

Rob Ristagno: Another lever you mentioned is KPIs. Can you say a little bit more about what your research found in terms of how companies can set KPIs? How it in terms of the right one and how you just foster this alignment?

Becca Apfelstadt: Yeah. I think the ones that actually had joint times to set those and joint ways to measure them and agreement on how we’re going to measure them? Who’s in charge of providing what data, and how often are we going to look at it, and what are we going to sitter success and realistic timeframe to move which needles? Some needles are going to… Sales wants it now. They want to see all of this stuff happening. Next month’s report should look like every lever is green on the score card. Marketing’s got to be able to set realistic timeframes on how long this takes to adjust the content, to adjust all of the processes, get the technology set up, just depends on where the organization is. That’s a part of it. Then, making sure that we’re celebrating the wins together, I think is another important part.

Becca Apfelstadt: What are those micro milestones? Then, as we achieve them, we did this together and taking those moments of pause, communicating, and course correcting along the way is also important. Making sure we have that proper amount of time. Trying to think what else people talked about. We did have an example. One person said when we got both of sales and marketing involved in the KPI discussion, and we were marching along and marketing was helping more in sales, they launched this ABM program in January, and they were seeing about 5% greater outcomes in revenue when marketing was involved all the way through the selling process, along with sales.

Rob Ristagno: Yeah.

Becca Apfelstadt: This is triple digit millions over the course of just a handful of deals where marketing was able to help impact.

Rob Ristagno: Wow.

Becca Apfelstadt: These are real dollars and real impact. We’re not talking about moving the needle a little, we can move it a lot. That’s just an organization, that’s just dabbling so far. Imagine as they get more and more force behind it and refine that and get more momentum, how much more successful they’ll be? Good luck to their competitors whoever’s going up against them, if for that joint effort.

Rob Ristagno: Yeah. That’s the edge they need to take share.

Audience Member: Becca, is that something that your agency worked on and can you give any more case study detail?

Becca Apfelstadt: Yeah. We do help them in some of those deals. I don’t know how much I can give, but we do a lot of very highly customized meeting and pitch materials and follow up materials afterwards, really honing in on the customer and what their pain points are, and their needs are. It’s clear when these materials are delivered, that it’s straight from the meeting. It’s nothing that we had sitting on the shelf, waiting for anyone. This was created just for you, for this deal, after this meeting, after this conversation, based on the discussion that we just had yesterday.

Audience Member: What kind of product of service?

Becca Apfelstadt: It’s in financial services. It’s a FinTech organization. Yeah.

Audience Member: Interesting.

Becca Apfelstadt: Yeah.

Audience Member: They’re selling to major banks or they’re selling to other kinds of industries?

Becca Apfelstadt: They’re selling to major banks. Yep.

Rob Ristagno: I know we have a lot of professional service providers in our audience, consultants, other agencies like yours, like treetree. What advice do you have to third parties who are working with companies that have a sales/marketing misalignment? What role could we play?

Becca Apfelstadt: Yeah. Well, I think part of it is just understanding that everybody’s at a different stage in the spectrum, the first stage of… We’ve worked out some capability maturity models that are going to be in this report. It would be interesting to read that and get a copy if this is intriguing to you. But the first one is what we call the ad hoc stage. That’s where marketing is just there to support sales and it’s very event-driven marketing. It’s like, “Sales has a lead. I need a flyer. I need update this. I need PowerPoint for this meeting coming up. I have a conference. I have a trade show and marketing is there just to support sales.” If you’re a third-party provider and those kind of turnarounds and those kinds of timelines, and those kinds of requests are frustrating to you and your team there are things you can do in your own selling process to understand. Is this organization at this end of the capability maturity model? Are they in that ad hoc stage still where it’s this really traditional viewpoint on how sales treats marketing or is marketing getting a bigger a seat at the table?

Becca Apfelstadt: Is there more partnership? Is there more alignment? There’s some indicators of that and you can profile your own prospects based on that. Try to situate yourself with organizations that are going to be at the… Because some are set up really well to help ad hoc and that’s what they want. They want to be there for more churn and burn stuff. There’s others that want to be more strategic along with more data-centric, more driving strategy, more focused on helping facilitate those partnerships. That would be one thing I think you can do is just know who you’re talking to and decide if that’s who you want to be sitting across the table from.

Rob Ristagno: Know your audience.

Becca Apfelstadt: Because we all get to make that decision in business. I don’t think enough of us do. I think out of COVID, that’s been something that organizations need to shake off. We don’t have to say yes to every piece of business and every prospect that comes in just because we had a tough year last year or it felt a little scary. We can be picky. We can be choosy.

Rob Ristagno: Yeah. We hear from a lot of guests and professional services that you can tell during the process, if it’s going to be a fit or not, and the best agencies have the confidence to say no to someone. If you just say yes for the cash flow hit, it’s actually maybe negative cash flow.

Becca Apfelstadt: Yeah.

Rob Ristagno: Because usually if a doesn’t seem like a fit during the prospecting phase, they’re not going to be a fit during delivery and you’ll have cost overruns and late invoices and whatnot.

Audience Member: Yep. What is the sweet spot for your agency in terms of maturity? I guess if they’re immature, do you have the capability of adding value by helping move them up that model or if they’re all the way at the maturity? Do you have as much to add or is it somewhere in the middle?

Becca Apfelstadt: Yeah. I think most of the organizations that we’re serving right now, even though they’re Fortune 500, Fortune 100 businesses, are in that ad hoc or they’re in the middle stage where there’s more digital focus and there’s more integration, but because there’s such big organizations, it’s like moving the Titanic, it’s just taking a while. They’re working on it and there’re hints of it. We’re able to add value, I think because we see this dynamic and we honor that and we try to support both. We’re the mediator between the two, “Okay. We can do this for sales.” Or, “Hey, marketing. We just did all this great stuff for sales. Let’s put together a way to show them and package what the success of this was.” Take a minute and celebrate the fact that you just helped them bring in these leads, make a case study, a presentation, actually market yourselves inside the organization. That’s an important step.

Becca Apfelstadt: We’re able to add value to help them slow down and understand that there’s maybe other ways they can develop that relationship and prove their value and worth, which is very important to our marketers. They’re having to make sure everybody understands what they’ve done and what they’ve brought. When we offer those suggestions and means of doing that creatively and really showcasing that work, they get excited about that to have a partner. That’s helping champion them.

Rob Ristagno: Any other insights from this curiosity report that you found interesting?

Becca Apfelstadt: I think one of the important and interesting things too, is when you listen to the qualitative information. These are B2B interviews, but the adjectives that they use, the tone that they use, you can tell. People are passionate about this topic and there is that tension and they feel it and everyone knows it.

Rob Ristagno: Yeah.

Becca Apfelstadt: Everybody, I think, sees that the other party has strengths. It’s like that saying, “If a bird and a fish fall in love, where are they going to make a home?” Marketing and sales are to different species, but they are different and they have different backgrounds and they bring different things to the table, but they do have some love there. They are in love and they can find that a home together and we want to continue to help foster that even faster and better because that’s how the organization is going to win. There’s just a lot of evidence that points to this alignment leads to better outcomes for the business. I think that’s what leadership should be paying attention to and not getting hung up on, “Well, I go way back with so and so.” I’ve promoted them up to this level or I’m just, “This is how we’ve always done it.” Those things aren’t going to work anymore.

Rob Ristagno: It sounds like it a lot is about leadership, culture, change management or design and, of course, KPIs.

Becca Apfelstadt: Yes. Yeah.

Rob Ristagno: Excellent. Becca, where can someone download the curiosity report?

Becca Apfelstadt: It’s on our website. You just go on our website and go under about, and there’s a curiosity report section and it’s volume four for this one where we talk about this particular study we just finished. Then, the other three volumes also touch on the dynamic and relationship between marketing and sales.

Rob Ristagno: All right, Becca. You’re ready for our third segment here, Campfire Games?

Becca Apfelstadt: Yes. I think I’m ready. I’ve heard a few of these.

Rob Ristagno: The theme here is, we found some stats about sales and marketing alignment through various reports online. The questions all have to do with a percentage, and if you’re within 15 points, we’ll say that you got it right. Sound good?

Becca Apfelstadt: Okay.

Rob Ristagno: According to MarketingSherpa, what percentage of leads sent to sales from marketing, does sales actually agree are qualified?

Becca Apfelstadt: 30%.

Rob Ristagno: Wow. Very close. It’s 27%. You got it. All right. Good job. Number two, what percentage of marketing leads are completely ignored by sales according to the TAS Group’s report?

Becca Apfelstadt: 65%.

Rob Ristagno: You just got the point for that one. 50% was the answer. 65% is range there. Good job. Number three, according to HubSpot, what percentage of sales people said marketing was their best source of leads?

Becca Apfelstadt: According to HubSpot?

Rob Ristagno: Yeah.

Becca Apfelstadt: 40%.

Rob Ristagno: You got to the point again. 28% is the answer.

Becca Apfelstadt: Okay.

Rob Ristagno: All right. Last one. We’ve never had a perfect game before, so the stakes are really high here. According to MarketingProfs, what percentage increase in win rate comes from aligning sales and marketing? You talked about a 5% actual revenue, but this is the increase in conversion rate. What percentage in increase in win rate comes from aligning sales and marketing?

Becca Apfelstadt: One of the statistics we found was like 108%.

Rob Ristagno: Oh, wow. MarketingProfs maybe set the bar a little low. They found 38%, but it was a few years old, so maybe it because with this advent of digital so that I guess that could be much higher.

Becca Apfelstadt: Yeah. Interesting.

Audience Member: I was really struck by HubSpot. They’re really a marketing automation business and they could only come up with 28% of [crosstalk 00:30:50].

Becca Apfelstadt: Yeah.

Rob Ristagno: Yeah. Yeah.

Audience Member: I would think that they would be, for selling purposes, they would’ve been able to try and find 60%, 70%, 80% somewhere?

Becca Apfelstadt: Yeah. Yeah. That’s why I called out HubSpot.

Rob Ristagno: The one that makes me shed a tear is the 50% of leads get ignored. But, I guess I understand the reason from, talking to salespeople, they feel like they can do their own leads or they’re so busy or maybe they’ve been burned in the past by wasting some time.

Becca Apfelstadt: Yeah.

Rob Ristagno: That’s another huge leverage point, I think. If marketing can do a great job at qualifying the lead, it’s getting the answer to that first question up a little bit more that’ll gain some more credibility and trust.

Becca Apfelstadt: Yes. There’s some territorialness that exists from the sales team. I think there’s… After COVID, they’ve been shaken up a bit like, “Am I relevant? Am I going to be relevant? Am I going to have a job? Am I going to have a role? Where’s this world headed?” All this technology and the digital transformation, it leans more on marketing’s wheelhouse and not so much on sales.

Rob Ristagno: Yeah.

Becca Apfelstadt: In the research that we did and everything, you can sense that sales got a little shaken up and a little scared of becoming obsolete.

Rob Ristagno: Wow.

Becca Apfelstadt: There’s some ego in that and pride that has to get leveled out over time.

Rob Ristagno: It sounds like it comes down to common objective, common goals. We’re on the same team. Thanks. This has been really interesting for us. I can’t wait to read the curiosity report.

Becca Apfelstadt: Okay.

Rob Ristagno: Your website

Becca Apfelstadt: Yep.

Rob Ristagno: Great.

Becca Apfelstadt: That’s where you find me. I’m on LinkedIn too, if anybody wants to connect or talk more about this subject, I love it. I’m happy to get more on the topic.

Rob Ristagno: Let’s move on now to this week’s CEO Data Point, brought to you by Vistage. Let me introduce you to Vistage’s Chief Research Officer, Joe Galvin, with this week’s stat.

Joe Galvin: Thank you, Rob. Today’s data point is 15% and 19%. Those are the numbers of CEOs who will require masks indefinitely, or through at least the end of the year. What’s really fascinating about this, Rob, is how this has moved over time as we track this. If you go back to April, those numbers were 29% and 28%. Why? Because in April, the vaccines hadn’t really taken hold. We get to June and those numbers dropped to 5% and 14%. Why? Because vaccines are kicking in. We’re confident. We’re optimistic in June. In August, we’re back to 11% to 15%. Now, with the D variant raging, we see those numbers back up to 15% and 18%. Organizations that are considering–are either requiring, through the end of the year or permanently–masks. An equal shift now is the number of folks who will now requiring from a low or from a high 59% in June, who wouldn’t be requiring it, to now, just 39% are saying, “No, it wouldn’t be required.”

Rob Ristagno: Wow. Amazing how the wind is shifting. Thanks, Joe. For more research from Joe and his team, be sure to check out Vistage Worldwide is a membership organization for leaders to refine their skills, make better decisions, get better results. In fact, there’s over 24,000 members right now. Vistage has been around for 60 years and Vistage members outpace their competitors by growing 2.2 times faster than them, so you can do it to. Again, Vistage,

Rob Ristagno: Thank you, Joe. Thanks again, Becca. This concludes this episode of the CEO Campfire Chat. I’m your host, Rob Ristagno. For prior episodes, bonus content and more, check out See you next time around the fire.