Ask a Marketer: Chris Gefvert

We asked Chris Gefvert, Director of Marketing & e-commerce at Allied Wire & Cable a few questions about how Marketing and Sales work together in his organization. Take a read below.

  1. Describe how your customer-facing sales teams use your organization’s marketing.

Our goal in marketing is to make the sales team’s job as simple and easy as possible. Full stop. Informing potential customers about the company before they speak to sales, saves a rep from pitching. Providing content educates them so reps don’t have to answer basic questions. Engaging them enough to raise their hand and request products saves the reps a game of cold phone tag. From the very start of the customer journey, each touch within our marketing operation acts as a force multiplier to sales efficiency.

  1. What is your Management’s approach to aligning sales and marketing?

In the B2B space, the common answer when each is asked about the other is usually “Marketing JUST makes pretty pictures, and Sales are JUST order-takers.” We’ve struggled with the paradigm of this unequal workload and impact perception between sales and marketing, and honestly, the root cause of misalignment is as simple as poor understanding. It’s a fascinating paradox that the two departments of an organization most skilled in communication are the ones at fault here, yet it is almost universal across industries.

We foster the understanding that both marketing and sales play an integral part in the customer journey and they’re part of one larger revenue operations team. Close-ready leads don’t appear out of thin air without marketing and there’s never a single cent of revenue without the sales team. To hammer home this idea of being on the same team, we developed a “RevOps Machine” diagram as a visual storytelling device to help align the teams for each campaign – almost like a technical flowchart of all customer touch points throughout the funnel. Whenever a new idea, campaign, or process improvement is communicated to either team, our Rube-Goldberg-like model is used and tiny customers are processed through each step to show the impact of even the smallest facet can have weight in the overall journey.

  1. How do you reinforce marketing messaging for your sales reps?

It’s an ongoing evolution – a perpetual cycle. Our marketing message is crafted by just listening to salespeople, not just in meetings, but on calls and emails with their customers, even in interactions with other salespeople on the floor. On a given day, our sales team speaks to countless more customers than we do in marketing, so it only makes sense to develop our messaging… well, right from the horse’s mouth. We take common themes, notable trends, and industry lingo and then root them in our brand and promotional messages as solutions to the customers’ current PBOs. It’s not so much us reinforcing marketing messaging for our sales reps, but them reinforcing our marketing messaging.

  1. What advice would you give to other marketing leaders as it relates to sales?

I cannot stress it enough – constant communication and feedback. Ask a sales rep at random “how did our last campaign positively affect you and your customers?” If they don’t give a glowing review, was it successful?

Take a full week and do a “ride-along” with different members of the sales team. Customer service, sales reps, key account executives, sales managers, everyone. Each has unique sales functions, day-to-day issues, even customer types, etc. and they all have a better pulse on YOUR target marketing personas than any focus group or CAB. As a marketer, a single day in the bullpen yields a month’s worth of customer and product knowledge.