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Sales/Marketing Alignment and Account-based Strategies w/ Justin Gray [Episode 448]

Justin Gray, Co-Founder and CEO of LeadMD, joins me on this episode to dive into the day-to-day processes of individual reps, searching for nuggets of wisdom and optimization.

Key Takeaways

  • Justin describes his two companies in brief, LeadMD and Six Bricks.
  • Justin wrote an article on trends to watch: Quality, Tribe, and Process. Justin discusses Quality. People are evaluating how much time they can put into building brands with awesome content. Justin considers quality of content.
  • How many emails should you send? How do you personalize 100K messages? Are your stacks set up to give you quick access to the data you need for personalization?
  • Justin says data is the key for email, but the needed data from accounting and email systems are difficult to curate.
  • Justin uses Engagio to tap into systems and retrieve essential data.
  • SMBs can pivot in an agile manner. Hubspot has articles about best practices for SMBs. SMBs can learn from the mistakes of the Enterprise. Gather web behaviors and cart behaviors, and capture data.
  • Build unity through trust. Are you all on the same mission? Justin evaluates five levels of Tribes.
  • ABM and ABE mean ABR, according to Trish Bertuzzi. Is anyone person driving the boat in a sale? Don’t stress attribution, but on engagement. Look at it from a team perspective. There are multiple touches in the process.
  • Justin talks about Process, regarding the buying committee, and mapping it to one or two people on the seller side. There should be no surprise decision makers that show up at the end of the deal, if you have an effective ABE Process.
  • Sales and Marketing alignment, means the entire organization, including Customer Success, agreeing on the ABE process, and how it unrolls. Everyone on the team has a role. How to measure them all still needs some definition.
  • Justin has some ideas on person-to-person engagement in sales. Justin talks about playbooks and plays, and measuring and recording activities.
  • Use the solution that fits the income from an account. Small accounts cannot support the ABM treatment. What can you afford to invest in this account that will make the biggest impact? Go and do that.

Episode Transcript

Andy Paul  0:00  

Today, joining me on the show today is Justin Gray. He is the co-founder and CEO of LeadMD. We’re gonna talk about how to avoid chasing the fads. And Justin talks about three words in particular very important to have as part of your overall program, quality, tribe and process. Justin, So, welcome to the show. Tell us a bit about you.


Justin Gray  2:25  

Yeah, so you said it so founder and CEO, LeadMD and then we’ve got a new venture that we’re working on called Six Bricks that I’ve also co founded and playing the same role as we tried to take everything that we’ve learned and in coming to market with and serve it up as curriculum and train the next generation of marketer. So those are really the two companies where I spend my day.


Andy Paul  3:25  

So you recently wrote an article about resolutions and trends in 2017. And you talked about what have our assumptions challenged. But you talked about three words quality tribe and process, those are the focal point of what you’re talking about. So let’s start with quality. So what did you mean by quality as a trend to watch in 2017?


Justin Gray  3:58  

Yeah, so you know, as marketers look at the metrics and the ways that they’re measured, we traditionally look at eyeballs and clicks and so on. But I think even those high level vanity metrics are getting harder and harder to achieve. And the reason being everyone’s doing it these days, I don’t see a lot of the debate around should I do content marketing? Now the debate is can I really devote to building my own brand and my company’s brand and putting together these awesome content pieces that get attention that people want to share, and they want to promote, your customers, your prospects really become your promotion channel. So, quality drives all of that, and it’s incredibly difficult to keep up with it. You know, on a weekly basis, I probably spent 20 plus hours assembling content, and we’ve got many other folks around here that contribute to that as well. And everyone always asked, like, when do you when you write that stuff like you know, midnight, you’ve got to make time in the day that doesn’t interfere with your Your core output to spend the time and to create that quality so for me quality is you know has legs in everything but contents a good representation of such.


Andy Paul  8:51  

So another issue with with quality which I alluded that earlier, quality over quantity, is you talked about reference a benchmark report that 81% or more reports sending out over 1000 pieces of automated email per month to their prospects and compound that by, you know, have all this sales development platforms that enable reps to do mail merges and so on. So we can be seeing 2000 going on.


Justin Gray  9:16  

Yeah, I think 1000 is a pretty low number, but we chose it because I think it is still a good benchmark of are you sending out a lot of email, you know, in I think, frankly, 1000 emails is a lot of email. In this day and age, most of the campaigns we do for clients is, frankly approaching 100,000 or more emails, cross, you know, have a very calculated outreach, but thousands of emails, you know, if you need to personalize 1000 emails, and you need to write those on a daily basis, that would be very difficult. And those aren’t happening, those are happening in a mass format, unless you have a really good view of who your customer is. And you can bring in a lot of data about them and make that email highly personalized. Chances are we’re giving a very blanket message Though that whole quote, quality versus quantity message is what we’re hearing people want, but we’re not really seeing the action come in line with that yet.


Andy Paul  10:07  

Yeah, I mean, it’s it raises a question I asked people this all the time is certainly my feeling is about sales technologies, as great as many of them are, is that when you look at industry reports in terms of close rates, conversion rates and presenter quotas, make our percent of reps making quota, so on and so forth. It’s like, we’re not getting the ROI on this technology. Now either we’re using an appropriately which may be possible, or you know, it’s not really doing what we need to have done.


Justin Gray  12:33  

Yeah, data is the key, you know, and when you talk to a marketer, the first thing they’ll be volunteering is how bad the data state of the database is. And there’s no quick fix for that. I mean, ultimately, you can, you can clean up values that degrade quickly, like revenue and employees and all these demographic signals that we’ve traditionally gathered, but really the day to day engagement like what’s what’s happening in your building to apartment with that customer and exposing that out to the marketer and the sales individual that’s the type of information that we need and that’s hard information to curate and and honestly I think until CRM becomes table stakes in that process it’s not something that you have to pivot your chair from the system that it takes to do your job into the system that records you’re doing your club until those become one we’re never going to get to a point where we can use a tool like marketing automation and say 100% every single one of my messages is on point is on message that you know people this buyer should respond to that until we get our data in line we’re simply not able to do so. 


Andy Paul  13:39  

I mean obviously Marketo integrates somewhat seamlessly with Salesforce but you’re really talking about going deeper or having your accounting systems 


Justin Gray  13:56  

Honestly, that’s what I love most about some of these new tools and we are limited And the one that I’m going to dive into detail on, but just the ability to take the inbox, I mean, frankly, everyone says we need to get out of the inbox, we have Slack, we love slack. But all my outside communication still resides in my inbox. So if I’m able to take that communication, and make it visible to the rest of the organization, so that they can say, Oh, this can be this conversation between Justin and this prospect went this way, without me having to go in and log an activity or add that email to Salesforce. 


Andy Paul  15:21  

So I’m engaged to those really starting targets for people that are doing more of the complex b2b enterprise sale. So a lot of what we’re seeing in terms of, you know, for us bad practices from the marketing side and sales side, really our focus is not as much on the enterprise as it is on the, you know, the small midsize businesses.  So what’s sort of the future for them? I mean, how do you see?


Justin Gray  15:47  

Yeah, I really do see, you know, SMBs as having a leg up, you know, I run an SMB very much on purpose just because I think you can pivot and you can change and you can fix things just a more agile in a more agile manner. So When it comes to what can SMBs do, I think number one, they can learn from the huge amount of resources that we’re all creating and giving away for the sake of trying to penetrate the enterprise. HubSpot probably has written a great article about how you can at least get a little bit into best practice around sales and marketing. 


Andy Paul  17:16  

Okay, so the second word you talked about was tribe and you said your mission this year is to transform people from software. I’m so great mentality to inclusive, we’re so great, which I thought was very timely. I just finished talking to Robert Cialdini for the show and talking about his new book pre suasion on if you read it, but this whole concept of unity between a buyer and a seller being so critical, and that’s really, to my mind, that’s what we’re really we’re talking about.


Justin Gray  17:45  

Yeah, unity, I think across whoever the players are within that conversation, like we have to build that trust. I think it really comes down to trust, right, like, do you trust that the people around you are on the same mission that you’re on.


Andy Paul  18:45  

So, in your mind, from a marketing perspective, in this type of environment, what are the keys to engendering that trust?


Justin Gray  18:51  

So ultimately, we all need to take a step back, what is working, what’s not working? And let’s expose those metrics to the organization, whether it’s the marketing team or the company as a whole. Demand Gen as a blanket strategy does not work. a good strategy does not work. There are you know, there’s data that we have to look at and say what we’re doing as a one size fits all strategy right now. It’s not yielding the result that we need. And buying, every technology is not yielding the result that we need. So let’s take a look at the data. And let’s solve this. What role is everyone going to play within that solution? And what are we going to measure that on and off? Let’s go do that. So again, just those types of conversations traditionally happened in very small groups. And then there’s a filter process, you go out to your team, right? Hey, guys, this is the big metric because that’s what I’m being measured on as your manager. And you’re going to, you’re going to do this for me this quarter this year, whatever. Instead, we’re kind of opening up that communication circle and letting everyone be part of that process and that discussion from the very beginning.


Andy Paul  20:05  

So one of the key things with ABM obviously is sales, marketing alignment. I mean, it is a time to sort of get rid of the distinction between sales and marketing in this type of environment. I mean, really look at the rolls altogether.


Justin Gray  20:21  

I’m hesitant to say yes, I mean, I look like a utopian world right there. 


Andy Paul  24:01  

So how do you deal with the attribution issue within your organization?


Justin Gray  24:04  

So we use, we do use an attribution tool on top of even more caddos RC, which we also use. So we get to play with a lot of technology, mainly for the purposes of determining if a client really has that business need. And they’ve said, Hey, we want this report rate, great that you guys are giving us advice, but we want to see this view, then we have a best practice that we can provide to them. But from an attribution perspective, for our actual deals, it’s, again, we use it as a high level guide, like what are these types of accounts and these buyers participating in, but I’m not super interested in diving deep into an assumptive basis around that data saying, Hey, we need to scratch everything, but webinars going forward. You know, it’s a blend anytime you see someone say, I’ve got a hot lead, I talked to this guy to show chances are someone in that organization has talked to that same company or that same person before. And you know, we’ve seen that happen for years and years and years. So I think systems are just starting to reflect what’s truly going on within an organization.


Andy Paul  25:03  

Okay, so last June, you’d have this process of talking about understanding the buyer’s journey because it is a more complex task and an ABM type environment because you have so many influencers and stakeholders, don’t they necessarily each one have their own distinct buyer’s journey?


Justin Gray  25:19  

I think they do. But when you’re you with ABM or E or or whatever we’re calling it but you’re already whittling down the number of buying journeys that can happen in a huge manner based on what we’ve done in the past, you know, rather than driving 5000 net new leads on a monthly basis and worrying about where each of those individuals that I’m able to really consolidate that down so yes, I don’t think necessarily There are even so we turn those as buying committees. And on that buying committee, each individual will have a role. Normally that will map to one or two people on our side of the house. And we need to understand what they need to be fulfilled in order to get that that is to the end goal. So some of those have a full journey. Some of them just have an influential role in that deal. But it definitely gets fewer surprises when you take into account all of those buying committee members. No longer do you run into. Great. Are we ready to get this deal done today? Well, no, I’m gonna send this to a procurement guy in the UK, and he’s gone for the weekend. And I don’t even know we haven’t got you’ve gone through legal on this yet, like that happening in a deal should never happen in an AP process.


Andy Paul  26:27  

I agree. Agree, many large account processes. 


Justin Gray  26:58  

Yeah, so I don’t know that I’ll have something like groundbreaking news because I think that fortunately enough, we’re starting to get more of an understanding across the board on what AB means. So you know, starting with that list and agreeing upon that with really the entire organization, but I think the conversation does need to come out of just sales and marketing. because truly, I don’t believe you can assemble that list without bringing in customer success and a total lifetime value of the customer. And yes, and all these great SAAS metrics that have come about whether you’re in SAAS, or are you just pirating and using some of them like we do professional services, or we still want to know what how this customer performs over the lifetime journey? Are we attaching additional revenues, are we making happy, that’s information we have to bring into creating that account list. So that’s where we start and then mapping those buyer journeys and those buying committees out based upon that list that we agree upon. I think that this middle portion here, we all know that we have different jobs to play at kinda like that football team analogy when everyone’s going out and they’ve got a job to do and something to perform. I think how we measure that, and we fulfill that, like primal need to understand from a management level, how all these different people are doing. I think that’s something that is really interesting that has not yet fully been defined at this point. And that’s probably the area I’m most excited about. Within ABM, is simply how do we measure that engagement? Right, you know, like you talked to the engaged you have folks and they’ll tell you that time is the measure, you know, your marketing automation systems are still relying mainly on behaviors and demographics and lead scoring and so on. I don’t think we’ve seen the true answer to that. Because again, we’re not capturing all of the data that we need to, to score that engagement. But from a manager perspective, we don’t have that trust in our teams yet to say, you understand your job you’re moving towards, I’m sure everything’s good. So I think that’s the area that he is probably weakest on. 


Andy Paul  32:07  

And the last question on this before I take a short break, but would that be true? Because again, we sort of alluded to it earlier, would that be true for marketing to small businesses or small midsize businesses? Because again, you’re not gonna slay it and devote similar radium to those to your customer. So, there, you’ll still have the campaign mentality that there’s something new coming down the line to replace that event?


Justin Gray  32:29  

I think it’s honestly a blend, you know it depends on what your AR is around that solution. If you’re dealing with a $20 a month solution, like a volume of philosophy is the way to go. But a lot of SMB solutions are like 500 to 1500, right? $1 a month range. And that absolutely requires a blend of these solutions. 


Andy Paul  38:05  

All right. Well, again, thanks again. And friends, thank you for taking the time to join us today. Remember, make it part of your day, every day to deliberately learn something new to help you accelerate your success. An easy way to do that is to make sure you join my conversations with top business experts like my guest today, Justin Gray, who shared his expertise about how to accelerate the growth of your business. So thanks for joining me and until next time, this is Andy Paul. Good selling everyone.