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Welcome to Episode 23 of HubShots!
Interview: Sales Enablement with Rosalia Cefalu (@RosaliaCef) – HubSpot Sales Enablement Marketing Manager
Recorded: Friday 12 February and Wednesday 24 February
In this episode we interview Rosalia Cefalu, Sales Enablement Marketing Manager for HubSpot Asia Pacific and discuss:
– how marketers can get a better understanding of the sales process and what the sales team do
– the benefits of marketing working more closely with sales
– why everyone using the same platform is so important
– why the reporting add-on is designed for using with both sales and marketing together
– why marketing managers should be reporting on sales results so they can understand lead quality
– the differences between marketing and sales in Australia versus North America
– the ways Australia is ahead of the US in terms of selling, and where we can learn
– what the best marketing managers are good at
– being willing to challenge the status quo
– how advocacy programs are helping to significantly scale businesses
Follow Rosalia on Twitter at @RosaliaCef
Rosalia Cefalu: My name’s Rosalia Cefalu and I work as a Sales Enablement Marketing Manager here at HubSpot. I’ve been here for the past three years and I’ve actually been stationed out of our Boston office, located in Cambridge specifically. I’m from Boston originally. And I took on a new challenge just about a week ago actually, when I touched down in Sydney and so I’m here at our Syd Spot office for the next five months where I’ll be working to enable our sales team through content, product training, and a little bit more about what we’ll probably end up talking about today.
Craig Bailey: Fantastic. All right. So you often help with challenges that sales and marketing people have in their roles. Can you tell us a little bit about some of the challenges that you’ve seen and how people are typically solving them?
Rosalia Cefalu: Yeah, absolutely. So some of the challenges that we see sales and marketing teams face come down to this very, very basic human challenge of not understanding each other. Sales and marketing people speak totally different languages a lot of the time and so much of it is just a preconceived notion that one group hasn’t made an effort to get over with the other one. So some of the challenges that we faced internally at HubSpot, and that we see our customers face, is that marketers don’t understand a lot about the sales process and don’t actually get involved in kind of that hand to hand combat, one on one, being on the phone through a sales process. So what we’ve done internally and what we suggest to a lot of our customers to do, and have seen success with, is actually shaking things up and having your marketing team sit with your sales team, sit interspersed with your sales team, have them sit on calls with the sales team.
One of the things that marketers can help a lot with is, obviously, we’re very good at content creation, we’re really good at positioning our product, so actually bringing those marketers onto sales calls to act as allies. What it does is two really, really big benefits. So the first is it improves the sales and marketing relationship by having the marketer give something to the sales person that’s not just a new lead. It’s actually progressing that person through the funnel, getting them closer to becoming a customer, but I think what we end up finding is that marketers come off those calls with kind of a, “Whoa, that’s what a sales call is really like?” These sales guys are really getting hammered with hard questions. They have a really tough job that they’re doing day in and day out. So it really helps improve that relationship and gives each team kind of a better idea of what the skill sets that they can leverage from the other are.
Craig Bailey: That’s fascinating. So I’m interested to know…okay, you work with sales and marketing teams within HubSpot and you’ve also worked with HubSpot customers and other people, like marketing managers who would be listening to our podcast. How have they responded or have you seen a success where you actually have said okay to marketing managers, you’ve actually got to go and sit with the sales team. Like, how many will actually, I guess, accept that and actually do it or how many push back?
Rosalia Cefalu: People don’t typically push back because they know they need to do it. I’ve definitely heard of a lot of teams who, like I said, come back with that shock value afterwards, but one of my favorite stories that I heard from a team who did implement this and they went and sat with the sales team was that they had so much better of an idea of what a sales person does and the sales people kind of had this pride about their job afterward, that then the marketers wanted to have that feeling kind of back for sales, so they put up this large television right there on the sales floor where they broadcast their HubSpot dashboard to kind of show sales, “You know, we’re sitting with you guys. We’re hearing what you’re doing every day. We’re hearing your challenges. Now you can see kind of what our goals are, what our waterfall looks like. This is what our day to day is.” And so, I thought that was a great example of kind of just jumping in headfirst, being a little afraid of it, but being able to really share each other’s story between the two teams.
Ian Jacob: Now that’s really interesting. Now if I think about…in the last year we had CRM come on. We’ve had products like Five Kick join us. And that’s really changed the way, I guess, sales teams can run with information that they’ve got. How much of that is going to be more and more important in 2016 and onwards?
Rosalia Cefalu: Yeah. I think it’s super important, especially when you’re adopting platforms like HubSpot that appeal to two different teams, sales, marketing. It’s really important to get as many people as possible within the company adopting that software. So I think that what we’ll see with some of the HubSpot products like CRM and the reporting…especially if you want to get your whole team on this product, each of your stakeholders have to understand the value of it, have to be in the product, have to be using it.
So one good example of what we’ve seen a lot of customers see a lot of success with today is that when you have your sales team on the CRM, and you have your marketing team using the marketing product, and you have this reporting add-on kind of sitting in between them, and you have dashboards that appeal to all those different stakeholders, so marketers can check in on sales productivity. Salespeople can check-in on the leads that are being generated by marketing. Your CMO, your CEO, all these kind of C-level stakeholders can have their own dashboards and they’re able to see top line metrics. Individual teams, whether it’s your social team, your content team, they’re all in there at the same time viewing all of their metrics. So we’re seeing just better alignment in general among a whole company when they’re all using the same software. When everybody is able to see value from that software and able to work in it together, they end up working better together as people and it ends up making for stickier customers, of course, also when everybody is on the same platform.
Ian Jacob: So this is really interesting because if we look at it from a perspective of…we often report back to businesses that we help, right? And you just mentioned like they always have these dashboards, but everybody across the organization has information available to them which they use on a daily basis. I think that changes everything. How many people like, or how many organizations have you seen actually doing that? Because I know reporting add-on’s being talked about. Like, are people using it or are we getting to that stage where people really understand the power of it? And what can we do to help make that better?
Rosalia Cefalu: Yeah, absolutely. So when we’ve encouraged this type of behavior before with other platforms that are kind of built for one individual team, it’s much harder to see that adoption. It’s much harder to see all those teams get in, look at each other’s metrics and really be using it. With the reporting add-on, we’re seeing amazing traction because it was built for multiple teams, because it was built with both sales and marketing together. And one of the ways that we can kind of encourage and see more traction with it, I think, is really putting it in the hands of the marketer to get inside of the head of the salesperson, to get inside of the head of each of their individual teams.
And this stuff really falls on the marketing managers to understand what are those metrics that they want to see, what are those challenges that they want to overcome, were there opportunities for more transparency within the company, and then having those managers actually create those dashboards, create those reports. I wouldn’t necessarily put it in the hands of my sales team, like, “Hey guys, here’s all the reporting add-on, here’s all this data, go build what you want to see.” They don’t necessarily know what the finished product that they want to see is. But if you can understand from them that they want more visibility into what are the high quality leads you’re generating this month, or what are the offers that you’re focusing on this month, that it’s really on the marketers then to go create those dashboards and make it really usable for the whole company.
Craig Bailey: You know what though? I just need to take a step back because after this listening to you for a few minutes talk about this, I kind of feel like, “Oh yeah, that’s the norm. Yeah. That’s what everyone…” And then I just have to take, check myself again. Hang on. None of my clients do that.
Ian Jacob: No. That’s exactly why I mentioned that.
Craig Bailey: It’s so obvious and I was just like, “Actually, no one’s doing that.”
Ian Jacob: You know what I think will happen is it’ll drive more engagement on the platform of people actually willing to see stuff change. That’s what really stood out to me from this whole conversation is that it’s not something that I will get someone to do this and we’ll check back in a month, but here every day, people will see some sort of activity and you can drive a lot of action based out of it, I think. That’s really the key of that.
Rosalia Cefalu: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, when we think about how do we get that sales team involved, like having even just the daily, weekly, monthly emails that go out to them that show them those metrics, sales people are living inside the CRM or they’re living inside their inbox all day. So actually putting it directly in front of them, it really increases the visibility of the work marketing’s doing which also works to improve that relationship.
And to your point that none of my clients are doing this today, when we think about inbound marketing, when you first kind of learn about the methodology and you understand like, “Okay, not having messages pushed out to me but me, actually, in the time when I’m making a buying decision or I’m doing research that your company comes up and is providing value and providing information,” yeah, of course, that makes so much sense. Of course, that’s what we should be doing. It’s almost so obvious that you can’t understand how people aren’t doing it, and so that’s why I think it’s really interesting in this region specifically to be seeing that traction kind of catch on and following in the footsteps of what we’ve seen a lot in the States. And I think that with things like the reporting add-on, it may take a little more time here, but I think we’re going to see a lot of that kind of cross-team adoption happen.
Ian Jacob: Fantastic. So we touched a bit on this, about different regions… you’ve obviously come from North America and you’ve come to Asia Pacific. Things are a bit different here. I think like for both of us we’ve got customers that primarily service the Australian or the Asian market, and now we’re going into the U.S. What sort of advice can you share with us that would help that transition into that new market space for them, being obviously an Australian business and then going to the U.S., for example?
Rosalia Cefalu: Really, really interesting question. So some of the differences I’ve seen and kind of what I would suggest to businesses here as they move overseas to a U.S. customer base or U.S. prospects…here in this region, things are very, very relationship-based. A lot of relationship-based selling, a lot of in-person selling, a lot of event selling, more so than we see in the U.S. I think the core of sales and the core of inbound sales really has to do with building trust and building those relationships and so, ironically, I would almost say that you guys are kind of ahead in that aspect. It’s in the U.S. that we’re kind of just starting to build out that playbook of what an inbound sales model looks like, and what being helpful beyond just creating content online looks like, so I would encourage that you guys actually don’t transition or change all that much when you start selling into the States. I think that that kind of relationship building is going to be really valuable and that our audience will be super perceptive to it out there.
At the same time, if there is one thing that seems it might be different from here, from hopping on a lot of sales calls back in the States, prospects can be very hard-hitting because they know they have the power today, and because of inbound marketing, because salespeople don’t hold all the power that they used to, us as buyers in the U.S., we’ll ignore all your emails. We don’t have to open them. We might not be so kind off the bat on the phone, whereas a lot of the calls I’ve listened to here, there are genuine, awesome conversations happening out of the gate. There’s not kind of that big sense of distrust as there is in the States, so I would make sure that while we are encouraging relationship selling, that you guys are going into sales and marketing with the facts, the content, even if the top of the funnel is not super fluffy. I think that in the States, definitely people want all the information. They want all the facts. Our sales engineering team out there in the States is obviously huge for that reason. We really have that source of truth, that back up, that technical resource on a lot of those calls. So yeah, I would definitely say keep up all of the relationship building and the trust that you’re building, but definitely go into all of those conversations with all of the facts.
Craig Bailey: That was really good. Okay. So just moving on, I just want to ask you, this is just kind of more of a general thing. You’ve actually highlighted a few of these things, but just a question. What is one thing that successful marketing managers are particularly good at do you think?
Rosalia Cefalu: Yeah.
Craig Bailey: And you can look at geographic changes as well, if it’s relevant, but yeah, is there something?
Rosalia Cefalu: Yeah. So I think one thing the best marketing managers are really good at is always questioning the status quo and questioning their playbook even if they’re seeing success. Not just going through steps one, two, and three, because steps one, two, and three have always worked. The reason being that your buyers, as they’ve changed, we see the reason why inbound marketing works at all is because buyer behavior has changed. Buyers’ behaviors will continue to change as their needs change, as the world around us changes. We see this happen with more and more people on smartphones and consuming more content through apps like Facebook and Twitter versus going to Google and searching for something, right. So as the technology that we use changes, as the world around us changes, buyers change too, and that doesn’t mean that because Playbook A has been successful for the past year, that it’s going to be successful in the next year. So really, that kind of healthy level of skepticism and the need to always be re-evaluating what you’re doing, reinventing your strategy regardless of how much success you’ve seen thus far.
Ian Jacob: What do you see as something that’s probably going to change in 2016?
Rosalia Cefalu: In 2016, something that we’re seeing more of with our customers and that we’re doing a little bit more specifically in this region is taking marketing outside of just the marketing team, and taking that kind of education out of just a sales person talking to a prospect and really using our existing customers as kind of a pseudo marketing team. So we’re seeing more and more people build out advocacy programs with their customers as a way to use the people who are using your product or your service every day as a way to promote, to do marketing for you, to advocate for you. When we look at something like even just Yelp for restaurants, right? So much of the time, when I decide where I’m going to go eat, it’s not because of the cool website that the restaurant had or because of an article that the restaurant wrote. A lot of that has to do with somebody who ate there saying, “Yeah, you know what, this place has a great dinner menu and I highly recommend it to everyone.” So I think we’ll see more and more of that in 2016, especially with how important relationship-based selling is here. I think that more buyers want to hear from other people that have actually used the software or used the service, somebody that they can actually trust and really looks like them.