Marcus Murphy of DigitalMarketer on How to Build a Modern Sales Strategy – Growth Expert Interview Series -EP #5

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Marcus Murphy, DigitalMarketer Director of Sales and MonetizationAs DigitalMarketer’s Director of Sales and Monetization (or “Monetisation”, now that they’ve expanded to London), Marcus Murphy has been responsible for accelerating revenue growth and sales productivity for their flagship product, DigitalMarketer HQ, and its Certified Partner program. Marcus previously worked the same sales magic at Infusionsoft and Yelp, and learned that sales and marketing teams need to be best friends, or your business is going nowhere fast. This week, in the first of our Growth Expert Interview Series, Lucas and Jim chat with Marcus about: “conversational selling”, how one post on LinkedIn led to a huge opportunity, and how to most effectively bridge the sales and marketing divide in your business (even if it’s just you).

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Episode Transcript

Lucas Garvin: Welcome to Mastering Growth Episode 5, the first of our Growth Expert Interview Series. This episode is with Marcus Murphy of DigitalMarketer. Hi everyone, this is Lucas Garvin.

Jim Hohl: And I’m Jim Hohl. We’ve added a bonus episode for you, which is part of our Growth Expert Interview Series. Every month we’re going to interview someone who is an expert in a certain aspect of business growth. This time we have with us Marcus Murphy from DigitalMarketer. Here’s our interview with Marcus. Enjoy.

Welcome to Mastering Growth. This week we are very lucky to have with us Marcus Murphy. Marcus is the Director of Sales and Monetization for DigitalMarketer, a research training and certification company based in Austin, Texas. He’s responsible for accelerating revenue growth and sales productivity for DigitalMarketer’s Flagship Product, DigitalMarketer HQ, and it’s certified partner program.

He was previously partner, global partner, and development manager at Infusionsoft, and the National Account Manager at Yelp, so he has quite a long career in sales at a very high level. Recently, he was appointed to the Customer Advisory Board at LinkedIn, where he impacts the direction of tools like Sales Navigator. The story of how Marcus ended up in that position is where I’d love to start off today. Marcus, welcome.

Marcus Murphy: Thank you, thank you. Thanks for having me.

Jim Hohl: Thanks for joining us. Yeah, I wanted to just have you start out, first of all let me just say I’m here, not just by myself, obviously. My name is Jim Hohl with Visify. I’m here with Lucas Garvin, my business partner.

Lucas Garvin: Hey guys. Welcome Marcus. Glad to have you here.

Marcus Murphy: It’s always good to see you. Lucas, man, I wish I had your name, by the way. It’s kind of a … I’ve not met a lot of Lucases.

Lucas Garvin: Well, I’ve met plenty.

Marcus Murphy: Whatever. All right, cool. It’s just an east coast thing. Anyway, as you were, Jim.

Jim Hohl: Yeah, no it was turning over to you, Marcus. I just wanted you to tell us how did you end up on the Advisory Board at LinkedIn?

Marcus Murphy: Man, it’s funny because it’s a really long story, but I’ll give you the 30,000 foot kind abridged version of that. I don’t know. I was an early adopter of LindedIn. It was something I saw a lot of value in from the beginning, even when people were like, “No one’s using it, or I’m just going to post my resume on there.”

Everybody didn’t know exactly what it was or what it was doing, they just knew it was like a kind of a professional version of Facebook, or they thought it was like, “Oh, this is where adults play, and people aren’t taking pictures of their food on this.” I was like, “Okay, I’m going to go over there.”

When I went over there, I started to, and this was at a time, Jim, when I was still an individual contributor. I was very much still on the sales grind of my life, so I was really looking to connect with professionals. I wasn’t looking for a job, I just realized that, “Man, if there’s a lot of people here that are professionals, or business owners, or whatever they are, I need to get ahold of them, or maybe there’s a way I can connect with them, and there’s a business opportunity.”

I used it, and I used it a lot. Finally, they had an acquisition with a solution that allowed to, which was called Pulse. Pulse really is what did it for me because I would never say I’m a writer. I wouldn’t say that I’m going to write the next best-selling book for New York Times, but I definitely enjoy expressing myself.

One thing that LinkedIn allowed for in the early days was an opportunity to write, and they realized that people loved sharing content, but in kind of long form, not just 140 characters. LinkedIn, when the acquisition of Pulse happened, that was kind of a way to share articles, put pictures, and kind of make it personalized.

I wrote an article, and that article was called Cold Calling is Dead and Jeff Weiner is My Hero. Jeff Weiner is the CEO of LinkedIn, and one of the things that when I wrote that, I was literally just flying to San Francisco on a plane, coming to LinkedIn to do kind of a learning day when I was working for a company called Infusionsoft, and I remember I was kind of like I was a couple cocktails deep, all right? I was watching two people talk in front of me. One guy was trying to sell the other on the airplane, which is a catastrophe.

I have second-person embarrassment. Are you guys like me, like you see something bad happen, you just want to crawl under the desk or like fade away because you don’t want to see what’s happening in front of you? Oh, I’m alone? Am I alone in that, or is that you guys too?

Jim Hohl: No totally. You don’t want to watch but you kind of have to.

Marcus Murphy: Yeah, we were like, “Oh God, no,” but I can’t stop looking at it. As I watched this sales person pitch this poor gentleman on his left, I just got angry about kind of where sales is, and kind of the stigma of it because I knew that this is how the rest of the world looks at sales people.

They kind of corner you. It’s one-sided. There’s no real value, there’s no strategy. It’s just kind of like beating you to a pulp until you kind of say, “Uncle,” and buy something, right? That’s just terrible. I remember writing this. I had no intention of this article ever doing anything other than just writing my opinions about cold-calling, my opinions about sales, where it’s going, the new tools, what LinkedIn provides as a platform, kind of like what social selling is.

That was my first shot at it, and when I wrote it, I got off the plane. The next day I kept getting a bunch of notifications, had a bunch of people texting me being like, “Hey, that’s a great article.” Then when I got a text from a friend of mine in Africa about the article, I knew something was going on. I went in there and there was just a massive thread now.

One, the majority of those people are like, “You’re an asshole, Marcus. You don’t know anything about sales, and cold-calling is how I made millions of dollars and everyone hated me. There were a lot, a lot of people who got my back on that, people that actually read the article because the article didn’t say the phone is dead, right?

It didn’t say you shouldn’t be an amazing communicator and pick up the phone, and that’s a great vehicle. It just said that that can’t be the only way that we do it because things are changing. Eventually, just keep this a little shorter, is that Jeff Weiner, the CEO of LinkedIn, wrote on my article. When he wrote on the article, I mean he had something like 5, 6 million followers on LinkedIn, so it went viral in a major, major way.

I still have people writing about it. I still have people private messaging me about that article I wrote two years ago. Just to show you like kind of the power of that topic, but it went to about 40, it had 44,000 likes on it. It was shared 900, almost 1,000 times. It went over all continents except for Antarctica. It just really, really kind of went around the world.

When that happened, Jeff kind of saw some other things that I was doing, and also his team, and then it kind of went to the sales team, and then they were trying to launch this new sales tool called Sales Navigator, and they flew me in to kind of get some consulting on it. I got to be part of a panel. Got to really be more involved in the design and kind of development of that product, and what real sales people need.

Then as I moved out of there, and I started to have teams of my own, and started really kind of move more along my sales career, they brought me in, and most recently now I’m on the Customer Advisory Board for the Sales Navigator, and Sales Tools specifically. Kind of a crazy circle of events, but yeah, I just, it was really kind of one article that kicked all that off.

Lucas Garvin: Wow, I actually just pulled up the posts on your profile, and it has almost 900 shares, over 3,100 likes, over 320 comments. That must have really resonated with some people.

Marcus Murphy: Well, it pissed a lot of people off. One of the biggest questions I get about that article still today, and whenever I do another podcast or somebody brings that article up, they always want to know why are so many people pissed off about that article? If you read it, you’ll see in there that I really don’t say that cold calling is terrible, and it’s the worst thing. I just say that it’s dead in the traditional sense.

You can’t just get a list of people now, and spray and pray that somebody’s going to pick up during their dinner, and want to buy something from you. The one-call close is very much kind of going extinct. I don’t want to say it’s extinct, because as a sales person, I’ve definitely done that before, but I don’t know what the quality of that customer is because they haven’t really tied into your brand.

There’s no real affinity. There’s no real dedication to the brand because they haven’t had the time to really get to know you in the courtship process that really values centric sales processes all have. I think that that big one for me, and the answer to that question for everybody, every time someone asks it, is that we’re very romantic about the way that we made money.

We hold onto those early things that really made life great. Like when I had a full head of hair, and I was riding around in my Camaro. I didn’t have that by the way. I think that’s kind of douchy, but I do think that we have this kind of real attachment to the days like when I did it, and everything was great, and I made a lot of money. It’s like, “Yeah, sure. You should definitely hold onto those things, but you’re going to be left behind if you’re not paying attention. That’s really kind of always what I’ve tried to do is just pay attention.

Lucas Garvin: Totally.

Jim Hohl: Marcus, I’ve heard you talk about social selling before. Is this an example of that? How would you …

Marcus Murphy: I think writing articles is definitely a way to be social if you’re sharing them on social platforms. I think it’s how you use content that makes it the combination of social selling. Social selling is where you want to pick up a conversation. I think that LinkedIn has done a good job of kind of owning the term social selling, but it doesn’t really encompass everything that goes into it, so I’ve been calling it a couple different things.

I’ve called it conversational selling. I’ve called it value-added selling. In fact, LinkedIn reached out to me in a recent conversation, asking me exactly the same thing. Do you like this term social selling, or did you change it to something else? If you had an opportunity to change it, what would it be, because we’re trying to adopt a new terminology for it.

I’ll tell you, social selling has just been the easiest way that people immediately know that one, it’s a new kind of age of selling, so they get that it’s not traditional selling, and they also understand that it’s happening mostly online. A lot of those conversations I’m speaking of are happening in chat. They’re happening with like vehicles like Drift. If you don’t know Drift, they’re out of Boston. They’re an incredible company.

We use them internally here to start our sales conversations on our sales pages, and it connects with other CRNs and things like that. Also, at the same time, like Facebook Messenger and traditional email even. Really what social selling is, is being able to have a conversation where your prospects and future customers want to have it.

If that’s over the phone, that’s great, but in this case, the traditional means of selling like email and Facebook, or email and phone, there needs to be additional mediums that we’re having these types of conversations. That’s when you bring in the social platforms where you’re leveraging them to have sales conversations. That’s really what that is, and I think that’s the best way I can ever think about to define it.

Jim Hohl: Got it. How do you see then sales shifting away … You’re saying it’s changing. What are the biggest changes then that you see?

Marcus Murphy: Yeah, you know the biggest changes that I see right now, and I’m actually getting ready to do my keynote at Traffic and Conversion Summit on the Sales Track, which is called The Future of Sales. Really the future of sales doesn’t mean that it’s not human beings.

I think the biggest gap that we’re overcoming right now is where do sales people fit into kind of an AI world, and how does that … There is, I’m not kidding, there will be millions of less jobs for sales people if they don’t kind of evolve their skills, and they pay attention to like where we’re going and how to leverage artificial intelligence to our benefit.

You’re not going to replace human beings in the sales process no matter what anybody says, that is one place I feel like I’m going to die on that hill because I don’t see bots and all these other people. I think we interact with them on a daily basis in so many ways all the time.

Just non-stop we’re kind of leveraging artificial intelligence, but what I do think is that we need to start to educate ourselves as salespeople and acquire new skills, and acquire new ways to add value specifically because if we’re not focusing on adding value to … If we’re not focused on adding value in our sales process, and we kind of stick with the same methodologies that have worked for us as sales people, then we’re going to kind of miss this new age.

Also, if you’re a salesperson listening to this call right now, you also need to pay attention to this because that’s how people are trying to hire you. They’re looking for a new set of skills. They’re looking for more consultative selling. They’re looking for a value-added selling. They’re looking for data-driven sellers, people that want to leverage that type of selling, people that also know about marketing.

Gosh, get marketing in the hands of sales people, and allow them to understand how to build out funnels into what email automation is, and how to automate some of their processes, and leverage artificial intelligence in some of these bots, like Drift does, to help start the conversation, but not finish it.

The biggest thing that people are going to get wrong in this new age of selling is thinking that artificial intelligence is going to close the deal. Artificial intelligence is there to aid the deal, to hold the conversation until another person can get to it, but a human being is the one who’s closing.

That is an art form that is a feeling. That is something that human beings, regardless of people going to a coffee shop like Starbucks, and sitting next to each other with headphones on, and never talking to each other, they still like the human engagement when their spending their money.

I think that that’s something, especially on these deal cycles, that we can’t forget, and it’s where it’s going that we need to be more conversational, that we need to be more thoughtful, that we need to be more value-centric and understand that the sales processes is a little bit longer, and we’re okay with it, just so that we actually have a strong pipeline of people we’ve been nurturing for a long period of time. We don’t have to worry about the one-call close being kind of the linchpin in our sales process.

Lucas Garvin: You know, I never have been, nor would I describe myself currently as a “traditional sales person.” I’ve heard plenty about the one-call close, but I’ll say, I’m actually really excited to know that that’s not working as well as it used to. Both for the reputation of sales people and the sales industry, but also for the people out there who are starting a business, trying to grow, trying to scale, and they’re just feeling like the pressure to make it all happen really fast, right?

Marcus Murphy: Yeah.

Lucas Garvin: Can you talk a little bit about that? So many people feel like the sales process has to be this super fast, super quick, make a commitment, get the deal, get the deposit, get the contract. What do you think that looks like in the 21st century and in the future of sales?

Marcus Murphy: Well, let me just share an example. This is something that I will leave people nameless in this, but being a sales leader, or being a leader in any organization, you are also managing a budget, and you’re also trying to find solutions that are going to help expedite your organization or whatever you’re responsible for, different tools that are going to help them with the sales process.

Recently we were looking for a solution for our partner channel for all of our agencies, and we’re looking for different solutions. I’ll tell you right now, I had probably one of the worst sales experiences that I’ve ever had. I want to share it only because this kind of proves to your point, Lucas, of what it was, and what it needs to be.

I put in my information on the website, which many of us have done, and you say I’m interested in these things. I’d like a demo, right? Immediately I knew that the phone would ring, and it did. It rang like a minute later, which is something I love by the way. Don’t get me wrong. I love a very proactive, very like on the spot when it comes to making sure that leads are nurtured because they die so quickly, and my interest because I’m on to the next thing. My attention span is like eight minutes.

When I got that phone call, it was a business development rep, and they’re called all kinds of stuff, sales development reps, and business development reps, and market development reps, but they’re all just like lead dev, lead development. You have a bunch of entry level folks who are trying to get into sales, who are scheduling dials, and making sure that they are qualifying people before they escalate them to a sales associate or a more senior sales associate, so it’s a pretty normal like SaaS model of sales.

This particular gal, she basically was like, “Hey, so you’re interested in this thing.” I was like, “Hey, my name is Marcus.” I was like great. She’s like, “So, when are you looking to implement this type of solution into your business?” I’m like, “I don’t know what your solution is, but it sounded interesting from the video, so that’s why I reached out. I’d like to see it. They’re like, “Okay, we’ll schedule a demo.”

That was a little rocky, but the demo was scheduled. The next day I had a video demo of the product. The sales person came on, their manager came on as well, and one of the things that they were … The first thing he asked me, the first question, I mean outside of saying, “Hi, I’m so and so, and this is so and so,” it was like, “If you heard what you needed to hear today on this call, would you be ready to buy?”

Jim Hohl: Like that was …

Marcus Murphy: That was the first question.

Jim Hohl: Wow.

Lucas Garvin: Wow.

Marcus Murphy: Here’s what the sad part is, and I know that’s maybe surprising to you, it’s not surprising to any of us that have ever been in sales, because you get a lot of pressure to close deals, and it was nearing the end of the month, and it’s like you do want to train your young sales people to be able to timeline, and put a time frame on when a deal is going to close. That is a classic sales move.

The one thing that I really didn’t like is that he just … I said, “Hey, actually I just want to know about your product. I don’t know if I want to buy or not. I’m looking at several options, so let’s just keep going.” We went through it again, and near the end of the call, I was like, “Okay, great. If you could send me over some information, all this stuff looks really great. I would like to …” Wound up, I’m being very transparent. “I have one more kind of walk through of another similar competitor product, and I would like to look at that before we get back into this.”

He’s like, “Okay, great. If I send you this information, do you think you’d be ready to buy by the end of the month?”, was the follow-up question.

Lucas Garvin: Wow.

Marcus Murphy: I said, “Hey man, just send me some stuff, and I’ll take a look at it, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I’m able to.” I get an email. I got some of the information, and I did schedule a follow-up. That was good on his part. He did schedule a follow-up because you need to do that. He scheduled a follow-up appointment on that call.

Then we get back on the follow-up call, and it’s literally the 31st of this month. It’s the last day of the month, and in the sales world, that’s held down for everybody. You’ve got to hit your quota, it’s pretty crazy. He basically opened the conversation with, “Hey, so I just wanted to call you because it looks like …” I sent him an email. I said, “Hey, can you send me the end of the month pricing like you said you were. I just need to make this decision, and try and get further along in this process.”

He called me immediately and he said, “Hey this is so and so. If I send you this information, do you think you’ll be ready to make a decision today?”, was the third time. Finally, I went, “Hey man, I am so sorry. I’m going to make this decision probably in the next day or so, and I need to make this decision, but I just need you to send me the pricing.”

Here’s the thing, Jim and Lucas, we ended up purchasing the solution because it was a good solution for our company, and we needed it. Then after that, I wrote a very thoughtful email to this younger sales guy, and I said, “Hey man, I don’t know if I have the authority to say this or the permission to say this to you, but you almost killed that deal.

“You literally made me, several times I wanted to walk away from the deal because of your misplaced questions and thoughtlessness. I don’t think you cared about our business. You really didn’t lead with any value. I didn’t feel an allegiance to you, and honestly, if I would have bought that because I felt pressured to buy it, probably a month or so from now I’d want to cancel because I don’t have any kind of connection with your company or your brand.

“There’s probably somebody that could come in with another better experience than I had right now, that would maybe steal me away from your solution, no matter how good it is.” I thought for sure he would probably just send back like him flipping me off, you know? He actually wrote back and said, “Man, I’ve been in this role 5 to 6 months. It was the end of month, and I’m so sorry. I just felt like a ton of pressure to get this deal in.”

I was like, “Man, if we could just start to … To answer your question, Lucas, if we have less folks like that, that are in a traditional kind of environment where it’s quota-centric and less customer-centric, then we’re going to continue to churn out, not churn out, but we’re going to continue to have these types of sales people for the rest of existence.

The moment that we start to kind of change the game a little bit, and start to go hey if we put the customer first here, and we really started this sales cycle with value, regardless of the last day of the month, and kind of what we’re trying to teach people, if we add value, I probably would have bought anyway.

I probably would have bought on that call that we had the first time, if they would have provided enough value, and really wanted to learn more about my business, but that’s how we’re training people unfortunately, and that’s kind of what I continue to try to get my team to go away from.

Lucas Garvin: Interesting. Just to take a second to shift it to maybe a slightly different perspective. Let’s think about this scenario. Hypothetical here. I’m an entrepreneur. I’ve got a small business. I’ve got maybe one, two people on my team. They’re all really mostly for client service, delivery, or for customer support, or something. I’m really the main sales person. I believe in my product. I know what I’ve got going on is good.

I’m having trouble closing, and I got to make payroll. I’ve got to keep the lights on. I’ve got to feed my family. I’ve got to do all the things that you’ve got to do as an entrepreneur. How do you keep that pressure at bay?

Marcus Murphy: It’s kind of funny. I think people are motivated by fear, or they’re motivated by inspiration. I think that’s not a new thought. Everyone who’s ever been around anything has probably told you that. On my teams, we have goals. We don’t have quotas, and maybe people hate that. I think we do need to move like …

I think quotas are good. I think quotas are good if you are intending to put somebody on a plan, and kind of move them. Maybe they’re not a good fit after two or three times that they miss quota, but I think a goal is something that … I mean that probably resonates with you as an entrepreneur, right, Lucas? If I said to you like, “Hey, Lucas, you have a quota as an entrepreneur.” You’re like, “All right, Marcus. This is my company.” You’re like, “I’m not doing anything.”

Lucas Garvin: Entrepreneurs don’t like rules. Have you ever heard that?

Marcus Murphy: Yeah, yeah. I know a couple of them. I think the goal-oriented culture is really great. It’s one thing that I continue. I’m reading a couple of different books, and I make my team and some of my managers read these books too, but Patrick Lencioni is an incredible author. Our co-founder and president’s name is Richard Linder, and he introduced me to his books probably about a year ago, so I didn’t even know.

I had read The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, but there is the kind of the ideal team player, which is something that Patrick has written, and I’ve heard him talk about multiple times. I’ll tell you right now that the three areas he talks about is hungry, humble, and smart.

He talks about these three areas, and he says the perfect team player, the perfect kind of, whether you’re a sales person, or whatever you are, entrepreneur, business owner, this is the ideal kind of environment, and the ideal that you’re trying to get to, so they’re pretty dangerous if you go like humble and smart, or hungry and smart, but you miss humble.

There is a really kind of some tactical stuff in there, but I think that one of the biggest things that I can kind of just to speak that as an entrepreneur, is that I think we’re motivated, we’re all motivated by different things. I think that if you’re motivated by fear, you’re going to put a bunch of shit through that shouldn’t, and I hate to say that, but my people out here, if they have a goal, it’s literally a mindset. They’re like, “Wow, I have a goal.”

That goal is also tied to our customers flourishing. That goals is also tied to our mission statement, which is to double the size of 10,000 business, which is also an economic solution, so it’s way bigger than me. The quota is all about me. A quota is selfish and self-centered, and a goal kind of brings it into like, “Yeah, I want to hit my goal,” because goals are associated with all these other things, and there’s a ripple effect happening.

I know if I do my goal, I know it’s going to affect a lot of other people, and as an entrepreneur, I think that goes back to you going, “Man, I’ve got to make payroll. I need to keep some of this like things at bay, so I need to go back to what the foundation is.” The foundation is does my business stand for something bigger than me, bigger than my employees?”

I think the same thing with my people that work for me. It’s like, “Are you here to get a paycheck, or are you here to do something, and be a part of something bigger?” I think that you start to beat back a lot of that anxiety and a lot of that fear with the idea that you’re a part of something bigger, and that is incredibly inspiring, and incredibly motivating.

Lucas Garvin: Love that.

Jim Hohl: Yeah, that’s great. Marcus, I kind of want to change direction a little bit here because I know that we’ve been talking a lot about sales, and the podcast in general typically veers more toward the marketing end of the spectrum. I know that you have talked before, I’ve heard you speak before about intersection of sales and marketing, and how sales and marketing can play together nicely.

They do require different, they’re different things, and you earlier said something about if you could arm the sales people with the tools of marketing. How do you propose doing that in a small business where … Maybe you could give an example of how you do it at DigitalMarketer. You’re not quite on the level of small business anymore, but maybe it can inform some of our listeners.

Marcus Murphy: Yeah, I mean gosh, I could totally do a sales pitch right now for our products, but I won’t. I think that it’s so funny because I’m like, “Well, it’s funny that you would say that, Jim because we have DigitalMarketer HQ,” but honestly one of the biggest things that I, as I saw on a recent podcast over at HubSpot when I was there for Inbound, and one of the things they asked was kind of like how do you equip your sales teams to kind of bridge the gap between sales and marketing, because that’s really what I can affect.

One of the things that I think is really cool is this education piece. Getting really good information and equipping your sales team with marketing materials is fine, but I don’t want … Hear me say this because a lot of people are like, “Sales people need to be marketers, and marketers need to be sales people.” I don’t think so.

I think they need to understand their roles in an organization. I think they need to understand what levers they can pull. I do think sales people are moving further up funnel because they’re catching more conversations top of funnel, and really nurturing leads that way, which is traditionally a marketing role.

I think there’s some crossover in that, and I think that our sales people are being equipped with new tools, and content, and being able to distribute it. I think there are platforms like LinkedIn, which really lend well to that, and like InMail messages, and having our people create custom content or share our blog posts, and start to target really incredible leads that way, and add value.

One of the biggest things that I think our team does, and one thing that I think a lot of sales leaders should stop and think about is just kind of what the sales DNA of your company is. What I mean by that is DigitalMarketer is a marketing company. It was a marketing education company. If you really kind of just peel back all the layers of DigitalMarketer, you have a bunch of people who are really great educators.

They’re really great doers, they’ve done it and it’s very practical, not theoretical, but they’re really great at sharing that knowledge. For me, I just want to be consistent with that. I want our people to understand that they are part of a marketing company that’s people who share information and have set that precedent.

What does a sales team look like that is a part of a digit marketing company? Well, they probably look a lot more like marketers if I’m honest. They really start to look more like that. Then we take active … This is not passive, right? We’re very intentional about bridging that gap as well. Another guy here, his name is Justin Rondeau, and Justin is our Director of Marketing here. He runs marketing teams, content, acquisition etc here on this side of the building, the marketing side of things.

One of the things I love is that when we hit goals, it’s like if I set a goal and say our sales team, this specific sales team’s goal is $250,000, right? If they exceed that, or hit it, which they typically do. Our sales teams are great. We actually go and celebrate together. Sales can’t hold up trophies if marketing didn’t do their job well, and marketing can’t hold up the trophy if the sales teams didn’t produce, and do really great things with all the leads that they’re generating, right?

I think that that relationship, if we’re intentional about it, and we celebrate the wins together, now it’s kind of less about how do we close the gap between sales and marketing, and the real question is like how do we live together? That’s a whole different podcast probably, but I do think that it takes some intentionality from leadership.

I think it’s not necessarily you have to be best friends, but you need to be on the same page. Then you celebrate the wins together, and you really start to put hey, we kind of can’t do this without each other, so when sales is sitting around clapping, hitting high 5s, and even in our channels, when we start to say, “Great job, sales, for hitting your goals.” We don’t say that anymore. We say, “Great job sales and marketing. You hit your goal.” We share in the celebration of everything it took to hit that goal, and it’s the same thing over on the marketing side.

Jim Hohl: I’m curious on your thoughts on this. In our system that we call growth optimization, there’s a part in there called sales qualifier. We talked a bit about qualifying for sales earlier in this episode, but how do you qualify a lead, and sort of that dance between sales and marketing, right? One person on a small team may have both sales and marketing responsibilities, but how do you know when to take it from that social selling sort of online conversation to when we really need to get on the phone, maybe for a high-ticket sale or for bigger picture close?

Marcus Murphy: Yeah. Can I just give you an example of kind of like our sales process, and how these worlds all kind of collide?

Jim Hohl: Sure.

Marcus Murphy: A sales team who knows marketing also understands that they’re going further up funnel too, so in this case, let’s say this. Marketing has created an incredible page, an incredible page to sell a product. There’s great videos in there. The sales copy’s insane. I mean just beautifully written, everything, the designers, everything is just gorgeous, right?

On that page is a chat box. Some of that’s artificial intelligence, but that’s a lot of real people, real sales people who are there to, when that person lands on the page, and if they have questions, they’re there to answer their questions to add value, to qualify them, to send articles to answer their questions. All that’s teed up. That is marketing.

In a traditional sense, marketing was like, “I have this really great list that I’ve built. I’m going to send something out to them. I’m going to drive them to a page, or I’m going to set out an ad, and that’s going to bring somebody to a page where they watch a video, or they see information on there, and they choose to buy something, right?”

The human element doesn’t exist there, but now we’re seeing that for higher-ticket items like you just mentioned, Lucas, like we’re talking $10,000 a year, or whatever that is, $1,000 a month, or any of those things, it’s really incredible to have a human element mixed with that wonderful marketing I just mentioned, and a lot of the creative and a lot of the copy, and everything that went into that, it completely aids and enables sales people to do their job, and do it really well.

That’s the part that I think is a really clear crossover between the two. Then also, puts our sales people in a position to grab that conversation higher in the funnel. Then they’re now in that person’s pipeline, and it’s their job to provide value, and take them through the same customer value journey that every marketing campaign, and marketing efforts do, but just in a physical sense.
I think that that’s the wonderful part too, hear me out, is that if somebody’s a lead, and you’re talking to them, guess what’s also happening? They’re being marketed to. They’re being re-targeted with really good information to help close that deal as well. That’s why LinkedIn did something really cool this year. They basically put their sales and marketing solution into one. They called it Sales and Marketing Convergence.

I was like, “Okay, get a better … That’s the most corporatey … You need to figure that out,” but it was basically being like, “Hey, if you save a lead over here as a sales person on the Sales Navigator Solution, on the marketing side it already speaks to one another, and they’re already being re-marketed, re-targeted on the site.

I think that if you think about it that that’s the way that big businesses are going, and how they’re connecting sales and marketing, it’s the same thing that we’re doing on a smaller scale, but we’re very intentional in using people to kind of add the human element.

Lucas Garvin: So cool.

Jim Hohl: Yeah, that’s what it really comes down to, right, is that we forget sometimes spending so much time in the online world, that there’s actually a person at the other end, right?

Marcus Murphy: Yeah. Man, how many times, I mean gosh, if we could … I feel like it’s so sad. We probably could make a lot of money, you Jim, Lucas, and myself, and just creating a course on how to be human again, and how to have a conversation with people.

The pendulum has swung really far the other way, in terms of being able to be like, “Oh my gosh, we’re way over here where my friends are people that are online, and my conversations are online, and I don’t even talk to another human being all day, but I’m getting fulfillment from just like the kinds of “conversations,” and the messages and videos I send my friends, and all these different things, when like we get into the same room with a person, we don’t know what to do with our hands, right?

We just don’t know, and it’s so weird to say that, but I think if we get tapped into, and re-fall in love with people and the conversation, you’re going to see just a resurgence in the sales space, and just in general. I think we’re going to see something pretty special.

Lucas Garvin: Absolutely, and as we wrap up here, I sort of just want to add one thing on that note, and it’s something that I say every once in a while when I feel it’s appropriate, but just for anyone that’s listening. If you’re out there hustling, you’re grinding, you’re trying, just remember, people are not ATMs. They aren’t, right?

Marcus Murphy: No.

Lucas Garvin: Sometimes you don’t even realize it, right? You have to catch yourself. You’re like, “Oh my gosh. I’m trying to one-call close right here. I’m trying marriage on the first date.” We use that metaphor all the time because it just completely and totally makes sense, and it’s a great way to think about it. People are not ATMs, so really think about this process in your business, and how you can bring it to a close in a respectful and value-first approach.

Marcus Murphy: Can I just say like one thing that people should probably just take away right now, regardless if they have a sales team or anything, if you’re just an entrepreneur? One thing you can take, and just apply immediately into your business, or just re-evaluate your sales cycle?

Lucas Garvin: Do it.

Jim Hohl: Yep.

Marcus Murphy: Just ask yourself a question when you’re about to sell your product or you’re about to approach a future customer, and just ask yourself this. “If I took one additional step, would it kill the deal? If I took on additional step, would it change something so significantly that it would affect this relationship or the outcome that I desired anyway?”

I think if we continue to ask ourselves, “If I took just one more step, right? If I just did just one more additional action before I asked for that close, if I just did one more additional piece of value, if I could just reiterate something one more time, would that affect the deal?” A lot of cases it’s going to be like, “No, you don’t need to take an additional step. It’s right there. Ask for the sale. Let’s get this relationship going so we can help these businesses and really provide a lot of value.”

A lot of times, if you ask yourself that before you jump the gun there, you’re going to be very thoughtful. Man, if there was a magic pill that I could shove down everybody’s throat, that was just this idea of thoughtfulness that we can inject back into our sales processes, I feel like business would be a better place, our businesses would grow, our economy would grow.

We would start to escape the stigma of the shitty sales person who’s kicking tires, and trying to get you into that car today, I think we would really kind of start to take back, and become new. We’d really embody this new future of sales. Man, that’s really kind of it for me, but I know I’ve been talking a lot.

Lucas Garvin: No.

Jim Hohl: Marcus, we could talk to you all day, so we just have to be respectful of your time here. I know we’re running long here, so I really appreciate it.

Marcus Murphy: Thanks guys.

Jim Hohl: Yeah, you’ve shared some really great advice. I’m sure this is going to be one of our most popular episodes. Thank you for your time today.

Marcus Murphy: Yeah man. I love you guys. Visify is a huge … I don’t know if anybody know this, but Visify is one of our, I mean just our connection here, and you probably can cut this out or not, but we love you guys. You’re one of our best agencies for DigitalMarketer, and you’ve been so instrumental in just how we run our business. I couldn’t thank you enough, so I don’t know if anything I did helped, but man, you guys are the best.

Jim Hohl: Thank you. We’re definitely not cutting that out.

Lucas Garvin: We’re not cutting it out.

Marcus Murphy: Love you guys.

Lucas Garvin: Thank you Marcus, love you too.

Marcus Murphy: Yeah, absolutely guys.

Lucas Garvin: All right guys. That’s a wrap. Thanks so much for being on this episode of Mastering Growth. Make sure to subscribe, and we’ll see you soon. Until then, keep growing.

About the Author

Jim Hohl

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Jim has been in marketing for over 25 years, and has worked on campaigns for startups to multinationals. He writes, speaks and trains on business development, sales and productivity.

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