Episode 3: Raj Kapur – The Right Marketing Strategies That Provide a Solid Foundation for Sales
In this episode, the Social Sales Link team are joined by Raj Kapur from &Marketing! Raj is a world-class marketer who combines the best of leveraging traditional marketing platforms with everything social.
I think Making Sales Social, means to me that you’re making sales, less of the negative things that some people think about when they think of sales. So when I think about what is “making sales social” means, It makes it more natural, it makes it more relationship based, it makes it more value based, it makes it more ethical. That’s what I think of, when I think of it.
I love that. That’s a great answer.
Welcome to the Making Sales Social podcast, featuring the top voices in sales and marketing. Join hosts Brynne Tillman and Bill McCormack. As they discuss the best tips and strategies they are teaching their clients so you can leverage them for your own virtual and social selling. Here are your hosts : Brynne Tillman and Bill McCormick.
Bill McCormick 00:57
Hey, welcome to Making Sales Social. I’m Bill McCormick.
I’m Brynne Tillman.
So Brynne, who’s our guest today?
Brynne Tillman 1:03
Oh, gosh, I couldn’t be more excited. This guest is someone that I’ve known for a couple of years now. We’ve met in real life networking. And, you know, we’ve worked together. He has helped us to grow our business through his services. So please, I’m thrilled to welcome Raj Kapur from And-Marketing. Hi, Raj.
Raj Kapur 1:26
Hi Brynne, I’m so excited to be here. Thank you guys for having me. I love it. I appreciate it. Looking forward to the conversation.
Brynne Tillman 1:26
We are thrilled to have you as our very first guest on Making Sales Social. You’ve had a significant impact on our business and how we’ve been able to grow and scale. So there’s no one better that we could start with so we’re thrilled. Our first question. So Raj, what does Making Sales Social mean to you?
Raj Kapur 01:53
I think Making Sales Social. Means to me that you’re making sales, less of the negative things that some people think about when they think of sales. So what is sales? What are bad salespeople? Bad salespeople are sleazy. Bad salespeople are pushy, bad salespeople sell… sell… sell… always be closing and don’t build relationships, build rapport and learn about you. So when I think about what is, Making Sales Social mean, it makes it more natural ,makes it more relationship based,it makes it more value based, it makes it more ethical. That’s what I think of when I think of it.
Brynne Tillman 2:30
I love that, that’s a great answer. So, the first question I really want to ask you as this is called making sales social, and you’re a marketing genius, talk to us a little bit about how marketing supports sales in the right way, so that they can attract more clients and get more conversation.
Raj Kapur 2:55
Absolutely! So I don’t know about being called a genius, I do the best I can.We have a great team. So thank you for that compliment. I would say the best thing that marketing organizations should be doing is being a support function to ensure that sales has the basic tools to go do their jobs and be successful. And when I say basic tools, that could be a myriad of different things. So that could be numbers and metrics, like where should we be going? How should we be getting there? How is our performance doing? That should be in the form of materials, right? So the marketing department is responsible for a broader perspective than just maybe one sales rep. But they should be bringing a broad voice. What are market trends? What are the sales materials I’m putting in front of it? What is my brand? What is my logo, all of those types of things the marketing team needs to have as a foundation for any good salesperson.
Brynne Tillman 3:47
I love that. Question on marketing trends, because I think that marketing trends and benchmark reports, that’s stuff that buyers are so interested in, I’d love to just go one step deeper in that. What can marketing do to create that kind of content or curate that kind of content for sales to again, get more conversations with their buyers? Because I think, you know, it’s not about talking about us now, right? This is what’s happening in the industry. And I think our buyers are really interested in that. So if you could just talk a little bit about that for a minute.
Raj Kapur 4:26
So in terms of the materials that I was talking about a moment ago, a very specific way to do that is that the marketing team or the sales team, but probably the marketing team should play a critical role in providing it, is just the general topic of thought leadership. So thought leadership is a term that’s quite often used and maybe sometimes misused. When I say the word thought leadership. I mean, what are the major trends happening in the industry? Not just today, but maybe in some sort of a future depending on the industry. What are the biggest challenges that the buyers are facing and how they can help their sales teams get empathy with those challenges. It’s not always just talking about the products and services, right? So thought leadership allows you to take a step back and says, Here are the biggest trends in this industry here are the biggest buying trends. Here are the things that are changing, you know, maybe we have changing decision maker dynamics, we have changing technology dynamics. So, the marketing team should be ahead of customers, so they can provide that as an input. And then your sales team should be using that material to drive conversations, right, not be salesy, but drive conversations. So the natural next step of that is okay, well, we solve those problems, and how do we solve them? Well, here’s our offer, right. But if you start with the offer, you know, you’re probably not doing it the smartest way you always want to start with value.
Bill McCormick 5:46
Yeah and lead to your solution and not with your solution is, as we like to say.
So I want to take this question one step further. So what is more? What is? How does marketing help support and make sales more successful on social? What are few ways that they can help them on social, be more successful?
Raj Kapur 6:05
Yes, absolutely. So you know, let’s talk a little bit specifically about LinkedIn, right? Because in the B2B profession, what are we doing, we’re talking about LinkedIn, your company does such a great job of that. And we spend a ton of time on LinkedIn. So things like number one, your company page,right. Your marketing team should own your company page. If you’re in a smaller company, maybe even a two, three person company, that may be you doing it, but it’s a distinct activity that is intended to drive your voice, your brand, your voice, your personality, whatever your company has, should be displayed on LinkedIn. Larger companies have giant teams to do that. We work with a lot of growing companies, right, maybe smaller in size. And it’s amazing how many underdeveloped company pages are out there, right, so the voice is really important.
The second thing your marketing department should be doing is engage as a company page, right. So make sure that you’re engaging with other people, you’re connecting with people, you’re being a forum where thought leadership can happen with your buyers, your influencers, your partners, and other people like that.
The next one your marketing team has to do is elevate your employees.You must elevate your employees, especially your business development professionals, right, because you have a responsibility to treat those people like heroes, so that you can profile them, and you can see them in a highest so that people who see that content on LinkedIn automatically hold that person in higher esteem. Right? So there’s just two or three things off the top of my head, just with the company page. You know, I got a few more if you’re interested in them. But you know, that’s just some early thoughts.
Bill McCormick 7:41
Well, that’s music to our ears, for sure. So let’s switch it up here. Let’s talk about what in the world of sales and marketing is broken. So in the world of sales and marketing, what is broken?
Raj Kapur 7:58
I feel like I could do, you know,early in my career, I was a salesperson, obviously, now I run a marketing company. So I see both sides of this. And I see the empathy. And quite candidly Brynne and Bill, you guys are great business development professionals. So you know, I wouldn’t even mind battling that out a little bit. So I would stay in the sales and marketing world. What’s broken is a complete misunderstanding of how the other discipline operates, how they work best, what they need, how they communicate, and how they use data. I mean, it’s just that simple. There’s so many misconceptions and miscommunications, let me be the salesperson that sees marketing as being way too theoretical. They have their big fancy degrees and their big fancy offices, they talk in their frameworks, right? They don’t know how to close a sale, and they don’t know how people upgrade. Did I get it? Right Brynne,Bill? (Love it, Nailed it) Right. So like, what is a typical salesperson recording or business development professional, according to a marketing person? Well, they never listened. They never respond to their emails, they never do what they’re asked, they never close sales on time. They take too long, right? And so the problem with those misconceptions, again, add to the list, but the problem with those misconceptions is that, they’re sometimes true, right, so sometimes both sides get too caught up in your frameworks, as a marketing person. And sometimes as sales person, you’re too myopic. And so allowing forums where you can communicate really ends up being a good key and getting empathy and understanding. I don’t know. I don’t know if you guys have any thoughts on that?
Brynne Tillman 9:27
Well, so you know, we are working often marketing brings us in to do the sales training. So we are working in both worlds. And what I find most fascinating to me, is that marketing feels like they’ve doing all this work to create leads and opportunities, sales and closing. Sales and say marketing is not creating leads and opportunities that are right for us. Right and so there is this clash even though they know that they need to come together and work together. For us, if marketing is not delivering the content that the sales people need, it’s really hard for them to start conversations around value, they go right to pitch. Right. If they don’t have the right insights, the right content of the video, the blog posts, the trend reports, the benchmarks, right. If they don’t have that, to start conversations with, they go back to cold calling right on LinkedIn. And it’s a problem like I think it’s a significant problem right now. So talk to us a little bit about and essentially, really how you help really fill that gap.
Raj Kapur 10:51
Yeah, yeah, so totally agree all points, right. So it’s marketing’s responsibility to produce really good content. It’s also marketing’s responsibility to enable the sales team to go do that themselves, right? Because sales teams are intelligent professionals that have perspectives. So take those people and elevate them. So what some of the tips that we do, I think it comes down to two things. And I like to put them in two big buckets: Communication and Data, right. Data and Metrics, I’ll say data and metrics, you know, so communication means that the marketing team is listening to what’s happening in the field with the sales team, what’s happening? What are the trends you’re seeing, what are your buyers asking? Because that should be fueling the content that everybody gets? Right? marketing should be providing thought leadership, content, blogs, all of that type of stuff, through communication, you make that stuff better, the sales team should be listening to marketing and saying, Oh, these are the big trends on the sales rep in the northeast of the United States. Here’s the big trends that are happening nationally. Well, how does that apply to my geography? Right? That only comes through communication? I am shocked at how infrequently sales and marketing organizations just don’t have a forum to share ideas. It should be happening. I mean, gosh, at least weekly, if not daily, some organizations may be a little a little less, some a little more. I think the second big bucket is metrics and data, right? So another big problem I found and the larger the company, the more this is a problem. But when you have misaligned metrics, you’re in deep trouble. So for some reason, people believe that an appropriate marketing metric is like awareness. How many people went to my website? How many likes do I have? And please, I’m a marketing person. And I hate those metrics. Because it’s very hard to correlate those to sales.Sales people should be measured on sales, how many sales you have, how big is your pipeline, what’s your expected value, all of those things. And the closer that marketing can get to having those as their metrics, the better. Right? So it shouldn’t just be leads, it should be qualified leads, because Brynne if you’re my business development, your VP of business development in my company, and I bring you 100 leads, but only 20 of those are qualified, I should get credit for the 20, not the 100. And we should have a conversation that says why didn’t those at work, or they were in the wrong geography, they weren’t the right size company, you know, whatever,whatever,whatever. Some of that is controllable. But let’s not make that 80% wrong, let’s make that 50% wrong, and then 30% wrong, and then 20% wrong, until all the activities really focus on common, you know, common metrics.
Brynne Tillman 13:27
I think that’s so powerful. One question I want to go one more deeper on that you said earlier about making the sales people the hero, right, the suit, talk a little bit about, I know you guys do some of this with your clients, where you do interviews of the salespeople and so talk a little bit about what a marketing, even if it’s like the CEO that’s responsible for her own marketing, or a one marketing team, you know, one person that’s in marketing, where, you know, bandwidth might be a little tough, what are some things that you can offer that can help them make the sales people the hero in, you know, in a pretty like limited with limited resources.
Raj Kapur 14:15
And so when resources are limited, so we’re talking about really small companies or really small marketing departments. I think the time and the effort spent on marketing strategy is really well spent. And so when I mean marketing strategy, what I’m trying to say is, who is our target decision maker, what are their real problems? And what is our unique solution to that problem? Okay, so that’s marketing’s responsibility. And what I find is that really small companies don’t take the time to do it. Now, you don’t have to spend six months, you don’t have to hire a big company to go do a major market research project and spend hundreds and 1000s of dollars to do that, even though some large companies certainly do, but on a smaller scale its really nailing down the essence of your value proposition. Why are you there? What do you do better than anybody else? Uniqueness is another big thing that not enough, I think sales people take the time and effort to really understand. I think that’s a marketing function. What is unique about my product or service, really nail that down, and then set the framework for execution? So that’s, what is my content marketing strategy? What’s my email strategy? What am I doing on social media? Like all those types of things, the marketing function should be providing that even if it’s only just one person.
Brynne Tillman 15:33
Yeah, that’s fabulous, Bill did you want to add?
Bill McCormick 15:36
So this is great. And so we see that a healthy sales and marketing department company, or units coming together makes for a healthy social selling organization. And it’s when the communication is there, and that’s what I was thinking, I was thinking of a circle, you know, and the circle needs to not be broken, you know, marketing needs to create that great content, they need to identify the real problems that the prospective clients are coming have that uvp, that unique value proposition. And then sales needs to leverage that and use that to start sales conversations that bring more clients into the pipeline, and then provide feedback to the marketing department. This is what’s working, this is what’s not working, which keeps the circle kind of going. But so here’s the thing. That’s great for an organization that has a VP of marketing or director of marketing or director of sales and sales people in the field. Listen, if I’m a solopreneur, guess what? I’m both sales, and marketing. And guess what I’m fighting with myself? Right? So what about me, Raj? What about me?
Raj Kapur 16:43
We think about this a ton, right? Because that small one person marketing department really does need help. So we came out with an offer, right? So one of one of the things we developed in late 2020, was a program and we call it and-marketing/u. And it’s based entirely on education. So not to self promote this idea in particular, but the idea of giving those people enough that’s right size for their business, to fill the gap when they can’t afford to go hire an external marketing company to do that. Right. So how does somebody do that? Well, they get educated, they go through each of those processes and steps and learn how to really do it the right way. And then we try to provide them as much coaching as possible so that they’re headed in the right direction. So I think that’s one certain way that you could do it Bill. And you know, maybe that’s maybe that’s a thought that some of the viewers can look at.
Brynne Tillman 17:35
I think, and we one of our teammates, Bob Woods, went through it and thought it was absolutely phenomenal. So that’s pretty exciting. And you know, there are a lot of entrepreneurs, that or even small businesses, I mean, we’re a small business, there’s five of us that have a little bit of resources. But we may not know all the right things to do right now. We’re great at LinkedIn, but there are a lot of other avenues, right.
Raj Kapur 18:03
I would say the biggest Sorry, sorry to cut you off there Brynne. But one of the biggest challenges and maybe misconceptions for smaller businesses, just like yours, just like many of the people that are going to see this video, is that you have to stop trying everything is a much more efficient use of time to take the time upfront to decide what the most useful tactics are. So Bob was a phenomenally good student, and I am so glad he got a lot out of it. One of the other members actually said the biggest benefit they got was they got a list of things to not work on, because they realize those we’re not going to drive their business. Right. So it’s an old adage, I think it’s what Warren Buffett said, “Make a list of the Top 25 things you want to do in a given year. And then take a red pen and cross everything past three out and don’t spend any time thinking about it.” So your mental burden is not worried about should I be on TikTok? Should I be on Facebook? Should I be on Instagram? Should I be tweeting? like should I be doing all these things? Well, the answer for most businesses is no. Right? I met just a specific example a couple of weeks ago, in a networking event, I met somebody who has an individual business, it was like a makeup and essential oils business, right? And this person was asking me Should I be on LinkedIn? And I said, Well , think about your decision maker. Maybe you don’t want to be on LinkedIn. But does your decision maker go there to learn about your products and services? Well, no. I said, So create a profile, but don’t spend a lot of time there. And the person next to him is just an interesting neck and the person next to him was a financial advisor and they were saying, you know, should I have a TikTok? I said, Boy, think about it. You’re a financial advisor. If you choose to have a TikTok because you like TikTok and you want to engage as a person, knock yourself out. But don’t spend a ton of time when your decision maker isn’t going to TikTok to learn about financial services or learn from you, right.Now, there’s some exceptions to that. But like it was an interesting balance to see these people with such different businesses wasting their time on things that probably aren’t going to drive that much value.
Bill McCormick 20:02
That’s interesting. Yeah, this is so good. You know, Brynne, we talk all the time to people on LinkedIn about not doing random acts of social. I think what I’m hearing Raj say is don’t do random acts of sales and marketing. Right? Yeah.
Brynne Tillman 20:19
Right. So full circle back. All of these things have two more questions. So full circle back.
Everything that you talked about today really is digital. If you were to say the one thing that ultimately would make a typical salesperson who’s not doing any marketing, how would they get started and Making Sales Social?
Raj Kapur 20:46
How would a typical salesperson? Okay, that’s a great question. So what they might think about is probably, you know, the best piece of advice I would give somebody like that is really develop a plan. So what I mean by that is, it could be as simple as a Google Sheet or an Excel file, and it is their plan for consistent activity. And I know you guys advocate for this on LinkedIn, but I would extend that to be on LinkedIn, as well. So you might call it a content calendar, you might call it a social calendar, but really plan out, what I like to say is three to six months in advance, okay, if you do shorter than three to six months in advance, when you get busy, you’re going to forget it. If you do longer than six months, your market is probably changing too quickly. And you probably don’t need to think about what’s happening, you know, two summers from now. So if it’s a rolling calendar that you’re actually using on a week to week basis, to do your posts, to write a blog, to do a video, whatever those items are, to really take the time to plan that out. One of the reasons people hire us and keep hiring us is because we’re really good at execution. And we make sure the trains are running on time, and the blog gets posted and the email gets done. Like that’s a really important part, just the execution. And so many small businesses fail at that. So I’d say that’s probably the number one thing so.
Brynne Tillman 22:03
I love that one thing we tell ourselves people is capture your own genius. A salespeople will tell us all the time, we are not content creators, they are content creators, they just don’t capture it. So one of the things we say is recorded on zoom, write it down, when you say something, and then you get an aha moment from a client or a prospect. Grab that and get it to your market because they can turn that into gold. So that’s, that.
Raj Kapur 22:33
I totally agree Brynne, I’ve heard you in our meetings or in various networking things say, “stop, you’ve got to write that down.That was brilliant. That’s a post.” I totally agree.
Brynne Tillman 22:43
Yeah,so I love that. Last question. How can our viewers contact you and connect with you?
Raj Kapur 22:49
Absolutely. So I’m on LinkedIn just like I should be. So you’re welcome to look me up again. It’s Raj Kapur, R-A-J-A-T K-A-P-U-R is my last name. And then my website, it’s and-marketing.com. So it’s A-N-D hyphen marketing .com . And then the And-MarketingU that I mentioned, is a similar URL. It’s and-marketing.com/u.
Wonderful, a “U” for university.
“U” for university, right. Because it’s an education program. And again, that’s designed for solopreneurs and one person marketing departments. And you can go and learn all about it then.
Fantastic Well, listen, thanks so much, Raj. Thanks for sharing with our members, all about sales and marketing and how they can Make Sales Social. (Thanks, guys.) Alright.
Well, thank you so much, Brynne.
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