Episode 48: John Kunzier – Developing a Go-to-Market Strategy to Narrow the Gap Between Sales and Marketing
In this episode, the Social Sales Link team are joined by John Kunzier, president of Aerial Digital Agency. Listen as John shares the importance of having a unified go-to-market strategy for better conversion rates.
John Kunzier 00:00
Our only way to connect with our prospects, with our customers is through social. We have to be able to communicate to them, we have to be able to get our point of view and our differentiation out to those groups. And realistically, the distance between sales and marketing is shorter than ever. As we begin to move from, hey, we have a prospect and that prospect now is interested in talking to somebody, we want to be able to qualify and move that over to sales as quickly as possible. And then also leverage those channels to drive you know, again, our awareness and help increase the sales cycle, right increase the time from interest to sale. So, you know, when we look at all of that from a social perspective to me, it’s the new frontier.
Bob Woods 00:48
Welcome to the Making Sales Social podcast! Featuring the top voices in sales and marketing. Join hosts, Brynne Tillman and Bill McCormick 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. You can also listen to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play. Here are your hosts Brynne Tillman, and Bill McCormick.
Bill McCormick 01:26
Hey, welcome to Making Sales Social! I’m Bill McCormick.
Brynne Tillman 01:29
I’m Brynne Tillman.
Bill McCormick 01:31
So Brynne who’s joining us today?
Brynne Tillman 01:32
So I’m so excited about this guest. So this is actually a personal friend and I’m gonna go back to how I know John Kunzier, who I’m going to introduce in a moment, but about 18 and a half years ago, I was pregnant with twins and being monitored next to John’s wife, Liz, who was pregnant with twins and being monitored. And so we had babies pretty much together and in the NICU together, and we’ve been friends ever since and our kids are friends. So they’re good friends now. So it’s really fun but that’s not why John’s here. John is here because he’s not just my buddy but he was the CMO, he was a marketing leader in a Fortune 500 company, a CMO of another huge company that I was fortunate that he brought me in to do a little bit of work and he has just launched his own agency and I’m so excited. John, welcome.
John Kunzier 02:31
Thank you Brynne It is awesome to see you as always. And that’s, I can’t believe it’s 18 and a half years, but I guess the kids are that old at this point. And going off to college and doing all the fun stuff that they’re gonna be doing. So where did time go? And where did my hair go? I guess, who knows?
Brynne Tillman 02:47
It’s so funny. So tell everyone a little bit about your agency and what you’re up to.
John Kunzier 02:52
So, you know, I’m building an agency that was really designed to help organizations, better their operations, and simplify the way that they actually do marketing. One of the biggest challenges that many organizations have is that they, try to build marketing themselves, and don’t necessarily have all the resources and all the capabilities. And marketing, as we all know, is getting a little more complicated with all of the data, all of this technology behind it. And what we’re trying to do is help those organizations, small to medium-sized organizations with experts, expertise, and technology to actually implement high-level marketing programs that are really focused or are done today by a very large organization. So that’s what we’re trying to accomplish. That’s our goal. We’re trying to help smaller organizations, medium midsize organizations really, to do a better job of marketing do a good job of really getting their message out.
Brynne Tillman 03:51
Bill McCormick 03:52
So we normally have I think, a heavier appearance of salespeople and sales trainers. So it’s great to have a marketer on so we’re gonna kind of go down that road today. And being Brynne and I, between us, we may have one marketing bone in our body together, heavy on the sales side. So there’s going to be some pushback for sure. So John, what the question that every guest is asked, first question out of the box is, what does making sales social mean to you?
John Kunzier 04:23
Well, you know, when we look at the dynamic that we have today, especially in the last year with COVID, is that our only way in the last 365 days to connect with our prospects, with our customers, is through social, right? We have to be able to communicate to them. We have to be able to get our point of view and our differentiation out to those groups and realistically the distance between sales and marketing is shorter than ever. Right. As we begin to move from “Hey, we have a prospect.” And that prospect now is interested in talking to somebody, we want to be able to qualify and move that over to sales as quickly as possible. And then also leverage those channels to drive, you know, again, our awareness and help increase the sales cycle, increase the time from interest to sale. So, you know, when we look at all of that, from a social perspective to me, it’s the new frontier, compared to yes, we’ve been doing email, and we still have to do email as part of the marketing activities, but social is becoming more and more part of what we do throughout that process. And salespeople need to be engaged in that going back here. We have a lot of salespeople, they need to be on social media, you can’t say, well, that’s for somebody else, they have to be on it.
Brynne Tillman 05:47
So one thing I know, I heard a little as well, and we hear a lot is the separation between marketing and sales, the kind of the, how they’re siloed. And you mentioned something about making that a shorter kind of bridge, were you gonna say something to that bell?
Bill McCormick 06:06
I was gonna say, the chasm between sales and marketing. And so I think to your–What you’re saying was, how do we have that bridge happen? From the marketing side, we’ve asked some salespeople, but from the marketing side, how do you shorten that gap?
John Kunzier 06:24
Well, I think it you know, any relationship starts with two willing partners, right? So when we think about the sales and marketing divide, we need to have both partners interested and available for that conversation, right? So but that also starts with what’s your strategy for too many of the activities that we have today, in my opinion, now, again, there are examples that that’s probably not the case. So they don’t necessarily have a strategy. Somebody comes up with a good idea and says, Hey, we’re going to do this, and let’s go to Marketing. And we’re going to run this, it doesn’t really tie to our overarching strategy, not just, Hey, I’m looking at getting this particular client. But I’m also looking at, I make more margin, on selling this service or product, and how do I engage that process a little better? So that as we’re beginning to build the strategy, the marketing program follows that strategy. Right? And it gives us priorities, it gives us the way for us from a go-to-market perspective, to really drive that divide away. Because ultimately, if we have a unified corporate strategy, right, which sounds so simple, right? We have a unified go-to-market strategy that is for our company and how do we divvy it out down to our local territories down to our local salespeople, and those marketing programs should follow that line. And that’s harder said than done, I’m going to tell you that that is something that is an area of focus that most organizations should be looking at. Because realistically, an organization without a go-to-market strategy is like a ship without a rudder, right? You’re just kind of drifting away, and you may go the right direction, or you may not. Right, and that’s an area where, you know, again, that’s how I look at it as how to eliminate that particular divide.
Brynne Tillman 08:23
So you know, it’s interesting, because the go-to-market strategy, I agree is critical. A lot of people don’t know where to begin. So if you were to say, Okay, here’s a company that sort of been random acts of marketing. And where do you begin? How do you start to think and I know, as you know, you’re an agency, you’re going to help companies do this. But where would you start the conversation? How do you start them to think in the right direction? Well,
John Kunzier 08:49
it’s funny that you know, we think about marketing and this kind of conversation, you start with the numbers, right? You start with, where do you see the growth in your organization? Where do you see your revenue being generated? That’s profitable? And between those two elements, right? And do we have a differentiation in that? You begin to look at those elements and say, This is what if I could wave a magic wand? This is where we want to be? Right? I literally had, I had a conversation with my neighbor, who is a very small business. And he’s like, John, here’s the problem. I have asked him that simple question. If you could change your business today, what would it look like? And what would you be doing? And the answer was, I’d be doing X, I’m doing y right now I will be doing X. The answer is how do I get from x or from y to x, right? How do I make that switch? Knowing that we still have to keep the lights on and do all of that. So when we begin to build the that go to market strategy, create ask those simple questions. Write, where do you want to be? Where do you make your money? How do I drive that? And if I could make more money, how would that change the business? And how do I then begin that top-of-the-funnel conversation? How do I begin to build awareness around those elements? How do I begin to align my salespeople with the appropriate messaging around that, and slowly begin to turn the ship to that those items? Right, then all of a sudden, if everybody’s going that, that same direction, right, it’s very easy for marketing and sales to have the same conversation, it’s usually when marketing is going one direction, and salespeople are going another one, where that divide kind of comes into play. And it’s amazing how much how prevalent that divide is. Because lots of organizations don’t necessarily do a good job of not, that may create a good strategy, but not an operational strategy. How do I get it to the point where we can operationalize those components into creating that executable, go to market that sales and marketing are aligned. Now that sounds very theoretical, but in practice, it’s very simple, right? Think about it as a team, whether you’re a basketball team, a soccer team, a volleyball team, a, you know, swimming team, whatever, if you don’t have everybody on the same page with the play, it’s not going to work. And really, that’s what it is, what is the play you’re going to run for this quarter this year? And how do we monitor whether it’s going to be successful?
Bill McCormick 11:26
And I think it’s, it has to really all come down to communication, right? Right from the start, because as you were talking, and I was thinking, okay, so you’re going to go from y to x, and you’re going to make that switch that switch, there’s probably going to be a lag in revenue. And because you’re making a change. So for the marketers, okay, they’re making a change, they’re happy with it, I’m a salesperson, if it’s going to affect my bottom line, that’s probably where the friction is going to come in because you want to go this way. And I want to go that way. Because the money is that way, right now. So talk a little bit about the communication process, how early should that start between sales and marketing? And how do you make those conversations start to get everyone on that same page to follow the head coach to find alignment, that’s
John Kunzier 12:20
what it is, it becomes an alignment between sales and marketing, it becomes an alignment with those, right, those two different partners, right, that have to be in agreement, and then it becomes a unified message. And then there’s another part of this, right? So we’re communicating, we’re doing all of that we’re reinforcing it, whenever you go a new direction, everyone always looks at the negative, oh, I might lose this, I might do this, there are unintended consequences for anything. And those consequences don’t always have to be negative. So, you know, the interesting part, back in the day, I used to be I was a product manager 2015 years ago, I’m not gonna take 20 Because, yeah, makes me old, you know, I feel old, you know, as we go forward, right? So I always have people say, you know, these small feature requests, my biggest clients want these small things. And I would look at them and say, but what about the high-value things? Have you asked them about that, right, and what we find is, when we start to move ourselves to higher-value activities, our clients also see their higher value, right? And all of a sudden, they’re going well, I’m so glad that you talked to me about this, because we’re very interested in this piece, we’ve been doing this with you forever, I didn’t know you did this, right. Because we tend to, you know, we tend to build a relationship, and then all of a sudden, that’s all we do for somebody. And we never really bring that out. So again, this is an opportunity for you to grow within a client, and it doesn’t mean that your revenue is going to go down, it may be that you are doubling down on the revenue that you’re generating. So when, again, when we begin to think about that, these are all the risks that when you put the message together, how do you bridge that gap? And how do I begin to communicate to that client, and how we can add on to the things that we do and the impact of the new thing that we’re delivering for them? Right? So. So again, it’s always not to say that I always want to look at the glass half full, but the glass is is is half full, because we can make it half full. And that differentiation and that value is ours to define and derive.
Brynne Tillman 14:32
And what I heard early on in this was to identify the profitable things so we can do a lot of growing business with things with small margins. And so a sales rep might get commission on the whole piece but is what’s in the best interest of the company. And so I think kind of aligning the what’s in the best interest of the company ultimately, will align Everybody’s pockets, I would think appropriately as that
Bill McCormick 15:03
grows, well, I was just gonna say and whether the glass is half full or half empty, we know where the water spout is, we can go get more water, right? I love that. There’s business out there to be had no matter what industry you’re in, we sometimes get laser-focused on tunnel vision, especially in the con in the context of the conversation, we’re having now about maybe switching directions and going in a new direction. And like you said, we focus on the collateral damage, I learned a new word recently, let’s focus on the collateral goodness because there’s always collateral goodness, also, so I love that. I love that. So good stuff,
Brynne Tillman 15:43
I’d like to just take a quick little pivot, because originally when we talked, I was so excited to talk about the topic of AI, and marketing and sales. So I would love before we kind of wrap this up to just kind of hear a little bit about where you see AI playing in marketing and sales over the next six months, years, five years, what does that look like to you?
John Kunzier 16:05
So to me, that’s a really cool part of what we do, right? I’m actually… It’s probably going to…You know, well, I’m writing a blog about this, and how much data science is taking over what we do in marketing, right? When we think about marketing, right, we think about the creative aspects, and the brochures and webcasts and all that. There’s so much data that we look at so for example, we would do an email campaign, right, and we have to give our prospects and clients credit, they’re really smart, they figured out that if I don’t click on it, I can read it in the preview pane on my browser. And it doesn’t trigger anything, so nobody will call me. And what I will do is literally look at that, and then I will go to their website. And either I’ll manually paste it or manually put it in, and I’ll go look. And what we were doing was we would actually look at those destinations, we would see who’s coming, we were using insight tools that would allow us to also see who else they were looking at, and begin to do additional targeting. Right. So for example, we would do social advertising to them via LinkedIn, we would do general digital advertising, using Google. And so the next time that they’re online, they see an ad for us, right. And what we, as we kind of began to look at that all of the intelligence that we were doing. And this was not done by AI, this was done by people. And then we literally in a matter of a few months, doubled our participation in our virtual events across the board. And using this targeting method. In the future, I see this as an AI activity, right, we’re going to be able to put our parameters and we’re going to be able to track and monitor we’re going to be able to know where you are and apply additional data to it. So for example, there are tools out there, people have probably heard geo-fencing, right. For those who don’t know, what geofencing is, I go to a retail store, a competitive retail store can send an ad because I know that you went to my competitor’s location, right? There’s a new thing, which is really about retargeting called geo framing, which allows me to not only look at it as a one-time activity, but over time, it also allows me to apply AI to it or allows me, to really begin to put other data against it. And it’s going to allow us to expand truly expand the capabilities so that we can truly target our buyers. It’s a little creepy in spots. But it allows us to really get to that message. And again, going back to you know what you were saying right spreading goodness, imagine being the person at home, big storm comes through and you get a hole in your roof, the roof gets ripped off. You don’t know what to do, how do I manage it. Imagine being a roofing company being able to target where that storm went, and sending their messaging directly to them, to help them get back to normal, faster. Again, going back to the goodness that we can provide. Yes, you can say, “Oh, that’s weird,” that’s whatever. But imagine being able to say I can get these people up faster, right, and back to normal faster. So again, these are capabilities and opportunities that we as marketers, we have to think about it like a data scientist, more so than what we traditionally do is just saying I have a segment I’m gonna go after it. We really need to create those hypotheses. And really think about it. So over the, you know, again, the next five years, we are going to have AI-enabled tools that are going to allow us to do XY and Z. Know that more than likely the laws and regulations across the globe are going to change and restrict some of that access that we have today as people begin to use it and abuse it. But we know that there are opportunities from here from now on that we should be thinking about, can I do that with a bot? Can I do that with AI? How do I integrate all that data together? And can I hyper-target those individuals because you know, I can drive my advertising dollars down my cost of acquisition down, I can give better data to my salespeople more timely data, and really provide them the lead that is better qualified, using AI and that those technologies?
Brynne Tillman 20:31
Do you see that play with B2B as much as retail?
John Kunzier 20:34
I see it more because today it’s obvious what we do with B2C Right? With retail, we have ideas of, we can do X, and we can do Y I’m capturing your activity or transactions. Our biggest challenge is we can’t get the buyers in B2B. You try to get to a CEO, a CMO, a VP of sales, a CIO, whatever you’re selling, it’s difficult to get to them.
Brynne Tillman 21:00
unless you know how to use LinkedIn the right way
John Kunzier 21:02
unless you know how to use LinkedIn the right way. And again, understanding that. But there again, there are strategies around it that our C-levels use, they set admins, who are under the radar to collect information. So again, there’s opportunities for us in the B2Bmarket to take some of the ideas from B2C and really drive what’s going on. Again, I’m a fan of LinkedIn, one of the biggest things we did in my last position as CMO is drove a social strategy, we added 9000 B2B followers in a year, which is a 56% increase, it is the new frontier because of all the regulations. It allows us to get our message directly to our buyers and segment directly from there. And again, as long as you follow the principles and guidelines of the LinkedIn community. It’s a great place to market and so
Bill McCormick 21:57
yeah, so what I see Brynne is that because John, one of our things is to what we want to do is slow down our outreach to speed up our outcome. And that has to do with more personal messaging on a personal level, but Brynne what I see here is on the other side of it now I’m people would say I’m against automation and AI and but what I am is I’m against automation that tries to build a relationship (Brynne: That pretends) that’s right! That pretends. I’m all for automation that shares information and that’s what marketing is. That’s information that’s getting put out.
Brynne Tillman 22:34
That’s a really good differentiator. I want to make that really clear. Automation in marketing is magic, automation in sales is not.
Bill McCormick 22:43
Yeah, definitely. And that’s where I see this AI coming in, where your list, whether it’s your LinkedIn list, or it’s your email list, is going to be able to fine-tune laser-focused, to get your message in the right hands of the right people. So that when you’re doing that personal outreach, you’re going to, you’re going to hit with a much higher level of credibility and a much higher level of trust, because they’ve seen you, they’ve seen your message because of that hyper-focus. So this is really, really good stuff.
John Kunzier 23:17
And realistically, people on you know, folks that are in that sea level, the VP level, they do want to be educated, right? They want to learn something new, and they want someone that’s going to help them through that process. Selling is still a personal activity, right people buy– When I first, sold for 20 years, and you know, back in the day that people buy from people they like and trust that is still true, right? That is still true. Our mechanism and how we connect with them is different, but that’s still the case. Right? Be Your true self, right? And help people.
Brynne Tillman 23:55
Things we say, I know we’re probably going over, but this is so good. ( Bill: So good. We could keep going ) I know! One of the things that we say is you know, to get to know like and trust, you have to attract teach and engage. Right? And so that top piece is a lot of marketing and a lot of connection a lot of “Am I getting a message that resonates and creates curiosity” and so to get to know you’ve got to have a lot of that marketing, you’ve got to have that stuff that gets them to lean in and say okay, you’re worth getting to know. And so that’s really, really top of the pipeline. But I know Bill, I’ll let you close it out.
Bill McCormick 24:34
Yeah, so we would. John this has been so good and we could go on and on and on but we are not able to. So just tell the folks how they can connect with you find out more about what you’re doing.
John Kunzier 24:46
So they can reach out to our website which is www.aerialdigital.agency spelled A-E-R-I-A-L digital.agency. So we’re leveraging the craziness on the back end of the dot stuff. or you can reach out to me directly at Johnkunzier@aerialdigital.agenc. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for inviting me.
Brynne Tillman 25:08
Bill McCormick 25:09
Yeah, it’s so so good. So, folks, we’ll put that contact information in the resources so you can download those. So John, thanks so much for being with us and until next time, don’t forget to make your sales social. Bye-bye!
Bob Woods 25:22
Thanks for watching and join us again for more special guest instructors bringing you marketing sales, training, and social selling strategy that will set you apart. Hit the subscribe button below to get the latest episodes from the Making Sales Social Podcast! Give this video a thumbs up and comment down below on what you want to hear from us next. You can also listen to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play. Visit our website socialsaleslink.com For more information.