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SiriusDecisions Summit 2017: Grad Conn, Microsoft US CMO - Field Marketing Automation Closes the Gap Between Corporate Marketing and Sales

Etai Beck
,
June 7, 2017

The superpower seller. It brings a wonderful vision of your favorite salesperson in full superhero garb: the spandex, mask, and cape. Standing there with hands on hips looking out over a precipice, making sure that your company is safe. It’s what we kind of expect of our Sales Teams. Every company relies on the sales team’s success to survive. If Sales doesn’t Sell, then we all lose our jobs. 

Grad Conn focused on what helps superpower Microsoft’s sellers in his Folloze Case Study talk to a standing-room-only audience at the SiriusDecisions Summit. What he specifically focused on was the connection between Marketing and Sales and the gap where no marketing automation has been bridging till now - Field Marketing Automation.

According to Grad, “…as marketing automation grows more mature at the corporate level, what’s happening is that Field Marketers are feeling disempowered.” He explains, “They need to put a campaign together, they need to promote an event, and they need to make something quickly.”


Once upon a time Field Marketing had the bulk of the Marketing budget, today that ratio has flipped to corporate marketing. One of the biggest reasons for that is marketing automation, which changed the primary marketing position to corporate. Until now, there hasn’t been any field marketing automation. That’s created a disconnect between corporate and the teams in the field.

Tech Thinking

Grad started his talk with stories from his P&G days. He spoke about detergent, and moving up to the spin cycle. He gave marketing examples, focusing on how we don’t think about the technical aspects of the detergent we buy, we think about the smell of our clean clothes and how the smell makes us feel. He led to his move to tech - and his observances from the career change.

Namely - that B2B marketing needs to move to a benefits, emotional base.

Yet we’re still thinking in old marketing terms.

The technology industry tends to describe products in terms of how they work. It’s a manufacturing mindset that’s lacking an emphasis on the end benefits and the emotional mindset of the customer. 

Even though it’s a traditional way to think for technology companies, according to Grad these companies need to have a more B2C mindset. 

“Ultimately, we’re all selling against emotion,” Grad Conn

Emotional Connections Are Key in Marketing

The thing is that we’re all selling to an emotion, especially in B2B. In business people are interested in one thing - will purchasing this product for my company get me promoted, or fired? How do sellers elicit emotion?

“What’s the one product we’re selling in B2B? Every single person, no matter what they are selling in B2B - they could be selling nails… tractors…?” Grad asks. “Job security,” answers the crowd.


This gets even more complicated at the enterprise level, where typically it’s a group being sold to. According to IDG there is an average of 17 people involved in each enterprise buying decision. You need to identify that buying committee, which is not so simple. Plus, how does each individual think about the company, their careers, and how your product will help propel their success?

The issue with selling to a team is that you can think you’re on the right path to close a deal only to find out halfway through that the person you’re selling to isn’t the key decision maker and the someone who is has already bought a competitor’s solution. 

How do you avoid this scenario?

Content Educates and Connects

How do you identify the group you need to be selling to, and send them something that emotionally connects with them? According to Grad, that’s where Folloze comes in. People emotionally connect with content and things that are crafted for them, and Folloze boards deliver that.

One of the challenges of being a Field Marketer is that Corporate sends out a lot of content. That content needs to be bundled in a way that’s engaging and professional. Folloze provides business value by raising closed-wins, it is the container that delivers the emotional, helpful content in an engaging, personal way.

Timing is Everything

Folloze’s insights for sellers in real time In addition the insights help with closing deals. As Grad explained in his talk, the timing of the phone call is everything. It’s amazing how nicely customers react when you call at exactly the right time, “Oh, I was just looking at what you sent” can happen because the seller is notified on time. 

“All sellers send a newsletter with helpful information that they have compiled every Sunday night, this is something all sellers do,” according to Grad. 

The good thing is that customers have something to remind them of the seller on Monday morning. The problem is that it doesn’t look that great. By using Folloze the Sunday Night Email is an attractive, well-design effort that is personalized for the recipient. 

The Tie That Binds - Field Marketing Automation

“Corporate can never scale it, Field Marketing is the true way to scale the content that Corporate Marketing produces to the field, in a way that can be used by Sales.” - Grad Conn

It’s time to bring some control and automation to the people in the field, both for Field Marketers and Sellers. Getting the content from corporate, but the speed and agility of field marketing automation has calmed much of the relationship between corporate and the field, connecting marketing and sales.