How I Got Sales and Marketing to Speak the Same Language
Jeremy von Halle is Vice President of Revenue Operations at Jellyvision, a Chicago-based software company that provides interactive tools to help employees select and manage their healthcare benefits.
Read on for a transcript of his presentation from our November 15, 2018, Here’s How Startup Marketing Conference, where Jeremy talks through how he aligned sales and marketing by consolidating tools and analytics.
Thank you. Probably the third time – most boring – we'll see where that kind of falls, but I'm going to be talking about sales and marketing alignment. Yeah, let's just get started.
So, a little bit about Jellyvision. We are a technology that helps you pick your healthcare benefits. It's super confusing.
The stat that Amanda [Lannert] likes to throw out is that millennials would rather clean their toilets than pick their healthcare benefits. And we try to change that, and make it a little bit more engaging and exciting.
We serve about 1,200 different companies. About 18 million employees have access to our tool, and we serve about – I think it's actually now closer to 120 of the Fortune 500, including two-fifths of the largest companies in the United States.
We have companies that range all the way from 20 employees to nearly a million, so it really runs the gamut there.
I've been at Jellyvision for about two years now, and one of the things that I've noticed across many different sales and marketing organizations is that you have two different teams that are speaking two completely different languages. And that's always an issue.
You have a marketing team that's talking about leads and MQLs and account-based marketing and direct mail and all these very different types of metrics and methods. And then you have sales, which are way more tactical – talking about demos and meetings and proposals.
I'm talking about getting that follow-up, and those are two different things. And it's really hard for a lot of different organizations to figure out, “What is the Google Translate version from an MQL to a meeting?”
One of the things that I think was really difficult is that marketing and sales were kind of measuring on two different wavelengths. You had someone from the marketing team that was pulling all of their data, and then you had someone from sales that was pulling all of their data.
What happens is that you get two widely different results, both trying to not necessarily make themselves look better, but trying to put it into a different frame of reference.
What happens is that you just get really frustrated people who are saying that, "Hey, I don't understand what this metric is, and I don't understand what this metric is," and that causes a lot of headaches and unfortunate misalignment.
So, a couple of different things here. And you probably have heard my title, and you're like, “I have no idea what revenue operations is.” And why is that?
Maybe you've heard of sales operations. I'll kind of talk about that, but one of the things that we tried to do from the get-go was decide that there needs to be a true north.
1. We decided on the true north for both teams – for us, it was meetings
Let's try to make it as simple as possible, so that both teams and all the way to individual contributors understand what the goal is. And for us, it's meetings. Think about it as demo.
2. We had both teams work backwards and forwards from this goal
What we did from that true north is that we were able to work forwards and backwards. Sales obviously from that meeting. They're responsible from broadcasting that from a pipeline perspective and conversion rate.
From a marketing standpoint, they had to kind of figure out, “Okay, if we're trying to get these many meetings, how to work backwards from engagements and MQLs and leads.” Kind of lets two different people go on two different paths to make sure we're still aligned to the same goal.
3. We set rules of engagement and internal SLAs
Thirdly, we set a series of engagement and internal SLAs, meaning that if a lead came in, sales had a responsibility to work at a certain amount of time. On the marketing side, we would try to get as much feedback as we could on the quality, both qualitative and quantitative, on what was going on from the meetings that we were set.
4. We created a central team to be responsible for alignment / reporting
Now, this fourth point I think is super important. As opposed to some organizations, which might have a sales operations function which generally apportion to sales, my function is called "revenue operations," and it's not just a semantic difference.
5. We were agnostic across revenue departments to ensure objectivity
We report across the entire revenue function from when a person first visits our website to–hopefully–when they renew with us. We try to serve agnostically and universally across all go-to-market functions, and that's really important because we're kind of viewed as the Switzerland of the revenue team.
6. We made reporting visible for both teams
We don't really care if things are someone's fault or not. We are just looking to see and optimize for the best results. And what that does is it removes a lot of bias that you might have if you get a report from our marketing person or report from a sales person.
I highly recommend that if you guys have someone that you can kind of – even if you don't have the number of people in the revenue operations function or at all – find someone who can be super agnostic of either department to really own that metric to make sure that both teams are aligned and believe that the numbers are true.
The biggest thing is not just making sure the numbers are true, but making sure that they're visible and easily tracked. I think having that as a way to make sure that you keep both people on the same page is probably the most important thing.
For some companies, that might be in Excel. For other people, it might be in your CRM. And as you scale, hopefully it's in your BI tool. But at the end of the day, what this really looked like was a series of metrics that we are able to provide our sales reps in terms of how many meetings are they being set for and their being held.
We had a way to be able to track overall meeting generation by different segments, and then backing it out from there where those meetings are coming from, whether it was email or content or ABI or direct.
It just helps you kind of figure out, “Okay, all the way to the sales to the marketing, we're all aligned on the same type of metric. And we're all using the same data that my team gets to own and make sure that both teams can trust.”
If there are any questions or anything like that, I think it can't be understated – the importance of just making sure that there's someone that's responsible for those numbers that doesn't report solely into sales and doesn't report solely into marketing.