#3: 3: Max Cohen, a product trainer at HubSpot, joins the podcast to discuss Inbound Sales & Marketing, effective onboarding for sales reps, and ideas on how to implement a sales enablement strategy at your organization.
Max Cohen 0:00
What's your first name, your last name, your email address, your phone number, your address, you know, your business that you work for. Yeah, your blood type name, your firstborn, child's social security number. And then it's simply just like a message field. Right? It just says message. Okay? And like next to no context on the page of like, what someone's actually doing when they fill that form out, but you know, it's going to the sales team, right?
Tyler Lindley 0:24
Hey, y'all. I'm Tyler. And this is The Sales Lift, a sales enablement podcast hosted by yours truly, Tyler Lindley. Today is Episode Three, using inbound to help empower your sales efforts with Max Cohen. Max is a product trainer at HubSpot, a CRM marketing sales and service software tool that's based out of Cambridge, Massachusetts, we discuss a ton of great ideas including what inbound really means, where software fits into your sales process, how sales really doesn't stop until a successful handoff takes place. And great ideas to make your marketing work better with your sales team. So this is an absolute fire episode. I'm thrilled to bring you the sales lift your business needs right now.
Hey, how's it going guys? It's Tyler Lindley with The Sales Lift. Want to welcome Max Cohen from HubSpot to the show today. Hey, how's it going, Max?
Max Cohen 1:19
It's going good Tyler. Thank you for having me.
Tyler Lindley 1:21
Yeah, thanks so much for joining. So tell the audience a little bit about yourself and what you do at HubSpot Max.
Max Cohen 1:27
Yeah, absolutely. So, my role at HubSpot is what's called a product trainer. I work on HubSpot learning and development team and like my primary focus on that team is facilitating and creating content for and running this program called HubSpot Foundations. So HubSpot Foundations is basically our like first layer of new hire training that folks go through at HubSpot. So I've been on the learning and development team doing that for around actually was two years at the beginning of March which was great. Before that I was an implementation specialist which is now known as a customer onboarding specialists. And essentially what I would do in that role was help customers get up and running with the HubSpot software after they purchased. And then I would be sort of an inbound marketing advisor for the first sort of three months of their journey until they worked with their long term point of contact. So
Tyler Lindley 2:14
awesome. Very cool. Very cool. So how long have you been at HubSpot? Sounds like a little while now.
Max Cohen 2:18
Yeah, so it's it was it was four years in December. So I'm getting close to that five year mark. And it all blew by quickly. So it's been a wild ride, but it's been one of the most fulfilling ones I could have ever imagined. Awesome. Yeah.
Tyler Lindley 2:32
Well, congratulations on the anniversary there coming up. So thank you. So it sounds like if you do product training, do you train all types of employees or do you train specific types or how does that work?
Max Cohen 2:44
literally all kinds. So the foundational program that we have, literally every single person at HubSpot goes through either this light version we have which is around two and a half days, or this full seven day training that we have that first Like beginning part of the training, it's more like getting to know the company getting your feet on under you, learning like how we sell our products, how we think about our customers, who our customers actually are, just so everyone can like, look to their left look to their right and like understand our common mission and purpose and like why we're here. And then after that, like the full program includes a lot more, you know, in depth product training and training on the like, how we can solve things like that, in terms of like, who goes through it, pretty much every single person at the company, salespeople in particular when they go through and this is like their foundational layer of knowledge that they get about our company and about the product. And then there's like additional role specific training that they get in the sales realm after that. So their training doesn't end with me. But I see literally every single position at HubSpot that you can imagine come through a training program. Interesting.
Tyler Lindley 3:50
So it sounds like as you train your salespeople, specifically as you train them with product knowledge, what are you what are you really trying to enable those sales people to do? Like what type of knowledge do you think is most important, most foundational for a sales rep to be able to learn about any product or service? Specifically, obviously, you know HubSpot, but what do you think is most important for salespeople to learn right off the bat?
Max Cohen 4:16
Yeah, that's a great question. Um, I think like with sales, it's always super important to really understand like, what the product is and what the product isn't. Right? So wanting to make sure they have like a very clear understanding of like, why someone would use HubSpot, but more importantly, what's like the bigger picture, right? I always say like, Don't buy HubSpot, just to like solve one very specific problem that your business has. There's always a bigger picture kind of flywheel that you can build that touches everything from marketing, sales service, and a lot of the things in between. And so like, I do my best to try to make sure that you know sales reps along with everybody else, like know exactly what the tool is capable of understand the actual goals and challenges that our customers have, and are able to kind of take that, and use that context to then like be able to talk about why different parts of the tool are actually valuable. And they can kind of match that, but not losing sight of like the bigger picture of you know, where you're ultimately going to get a ton of value out of HubSpot.
So, you know, the last thing that I would want to salesperson doing is like positioning the product, in a way where like, you know, it's not necessarily representative of what the product actually does, or like, pigeonholing customers into only think it's gonna do like that one very specific thing they set out to do. Because it's like, in most situations, like, yeah, I can be a great point solution for him. Absolutely. But are you leaving a lot of value on the table when you're not seeing the bigger picture? Yeah, absolutely. So I try to make sure that, you know, sales reps understand this bigger picture as best they can. So they can use that to ask the right questions when they're working with their prospects, to really uncover all the different things that HubSpot can do for them. And it doesn't necessarily mean like you have to sell them on every single thing that does right away, but I think sales reps have this really important responsibility to be able to open up customers minds to the possibility beyond what they're looking to solve at that moment. And HubSpot is a tool that like you need to have that bigger picture thinking, to really get the most out of it and deploy this whole inbound thing that we talked about. So like, yeah, for me, it's like, yeah, you want to know how to use the individual tools you want to understand, like, what it does its limitations, things like that. But also be you know, able to enthusiastically talk about, you know, the bigger picture problems that you can solve using HubSpot beyond what a customer initially or initially, like, finds us for and starts that conversation about, right?
Tyler Lindley 6:44
Yeah, no, that makes sense. Yeah, makes a lot of sense. It sounds like to me as well. When you're you're thinking about onboarding, these sales reps. Product knowledge is obviously step one. What what happens from there? You talked you mentioned a little bit more roles, specific roles. What do you think is the next natural step? If you've armed a sales rep with at least a baseline product knowledge, what do you think is the most important next step to teach a sales rep at that point, once they have that product knowledge?
Max Cohen 7:12
Yeah, hundred percent. So, you know, during that sales foundational training, that kind of happens afterward, I like to think of that as sort of introducing those sales reps like into our own like eternal or internal ecosystem that we have in terms of like how our sales you know, organization actually operates and there's a lot of stuff behind there that's important to understand once you have this, like base level understanding of what the product is what inbound is who our customers and the bigger picture, you need to learn, like kind of how to operate within you know, our sales organization here, right? So that's what you know, sales foundations does, so they're doing anything from there or anything in there from like learning how to use you know, our instance of HubSpot, how we have a lot of things set up.
We use a lot of our own tools, our own productivity tools, you know, the same ones that our customers are actually purchasing from us and we have those set up in very specific ways in order to make your day a lot easier and show you how to prospect and work within your territory, but also to learn how to like work within your organization, the different tactics and playbooks that we use in order to help our customers make informed decisions about purchasing HubSpot, or about deploying inbound. And then there's a big culture element to it too, right. So like, we have a very good culture at HubSpot. And that, you know, bleeds into our sales organization as well. Or we have people who specifically work on culture within sales, and that's like their full time role. So there's like a lot that sales foundations kind of, you know, introduces a lot of folks to within that very specific, you know, role of being in sales at HubSpot, if you will. Yeah,
Tyler Lindley 8:43
yeah. Okay, awesome. Yeah, that's interesting. So, as you think about it sounds like you've mentioned this idea of Inbound, and I heard you talk about the flywheel as well. I don't know that all of our audience really understands exactly what that means. Can you elaborate a little bit more on what What do you mean by Inbound? And what is this flywheel concept that you're that you're talking about?
Max Cohen 9:05
Got it. Yeah, so the idea of inbound and I'm gonna try to do this as succinctly as possible because like, while Inbound is inherently a pretty simple concept, especially when you think about the flywheel, if you dive deeper and zoom in, there's a lot of moving parts and it can get a little bit complex, right? So to understand like, Inbound, like just the word inbound, we kind of have to like go back a little bit to understand Inbound Marketing what that was, right.
So the whole idea of Inbound Marketing, and we'll start there, is that, you know, people have really changed the way that they buy because of the invention of the internet, right? When the internet came along, information was democratized. And the salesperson was no longer the gatekeeper of all the information that you would need in order to make an informed decision about buying something, right? With the internet now, all the information is at your fingertips. Right? And you know, the thing with Inbound Marketing is that it kind of mirrors basically human decision-making when they have a problem, right? When we all have an issue, we tend to find an answer to that problem, right? When we have some sort of goal or have some sort of challenge, we go try to find an answer to that a way to solve it or a way to get closer to achieving that goal or challenge that we have, right? And the best tool that we have in the world to do that is Google, right or any other search engine.
Maybe using Ask Jeeves? It really doesn't matter, right? There's lots of different search engines out there. Obviously, Google's the big one. But the whole idea of inbound marketing was instead of interrupting people with advertisements, okay, instead of using billboards, you know, which, you know, I guess interrupts your view of like the city skyline or distracts you on your commute, or television commercials, which you know, some are funny and can be like, you know, entertaining and things like that. But when you think about it, it's interrupting what you're there for, which is to watch that basketball game to watch that TV show, watch that movie, whatever it is, you know, even disruptive cold calls from salespeople, right? These are all tactics that you know when we think of outbound marketing, basically interrupt you.
The whole idea with Inbound Marketing was actually creating content that people will find on their own right. And there's like a special little thing that happens there when someone finds the information on their own at their own volition, because that's what they're actively seeking and trying to do, when they digest and receive and consume that information. They're doing it because they went out and tried to find it. So it's like, satisfying is like one thing. But the other thing is like, you didn't have to interrupt them for them to get that value. Okay. So the whole idea with inbound marketing, again, is putting that content out there, and people finding it, learning different ways to solve for a specific challenge that they have or get closer to achieving a certain goal that they have through your content. And again, when I say content, I'm saying like, blog posts, downloadable content offers like ebooks, white papers, infographics, you name it, videos, a huge part of the equation, audio, podcasts like this, right? This is all like examples of content. So the whole idea was put the content out there. So when someone actually consumes it they start to build a lot of trust in you, because you're positioning yourself as a thought leader in the space. Therefore, they make the decision on Okay, like you obviously know a whole lot about this subject. Maybe you've educated me to the point where I know I need to purchase something. Now I can go ahead and take the hand raise and say I'm ready to talk to the salesperson versus the salesperson reaching out to me interrupting me and trying to sell me something when they haven't even like earned the right to say that you know, you need to buy what I have.
Okay? So that was inbound marketing, right? basically creating content to attract people versus actually just interrupting them with like common advertising tactics. That's that's in a nutshell, okay, Inbound now, like we don't just refer to it as Inbound Marketing, like Inbound Marketing is definitely a piece of it. When we say Inbound now, we're referring to this bigger thing called the Inbound Methodology. Okay, so the Inbound Methodology is in three phases that all kind of feed into each other. That's where this idea of the flywheel comes from.
The three stages are attract, engage and delight, okay. So the whole idea of attract is that you're still creating content that people are actually looking for. That's the key with content creation. engaging them basically means once they've, you know, built enough trust with you where they're willing to give you their information for additional content. That's when you start lead nurturing in a human manner. That's when you start different conversations with people at your company. This is kind of where you'd think the sales process would usually start to take place. And then delight basically takes place after someone becomes a customer, you need to delight them, you need to make good on your promise, you need to make sure you're there for them when they need you. And you provide a great experience and legitimately make them successful with whatever your product or services. So they want to scream your name from the mountaintops and refer all their friends or for all their colleagues, you know, if they go and work for another company, like, you know, pound on the table until they can get your product or service again at that company.
And that bleeds into the attract phase because when you create happy customers and successful customers That's the more important one. They will be your best advocates and they become part of your marketing mix right? Now the one like little disclaimer I want to give when I talk about, you know that that's more of like the holistic view of like, you know how you're attracting how you're engaging how you're delighting. But the biggest misconception is that like only marketing teams attract people, only sales teams engage people and only service teams delight people. Every single person at your company, it doesn't matter what they do, whether they're marketing, sales or service can attract, engage and delight in their own way. So it's not just one team is working on one part of the flywheel and other teams working on another. Everyone can do it. That's the very basics of like the flywheel and Inbound, as easy as I can.
Tyler Lindley 14:45
Yeah, I think it's it was pretty clear. Yeah, especially without a visual, I saw you drawing that flywheel a little bit. But yeah, I definitely think the concept resonates in that now. Thank you for explaining that to the audience. I also think You know, you mentioned, you bring up a really good point there is that it's not just marketing's job to attract, it's not just sales job to engage, right? Again, it's not just service job to delight, it's actually everyone's job regardless of your role, your function to kind of do a little bit of everything this day and age, I think, you know, it used to be, I guess a little bit more siloed but now most successful companies are realizing that, you know, all of these client facing roles are really handling every single part of that buyers journey, as we think about sales reps, you know, is it sales reps job now to you know, market for their company? You know, should they be putting out content and things themselves and if so, like, well, then what is marketing doing? Where does marketing fit into that if a sales rep is is kind of responsible for maybe generating some of that demand or you know, what, how can marketing support that? And how would that work? It just seems like it could get messy quick.
Max Cohen 16:04
Yeah, totally. And like, could it get messy? 100%? Absolutely. Let me give you maybe an example of like how when we think of attract, engage and delight for salespeople, like what that literally means, right? You know, when we think about attract, oftentimes with sales folks that can sometimes translate into making yourself as available as you possibly can and making it very easy for people to get time on your calendar or to engage with your talk to you, you know, when they're ready to raise their hand when they're, you know, they've done enough research and they are just kind of at the stage where they're like, Yeah, I'd like to talk to someone about like buying something, right, and how can we do that? So like, you know, that's something very simple as like, you know, making your calendar available for people to book with you. Right? That's like a very hyper simplistic like version. If we kind of go up a level, I mean, you mentioned sales folks creating content, right? I mean, what a better way to build trust in yourself as a sales rep, to go out and be enthusiastic about the goals and challenges that your customers have and using platforms like video, or working with the sales team to create blog content from the sales team that helps their customers make informed decisions.
You know, you can totally do that. I would say if you're a sales rep, and you're thinking of like, how can I create content to help attract people, it should absolutely be a team effort with the marketing team, right? You want to make sure that your, your messaging and what you're talking about is consistent. And you're not putting two different stories out there, right. So you should have a very consistent messaging across, you know, really all parts of your business. But like, if you wanted to go out there and be a content creator, and you're on the sales team, like your sales team isn't gonna I mean, your marketing team probably isn't going to push back on that, right. Like they're gonna, you know, for the most part, probably, you know, like as much help as they can get because content creation is the hardest part.
I'll give you one other example. A lot of times what I see when we talk about people getting that first sort of hand raise with sales, is that like, whatever conversion it is on your website, whatever form someone build out that gets people in touch with the sales team. Right? One of the biggest things that I would do when I was an implementation specialist, when I first started working with customers, is I would go on their website, and I would try to sniff out where this conversion path was. Right? And usually what I'd be finding are plain old, boring, contact us pages, right? Where there's pretty much next to no copy on the page. Last name, yeah, what's your first name, your last name, your email address, your phone number, your address, you know, your lead your business that you work for your blood type name, your firstborn child social security number, and then it's simply just like a message field, right? It just says message. Okay. And like next to no context on the page of like, what someone's actually doing when they fill that form out, but you know, it's going to the sales team, right? That's like one of the worst things to do because what you're offering they're in this attract phase, if you will, or at the tail end of the attract phase, at least is just sort of like a choose your own adventure. And you're not saying there's any value In the conversation that you're going to have behind it.
So like one of the biggest things I talked about with, you know, with sales teams is saying like, okay, talk to me about that first conversation that you have with a prospect. Okay, when they get passed over to you from marketing. All right, tell me about that conversation. And generally, what people tell me is like, Oh, well, you know, we try to really dig into what their goals and challenges are and understand their business and try to let them walk away with some tips and tricks on things they can do. And really make sure if they're a good fit before we start kind of peddling the product on them or talking about if they should purchase from us or not. And so I sit there and I hear this, right. And I say, why don't you tell people that? Why don't you have a landing page that literally advertises that valuable conversation that you're going to have with someone instead of just like a form that says, talk to sales or request a quote, or contact us, right?
The thing is, is like when you think about pages or landing pages that say that talk to sales or request to quote, your only going to get people who are that far at the tail end of their buyers journey that actually want to talk to sales. And you're not going to open up any conversations with people who are like closer to the end, but not ready to have a sales-type conversation yet. So one of the biggest things that I tell sales teams to do to really have an impact on that attract stage right before it goes into engage, is create some sort of conversational offer, right? That advertises the conversation that you're going to have, excuse me, and in the way that you position it and the copy that you have, when someone reads, you know, the copy next to this form that they're about to fill out. Tell them what you're going to talk about, tell them how you're going to contact them, but also make sure they understand the value that they're going to walk away from, as part of, you know, in part of having as a result of having that conversation, even if they don't purchase from you, right, because you're not adding any value to that conversation beginning and no one's gonna want a book. That is You know, they are not like immediately ready to buy, right?
So you want to say you want to be positioning things like, yeah, you're talking to the sales team, but the conversation is more of like an evaluation, or a consultation, or an assessment, right? That person booking out is going to learn something, no matter what. And they're going to be delighted from that conversation, see where I'm going here, right, and actually want to book that first conversation and kick that relationship off with a sales rep, even if they're not at that very end stage where they're just looking to send someone a purchase order and buy something, right. So that's, that's the big thing in terms of like engaging with sales teams, you know, that has to do with having a very efficient sales process and one that's like, you know, delightful to go through, if you will, so it's like not jumping down people's throats not hounding them not being too aggressive, not being too pushy. If you don't need to, you should be there to help, not to sell right i think that's like a big mindset change that I really like, you know, force on a lot of people. And like, you know, I came from a sales background like I did four years at Apple doing business to business sales, mind you with no quota. But really high metrics, which is a very interesting story about another time. Yeah, exactly.
And but like, you know, when we talk about engage, it's all about being efficient in the way that you communicate with people, not letting things fall through the cracks, making it very easy for people to contact you when they need you. And also like working on their schedule, too, as well, right? You need to remember that like, other folks like have a lot of things going on in their lives. They're these are humans that you're talking to, they're very busy. their needs and goals and challenges and like what's right for them should always kind of come before your quota, right? Like, I truly believe that if you sell with good intentions, and you truly go out there to help people solve for their goals and challenges that like revenue and hitting your quota is going to be a byproduct of that. You know what I mean? Right?
And in terms of like, delight, you need to make sure that purchasing process is a delightful experience, right? Again, and that kind of leads to the way that you engage with them. But you want to make sure that they have all the information that they need to make an informed decision. You need to truly believe in your heart of hearts that what they're purchasing is legitimately going to help them and not try to deceive people, right? That's the biggest thing. I think the biggest thing that can make like the sales process go wrong, especially when we talked to like, scooping up into that delight stage, is when someone has buyer's remorse and like, you're not there to kind of help them through that, right? You don't want it to be a situation where it's like, okay, we bought and then our sales rep never talked to us again. Right. So ensuring that you're following up passing on, like your best ideas and suggestions for whoever is going to be carrying on that relationship with them after so you know, that, like, they're gonna continue to be successful in the way that you envisioned? You know what I mean? So it's a lot it's it goes very deep, but you know, just a little example about how everyone can have a hand in each part of the flywheel.
Tyler Lindley 23:49
Definitely. Yeah. Yeah. One of the things you mentioned was that conversational offer I like I've never heard it phrased quite like that. But I like that and that you're you're selling value in that first meeting. Regardless of whether they choose to continue the process, there's value in that first meeting for we also talked about, it sounds to me like maybe sales reps could also, you know, kind of position that conversational offer themselves. I mean, do you think Yeah, obviously marketing could helping to create a landing page and, and driving someone through a path to get to that process of where they get to that conversational offer. But do you think that sales reps themselves could maybe position you know, position themselves create some content and then they themselves are positioning that conversational offer? Do you think that would work?
Max Cohen 23:49
Yes, okay. I think that's a great idea. Like I think transparency is a huge thing that everyone should embrace, right? Like, why not go out there and create content about what your sales process is like? Right? I mean, I think that people that that a lot of folks are hesitant to jump into a sales process because they think there's a whole bunch of hidden agendas and sneaky type stuff that salespeople are going to do, just to get them to buy right but like you Absolutely go out there and create some video content saying like, Hey, you know, this first conversation that we have, it's all about you. It's all about understanding, like whatever it is that you're you know, that ails you, whatever your challenges are. And you know, through this conversation, we're hoping you're going to walk away with a lot of great tips and ideas and guidance and advice that will help you make a difference in your business. And yeah, you know, if we think that it's a, you'd be a great fit for what we, you know, we sell or what we do, we'll tell you, and we'll have a conversation with it. But we'll be just as transparent if we think you're not a good fit. And then we'll make some suggestions for you to go elsewhere.
If you can get like if you can build any sort of content that eliminates the stigma of the sales process that everyone is just so used to, you know, I think you'd have an easier time getting people willing to throw that hand up and start that conversation like transparency is huge. And like, here's the thing if you truly believe that your product or service actually benefits people and can have an impact in their lives and their business and their lives. Career, whatever it is, you shouldn't have any problem being transparent about what your sales, you know, experience actually looks like. Because, you know, at the end of the day, as long as you're behind what you're selling, you're not trying to lie to people, you're not trying to deceive them, you're not trying to be tricky in the way that you sell. You're truly helping them and not selling. So like transparency can only benefit you at that point. And I think content creation around your sales process and telling people how good that experience is actually an A B, you know, and how on their side of the table you're going to be is like, is a fantastic idea, and I don't see a lot of people do it. We really should be Yeah,
Tyler Lindley 26:35
no, no, I totally agree. Yeah, I like making it all about them all about what they stand to benefit instead of coming across as self serving, which I think sometimes marketing and sales, you know, messaging can be can appear to be self serving, which is a negative when you did put it in the context of the prospect or the client and their situation, their problems, what they can what we can can do to help solve, get them closer to their goals. So,
Max Cohen 27:03
Tyler Lindley 27:04
what I mean we've kind of been talking about sales enablement, without actually, you know, bringing up the word, if you will. But I'd love to hear kind of what does sales enablement mean to you? What when you think about sales enablement? How would you define it? What does it mean to you? How would somebody go about doing that? Like, what does that really mean to you, Max?
Max Cohen 27:26
Yeah, that's a good question. So I mean, sales enablement, like, in itself sounds very simple. But like, there's a lot of nuances throughout the sales process. There's a lot of interesting personalities that you deal with, there's a lot of different challenges that your customers can have. And then when you multiply that by how every single business is different, and every single customer is different. The definition of it can get like quite messy, right? So I'm gonna I'm gonna try not to give it like a blanket definition that kind of applies to everything, but I'll tell you like what, at least I think is super important when it comes to sales enablement, right. So I think the whole idea is like when you're doing sales enablement, quote, unquote, you're you know, And you put this through the proper context of like providing the right training, choosing the right mix of modalities and the way that you deliver your training and facilitating as well as any coaching that is kind of ongoing throughout the entire thing. I'd say like the two lowest hanging fruits, right is making sure your sales reps are set up for success, not only from like a technology standpoint, so like, what tools are they using? Why would they use certain tools? How do they use certain tools, right, but also like the playbook that your sales team is actually running, right? So the tactics that you have the metrics that help you measure your success, how to get from A to B when it comes to meeting your goals and meeting your quota, but also making sure you're putting the customer at the center of everything that you do, right.
So not only do you have to have a very deep understanding of what your product or your service is, and that's obviously very important and that's kind of an ongoing thing as products and services changes or products and services change over time. And you know, you might be selling one thing one year and then a year later what you're selling completely changing So obviously, it's very important that you deploy a lot of training and coaching that keeps your sales reps up to date with that. But even more importantly, making sure that like sales reps have the proper soft skills and know how to ask the right questions that help them really uncover the true goals and challenges that their customers has. Because at the end of the day, you could be, you know, the smartest person in the room when it comes to understanding what your product and service does. But if you can't take that knowledge and information and view it through the context of what your goals and challenges are of your customer, then you know, it's kind of hard for you to like use any of that knowledge in a meaningful way and like transfer that knowledge over to the customer in a way that will make sense and have an impact on them, right. And I think the other thing too, when it comes to sales enablement, like, if you're in some sort of sales enablement position or you know, you're you're the person in charge of like ensuring that your sales team is set up for success. You can't really approach you know, sales enablement without thinking about marketing and sales alignment, as well as sales and your customer success, service or support, however you want to think about it alignment as well, right?
The handoff between marketing and sales and the teamwork between marketing and sales is extremely important. You can't have those two organizations be in a silo. And the same goes for any of your service or support teams after that, right, there needs to be a great relationship between all three of them. And sales enablement has a hand in that because you need to educate people on the best ways to work with these other teams, communicate with these other teams, collaborate with these other teams, and try to dig yourself out of any silo that you're in which, with younger companies like that's gonna happen. It's just like a natural thing that happens. You get a marketing team that grows in one direction, you have a sales team that grows in another, all of a sudden, they're super far apart, not on the same page. And like you can't have a successful sales team without a marketing team that's working hand in hand with them and on the same page, right. So that's the big stuff that I think is like super important.
One little note on like choosing the right modality and when I say modality, what I mean is like, are you Yeah, let's let's get into that. So when I say modality and this is the trainer inside of me speaking, the modality is how you deliver the training, right? So like you can think of a couple of different ways to deliver trainings as instructor led sessions, that would be an instructor or a subject matter expert at the front of the room, leading a discussion around a certain subject or training someone on a certain subject. There's also a virtual instructor led session, which is the same thing on the like your over Zoom this way. But you take a little bit of a different approach to ensure that the knowledge transfer is happening and everyone's involved and it's very inclusive. But then there's also like e-learnings, videos, team challenges and workshops, like there's all these different ways you can deliver the knowledge when it comes to sales folks, however, the one thing you have to remember is that like their days are pretty hectic, right.
They're very rapid fire. They're making a lot of phone calls. They're having a lot of meetings. They don't have a ton of time in their day to go and sit in like a one hour training about a certain subject, right? So you have to be very tactical about how you incentivize them to take the trainings to learn the information, also how you work with them to get time in their schedule, and make it very easy for them to consume it. Right. So instead of thinking about, you know, having required mandatory one hour training, maybe you help them like block off time in their calendar to do like a half hour e-learning to keep them up to date with things. Or if you're doing some sort of, you know, webinar or some sort of like training that you're doing that everyone should be a part of ensuring that you're recording that and you know, adding closed captions to it and then delivering it to them so they can consume it on their own time when they have the time to, right? Because the thing is, you know, I hate to say it, but a lot of sales reps don't see value in going and doing anything else that doesn't help them talk to more customers build their quota and things like that, because they're rolling their job kind of depends on that right. So they need to make sure anytime they're taking away from doing any learning or training or any.
So the other thing you have to do there is explain to them, okay, we're gonna have you do this training, but how is it actually going to be valuable to your role? Right? You need to incentivize and let them know they're gonna walk away better from it than having not taken. Right. Right. Right. So it's tough just because their days are so I mean, you know, right, the day of a sales rep is very rapid fire and you're doing a lot, you're making a lot of phone calls, you're smiling and dialing, right. You don't have a lot of other stuff. You don't have a lot of time in the day for personal development, right. And a big piece of that is like building a culture of learning too, as well, which is a whole another topic. But yeah,
Tyler Lindley 33:38
yeah, definitely is no, I definitely agree that there needs to be an internal sale to the sales team. When you're talking about training and when you're talking about aligning with marketing and when you're talking about, you know, new things that could help them do their job better, faster and more efficient. I definitely think that part of it is selling them a little bit on the value if you will internally because At the end of the day, like you said, sales reps are busy, they have lots going on they have their days are long and, and lots of phone calls and lots of things happening such that, you know, internal meetings can seem to just slow things down at some point. So for sure, you've got to work on the messaging internally. That that goes to the sales team to say, hey, this matters. And this is why. So why don't you block this 30 minutes to do XY and Z for me? So,
Max Cohen 34:26
yeah, what's the value in it? Why, right,
Tyler Lindley 34:28
right, exactly. Totally. Just like just like they're, they're, they're doing the same thing with their prospects and their clients. You've got to do the same thing internally. So we're Yeah, now that's, it's it's such an interesting point and idea. Do you feel like I mean, what else do you think? And sorry, our connection I think is a little bit slow. Can you still hear me okay, Max?
Max Cohen 34:48
Yeah, I gotcha.
Tyler Lindley 34:49
Perfect. Yeah. Just wanted to make sure that uh, that internet was slowing down like we talked about might happen. Yeah, but uh, what else do you think in terms of marketing and sales alignment as we think about how can we get these two groups? Because from what I've seen, and companies that I've been at, sometimes it's a very adversarial relationship. I mean, we're thinking about and you've got the marketing team on one side, the sales team on the other side. And you know that even though the two should have the same goals, yeah, there is a lot of a lot of fighting and a lot of, you know, just, yeah, non productive conversations and discussions. And it's, it's finger pointing, how do you feel like you can first of all just change the tone of that relationship? And such that it becomes, you know, becomes a more impactful type of situation versus adversarial. I think, you know, that's important. Any ideas or thoughts around what you've seen work well there?
Max Cohen 35:46
Yeah, totally. So I've worked with tons of marketing and sales teams that have had this issue like, almost I don't want to say everyone, but like, almost every single customer that I worked with, when I was doing implementation When I asked them, What's your relationship look like with your sales team, they would say, there is no relationship, right? And where they interact with their sales team was like, they'd say, okay, we get all these leads. And at the end of the day, or at the end of the week, we just email them over to sales, and then it kind of goes into a black hole, we don't really know what happens, right? So when you do that, when there's like, when the only relationship between marketing and sales is like, sending over leads, and there isn't like a huge level of communication there. That's where a lot of like the either like resistance or animosity, I think comes from, right, because if you think about the marketing team, they're just like, oh, we're doing all of this work to like, capture all these leads and send them over to sales. And we have no idea what's happening to them. Right. And that creates a lot of friction for the marketing team, because ultimately, they're trying to justify everything that they're doing and all the time and effort and resources and energy that they're spending. You know, they're trying to To be able to quantify, like, how is that having an impact on the bottom line?
How is it actually having an impact on sales? How is it actually impacting our sales team, our sales process and ultimately the amount of customers that we're generating, so on and so forth? That gets even tougher when you're trying to deploy an Inbound strategy in a company that's never done Inbound before? Because the higher ups are gonna be like, why are you making all this content? Why are you spending so much time blogging? Why are you spending so much time on social media and you stop sending out direct mail and like all this other stuff that we're used to doing? So there's, they're like, I think the animosity from the marketing side comes from that place of like, I don't know what's happening to these leads. And I'm also just getting a lot of pressure from up top because we're going into this new world of how we're marketing our company, right? From the sales team perspective, I think a lot of the animosity comes from like, oh, we're getting all these leads, and most of them are garbage. Right? And like we're calling a lot of people, they like, you know, didn't know sales was reaching out to them. They didn't expect that their information was going to be given to a sales rep. They didn't, you know, want to talk to a sales rep right. And, you know, maybe they're not a high quality lead.
So like I use the example of, you know, there's a lead scoring is something that I recently made a video of. And you know, I've seen a lot of like businesses trying to use this, like lead scoring model of using one single number to measure, you know, how good of a fit someone is versus how engaged they are, right? So like, maybe they're sending leads over to these folks with like these numerical lead scores, and they're high, but like, sometimes sales teams would say, like, well, this person was very engaged, but they were like a student doing research. So like, they're not a good fit for us, or this person had a high score, because they were a really good fit, but they weren't really, you know, engaged with us. And they were just kind of wondering, why are we reaching out in the first place, right? These kinds of mistakes and issues happen when marketing and sales like aren't working closely together? Right. So the question is, is like, how do you bridge that gap? Well, I think like at a very minimum, what you need to do is you need to like approach fixing that relationship with some sort of service level agreement and some Sort of like monthly monthly "smarketing" meetings. So sales and marketing is "smarketing" is how we say sales and marketing alignment.
So I think like that's one of the first things that you can do, right? And a good way to kind of start that conversation out is to start thinking about your marketing qualified leads and your sales qualified leads tightly defining what those are. And then coming up with a determination on like, who's responsible for what, right? So a very basic simple idea of this is like if you're starting to track how many marketing qualified leads that you're getting, which, again, everyone can define this a little bit differently. But the way that I view it is a marketing qualified lead would be someone who's gone through a lot of your content and has given that hand raise to say yes, I'd like to talk to sales, and then it hands over to sales. And then sales qualified leads would be leads that like sales is kind of reviewed, looked over and either further qualified to say, yes, this is a good lead. No, it's not a good lead, right.
So the whole idea was like developing a service level agreement where like people are responsible on both sides for hitting certain metrics like, you know, The responsibility of sales to hit certain amount of deals opened or revenue closed, things like that. But if you can come up with a really good way of defining your marketing qualified leads, and then your sales qualified leads, what you can do is when you have these "smarketing" meetings, right, you can say, hey, sales marketing sent over X amount of qualified or marketing qualified leads, like let's say 100. Okay? And then if sales says, well, only 20 of those marketing qualified leads that you sent over, were marked as sales qualified or like went through our kind of rubber stamp process and said, like, hey, yeah, these are good leads. So what happens there is just by getting a little bit smarter with your metrics, and having open conversations about them, you now like have the ability to tell when marketing and sales are not aligned on what a good lead actually is. And when you can identify that problem. You open up the door for a conversation, which leads to better collaboration between those two teams, right.
So it's like great marketing since we're sending over these leads. They're not quite there, you know, they're not meeting your minimal quality standards, or it's not who you're looking for, why don't we have a better discussion around what a good lead actually is, right? And that fosters a whole ton of collaboration, because every month you're going back to that, you know, "smarketing" meeting, and you're taking a look at how you're moving the needle and changing things in terms of are the leads coming over the leads that sales are actually looking for, right? And I think just like by, you know, getting a little bit smarter about your data, and having a really basic service level agreement, if you don't have one already, right can do wonders for at least kickstarting that relationship with marketing and sales, right? Every business is going to be a little bit different every there you know, you're gonna have marketing teams and sales teams that have you know, a poor history just because they don't talk to each other or a poor history because like one is wrong to the other in the past, but they just don't agree on things fundamentally. But you know, the one thing that I think everyone can get behind is data and thinking about that tactically,
Tyler Lindley 41:57
Max Cohen 41:58
no, I my dogs barking right now. So if you hear a dog in the background,
Tyler Lindley 42:02
no worries. I mean, to summarize what you just said, what I heard there, how would you set up this you know, marketing and sales alignment within your organization. First of all, you need to talk you need to have a Smarketing meeting on a regular basis, weekly, bi weekly, monthly, whatever works, you need to have a clear definition of what a marketing qualified lead and a sales qualified lead is and make sure that both groups are aligned on those definitions. And then there needs to be some type of service level agreement as to how the two teams are going to communicate with each other and, and the responsibilities of who's going to handle what did I summarize that right? Did I leave anything off Max?
Max Cohen 42:39
Yeah. No, that's, that's correct. And like the one thing I would sort of add to that, right is, if that relationship is going to be built, because someone from the top looks down and told you to do that, and the relationships not going to start because it feels forced, right? What I would tell any marketer or any sales folks or any salespeople All right, anyone that like manages a sales team or even if you're like an individual sales rep at a smaller company, and you're either like a marketing director or even if you're just like a, you know, an entry level marketer, that's like running social media or something like that. It's much better if you can just come to the conclusion that, hey, obviously, a better relationship with my sales or by marketing team is going to have good benefits for my performance and what we're trying to do as a company.
I'd say if those teams, it's much better for you to like, reach out horizontally and say, like, Hey, we genuinely want to work together better, versus in like taking the proactive steps to do that, versus just having it come from like a direction from up above because then you're just like, Alright, Mom and Dad are putting us in the same room so we can work out our differences, versus Hey, marketing, extended the olive branch to us because they genuinely want to work together better or, you know, vice versa. Right. So I think it's really important for those teams to come to that conclusion that like, you're just gonna have a much better time. If you have a better relationship with that organization versus waiting for someone else to see the poor performance and realize that's the issue and then tell you to do it like without either one of you, you know, initiating that relationship.
Tyler Lindley 44:10
Yeah. No, I totally agree. Yeah, I think it means a lot more when it comes from which at the end of the day, if I am a sales leader or individual sales rep, or I'm a marketing leader, or individual marketing contributor, I should want to I should want to reach across the aisle I should understand the library my success depends on the sales team actually closing some of those deals and and so to know that I can't create all the deals myself, I need help from marketing. So if the two can get aligned, at least on the fact that we're in this together, we have the same goals. I think it does lead to better conversations. So
Max Cohen 44:45
You can't celebrate if you don't collaborate, collaborate first. Yeah, celebrate later.
Tyler Lindley 44:50
I like that. I like that. Is that your personal slogan? Or where did you get that?
Max Cohen 44:53
I just made it up.
Tyler Lindley 44:56
It's good. It should go on a bumper sticker. That might be the title of this podcast episode. As I've said, so yeah,
Max Cohen 45:02
there you go.
Tyler Lindley 45:03
Well, I'd love to wrap up here today like to do a quick lightning round with a few questions that I like to ask most to guests. And then we can let them let everybody know where, where they can find you so well so kind of get into the lightning round a little bit Max, what is one software tool or app, whether on your phone or on your computer that you couldn't live without?
Max Cohen 45:25
Yeah, so the one that I use on a day to day even like a second to second basis almost is the Home app on the iPhone. So the Home app is basically an app that lets you connect all of your different smart home devices to so think of like Home Kit security cameras or different locks that you have on the door all your lights if you got like Hue lights or any other you know, smart home connected device, and it's just great because like I am a serial offender or repeat offender when it comes to going to bed. And leaving every single light on in the house, right? So instead of like going around and flicking everything and turning everything off, I can simply go into bed, realize I left all the lights on and then just tell Alexa or open up my phone and tell Siri to close, you know, to shut off all my lights and turn everything off. That way. I don't have to like get up and walk around and do it like a Neanderthal. So yeah, the Home app is like I use that 1000 times a day. Yeah,
Tyler Lindley 46:22
now that technology has come a long way. So it's great. Yeah, next question. What one book had a big impact on your life or your career?
Max Cohen 46:31
Cool, so actually got a good one for that. So it would be "Dude, You're Gonna Be a Dad" which is a I'd forgotten about this one earlier when we talked about it, but "Dude, You're Gonna Be a dad." It's basically just like a small paperback book that just prepares first-time dads for being dads. I've got a one year old daughter Her name is Eliza. She's just the all the brightness and the joy of my life. She's amazing. But like I had no idea what to expect to be a dad for the first time. You know the the book kind of took you through all the stages of like pregnancy and really helped you kind of get into the mind of like what your partner's thinking about and what they're experiencing and I gotta tell you that it it was accurate at an extremely creepy level so if there any first time dads out there and you know you have no idea what to do because you've got a child in your in your future coming up read "Dude, You're Going to be a Dad" It is so helpful. Yeah, I wish I don't read and I read that book. So super grateful.
Tyler Lindley 47:29
That's definitely a big nod if you don't read and you read that book. So yeah, that would have been helpful. I've got a couple of kids myself and I did not get to read that. I feel like I want to go back now and read it. Go back. See, see what I missed. I'm sure I'm sure I missed something that would have been helpful along the way. I know I did too. What is your favorite home cooked meal Max? Whether you're cooking it, someone in your family, but if you were going to have your favorite home cooked meal, what are we eating in your house?
Max Cohen 47:56
Okay, so my my mother in law and my wife are both like amazing cooks they pretty much home cook, literally everything. And I, I want to be so careful with this because if they see this podcast and hear my answer, one of them's gonna get angry, and marketing. They all have their specialties. Yeah, sales and marketing and friction. There's gonna be some mother in law.
Tyler Lindley 48:24
Yeah, you can definitely answer with two answers if you need to.
Max Cohen 48:28
Well, I'm gonna I'm gonna be democratic about this because they both make this okay. All right, there you go. It would be chicken cordon bleu. So they're just really good at making these awesome. I think it's like chicken with like Swiss cheese, and ham. And it's like breaded. And it's just amazing. And like, I hate Swiss cheese, but I love the chicken cordon bleu they make and it is like every single like last bite a chicken is perfect is not I get really freaked out by like, gristle and like weird brains and stuff and meat. So it's perfect every single time. And it's just it's amazing. Awesome. Um, one other like, runner up. My wife made butter chicken a little while ago. And it's like spicy like Indian, like, oh, chicken is the most amazing thing I've ever had my entire life. So to shout out to you, Crystal if you're watching this, but it was just awesome.
Tyler Lindley 49:17
You'll have to share this with her now just to get some brownie points.
Max Cohen 49:20
So what else you got a shout out on the podcast, Yeah
Tyler Lindley 49:22
You're now famous, your podcast famous. So yeah, you could. Next question. If you could go back in time, 10 years ago, from today? What advice would you give yourself, you know, personal or career advice 10 years ago that you know, now that you didn't know 10 years ago? Yeah.
Max Cohen 49:43
So I'd say the biggest thing is like don't "Hey, Max from 10 years ago. Don't let fear paralyze you from like taking positive steps in your life." Right. So like I always struggled with, like just fear of like almost anything. I was like a serial over-thinker, I had analysis paralysis like crazy with any sort of big decisions I've made in my life. And like, yeah, I wouldn't take steps either in my career or my personal life or, you know, really with anything else, just because like, I was totally paralyzed by the fear of like, failing, or getting it wrong, or not being good at something. And, you know, that's something that like, over the years, I've kind of learned to get over, like, I still struggle with it just a little bit. But like, the thing is, is like, on the other side of like, fear is growth, right? And you don't grow as a human without like, getting the hell out of your comfort zone. And, you know, finding those things that scare you and just experiencing them face on or head on. Just because like, that's, that's where you're gonna find true growth. So, I just, you know, tell you, hey, like, Don't let the fear stop you from doing anything. There's only good stuff on the other side of that fear wall that you're facing. And, you know, I give that advice to anyone watching this podcast. Yeah,
Tyler Lindley 50:55
that's awesome. No great advice there. Finally, you know, where can people find you online Max?
Max Cohen 51:00
Yeah, I'd say so right now probably the best place would be just to connect with me on LinkedIn. I also have a YouTube channel the YouTube channels just Max Jacob Cohen. But yeah, connect with me on LinkedIn. That's where I'm posting like a lot of my content, my random thoughts I have about Inbound like whenever I have in there even like the good old Inbound meme every once in a while, I've been been trying to flex my LinkedIn meme game, which I don't know how well received it is, but I'm trying to put as much content up there as I can. So like I definitely say LinkedIn and YouTube probably going to be the best place. Awesome.
Tyler Lindley 51:31
Perfect. And we will link to those LinkedIn and YouTube links in the show notes. So if anybody wants to check those out, it's thesaleslift.com. So, Max, I just want to say thanks so much. Appreciate. Appreciate your time today. It's been a great interview. We'll definitely have you back on at some point. But I hope our audience has got a lot out of this conversation. I know I have personally, but really appreciate you joining the show.
Max Cohen 51:53
Awesome. Thank you, Tyler. That was super fun. And yeah, I'm looking forward to doing another one eventually. that was great. We'll do again Later.
Tyler Lindley 52:01
Thank you so much for listening to today's show. You can find all the links discussed and the show notes at thesaleslift.com That's the t-h-e sales s-a-l-e-s lift l-i-f-t.com Have questions for me? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to seeing you back here next week. And we hope today's show brings you the sales lift your business needs. Remember, ideas plus action equals results. You've got new ideas. Now it's time to take action and the results will follow. See you next time.
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