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Transcript: Why You Should Have A Smarketing Team (EP29)


Intro (with music): Welcome to The Culture of Things podcast with Brendan Rogers. This is a podcast where we talk all things, culture, leadership and teamwork across business and sport.


Hello, everybody. I'm Brendan Rogers, the host of The Culture of Things podcast. This is Episode 29.

Today, I'm talking with Peter Strohkorb. Peter is the Owner and Director of Peter Strohkorb Advisory.

After 20+ years in the corporate sector, working for companies like Sony, 3M, Canon, Computer Sciences Corporation and Dell, Peter wanted a change. He had experienced a number of mistakes that small, medium and large businesses make when trying to accelerate their sales results. So, he set himself a task to develop and offer solutions to remedy these mistakes.

Hence, he founded his advisory service specialising in sales acceleration and Smarketing for the tech, IT and Services sector in Australia, USA, Asia Pacific and Europe.

Peter has developed a structured Sales & Marketing productivity framework to help your sales and marketing resources work together more effectively. This approach drives sales, revenue growth, enhances your customer experience and lifts employee engagement.

Peter is the author of two books: The OneTEAM Method -- How to Boost Big Business & Smarketing -- Sell Smarter, Not Harder. He's a Non-Executive Director sitting on several company advisory boards and is a graduate from the Macquarie Graduate School of Management and Australian Institute of Company Directors.

The focus of our conversation today is Smarketing -- how sales and marketing must collaborate and work as a team to achieve success.

Peter, welcome to The Culture of Things podcast.

Peter Strohkorb: Thank you, Brendan. It’s great to be here.

Brendan Rogers: Mate, let's dive straight into this. This is a really for me, an interesting topic because we've talked a lot about culture and teamwork and performance on The Culture of Things podcasts. That's the nature of what we talk about, but this is taking a slightly different slant on things we're talking that, but in relation to sales and marketing, working together as a team. So, how about just to start, give us a bit of an overview of your journey in this corporate sector, and what's brought you to where you are today and really what drove you to love this sort of sales and marketing sector.

Peter Strohkorb: Look, thanks, Brendan. And thanks for the great intro as well. You've basically said everything. Look, just to answer your question, as I said, I've spent 20 years in the corporate sector working for some very large organisations, and it just bugged me that no matter where I went, there was a real disconnect between the sales team and the marketing team. And one of my clients gave me this line. He said that, “There's a disconnect between sales and marketing, and the larger the organisation, the larger the gap.” And it's really true. Once they become big, and they have a separate team of marketers versus separate team of sales people and sales leaders, it's just phenomenal how they stopped talking to each other.

So, what I did was I thought, “This is such a common problem. There must be a common solution to it.” And I spent actually quite a few months, like six months researching online whether there's any specific structured programs to resolve the situation. And I found none.

Then I've reached out to, Neil Rackham, you might know Neil, he’s the inventor of Spin Selling. This is going back to last century now, but he's still around, and I asked him, because he's such a seasoned professional in that space. And he said, “No. Most people just have the CEO say, ‘Guys, just work it out just to collaborate better’”. You know, but there's no structured program. And so, I felt that because this is such a ubiquitous problem that I need to create a structured program for it. That's how I developed the Smarketing and the OneTEAM Method programs. And I made it the subject of my first and second book.

Brendan Rogers: I guess what I just want to point out, there are so many people, we come across these problems, you know, you saw this problem in sales and marketing and the disconnect, the silos, I guess we could say, and as the organisation got bigger, it got worse, but what was it for you that, you know, a lot of people will see things, but they won't actually do anything about it. They'll just maybe complain a little bit more. You've taken some actions. So, there must be something around sales and marketing that you really, you know, is driving that passion to actually resolve this issue. And for you to add value to organisations in this area.

Peter Strohkorb: Yeah. Well, Brendan, it's simple. It's because I lived through it during my twenty years. I spent time as a sales leader and as a marketing leader and it was terrible how when I was on the sales side, how marketing didn’t really support our objectives and didn't really give us the tools that we needed to be successful yet when I was in marketing, we tried really hard to give the salespeople what they needed, but they just didn't care really because they had lost so much faith prior to me coming on board as a marketer. In marketing, they just thought, “Oh, we'll do it ourselves. Thanks very much.” And so, this really created a terrible environment of an atmosphere of finger-pointing and blame-shifting that was really destructive to the culture of the organisation. And that's really what I'm trying to remedy the impact that it has on people and on the performance of businesses.

Brendan Rogers: How about you now tell us, this term, Smarketing, which you've trademarked. So sales and marketing coming together and working as a team, what is Smarketing?

Peter Strohkorb: Well, it's basically bringing the two disciplines back together again, to help them collaborate for mutual benefit. And I talk about that everybody wins. If sales lets marketing know what they need to perform better from them, then, marketing can make a much better informed decision in terms of what collateral, what product, what media, what events to provide that actually help sales to connect with their target audience. At the same time that material gets shared between sales and the customer, and sales gets immediate feedback from the customer in terms of what they like, what they don't like, so why wouldn't they feed it back to marketing and say, “Look, this is what the customer liked about this podcast or this white paper.” And then, marketing again can make a much better informed decision in terms of how to support sales. Equally, marketing does market research and customer surveys. And then, it should feed back that feedback back to sales as well so that sales can have a better sales engagement with the audience. And so, what I say is that if marketing helps sales and sales helps marketing to do better, everybody wins. Marketing wins, sales wins, and the customer wins because they get a much better and more consistent customer experience from both the sales side and the marketing side.

Brendan Rogers: Mate, it makes perfect sense in what you're saying to me. Do you want to just define, I guess in the normal sense, how people, you know, what is sales and what is marketing and then how do you connect these two together to actually achieve what you've just spoken about?

Peter Strohkorb: Yeah. Look, that's a really good point you're making there because a lot of people don't know the difference between sales and marketing. They call it marketing when they mean sales and they call it sales when they mean marketing. But to me, the reason I call it Smarketing is that I actually don't like the idea of us categorising both disciplines. And you've probably heard of the sales funnel, you know, where we stick leads into the top, and then the leads get nurtured and they get handed over to sales, and then from marketing to sales, and then sales advances them and closes the deal and into the business. That is a linear process that just says, “Oh, it starts off with marketing and it gets handed over to sales and then sales brings home the bacon,” right?

But really, in this day and age, and particularly since the advent of the buyer's journey with the internet, it should actually be a circular reference because what you want to do is that marketing creates the leads, then they get handed over to sales, but then after the deal is done, then marketing should nurture the client so that they get repeat business and they get referral business as well. So it should actually be a never ending circle of collaboration.

And that's why I called it Smarketing. In the traditional sense, marketing understands the market, it understands the products and services that we're offering, it then aims to match the services to the market and puts the message out there so that the market understands that we exist in terms of if a customer is looking for a particular service that they can find us, but it should also help to support salespeople with the right collateral and media to help them reach out to their ideal prospects so proactively and engage them in a business conversation. Whereas, it's not up to marketing to then close the transaction, that's up to sales. So in the traditional sense, marketing should prepare the ground for the salespeople to then succeed them. And I say that marketing really exists to create an environment where sales can occur.

Brendan Rogers: You're a pretty logical guy and every time we speak, I think, “Peter’s pretty logical”. And what you've just explained to me, in my mind is very logical. So the question that comes out is why wouldn't people do what you're saying, bring sales and marketing together?

Peter Strohkorb: That's another really good question. And it comes down to not logic, but people. And what I mean by that is that there's a real inertia in a lot of businesses and particularly, in large business. That's basically based on the seven most dangerous words in business. And the seven most dangerous words in business are, “We have always done it this way”. And you know, it's very hard to change an organisation once they used to the way that they conduct themselves. So when I reach out to salespeople and say, “I'd like to help you work better with marketing”, they go “Mate, I’ve got the end of the month coming up, or the end of the quarter”. “I don't have time to talk to marketing. You talk to marketing, right?” And then, when I talk to marketing people, they go, “Oh no, no. Everything's fine here. We're working really well with sales. We’re already aligned so there's nothing to see here.”

So there's a lot of denial out there. And the trick to overcome that denial, which I think is the crux of your question, is to help my customers see that they can do so much better if they stopped being in denial and actually started doing something. The key to that is that I help them, I let themselves discover that they can do better. I don't go to them and say, “Look, you've got a problem. Let me help you fix it.” Or even worse, “Let me show you what you need to do.” (Laughing) People get their backs up, right? And they go, “Oh, no no. Here's this guy from outside my business, tells me how to run my business. What would he know?” So if I can help you to go on a journey of discovery and find out how you can do better yourself and actually help you make it your idea, then that helps everybody. And that's why I've created this multi-step program that actually leads with a bit of self-discovery first.

Brendan Rogers: When you hear these words that you mentioned, “We have always done it this way,” what do you do? Do you run the other way, or do you like tackle this head on and what do you do about it? Where does that self-discovery process start?

Peter Strohkorb: If you rely on an individual, either on the sales side or on the marketing side to drive organisational change, behavioural change and even cultural change, you’re on a bit of a hiding to nowhere. Where do sales and marketing come together is wherever they report up to. So if you have a combined head of sales and marketing, which is something that I advocate in organisations, because then you have one person that understands both well, hopefully understands both disciplines and has an interest at heart to have them work more collaboratively. Then, you talk to the Head of Sales and Marketing. But if there's a separate Head of Sales, say a National Sales Manager or a CRO or a Sales Director and the Head of Marketing, then they would both report into this, either the COO or the CEO. And really, wherever they come together, whether it's the CEO or the Head of Sales and Marketing, they need to make a decision that they want to do better. You know, I can lead the horse to water; I can't make them drink. That's where I aim for them to have a bit of a self-discovery so they can go, “Wow, I didn't know that. We can actually do much better. These will be the positive business outcomes if we do that. And here's how we can go about it. And by the way, it was my idea. So I'm looking good now.”

Brendan Rogers: It's a good point, mate. And that self-discovery, again, just tapping into that, I understand what you're saying about going to the connecting point. You know, whether that's a CEO, whether that’s a Sales and Marketing Manager, Director, whatever, what process do you follow or line of questioning to really get them moving on that self-discovery process? ‘Cause it's really, again, you referred to the word change. It's a real change management and a really change of mindset. Like I said, going back to a question, we've always done it this way. That's a real challenge to do it. So can you talk us through a little bit about how that works for you and what you do to start that change of mindset process?

Peter Strohkorb: Yeah, absolutely. And actually, I avoid the word change when I talk about Smarketing. I'm just mentioning it to you because it's just the two of us here, right. (Laughing)

Brendan Rogers: (Laughing) I think so.

Peter Strohkorb: I talk about, “How can you do better? How can you lift sales performance? How can you lift marketings performance and how can you lift the customer experience as well?” So you've got to bring it back to some quite practical things that you can do. And what could you look at in an organisation and so that you could say, “Duh, why aren't we doing that already?” And for that purpose, and again, talking about the self-discovery, I've actually got a free Smarketing checklist that's available on my website. If you look at the Smarketing tab at www.peterstrohkorb.com and scroll about halfway through, and then, there'll be the marketing test that you can do just by yourself, for yourself, without me, free of charge. You don't need to leave your email address or anything there. And it asks you a few simple questions and you just answer them with yes or no and you get your Smarketing score. I encourage any one of your listeners to go to www.peterstrohkorb.com/smarketing and to have a look at this test.

And the questions that it asks, for example, are, “Is it easy for the salesforce to find specific marketing collateral?” Yes or no? Or “Marketing has a good understanding of what marketing material is being used by the high-performing sales people and how they use it.” “Marketing has insight into the sales forecast.” “Marketing consults with sales in the creation and management of sales lead generation campaigns.” Yes or no? So, I'm just asking some very simple questions about, “Are you doing this currently?” And the outcome I'm looking for is that, “We're not doing that currently, but it makes sense. Why aren't we doing it?” And so, I want them to have this, as I keep calling it self discovery, where they go, “What else don’t I know? What else should I look out for? Oh, let’s ask Peter.” That's the trick then for them to be their idea to want to know more. As I said before, I can lead the horse to the water, but they've got to drink . And I can't go and say, “You're doing everything wrong. Let me show you how to do it.” That just doesn't work. I need to take these baby steps to introduce them to the subject and say, “Why should I even be interested? What's in it for me? What's the outcome?” And the outcome is that firstly, your business will improve, your sales will improve, your profits will go up, and it'll be a much nicer working environment because everybody collaborates instead of pointing their finger. But also, if it was my idea and I'm improving the business, it makes me look good personally. So, there's something in it for the organisation, as well as something in it for me as a person and as an employee.

Brendan Rogers: I just want to stick on this self-discovery side, but I want to point the finger at you a little bit. You mentioned earlier that, you know, you've been sales and marketing. You've got enormous experience in that space. And that says that like any of us, we've all screwed up a bit. So, in your own journey of self-discovery, and what's brought you to putting Smarketing and the OneTEAM Method together, tell us a bit about your own screw-ups.

Peter Strohkorb: Oh, where do I start? When I met the marketing team of a very large multinational organisation in the tech sector, we thought we wanted to work more collaboratively with the sales force. And the sales force were on one level in this high rise building and the marketing team is on another level. So the problem was that we wouldn't even meet in the hallway. You know, we were actually separated through physical distancing. So, we wanted to come up. We, as a team, as a marketing team, we wanted to come up with a way that we could better interact with marketing. And we started out with a bit of ideation, “What if? How could we go about it?” And because we wanted to make it a team exercise, we said, “Okay, let's work together as a team on a mind map, just to put all the aspects and perspectives into one picture that we could then plan around and address.”

And we created this mind map and it was pretty large because, you know, we got lots of input from lots of different people and the bubbles were there. And you know what a mind map looks like, right? The central theme in the middle and then you have the supporting themes on the outside and then the sub-themes again. And so, it blows out from one big bubble in the middle to ever smaller bubbles the further out you go. And we took this to the sales team, to the sales leaders, and who said, “Oh, great. You want to collaborate better with sales? That's great.” But then, when they showed it to their reports, so the sales leader showed it to the sales reps, the reps were uninitiated. That was a mistake that we didn't actually introduce them to the journey, but just showed them what we have done and what they did was this. (Laughing)

I was quite offended at the time, but now, I can laugh about it. They said, “Mate, does this look like a whole bunch of sperm?” (Laughing) And, you know, and we were so disheartened because we put our heart and soul into this thing, saying, “We really want to help. You know, here's us putting ourselves on a map.” And they go, blah! Like I said, I can laugh about it now. At the time, I was pretty horrified.

Brendan Rogers: What was your learning you took from that mate on reflection?

Peter Strohkorb: Well, don't rely on any leader to introduce the subject on their own to their reports. Make it part of the program, that there is an introduction into what we're doing, why we're doing it, what's in it for you and what are the steps. So, don't just say, “Mate, can you show this to your guys and tell us what they think?” If you want to stop doing things the way we've always done it, then you've got to say, “Why.” And you've got to promise a benefit that once they get through that exercise, through that journey, that there will actually be a better outcome at the end of it.

And it's the same thing that they need change management. If you get a new CRM system, people will be reluctant to use it if it's imposed on them. Whereas introduced as a tool, that's not going to be big brother to the sales reps, but will actually be a sales support tool, then they'll embrace it. If they feel like it's going to make them redundant, because “all my secrets and all my conversations and all my contacts will be in the CRM, and if I leave organisation, I can't take them with me” or “they will stay there”. Then, I'll be more inclined to say, “Look, I'm not telling you anything because that's my IP. And that's my job security right there.” So, unless you tell people why they should do it and what's in it for them before you do it, it's not gonna happen.

Brendan Rogers: I think that leads nicely into, I guess our next section we want to really talk about, which is teamwork, collaboration around sales and marketing, Smarketing, the benefits and the rewards. Like, why is this so important to you that this is how things look in the sales and marketing area?

Peter Strohkorb: Yeah, of course. There's probably 6 or 7 points that make it worthwhile. And they are, if you get people working together collaboratively, then that creates a much nicer work environment for everybody to thrive in. I'd rather work in an environment where people are trying to help me than where people are trying to point the finger at me and blame me. With that then, you get a much higher caliber of staff joining the organisation because the high performers have a choice of employer. They will go where they can actually shine the most and they can maybe make the most money or they can be the most successful. And of course, in a collaborative environment, they got to be more successful than the one that's more finger-pointing. So, a more collaborative work environment will actually attract a higher caliber of staff. With that then, you get higher productivity and less waste.

With high productivity, less waste and high-caliber staff, you get a better customer experience because the people that talk to the customers will be ones that can deliver the benefits and are competent at dealing with customers. Then, the technology, I mentioned CRM, but it could be marketing automation systems. It could be a content repositories, it could be whatever system will also work better because people actually are using it and are happy to use it and are using it in the right way. So, you get a better ROI on your technology as well. And last, not least, the sum of all these efforts should be that you have more sales, higher revenue and larger profits as well, which you can then reinvest into higher caliber staff and better technology. So, it's actually a virtual circle of collaboration there.

Brendan Rogers: Really good points. And again, the whole teamwork emphasis on that first point you say about working together. A nice environment leads to better quality people attracting higher talent. Just so much of it starts with the people, whether it's sales and marketing, Smarketing, or whether it's anything. To be fair in business, it really is implanted through the people process, isn't it?

Peter Strohkorb: Yeah. Look in my, I talk about this in my book, actually in both books. I talk about the productivity trinity of people, process and technology, but I draw a sort of a Venn diagram, but three bubbles are not the same size. My largest bubble is the people side and then the process, and then the technology, because if you start with the people element and get them on to the same page, get them to agree that this is worth going through, the rest will be so much easier. And I've worked for North American companies and for Japanese companies and the way that they bring change into an organisation is vastly different. The Americans do it by a top-down approach. So, somebody at head office decides that this change is happening and then push it through the organisation. And they sort out the resistance and everything else as they go along. Whereas the Japanese do it the other way around. They seek consensus first and then implement. So there's pros and cons to both. In the Western system, the decision gets made very quickly, but the implementation takes longer. Whereas in the Eastern system, the decision takes a long time to be made. But then, the implementation is really smooth because everybody's already on board.

Brendan Rogers: I understand that there may be pros and cons of each one, but where does the balance sit? If you're in the Western side of the world, then, you know, that sort of top-down approach, you can do that. But people don't always follow in those foot steps when that happens too much. But then the other way, if you're driving consensus all the time, sometimes things don't get done. So, where does the balance it?

Peter Strohkorb: Yeah. Look, it's definitely cultural as you say. But the balance probably sits somewhere in the middle, particularly with Western organisations ‘cause lets face it, we don't like to be told what to do, “You will accept this or else.” Well, that's, you know, that's going to drive consensus, isn't it? So, you should, as I said before, is use the reason for the change and paint a vision of the future after the change has happened, obviously, that the vision must be an improvement on the status quo and what we have today, so that people know, “Okay, I'm going through a bit of pain. I'm going through a bit of change, but I'll actually be better off having gone through it. And therefore, it's worth investing my time and effort into making the change happen.” You gotta bring people on board first, before you make the change. It doesn't work if you impose it on them.

Brendan Rogers: How about you tell us again, you spend a fair bit of time in this game, maybe you can give us one or two success stories, just so people can relate to actually, “This is how it works in real life, in our operation,” then the outcomes from that.

Peter Strohkorb: I'll give you two examples, one from a SME startup and another one from a national corporate organisation. So the SME startup was basically, when I met them was two years old. They work in the energy advisory sector and they had geographically displaced sales and marketing teams so that the marketing team was in Brisbane, the sales team was in Sydney. And they had very low alignment between the two and very low respect between the two, because Sydney would say, “Oh, what would the people in Brisbane know.” And Brisbane tried to tell them, the Sydney people, that they could charge a lot higher prices in Sydney for the services that this company was offering. And as a result of that, the sales targets weren't met and the startup investors were getting a bit antsy. So, they had what you call ‘disenchanted investors’. They're actually getting quite nervous about the investment in this company that they weren’t seeing the returns that they were looking for.

After six weeks of working with the CEO and with the sales and marketing teams, this is how the CEO described the situation after. I'm quoting his exact words. He said, “Thanks to your method. We were able to improve our margins, move into a higher customer segment and record the same amount of sales revenue in two weeks that had previously taken us six months to generate.” So they made more money in two weeks than it did in the previous six months, simply because the two teams were working together more effectively and the reason that they made more in two weeks than in six months, was they got their largest deal ever right after the intervention, right after they went through my method. And it was a big deal in Sydney. And they were charging the higher prices that Brisbane had always demanded that they do, and they got the deal. And that was the largest deal in the history at that time. And it was more than they had generated the previous six months. That goes to show that the problem exists in smaller organisations as well.

And that the method works in SMEs just as much as in multinationals. Speaking of which, I'll talk about this other company. Now, this is a half-a-billion dollar Australian energy company. So, just coincidentally that they're both in the energy sector, it's got nothing to do with the method. They’re large, so they had a separate sales team and a separate marketing team, a sales force that goes both B to B and B to C. And they had a call centre in Tasmania that was completely disengaged from the mainland, but it felt like they were the poor cousins. They were engaged in a weekly phone call, but it was all one way, “You will do this and you will do that.” So I had breakfast with the CEO of this company ‘cause I was introduced to him and he said to me over breakfast, he said, “Peter, there’s something amiss between myself and marketing teams. I don't know. I can't quite put my finger on it, but they're not working together really well.” And so, he said, “Can you have a look at it?” So with support of the CEO, I brought the sales and marketing leaders on to the journey. We did the self-discovery. So we started off with the Smarketing™ test and we did a, what I call a 360° review. And that involves looking at what the sales think of marketing, what does marketing think of sales, and how does it reflect on the customers. What do the customers think of what they see on the website versus what they hear from the rep? So, this is why I called it 360° in the real sense, because it now involves yourself, your marketing teams and your customers. Because if you don't take the pulse of the customer, then listen to the voice of the customers, you're only getting an internal picture. You don't really get the real sentiment at the point of where it matters and with the customer. So that's where the OneTEAM method is very different. It's not just looking at an intra or organisational perspective, it actually takes a holistic perspective in terms of, like the customer, the whole ecosystem.

After that, the CEO decided at my recommendation that they would hire a combined head of sales and marketing. So, a person that would lead up both disciplines. The trick was of course was to find somebody who is competent in both sales and marketing. Because if you get a total sales leader and put marketing under them, they will think that marketing is only good for leads. Whereas, if you have a marketer running a sales team, then they will care more about the brand than about the sales results. So it needs to be somebody that actually is equally versed in both disciplines and understands and can talk to both parties. It took us a little while to find this person, but when the CEO hired this lady who took over the management of both sales and marketing. We worked together for six months. After six months, they had the best ever sales month. They had more engaged staff, happier customers. And this head of sales and marketing has recently been appointed as the CEO of the entire organisation.

Brendan Rogers: There's one thing that really stands out for me. I'm a passionate Queenslander. That first example, it sounds like Queensland won the state of origin battle. Is that right?

Peter Strohkorb: (Laughing) They did. Well, no, it's true ‘cause they had to, they were not very well respected by the New South Wales based sales team. They weren’t believed. They said, “No, Sydney is too competitive. There's no way we can charge these prices down here.” But by getting them to talk to each other in a collaborative way and with mutual understanding, they tried out and lo and behold, it succeeded. So yes, it was like Queensland winning the state of origin, but also in a way, New South Wales won as well. That's the outcome that you want to achieve, that both parties gain, both parties feel like they're getting something better, they’re winning.

Brendan Rogers: The moral of the story is that even Queenslanders and New South Welshman can work together really, really well and as a team, and achieve great outcomes.

Peter Strohkorb: Yes. And I had actually not thought of it. (Laughing)

Brendan Rogers: (Laughing) It's probably my sporting competitive nature coming in, mate.

Peter Strohkorb: Yeah. Well, next it will be the Bledisloe Cup, I guess.

Brendan Rogers: Not far away, not far away, not far away. Mate, let's move on. How about you just give us a bit of an overview of the OneTEAM Method, Smarketing, a little bit of detail about what it's about.

Peter Strohkorb: So, it's quite simple. You've got to start with baby steps to bring everybody on the same page. So we start off with this marketing self-assessment test. And as I said, if you go to www.peterstrohkorb.com/smarketing, you’ll find the test there. It will ask you a set of questions. I think there's 8 or 10 questions there and you answer them with yes or no. And it will actually give you your personal Smarketing score. So, this Smarketing™  score is a score out of a hundred points and it tells you how well you are aligned in terms of the sales and marketing efforts. The next thing then is to run this same test across a number of staff on both the sales and the marketing side and to compare who says what? Because it will be interesting, but if you say that “sales consults with marketing prior to setting sales targets”, for example, is one of the questions, “sales consults with marketing prior to setting sales targets”. You kind of say, “Well, that makes sense”. But how often does it happen? If then marketing says, “Yes, we do that,” and sales say, “No, we don’t,” you go, “Why do you think you're not doing it?” or “Why do you think we're doing it when the other party is saying, you're not doing it?”

And that's a conversation starter because you want to get away from Peter’s telling us what to do to say, “Hmm, why aren't we doing that? What's stopping us?” And then, as soon as it's, “Talk about what's stopping us,” you then talk about, “Well, what can we do to stop stopping it?” So the 360° review is really important to start the conversation internally. And then, once you get the feedback from the customer side as well, it becomes a bit of a no-brainer because you go, “Well, if the customers think of it that way, then, of course, it makes total sense for us to change.” Or if the customers can see that it says one thing on the website, but then, when I talk to a sales rep, I get a different story, that's really not an experience I'd like to have. I might exercise my rights and go somewhere else. If you can see that it impacts on the business, the customer’s moving away from us because they had an inconsistent experience, simply because our sales and marketing teams are not working or talking to each other, that's a serious business impact. I don't want that in my business. So you do this 360° degree review. Then, you take the findings from the 360° degree review.

So, from the Smarketing™  side, from the sales side, and from the customer side, and by the way, it must not be just the heads of sales and marketing whose input you seek, it's the frontline salespeople and the frontline marketing people that often have the greatest pain and also have the best ideas in terms of how to overcome it because, let’s face it, they're exposed to it on a daily basis.

So, I find, I get a lot of value actually interviewing more junior people than sometimes interviewing the senior people. So, after you've done that, you take the whole lot of information that you've gathered and you throw everybody into a workshop. And I call it a co-creation workshop for obvious reasons. Because if I have agreed to doing something, it's been created with me, with my input, it actually becomes my solution, a solution that I contributed to. Therefore, I can support this, the implementation of the solution, and I know that if we do it right, everybody will benefit and I will benefit and my counterpart will benefit. I call it a co-creation workshop so that it's clear that we're working on this solution together and we agree on what the solution should be because then in the Eastern culture, the implementation will be so much easier. Nobody will resist it because they've all contributed to it. So the co-creation workshop doesn't need to be bigger than Ben Hur. It can actually, even you can work this thing out in probably less than a week. And then, you decide in the workshop what you're going to do, who's going to do it, and by when are the going to do it.

So, we use some project management principles to then lay out the plan in terms of how we're going to get this Smarketing™ thing on the road and implement it. And then, of course, we step through the implementation process.

Brendan Rogers: It actually sounds like, to me, that some simple things that people could even just implement now or go through a process to start thinking about the sales and marketing process and how it's working or not working and what they've got to do. Just leading that in there, I guess, getting to a close of this conversation today, what piece of advice would you give to leaders out there that have these issues? You know, sales and marketing is not quite working and not quite sure what to put their finger. What could they do? What can they take away now to start to change things for the better?

Peter Strohkorb: They can buy either one of my two books, the OneTEAM Method, or Smarketing -- Sell Smarter, Not Harder. Available at All Good Amazon Stores. And or, they can go and do the five minutes Smarketing™   test at www.peterstrohkorb.com/smarketing. And I actually will offer them a free review session, a free discovery session online or face-to-face if they're not in Victoria, or if you’re in Queensland, I can’t travel up there right now, but seriously, they can go to the website, do the five minutes Smarketing™  test and then get a free discovery call with me to talk about how they could bring Smarketing™ into their organisation. And it's just a conversation starter. It's just to tell them what's available to them, what the benefits are and what that process is that they need to go through and how they can get started.

And by the way, the three-step process that I talked about earlier, and then we have this 360° review, the co-creation workshop and the implementation, they don't have to buy into all that at once. We can just take baby steps and just do a little local review, just so they get some early indication of how big the problem is. And actually, that reminds me, the CEO of the larger energy company, at the time, when I presented the findings of the 360° review to him, he actually said to me, “Oh my God, I had no idea how bad it is.” And then, to his great credit, he said, “The buck stops with me. We're going to fix this.” But it was really an eye opener. He was the head of the organisation, but he had no idea how, at the coalface, at the more junior ranks, how bad things were in terms of finger-pointing or blame-shifting and how they actively disliked each other on a personal level. And it was really poisoning the culture of his organisation. He had no visibility of that ‘cause he had never delved down to that level before. He'd never investigated it to that granularity and that was a real eye-opener for him. And I think it will be a huge eye-opener for a lot of senior executives and CEOs.

Brendan Rogers: You've mentioned a number of times your website through this interview, and you've got some fantastic tools, as you've mentioned that the Smarketing™ questionnaire is a great tool on your website. Lots of different things there. So people can go there. Is there any other ways that you would like people to get hold of you if they want to have a chat?

Peter Strohkorb: It's all on the website how to contact me, but if they just email me at peterstrohkorb@peterstrohkorb.com. That's available to them. They can go to my LinkedIn profile and connect with me. They can look at my webinar channel. They can look at my 164, I think, articles that I’ve written on my LinkedIn profile as well. So, there’s any number of ways that they can get in touch with me. And I'd really welcome them with open arms if they want to reach out.

Brendan Rogers: You live and breathe what you do. I know Smarketing is actually now part of my vocabulary. It's a great little term. And again, everything you said to me today just makes perfect sense and it's so logical, you know, that whole teamwork and collaboration between the sales and marketing arms is just so important to achieve the best results like it is for any team in any organisation with department heads working together, having a common goal and really driving things forward, mate.

So, I just want to say a huge thank you. I really appreciate your time. And thanks for being a guest on The Culture of Things podcast.

Peter Strohkorb: No, thank you, Brendan. But seriously, it was a pleasure to be here. I'm so passionate about it. I hope that came through. And look, it's a journey that's worthwhile, but the journey only starts with a few small steps, so the trick is to get started.

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Smarketing™ is such a simple and logical approach. Bringing two important disciplines together that should be working hand-in-hand in my view is a no-brainer. It's basically creating an environment for teamwork within sales and marketing. That definitely should be a no-brainer. The benefits of Smarketing™ teamwork are clear and was shared by Peter. If people work together collaboratively, it creates a better work environment. This will encourage a higher caliber of people to join the company, which will lead to higher productivity and less waste resulting in a better customer experience. Also, technology will work better because people will use it and understand the benefits of using it leading to more sales, higher revenue and larger profits, which in turn, you can reinvest in people, process and technology.

These were my three key takeaways from my conversation with Peter.

My first key takeaway. A common goal will remove silos. Silos in organisations are really the antichrist of teamwork. The concept of Smarketing brings sales and marketing together and provides the opportunity for these two disciplines to work together as a team. Having a leader responsible for the Smarketing department and driving a common goal creates greater collaboration and will remove silos.

My second key takeaway. Leaders guide and coach self-discovery. Peter said it a number of times. It's not about him telling leaders what to do. It's about taking them on a journey of self-discovery, getting them to realise what they can do better and how they can do it. When this point is reached, coaching through questions provides a level of engagement and ownership where change has a greater chance of success.

My third key takeaway. People are always the most important. As I prefer to say, look after the right people and the right people will look after your business. Peter talked about what he calls the productivity trinity - people, process and technology - with people being the most important cog in Smarketing. Show genuine care for people. They will feel valued and anything can be achieved. Even if a change seems logical like Smarketing, it's people and ego that can stop it happening.

So, in summary, my three key takeaways were: a common goal will remove silos, leaders guide and coach self-discovery, people are always the most important.

If you have any questions or feedback about this episode, please feel free to send me a message at brendan@brendanrogers.com.au.

Thank you for listening. Stay safe. Until next time.


Outtro (music): Thank you for listening to The Culture of Things podcast with Brendan Rogers. Please visit brendanrogers.com.au to access the show notes. If you love The Culture of Things podcast, please subscribe, rate and give a review on Apple podcasts and remember a healthy culture is your competitive advantage.