The Sales Engagement Podcast
The Sales Engagement Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

Go-to-Market Collaboration w/ Marketing, Sales, & Product w/ Ashley Estilette


If you’re selling complex software, you need sales, marketing, and product teams that both match that complexity and match each other.

You need go-to-market collaboration across teams. But how?

In this episode, I interview Ashley Estilette, CMO at Mitratech, about developing a Scrum Team to raise the bar on go-to-market collaboration.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Paying attention to how the 3 teams look, act, and feel together
  • Being obsessive about your focus
  • Crafting a winning Scrum/Tiger team
  • Building a culture based on trust

For more engaging sales conversations, subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.

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Welcome to the sales engagement podcast. This podcast is brought you by outreach, the leading sales engagement platform, and they just launched outreach on outreach, the place to learn how outreach well does outreach? Learn how the team follows up with every lead in record time after virtual events and turns them into revenue. You can also see how outreach runs account based plays, manages reps and so much more using their own sales engagement platform. Everything is backed by data pulled from outreach processes and customer base. When you're done, you'll be able to do it as good as they do. Head to outreach Doo on outreach to see what they have going on. Now let's get into today's episode. Hello and welcome back everyone to the sales engagement podcast. Thank you, as always, for letting us through your drums for the next thirty minutes or so, as I always, we've got a great conversation aligned up. I am joined by Ashley Ashley is the VP of integrated marketing. Astley. Welcome, Hey, thank you so much, gout. Excited to be here, super excited to to have you, and I do this all of the time. Is I have to ask this question. While we're recording instead of doing it after is it Astley? It's still letty. Is Am I pronouncing that right? It cool as to let and and you sin. Yes, you can blame my blame my Cajun husband for that. It's a it's a great name. Just at that tricky but to pronounce. But excited to have you here. We were joking earlier that I have a pressure Washer somehow right outside my office right now and your lawn guy just showed up. So if there's any noise that you hear, listeners just to ignore it. It's part of part of life sometimes. But actually for the the listeners. I always like it to...

...give some contexts on what we're going to talk about in a little bit about your your backgrounds. I usually frame it up as what's your superhero origin story? How did you get to become a VP at such a cool come? I love it. So I started off early in my marketing career. Back in college. I actually thought I was going to be a journalist. Love to write. Used to pray for essay questions in College, which sounds insane, but did one internship very early on and with a daily newspaper. Realize there was absolutely no way that I was going to be a journalist and so found myself kind of trying to figure out what my what my first role was going to be outside of college trips, my way a little bit into marketing. I think it was a combination of being able to write well, really liking the kind of multitasking that happens in marketing. You neuet to do a lot of different things at the same time and then probably just, you know, a lot of writing. So I loved love content. Obviously, so spence. Some of my early career with some engineering construction firms. Really loved it. Did some proposal writing, which I always say gave me my first case of working with a whole bunch of teams and sort of really understanding how critical it is for Cross collaboration. You know, when you're writing a huge, massive proposal, you you've got engineering, you've got estimating, you've got safety, you've got quality. I mean just, you know six, seven, eight sort of internal functions that you're trying to all rally together. And so I think really early on my career I sort of developed this this passion for making sure that everybody was on the same page and everybody had a lot of visibility into what everyone else is working on and then, you know, just got recruited a little bit into part of my careers, always been an energy get recruited into more of the software and analytics side the business and then went through a couple acquisitions and and that sort of a name of the game where I'm at now. I love it. That's awesome. I find writing... such a sometimes overlooked skill that can be such a foundational skill for sales, for marketing everything. If you double down and like really take a course on writing or do anything, the gains you see from that are pretty incredible. Right. It is the main form of communication that we have in business, so if he can do it well, it's a huge advantage. Yeah, a hundred percent, totally totally agree. Content strategies are are just going to become bigger and bigger deals. I think totally so. Almost was a journalist. I was right there with you praying for say questions as well. I loved that Nice, I love I love doing that. Do you have a everyone has a favorite essay they've written and I bet you still remember what it was. Do you have a favorite essay and what was the topic? So all, I don't know that there was a favorite essay, but there was a favorite project that I did in journalism school as my senior year, and it was the first time that I got a real taste of how to sort of watch something and then how to how to kind of regurgitate and right back what you saw. And so our professor played a twenty minute clip of a riot and asked us, after we watch the whole twenty minute clip, we could take notes, ask us to then sort of objectively write a article on on what we saw. And obviously, you know you can't can't really interject any opinion, you know, no adjectives. I mean it has to be very sort of fact based on what you remember, and that just that whole exercise was really was really eye opening and impactful to me to kind of have to go through that and remember for certain things than really take, you know, great notes and and keep things very objective. So it was really cool, totally. I don't you almost have to completely change your way of thinking, because I feel like we always add our own meaning to things and...

...everything and once it becomes abjective a totally different way. I think that's cool. Thanks for sharing that all right. So, switching gears a little bit. What we wanted to spend some time talking about, and I really think this is an important conversation now more than ever, and it's the importance of go to market collaboration through marketing, sales and also product and when we were talking about this episode, I think the lightbulb moment for me is like hey, that, yeah, that's what we should talk about. Was this analogy that you use, and I think it's a perfect place to maybe kick us off. You want to share that analogy with the let's sense of that. It was great. Yeah, so the analogy I always think about when I think of product, sales and marketing sort of coming together is you can't sell a Ferrari in a toilta parking lot with, let's say, you know, a KIA sales guy. And none of those things are better or worse than the other, but the point is none of them go together. And so, you know, I always think about in the software world, if you're selling a really complex, sophisticated software, your sales team better also sort of acts the part right like you want to have a really complex, you know, a still seem to understand what that product. Does they sort of look the part, acts apart, talk the part, and the same thing with your marketing. It's hard to say you're this big high tech company if you're at a trade show handing out paper brochures or you know. So you just kind of have to those things in order to have that really consistent, buttoned up brand and go to market. I think you really really have to pay attention to how those three things sort of look, act and feel together and is that really consistent? I really like that one and really resonate with it. I mean it just when that's not the case, your kind of buyers having this like cognitive dissonance all the time. somethings just like, why is this? What do I feel odd, you know, as they're going through...

...the yeah, the journey, things just stop adding up and that's when I think, you know, deal slow down or you lose momentum. Exactly, exactly. So what are some ways that you've seen to get everyone speaking the Toyota language or speaking the Ferrari language? Where do you start? And I can tell you from from my experience at at out, which we're growing super super fast and right we're adding, you know, forty new people a week and to make sure if all the new people and everyone and all everything that's evolving. It's no easy tas stuff. Yeah, what are some of the things you think about at the beginning, maybe when you're first trying to get people alive? Yeah, so there's a couple of things. One I'd say you know, at the very, very beginning you almost have to as you know, in executive leadership team, even as sort of you know, management teams involved in a in a go to market, I think you have to almost have this obsessive nature about your focus and your priorities. People do it a lot of different ways. One of the good examples that we've done in the past is, and this used to be a really big buzz word, but the the whole process around scrum. So software developers do it a lot right, and it's a way to it's a way to get a very small team together. I think that's the key. So, you know, if you've got forty people that need to get up to speed, you sort of start with that really small tiger team, that scrum team, and it's making sure that that team is hyper, hyper focused on all the right parties. And what's cool about a scrum process is. You know, you set up those short sprints and so you could decide, hey, this team is going to meet for fifteen minutes every single day. Some days it might be five minutes, some days you might take off this team, but it's that constant, constant iteration and alignment. That way, if if something else comes up, you're sort of always in touch with each other to make sure that you can rapidly pivot. So those are, you know, I think. I...

...think having that my optic focus on priorities and then having a really a really tight team that is sort of the EP, the center of what's being executed on and constantly together, constantly able to pivot quickly. Let's call a little bit more into detail on this, this idea of scrubbs. I know you mentioned earlier offline that you just you just ran one. If I'm a sales leader listening to this or a marketing leader listening to this, m what does that actually look like, other than just do I just get three to four people together at random? Are they all working on the same project? Are they working on different projects? And it's more about accountability. Walk me through how you've set it up. Yeah, so it's probably a little bit different by Org, but I'd say you know the age old saying of if you're going to eat an elephant, to it one bite at a time. So that's sort of the idea behind scrum. So, you know, if you've got a really big product launch or a really big initiative, that's a great project to sort of apply the scrum approach to. One of the things that I always think about is, you know, you've got sales, marketing and product people. These are all people that know how to sell, they know how to position. So one of the things I was like to do when I'm putting together a scrum team is think about who are you're almost champions or influencers in your different teams in the company, if those are going to be the people that are going to not just help you develop the project or initiative sort of at hand, but they're going to be sort of the microphone that then goes out and and help evangelize it and get a bunch of people within the company on board. So I was kind of gage that when I'm I'm looking at the right people to get involved in these kinds of things. Who are the ones that that I think are really going to be able to help me sell some of the stuff internally. HMM. Yeah, that's a great, great point. In if you're listening and you haven't identified those people. They don't even have to be leaders of the company. It's just the people...

...that actually people seem to be like drawn to. They ask for help, and I'm right there with you any any time we're trying to drive an initiative that's maybe outside of someone's typical view. Like an example, we do linkedin takeovers from time to time when we want to, you know, get out information at I when I know exactly who I need to go to on the sales team and as soon as they have something than everyone else will. Yeah, so it's the YEP, exactly kind of idea. I like it. And then I think it's also when we go back to like thinking about this at the beginning. Culture plays a big part in collaboration, right and having those lines open. I think sometimes companies, if they're been a company for a while, or even startups, kind of have these underlying stories. You know, we're a sales first company, where? Or weren't engineering? We're just we're a product focus company, or were we have the best marketing store, marketing focused and it's important to pay attention to those stories and and have them almost debunked right and like trying to try and at least work, work through them. Is that something that that you think about? Yeah, I'd say culture is probably another thing that I'm super, super passionate about. And you know, when you think about one of the Nice things about having if you can get your leadership team or you know, get really organized around what those those real big focus points and priorities are that your whole company's marching toward. One of the things, the sort of concepts that I love is was from Jeff Bezos and he had this approach to Amazon, which is, you know, obviously a vehemous company, that when you get to a certain size in a company, when you can align the whole company behind that vision and...

...then have everybody rallying behind it, you sort of not everyone's going to agree all the time, right, you're going to have, you know, kind of pushing and pulling around certain decisions that are made, but the critical thing was to disagree and commit, and I love that concept of it allows you to continue to move quickly. You know, a lot of companies, especially in sort of the world that I'm living in. You know, software and and technology. These companies are moved having at incredible pieces and you have to have this culture of we're not always going to agree, but we trust each other and we trust our leadership and we trust that vision that we're marching toward. And so it's okay to to disagree and say look, but I'm in it, I trust you, let's go, and I think that kind of helps keep that that momentum so that you don't kind of get bogged down in just, you know, decisionmaking or people not quite sure what's a priority, things like that. I like that. I think it's a great antillity. So to clarify, it's like you can you can disagree, but whatever the decision is, just commit, go all in and at all yeah, yeah, yeah, there is so much wasted energy in like that pushing and a bully when it could be funneled in, yeah, in the actual initiative. All right, so tiger teams, I love it. The disagree, disagree and commit idea. I love it. Culture playing an important role. Another thing I wanted to talk to you about, and maybe it's just curious because I think it's such a difficult thing to do is when, when there's changes in the business and they're big changes, how do you think about disseminating that information? It's always crazy to me when they'll be a new big launch of something and like an entire team doesn't know when they're like yes, you got the emails, yes, you've got things. People are so busy focused on their their day to day and there the guys that it can be hard.

How do you think about disseminating information to a you know, a lot of people at once? Man, and it's such a good question and such a huge challenge right now, I think in covid because you know, before, when maybe more stuff happened in person, now it's even small decisions or small conversations, you're either happen to send an email or catch someone on a zoom call in the midst of their crazy schedule. So you know, I probably don't have a perfect answer. We've found a lot of success as far as disseminating information from kind of the top around vision strategy, what's the company been up to and sort of trying to draw some transparency into that. We've started a monthly strategy call. But actually our executive team does when you could argue, you can argue even doing it more frequently than that. But but it's a pretty robust call where they kind of talk about the latest happenings at their level, how they're seeing things. There's an open Q and a at the end. So so you know where historically company is maybe did that once a quarter. You know kind of did a town hall all hands type. Think I think you know, shifting, to the extent that you can, to some more of a monthly strategy where where all of the employee they feels like they understand what the company's trying to do and where the company's going. In this environment with everyone at home, I think a lot of those conversations are just getting getting sort of lost because we hang up on calls. There's not kind of the water cooler talk. There's not, you know, walking to someone's desk and getting updates on things. So amping that up and then there's a lot of technologies that people can start using too, I think, to to increase communication. We started, you know, creating a couple different calendars that people can access in just in outlook that are really robust at marketing owns that allow us to draw visibility into the things that were executing on, because they're just wasn't wasn't enough time for enough phone calls in the day. So so I'd say, you know, look at technologies. There's a bunch of different tools out there, but I think people can start to leverage but it's it's it's just going to be a little bit of a challenge. Yeah,...

...yeah, lots of good points there and it's interesting to see how people have because I think it's one of the main problems, you know, with working remote. For sure, I've heard of companies starting like internal podcasts for updates, which I think is kind of a we have yeah, you have that, yeah, we do have that. Yep, Yep. How is that been received? I think it's been really good. The Nice thing about the podcast is and we almost to now record every single meeting and sort of make it available on our Internet because, again, there's just not enough time in the day with people schedules, especially sales teams who are trying to get in touch with clients. You know, you're sort of at the mercy of a client schedule. So I think it's worked out really well and it's been a great avenue for things like product launches, for trainings, for here's what this functional team is kind of up to, here's what's important, here's how to get in touch with these other certain groups. We've grown super fast over the last two and three years and so sometimes there's pockets of the company that you just don't talk to and so to revert back to, you know, a podcast or some of these recordings that we make available, I think it does help kind of bridge the lack of in person to vacation. Probably yeah, and you just to like hear the voices of yeah, like you said, Co workers that you may know, ever bet you know or anything. Yeah, comes much more approachable and human awesome. So it always amazes me. I say this every episode and listeners are probably sick of hearing it, but it's amazing how quick thirty minutes goes by. But before we kind of go and wrap things up, is there anything else that you'd be remiss that we didn't talk about with this topic? Anything we missed? I mean, I don't know, I don't think so. I mean the I think just really the takeaways, like having that really strong, concise go to market strategy, getting those tiger teams together, understanding that, especially the bigger and or gets, you know, have that kind of mentality of you can disagree with something...

...but commit to it and you know and sort of support and trust your leaders. I love that. Those are great takeaways. Last thing is, are you hirings or anything that you want to up plug or anything? Yes, Oh, I love it. I love the US that we are definitely hiring. We had a really exciting transaction. So we had a company, a private equity hs come in and recently back in Veris. So we're super excited. We're sort of hitting the reset button in that really high growth period. So definitely a lot of opportunity on the marketing team, sales, business development products. So definitely go check out our website. For sure. Cool. I love it and if people want to continue to learn from you, follow your career linked in twitter. What's your sure? Yeah, I'm a Linkedin. Yeah, I'm a linked in person. For sure. Perfect, awesome. Well, actually, it's been Super Fun. Thank you so much for coming on. Absolutely your your insight and while our listeners thank you so much for hanging out with us and we'll see it next time. Thanks. got. This was another episode of the sales engagement podcast. To help this get in front of more eyes and ears, please leave us a shining five star review. Join US at sales engagementcom for new episodes resources in the book on sales engagement to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy. Make sure to check out outreached that ioh the leading sales engagement platform. See you on the next episode.

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