Marketing and sales are both important parts of any business. However, if they don’t work together, then there is no way to succeed. How do you show the value of marketing to sales, especially in B2B industries like manufacturing?
“In any organization, it’s all about listening. How am I going to win-over sales or win-over leadership if I’m not listening? That’s just a big fail right off the bat. We need to open our ears and listen to take marketing to the next level.”
Long-time manufacturing marketer, Monica Gasbarre, talks about how to align marketing to organizational sales goals. Plus, how to build strong relationships on a foundation of communication and collaboration so marketing and sales act as one team.
Highlights From This Episode:
- The role of marketing in sales-oriented businesses
- Selling the value of marketing to leadership and sales
- Identifying and prioritizing marketing "quick wins"
- Rallying the sales team to participate in marketing
- Building internal relationships
- Marketing that enables sales teams
- Metrics that prove marketing is working
Watch the Live Recording
Full Episode Transcripts
Tessa Burg: Hello and welcome to another episode of Lead(er) Generation brought to you by Mod Op. I’m your host Tessa Burg. Today we have Monica Gasbarre, and we’re gonna be exploring the never-ending topic of how to show the value of marketing in a sales-oriented environment. The real title is Bridging the Gap Between Sales and Marketing. Monica, thank you so much for joining us. We’re excited to dive in.
Monica Gasbarre: Thanks, Tessa, for having me, so excited to talk about this topic.
Tessa Burg: So it’s funny, ’cause I said it was never-ending ’cause it keeps coming up. We have clients across many different industries, but especially in manufacturing where you are the Director of Marketing and Sales Operations for Spartronics. So tell us a little bit about Spartronics and your experience in manufacturing.
Monica Gasbarre: Sure. So Spartronics is a contract manufacturer for electronics, specifically in the vertical markets of aerospace and defense, medical device life science, and instrumentation and control products. We have about nine global locations, seven of which are in the United States, and also in Vietnam and in Mexico. And Spartronics is pretty new of an organization, about two years old.
Monica Gasbarre: We spun out from another organization that was in contract manufacturing and we’ve been on a growth trajectory over the last two years. And so we have a lot of rebuilding, but a lot of exciting things happening in terms of marketing and sales.
Monica Gasbarre: But for my experience specifically in manufacturing, I’ve worked for numerous manufacturers from small family-owned manufacturers to most recently GE Current who did commercial lighting systems.
Tessa Burg: So you and I have spent our careers in marketing so I feel like it is surprising when you get to a company and there’s this question of like, what is the role of marketing? How do we know you’re really gonna deliver value? How have you started those conversations around the role marketing should be playing at a manufacturing company and beginning to show that value?
Monica Gasbarre: Sure. So that’s a great question. And I think it’s always, how do we go to the drawing board? What’s been done previous, and stepping into a lot of these organizations that have not had marketing presence for some time or maybe had a team and didn’t have direction, or they were just following certain rules from leadership.
Monica Gasbarre: So I think the part that I love the most coming into a marketing role is establishing what that is, first off the bat, having those conversations with leadership, understanding what the organizational goals are, and then what the sales goals are, and that we all need to work together because marketing can just go do their thing and “Hey, yeah, let’s go to these trade shows and do this,” but that’s not marketing as we know.
Monica Gasbarre: So having a strong strategy and aligning that to the organizational goals, making sure that when I come into an organization, what are my top priorities and what are my quick wins that will A) identify kind of the next route, but also establish lead generation and demand generation. I think that’s the most important piece because we can build things and create marketing tools or maybe sales tools, but they’re not generating anything.
Monica Gasbarre: So I think it’s a really, it’s a fine line in the beginning ’cause you need to really understand where all the bits and pieces that we need to kind of build out. So that it’s a well-rounded marketing engine in that everyone’s kind of aligned and everyone’s getting what they need. It’s this tug of war sometimes. But I think that having that marketing strategy, aligning a content strategy to it and then building around it is number one.
Tessa Burg: So you hit on what I think is really the core of the issue, where does this start? This lack of marketing in certain organizations, and you said, can come from one of two places, either they did have marketing and just didn’t work out or they’ve never had it and they relied on other tools to grow the business.
Tessa Burg: When it’s the latter, like they’ve had other tools to grow the business, how do you begin to educate the senior leadership and the sales team of the role marketing can play in like scaling the business, or what those tools are?
Tessa Burg: ‘Cause I imagine from my experience, sometimes it’s like an engineer, that could be the CEO or someone who’s coming from a very technical mindset and they’ve had a lot of success. So I always feel like you’re like running up against this wall, like, well, this was working. So why do we need to add on marketing?
Monica Gasbarre: Yeah, no, it’s a great question. And you know, for me always coming into an organization and having those conversations with leadership, right? ‘Cause at the end of the day, we need to make them happy. But as a marketer and our experiences, we know what works and what doesn’t work and where we can kind of pivot if needed. And we’re not always gonna win in marketing, right? We’ll try things, we’ll fail, we’ll pick back up and start new.
Monica Gasbarre: But for me, it’s really taking a look at what the martech stack looks like first. And so many cases, you know, you might not have a marketing leader that understands what all those technologies are and what they can do and how they can build processes in from your marketing automation software, to your sales CRM, to all the different sales enablement tools.
Monica Gasbarre: I mean, we can look, there’s millions of ’em out there, but looking at that marketing tech stack and understanding, what are the two, three things that we really need to get started and let’s build process around that. And how is that going to help me as a marketer and kind of help remove some of the manual intervention of let’s call it leads versus all these things kind of make noise a lot of the time. And we’re also paying and spending marketing budget for what, just to have these things, right. If you don’t use ’em, you lose ’em.
Monica Gasbarre: So that’s kind of how I look at it. So starting, you know, I love starting from scratch because you can look at what are those two, three pieces that we really need, and then let’s build on those. And then next year, let’s bring in something else that can help identify another avenue for our marketing efforts or maybe a tool that could help sales. And that for me is the most important piece of it.
Tessa Burg: Yeah. I love your approach that you start with the leadership team, priorities objectives, and then you look at what do we have that’s trying to support these priorities and objectives and you’re doing it in an iterative way. You’re not saying we’re gonna fix everything or we’re gonna deliver the world. We’re looking for these two to three things. Do you have any examples of what those quick wins look like and at a previous company or at Spartronics most recently?
Monica Gasbarre: Yeah, so I would say most recently, I kind of came in and we had a team, a marketing team previous to our new company, our new acquisition, and that kind of got dismantled. So I came in a few months after, things just kind of sat stale.
Monica Gasbarre: And so we had a martech stack. We had, you know, we were using HubSpot, we had a sales CRM. I’m sure there were some other tools and it’s just, they were sitting there, no one was using them.
Monica Gasbarre: And, and so for me, you know, I think the quick wins were, hey, let’s look at what we’re paying for today, what we really need. Let’s just get rid of some of those martech pieces that I know I’m not gonna use. I know I need them maybe in eight months, nine months, but I’m not using ’em right now.
Monica Gasbarre: And then quick wins would be, you know, just, I almost look at it as like a dirty closet and how do we clean that up quickly? Like, let’s pull some of the big pieces out and then let’s start to organize.
Monica Gasbarre: So, you know, for us, in terms of being a new brand and a new presence, it was, how do we get in front of our competitors? How do we get in front of our prospective customers and our customers in terms of customer retention, they need to know who we are as a brand and a name and what our values are.
Monica Gasbarre: So my first quick win was social media, like how do we just grow our LinkedIn platform? We’re a B2B company, that is where our prospects and our customers spend a lot of their time. And so let’s just start posting, right? I had some content, we had some old content and it was quickly kind of leveraging that, refurbishing it, putting it into the new brand, and positioning it out on LinkedIn.
Monica Gasbarre: And then it was creating relationships from all of our sites, right? So we had, when I started, we had seven sites, now we’re at nine, but creating relationships within all of those sites with either our site leaders or maybe engineering, someone at that level that I could say, “Hey, what’s going on there? What are you guys doing? Is there anything newsworthy?” And, you know, we wanna share that. We wanna share our people. We wanna share what you guys are doing. You know, are you out in the community doing something? They’re just little wins. And to position that on social media, it starts to build a brand.
Monica Gasbarre: And so we went from not posting anything to we post every single day, and sometimes on the weekend, but every single day I’m posting something. Even if it’s just, again, we had an employee appreciation day last week in our Williamsport facility, or, you know, a couple weeks ago, we did a sales meeting at a different location. So it’s that mixed with content in our value proposition. And that has grown our brand tremendously. We went from a couple hundred, 300 followers on LinkedIn to just over 3,000 over the last about a year.
Monica Gasbarre: It’s been about a year and we are seeing lead generation from it. We’re seeing demand generation from it. We just heard from suppliers last week at QBR that we’re standing out and our competitors aren’t doing nearly what we’re doing.
Monica Gasbarre: So those are little wins to me from a marketing standpoint. Like I don’t think it takes so much time and effort to post every day. Yes, it does to create a content marketing strategy to get the good quality leads that we need. But if I can just position brand and our people and things that we’re doing, it’s saying so much because we’re growing tremendously in just that social media platform.
Tessa Burg: That is fantastic. What was the reaction from the sales team as they began to see this traction?
Monica Gasbarre: Yeah, so our sales team is so supportive, they’re sharing things, they absolutely love it. They’re giving kudos and it’s involving them too, right? So they’re hearing it from prospective customers or like last week in front of some suppliers and that excites them because now our brand is in front of some tier one customers in terms of our marketing. And so now how do we continue to build that?
Monica Gasbarre: So they’re starting, you know, it took a while, but they’re seeing the value. And they’re seeing us grow as an organization, both from a manufacturing standpoint, but also from marketing and those wheels spinning excites them because now they’re getting leads, they’re getting leads in mailboxes and for sales that’s money, right?
Monica Gasbarre: At the end of the day, it’s money for the organization, it’s money in their own personal pockets. And I love that because it’s success. How do I get my sales people good qualified leads, and that’s exactly, and that was a small win. That was a really small win for us.
Tessa Burg: I feel like you keep calling it a small win, but that is a really tough nut to crack, like getting the salespeople excited and on board and participating. I know you said it took time, but I almost wanna say like, how did you do it?
Tessa Burg: Like, so for example, we’ll use like our company as the example, we do this podcast, try and create content. I share it out, try and tell our salespeople and account people to share it out. And it’s like mixed results.
Tessa Burg: So, I mean, I would say this is even something, we’re trying to do a better job of is listen to our clients, publish content that’s helpful, but in order to grow the audience or in order to reach people with solutions, it’s a team effort.
Tessa Burg: So what were some of the ways that you got them to see this growth and to participate, and I’m hoping people at our organization hear this answer.
Monica Gasbarre: Well, I think that’s what it is, right? We have to work together no matter what, right. And I will say where I’m at today, we have some amazing personalities. And if we talk about sales alignment, it’s really one team, it’s not marketing, it’s not sales, there’s executive support, right? The executive team is willing and supportive in terms of marketing. If I have an idea, let’s talk about it and let’s see what we can do.
Monica Gasbarre: And so, you know, how did I do it? It’s creating those relationships internally. It’s making sure that, if it’s from sales or even down to an engineer, that they understand what we’re trying to do, and it’s becoming a, we want subject matter experts. We want to position ourselves as thought leaders. We want to position our brand. And it is really hard in our world as a B2B manufacturer, especially as a contract manufacturer, because we don’t have products we can talk about, I can’t tell you about my customers. I can’t tell you about my customer’s product. What do I talk about as marketer? So that’s like the interesting angle.
Monica Gasbarre: And as I came into this role in talking to our leadership team and directors and different segments, it’s our people, it’s really the people and how they’re working hard and they’re helping our customers grow their business. And it really helps us grow our business. They’re jumping in circles to get things done for them, especially in the last, you know, call it the COVID years, right. We know supply chain’s a big issue and we’re all feeling it and our customers are feeling it. So what do we need to do to help them?
Monica Gasbarre: And so I think taking that story of our team, everyone down from someone working the floor to our business, our VP of business development, who’s literally traveling Sunday through Sunday to get to see customers and have these conversations with their C-suite level members. That is what I needed to do. And it was, let’s take that and start that as a conversation. And that’s part of our brand, we are going to be your partner and we’re in, you know, I hear this all the time, but we have this customer intimacy model and that’s what it is. We’re going to help you grow, and we’re gonna do whatever it takes to do that.
Monica Gasbarre: So taking that story and putting it in front of all of our sites and hey guys, let’s talk about that. How are we gonna talk about those roles? How are we gonna talk about who we are as an organization? And they get excited. And, you know, we started to do content. We started to do videos and the videos have been a great hit, right? We can’t, again, we can’t show certain things, but let’s show our facilities, let’s show the capacity, let’s show the technology. And then let’s show the people that are helping run the engineering team or running the quality team. And these guys are passionate about what they do, right. And they’re showing it on video and that is better to have something like that than not have anything. And so taking that video, for example, and slicing it up and utilizing it, sharing it with sales, to use it as a tool, especially early on when some people still didn’t wanna travel. So how do we put that in front of those prospective customers to show them who we are and what we do?
Tessa Burg: Yeah, what I love, what you did is, you know, earlier we were kind of walking through this framework that you use, which is get this executive buy in, align it to the top objectives and priorities, and then identify the quick wins. But through that, what you’ve woven in is the values of the company and what you’re doing as part of those priorities is always putting brand and values first. And that feels, it’s like warm and very inviting. And so naturally, now I understand why, like, people are more willing to participate because it’s them, you know, I work at a company that’s directly related to something I value and I have shared values. And so if you’re weaving that in throughout, then I’m more likely to participate because it’s me. It’s a part of me, it’s part of the company, it’s part of the value I bring to clients. I love that, Monica. That’s awesome.
Monica Gasbarre: But you know, it’s true. I mean, and listen, at the end of the day, is everyone happy in their role in their career? We all go through that from a culture standpoint, but there are some amazing people that do have that passion and they do wanna do a great job. And I have met a lot of ’em and it’s hard for me ’cause I, you know, I work from home, I’m at a corporate level, but I try my best to get at those sites and to walk around and talk to those people and find what I call my people that I can reach out and send a team’s message. And hey, can you help me with this? Or, you know, there’s younger engineers that wanna write papers and that want content, but they don’t know who to ask.
Monica Gasbarre: So for me, that’s the win, it’s getting in front of those people and leveraging them and making sure that they understand that we are one, we’re one Spartronics, we’re not nine locations. And you know, you have support at the top level. And if I can help you or you can help me, let’s work together and figure what that piece looks like and how we can work together.
Tessa Burg: Yeah, that is awesome. I feel like, you know, in our journey now underneath Mod Op, it’s really similar. I’ve just started meeting people from across the organization. And the one thing we all share is we are dorkily passionate about like our trade. Like there’s so many different groups, but you know, the people who are in video production are like dorkily passionate about video production and the people who are in design creative, like they geek out on that. And it is, I love the idea of starting to bring that forward and weave more of the brand story into the content. And I even feel like how the podcast started was because one of our values is constant curiosity, you know? So during the pandemic it was like, let’s start discovering things. And this is like the next evolution by weaving that brand into our curiosity to get more participation.
Tessa Burg: So first, thanks for helping us out with how to get more sales buy-in into our marketing. But tell me a little bit about, you know, what’s next on the horizon for starting to continue to define roles, to continue to bridge this gap between sales and marketing. I think it’s very interesting that you’re on one team. Like that’s not like that everywhere. Like who made that decision and how does that sort of help address these challenges of continuing to bridge the gap?
Monica Gasbarre: Yeah, so maybe I misspoke, so we’re not really on the same team, but I consider us on the same team. Like that’s just how I feel, right? Like I am marketing and we have business development, but we work so close together. That to me, it’s one team. And bridging that gap between sales and marketing, I think that’s the mentality that you have to have as a marketer and from a sales perspective too, because we do offer each other so many different values that in many organizations, they don’t see it, right.
Monica Gasbarre: I’ve worked at organizations where sales and marketing butt heads, this person steals this lead, this person just goes off and does their own marketing and creates a sell sheet and everyone’s freaking out and we have to figure out how to work together. And that’s the only way that it’s going to bridge that gap.
Monica Gasbarre: And so I do talk about us as one team because that’s truly what we are and I’m on our weekly BD calls. You know, we have BD summits and I go out with the team and we talk about what they’re doing and the prospects they’re going after and projects they’re working on. But then we bring in kind of the marketing aspect and how can marketing enable sales and how can we help you?
Monica Gasbarre: And, you know, most recently I took on the sales operations role. And so that’s what’s changing right now. And so, you know, I’m really excited about this because I’ve always kind of had this piece of sales in me. I’m passionate about marketing, but I love working with sales teams. So having the ability to listen more, understand the voice of the customer, understand what those pain points are and how we can enable sales is so important to me, trying to get it all done quickly is hard to do, but you know, it’s one step at a time and it’s understanding what those needs are and how we can, again, it’s back to those quick wins. What are the quick wins? And then let’s talk about the longer projects, the longer processes that we have to play in. And again, it starts from the top down, it’s support from management, from leadership, and how do we get that done?
Tessa Burg: That is awesome. So what type of metrics or charts or PowerPoints are you showing the leadership team to say, “Hey, this is working in this mentality of sales and marketing as one is producing growth and results”?
Monica Gasbarre: Sure. So I would love to be two years from now, ’cause I’ll have beautiful dashboards, but we are currently putting together a new Salesforce government cloud instance. And this is a brand new project, we’re starting from scratch. We have not had that for some time previous to showing those metrics and those results. It’s been a lot of doing and it’s been, “Hey, what does all the content look like? What are the results from social media?” Pulling those dashboards in, we’ve been running campaigns through HubSpot. That has been probably my number one go-to in terms of metrics and data, data integrity was an issue early on.
Monica Gasbarre: And so we’re starting to clean that up. We’ve been cleaning it up with marketing programs, with marketing programs, but also utilizing the data and looking to see, just kinda weeding out the bad stuff. And so we’ve been doing that, we’re starting to see increases, you know, when we do campaigns, our open rates are amazing. Our click-through rates are, you know, they’re over benchmarks. And again, I think that it’s the content, it’s the way we’re positioning it. We also are in so many verticals, so we’re running different campaigns throughout. And to see who’s clicking on what, and what’s working, what’s not working, and then taking that and making updates to the next go round of campaign.
Monica Gasbarre: And so that’s, I mean, from a metrics level, I’d love to have this beautiful dashboard, but I am kind of pulling it, segmenting it from different areas, looking at our Google Analytics, of course. And we’re seeing some great growth with just some minor changes on the website. So these are things that I do position in terms of reporting. I think the biggest thing is we’re hearing it and that is going a long way with our internal team is we’re hearing it from outsiders that they’re seeing the growth, they’re seeing the brand, and that has been a really positive influence.
Tessa Burg: Yeah. I think that is a very important point because what I’ve experienced when I’ve been in the product side or the marketing side in a sales-oriented organization is no matter how many numbers you bring to them, if they’re not hearing it and feeling it, it’s like they don’t even believe the numbers.
Monica Gasbarre: Sure.
Tessa Burg: They’re like, okay, great. But I’m like literally not hearing any or seeing anything different. So that is so important that you, by building those relationships, you are putting yourself in the situation to get that softer feedback. That’s so critical because there is like, you can’t track everything. Like a lot of people are like, oh, you can track every single thing. But demand gen it’s challenging, especially in physical companies where physical relationships matter and salespeople are building human-to-human relationships that happen online, but largely offline. And if you are doing awesome things in demand gen online, they should be hearing and feeling it. So I think that’s awesome that you’re getting that soft feedback and you recognize the value of it, ’cause it is definitely more than numbers. And I feel like mistake I’ve made in the past is when I try, and I’m very logic-driven, but pound on the numbers is almost like a deterrent. All right.
Monica Gasbarre: Yeah, yeah, no, I get that. I think too, right, as a marketer, we want to have that reporting though, too. I want to back up what I’m doing, what I’m spending and show that true ROI. So I do print some days because I don’t have those dashboards yet, but again, it’s, you know, I’ve been here for a little over a year and it’s how do we start to build that? And now we have things moving and we’re starting to see the demand and we’re starting to see the good leads come through. So okay. Let’s start to kind of bucket those and we’re building it, it just takes time. Would I have loved to build that day one when we came in? Yeah. But then we would’ve never had the brand presence or the demand gen that we have today.
Monica Gasbarre: So it’s almost like a give or take, you have to figure out or balance the best piece of what your marketing looks like and to make everyone happy. So now it’s a priority, it’s on my list. We’re working through it with Salesforce, and we’re gonna have some amazing processes and we’ll be able to spit out marketing pipelines versus sales pipelines. And what does that look like rather than what we do today? And some of it is manual in some spreadsheets and pulling ’em from different platforms. It’s there. It’s just gonna be a lot more prettier .
Tessa Burg: Yeah. Yeah, no, I think that’s, you’re really good at prioritizing your time and aligning it to what matters most to the decision makers, you know?
Monica Gasbarre: Yeah.
Tessa Burg: That is a huge part of it. You can’t go into each company or for us go to every client and try to do the exact same thing, the exact same way, because everyone does respond to data, to feedback, to priorities very differently. And you’ve found that kind of secret sauce for Spartronics and what works for them.
Monica Gasbarre: Yeah, exactly. And you know, in any organization, that’s all it is. It’s listening, like we just have to listen and I think I know the right way. And I think I know that we should do X, Y, and Z, but how am I going to win over sales or win over leadership if I’m not listening? And that’s just a big fail right off the bat. So I think just as a communicator, right, we have to open our ears and listen, and that’s how we’re gonna be able to get to the next level.
Tessa Burg: Yeah, that is awesome. So we’re right at time. If people want to get a hold of you and ask questions, where can they find you?
Monica Gasbarre: Sure, so I am on LinkedIn, Monica Gasbarre, or you can send me an email at Monica.Gasbarre, that’s G-A-S-B-A-R-R-E @Spartronics, S-P-A-R-T-R-O-N-I-C-S.com, or fill out a form on our website, ’cause it comes directly to me.
Tessa Burg: Thank you so much. And if any listeners wanna hear other Leader Generation episodes, you can visit tenlo.com and click on Podcasts. Soon we’ll be moving to Mod Op and that will be exciting, but you will be able to find Leader Generation in all the same places. So thank you, Monica, for joining us today. Find Monica on LinkedIn or via email.
Monica Gasbarre: Thanks Tessa, I appreciate it.
Tessa Burg: Awesome. We will talk to you again soon.
Director of Marketing & Sales Operations at Spartronics
Monica is an experienced marketing leader. She has a strong reputation for developing strategic marketing plans that she oversees from initiation to final execution. Monica supports and achieves corporate objectives by successfully managing programs dedicated to customer retention, lead generation, demand generation and sales enablement.Is Marketing The New Sales? Listen Now