Marketing and Sales: Driving the One Demand Approach

Gabrielle Wesley

Director of Marketing at Mars, Incorporated

Learning Objectives

Please join the Director of Marketing at Mars Petcare as she discusses the importance of a one demand approach for marketers and the success of collaborating with Sales teams.


"I'm a marketer that believes sales lift is the best measure of whether your assets are successful."

Gabrielle Wesley

Director of Marketing at Mars, Incorporated

Transcript

538-Marketing/Sales-Marketing and Sales_ Driving the One Dem…

Thu, 10/21 4:12PM • 19:55

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

sales, marketers, marketing, sales team, retailer, stay, roles, shelf, gabrielle, product, drive, approach, functions, advice, demand, consumer, collaborate, pet, ad, people

SPEAKERS

Britt Erler, Gabrielle Westley


Britt Erler

Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Connect Virtual CMO Leadership Summit hosted on Quartz Network. My name is Britt Erler, QN Executive Correspondent. Thank you so much for joining us. I would love to welcome our guest speaker here with us today Gabrielle Westley, Director of Marketing at Mars Petcare. Welcome, Gabrielle.


Gabrielle Westley

Thank you so much for having me Britt.


Britt Erler

Of course, it’s a pleasure to have you here. I’m really excited to dive into this concept of one demand marketing approach, and how effective it can be to actually collaborate with your sales team. Before we do so, I would love if you could give the audience some context about your current role and what your team works on at Mars Petcare.


Gabrielle Westley

I have the privilege of working in the fantastic pet care industry with Mars Petcare. We have such brands that you know and love: Pedigree, Eims, Nutro, Sheba, and Crave. I’m really excited to talk about how we approach the one demand consumer.


Britt Erler

Absolutely. Those are brands that I know and love. I actually have a cat myself, and we use all of them. I’ve probably tried all of them with her, she’s a very picky eater. They’re fantastic brands, and one that really connects with your audience with families, and something pretty close to heart. I can’t wait to kind of dive into that approach.


Britt Erler

Let’s talk about this one demand approach to marketers. What does it do? What are the strengths of using it, and kind of your insight into what’s been successful?


Gabrielle Westley

Let’s start off with what a one demand approach really is. It’s where the two primary consumer demand driven functions that accompany sales and marketing work together collaboratively to drive a specific goal or to drive the business. It’s important for lots of different reasons. It’s important to marketers because our job is to drive consumer interest in a particular product, but we can’t do that unless it is readily available on a store shelf. Sales’ primary function is to make sure that they are getting distribution and display working jointly with retailers.


Britt Erler

Of course. Has this approach been made more difficult, now that everything is virtual?People aren’t necessarily shopping in person at stores as much anymore. Has that changed kind of a strategy for you and your team?


Gabrielle Westley

It hasn’t changed the strategy, but what we have seen is people are definitely shopping online much more. For those of us that were already very engrossed in the e-commerce platform, and making sure that our products are readily available through online retailers, we’re in a perfect position for the panic buying of the pandemic, and the switch from brick and mortar buying to e-commerce buying. Brick and mortar definitely plays a strong role within the pandemic. It may be some of the times that people only get a chance to go out is when they go to a retail store, so we want to make sure we have our products available on shelf when they’re there.


Britt Erler

Absolutely. Let’s kind of dive into this one demand approach a little bit more. Why is it so crucial for marketers?


Gabrielle Westley

It’s crucial for marketers, because one of the things that we love to do is get our product in innovation out on shelves. We want consumers to be interested in it. We spend a lot of our time with fantastic marketing assets and creative ways to drive people to the stores and drive interest to the product. If it’s not there and available for them on the store shelf, then we basically drove the traffic for no reason. That’s why it’s important to collaborate with our sales partners, because our sales partners are the ones that have that first line of relationship with our retailers to drive category growth within a particular retailer. Without their partnership, we can drive traffic to the store, but if it’s not there, that’s one of the most frustrating consumer experiences that people can have.


Britt Erler

Definitely. I can say that from personal experience. When you go into a store, if you’re not seeing it there on the shelf, it is very frustrating. I do want to talk a little bit more in depth about Sales and Marketing alignment. I do have a question for you, all of these campaigns you’re running, the traffic that you’re measuring, how do you measure the success of this one demand approach?


Gabrielle Westley

It’s really two ways. I’m a marketer that believes sales lift is the best measure of whether your assets are successful. If you see an ad on television or online, and it drives you to buy that product, if we’re measuring the sales lift before and after exposure to that ad, that is how I know that that ad is successful. The other way we do that is through velocities. Velocities are basically how much time it takes for a product to be shelved, and then purchased. So you go to your retailer, and that item scans, that’s how I know that it’s how many times that item scans in a given week. If that happens faster after seeing the creative, then I know that that creative is effective. Is it slower or at the same rate? Then, that ad is not as effective.


Britt Erler

Absolutely. Obviously, sales and marketing alignment is a huge factor in that success. But what are some other key areas that marketers should focus on to make sure that they’re doing this correctly?


Gabrielle Westley

I think from a one demand approach, one of the challenges that we have with the two functions is that marketing has a tendency to plan very far out. We’re thinking about things minimum 2, 3, 4, 5 years ahead of time, whereas sales is definitely more real-time focus, what’s going to happen in the next six months,? What’s happening in the next 18 months? Some of that friction comes from just having different objectives and a different timeline. One of the things that I suggest is that marketers actually take a step back, and work with sales to measure the effectiveness of what’s happening right now versus really pushing sales to think so far out in the future.


Britt Erler

I’m talking about that—oh, I’m sorry, go ahead.


Gabrielle Westley

Ultimately, if you’re not performing well in store today, you’re not going to get to the 3 to 5 years out to be able to be successful.


Britt Erler

Right. Let’s talk about working with sales and marketing together. A lot of companies, they’re considered two separate departments, but really kind of the movement here is that they’re becoming one giant ecosystem. What are some of the challenges you see? Why is it sometimes so difficult for these two major functions of an organization to collaborate?


Gabrielle Westley

I think the biggest one is what I said before around timeframe. Sales plans for the here and now, usually 6 month, 8 month, and 18 month increments, because what they’re working on is in real time. Is something performing right now? Is something going to get on display in the next 3 months or 6 months? Or reset a retailer reset windows to the next retail reset windows? What a reset window is when a retailer takes a looks at their shelf, and decide to put new products on or off the shelf depending on performance. That is how sales plans to reach from reset to the second reset. Marketing plans in years, so next year, 2 years out, 3 years out. What happens is, because sales has more of a short term focus, and marketing has more of a longer term focus, sometimes, we’re just not even playing on the same playing field. What I encourage marketers to do is to look at effectiveness of their ads in the here and now, which is something that sales could utilize as leverage with their retailer.


Britt Erler

Sure. What are some other ways that you can make sure the two teams align, especially right now virtually? It’s easier sometimes when you’re in office to sit in a large conference room and say, “Here’s some of the areas we really need to focus on.” How do you do that now? What advice do you have?


Gabrielle Westley

I think the biggest advice I have for sales and marketing teams to work together is first and foremost, to acknowledge that you need each other. Both functions are needed in order for the success of the business. If you can acknowledge that one needs the other just as much, that’s the first battle.


Gabrielle Westley

The second is, I would say, find common goals, and be very specific in those those goals. Define a priority as it relates to I want to drive distribution for this product at this retailer. Those specific goals are things that the sales team can get around, versus I want to grow this business to two times in size in 3 years. Those types of goals, while great in a marketing organization, are not specific enough for a sales team or retailer to really get behind and develop initiatives against.


Gabrielle Westley

The third thing I would say is, know your role and stay in your lane. I think one of the conflicts that sales and marketing has is because sometimes, the sales team tries to help the marketers with their roles and marketing goes too far into sales territory. Making sure that we’re defining our roles, and staying in our lane. For example, if you’re designing packaging, or putting together a marketing plan, it’s nice to have sales input, but sales need to know that that is a marketing responsibility. Conversely, distribution and display and pricing is solely in a salespersons [inaudible]. Recognizing and valuing what each brings to the table and staying in your lane is really important for one demand collaboration.


Britt Erler

With that being said, do you believe that marketers should gain sales experience and vice versa, or should they really just stay separate with their roles?


Gabrielle Westley

I have found, in my careerm that having a rotation and sales has made me a better marketer. I’ve had the privilege of doing that both at the Associate Brand Manager level, at the Brand Manager level, and then now, at the Director level. Having experience with a rotation and sales has helped me to understand how to be a better marketer, and how ultimately to get my items on shelf, and build those partnerships with retailers in order to make a product successful, so I highly recommend it. Even if you don’t have the opportunity to have a sales rotation, have a sales BFF. Walk the stores with them, understand what their objectives are, and sitting in their shoes, even for an hour or even a half day will help you have a stronger understanding of what it takes in order to be successful in sales, because it’s hard. It’s a hard job. There’s a lot of metrics that the sales team has to look at every single day.It’s very helpful, as a marketer, to understand what those things are so that you can be of help to them.


Britt Erler

I couldn’t agree more. My background, I do have a quite a mix of sales and marketing, and it is so helpful. Someone can sit there and tell you, here’s what I have to do every single day. But until you do it yourself, before you really get your hands dirty, and as you mentioned, walk in their shoes, it’s hard to grasp sometimes. I think that’s great advice too. Even if you don’t have that experience, spend a day actually getting to know what that sales or marketing team actually does. So that when you’re going to work with them, it’s not just words, you’ve actually been there, you’ve done it. Great advice on that end. On a more positive note, how have you seen sales and marketing work together successfully, both at past roles and current?


Gabrielle Westley

Where I have seen them work very effectively together is when they have a common goal. One of the things that I remember is when I launched a new innovation. I had a sales BFF that walked right next to me to every customer meeting. As a marketer, sometimes we shun from going to customer presentations. Let yourself counterparts know that you’re willing to go and present to customers to provide a different expertise, or a different face, or a different perspective. By doing that and really feeling comfortable in front of a customer, but staying in my lane, as a marketer, just focused on product benefits and driving consumer interest, I think that that engendered a lot of trust from my sales team, Thus, when I asked them for help and input, they’re willing to do that, so it’s give and take, for sure.


Britt Erler

Definitely. It seems that you have a lot of success working with your sales team. Was this always the case? Was this something when you first started with Mars, they already had this great marketing and sales alignment or is this something you had to develop and really take the first steps to achieve?


Gabrielle Westley

I think Mars does a really nice job of the collaboration between sales and marketing, but it’s up to every single individual. Every product, every category is very different. As a marketer, we have to have the mind to be able to say when to pull back and when to push forward. I think some brands and some categories, say for instance, for pet, we have lots of different channels within our space. We have pet specialty, we have e-commerce, we have food, drug, and mass, and each one of them are very, very different. I may spend a lot of time with my counterpart that helps with food, drug and mass, maybe a little less so with convenience stores, or things like that. Knowing the organization and being able to flex your style to be able to partner effectively with that salesperson—every organization can have a great one demand approach, but it all comes down to its people that get this done.


Britt Erler

Yes, I couldn’t agree more. It truly is and great piece of advice there.Before I let you get back to your busy schedule, any final pieces of advice that you have in general for marketing leaders that are in your position? Obviously, roles have expanded. Trends are changing. A lot of people still don’t even know what to expect for 2021. Any just piece of advice that you have, after what you’ve been through, and what you’ve seen, that you think would be beneficial?


Gabrielle Westley

I think one of the biggest things that the COVID environment has taught marketers is to stay current. You never know what is going to be thrown at you, and so you always need to be ready. For those of us that were ready for e-commerce, there are some of us that weren’t ready, that they had not made that switch in the e-commerce and buying online definitely has accelerated probably 3 to 5 years, more than we originally anticipated with the new stay at home orders. For us, I would say, as marketers, we need to always stay ready and be ahead of the curve. That’s one thing. Then, the second thing I would say is always be in learning mode. There’s always something you can learn about another function, whether it be sales, whether it’s R&D, with innovation, whether it’s sourcing. There’s always something that you can learn in order to be a better marketer, and just be open to that.


Britt Erler

Yes, fantastic. I couldn’t agree more. I do have to ask one final question. Have you had a furry friend at home to help you through quarantine?


Gabrielle Westley

I do. I have two. I have a 10-year-old Boxer named Jazzy, and a 4-year-old Old English Bulldog named Buster. They have enjoyed having us home every day during the stay at home time.


Britt Erler

Oh, I bet. I can’t even imagine. I wish I could see that. My cats have been the same. We go back in office, I’m sitting here thinking, she’s not gonna know what to do. Oh, great. Glad to hear that. Glad to hear you’re doing well. Thank you so much for the fantastic advice. I think this is great for not just marketers, but also people within the sales function as well. Hopefully, a lot of companies can take this advice and start implementing it within the new year. Thank you so much again for joining us. I really appreciate it. Thank you to everyone who has tuned in as well. If you do have any final questions for Gabrielle, we do have a discussion forum below. Please comment, ask questions, and she will be checking in throughout the summit. Please stay safe, stay healthy, and enjoy the rest of the show.


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