Ep 32 – Sales & Marketing Must Work Together – Barbara Rozgonyi
Presentation of the episode
With the pandemic that came upon us, the rise of video conferencing tools like Microsoft teams and zoom has led to more aspects of the sales conversation to occur virtually. And what began as a crisis reaction has evolved into the new normal, but how normal is the new normal? We’re talking about how the strong shift from in-person to virtual selling has transformed B2B sales experience, virtual sales enablement, new organization’s KPIs. Everything is evolving. In the virtual selling podcast we address these issues in depth twice a week with the experts and leaders of these transformations, heads of sales, sales ops, and sales enablements of the most innovative companies in the field. This podcast is sponsored by sales deck.io, the new SAS platform to make your customer meetings more engaging and better prepared.
Find out how you can shorten sales cycles, convert more leads and increase customer engagement. Virtual selling is here to stay. And so is SalesDeck.io.
Hi, everybody. I’m very happy to be with Barbara Rozgonyi, who is the founder of CoryWest Media. Hi Barbara, how are you doing ?
Oh, I’m great. Thanks for having me Gabriel.
Yeah, it’s really a pleasure. Can you tell us what you do at CoryWest? And after that, I have a fun story to talk with you.
All right. Absolutely. Well, CoryWest Media is named after my mother and grandmother. And at my company, what we do is we help people in organizations, attract attention, build the brand and click with clients in a 4d format.
That’s great. And you told me your stories that you became the represented one of the two represented of the US at the social media Berlin week. Can you tell us a little bit more about that ?
Absolutely. Well, this story started when I was doing a presentation for a big university here in the United States called Clemson.
And I finished my presentation in downtown Chicago, got in a cab, the cab driver was talking to me and he said, if you really wanna know [00:02:00] how to do business, you need to go to Germany. And I was like, okay, fine. You know, I get out of the cab, get on the train, take the car, back to my house, get in my office, open my email and the email says
« Your trip to Germany ». I’m like « what ? what what’s going on here ? »
So the email said, if you would like to win a trip to Germany to represent the US at the social media week Berlin, all you have to do is write 125 words about why we should pick you. And, you know, I had all these sounds going off in my head, like « you’re not good enough ».
« Why would they pick you ? » « That’s stupid ». « Can you even come up with that many words ? » And I just said, shut up. I’m gonna do it, typed in the words, put up a blog post with my entry, and then two weeks later they said, you won. And I said, really? So I was one of the two people they chose. It was like going to the Olympics.
And my friends in social media looked at me and they were like, why you ? And I said, okay, here’s the lesson for you when you see a chance, take it. And that’s really what I I’d love to encourage people to do, because there might be a voice that tells you don’t do it. But if you see a chance, take it because you never know, and you might be the winner.
That’s really a great story. And, and what is really interesting is that you took the chance of your whole career. Many people that I have already received came to sales because it was an opportunity to make more money and to have a job. And so, you made a different pass because you were in sales and you went into marketing and PR. Can you tell us what did you love in sales and why you left it ? And how do you work now in marketing, in PR with all the skills that you’ve learned doing sales ?
Yeah, it’s it was a long winding road Gabriel. I’ll tell you. But, you know, I started out in sales right after college and I was in inside sales. I was actually the first telemarketer ever hired by Dun and BradStreet. [00:04:00] And I loved talking to people on the phone. That was fine. And then I decided, well, you know what ? I’m done with this.
I was office manager. I’m gonna be an outside sales rep. So I switched to a different company and I was the worst sales rep they’d ever had. I mean, I was so bad. I was depress. I told my boss, I’m quitting, I’m leaving. And he said, it’s just the territory. Do you have another job ? And I said, well, no, I don’t.
And he said, okay. He moved me from where I was in Indianapolis to Chicago, where my boyfriend was. So he knew I would go for that. And I went and I had a new territory and pretty soon, I figured out what it took to be a top salesperson. And I wound up leading the company. I did get married to my boyfriend, and then I took a trip to Hawaii.
It was a great sales reward. And then I decided, you know what, I wanna go train other sales people on how to do it. So I went to a company that was owned by blue cross and blue shield. And my job was to travel around the country and train these sales. Now I’m not even 30 years old. And a lot of people are looking at me like, how can you tell me what to do ?
So I came up with this really scientific way to do sales training. And it was so simple. I just asked the people who are having the most challenges « What’s your worst challenge ? » And then I asked the people who are excelling « how do you Excel at what you do ? » And then I gave the answers back to the people who needed help.
And we increased sales by as much as 400%, which was fantastic. Except I had a daughter by that time and my husband, the day I went back to work, my husband moved to New York for projects. So it was like, there was too much at once. And I decided I was gonna figure out a way to start my own business.
And so I did. And my company was named CoryWest after my mother and grandmother. When I started my company, I had no idea really how to do marketing. Yes, I had a marketing degree. I didn’t know anything about PR. I did know sales, which really helped out because I decided, you know, with sales, you should really focus on a target market.
So I decided my target market would be healthcare companies and I called them up and I said, Hey, I’m doing this newsletter on healthcare marketing and communications. Would you like [00:06:00] to get a copy ? They all said yes. So I sent it out and that’s really how I launched my business. And so here we are, all these years later.
And if I hadn’t had those sales skills, I would never have been able to do what I’ve been able to do today.
Yeah. Because sales is really at the core of entrepreneurship. Since you have an idea, and then you need to sell the idea. And if you don’t have the selling skill, nobody will get the idea.
That’s right. Yeah. So you have to know what you’re doing. And I think one thing about sales too, is you have to have just a lot of motivation. You have to have a lot of fuel, a lot of energy. You have to keep going. You know, it’s a relentless hunt and some of that can be exciting, sometimes it’s wearing, but when you really can see what you’re doing, and one of the places I had the opportunity to be around the top sales people in the world was when I spoke at the million dollar round table, which is for the top insurance agents and financial planners throughout the world.
And they had the top group reception. And they said all the speakers could go, but I think I was the only speaker there. And so I started talking to these people about what really made them successful and they were all so relaxed and calm, and I thought they just were like born to be successful. But you knew there was a lot of work behind it too.
So I have so much respect for salespeople every day you go to work and you do a fantastic job of helping your clients solve problem.
Great. And just before we go into what you do today into marketing and PR, I’m very much interested in the way you trainsales people by making them collaborate and having the top performer, giving advice to the low performer.
How did you manage to have this conversation between top and low performer and having them sharing the secret and the stuff and willing them to do so ?
Well, I’m gonna tell the truth. The top performers did not really wanna share their secrets to success [00:08:00] all the time. You know, it was kind of like, Hey, we figured this out.
We don’t wanna share. So it was really working with the management and really sitting down and getting to know the team. And I think that’s one of the mistakes companies make when they hire a sales trainer. They just want us to drop in and just kind of, you know, hand out like coffee and donuts, be there for a half an hour, cuz their sales people are so busy, but you know, the more you can really get to know people.
And I also got to go on sales calls with them so I could see what they do. And when I’ve worked with other clients, I’ve had their sales people come in and pitch me and say, okay, how, tell me how you present the, the product or the service to a client. And honestly it’s astounding how different it is. And so once you can see that and you understand.
How there isn’t enough consistency people aren’t hitting the pain points. They’re talking too much about themselves. Then you can really reframe it and reshape it and say, okay, this is the kind of conversation we wanna have. This is how we want it to flow. And also just let them know these big potholes are not something you need to get stuck in.
You can gloss ’em over, fill ’em in, quite honestly, it’s usually the same objections, maybe the top five every time. And if you know how to overcome them and have the client, it’s not really even overcome so much anymore, as it is, think about them before you even mention ’em and have your client understand that, you know, that they’re concerned about whatever it is. Whether it’s price or delivery, you know, those kinds of things.
So really by watching the difference between top performer, low performer, you can really level up, the full team. And what does the top performer learn at this moment ? Because it’s nice to have the low performer growing, but it has to be of value for the top performer too.
Well, nobody’s perfect.
You know, and I think the value of mentorship and leadership is undervalue. You know, when you help someone out, even if it is someone who’s in your [00:10:00] team, maybe you would think them as a competitor, but hopefully you are all teammates. You know, one of the things that was nice when I was in sales is we had assigned territories, but that didn’t mean that, you know, there were some really great top prospects that we all wanted to go after.
You know, it was competitive and that’s one of the nice things about sales is competition. But what happens is I think for the people who are the top performers, is it gives them an opportunity to mentor and lead. And then that really positions them in a place where they’ve never been before, instead of just being the hot shot who checks in and checks out.
Now the person now they are positioned as a thought leader, a mentor leader, and somebody that their whole team can look up to. It’s a matter, I think it dads more pride and, really contributes to the whole ecosystem.
True. And that helps them evolve to management also, and to become a sales manager and not only top performer.
Thanks a lot for this, back in time into your sales life. Now, today into PR and marketing, what do you think of the way the world has evolved into digital and even maybe into post digital, into post pandemic also. How do you see sales and marketing work together ?
What are the now key issues in marketing ? and I’m also having a marketing agency in France. So, I think things evolve since I’ve started my agency 10 years ago. So for you, what is the trends and what is the good way now to work together between, uh, marketing and sales ?
Well, geez, Gabriel, if we have another, couple days we could talk about this.
I mean, you know, that’s one of the things that attracts me to this industry is [00:12:00] because it’s, something’s changing every day. Like yesterday my Facebook profile was switched. I had the offer to switch it from personal to professional, which of course I did right away because I wanna check it out and see how that works, you know ?
So there’s always something new. When I did, I moderated a panel for American marketing association, Chicago in February, and we talked about the top trends at 2022. And then I did a presentation for the international trade council, which is part of the world trade organization in the UN. And they wanted to know about top trends too.
And you can see that if you go to my YouTube channel, there’s that recap is there. But the top trends, if I wanted to narrow it down to three, and this is the article I wrote for AMA Chicago, the number one is TikTok because no matter what you think, TikTok is really grabbing our attention. The reason for that is our brains love TikTok, it’s really designed to just capture our attention and just you know, take hold. So if you’re not using video, that’s something to think about. Another one is audio. Audio is really big and you’ve got a podcast. My podcast is growing social now. So audio is big. And the third one is community and collaborators and creativity.
So the creative community is really popping up through web 3. I went to a conference on that earlier this year, cuz I’m really excited to see how web 3 is evolving. And then as far as how our sales and marketing working together. I think the sibling rivalry has died down. I mean, I’ve had clients where, you know, they’re like « the marketing people are like, sales will never talk to us » and I’m like, « oh sure they will ». And they’re like « um, uh, yeah, we checked they won’t » I was just like « it’s all right, Okay ».
So that’s a dead end. That’s that’s all phasing out. And here’s the issue. Marketing is phasing in throughout the organization. It’s becoming more and more important than ever before. Part of that is social media, but now we’re looking at marketing popping up and recruiting in the customer experience, which customer experience is [00:14:00] as important or more, more important than sales in some organizations.
And so branding, you know, every person who works for the company is a creator and has their own brand. That’s tied to the company brand. So, to me, marketing is like the lifeblood of the company. There’s a lot of opportunities to get it right. There’s a lot of opportunities to get it wrong. And the sales people are usually, or they could be the first person at the company, that the prospect sees from the company.
So you wanna really make sure that your sales people have the story straight. They know how to represent your company. And even if it’s as simple as taken them into a room and saying, okay, tell me how you present, not all together, one by one, or reviewing the messages that they send out. Just to kind of get an idea of where is your company. Is it all over the board or is there consistency?
That’s great. That’s a very good advice. And, I agree that sales and marketers should work together. And you have to be sure that what the seller are saying is consistent with what the marketer are say is saying. And also, um, I really think that storytelling should not be only.
Uh, on the marketing side, but each, uh, salespeople should have his own story. And it’s much more easy to tell story when you are human persons than when you are corporate or a company. So salespeople are the one to tell stories and they have to be consistent also with the stories of the company.
You spoke about TikTok. What do you think about for, for a sales guy to go on TikTok? Is it the right place to do some sales ?
You know, it really depends on the company. I’m really hesitant to advise sales people to run over to TikTok because it’s hard to get it right. And it just Goofy, you know. There are videos, like my daughter [00:16:00] put up a video of a rabbit.
I gave her when she was a baby and now that’s years ago and it has like almost 2 million views and that’s great, but you know, what’s the point, you know ? So at one of the conferences I went to, one of the speakers said, you can have a million views on TikTok. But if you have 10,000 peoples who follow you on YouTube, you’ll have better results.
And YouTube shorts actually are taking off really fast. So the, the concept of having short video is just in infiltrating every kind of social media network. So if you do have the challenge I see that companies have with salespeople is they have one or two that just absolutely adore social media and they might be on social media a lot.
That could be okay. But, you know, if you want people to be authentic. You want them to share, but you also wanna watch what’s happening. And so I think it’s okay to have a personal TikTok. And if the company says it’s okay and you have guidelines, that’s fine. But what I really love is when the company steps up and says, this is what we’re gonna do.
They have that storyline, they become a producer. I mean, they’re like their own Netflix or HBO max, and they make the stories and they interview the sales people. They make them the stars of the show and then they share, because then that way you’ve got everything coming from one source and you can share and you can track.
And it’s a lot easier than having 20 people, 200 people, 2000 people out in the field, not knowing what’s going on.
Great. That’s a good advice. You want to add a last advice before the end of the show ?
Oh, sure, absolutely. So I am standing in front of this painting here, and this is an original work of art by sorrow in Chicago.
It’s called a Chi flag. So you can see it kind of looks like the Chicago flag. And the reason I have that behind me is because I went to an event and. You know, it was one of these events, Gabriel, where they had, I don’t know if you’ve ever had ’em but little teeny donuts with cold brew coffee, and I love little [00:18:00] tiny donuts.
So I was getting those and I came in and I sat down and I do what I always do. I got on Twitter and I started tweeting about the event posting pictures. And, then at the end they said, now we are going to award this original piece of art that was created while we were sitting here and I didn’t even see the artist painting it.
And they said, this is gonna go to the most influential person in the room. And I thought « wow boy, that person is really lucky ». They’re gonna win that painting. And then they said, it’s going to go to Barbara. And they stopped. And I thought I won the painting cuz whenever they can’t say my name, it throws everyone.
And I said, wow. And so, you know, I got this for being the most influential person in the room one day and I don’t know how many people were in the room. It wasn’t like thousands, but I just wanted everyone to understand that you do have influence. And I love PR I redefine it as personality and reputation.
So really think about what is your personality ? What kind of light can you shine into the world ? What’s the personality, the people you do best with, and what’s the reputation that you have and your company has. And what kind of legacy do you wanna leave ? And always when you see a chance, take it. Even if you’re out getting the donuts and the cold brew, just do what you would normally do.
And you never know, you might want a piece of art, like that.
That’s great. And all people can, uh, get in contact with you. What is the best way to contact you ?
Well, I have a blog wired PR works it’s W.I.R.D.E.D PR works. Wired PR works. I started in 2006. There’s about 1200 articles on there and it’s got a bunch of awards, but anyway, it’s a great place to go read.
And I’m on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tik Tok. So wherever you wanna connect, I’m out there for you. And if you need a speaker or a trainer, I’d love to talk to you about that I am a member of the national association of speakers and I am the VP of membership for NSA Carolinas. So if anyone is in north or South Carolina, let’s talk.
Great. Thanks a lot, Barbara.
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Thanks a lot, Barbara, it was real pleasure.
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