How VMware’s Lisa Martin cultivates calm strength to close the sales-marketing gap

Meet the Experience Makers

Tai chi is often described as “meditation in motion.”

The practice involves a series of gentle physical exercises, mindful breathing, and stretches, each ensuring the body is in constant motion. The goal of tai chi is to harness one’s energy in order to bring total harmony between our inner and outer selves.

In a way, it’s a great analogy for the charter facing modern marketing operations (MOPs) professionals right now: Bring harmony to the customer experience by ensuring a consistent buying process, integrating data and technology, aligning marketing plans and execution to the broader business, and creating balance between sales and marketing.

Deep breath.

As you’ll see in our new interview below, no one better exemplifies the kind of calm strength needed for this endeavor than Lisa Martin, marketing operations manager at VMware Carbon Black (and tai chi enthusiast).

Watch my interview with Martin as we uncover the journey she took to help VMware win an Adobe Experience Maker Award this year for “The Closer,” which recognizes a world-class B2B revenue engine powered by Adobe Experience Cloud solutions.

You’ll learn the following:

Bringing lessons from tai chi to marketing operations

“A lot of people will say, ‘Wow, you, you rarely see her riled up.’ And that’s because inside I’m going, ‘Breathe in, breathe out.’”

One of Martin’s mantras for handling the daily stress of MOPs is very simple: Breathe.

“It’s about letting everything wash through your body so that you don’t hold it internally… let it go… and release it.”

We should all adopt this as a life strategy in 2020, but for Martin it’s been the bedrock of a 15-plus-year career in marketing operations that now finds her at VMware via the acquisition of Carbon Black.

Martin’s other mantra for marketing ops speaks to her impact:

Make magic happen. I don’t care what the deadline is. If there is a way for us to get it done and make it happen successfully, I’m gonna do it… I firmly believe [marketing ops] can help marketing as a whole reach their objectives through tools and tech. I know it can happen. I know it’s possible because I’ve done it.

The sales and marketing gap, closed

One of Martin’s most notable initiatives has been implementing a powerful lead-to-close program to help sales prioritize leads and better collaborate with marketing. The program helped close the gap between these two teams that were once, as in most firms, not quite in sync.

“There was a lot of finger pointing,” Martin explained. “A lot of focus was on getting marketing and sales to look at the same numbers, instead of everybody coming up with numbers on their own.”

With a tech stack that includes Marketo Engage, Martin established one source of data that both teams utilize. “Once you come to one single source of numbers, you can only take action one way,” she said. “Now you’re just talking apples, not apples and oranges.”

This enabled a more collaborative, less contentious relationship between the two teams. “If one side isn’t doing well, it’s up to the other side to help,” Martin said. Now the two teams work together on upcoming campaigns and solutions.

It’s that dynamic of harmony, balance, and peace (thanks, tai chi) that clears a path for growth within organizations because it enables trust and communication.

Most importantly, it creates a unified customer journey from the buyer’s point of view – one consistent, seamless customer experience.

Push your peers to submit!

Martin told me her Closer award would one day be placed on the “Wall of Stahs” at the office. That’s not a typo – that’s how we pronounce it here in Boston.

I told her to look at that beautiful award on the tough days, which are undoubtedly part of this job. And because of that, it can be easy to lose sight of the impact of a behind-the-scenes, demanding role like MOPs.

But MOPs is more critical than ever as marketers navigate thousands of tools, myriad data points, and ever-hungry revenue demands. As Martin has proved through her work, great operations are the cornerstone of a seamless customer experience.

I learned from Martin that it was a colleague, Emily Gravel, who encouraged her to submit a nomination for an Experience Makers Award in the first place. I reached out to Gravel privately to thank her for that nudge. She told me Martin has done some really amazing work – work that she felt deserved recognition.

I couldn’t agree more. Congratulations to Martin, the whole VMware Carbon Black team, and Gravel.

Who will you nudge to submit for the 2021 awards?

Honoring the movers and shakers. Learn more about the Adobe Experience Maker Awards.