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Digital sales rooms with Tara Pawlak

Tara breaks down sales-marketing alignment in events and how digital sales rooms are redefining sales across the customer lifecycle -- especially events and trade shows. Plus, she shares she wants a revenue goal as a marketer.

Show Description

Where marketers come to talk about sales. For heads of marketing and founders who support a sales team. 15-minute interviews with go to market experts published every Monday morning.


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Show Notes

We're joined by Tara Pawlak, head of marketing at GetAccept. For starters, this episode kicked off when Tara posted the following tactical exercise on LinkedIn, encouraging people to rethink how they do events:

In this episode, we cover a lot of ground.
  • Sales-marketing alignment for events and trade shows. How Tara has flipped the conventional way of doing events on its head and is including the sales team with digital sales rooms. Plus the one key that is required for this to work.
  • How outbound sales can complement marketing's events strategy. That's right, when coordinated appropriately, outbound sales efforts can co-exist with marketing's conventional event and trade show strategies. 
  • Digital sales rooms. It's an emerging category and Tara talks about GetAccept thinks about this new tool for salespeople and how they interact across the org chart. And she makes the case for how digital sales rooms can help salespeople sell more!
  • Sales-marketing communication around events. If marketers often use project management software and salespeople often use CRM software, how do they meet in the middle? Hear how they do it at GetAccept.
  • Revenue goals. Tara shares her personal experience that led her to become a marketer who is not only comfortable talking about sales, who wants a revenue number.
Find Tara on LinkedIn:
Learn more about GetAccept:
Discover HubSpot INBOUND:


Welcome to Pipeline Meeting, where marketers come to talk about sales. Whether you're the head of marketing or a founder who's supporting your first sales hire, we'll talk about qualifying your inbound leads and finding new ones with cold outreach. Learn more at

[00:00:20] Today, we're joined by Tara Pawlak from GetAccept. It's a digital sales room tool that integrates with HubSpot, Close, Salesforce and a bunch of other tools.

[00:00:32] Now she had a post on LinkedIn about sales and marketing alignment, specifically around events, and it really caught my eye. I thought it'd be great to have her on.

[00:00:41] Did you have an example that you were thinking of when you posted this? This felt like you had something in mind.

[00:00:46] I wrote this after coming back from HubSpot INBOUND, which was a couple weeks ago. The very specific person I'm gonna call out is myself, actually. And a lot of marketers that I know.

[00:00:59] Typically marketers, they're the project manager of most events. They set an event budget, it comes through marketing, we're about gathering leads, getting in front of the audience, all of that.

[00:01:08] It's historically always been, oh this is marketing's responsibility. They decide who goes, You go, you do your thing at the show, and then you come back and then everybody's looking at the numbers after the fact instead of doing it upfront.

[00:01:22] And so this calendar year, we did it differently, where yes marketers are the lead. The project manager behind the scenes a hundred percent. Cause there's a lot of logistics with events and branding and setup, but we build what we think is realistic in what should happen from a whole pipeline view.

[00:01:42] And then we bring in whoever that would be, like counterpart. Mine is head of sales. And I show that to him, get his reaction. We talk through things, we tweak things.

[00:01:54] And what I came off of, at least for HubSpot INBOUND, is he actually built slides directly into the deck as well.

[00:02:00] And before we involve anybody else, anybody on our team, marketing's already running in the background of like the event logistics, but before we involve staff, who's going, what's their roles, what expectations, him and I are absolutely aligned on that.

[00:02:15] What did he put in the deck that changed your marketing planning?

[00:02:18] What he ended up putting in is an outbound play that was deemed for our account executives and anyone else attending the booth.

[00:02:28] Marketing, we had like a, a wider play for certain individuals, booking meetings and doing our marketing emails, we're gonna be at this conference and things like that.

[00:02:37] But he took it to a personal level because he can actually say to the three AEs that are attending, you now need to go look at your list of targets. We're gonna help you with targets, and you have to personally do outreach to them. Marketing cannot do this, so we need to do this together.

[00:02:53] And then we would roll that pre-, during, and post-playbook together of like, These are your roles, these are your roles. Nope, marketing has that coverage. We don't need you to do that. We need you to do this, this, and this. And every single person who attended, including our CEO, had their task to them.

[00:03:12] I love that. I love getting the CEO on that task list too. So, GetAccepted is digital sales room software, I'm sure you're using in your tool, right?

[00:03:21] Yes.

[00:03:21] How is your tool feeding this process? Cause I could imagine putting together some collateral so that when the person shows up in the booth, hey, I'm ready for you, let me show you what I already built. And then after the show, let me update it.

[00:03:33] Absolutely. Thanks for the question. If you could see me, my smile is huge because you figured it out. Yes. GetAccept, our platform, is a digital sales room platform.

[00:03:40] As a marketer and as a sales team, we are super lucky to be able to build content before any event, either in person or virtually.

[00:03:49] What we build is a digital sales room specifically for that event. So it's very specific content and there's like videos, information, business cards, LinkedIn, of course information about our product.

[00:04:01] But then when we actually go to the event, one of our number one things is to be different and stand out.

[00:04:07] You'll actually see a lot of that content, you'll see it at the booth. And one of our main things for us is we wear these crazy suits. They're in all these different colors, so that's also in the digital sales room. When you see the video and you see all of us personally saying hi, so there's a lot of personalization in it.

[00:04:23] They've already received that email. They've received that follow up. Did they open it? Yes or no? If they did, they say, oh, you had that video, you sent that to me. I went to this link, and they don't quite get it yet. We're creating a category of its own, a digital sales room, but we also all have QR codes, business cards, as well as on our phones, and they can scan and get directly into the digital sales room that was built for that specific event.

[00:04:48] And the great part is we show them our whole tool and how it works. And there's chat and there's SMS and there's analytics. I can tell that, maybe Harris opened it and all that and it goes all the way to after the event.

[00:04:58] Then we update that same digital sales room of our post event recap highlights, and you can see from how the one individual would see, oh, that's great, that's how my AEs would manage their sales process from a sales content collateral perspective.

[00:05:14] Okay. That was my next question. If I'm a salesperson, I'm territorial when it comes to my calendar and how much time I have to spend doing things. And I'm skeptical when marketing is like, Hey, I've got this project for you. I'm thinking about quarter end and I'm thinking about proposals and customer relationships that I'm.

[00:05:33] So what's the case for sales?

[00:05:37] I personally think if you do it right, they're going to be able to impact their number and their own quota and pipeline at the end of the day. Cuz you're joining forces with marketing versus doing it separately.

[00:05:51] And I don't typically ever go to our sales team without the buy-in of their leader. That's where the alignment has to start at the leadership level, and that's where they can push back.

[00:06:01] Even right now, it's end of month, end of quarter for us. I have some things I need to talk about with Q4 for our sales leader and we're not even meeting till end of this week.

[00:06:11] As marketers, you have to be very well aware of sales and where they're at in their cycle and their ability to be productive and efficient.

[00:06:19] There's a lot of things that you learn that, hey, we could build that in and this, this, and this. But how much time is that gonna take all your AEs? Are you adding 10 more minutes to their day? An hour? That's where you need to start with the head of sales with marketing alignment to get their buy-in. If they don't have their buy-in, the AEs will never carry that through.

[00:06:37] Mm. Can they also make asks back of marketing? Will marketing put chips in like that to match the effort they're doing?

[00:06:45] Absolutely. We send it to everybody well in advance and say, Hey, here's our structure, here's what we think will resonate with this audience. Please chop it up, add to it.

[00:06:54] For example, we had a hype video to go to the event and we tasked out people, like I mentioned, our CMO, our CEO, and everyone that attending had to take a personalized video so we could put that in a hype video that was included in the digital sales room that also went on social media and things like that.

[00:07:11] How are you literally getting these requests back and forth, this collaborative process?

[00:07:14] We collaborate a lot on Slack. We have different groups and different channels, so we set those up when there is a project and we know all the stakeholders in advance.

[00:07:24] Like we were talking about earlier, yes, marketing will drive the event in person but we have a lot of other people involved, and we might not involve them until a certain step of the process, but we don't just completely leave them out.

[00:07:36] If we're like building out a shell of a project, we say, Hey, heads up, this is our draft. Nothing for you to do, no task. Review it when you can, but if you need more information, you can go here and then let them know on the marketing side, who's the lead, who else is involved.

[00:07:52] We also, which I think is pretty rare, we have daily standups every day. Which is typically a sales, type of management--

[00:08:01] Yeah, definitely. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:08:03] --but our marketing team is invited to that, and we, we join when we can. And that is also an open forum to ask for help, to ask for feedback, to give reminders.

[00:08:13] If I'm like, Hey, everybody, I sent you something a couple days ago. I really need you to fill it out. Or, I really need someone's feedback. Who wants to join this brainstorming session?

[00:08:21] It's kind of like that voluntary, I need help. Because it's ours on Zoom, it's that face to face versus a Slack message or an email which is super easy to ignore. And so I think that helps our team with a lot of collaboration.

[00:08:34] Are you seeing peer to peer interactions, an AE will go right to a graphic designer or a creative? Or are you seeing them run through like yourself, as the head of the team?

[00:08:44] Depends on the project, but I would say both. When it's something brand new that we've never done before, or it's just an idea, typically they'd probably explain it to me, or our demand gen marketing manager first, before going a designer or a content writer or somebody like that. We can help kind of brainstorm and think it through together and see how it fits into the puzzle.

[00:09:05] But if it's something smaller, then they would just go directly to whoever they think can help them.

[00:09:11] Are you finding that people are using digital sales room tools over a longer sales cycle?

[00:09:17] Not just focused around the event, but over the entire sales cycle. So if it takes like 6, 9, 12 months? Or does it become a reversion back to just email with leads?

[00:09:32] I would say email is our enemy in, um, in a sales process. That's my opinion of it, especially from a digital sales room, just because it's very fragmented, and broken, and there's threads and not everybody's involved. And then where is the content stored and where is the engagement?

[00:09:52] Technically it's a two way street, but with the digital sales room, you're able to, edit and upload and add a new video, change pricing, change the proposal, add in a stakeholder, you know, and continue that process. So, It can be a very quick sales process or it can be enterprise.

[00:10:13] When you have many, many stakeholders involved, and typically the sales cycles are gonna be much longer, but you're inviting people into a room and it's more of a collaborative selling process when you have the ability to bring in different stakeholders.

[00:10:26] Text them. Use video. Watch the analytics. You can see that somebody sat on the pricing page for eight minutes, or someone else who sat on more of the customer testimonials or something else that you include.

[00:10:38] To me, this feels like catching up with where buyers are going.

[00:10:46] We really built the digital sales room product for revenue teams that are forward thinking and understanding that there is a better buying experience, right?

[00:10:57] And you can do this with your buyers as a seller and show them a better way. and it makes so much sense when we talk to clients and prospects and they have that aha moment.

[00:11:10] Where they're like, yeah, my sales content is in Slack. And then my boss, you know, he actually keeps us in a Dropbox and then this team puts it over here, you know, in Google Drive. And it's like everyone acknowledges once you start talking, the inefficiencies that a lot of sales teams are running in. And then when you say, how is your buyer engaging with your team?

[00:11:33] And it's a little bit all over the place, right?

[00:11:36] And then you resort to this like, Oh, I'll just email you the proposal. And then it goes into like a black hole.

[00:11:42] Where we know, to your point that buyers are so much smarter than this. They've already done all the research. They're talking at three or four of your competitors.

[00:11:49] They're looking at review sites. They know what they want. And so as a seller, you're actually at like the end of the journey. They've already made a buying decision.

[00:11:58] You're just at the point where they're choosing who's providing them a better experience and who can understand and articulate the problem that they're actually trying to solve for their business.

[00:12:10] Do you find this translates into, and through, to customer success?

[00:12:15] It can go all the way through the customer life cycle. If you have that historic conversation, transparency, everything that was talked about from the sales process, from the open opportunity, all the way to closed one, and it's all within that one site. All of the chat, all of the edits, all of the conversation.

[00:12:34] You seem pretty revenue aligned, but it seems like as a marketer you care about sales. Which maybe seems obvious, but I don't think that's as common as one would guess.

[00:12:46] Is that just like your background is that. Is that especially true at GetAccept? I'm just curious like how as a marketer you came to care so much about sales.

[00:12:53] Cause I feel like a lot of are just like, I'm gonna run a brilliant campaign and you know, you better appreciate it.

[00:12:59] The worst thing as a marketer, if you spend all this time, money, and effort and resources, and you launch something, and then internally people don't see the value, or you don't make an impact?

[00:13:14] Yeah, we all have campaigns that don't work or they, you know, they need to be improved or they didn't to see as much success as you want.

[00:13:21] But to me it's like, don't you wanna make the biggest impact on the business that you're putting out in the world? And to me, that's a number. That's a revenue number.

[00:13:29] I can actually see the impact of what we're doing. I've also helped supported sales teams my entire career. And even if when they get very large, you know, there was one brand I was in charge of. There's over 80 reps at one point that could come in and give me feedback.

[00:13:45] You have to understand where they're coming from and what they're up against every day, and find those AEs and solution architects and the leaders of sales that you trust, and they will give you feedback no matter what. And very candid.

[00:13:58] I want someone to say like, that did not work, Tara. We're not gonna use it.

[00:14:03] We don't like that new proposal template or that new campaign that's like, great, Why?

[00:14:07] So it's like you have to build that level of trust. So it's a two way street. We have the same goals, right? It's like pipeline generation and ARR. So why wouldn't a marketer be aligned with revenue is really the way I look at it today.

[00:14:22] Awesome. If there's anything else you're thinking about or, or where people can find more about you and how you think about these things.

[00:14:28] Cause I think you're pretty active on LinkedIn. It seems like you've got a lot of folks engaging in your stuff there.

[00:14:33] Thanks. Yeah, you can definitely find me on LinkedIn. I'm very passionate about marketing, lot of ops, strategy, and demand gen, if I had to name a few.

[00:14:43] Definitely check out, getaccept. com. I believe in our product for sure. I think as a marketing and sales leader, it's, it's pretty interesting some of the things that we're able to help revenue teams do today.

That's all for now. You can find show notes at The theme music for Pipeline Meeting is by Neighbourhood Vandal and it's shared under a Creative Commons-Attribution, or CC-BY, license. If you learned something, consider sharing this show with a friend. Thanks.