What I learned at the Sales + Marketing Alignment Summit 2.0

Wow!  The Sales + Marketing Alignment Summit 2.0 just happened and I couldn't be happier with the outcome. We had another night of thought-provoking and engaging conversation about how to create a better connection between salespeople and marketers. I had the pleasure of being joined by three experienced professionals that gave us a perspective from Sales (Matt Caroll), Marketing (Nate Turner), and Organizational Change Management (Mariam Huss). I firmly believe if we are going to move this conversation forward and create sustainable frameworks that work, we need multiple, informed viewpoints in the room at the same room - not just Sales talking to Sales and Marketing to Marketing. The objective of the Summit was to explore two questions: "How to convince the CEO that alignment is worth the effort" and "How to deal with the "people part" of alignment". I think before we discuss more tactical solutions we need to deal with big, fundamental questions like these. Thus, in the spirit of creating a collective learning, I want to share what came out of our conversation.

Key Learnings from the Summit

Talking with the CEO

  • An alignment effort must come from the CEO. Sales and Marketing leaders cannot do it alone.
  • Culture change is hard and will not happen overnight
  • Sales and Marketing leadership must make a strong business case for alignment that shows the metrics of how the business will be negatively and positively impacted by the effort
  • Conversations with the CEO should include the positive outcomes of alignment, the negative impact of not doing something and how misalignment effects other areas of the business like product, pricing, customer service, etc
  • Strong communication from the CEO to the organization is necessary to get everyone onboard for this type of fundamental change

The "people part" of alignment

  • Alignment is much more than just a b2b tech issue. People are at the heart of this issue. They use the technology.
  • Many in senior leadership perpetuate the negative perceptions of sales and marketing folks because of what they have been through in their career historically
  • Marketing must sell their strategies, initiatives, pilots to Sales and focus on what motivates them to take action - achieving quota
  • Marketing must do a better job of demonstrating to Sales how their efforts are impacting their business (i.e. better leads, shorter sales cycle, etc.)
  • Sales must do a better job of seeing Marketing as a partner and sharing their market intelligence so Marketing can make better decisions to help them
  • Leadership must make the conversations about cold hard metrics to reduce finger pointing. Focus on solutions not who's fault it is.

Final Thoughts

I feel optimistic every time I have conversations like these because I think when we commit to having real conversations with each other in a safe place we can make progress. The point is not to point fingers at who's doing it wrong - No! It's to say how can we help each other to make this easier and do out jobs better. Stay tuned for the next Summit. We will continue having events that provide compelling conversations that lead to actionable insights.