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CMO Strategy Series: Aligning as One Team

Written by Jocelyn Brown, SVP Customers and Revenue, Allocadia

There’s no stepping around the fact that the way we communicate and work in 2020 has drastically changed. Allocadia already had remote employees – including myself and our CMO Julia – so we had the infrastructure to support the shift to an all-digital workforce. But it’s very different trying to align one or two remote employees with an in-office team vs the aligning the whole team, or two teams that need to act like one. 

Sales and marketing alignment is how we continue to drive impact and revenue. If your alignment is off, here are three tactics to get it back on track:

  1. Ease the spread of information
  2. Every impression counts
  3. Act like one team

1. Ease The Spread of Information

Remote working significantly cut down the immediacy of sharing feedback across teams. The ability to turn around in your chair right after a call and share either a win or a stumble is gone. The ability to quickly pick up a turn of phrase or anecdote you heard a coworker use is gone. We have to make sure that we are creating space and time for the more informal coaching and information sharing.

The need to be more intentional about spending time together, also makes me more intentional about what we are focused on in those times. Frequent and shorter enablement events have become key. This format allows for repetition and focus that’s improving retention.

But one of the best things for me that’s come out of this is the time I now spend with our SDR team. Back in the early days of the pandemic I offered to participate in their stand-up meetings twice a week. Partly so I could keep in touch with early funnel trends, but frankly just to show up for the team with the toughest job. It’s turned into my favourite meetings of the week! I hear exactly what the market is saying and get a chance to try out my own responses to objections. It puts me on the spot and challenges me to articulate my thoughts more succinctly.

2. Every Impression Counts

We’re trying to cut through noise and fight for attention. It’s not just first impressions that count but every impression.

Sales relies on marketing to discover engaged customers and have relevant content for them to serve up. The customer journey is not a post-sales thing, it starts right at the top of the funnel and carries them – ideally – all the way down. This is why it’s so critical to have consistent messaging that flows from beginning to end. Today’s buyer is tomorrow’s advocate. 

It’s tough out there for sales reps, we need to give them the best chance possible to show up to a meeting with enough context to provide value in every interaction and a way to provide valuable content at every turn. If marketing leaders are following our CMO Julia Stead’s advice by focusing on short and sweet content with solid messaging then they’re helping support sales with that necessary context and content. 

3. Act Like One Team

With sales and marketing tied at the hip, everyone needs to be speaking the same language. This isn’t a change specific to 2020, but a trend I’ve noticed dramatically evolving over the last five years. In my perfect world you would not even be able to tell which team they are on when you interact with them. We all speak as one.

But we also need to act as one. Ideally, sales and marketing should fight in equal measure for the other’s strategy. To get there, you have to invest in truly understanding each other’s strategies: the challenges you’re facing, and how these relate to your business strategy. Sales and marketing should be so synchronized that if I’m not in a meeting, Julia represents the whole go-to-market strategy and vice versa.  

And don’t forget to create space for unstructured conversations that ultimately do the most to build trust and alignment across a team. Use the time you might have spent commuting to connect with people in a more authentic way. My CS leader does a great job of weaving ‘get to know you’ types of activities into her team meetings. It’s an opportunity to share stories and uncover the people behind the team. It might feel cheesy at the start, but as soon as one person opens up, everyone does and it inevitably leads to a healthy laughing session – something we could all use a little more. 

“Smarketing” is a term thrown around to describe sales and marketing alignment. While it’s too gimmicky for me (something sales and marketing at Allocadia are aligned on!), I like the idea of a term or name that represents the whole and breaks down the artificial silo of reporting lines. Allocadia won’t be adopting “smarketing” any time soon, but it’s important to have a way to talk about the collective team that creates success.