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CMO Strategy Series: Navigating the Digital Buyer’s Journey with Sales

Written by Julia Stead, CMO at Allocadia

2020 has provided no shortage of challenges for marketers. This shift to all-digital has had ramifications across multiple facets of how we work together, within our own teams and across departments. While I long for the future when I can hug my colleagues again, that’s not going to be the reality anytime soon. Digital-first it is, and in all the rush to adapt to a digital-first marketing strategy, the impact on sales and marketing alignment has been often ignored. 

I’d advise marketers to re-focus on their alignment with sales by starting with these three areas:

  1. Fill any gaps in sales enablement content
  2. Become codependent partners
  3. Stop overcomplicating things

Sales Enablement: Filling in the Gaps

The pandemic really highlighted just how important this piece of the puzzle is.

Charm, wining, and dining only get you so far, and in times of social distancing two of those moves aren’t on the table. I’ve found that we’re relying more than ever on the value Allocadia provides to its customers and using that to inform our messaging. 

Three practical changes marketing leaders can start making tomorrow are:

1. Revisit your messaging

Messaging is critical right now. Revisiting it will translate to greater investments in product marketing and sales enablement, but now is the time to make that investment. Everything customer-facing should be hyper-relevant and personalized to buyer’s pains today. A great place to start is refreshing your pitch decks to make them shorter, bolder, and punchier. 

2. Keep content short and sweet

Be judicious when asking for prospects time. Focus on creating and arming sales with multi-medium content like video, short form content, and slides that prospects can review quickly, on their own timeframe. Think elevator pitches, but with digital content. Bonus points if it’s interactive!

3. Put yourself in their shoes

Depending on your role, you might spend a lot of time listening to pitches from various sales reps. What would make you agree to fight the Zoom fatigue for another thirty minute chat? Start with that idea, let it snowball, and don’t be afraid to take a big risk! Creativity is how you stand out from digital fatigue.

The Good Kind of Codependent

Marketing can’t achieve success without sales and vice versa. The quicker you acknowledge and accept that, the easier it is to view the other as your teammate instead of an adversary. 

A big part of the mindset shift is changing how you celebrate wins. When the end of quarter rolls around, in worst case scenarios it can be a fight for attributing revenue or blaming each other for missed targets. Instead, celebrate your wins and address your challenges together. Although you’re technically divided into two departments and various smaller groups, start thinking – and acting – like you’re all one team. 

It’s definitely a more conscious effort to maintain the sales/marketing relationship now that we don’t have the same casual happy hour or coffee break meetups. You don’t naturally bump into a coworker on a Zoom chat. But prioritizing connections is so beneficial to creating a happy relationship that builds trust and a stronger foundation for collaboration. 

Remove Complications, Don’t Add Them

With everyone remote, it’s easier for cracks in your alignment to become crevasses. Stop silos from forming with clear communication across all the board. Sales and marketing should both be clear on the go-to-market strategy, and where resources are being prioritized across both teams. 

Not everything needs a cute or clever label, especially if it comes at the expense of clarity. 

While we’re remote, good communication starts with clear documentation. A clarifying question that a team member would ask in person, might not get asked over Slack. Avoid false assumptions with context and avoid jargon. In recent years, I’ve noticed marketing and business jargon has adopted so many special terms and acronyms that add avoidable complications. Stop over-marketing marketing! Not everything needs a cute or clever label, especially if it comes at the expense of clarity. And the first term we can cut should be smarketing – a completely unnecessary portmanteau. 

But creating sales and marketing alignment isn’t a one-way street. Which is why I’ve asked my colleague Jocelyn Brown, SVP Customers and Revenue, for her thoughts on the topic. Stay tuned for the sales perspective on this critical business relationship in the next couple weeks!