Food and wine pairings are about experience.
Some of the best experiences involve consulting with a sommelier (an expert wine consultant) about which California Bordeaux-style red blend goes best with your A5 wagyu ribeye and fingerling potatoes. Or, which New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or other white wine varietal goes best with your oyster and scallop squid ink fettuccini in a tarragon garlic butter sauce.
To offer the best possible experience, you want to make sure your food and wine are paired together properly so that the flavors sing in harmony together, not clash.
Course 1: Aligning Sales and Marketing
The same is true of sales and marketing. You want to create the best possible experience for both your employees and customers. You want sales and marketing to sing in harmony together, not clash. But what is sales and marketing alignment and how do you start to achieve it?
Sales and marketing alignment happens when both sales and marketing leadership and teams agree on goals, priorities, strategies, what success looks like and more. But far too often, these intertwined groups find themselves misaligned from a variety of internal and external pressures.
If your marketing team were to ask your sales team about the quality of the leads they’re seeing from a marketing campaign, what would their response be? How does the output from this type of discussion roll up to the organization's goals and priorities? Is the organization and marketing team considering the market feedback your sales team almost certainly has readily available to share? If these questions start to make you wonder, it might be time to start putting an action plan together.
Course 2: Getting Started
How do you get started aligning your teams?
A great place to start is in building your digital marketing strategy, from a short-term campaign to your annual plan. Why? This strategy should be in support of sales, and often there is a lot to learn from the sales team in support of building out the most effective strategy.
For instance, when building out a digital marketing strategy for a client, our digital marketing team often leads sessions with clients’ sales teams that are a deeper dive into understanding our clients’ clients, or customers. By asking discovery questions such as, “Who is the target audience?” “What sales collateral exists to serve them now?” and “What are some of the frequently asked questions you get during the sales process?” the digital marketing team can gather the details and info that fuels ad targeting, key messages, content ideas, and more.
By better understanding the intel, thought process and pain points of sales, through positive cross-collaboration, digital marketing has a foundation for creating a strategy that sings in harmony across the two departments, just like the pairing of great food and wine!
Course 3: Other Opportunities for Alignment
Beyond collaborating on the strategy, there’s other opportunities for alignment across these teams. Some include:
Aligning on go-to-market communications with strategy as you roll out a new product, service, event, and more
content to be created that can be repurposed across marketing and sales processes
Aligning on sales and marketing technology, especially on the processes and governance that support them and where the hand-off points are with new leads or data
These are like the other courses of a five-star tasting menu. There are different flavors to consider, but they’re equally important to rounding out the meal and your experience.
Course 4: In Conclusion
If you do not give the time and energy into aligning these disciplines, you probably won’t starve. Consider an ancho pepper and espresso encrusted lamb shank over a red beet, potato, parsnip purée with an Italian pinot grigio. Both are great separately but having the right pairing from the start would have been so much more enjoyable. In this case, sales will do their thing. Marketing will do its thing. Some results will happen.
But that doesn’t sound very appealing. Nor will you be realizing your organization’s true potential.
Need support in getting started aligning your teams and what they’re serving in your next fiscal year? Our team of strategic thinkers (and foodies) can help. Just reach out!