There is no “silver bullet” organization type that fits all companies. There are however several common themes that winning marketing organizations possess.

Is your marketing organization set-up to win this year and next year? Are your people aligned around the right set of tasks and activities? I have seen many different marketing organizations in my career, with all forms of layers, silos, and job bi-frication. Spoiler Alert – There is no “silver bullet” organization type that fits all companies. There are however several common themes that winning marketing organizations possess.


Download the marketing org planning overview deck for best practice marketing organization structure.  To leverage SBI’s comprehensive guide of best practices for Marketing Org design, leverage SBI’s PDF Workbook and turn to the Marketing Org phase on pages 280 – 285.


Winning Marketing Organizations are Aligned to Customers:


It sounds simple doesn’t it? Unfortunately, the majority of marketing organizations are set-up to facilitate a product and are not aligned to the customer. Building teams around customer types, or segments is imperative, especially in the B2B space. Some industries only have one customer segment. In those cases I would recommend alignment around the different buyers within your customers different departments.


Aligning your teams around how a buyer shops, the products used and ultimately use cases ensures a continued “outward in” view. Build your team so they are are putting the customer at the center of their organization. This will ensure the customer feels front-and-center and is accounted for in the work.


The work product positioning, campaign design, content and delivery will all focus on the buyer and thus be more effective. This also ensures your teams will quickly become experts on how the customer uses your products and services.


Winning Marketing Organizations are Aligned Around Their Sales Channels: 


Marketing needs to understand and align around their customer but they cannot lose sight of the ultimate goal – selling. Marketing needs to align around the different sales channels within the organization.


If your business is entirely field sales then alignment is easy. If your organization has multiple sales channels (ie. field sales, sales development reps, insides sales, alternative channels, resellers, partner vendors, etc) and all of these channels are effective sales venues for your organization then marketing support is required. Marketing support can come in many forms but ultimately marketing supports sales in two ways.  The first support is via sales enablement. Marketing materials, buyer personas, buyer process maps, etc. are all sales enablement tools the marketing team can support. The second form of support is via the funnel. Marketing helps sales by filling each sales channel with the appropriate number of high quality sales leads.


If a continued complaint from sales is: “I don’t know what Marketing is doing” or “I never get any good leads from Marketing” then chances are your organization is not aligned to the sales channels properly. Aligning marketing around channel support (whether it be through sales enablement, field marketing or a general regular support cadence) will ensure your sales teams have the tools they need to win.


Winning Marketing Organizations are Built To Facilitate Outcomes, Not Functions:


Building an organization around outcomes allows you to remain truly agile and to evolve with your ever changing markets and customers. Marketing must be focused on the outcome of their activities and not a factory assembly line, waterfall approach. As an example – ask your marketing operations group (if you have one) – What is your goal? Is it to ensure a campaign is loaded into the Martech stack and out the door in a specific time-frame? OR is your goal to ensure the optimization of said campaign to ensure we have the most positive interactions with our prospects/clients for the dollars spent? Function versus Outcome.


Each subgroup within marketing should have a set outcome based goal that is both trackable and impacted by their own activities.  An outcomes based goal example would be that marketing generated bookings need to be $4M for the public sector in 2018.  The public sector team’s function is to deliver high quality MQL’s that are turning into booked sales in 2018 (consequently this can be a goal of the team but it is not the outcome).  An outcome of the public sector marketing team’s hard work and cooperation with sales is the $4M plus in bookings.  Also as a nice caveat – you’ve now aligned the public sector team with the sales team for the year; and a shared goal always solidifies organizational alignment.


The T-Shaped Marketer 


An important byproduct of winning marketing organizations is effective marketers. An effective marketer is also known as a T-Shaped marketer because they can run both deep within their segment and wide across the revenue marketing process.  Diagram 1 shows the 6 steps to the revenue marketing process.  An effective marketing organization accounts for all 6 of these steps within their team.  An effective T-Shaped marketer can work all 6 of these steps on their own (if they have to):



Diagram 2 below shows a sample organization and the differences between the generalist, the specialist, and the T-Shaped Marketer:


T-Shaped Marketer - Marketing Org


The Result?


The goal of a truly aligned marketing organization is to not only meet a revenue target but also to build a winning marketing organization.   Winning marketing organizations know their customers and markets cold.  Winning marketing organizations have a tight and regular interlock with all sales channels.  Winning marketing organizations are never steady state and always improving.  Lastly, Winning marketing organizations show regular and immediate value to the organizational bottom line.




Additional Resources


To leverage SBI’s comprehensive guide of best practices for Marketing Org design, leverage SBI’s How to Make Your Number in 2018 PDF Workbook and turn to the Marketing Org phase on pages 280 – 285.


If you would like to participate in a custom workshop focused on marketing org design, bring your team to engage with a hand-picked team of experts in Dallas at The Studio , SBI’s executive briefing center.