Who’s on First?
The classic comedy sketch by Abbot and Costello plays on a series of misunderstandings perpetuated by rat-a-tat wordplay. Costello cannot grasp why Abbott’s roster includes ‘Who’ at first base, ‘What’ at second, ‘I Don’t Know’ at third, a pitcher named ‘Tomorrow,’ and a catcher named ‘Today.’ The humor is that neither man is listening to the other — and that each man is convinced of his own perspective.
While the sketch is hilarious, several parallels can be drawn on the relationship between Sales and Marketing. These are two very unique organizations. If Sales is Abbot, Marketing is Costello.
The modern buyer has evolved – they are sophisticated, have more stakeholders at the table, and have access to more information than ever. This progress means that Sales and Marketing objectives are becoming increasingly intertwined. Complex sales cycles mean that sales reps are increasingly reliant on compelling, persona-centric content that resonates at each stage of the sales cycle. For most organizations, this is a new muscle to flex. Often the confusion around objectives, metrics, and roles can lead to misunderstandings that hurt your chances of making your number. As you might expect, disjointed efforts produce suboptimal results:
- Siloed views of the customer and go-to-market strategy
- Misaligned content and messaging
- Clumsy hand-offs between marketing and sales
- Broken feedback loops
Functional alignment starts with a unified mindset and a clear understanding of your Marketing counterpart. It’s not always easy to know what questions to ask. Fortunately, SBI has resources to guide your alignment efforts. Click here to learn best practices on creating interlock between Sales and Marketing. Download our alignment tool to help benchmark yourself and uncover blind spots.
Creating Alignment with Metrics and Interactive Dashboards
In the past, Sales and Marketing organizations could get by operating independently. With the modern buyer, this doesn’t work anymore. Reps need marketing content that resonates with the right persona, at the right time. To work together in lockstep, Sales and Marketing organizations need three things:
- Defined success metrics
- A cross-functional interactive dashboard
- A platform to share insights
The first step in creating interlock is to engage in dialogue that aligns objectives and metrics with your Marketing peers. What metrics will you use to define success and drive accountability? How do these goals support the overall corporate strategy? Is your stack capable of measuring and reporting these success metrics? The outcome of this dialogue is a set of metrics that are mutually agreed upon, measurable, and aligned to the corporate strategy.
Next, a cross-functional interactive dashboard is built to visualize your success metrics and track them over time. This is the tricky part because misalignment often stems from blind spots in data shared between departments. How do you get Sales tech, Martech, and Customer Success tech to work in unison? Many Sales Ops leaders will perceive this as a behemoth undertaking, requiring hundreds of developer hours. Fortunately, next-generation BI tools such as Alteryx and Tableau Prep streamline the ETL cycle to deliver insights in hours, not weeks. Click here to learn more about the potential of self-service analytics.
A best in class dashboard tells a compelling, interactive story of success metrics over time. Below are examples of metrics and dashboards that demonstrate Sales and Marketing alignment.
Sales and Marketing Alignment Dashboard
Lastly, you need a platform to share these insights. Alignment won’t come quickly if access is restricted to a select audience; these dashboards should reside where everyone can see them (i.e., the CRM, Tableau Server, Sharepoint, a weekly PDF report, etc.). When your team has full visibility, they’ll avoid the ‘Who’s on First?’ fallacy that too many organizations fall for.
Alignment starts with defined success metrics and cross-functional visibility. It’s not always easy to know what questions to ask. Fortunately, SBI has resources to guide your alignment efforts. Click here to learn additional best practices on creating interlock between Sales and Marketing. Download our alignment tool to help benchmark yourself and uncover blind spots.