If you’ve ever worked at a Software as a Service (SaaS) company, you may have heard stories of Sales and Marketing teams not getting along. But why is this the case? Both groups share the same goals: evangelizing product benefits, landing flashy new clients, and growing existing relationships.
The disconnect, however, arises from the different ways the two groups work to achieve these goals. For example, Sales works to win customers one at a time. Marketing works to win customers at scale. As companies grow, the silo effect takes hold, and collaboration starts to suffer. It doesn't take long for teams to fall out of alignment and for frustrations to mount.
Sales and marketing: in and out of sync
When I think about Sales and Marketing alignment at FullStory, it’s clear some things are working well. For instance, we're usually on the same page when we go to market with new features. We have a regular “pit crew” meeting where stakeholders from our Sales, Marketing, and Hugging families join forces to address challenges and explore areas where we can work more in sync. Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) help us gain visibility into the projects that other FullStory families currently have on their plates.
A few months ago, though, we realized some of our existing ways of working together weren’t actually working.
For instance, at many companies, Sales relies on Marketing to create new collateral to use throughout the sales process, and FullStory is no different. However, we lacked an efficient process for taking stock of these requests and prioritizing them. A seller might swing by the Marketing area to share an idea or request. Maybe they’d drop a Slack. Or they might even create a card in our project management platform asking for a new piece of content to be created. No matter how it surfaced, our lack of process made it hard to get a sense of how important any given request was, assess the type of impact it would have on sales overall, and assess the urgency of one request relative to another.
We needed a bionic solution—one that would scale with the demands of Sales and Marketing.
Reflecting on this problem, I realized that the solution might already exist. It’s called Top 10. Maybe you’ve heard of it.
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How to align sales and marketing with Top 10
This is not your average top ten list.
Product teams often make lists of features that will help all aspects of the funnel and touch all teams in some way. They are on to something. Given the success of Top 10 on the product side, could sales and marketing adopt it, too?
At the beginning of the quarter, gather members of the sales and marketing team, along with account executives (AEs) together to make a top ten list of the most important things to them, individually. Work through collateral ideas and ask questions such as:
What purpose does this piece of content have?
Would this existing piece of content meet that purpose?
How can each team use this piece of content to optimize their role?
Which of these ideas will have the greatest business impact?
You’ll end up with a huge list of ideas that benefit each team member in some way. Start to pair down the ideas and correlate them with metrics. At the end of the meeting, vote on the ideas as a group, and the top priority will quickly become clear.
The Top 10 process gives you a handy list of the best ideas, vetted and prioritized. Additionally, it created empathy between all the included teams (a key ingredient in all good relationships!). One of the most important factors of this system is that (at least) four times a year, you have to get all teams together and on the same page.
Silos do not exist in success.
Now teams like sales and marketing can look to the future with confidence their needs will be shared and satisfied. And when teams work together, customers win.