Google ‘Sales and Marketing Alignment’.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t do it at least ten times before writing this blog. The amount of content is astounding. Almost as impressive as the number of resources available, are the variety of titles:

I, of course, in my quest to know every ingredient to the sales and marketing alignment secret sauce, read each article with highlighter in hand. When I finished, sitting in front of my computer, ready to write the most profound blog about marrying the two teams in revenue matrimony alongside my best friend, I was stuck – my Google Doc was blank.

In all of my reading, I hadn’t come across anything that really spoke to me. Sure, there was great advice about defining common terms, identifying necessary processes, and other business jargon, but there wasn’t any mention of what I felt mattered the most, a fundamental understanding and appreciation for what the other team does.

I’ve had the privilege to work for two phenomenal sales organizations prior to Sugar Market, previously Salesfusion, each offering a unique perspective on specific industries, work styles, sales methodologies, and team dynamics.

It wasn’t until joining Sugar Market that the importance of working with marketing was put at the forefront of my responsibilities. This was an adjustment.  I sell. I speak fast. I drink at least eight cups of coffee a day. My friends and family know to avoid me, at all costs, towards the end of the quarter. There is no such thing as second place.

Marketing was the intimidating creative crew that handled all of the ‘stuff’ outside of sales. Need a presentation for a client? Ask marketing. Need some tweets? Ask marketing. Want to organize a customer event? Ask marketing. Need more leads? Ask marketing. Need more revenue? Ask sales.

Boy, was I wrong.

During my short four months with Sugar Market, I have seen two teams stocked with some of the most intelligent, creative and driven personalities come together to solve a simple a problem – be the example to our customers by driving revenue through sales and marketing alignment.

It wasn’t the article we read on page one of the ‘Sales and Marketing Alignment’ Google search or coming up with best practices (don’t get me wrong, we are doing that too), but it was developing a culture within each team that centered on understanding and appreciating their revenue generation counterpart. To put it simply, we are developing the foundation for any great relationship – professional or personal.

When I learned that my former colleague/manager/best friend/travel buddy, Lynn Perry, was moving into our marketing leadership position, I was ecstatic. I’ve known Lynn for the better part of a decade and have seen her build and lead one successful team after another.

She builds teams on the same basis that we have built our friendship, on a foundation of mutual admiration, respect and, at times, brutal honesty. I knew immediately this would be our answer to the greater sales and marketing alignment conundrum. It’s not about speaking the same language, having best practices in place or having the best marketing automation technology (although we do have that), those are all minor pieces to a complex puzzle.

It’s about the culture. It’s about having leaders in place that promote the culture both inside and outside of their teams.

Sounds easy, right? I have full confidence it will be an amazing journey full of inevitable flubs and fanatic successes that we are excited to share with the greater blogosphere.  Am I nervous our sales and marketing alignment journey could end the friendship? Not a chance. Do I think there will be times I kidnap her dog because she didn’t produce enough leads for me? Absolutely – after all, it’s all about driving revenue, at any costs 🙂