Syncing Sales with Marketing and Customer Success

By Isabelle Papoulias | June 15, 2018

SalesAssemblyPhoto_cropped-adjusted-750x660 Mediafly is excited to be the exclusive annual sales enablement partner to Sales Assembly, a Chicago-based community bringing leaders from local technology companies together to build effective, efficient and profitable sales organizations. Sales Assembly’s first annual Summit took place on June 6th, 2018 and showcased revenue leaders from the most prominent and fastest growing tech companies across the Midwest to share their expertise on strategies, trends, and tactics to enhance their business.

During the event, I joined Jen Galvan, VP Customer Success at Flexera Software, Brian Study, Chief Customer Officer at Mattersight, and Mark Rose, VP Marketing at Tronc, for a panel discussion about aligning sales with marketing and customer success. This session, moderated by Adam Johnson, VP Sales at ActiveCampaign, sparked interesting conversations about how these organizations are rethinking their approach to customer satisfaction. Here are three topics that emerged in our discussion, along with my own perspective:


1. Talk to each other

Alignment between organizational disciplines is a frequent topic of discussion, especially between sales and marketing. Most of us find ourselves in meetings about strategy, goals, and workflows but end up relying on email, IM, and team teleconferences to build relationships with one another. With busy schedules, remote employees, and competing priorities, it’s easier said than done to find time to sit down together, but taking time to build meaningful personal connections with your colleagues will go a long way.

At Mediafly, Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success find each other in the same room weekly through leadership level meetings to foster greater transparency and involvement across the company. During these meetings, it’s important to remember to listen first and speak second. Mark Rose said it best in our panel discussion, “Marketing leadership must understand the sales process and marketplace to ensure its’ strategies and priorities are aligned with the revenue side. Recruit leaders that have sales experience. Take your marketing partners on sales calls so that they see first-hand.” In other words, empathy goes a long way towards meeting your business goals and driving growth together.

Do you have regular opportunities to communicate with one another at least weekly? Are you close enough to the head of Sales or Marketing to knock on the door? When was the last time you asked Customer Success what they need instead of the other way around? When I transitioned to Marketing at Mediafly, my first step was to meet with the heads of each department to understand expectations, challenges, and how they preferred to be engaged. This influenced marketing planning, and more importantly, it educated me on their needs and their view of the world.


2. Keep focused on client objectives

It’s easy for Customer Success teams to get side-tracked by day-to-day client needs and find themselves buried in the weeds. In doing so, they risk losing sight of client objectives and find they’re falling short of client expectations. Beyond failing to meet business objectives, like Brian Study said during the panel, “Your buyers are taking a career risk when they buy your solution.” Their integrity is on the line. What are you doing to mitigate their risk?

At Mediafly, our Customer Success Managers have broad-reaching roles from proof of concept, to training, to implementation to tech support and consulting. They join sales conversations early in the cycle to become end-to-end advisors and business experts for their customers. This also allows the Customer Success Manager to be proactive in anticipating any future issues before they snowball into larger problems.

We empower our Customer Success team to become true internal advocates for the customers by eliminating their commercial responsibilities. While they play a big role in influencing expansions and renewals through client satisfaction and successful adoption of our technology, they are not incentivized in generating revenue for the company. The sales account owner remains involved in the customer relationship and participates when renewals and expansions take place. We believe in this “separation of church and state” so the Customer Success Managers can advocate and be the voice of the customer to relay feedback, requests, and suggestions internally to enhance the solution for the benefit of all customers.


3. Be creative, ambitious and transparent with metrics

Success is defined very differently at every company and within each department. At Mediafly, Marketing is not solely responsible for generating leads. Our success is measured by creating mid-funnel opportunities. To some, this may sound a-typical, but I like these metrics because it gives our team a solid gauge on how we are impacting the business. This naturally creates greater collaboration between Marketing and Sales because we understand what it takes to move a lead through the buying cycle and track progress together.

Our quarterly goals are ambitious and communicated across the organization. In leadership, cross-departmental, and company-wide meetings, company financials and metrics are disclosed. While this may feel like your efforts are being scrutinized under a microscope, we like it because it holds us accountable. Here too, transparency and communication can drive collaboration as anyone might chime in with ideas of how to help each other.

The lifecycle of an early-stage prospect, moving down the funnel to become a long-time customer is one that takes time, patience, and perseverance. At the end of the day, Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success are working towards the same goal, and building an iron-clad relationship with your internal stakeholders is the key to success.

Isabelle Papoulias oversees all of Mediafly’s marketing efforts, working closely with the sales and business development teams to ensure continuous growth. She is responsible for the management of Mediafly’s brand communications and demand generation efforts, including digital marketing, creative development, agency relationships, content and events.

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