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Salesloft's Sydney Sloan on creating team alignment

Patrick Campbell Dec 15 2020

When I first moved to Boston one of the biggest culture shocks I experienced was going to the grocery store. Yes, we do have grocery stores and even whole foods in Wisconsin where I grew up. But if you’ve ever walked into a MidWest grocery store, there’s an enormous difference from those of the Coasts—and that is, unfettered, almost annoyingly courteous service. 

It wasn’t that the grocery stores in Boston were mean per se, it was just when you bump into someone and say, “Oh my gosh I’m so sorry, excuse me,” you’re more likely to receive a distrusting look or a “Why the fuck are you talking to me,” which is something that actually happened to me.


In contrast, you cannot escape a Midwestern grocery store without being asked how your day is going, being asked where you're from, and maybe even being invited to a barbeque, in the most extreme of examples. We’re the black labs of people. It’s not because we have an agenda, it’s just because we’re ignorantly trusting of everyone and want to help. 

Today’s guest, who not only had initial dreams of becoming a grocery store clerk, and has since upleveled that ambition considerably, but has an insatiable urge to assist customers, along with an intense intellect to scale marketing organizations. Sydney Sloan, the CMO of Salesloft is going to walk us through how to use the love of the buyers you serve, to grow, as well as how to permeate that sentiment throughout an organization.

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Here we summarize the main takeaways for you to implement or hand off to your team for implementation.


Key terms: 

What does sales and marketing alignment mean?

Sales and marketing alignment is when both teams are working together in a coordinated effort to achieve the same goal—to close more business. When sales and marketing align, your company optimizes its marketing and sales cycles as one, resulting in reduced costs and an increase in revenue.


Why is it important?

It’s good for business. If your sales and marketing teams aren’t aligned, then your business is not aligned. “When you think about sales and marketing alignment, the goal really is around aligning in the customer journey,” Sydney says, “You want to be able to have the same experience for the customer as they go through the marketing funnel, as sales is reaching out to them, and especially that hand-off when they become a customer.”


Action plan:

What to do today: 

  • Follow Sydney Sloan.
  • Discuss and evaluate your current sales and marketing strategies with your exec team.
  • Schedule a time to assess your customer journey.

What to do next quarter:

Once you've evaluated your sales and marketing strategies, as well as your customer journey, you can then take that information to begin the alignment process. Sales and marketing need to talk to each other and understand each other, which means putting the lingo or jargon aside. Instead focus on restructuring the customer journey to align both teams under that common goal.

Here are some steps to help you get started.

    1. Always take a customer-first mindset. Create a single customer journey—both teams should own the entire customer experience
    2. Empathize with sales. Understand that selling is difficult
    3. Taking an account-based approach for B2B marketers. Sydney attests that "If sales and marketing are in lockstep around account based and are truly working through, and leveraging data and science to identify those target accounts when we are working them together, that’s where it changes."
    4. Decide on what the joint metric is to ensure a common goal.
    5. Use customer feedback. Sales is constantly talking to the customer and know the pain points. Marketing should listen in on these sales calls, or the sales team should share this crucial information with marketing.
    6. Keep marketing messaging consistent. Ensure both teams are using the same language.
    7. Create marketing assets to help sales close the sale. One of the most popular marketing strategies used today is content marketing. When used by both sales and marketing, it's highly effective in nurturing prospects through the different stages of the sales funnel.
    8. Sales and marketing should collaborate on post-sale growth and retention. As we've mentioned here at ProfitWell, acquiring new customers is more expensive than retaining them. Sales and marketing should work closely together to increase the lifetime value of your customers.

What to do within the next year:

Continue evaluating what's working and what's not, as the way customers buy continues to evolve. Utilize all of the output to work through the following deliverables.
  • Go-to-market strategy
  • Sales decks
  • Marketing channels and specifics
  • Content & messaging
  • Joint metric

Who should own this? 

In Sydney's words, “I don’t know how, as a marketing leader, you can be successful if you don’t have alignment and you don’t know what the go-to-market strategy is.”

Watch the full episode


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By Patrick Campbell

Founder & CEO of ProfitWell, the software for helping subscription companies with their monetization and retention strategies, as well as providing free turnkey subscription financial metrics for over 20,000 companies. Prior to ProfitWell Patrick led Strategic Initiatives for Boston-based Gemvara and was an Economist at Google and the US Intelligence community.

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