Last week, we posted about the importance of ABM alignment, the process of helping sales and marketing teams work collaboratively to implement successful campaigns.
As we discussed, ABM alignment can be achieved in three phases: business alignment (a topic covered in detail by our last post), executional alignment (more to come on this next week), and functional alignment,the subject up for discussion today.
Functional alignment is what happens when staff from different teams (who perform different functions with a company) join together with a common goal – in this case, the successful implementation of ABM strategy.
Functional alignment is more complex than helping each team understand their shared and individual objectives. This week, we cover three essential practices that will help your company establish teamwork across sales and marketing departments, ensuring the success of ABM campaigns.
1. Overcoming silos
The immediate problem with functional alignment is often that corporate culture has trained teams to work within cleanly and clearly assigned functions (a practice known as ‘working in silos).
While this method has merits, it’s not an approach that works well for ABM, which requires harmonious, skilled, and well-timed collaboration sustained for long periods of time.
Breaking teams out of silos is tough, as staff may be reluctant to adapt, compromise, or adjust the ways in which they’re used to working (in short, it feels safe in my silo, and I’m staying put).
As leaders, we can help by:
- Ensuring goals are discussed, aligned, and shared with everyone.
- Making both short and long-term strategy common knowledge for both teams.
- Creating opportunities for teams to learn from each other by sharing or presenting work.
- Encouraging teams to celebrate each other’s achievements.
2. Leading by Example
Successful functional alignments flourish when managed by dedicated and motivated leaders who give clear direction and – most importantly – are prepared to adopt a cross-functional role themselves.
One way of kick-starting the process of developing this kind of leadership is to establish a Governance Team, where leaders discuss and make decisions together on a portfolio of projects. Working in this way establishes camaraderie that can serve as an example to sales and marketing teams expected to begin working collaboratively on ABM projects.
3. Communication is Key
Working in silos can result in the breakdown of inter-team communication on a fundamental level, with sales and marketing departments focused on their own functions and losing perspective on the larger mission of the organisation.
To overcome this, companies must focus on an internal communications strategy where departments are actively encouraged to share their visions and objectives with each other through regular formal and informal contact.
Functional alignment can create magic for your ABM campaigns, but can be a tricky process to manage. At AmbitionABM, helping sales and marketing teams come together in thought and deed is a key part of our work with large tech companies.
If you’re finding the process difficult, or want to plan ahead, we can help. Complete our online form and we will come straight back to you.