There are many benefits of the marketing and sales teams working together. It helps generate better leads, improve conversion rates, and eventually, increase company revenue. But how do you align marketing and sales strategy?
In this episode of the Sales Hacker podcast, our host Sam Jacobs welcomes Mariana Cogan, the CMO of People.ai. They talk about why buying needs to be a team sport, why forecasting won’t lead to the growth you need, and the importance of diversity in technology.
Name: Mariana Cogan
What she does: She’s the CMO of People.ai.
Noteworthy: Mariana is known for building strong alignment with sales. She’s also a committed advocate of diversity inclusion and founded the Hispanic ERG resulting in building the best teams and bringing different lenses to the C-suite.
⚡ Buying needs to be a team sport.
An alignment between sales and marketing can bring numerous benefits to your company. Mariana explains, “I am a big believer that everything is a team sport. It cannot be done by marketing. It cannot be done by sales alone. It cannot be done by customer success alone. Everybody has to come together to the table, and it actually has to start with a customer. Who are you selling to? Why are you selling to that company? Why should that company care about you? Well, it’s because they have a problem, and they have a problem that we know how to solve. And we are the best at solving the problem, and we have already solved it for other companies that are similar. All that conversation, all that messaging, all that content has to be in alignment between marketing and sales.”
⚡ Forecasting won’t give you growth; a sales pipeline will.
Your sales pipeline is essential to your company’s growth. Mariana explains, “We’ve been publishing a lot of thought leadership around the lines that it’s not forecasting that is going to give you the growth; it’s really the pipeline that is going to give you the growth. If you think about it, especially for larger enterprises with a large sales cycle, getting into those 3, 4, 5 weeks of the quarter and then trying to close more deals or accelerate deals, it doesn’t really happen that way. You have to be really running a very professional, very efficient sales process throughout the length of the relationship.”
⚡ Diverse companies tend to be more successful and innovative.
Diverse teams are more innovative and creative. That’s why improving diversity and inclusion in the technology space is vital. Mariana says, “That’s a big difference, and I think it’s really important because, at the end of the day, more diverse companies are more successful, and more successful and innovative companies are more diverse.”
The startup world gives you more responsibility
“In the startup world, you have a much bigger seat at the table from a strategy perspective. When you work for larger companies, there are a lot of things that are already in motion, so it’s a little bit more like a big cruise ship that you’re making sure you keep the momentum versus, in the startup world, you’re actually building a lot of that momentum. So it’s been very exciting.”
Mentorship vs. sponsorship
“Mentorship is a person that is going to help you to learn. You can have a mentor internally; you have mentors that you have worked with in the past. You have mentors in different forms and shapes who actually help you to learn, help you find solutions to problems, give you ideas about what you should be doing. However, a sponsor is a person that is going to talk about you when you’re not in the room.”
Let your work speak for itself
“It’s got to be a right balance because, at the end of the day, you cannot sponsor somebody just because they are part of a minority group. That’s not the way that this works. As you say, you have mentors; you get to know them, you see the quality of the work. And it’s only then that you’re ready to put your political capital because, at the end of the day, as you just mentioned, if it doesn’t work, that’s going to backfire. So you have to be sure that this person has a skillset, has a desire. There are many things that have to happen before being in a position to be thinking about sponsorship.”
Find your next podcast: 120 Sales Podcasts for Hungry Sales Professionals: 2023 Edition