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Posted On December 14th, 2016 by Crowded Ocean

Growth hacking without sales integration? Fuggedaboutit

This article by the co-founder of Iterate.ai about the value of rapid experimentation by teams within Amazon got us thinking about how often we see a lack of integration across marketing and sales teams at startups. Perhaps it’s the emphasis on speed and everyone’s love affair with “failing fast” that causes an integrated plan to get left behind. And perhaps that’s because an integrated plan takes time to get input and buy-in from both marketing and sales and seems to conflict with today’s bias for constant revision.

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 12.25.42 PMSometimes it’s the sales team that’s out of synch. For example, we will see a sales team that’s prioritized a particular use case or industry segment without telling marketing, which runs the risk of the vital supporting product or customer content not being accessible on the website. Or, it’s the web team (typically a part of marketing) conducting a test of new page layout, calls-to-action, colors, headlines, etc. or the paid advertising team trying out a new offer, content or keyword. But when these tests are led by marketing without communicating to the inside sales team responsible for lead development, missteps and wasted effort are inevitable.

Growth Hacking or Rapid Iteration?

Whether you call it “growth hacking”, or traditional incrementalism, or maybe “rapid iteration” to increase sales, the ingredient that can be costly to omit from startup marketing is integration across the sales and marketing plan. We see this omission very often in early-stage companies when content is being planned or when the “journey” through the website is being mapped out. In the crush of deadlines, no one talks to the head of sales or the inside sales team before finalizing those priorities. In other words, speed trumps integration which can turn into a misfire that translates into lost time and money when you have to stop and correct programs that are not in synch across sales and marketing.

To fix the lack of integration in startup marketing and sales, our advice to startup marketers everywhere is to convene a standing weekly 30 min meeting of sales and marketing as a pillar of your company culture. The meeting includes a review of all marketing programs, content, and metrics along with a review of sales pipeline. This meeting can also become the forum for brainstorming new experiments to answer questions for both the marketing and the sales teams. And it will reinforce that wonderful company value: we’re in this together!