Savvy CMOs know that the chief sales officer (CSO) is a critical organizational ally. CEOs lean heavily on their CSOs to drive revenue growth – the lifeblood supporting corporate infrastructure and ultimately the CEO’s tenure. Accordingly, CSOs often have broad influence over functional operations and budgets. Historically, CSOs and even CEOs have sometimes viewed marketing as a cost center, with discretionary budget dollars available to cut as financial performance and priorities change, or when the CSO would like to fund more sales reps.
CMOs and CSOs need to engage each other continually as real business partners. A strong relationship helps the CSO with sales productivity and deal success, and benefits the CMO by redefining marketing from a cost center to a strategic growth center. This serves both leaders with more efficient and aligned corporate growth. Here are seven key areas in which CMOs and CSOs should engage effectively to drive profitable growth:
Visionary CMOs and CSOs have already broken down the historical silos that divided them. They understand that aligning sales and marketing as a unified team will accelerate growth, drive profitability and enhance enterprise customer focus. While the benefits of a strong working relationship are clear, the path to a strategic partnership is not always easy. Sales and marketing must align around common strategies, data, processes, KPIs, technology platforms and behavioral norms. A structured approach between leaders and their operations staff is required in addition to socializing at the executive level. CMOs and CSOs who ensure the implementation and maintenance of robust processes are far more likely to accelerate profitable growth.
Alan Gonsenhauser is a Research Director of CMO and Marketing Executive Strategies at SiriusDecisions. He is passionate about accelerating growth, driving innovations and leading business transformations. At SiriusDecisions, he works closely with global chief marketing officers and sales and product leaders to drive positive organizational change and cross-functional alignment, benchmark against peers, and mobilize deployment of new marketing methods to accelerate innovation and growth. Follow Alan on Twitter @agonsenhauser.