Why Scott Vaughan Says B2B Must Move Beyond Aligning Sales and Marketing

You have heard it many times. the alignment of sales and marketing is quite important.

Industry executives and leaders tout the benefits of sales and marketing alignment as an essential framework for software companies to achieve business goals and remain competitive.

The premise makes sense. When sales and marketing teams align on performance goals and optimize collaboration methods, the result is a streamlined approach with better communication, efficient use of resources, and increased revenue.

Aligning sales and marketing is critical for SaaS companies to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace. And while many companies struggle to achieve better alignment, one seasoned market leader (GTM) says this has become the minimum for success.

Scott Vaughan is an advisory consultant to CXOs, founders and investors and is the former CMO of Integrate and UBM TechWeb. He is also a regular contributing writer and event speaker on business transformation, marketing and leadership topics.

In the second episode of GTM Innovators, G2 Chief Revenue Officer Mike Weir sat down with Scott to discuss why company-wide alignment is critical to improving GTM strategies. In this summary, we will also explore Scott’s position on creating a data-driven culture and operationalizing data.

A shift in thinking around sales and marketing alignment

From task generation and conversion to improved customer experience and retention, the benefits are clear. Aligning sales and marketing is also important to help companies stand out against their competitors.

But according to Scott, aligning sales and marketing is no longer enough to gain a significant advantage.

“If you narrow it down to focus solely on winning customers or creating demand, you’re missing the other part of delivery, where all growth, scale and profitability come from.”

Scott Vaughan
GTM expert and consulting consultant

We know that the buying process continues to become more complex, and Scott argues that many companies are failing to keep up with buyers and customers.

“The G2 is an example of how the buyer’s mindset has changed,” says Scott. “They’re not waiting for a sales pitch and a demonstration. They’re going to go through G2, see who’s ranking, see what people are talking about, what words they’re using, ask if it aligns with their thinking.”

There’s no denying that sales and marketing alignment is vital to getting the priorities right and moving forward. Scott believes alignment needs to go further, becoming a company-wide initiative.

“The thing to think about is how you bring together sales, marketing, customer success, product and operations into a more integrated process across the entire customer lifecycle.”

Scott Vaughan
GTM expert and consulting consultant

It’s often too easy to blame failures on poor sales and marketing alignment when it could be something else. Scott suggests that companies don’t have the right information to change their thinking. In other words, they need to examine and rethink how they use and act on data.

Data operationalization is no small challenge for companies of all sizes. Big challenges require small steps, and Scott has a few in mind.

How to operationalize data to create a cohesive strategy

The data tells a lot about where you’ve been, what’s working (or not working) now, and possibly how to move forward. In reality, fully operationalizing data will be an ongoing uphill battle that requires considerable effort and planning.

Companies need to get down to the fundamental level and redefine their culture to become data-driven. To do this, everyone in the organization needs to embrace and understand how they can contribute to a more unified data strategy.

In the podcast, Scott shares two ways SaaS businesses can change their mindset to improve data operationalization.

Start with executive leadership

A data-driven culture always starts at the top.

When executives commit to aligning the entire company through a unified data strategy, organizations have a better chance of making fundamental changes in their culture. This commitment also shows how the data will improve and optimize their processes.

“The important thing is to start with that mindset. To do it company-wide first, maybe you do it with a business unit or a group or a region if you’re in an enterprise and you prove the model.”

Scott Vaughan
GTM expert and consulting consultant

Invest in a data-centric team

The next important part involves consolidating data managers into a more centralized team that sits at the center of everything. For example, this means centralizing dedicated data professionals representing different areas of the organization, such as finance, operations, and revenue (RevOps).

There is no typical structure and it can be as formal as needed. These teams will look different from one business to another. Ultimately, that team should be assembled based on the goals of the GTM strategy under development. According to Scott, this data-centric team must answer three questions:

  1. What are the absolute intelligence insights and data we need to generate?
    Defining each key metric and type of data that an organization needs to store and analyze is incredibly important.
  2. What are the systems we have today that we can get out of?
    Data silos are common and lead to integration challenges. The problem is that many technology stacks within an organization are relatively independent of each other. By exploring solutions like AI, machine learning, and APIs, companies today have more options for gathering data in one place. Perfection may not happen entirely, but thinking through these challenges will lead to better performance.
  3. What is our exchange strategy?
    The data team can’t collect all that sweet data for themselves and the CEO. This team must decide how to organize and incorporate data findings into recurring discussions across the organization. The idea is to empower and empower more people and leadership. Doing so also means giving context and telling stories with data to bring it to life.

The impact of AI and machine learning on GTM strategies

The path to better GTM strategies always involves understanding and acting on mission-critical data. And while sales and marketing alignment is necessary, data must be central to drive more comprehensive alignment across the company.

Other learnings from Scott in this episode

The full conversation with Scott Vaughn in Episode 2 of GTM Innovators also includes other suggestions such as:

  • AI will never replace the human touch, companies must rely on AI and automation to collect and analyze data.
  • Have the right software and platforms that feed into your data strategy.

Watch the full episode on YouTube and learn more about Scott and other GTM experts by subscribing to the GTM Innovators podcast today, available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Amazon Music and more.

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