Go-to-Market strategy is a cross-organizational function. From end-to-end, pretty much every single employee in your company will have an impact on your GTM. That’s a lot of people to get working together and speaking the same language.
It’s easy to take it for granted that everyone in a company has the same information and the same best practices. But think about your day-to-day. How often on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis are you speaking to people outside of your team?
Alignment doesn’t just happen, you have to work for it. Without a conscious effort, your teams will be siloed, crucial information will be lost and your work will be misaligned. The solution to this is implementing a cross-functional work culture in your organization. There are plenty of routes to this destination, but the starting place is always the same.
You need to know who your cross-functional teams are, what they care about and what their challenges are. Understanding your teams and how they function is the first step to bridging each team in the GTM process together and getting the desired alignment between them.
We’re going to be covering:
- What we mean by cross-functional teams.
- The cross-functional teams you need to focus on.
- Priorities and challenges for cross-functional teams.
- Why metrics matter when you align your cross-functional teams.
What are cross-functional teams?
Simply put, cross-functional teams are teams that work together on a project or strategy. In this instance, we’re talking about the teams that work together on your Go-to-Market. Rather than the teams in your organization working adjacent to one another, cross-functional teams are consciously collaborating.
When you think about Go-to-Market, you need to think laterally about the teams in your business. For each stage of the process, you can’t isolate individual teams and their functions because work will be missed or repeated. You have to look at which teams are working on each stage and ensure they’re aligned, as well as how that stage is impacted by/will impact the stages and teams on either side of it.
When you’re implementing cross-functional working between your teams it’s important to look at the bigger picture and the details. Take enough of a step back to see how different teams connect across the business, then zoom in to inspect the overlap between two teams and identify where they need to align or divvy up responsibilities.
The cross-functional teams you need to focus on
As we’ve said, Go-to-Market strategy touches pretty much every person in your company, but we’re going to focus on what we consider the most important cross-functional teams for GTM.
These teams are:
- Product Marketing.
- Sales Enablement.
- Customer Success.
Priorities and challenges for cross-functional teams
To understand how to get teams working cross-functionally, you need to understand what a team cares about, what their responsibilities are and what challenges they face. As your company grows it’ll be increasingly difficult for you as a leader to keep track of the day-to-day workload of your teams. Regular check-ins with your teams allow you to keep track of what’s going on and identify the points of contention or potential alignment between teams.
So, what should you be looking for? Let’s break it down by team.
Product teams, especially in product-led businesses, are responsible for combining business strategy, technical product development and the customer journey. To break that down, your product teams design products that further your business objectives and add value to your customers.
It can be easy to see Product as an isolated team, especially when they work so differently from teams like marketing or sales enablement. But in actuality, this is a team with a lot of warring priorities and external factors affecting their work. Caught between the drive for innovation, the demands of stakeholders and the product roadmap, Product has a lot of spinning plates in the air.
To successfully carry out this juggling act your product team desperately needs communication from senior leadership, your customer-facing teams and your product marketers (or whoever in your company is most closely engaged with the marketplace). Cross-functional working, especially between product and product marketing, can really help ensure product teams meet their objectives.
Product Marketers are an inherently cross-functional team. Sitting between product and customer-facing teams, product marketers are arguably the best placed to carry out product launches, taking on some of the better known aspects of Go-to-Market strategy (i.e. positioning, messaging, marketing and launch activities).
Product marketers have a lot going on and they’re also well positioned to support other teams in the Go-to-Market process. Therefore to work most effectively, there needs to be a well established two-way communication pipeline between product and product marketing teams. Product marketing has a lot to offer Product in terms of market knowledge, but it’s also critical that marketing has a product lens.
Product marketers straddle the pre-launch and post-launch stages of Go-to-Market and they need to be able to coordinate with both internal and external teams to do so effectively.
Similar to product marketing, sales enablement is a team that bridges gaps between internal and external functions. The leading responsibility of sales enablement teams is to onboard sales reps and get them ready to sell. But how can they do this without effective knowledge sharing between product/product marketing and the sales reps themselves?
It's important that product marketing understands what sales enablement needs to do their job effectively, and sales need the same thing from sales enablement in turn. One of the greatest challenges sales enablement faces is being overlooked, especially as it’s a relatively new function in many businesses. Get these teams working together better by investing in the resources your sales enablement team needs to carry out their role and effectively collect and share information.
Customer Success is, unsurprisingly, a customer-facing team that does the lion share of its work post-launch. But to properly do their job of onboarding new customers and keeping churn low, they need access to information associated with internal and pre-launch teams.
Customer success need two vital pieces of information:
- How a product works and adds value.
- Why the customer in front of them decided to buy it.
Customer success teams need to be onboarded in your products so they can educate customers in turn, and they need to understand the journey a customer has gone on to be sat in front of them. This is information that can only be accessed by working cross-functionally.
As we’ve seen, while each of your cross-functional teams has its own distinct responsibilities, they depend on one another to achieve their best work. Start by looking at the priorities and challenges your teams have in common and use these similarities to bridge your teams together.
Want a more detailed breakdown of these teams, their priorities and challenges? Check out The Cross-Functional Go-to-Market Playbook here. 👇
Why metrics matter when you align cross-functional teams
Metrics are a great tool for understanding a team's priorities and needs. For example, one of the most common KPIs for sales enablement teams is training/courses completed by sales reps.
So, sales enablement teams are measuring themselves and their success on the number of sales reps that have completed the training they’re providing. The success of this team is dependent on them being able to collaborate with another team, which is in this instance, sales.
This metric indicates that a priority for sales enablement teams is onboarding and what will matter most to them is having the resources to create educational content and train others. And by tracking this method you can understand how well this is being achieved and where more support and investment might be needed.
Based on this one metric you can infer:
- The team's sales enablement needs to be aligned with.
- The resources they need to effectively deliver on their responsibilities.
- If more support is needed to carry out this role.
Diving into the respective metrics of your teams is one of the best ways you can gain a deeper understanding of priorities and challenges. But for cross-functional teams to better work together, it’s not just you that needs to know this. Transparency between your teams is essential for cross-functional strategy to work.
Your product marketing team should know what your sales enablement team’s metrics are and vice versa. And it's important for teams to be open about how well these metrics are being met.
Celebrating successes is great, but be open about areas where growth and work is required too. You’re all on the same side and part of the same company, so your teams don’t lose anything by being open about their challenges with one another. On the contrary, it will only strengthen the ability of your cross-functional teams to work together with better empathy for one another’s needs.