What We Learned In One Morning At The #SDSummit

October 19, 2015 James Thomas

Cheerio! This week, members of our team are out in London, England attending the 6th annual EMEA Sirius Decisions Summit (#SDSummit). The event kicked off this morning at the Park Plaza Westminster Hotel, just steps away from the iconic Big Ben clock tower and the Palace of Westminster.
Team at Sirius Decisions Summit

The keynote speakers today were none other than Meta Karagianni and Isabel Montesdoeca of Sirius Decisions. They began by greeting us in eight different languages, in seemingly perfect accents and continued on blowing our minds as they provided an overview of the state of EMEA Sales, Product & Marketing based on a recent survey the company had conducted.

Here’s what we learned.

While they interviewed sales, marketing and product leaders all separately, they reviewed the results together and uncovered some cross-functional themes.

The overarching theme was really around alignment—shocking, we know. “This isn’t new”, says Meta, “sales, marketing and product can all define their own actions separately or the leaders can come together and define a joint path.”

“In our industry we talk so much about innovation and cool sh**, but really the fundamentals are as important as ever. Go to market alignment and identifying and serving personas, which have always been a challenge in organizations, still are today.” – James Thomas, CMO, Allocadia

Here’s how they broke it down for us.

Audience Focus

Everybody is struggling to define personas. Everyone aspires to drive successful interactions with new audiences. The key here is that if sales, marketing and product work together to define this, the results can be so much more impactful across all functions.

Sales cares about the buyer personas, marketing is worried about messaging and product is focused on users. The thing is, user and buyer personas are two different things. And while users may not be involved in user purchase but may play a critical role in renewals and cross-selling. It’s important for product teams to share user personas back with marketing/sales.

“We used to sell products, whereas now we need to ask who are the people and what do they care about. We’ve flipped the whole conversation. All teams need to ensure they’re set up to execute in this regard.” – James Thomas, CMO, Allocadia

Product: Work to group developments by sales personas to enable them to have a much more “targeted?” conversation.

Best In Class Organizations: Collaborate between sales/marketing/product to develop personas that will align across all areas of the organization. This will ensure you are all working off the same playbook.

Breakthrough Innovation

Product teams are generally full of ideas to innovate—so there is no shortage there. But how can these three teams work together to overcome challenges around innovation? Meta and Isabel provided some great takeaways around this section; ways that sales and marketing can support product teams in innovating.

Sales: What product most needs from you is a commitment to that innovation strategy. Only a certain percentage of each release can be dedicated to customer—and this should be determined up front.

Marketers: Provide information to product about market trends and market research. This may even result in first to market advantage. This can help increase the rate of innovation.

“We need to be innovating for people, not around technology. Your product roadmap needs to be tied to personas. It’s easier for sales and marketing to communicate with buyers when innovation is tied to what we’ve already identified that buyers will care about.” – James Thomas, CMO, Allocadia

Go To Market Alignment

“Having strong innovation is useless if you don’t have a strong go-to-market delivery”, says Meta. The third area that was an identified challenge was this. In fact, about 45% of attendees polled agree that aligning go-to-market approach was their biggest challenge. How can these teams collaborate to ensure success when it’s time to hit the ground running?

Marketing: Audit your influencer ecosystem. Engage them early in the process so they’re ready to amplify when you go to market.

Marketing: Work with sales early on to conduct post-decision win/loss interviews. Why not invite your product team to those interviews so they can hear the feedback first hand?

Product: Provide sales and marketing with the right analytics to help them have conversations with buyers highlighting the reasons to buy.

Sirius Decisions Summit - Keynote

These are the key challenges organizations said they were facing, but the real gap is in skills. The live poll told us that “only 15% of organizations have created competency maps for key roles in sales, marketing and product teams”. This is really where we need to start.

“The session was a great kick-off to the SDSummit—full of information. It’s almost overwhelming. I think organizations really need to focus on one area—at least to start with. At Allocadia, we can empathize with a lot of these challenges. Currently, we’re working hard to define and align our personas among our teams. We think that’s a great place to start. The rest of the conference will dig into some of the Sirius Decisions frameworks, which we’ve found very useful in the past and continue to use.” – James Thomas, CMO, Allocadia

Sit down, strap in and grab a pint, people—it’s going to be a jam-packed, information-overload kind of two days here, but attendees are going to walk away with concepts and action items that they can take home and apply to their organizations.

Not able to make it to the #SDSummit this year? Follow along on Twitter (@allocadia) with us for some key takeaways you won’t want to miss.

The post What We Learned In One Morning At The #SDSummit appeared first on Allocadia.

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