This article comes from the expert panel, ‘Developing internal stakeholders for strategic alignment’, at our 2023 Las Vegas Customer Marketing Summit, check out the full discussion here.

Who holds the keys to unlocking your customer marketing potential? Surprisingly, they’re likely sitting just down the hall …

Customer marketers know that having strong relationships with internal stakeholders is crucial for driving strategic alignment and overall program success. 

In a roundtable panel, four experienced customer marketing leaders came together to share their tips, tricks, and lessons learned when it comes to fostering these productive partnerships across the business.

The panel featured: 

  • Charlotte Lilley, Head of Global Customer Marketing at Coupa
  • Ashley Kirkpatrick, Senior Customer Marketing Manager at Druva
  • Marisela Parra, Principal of Customer Adoption & Advocacy at Coupa; and
  • Dave Hansen, Director of Customer Marketing at LRN. 

Their insights provide an essential roadmap for customer marketing professionals looking to enhance internal collaboration and drive strategic alignment.

So, who are your greatest untapped allies and how can you spark productive collaboration? Read on to find inspiration tailored to your growth goals …

Building robust sales relationships

Understanding and meeting sales needs

The sales organization is one of the most critical stakeholders for customer marketers to influence and leverage.

Charlotte Lilley opened the discussion by emphasizing the importance of understanding and meeting the needs of these sales teams. 

She introduced the concept of GSD (Give, Scale, Drive), focusing on:

  • Giving sales what they need in an easily digestible format
  • Scaling efforts to reach a wider audience
  • Driving behavior that aligns with marketing goals. 

This approach involves creating centralized resources like quote banks and case study slides, making it easier for sales teams to access and utilize customer stories and data.

Tools and strategies for effective engagement

Dave Hansen discussed leveraging various tools and strategies to enhance engagement with sales teams. 

He highlighted the use of community platforms and newsletters to share customer stories and insights, thereby fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of customer marketing efforts. 

Hansen also shared insights on speaking the language of sales, aligning marketing initiatives with sales goals to facilitate better collaboration.

Contests as engagement tools

Charlotte highlighted the effectiveness of contests and public recognition in engaging sales teams. 

These strategies not only motivate sales teams but also align their efforts with marketing objectives, creating a win-win situation for both departments.

Recognize their efforts publicly via social media and privately through peer visibility platforms like Slack channels. This drives motivation and friendly competition.

According to Ashley Kirkpatrick:

"The way we champion our customers who get it done, we can champion ourselves. A lot of times, a way to celebrate yourself and your teams is by celebrating others."

She suggests sharing kudos wrapped as images/posts team members can easily share across their own networks for amplified exposure.