SiriusDecisions Summit 2014: Best Practices for Improving Cross-Functional Alignment and Accelerating Organizational Change

The SiriusDecisions Summit 2014 in Orlando was what it usually is: educational, inspiring and thought provoking. No surprise: it’s what we’ve come to expect from Sirius.

This year’s focus on transforming sales, marketing and product was of particular relevance to what’s going on at Intelligent Demand. They provided updated frameworks, new research, case studies and best practices all related to the theme of how best-in-class companies drive revenue growth.

One of many themes that came up in nearly ever case study and candid discussion was the critical importance of cross-functional alignment and change management in improving the way a company creates demand, enables sales, manages their funnel and measures performance. As an agency that is entirely focused on transforming the way our client’s grow revenue, the topic of how to create internal alignment and effectively foster and manage change are absolutely critical components to program success.

I thought I’d share some of the best practices and recommendations we heard while at the Summit on this essential topic. This list (below) is also informed by what we see working in the real world within the programs we design, deploy and optimize with our clients.
So, how do you actually achieve cross-functional alignment that supports organizational change?
That’s a big question, obviously. But here is a checklist that will hopefully get you thinking:

  1. Create, constantly reference and hold the whole team accountable for shared goals
  2. Adopt and use a shared set of terminology
  3. Create and maintain clarity around core processes with special focus on all key hand-offs / hand-backs
  4. Define, communicate, measure compliance with, and evolve Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) between groups/functions
  5. Adopt and use a shared set of metrics and supporting reports
  6. Earn and sustain active and regular executive sponsorship
  7. Set realistic expectations. Then, communicate and manage those expectations throughout the life of the effort with regular, honest and transparent communication
  8. Be agile. Don’t try to move from your current state to the ideal state in one step
  9. Truly collaborate – listen and support each other in ways that create win-win scenarios
  10. Be transparent with and share information regarding budget allocation and priorities across departments/functions

What do you think? Have you seen success with following some or all of these recommendations? Which ones have proven to be difficult to achieve at your company? Did we miss any key best practices that you’ve seen work?

At Intelligent Demand, we are major advocates of learning from each other, so let’s keep the conversation going below in the comments field.

John Common

John is Intelligent Demand’s founder, chief strategist and CEO. His energy and enthusiasm for transforming companies with modern approaches to marketing, sales, and customer success is palpable. He’ll happily geek out with you during a 2-hour conversation about your customer journey. He’ll cover any whiteboard or tablecloth in sight with revenue growth strategies, messaging concepts, and program designs. But his primary passion is connecting those ideas to highly executable programs that deliver measurable results.