Lake One-on-One with Jeff Davis: Author of “Create Togetherness”

February 27, 2020
Tiffany Schultz
Tiffany Schultz
create togetherness

At Lake One, we’re all about creating harmony between two key departments- sales and marketing. When the two are fully aligned, it’s a match made in smarketing heaven. We also love talking with like-minded professionals about the importance of aligning sales and marketing. That’s why we were so excited to have the opportunity to connect with Jeff Davis on his award-winning book Create Togetherness.

He shared with us why he thinks misalignment is so common, insights he gained writing the book, the three pillars of alignment transformation, his thoughts on building the buyer’s journey, and what he says is the main takeaway from the book. Jeff specializes in helping B2B companies strategically align their sales and marketing teams to accelerate revenue growth. Jeff pulls from his over 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, and business development at Fortune 100 organizations to early-stage startup. 

In Create Togetherness, Jeff encourages B2B leaders to examine the relationship between sales and marketing and head toward alignment. His goal is to transform sales and marketing to exceed modern buyers’ expectations and increase revenue. Music to our ears! 

Related Reading: Lake One’s Guide to Sales and Marketing Alignment

Why Misalignment is so Common 

The misalignment of sales and marketing departments has resulted in companies falling behind their competitors by failing to acknowledge a structural flaw responsible for a significant loss in revenue. 

In the book, Jeff talks about the benefits of a strategic approach to long-term, sustainable alignment. We wanted to get his thoughts on why it was so common for teams to become misaligned in the first place. “They’ve operated in silos for so long, that most companies see them as two completely separate departments. In addition, the functional leaders don’t really know how to leverage each other because working in this way is new and unfamiliar. Most organizations still don’t realize how interdependent these two functions truly are in today’s modern B2B landscape. Because of this, their goals and incentives are not aligned, thus how they go about engaging the buyer is not aligned.”

What Suprised Jeff 

Jeff is an international keynote speaker and business consultant. He has worked with companies such as Salesforce, LinkedIn, Seismic, and Oracle. He speaks regularly about alignment transformation at conferences, company meetings, association events, and more. So, we were curious to know if there was anything new or surprising he discovered while writing this book, on a topic he is so well versed in. 

He said what surprised him the most was, “How marketing was created as a support function for Sales during the Industrial Revolution and how the relationship between the two functions has changed over time. I was also intrigued by the 4 Sales-Marketing Configurations model as I think it helps company leaders better understand when they are at a point where they have the structure to be able to benefit from an alignment transformation.”

Three Pillars of Alignment Transformation 

There are three pillars of alignment transformation that Jeff covers in the book. They are: 

  1. Data
  2. Process 
  3. Communication 

While all three are important to aligning sales and marketing, is it possible that one is more important than the others? According to Jeff, “They are all equally important but having timely, accurate, and relevant data is the lifeblood of any high-performing Revenue Engine, thus it is mandatory to ensure you have a strong handle on your customer data if you are looking to transform these two teams into better alignment.”

sales and marketing alignment

Building a Buyer’s Journey

Have you ever written something and then after the fact thought of another point you wanted to make or a concept you wanted to expand on? We posed the same question to Jeff. Were there any concepts from the book that he’d like to expand on or add any additional insight to, after the fact? 

“Having sales and marketing come together to build a buyer’s journey is an effective way to ensure they can optimally orchestrate their resources and also identify if there are any content gaps through the buying process.” He goes on to list them below:

7 Steps to Creating an Effective Buyer’s Journey: 

1. Clearly define the key stakeholders or personas from the buying committee of your ICP (ideal customer profile) – use quantitative and qualitative data from both teams to verify 

2. Document the customer’s internal decision-making process 

3. Understand the persona’s goals at each stage of the process 

4. Translate the decision-making process into buying journey stages 

5. Map current sales and marketing interactions (content) to ensure that resources exist at each stage that addresses the buyer’s concerns 

6. Identify interaction/content gaps and develop new resources to fill those gaps 

7. Continuously evaluate the conversion effectiveness of each stage and its associated resources 

Key Takeaway 

With any good book, there are likely a few main points the author wants you to walk away with, so we know it can be a challenge to narrow it down to just one. But we knew Jeff was up for the challenge, so we asked if he HAD to choose just one, what would he say is the main takeaway from Create Togetherness. He said, “The main takeaway is about how digital disruption has fundamentally changed the B2B buyer-seller relationship and the only way we will be able to successfully engage the modern buyer and win their business is for sales and marketing teams to work together to create a cohesive buying journey that is easy to navigate.”

Are you a sales or marketing professional, or an executive looking to ensure there’s alignment between the two departments? Then we encourage you to check out Create Togetherness.  There’s value to be had in the pages of Jeff’s comprehensive yet quick read. Order your copy here.

Unsure if your sales and marketing teams are properly aligned? Take the assessment to find out.

More about Jeff 

Jeff is the executive producer and host of the fast-growing TheAlignmentPodcast.com which is heard by B2B professionals in over 25 countries. He and his team of consulting experts also help mid-sized B2B companies build high-performing Revenue Engines that are equipped to win the business of the modern B2B buyer.   

Jeff holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University and an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.