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How to Align Sales and Marketing Teams to Work in Unison

Anamika Gupta

Anamika Gupta

Head of Customer Marketing at Fujitsu Americas, Inc.

Anamika Gupta, Paul Bresnahan, Fujitsu Americas, Inc

Aligning sales and marketing teams together on a unified front with synced goals and regular open communication helps create stronger departments and more effective strategies that connect with customers changing needs.  

Quartz Network Executive Correspondent Britt Erler sat down with Anamika Gupta, Director, Head of Customer Marketing, and Paul Bresnahan, VP, Head of Manufacturing Industry at Fujitsu to discuss their customer experience successes from both a marketing and sales angle. 

They share insight into: 

  • Developing a trusted partnership between sales and marketing teams 
  • The importance of aligning marketing goals with sales goals 
  • Remain fluid when setting goals and adjust as the customers’ needs change 

Quartz Network: Can you both share a bit about yourselves and your roles at Fujitsu?  

Anamika Gupta: I head customer marketing group for Fujitsu America. Let me speak a little bit about Fujitsu. Sometimes we are related with Fuji film. Fuji film is a client but Fujitsu is one of the fifth largest IT service providers and number one in Japan. We have 85 years of experience in the IT industry. We are named to Fortune Magazine’s list of world’s most admired companies with the fifth consecutive year. But what I am most proud about Fujitsu is our belief in human centric technology. We have continued to evolve our passion for unlocking innovation with our clients and partner ecosystem around the world. In my current role as customer marketing head for Fujitsu America, I own four quadrants, which is account based Marketing, deal based marketing, received center and customer reference group. But all these four quadrants come together in serve to one goal that is creating the epic customer experience, which we’re going to talk about. 

Paul Bresnahan: I head the manufacturing industry vertical for Fujitsu here in the Americas. I’m part of our global manufacturing group and have responsibility for our manufacturing customers here in the US market. What’s really important for us is how do we bring technology into play in those manufacturing companies in a way that augments the people and makes them more effective in the way they work within those companies. 

The first part of my business is helping to develop our value propositions in the manufacturing space. America is a leading country in the world in manufacturing. So a lot of the new innovation happens here. It’s really important for us to be connected into that and bring that back into the broader Fujitsu organization. And the second thing is really looking after our customers and just making sure that we’re coming alongside them, helping them understand trends and directions in the industry, and really helping augment their business with technology. 

Quartz Network: What does the concept of one team as more of an interconnected ecosystem than separate departments mean to you?  

Anamika Gupta: One team is like a honeycomb model. Where we all do our part together to ensure we get the output we all desire. And this one team consists of marketing, sales, delivery, value, prop honor owners, customer success team, extended marketing team. You name it, that’s formed the ecosystem. But what most important to this one team is marketing and sales, joint partnership, they need to be joined at the hip. And in fact, you know, that’s what we aim here at Fujitsu.  

Paul Bresnahan: We talk about this epic customer experience and what that means. When I think about it in terms of the way we work, there’s three experiences that are really important to talk about, obviously there’s the end customer experience.  

What we’re trying to do between Anamika and AI is to create this environment for our customers where they can be learning through Fujitsu, where we can be keeping them aware of what’s happening in the industry, where we can be validating their decision to do business with Fujitsu beyond just the work that we’re doing within their customer environment. So that relationship is really important.  

Often marketing is seen as kind of separate. Well, we’ve created this culture within Fujitsu, where they’re not. They’re part of the same team. And for an amicus team, what’s really important to them is that they’re treated as part of the sales team, they’re integral to the decisions, they’re integral to the account. They’re aware of what we’re trying to achieve in the industry that bring in their own opinion to the table. So that when they’re asked to go and create these multi channels of connectivity with our customers, they’re actually really in tune to what we’re trying to achieve. And that’s super important.  

And then the final piece of the equation is my sellers in the team. They want to know that they can depend on and trust an amicus team to create this brand new relationship with their own customers. Or when their customers are thinking about buying Fujitsu for something, they’ve seen that validation that we’re a good decision to make in that space. And that’s really driven through the work that Anamika and her team do. So together there’s epic experiences all round. And that’s what I think is really important about the way we run the relationship. 

Quartz Network: Was the one team concept in place at the company or did you introduce it?  

Anamika Gupta: We started to create this. It took us some time. I joined Fujitsu two and a half years ago and it feels like forever now. When I joined, the first effort towards was about how can I establish that trusted partnership with my sales team, between the industry leader, separate leadership team and my leadership team. Similar to an executive committee, because that is very important. As I started establishing the framework, the approach and the engagement with the sales was very, very important.  

So what we started doing was create a transparent communication system between sales and marketing. We started engaging with sales, sometimes monthly or biweekly, sometimes we connect every day depending on what’s going on currently in that particular account. A clear transparent and communication system is absolutely needed.  

Second, is to understand the intent or the goal of our sellers. Because if your goal is different than the sellers’ goal, then right there, there is a discrepancy. The marketing goal should be very well aligned to the sales goal. And once we do that, now you’re partnering as one team to go and achieve that goal, which is creating the epic customer game.  

Another thing that you really need to ensure is that you’re working with your seller with your selling ecosystem to create one single goal. Align your goal to that. Because your customer challenges are changing, the market is changing. You cannot just set your plan in stone and say, “Okay, we are done with the marketing strategy.” Or, “We’ll be done with the sales strategy and then we’re going to follow that.” 

No, you really need to look at the market and keep your marketing plans and sales plans so that you’re shifting your focus based on what your client challenges are, and where they are going. Understand that that’s where we step from sales goals to our client goal. What they’re trying to achieve. Once you do that, you’re very much aligned to what you want to sell and where you want to sell. And most important, who do you want to sell to as you create that epic customer experience. 

Quartz Network: What can companies do to make sure they’re providing the customer experience and they’re meeting their standards while also staying current on the shifts we’re seeing within the industry? 

Paul Bresnahan: It really starts at the top. As Anamika mentioned, when she came on board, the first thing we did was get together. For me, I hadn’t really embraced marketing in the way that Anamika brought the concept to the table by saying, “Hey, look, we’re seeing a deliberate shift in the industry, away from some of the traditional methods of selling.”  

What COVID-19 has done for us all is we’ve completely shifted from the traditional ways of selling. So we’re having to reach out and fill the top of the funnel in totally different ways. But that journey had really started two years ago. Anamika brought to the table some concepts and ideas behind account-based marketing, deal-based marketing, but tighter integration with the sales and the marketing organization.  

The first lesson for me in making this model work is having that commitment and dedication at the executive level. So, her and I were very aligned on what we wanted to achieve from within my industry, and how the marketing group could come alongside and help achieve that. Once we were aligned, it was easy to communicate that message down to our team, and bring them into that concept. And then I use the word that our team, not our two teams, because literally, we put them together.  

And we’re doing amazing stuff like we will joint-research industry spaces, leveraging America’s extended team around the world and my local team here to identify those trends that are happening in the industry. We’ll go and co-chat with companies like Gartner and IDC, to see their perspectives on where the industries are going. Then we work out the right mechanism to deliver that information to our customers.  

Let’s face it, in today’s world, people don’t want to book a one hour meeting to find out what’s going on. They want to see a snippet, they want a video, they want a coffee clip. They want something that will give them something for their mind to stimulate it, and then go off in their own time and research it. So we really had to adapt to forming that space. And we’ve made that happen because we made the commitment level. 

For more industry best practices and insights from leading marketing executives like Anamika and Paul,join Quartz Network.