Sales & Marketing Alignment, or Smarketing (yawn), if you prefer. It’s pretty trendy and was considered to be the single most important alignment between departments for digital marketers.
While we agree that alignment between sales and marketing hasn’t always been the easiest or more most natural - we’d like to nominate another department alignment as the “one to watch” and cultivate.
Finance and Marketing.
We get it, your finance department may not be the first department you think marketing should cozy up to - it may not even be the 17th department you think of, but hear us out.
Finance is an important piece of any company, and many, us included, might argue that it’s the single most important piece of any company. A well managed finance department allows for you to get paid, taxes to be paid, renovations to be made.
Companies of varying sizes will have different finance structures, some will have:
- A full-blown CFO and team
- A Controller who works with the CEO/leadership
- A bookkeeper
- The owner
Regardless of the structure, the fact is that since marketing is traditionally seen as a cost center when budgets are being reviewed, marketing isn’t always seen as a “must have.” Do you know who is making recommendations on where to make budget cuts? You guessed it, your finance department.
If you're immediately concerned about this, maybe take a second to consider if your current approach to marketing, and its relationship to the budget-makers is off.
Their jobs are SO much more than just processing payments and approving invoices - they are responsible for the health of the company. They must make difficult decisions on spending, cutting, and investing. These decisions are not personal, but they are incredibly hard.
Your marketing department is just ONE area that your finance team has to consider. Just ONE.
Creating alignment between your two departments isn’t a cheeky way of making sure your budget gets approved, it’s a tactical and smart strategy to get to the end result quicker: more revenue for less cost.
Starting a partnership with your financial decision makers will give you direct access into:
- what it expected from your department
- what types of information are most helpful in their decision making process
- how you can improve your marketing to respond to the needs of your company
How To Start the Partnership with the Financial Team
This won’t be an easy or an overnight change. Much like with smarketing, business is run the way it is because no one has changed it and change doesn’t come without some Tums for everyone involved.
Set your goal to the Ideal State, whatever that looks like in your company. Some ideas are:
- Yearly budget review meetings with your CFO and CEO, reviewing ROI, spend and needs of the company
- Quarterly reports to the Controller and CEO to keep them updated on where your return is and how you might want to adjust spending in the future
- Weekly meetings with the owner to better understand current cashflow status and where your marketing can ebb and flow
Realize that such an Ideal State will take time to become a reality and you might even need to adjust ideal, but start today by beginning to speak the language of you finance friends. Generate analysis and share with them what you’re seeing from a marketing perspective. While respecting their time, find ways to influence the decision making together.
Every small step toward marketing and finance alignments yields huge returns for both departments.
Want to know more about what your CFO wants to hear about your marketing? Head on over to our Math for Marketers guide and check it out!