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How do you approach building successful partnerships across multiple functions?

5 Answers
Kathy O'Donnell
Kathy O'Donnell
Gong EMEA Marketing DirectorDecember 20

As an EMEA-based marketer working for a US-based company, building successful partnerships across the wider marketing org has always been critical to my success and that of my team. Whether that be partnering with the centralised paid search team to drive successful search campaigns, influencing content creation to ensure it resonates in our region or partnering with the social team to post EMEA-relevant content on our corporate social channels. 

Here are a few of my tips for building those partnerships: 

  1. Explain the why - help your stakeholders/partners understand why your ask/project is important. Maybe it's revenue potential (and therefore will benefit the company overall). Maybe you're streamlining a cumbersome process that will make the marketing team more efficient. 
  2. Shared KPIs are a great driver. And aligning your project/ask to a strategic priority helps people understand this is something they need to care about.
  3. Don't underestimate in-person contact! Building a deeper connection with a person, knowing something about them outside the realms of the project you're working on together, can help you overcome challenges if they arise and generally make working together more fun and engaging. If the opportunity arises for face-to-face, take it!  
  4. Successful partnerships, whether they are personal or professional, are built on trust. Check out my answer to the question "How to establish credibility and trust in people around you?" on my perspectives on how to build trust and credibility.
1125 Views
Matt Hummel
Matt Hummel
Demandbase Vice President of MarketingSeptember 5

Orient around two things: 1) the customer, and 2) shared goals such as OKRs or revenue metrics (revenue, NRR, etc.).

Expanding on this a bit - so often functions see the world through their own lens. Sales needs to sell. Product needs to build. Marketing needs to build brand and create demand. Customer Service needs to make sure customers are taking care of.

In reality, everyone exists to deliver value to the customers. And when teams work together that works exponentially better. But to do that requires an understanding of the role each function plays with respect to those shared goals.

If this isn't already happening within your organization, that's ok - you can start with you! Start setting meetings with folks across various functions. Ask questions. What do they care about? How do they spend their days? What are their goals and how is success measured for them? Start to find ways in which what you do could either align, support, strengthen or accelerate.

This will not only create a more efficient operation, it has the opportunity to significantly improve the customer experience while personally benefitting you by expanding your influence and impact across the organization.

393 Views
Sheridan Gaenger
Sheridan Gaenger
Own VP of Growth MarketingJune 12

Here are three key approaches I use to build successful partnerships:

1. Stay Open-Minded and Humble: You can take your work seriously without always taking yourself too seriously. At Own, this is one of our core values. We spend over 40 hours a week at our desks, grinding, performing, and striving for outcomes – and it's hard work. Acknowledging that "work is hard!" is okay. Bringing humility and laughter to your work and your partnerships can foster successful relationships. While dedication and commitment to your professional responsibilities are crucial, maintaining a sense of humor and not being overly serious helps you stay grounded, approachable, and resilient. It promotes a positive work environment, encourages creativity, and prevents burnout by reminding you to enjoy the journey and not be overly critical of yourself or your teammates.

2. Adopt a One-Team Mentality: To drive successful and lucrative partnerships and advance your career, you need people in your court. Align your efforts with the broader mission and vision of your organization, maintain open and transparent communication, and share accountability for outcomes. This creates a sense of ownership and responsibility. Mutual respect and support enable leveraging diverse skills to innovate and solve problems together. Flexibility and adaptability ensure that the team can meet objectives in changing circumstances. Fostering a positive work environment built on trust, encouragement, and recognition keeps everyone motivated to contribute their best.

3. Embrace the Golden Thread Principle: Adopting and living by the golden thread principle (my personal philosophy!) means embracing a unified approach to work. It starts with a shared vision and goals, where everyone understands the "why" behind their tasks and how they contribute to overall success. Open communication ensures that regular updates, challenges, and decisions are shared, keeping everyone connected. As we scale and develop new programs, we document our processes to maintain operational rigor. A customer-first focus drives everyone to deliver maximum value. Departmental alignment ensures that cross-functional teams work towards common goals with no surprises. Lastly, accountability and ROI are crucial—if we can’t measure an initiative and determine its impact, we won’t pursue it.

By incorporating these approaches, you can build stronger partnerships, drive success, and create a positive and productive work environment.

371 Views
Laura Lewis
Laura Lewis
Addigy Director | Head of MarketingApril 25

Successful partnerships are built by listening, learning, and collaborating.

Ask a lot of questions, especially when joining a new organization. Understand what this person is responsible for, the current projects they are working on, their goals and challenges. Don't be afraid to ask more questions about the details if anything is unclear or if you don't feel that you could explain the specifics to someone else later. Ask for material to read as a follow-up, and actually read it.

As you're learning, make sure you also get to know your colleagues as people! The best partnerships are built on a friendship, or at least a friendly acquaintanceship.

When it comes time to collaborate on a new project or prioritize some work you need help from the other function with, you'll have set the foundation to be able to discuss it positively and get a successful outcome.

372 Views
Erika Barbosa
Erika Barbosa
Counterpart Marketing LeadJanuary 22

Building successful partnerships across multiple functions is key for progress and collaboration. You can’t do everything by yourself. Working in partnership with other teams is how you will ultimately reach your business goals. Meeting the team’s KPIs isn’t as impactful if they do not support the overarching business goals. There are several meaningful steps to go about this, but I’m going to highlight the top three as they build upon each other.

  • Communication. The act of communicating sounds so straightforward in theory, but often can be difficult if you are trying to move fast, were not aware of all of the stakeholders or thought you were communicating, as a few examples. Err on the side of over-communicating. When you think you are over-communicating, there is most likely still plenty of information to communicate.
  • Trust. With communication comes the opportunity to build trust. I see trust as built via several compounding micro-moments. It takes time to build trust, but it starts with communication and transparency.
  • Transparency. Communication, trust and transparency does not mean that everyone is in agreement. Part of building successful partnerships is to have healthy debates and differences in opinions as you’ll find this levels up communication as a team. Transparency is important because it signals where you are coming from.
252 Views
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