ABCs of Synchronization: Dancer Turned Alignment Strategist

Choreography by Gaspard Louis of Gaspard&Dancers

In my former life as a dancer, I was in a piece that I ran into my partner’s arms who then lifted me above his head in an x shape and held me there momentarily. What made this work? Alignment. Balance. Communication.

“Teamwork” is often talked about in sports, but that phrasing isn’t used as frequently in the arts, at least in my experience it wasn’t. Instead, we used language like “move together” or “coordinate your breath.” Nonetheless, alignment is fundamental, and in the case of the piece above, it was the difference between success and major injury.

The same holds true for business. The area I’m particularly passionate about is the alignment between sales and marketing. Having worked with 50+ organizations ranging from startup to Fortune 500, I haven’t run across a single one, where this alignment was operating seamlessly. Though injury isn’t on the line, lost opportunities are. Time and time again, I see companies failing to hit their revenue goals because of gaps in their funnels as a result of disconnect between their sales and marketing efforts.

Here, I’ll translate those three crucial elements to success in executing the lift to getting sales and marketing to “move together” – alignment, balance, and communication. I’ll go ahead and coin it the ABCs of synchronization.

1. Alignment: a position of agreement or alliance.

My partner and I needed to be in agreement on the placement of his hands and the speed at which I would approach the lift. If his hands weren’t in the right place or my speed of approach wasn’t dialed in, one or both of us would end up on the floor.

In a similar vein, sales and marketing need to agree on the positioning, process, and tools involved in the go-to-market strategy. We’ve seen this work best when those elements are documented and can be referenced in the case that something goes awry.

2. Balance: an even distribution of weight.

In order for my partner to keep me lifted for the time required in the piece, my body needed to be engaged and balanced above his. I needed to evenly distribute the weight of my body into the top half and bottom half with my core as the pivot.

Sales and marketing must bear equal weights of the responsibility of revenue generation. Marketing must drive brand awareness and lead generation while sales focuses on appointment setting and closing deals. If the weight falls too heavily on one team, the whole organization can get out of sorts.

3. Communication: an exchange of information.

Though alignment and balance were great tools that set my partner and me up for success in performing the tricky lift, there were times in rehearsal that it didn’t go perfectly. In those instances, communicating what was out of alignment of what was off balance was critical to ensuring that it didn’t happen again, especially in front of an audience.

The same holds true with sales and marketing teams. There will be times when processes get out of whack or one team is carrying more of the weight. What is imperative is that the teams connect and communicate in order to make proactive change for the future.

I hope these elements are helpful to consider as you assess the synchronization between your sales and marketing efforts. My team also developed this handy tool that you can use to benchmark how things are going: http://tools.deoredesign.com/alignment. It gives you a score instantaneously, so you get a pulse on what’s working and what’s not. Happy 4th!