Eye color doesn’t set until 6 months of age. My son is 5 months and was born with deep blue eyes. Blue eyes are not in our family in the remember-able past, so my husband and I gaze intently into our son’s eyes… looking for hints if they are shifting to green or hazel or toffee or perhaps staying the lovely navy they are now. This focus has made me realize that there are plenty of people in my life who I have never noticed their eye color. There aren’t many Anderson Coopers out there where you can’t help but notice. Most of the time we make eye contact and notice wrinkles, eye shadow, glasses or emotion, but, at least for me, I don’t always take note of eye color. However, really noticing the details about people – how they look, how they interact with others, how they do their work – is one way to show genuine interest and create a bond. If someone tells me “You look nice,” my first thought may be a snarky one. Such as, “Do I usually not?” In this case the generic compliment backfired. Whereas, “That shirt makes the green in your eyes really pop,” is a compliment that I appreciate more. I feel seen.
Alignment is about streamlining processes, but more than that it should be about really seeing others and appreciating who they are and what they bring to the table. I realize that the fact that my son’s eye color makes me think about Sales & Marketing alignment reveals a new level of modern marketing nerdiness, but bear with me...
You hear Eloqua talk about sales and marketing alignment here on Topliners, in our Eloqua University classes, on our blog, on the Chart of the Week, in the Aberdeen RPM study… you get the idea. We know alignment is one of the keys to successfully implementing the Revenue Performance Management (RPM) strategy. We provide all kinds of important business processes, service level agreements and committee recommendations that will definitely help in the process of attaining alignment.
However, I wonder how many of us know the eye color of our counterparts in sales. Do we know the sales team as people or just as the persona we need to persuade? You can start Aligning the Human Way by noticing the eye color of at least one person on your sales team. It’s amazing what even an extra half second of direct eye contact can do. I’m not asking you to fall in love with everyone in sales, but seeing them as individuals is a great step towards alignment. There are many marketing and sales teams that havean extensive history of negative interactions. Sales may complain that the leads are never good enough or plentiful enough or anything enough. Marketing can easily get frustrated with never getting positive feedback and seeing Sales receive all the credit. Taking the time to notice eye color turns the monolith of the Sales Team into distinct individuals. They are no longer The-Obstacle-in-the-Way-of-My-Brilliant-Branding or The-Enemy-Who-Won’t-Use-My-Perfect-Content. Instead they are individuals who...have kids, love golf, or maybe one has the same favorite food as you.
Building relationships can be just as important as building consistent business processes. This will not work if you aren't *actually* interested in knowing the sales team as people. This isn't just a check box on your road to marketing enlightenment. It is a mind shift to help you embrace the other team. Genuine interest is one of the highest forms of flattery in our high-speed world. I hope you can slow down enough to notice eye color.
In the next two installments of Alignment the Human Way, I will share two ways you can have the human approach and use Eloqua automation at the same time… stay tuned.