On episode 17 of The Insiders, hosts Richard Lane and Simon Hazeldine have a chat with Miguel Avalos, Head of Ads Marketing, Commerce & Vertical Growth Programs EMEA at Google. 

Over the past 15 years, Miguel has accumulated a wealth of experience in both sales and marketing roles, refining his strategic skills to drive business growth in Mexico, Korea and the US. After developing marketing strategies for Samsung mobile, he moved to Google, where he develops go-to-market strategies for innovative B2B products. 

Miguel highlights the power of leveraging diversity to support go-to-market strategy and how to overcome growth challenges by shifting towards a flexible model of leadership and aligning Sales and Marketing’s KPIs. 

Global business, local challenges. 

Throughout his 7-year tenure at Google, Miguel has supported the growth of many businesses that looked at digital transformation as an opportunity to improve their processes and reach more customers. During this period, however, he has seen many companies struggling with two key growth pains: implementing an effective go-to-market strategy and recruiting. 

“A lot of companies, and especially new ones, might have an amazing product and be in love with it, but they don’t necessarily have what it takes to go into a new market. Sometimes the challenge can be just product fit, because whatever works in the UK is not going to work in Germany, in the US or China… In other cases, instead, it’s about promotion and distribution channels or the preferred payment methods of a specific region. 

What ties all these challenges together, for Miguel, is the fact that local operations require local knowledge: for this reason, recruiting and HR become an even more important piece of the puzzle: 

You cannot scale if you don’t have the right capabilities, if you don’t have the right people in place” 

Miguel highlighted that the way companies recruit new resources can change substantially from region to region. This means that sometimes it’s a good idea to identify a specific talent pool, for instance focusing on specific schools, or leveraging third-party organizations to attract the talent you need. Yet, the criteria behind recruitment are essential and need to be thought out thoroughly.  

Creating a culture of inclusivity

Miguel stresses that regional differences play an important role in how local talents will fit within an organisation: for this reason, it’s crucial to establish a culture of inclusivity that “ensures that people feel safe in your work environment, that they feel that who they are is okay”. This general guideline applies also to finding common ground when it comes to differences in socioeconomic and religious backgrounds, gender and age: 

“The new generations, for instance, grew up with the internet, and for them, you need to have much more flexibility… work in remote environments but at the same time make sure that you build connections, you inspire people, that you build trust within your team as well as with your stakeholders.” 

Working with both big and small companies, Miguel has noticed that cultivating diverse teams is an incredibly powerful asset: 

“Early in our careers, we tend to hire people who look like us. That is already a bias. What you want to do is to bring people who actually make you feel the difference, with additional skills and perspectives. Diversity is gonna enable you to have a more holistic thinking. You are gonna be pushed to think out of the box and understand things that probably you didn’t understand before.”

How to improve cross-functional collaboration 

For Miguel, the idea of leveraging diversity as a powerful resource is not limited to talent and team composition, but encompasses also different professional backgrounds, like those that distinguish Sales and Marketing professionals: 

“I see sales and marketing as two sides of the same coin. I’ve been doing B2B marketing for the last seven years, but I did sales at the start of my career, so I can talk about the two of them, and I see that there are more things in common than not. Marketing tends to be a little bit more midterm to long term, and not by intention, while when you’re working in sales, is relatively easier to measure performance.” 

This difference in time frames might be one of the main causes of misalignment between the departments. As a consequence, Miguel suggests that the best way to align Marketing and Sales might lay in clear and common goals: If you can share KPIs with your cross-functional partners, that’s gonna always enable better collaboration.” 

Need help aligning Sales and Marketing? Listen to The Insiders podcast to explore more B2B revenue and growth thought leadership.

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