5 Winning Strategies to Build Rockstar Cross-Functional Teams

In today’s fast-paced MarTech world, strong, collaborative teams drive innovation, growth, and success. As a seasoned leader who’s built high-performing teams at Oracle, IHG, Cox, Warner Media and Salesforce, I’ve seen what works. Here are five strategies to build cross-functional teams that crush it.

Strategy 1: Open Communication FTW

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw

Effective communication is the secret sauce of successful teams. Encourage transparency and regular feedback to keep everyone aligned. At Salesforce, weekly stand-up meetings kept us informed and accountable.

Cross-functional collaboration channels are clutch. During an Oracle product launch, a shared Slack channel let product, marketing, sales, and engineering collaborate in real-time. Breaking down silos led to a more cohesive, efficient team.

Strategy 2: Rally Around a Shared Vision

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs

A team without a shared vision is like a ship without a compass. Every team member should understand the big-picture goals and their role in achieving them. At Oracle, I had one-on-ones with each team member to discuss how their work fit into the grand scheme. This created purpose and motivation.

Tie the team’s mission to the company’s broader objectives for context and meaning. At Salesforce, we started projects with kick-off meetings to discuss objectives, timelines, and alignment with quarterly and annual goals. Everyone rowed in the same direction from day one.

Strategy 3: Harness Diversity of Thought

“Diversity: the art of thinking independently together.” – Malcolm Forbes

High-performing teams bring together diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and ideas. When launching the Martonomy marketing automation platform at Mar Dat, I assembled a team with seasoned marketing vets and fresh, tech-savvy talent. The fusion of tried-and-true strategies with innovative thinking disrupted the market.

Create an inclusive environment where all voices are heard. At IHG, we had a “safe space” policy in team meetings, encouraging everyone to share ideas without fear of judgment. Some of our most successful initiatives started from the quietest voices.

Strategy 4: Never Stop Learning

“The only skill that will be important in the 21st century is the skill of learning new skills. Everything else will become obsolete over time.” – Peter Drucker

In an industry that evolves at warp speed, continuous learning is non-negotiable. Provide opportunities for skill development and growth to keep your team sharp and show you’re invested in their success. At Salesforce, we had a generous training budget for conferences, workshops, and online courses.

Foster a culture of experimentation and innovation. Encourage calculated risks, new approaches, and learning from failures to create an environment where creativity thrives. At IHG, quarterly “innovation days” let team members work on passion projects, experiment with new tech, and present learnings. Many of these projects led to major improvements.

Strategy 5: Walk the Talk

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell

As a leader, your actions and attitude set the tone. Model the behaviors and values you want to see in your team. At Oracle and Salesforce, I was transparent about my own challenges and failures, showing vulnerability and asking for help.

Celebrate wins and learn from losses together. When a project succeeded, we celebrated as a group, acknowledging everyone’s contributions. When we hit roadblocks, we analyzed what went wrong and how to improve. Treating successes and failures as shared experiences built camaraderie and collective growth.

These strategies have been key to building the rockstar cross-functional teams I’ve led. But the learning never stops. As MarTech evolves, so must our approach to team building and leadership.

I want to hear from other marketing leaders – what strategies work for you in building strong, collaborative teams? How are you adapting your leadership approach to keep up with the ever-changing world of MarTech?

Let’s keep this conversation going. Schedule time with me at to see how Mar Dat can help you build a winning MarTech team and strategy. Our blend of technical chops, strategic vision, and customer obsession has helped countless organizations maximize their marketing tech investments. Let us do the same for you.

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