How B2B Marketing and Sales Alignment is Like a Relay Race

How B2B Marketing and Sales Alignment is Like a Relay Race:

from ViewPoint | The Truth About Lead Generation 
At a recent high school track meet I cheered on our team in several heats of the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relays and mused that we can look to track and field athletics for inspiration and tactics for marketing and sales alignment. Hand-offs of qualified leads from marketing to sales can be as smooth and technically precise as those of the sprinters on a relay track team.
Typically, spectators regard track and field as an individual sport; however, in the relay races we experience how those individual talents combine to create exciting and victorious team efforts. B2B marketing and sales teams can learn from track relay teams. The training for relays initially focuses on building the individual runner’s abilities. Team members then work together relentlessly rehearsing baton exchanges as each member performs his best, accelerating to complete his leg of the race. Competitive spirit and the desire to win, fuels the underlying urgency for each team member to do his part and win for the team.
In B2B marketing, teammates must ensure that website visitors and inquisitors can access the right content to assist and propel the buyers’ route. With nurturing phone calls and emails to warm-up potential buyers, marketing continues down the informational track providing more content that addresses the buyers’ problems and needs. As prospects convert to qualified leads, the hand-off to sales should be smooth and accurate. A winning team effort and hand-off from marketing to sales involves similar steps as a good relay team:

Team members must communicate individual goals and team goals. Sales and marketing teams should know the revenue goals and the necessary steps to achieve them. Agreement on the target audience, lead definition and scoring are must-haves.
Respect of Teammates’ Skills
In a great track and field team, as in sales and marketing, members know and respect the strengths of each other. Each is expected to do their best in their area of expertise. Some are strong starters, some are tough through the competitive middle, making up lost ground, and some can finish strong, either maintaining a lead garnered by their foregone teammates, or catching and overcoming the opponent. 
Rehearse the exchange over and over and over. Marketing and sales teams must practice the hand-off of visitors, suspects, prospects and qualified leads. If the baton is dropped and the potential for a win ends, shake it off and get back to practice.
Analysis, Coaching, and Adjustment
Results should be constantly reviewed. Communicate what’s working, what’s not working. If adjustments must be made, perhaps additional training, trying different tactics or replacing a teammate, the leader should coach the team toward improvement.
When applying practice, improving communication, rehearsing the hand-offs and adjusting for the win works and you get a win;  a meeting, a new piece of business,  you should celebrate. Every step toward reaching a goal is worthy of applause, team appreciation and individual acknowledgement. Then back to practice and execution.
Consider the relay team’s tactics for better sales and marketing alignment: teamwork, communication, respect, practice, analysis, coaching and adjustment and finally celebration. The results can be a winning team that repeatedly reaches the finish line.
What winning tactics does your team use for B2B marketing and sales alignment?

Written by guest blogger: Martine Hunter, B2B Marketing Consultant
Photo Credit: David Winters, WintersPhotos

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