align.me Director, Brett Bonser, writes…
Motor-enthusiasts know that March in Melbourne means cars. Really expensive, really loud, really fast cars. From my desk, I will be able to hear the sound of engines and virtually smell the petrol and rubber burning.
In motorsport, the top drivers know that, “the farther you look, the faster you go.” Even before the season begins, a common set of objectives are defined. Driver and support crew will have agreed how fast they want the car to go – race by race, corner by corner, straight by straight. So why is it useful for businesses to consider the activities of elite motorsport crews?
In Formula One racing, the stakes are so high that speed, efficiency and teamwork are crucial from end-to-end. The pit-stop activity shows us what an aligned team looks like in action. “At their best, you see men become machines as they swarm over a car in a few precisely-timed and flawlessly-choreographed seconds… the fastest pit stops occur in a breathtaking 3.4 seconds.” And yet, the pit-stop is just one part of an even bigger plan.
A series strategy is defined and agreed well in advance of securing podium finishes. It outlines which events to focus on, who is best equipped to drive, how the car should be set up, and the optimum race-by-race performance.
Next, team tactics are defined and drilled so that the drivers and support crew know exactly when to accelerate, how much to accelerate, when to brake, how long to brake for, when to pit, when to pass and myriad other tactical elements that are monitored, measured and refined over the course of the season.
Every element, objective, strategy and tactic and how it fits into the overall plan is understood by every team member. And every team member knows what role they play to ensure the velocity is clear.
Whilst most of us will never experience the exhilaration of driving an F1 or being part of the frantic activity in the pit-lane, you can experience the exhilaration of accelerated revenue growth by applying these same principles to your business. In business-to-business sales and b2b marketing, the top performers also know that the farther you look the faster you go!
align.me’s study of 1,400 businesses drawn from 84 countries highlighted that a small number of you have already achieved F1 status. If so, you are one of the elite; one of the 6.9% of those surveyed that has done a great job of aligning Sales and Marketing and beaten your competitors by 5.4 growth-points. So, if the industry is growing at 10%, the well-aligned companies are growing at 15.4% – that’s more than 50% more growth. You are growing that fast because you are closing 38% more of your proposals and you are 36% better at hanging onto your customers.
If your business is not yet in the F1 category, where do you start? First you need an effective plan. align.me’s experience over 12 years and 330 client engagements has taught us that it must be a plan that the whole team builds, owns and measures together.
To do this, your plan must include the same detail as the F1 teams:
1) The season objectives race by race, corner by corner, and straight by straight. What kind of velocity do you need as buyers move through your funnel? How many leads do you need at the top? How many sales do you need to make? And in the middle, how many responses, meetings, proposals, deals do you need monthly and quarterly for the next three years?
2) An aligned view of your strategy that contains an explicit agreement by both Sales and Marketing. This will identify a problem you can solve for your customers and be rewarded for doing so. Your strategy will outline:
- Who most has that problem (your target market);
- A complete solution to that problem, step by step;
- Which channels will be most effective at engaging prospects; and
- Who else solves this problem (your competition).
3) A common and aligned view of tactics that addresses the following:
- How you will find, interest, trouble and qualify the number of buyers to achieve your objectives (monthly, quarterly, and yearly);
- How you will gain, prioritise, propose to and close leads;
- What role Marketing will play and what role will Sales play at each stage
4) And finally, who, how, and how often you need to repeat each of your tactics to ensure you execute your strategy effectively and achieve your objectives.
So, how fast are you going? Have you achieved F1 status or are you struggling to achieve velocity? Do you have a clear plan that your entire team buys in to? Do you have a plan that defines what needs to happen beyond the next bend, or are you wondering what’s around the next corner and failing to gain the right momentum?
Want to learn more about how to increase the profitability of your business? Download this whitepaper by marketing gurus Hugh Macfarlane (author of The Leaky Funnel) and Jim Lenskold (author of Marketing ROI).