My opening keynote presentation at the GDS RevGen Summit.
During my time in college, I had the honor of working at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. As a mechanical engineering student, it was my dream job. I would get the chance to work in the space industry, something my 7th-grade science teacher had inspired me to do. It was an opportunity to go to adult space camp. And boy was it fun! Where else do you get a chance to meet career astronauts, train on the shuttle simulator, and sit in mission control where the famous words “Houston….we have a problem” were spoken? And even though I gained a wealth of amazing and memorable experiences, the one that stands out the most was learning how to influence without authority. Of course, back then I didn’t know what it was called—but now I understand clearly what lesson I gained from my internship experience.
YOU CAN’T GET THINGS DONE WITHOUT PEOPLE
One of the things you learn very early on as an engineer is that it’s a team sport—much like marketing. You simply can’t finish projects working in a silo. Can you imagine how many engineers it took to build the International Space Station (ISS) or the Mars Rover?
In business, you typically “own” an aspect of a project and work with others to make it happen. Most projects in a business environment are consensus-driven.
I got the chance to work on testing the joint seals of the ISS to make sure they wouldn’t let air in while in space. It was a complicated testing setup that required me to ask for help from many colleagues from different departments.
As I approached the middle of my project, I realized that I needed to have parts made in the machine shop. I was quickly warned that it would take forever to manufacture the parts and that I ought to take that into account for planning purposes. When I asked why that was, I was told that the machine shop workers belonged to a union and simply took their time. I was not satisfied with that answer.
A little respect goes a long way in building relationships
I was on a deadline because I had to return to college, but I had to figure out something about the parts because I refused to leave my internship without a completed project.
During my free time, I went to the office of the manufacturing facility manager. I explained that I was an intern and wanted to learn more about how the facility worked and how my project would come to life. He was shocked that I had asked, and surprisingly, he was more than happy to show me his domain.
What I learned from that tour was invaluable. One welder told me “You must be a new engineer. The others never come over here.” And it was then that I not only gained respect from the crew in the machine shop, but also understood that in order to get things done, I needed to make my projects personal—not just a job number from some random engineer.
YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND HOW TO EXECUTE THE TACTICS TO SET THE RIGHT STRATEGY
From then on, I went to the machine shop on a regular basis. Sometimes I just said “Hi” and other times I asked the crew to teach me how the machines worked. I was not only building relationships with the people that I depended on to manufacture the parts I needed but also learning exactly how the parts that I had designed on paper were built.
I was starting to understand the connection between design and product. By the end of my internship, my project was completed ahead of time. What’s more surprising, I was able to get some of my projects pushed through faster than senior engineers simply because I went down to the machine shop floor and asked for a little help.
Marketers operate in a world that requires building consensus and getting people to do things without being their boss. It’s a delicate balance of driving strategy and preserving relationships. It also requires the ability to communicate clearly and articulate your vision so that others can understand what you and the team are trying to accomplish.
A key aspect of creating strategy that many marketers miss is understanding the tactical implications of their decisions to the front line; in other words, understanding exactly how their ideas will be executed. While working at NASA, I learned a valuable life and career lesson. I now understand the importance of being able to work with people to achieve breakthroughs for the team.
This guest blog was written by Ted Corbeill
I am a recently retired Marine Corps Intelligence Officer who is leveraging military best practices to add value through Sales Enablement. As I’ve worked to develop and run data-driven sales campaigns, I’ve experienced difficulties stemming from a lack of alignment between Sales and Marketing. This lack of teamwork is something I’m not accustomed to, but something that could be overcome by adopting a military mindset.
ONE TEAM, ONE FIGHT
To coordinate military operations, Marines use the concept of “main effort” and “supporting effort.” The main effort is the commander’s primary bid for success and tasked with accomplishing the mission (normally the infantry). The supporting effort is responsible for ensuring the success of the main effort (normally includes logistics, intelligence, supporting fires, admin, etc.).
During execution, the focus remains steadfast on mission accomplishment. If the main effort fails, we all fail. Therefore, when faced with a decision the supporting effort simply asks: How can I best support the main effort to enable them to accomplish the mission?
Let’s apply this concept to Sales Enablement. I consider the sales force to be the main effort and Sales Enablement to be the supporting effort. Sales is the CEO’s primary bid for success to hit his/her revenue targets. Sales Enablement is responsible for accomplishing the mission by ensuring sales professionals, the main effort, are highly trained, armed with competitive offerings, and focused on highly qualified leads to lead to a high likelihood of success. If they don’t hit their numbers, everyone fails.
TWO PRIMARY WAYS THAT MARKETING CAN BEST SUPPORT SALES
1. Focus sales-related activities – My career in military intelligence taught me that timely, accurate, and relevant data is critical to successful execution. It drives planning and operations; especially offensive operations. Let me give you an analogy: you’re tasked to destroy an enemy position. Without good intelligence regarding the enemy’s location, you would be forced to conduct “movement to contact” patrols (i.e., search the area until you happen upon them). But if you’re provided timely, relevant, and accurate intelligence, you can plan a deliberate, targeting raid at the decisive time and place where you have the advantage and maximize your chance of success.
Sales can be thought of in the same way, especially with new client pursuits. Without timely, accurate, and relevant data on sales leads, your sales teams are forced to conduct generic prospecting activities (e.g., cold calling). However, with timely, accurate, and relevant market intelligence, they could plan a deliberate, focused sales engagement with relevant messaging targeting qualified leads.
2. Reinforcing sales-related activities – Like supporting arms (artillery or air strikes), marketing can prep the objective to increase the chances of a successful engagement. Sales campaign specific digital marketing messaging targeted at the campaign prospect list can raise buyer awareness and provide a warm call opportunity where the sales reps are following up and reinforcing the initial messaging. In some cases, these marketing efforts can produce inbound leads that help support prospecting activities.
GET ALIGNED IN THE FIGHT
Adapting a oneteam, one fight mentality can be an excellent way to achieve Sales and Marketing Alignment focused on achieving overall revenue goals. It’s just one of many military best practices I’ve adopted to create sales enablement programs that drive revenue growth through data-driven insights, business innovation, and collaboration. You don’t need to have served to adopt these practices at your own organizations.
Ted Corbeill is a recently retired Marine Major who is leveraging his military experience to build and lead innovative sales enablement programs to drive revenue growth through data-driven insights, business innovation, and collaboration at DXC Technology. Before being recruited by DXC Technology (then Hewlett Packard Enterprise), he was a Business Development Executive for a systems integration firm specializing in industrial automation. He is also a Founding Member of the Sales Enablement Society, Dallas Chapter. Ted received his MBA in Management Information Systems from Iowa State University and his BS in Commerce from the University of Virginia.
B2B sales and marketing leaders are tasked with driving revenue goals forward to meet the company’s business objectives. It’s never been more important that these revenue leaders understand how to leverage their cross-functional teams to achieve their business goals.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the top conferences (remember those?) for B2B sales and marketing leaders to attend together to start building an aligned, high-performing Revenue Engine for their organization.
B2B Marketing Exchange (B2BMX) – Feb 28 – Mar 2 | Scottsdale, AZ
Why Attend: Although an event for marketing executives, the conference has an entire track dedicated to sales and plenty of content focused on cross-functional alignment. It’s also a great way for sales leaders to network with marketing executives and learn how to leverage marketing in a different and better way in their own organization.
Unleash 2022 (Outreach) – April 4-7 | San Diego, CA
Why Attend: Although the 2022 agenda has not been released, in past years this conference has focused on building the future of sales with the help of marketing, operations, customer success, and more. The team behind the event brings in world-class revenue leaders from some of the fastest-growing companies and Fortune 500 leaders to help B2B revenue leaders transform the way they think about accelerating revenue growth in their companies.
B2B Summit North America (Forrester) – May 1 – 4 | Austin + Virtual
Why Attend: This conference focuses on marketing, sales, and product leaders and helps them realize that when working as a united front, they are a power-house trifecta that can enable any business to maximize client satisfaction, retention, and spend. Content offered includes: 110+ role-based sessions aligned to your priorities, Numerous session formats to meet your learning style including analyst presentations, panel discussions, Fireside chats, marketplace opportunities to help you find the right solution provider for your marketing, sales, and product needs, and Networking opportunities to help you expand your community, meet with Forrester analysts and connect with peers facing similar challenges.
Chief Revenue Officer Summit – September 15 | San Francisco, CA
Why Attend: This event focuses on strategies and tactics that drive rapid, cost-effective and sustainable B2B growth. Topics include: Cross-functional collaboration with marketing, sales, R&D, and finance, Altering corporate culture for best growth-based results, and Building and retaining highly effective teams.
INBOUND 2022 (HubSpot) – TBA (usually October)
Why Attend: Need time to step back and think about the big ideas that are going to transform your teams this year? Then, this is the event you need to be at. In the past, HubSpot has invited world-class speakers such as Oprah Winfrey, Spike Lee, David Chang to share their thoughts on business and other relevant topics. There are also specific content tracks for sales, marketing, customer success, and RevOps.
Why Attend: This event is the ultimate experience for marketers, sales pros, and business leaders to master inbound marketing with a proven framework. They focus on practitioners that know that inbound marketing works, but can’t quite figure out why it’s not working for them and want to learn more about the They Ask, You Tell framework developed by Marcus Sheridan.
Dreamforce 2021/2022 (Salesforce) – December 9/TBA | San Francisco, CA
Why Attend: Beyond bringing together some of the brightest minds in business, Dreamforce has just launched the Netflix of business content – Salesforce+. Inspired by the familiar user experiences of Netflix and Peloton, Salesforce+ is designed for viewers to experience engaging live and on-demand content in the comfort of their homes. It will consist of four channels covering every role, industry, and topic, plus over 100 additional hours of on-demand content. The new platform will host Salesforce 2021. So attendees can expect a high-caliber virtual experience like none other.
Whether in-person or virtual, it looks like 2022 has a number of great opportunities for cross-functional B2B revenues leaders to learn and grow their skills together to meet the demands of the modern buyer. Get your tickets now!