After a challenging season riddled with game-day cancellations due to the pandemic, NFL’s season concluded with Super Bowl LV last Sunday. The 43-year-old future hall of fame quarterback Tom Brady faced the 25-year-old uber-talented Patrick Mahomes. Brady secured yet another Super Bowl title while playing in a record 10th championship game.
The tension between Brady and Mahomes is not so different from the typical rivalry we find in many building product companies that often exists between sales and marketing teams. These teams all too often fall into dissonance with each other — leading them to miss opportunities to complement efforts — and the ability to win more sales (and recognition) for their brands.
In many ways, sales teams are like Brady. They are proud of being tested in the trenches and their ability to move the ball over the goal line. Whereas marketing teams more often resemble Mahomes, as they have not had the opportunity that comes with spending more time on the road. And on the field. Yet, both sides share the same mission of winning. And, like the Chiefs and the Bucs… they bring different plays and are ready for action.
Playing Nice in the Sandbox
Although the two quarterbacks faced off in one of the year’s most anticipated sporting events, Brady and Mahomes share an admiration for one another that is as endearing as it is inspiring.
After defeating Mahomes in a 2019 playoff game, Brady made a point to visit his less experienced competitor in the locker room to offer words of encouragement. And express the esteem he held for Mahomes. Even though Brady has achieved enormous success in his career… he still saw an opportunity to learn from another’s playbook.
Both Mahomes and his coach Andy Reid were more than merely impressed by Brady’s gesture. Said Reid, “I think that just kind of — those simple words — that’s big for a young guy to hear. Especially from somebody that great.”
It was a pivotal moment that would help to push Mahomes, who remains a big fan of Brady… to winning a Super Bowl Championship the following year. And a vital lesson for all of us in the building products channel.
The relationship between Brady and Mahomes continues to flourish. After the Buccaneers handed the Chiefs a loss last Sunday, Mahomes was the first to extend his congratulations to Brady, telling him to “keep in touch.”
So, let’s consider how sales and marketing teams can take a cue from the Brady-Mahomes harmony — and focus on what the other brings to the collective game. Instead of functioning (all too often) as competitors.
There are so many lessons that sales and marketing teams can learn from one another. Their varied experiences allow them to bring different — and complementary — resources to the table. Resources that will facilitate better working relationships. Like sharing insight into the day-to-day routine and behaviors that shape the ways each side operates. And innovative approaches to the “long game” that can help to build better outcomes.
This is exactly what sales and marketing alignment aims to accomplish. We start with a “best practice” audit to benchmark the needs of the salespeople. And a gap analysis of what may already exist in regards to marketing materials and programs. With the understanding that sales must actively leverage the tools provided by marketing. And that marketing requires continuous feedback on the effectiveness of programs and ways to increase the return-on-investment.
Sales and marketing alignment is about taking the competitiveness out of the equation. By sharing useful information and tactics that will make both parties stronger. And better to level the playing field.
A Fresh Perspective
Many of today’s marketers are “digital natives” who bring new technology, an insatiable curiosity and innovative creativity to a time-tested world of sales. To many salespeople, marketing is viewed as merely a frustrating, albeit necessary, evil. They find marketing efforts difficult to measure. And often question marketing’s ability to influence their brand’s sales revenues. After all, no one would dispute that it’s a lot easier to calculate margins than assign a bottom line value to opens and click-through rates.
Yet, when both sales and marketing teams are fully aligned — and consciously working in tandem — profits generated and business growth will continue to reinforce that unity. And it will be much easier to reach consensus on the resources required to fund marketing efforts… with campaign budget investments, developed as a percentage of sales.
Consider that, companies with aligned sales and marketing teams are 67% better at closing deals (Marketo) and their leads generate over 209% more revenue. They also enjoy 35% higher customer retention (MarketingProfs). Those are some impressive stats.
Bridging the Gap
It is not hard to see the “dissimilarities” between Brady and Mahomes as professionals. The age difference, level of experience, and career milestones between these two team leaders fall at opposite ends of the spectrum. However, despite their differences, they have been able to find common ground. And constantly learn from one another.
Why not consider this strategy for your sales and marketing teams in 2021? Recognize that both parties come from a different set of circumstances. Determine how they can bring their unique insights to the equation. And then facilitate that cooperation.
Sales and marketing teams can stop competing and instead take inventory of each other’s needs. Sharing with one another lessons learned and tips for mutual reward. By doing so, they will forge a stronger relationship that will maximize your building product’s brand value … and, ultimately, help to deliver bigger wins for stakeholders!
Interested in learning how sales and marketing alignment can be incorporated into a solid strategy for your Building Product brand? View our on-demand Voices of the Industry presentation at KBIS Virtual. And look for details on our Sales & Marketing Alignment webinar… coming soon.