The comparison between relay racing and revenue organizations has been around forever. Marketing generates a qualified opportunity and hands it off to sales to pursue and win the deal. Sales then passes it on to customer success to support and renew the relationship. In the past, this approach made sense, but today’s buyers don’t work this way. According to Forrester research, 68% of B2B customers prefer to conduct research independently online and will engage with companies on their own terms. Buyers will also engage different parts of the revenue team throughout the buying process. For example, some buyers prefer to engage with sales at the very end to help with final selection and pricing. Others will work with sales throughout the entire qualification, selection, and negotiation process. Opportunity detection, engagement, qualification, and management is no longer a relay — it’s an adventure race, which requires a more integrated approach.
In adventure racing, teams navigate the course together and focus on maximizing the strengths of the individuals within the team. Winning in today’s competitive market requires revenue organizations to optimize each human and nonhuman interaction together rather than trying to arbitrarily restrict functional groups to “their” position in the buyer’s journey.
There are three things all revenue organizations should do to get to “yes” faster in this adventure race.
Align To Optimize Buying Signals
Successfully winning an adventure race requires efficient use of resources. Teams need to consider both what to pack and the most efficient way to carry the load. For revenue teams, this equates to deciding what information to capture and where to “store” it. Forrester recommends storing all interactions on the opportunity record within the sales force automation system. Everyone involved should both contribute to and utilize information stored in the opportunity to help determine the best way to proceed with each interaction. For example, if a buyer clicks on the website, that should be logged. If the seller identifies a new buying group member, they should add them as a contact on the opportunity. If that new member is also the same person who searched the website, those two data points can be connected to create an even stronger combined signal.
Create An Integrated Plan
In an adventure race, there are multiple people in a team that need to cross the finish line together to win. Success is not determined by the fastest person on the team. Instead, it’s about which group can align in a way that makes them faster together. Revenue organizations need this same aligned approach to each opportunity. This starts with mapping out each potential interaction and then aligning the revenue team to optimize each of them. The team then applies their combined skills to each interaction to create the best possible outcome. Sales, marketing, and customer success may all need to contribute to create a successful interaction. For example, if marketing is utilizing an account-based marketing approach to target strategic accounts, the messaging should be aligned to the account-based sales plan developed by the account executive.
Prepare And Evolve Throughout The Journey
Every adventure race course is unique. The team must understand as much as possible about the course in advance but refine and adjust tactics while navigating through it. Managing the interactions while pursuing an opportunity requires the same rigor. Analyzing both won and lost deals can provide insights that guide current opportunities. Teams must also adjust to each interaction in order to successfully guide the buyer through the purchase process. For example, online content should be continually analyzed for consumption and impact on the sale and adapted to maximize value to buyers.
For revenue teams that are accustomed to the legacy sales, marketing, and customer success relay, it may be hard to adjust to this new style of adventure racing. Embracing the challenge will enable revenue teams to get to “yes” faster.