Skip to content

So... you think you're on a "team," eh?

Do you work on a team? In my experience, in B2B, many think so. They're mistaken. It's a costly problem in revenue organizations.

Erik MacKinnon
5 min read
So... you think you're on a "team," eh?

At your company, do you have a "marketing team?" Or a "sales team?"

If you work in B2B, you probably have both, at least in some capacity.

But... do you? Do you actually have a marketing or sales team?

No, I'm not being pedantic. Sit back and think about the "team" you're on now.

Are you a team? What is a "team," anyway? Let's go ask the dictionary:

Team: a number of persons involved in some joint action.

Well, that's a little thin. Let's ask Perplexity AI:

Team: a group of individuals who work together towards a common goal or objective. Members of a team are interdependent and rely on each other's skills, knowledge, and resources.

Alright. Surely, that's the end of this post. Everyone in today's B2B revenue organization, they're part of a group of individuals working together towards a common goal, interdependent and relying on each other to succeed.

Except, that's not it. Because, in my experience, that's not the case at all. In fact, I'd argue that in today's B2B revenue organization, it's a far less common arrangement than people simply working in groups.

Group: a collection or organization of people that share a common interest or purpose.

Is there a difference? Yes. Individuals in teams are interdependent, coordinating their efforts with others on the team to reach the common goal. Those in groups, on the other hand, simply share the same interest in reaching the common goal. But they aren't purposefully aligned or interdependent.

But... who cares? Why is this important?

I'll shoot you straight: in my experience, the B2B revenue organizations that are set up as groups are the ones that fail.

Now, I'll admit I currently have no stats or empirical data to back this claim up.

It's based entirely on what I've seen and where I've worked. But the revenue organizations that have "marketing" and "sales" interdependent, coached and drilled to perform their own roles at an elite level, and all focused on the same goal: they win.

Because that's the kind of discipline it takes to win in business. Just getting people together and winging it, sure, they might win some games, but they are not going to win championships.

So, back to the question up at the top. Are you on a team? Or are you working in "marketing group" and "sales group" -- or much worse, "marketing committee" and "sales committee?"

Building A Revenue Team vs. A Big Bunch of Groups

Let's explore how to begin building a team. This is a LinkedIn post, not a textbook. So I'll be brief, and leave you to explore further on your own. It's simply my goal to prompt you to consider your current situation.

Think about the successful teams you know. If you can't think of any, the most common team analogy that comes to my mind is a sports team. And it's a good idea to look at how championship teams operate.

In every team sport, individual contributors play their own position or role, and have their own assigned priorities.

But the entire team works together to accomplish the victory.

The best teams also have dedicated coaches, mentors and advisors whose sole responsibility is to help the individual contributors continue to perform at the highest possible level. Do you have any of that?

Individual team members also hold each other accountable. Ever seen Tom Brady chew out his line for missing their assignments?

Team members are interdependent which means they depend on each other for success. It's not a team if everyone is doing their own thing. It's a group, and groups fail.

In some sports, there are sub-teams tasked with roles that are entirely different from others. In hockey, soccer, football, baseball, there's offence, defence, special teams. And it's the same in today's B2B revenue organization.

Teams have clearly defined goals that they are all working to achieve:

  • We're working to close these 50 target accounts in 2023.
  • We're working to achieve ten percent market share of this 25,000 company total addressable market by 2025.
  • We're working to create 1000 inbound demos, which convert to sat meetings at 75%, which leads to $75 million in sales-qualified inbound pipeline, which converts to closed won at 30%, which leads to $22.5 million in closed won revenue from this cohort of business within an average sales cycle of seven months.

Groups can have these too, but teams have their tasks and focus aligned to those outcomes. Those are the trophy, they're why we get up and turn on Zoom or head into the LinkedIn Ads interface each day.

The Roles on Your Team

This is getting long, so I'll leave you with this: once you build a team, you can then think of the roles on that team and who's going to fill them.

I was first introduced to the Belbin Assessment by MJ Smith, and Dr. Meredith Belbin (see Belbin Team Roles (UK - Head Office)) has done some great work in the "team role" theory. Essentially, there are three categories of team player:

  • Action-oriented team members excel at implementing tasks and thrive under tight deadlines.
  • Thought-oriented team members contribute valuable insights and innovative concepts through their critical thinking skills.
  • People-oriented team members utilize their exceptional communication abilities to bolster and encourage the whole team.

In each category, there are other roles that each member can fill. And some team members can fill multiple roles, which is awesome. I'll leave you with the 9 different roles in a graphic at the bottom for further consideration.

Your homework: determine if you're on a team or not

Look. If you read this far, you might already be suspecting you're not actually on a team, but in a group. And that's okay. But in a competitive B2B environment, you're unlikely to win unless you're just the highest performing group.

An organized, aligned, well-coached and disciplined team will absolutely demolish a group of individual contributors, regardless of how good they might be on their own.

So, I'm going to place the burden on you. Right here, right now. Take some time to think on this today. Are you truly on a team? Is marketing, sales, revenue interdependent, coordinating efforts and aligned to the same outcomes?

If you want to change your B2B revenue organization, make real teams. When you're ready for help, coaching or advising, book a meeting with me here.

Belbin's roles:

No alt text provided for this image
Rambunctious Ramblings & Rants

Related Posts

Members Public

Now... not "How?"

It's a simple phrase, isn't it? "Now, not how." Yet these three words can be something special in the right hands.

Now... not "How?"