When you hear the name “Cool Runnings,” you might think of the uplifting 1993 Disney bobsledding movie that cemented itself as a ’90s sports classic. However, you might not realize that Cool Runnings is more than just a timeless comedy. It is also a great story to parallel the constant struggle that organizations face in aligning their revenue teams across marketing, sales, and customer success.
Cool Runnings focuses on four athletes: Sanka, Derice, Junior Bevil, and Yul Brenner. At the start of their journey, three of the athletes, Junior, Derice and Yul are competing runners all with the same shared goal—they want to get to the Olympics. Sanka, Derice’s close friend, also hopes his buddy will get to the Games. However, during the trial race, one runner (Junior) trips— and then he accidentally trips the rest of them. None qualify to compete and everyone is disappointed. Similarly, in an organization, there are separate departments of the revenue team: marketing, sales, and customer service. In a traditional organization, each works in a silo, distinct from the other. However, this model is flawed and can lead to failure. Internal competition often leads to trip-ups, and one department’s errors can cause the whole organization to stumble.
After the runners in Cool Runnings realize that they’re not going to get to the Olympics as solo athletes, they search for another way to compete, and they realize that they have one option that can get them there: to join a team sport—the bobsled competition. They must have buy-in from each athlete who wants to be on the team, and they need to learn to work together. Similarly, if your organization is ready to succeed and experience revenue growth, each department must learn to work with the other departments. It is essential to approach operating in a collaborative, integrated way, rather than simply working in 3 silos.
Finally, despite how simple it sounds, for both a bobsled team and an organization, alignment and cooperation are not easy. Bobsled athletes must practice pushing the bobsled and jumping into it over and over. Sales, marketing, and customer support must join together, define their own roles, learn to collaborate as a unit and push individual growth as well as organizational success. An organization whose 3 departments integrate will see not only alignment and easy operations day-to-day, but also in the end that a team is stronger any individual.
One thing to keep in mind as your departments and team members integrate: challenges will happen. Obstacles will arise that could possibly trip you up. However, if you focus on maintaining alignment, you can more easily get over these speedbumps together and ensure that everyone finishes and no one gets left behind.
Companies with Siloed Departments Are Like Bobsled Teams with No Training
Sanka Coffie: “So, let’s talk about this billsled team.”
Derice Bannock: “No… bobsled team.”
Sanka Coffie: “Whoever. Now, about the Wheaties box. I’m gonna be on it myself, right?”
When the men of the Jamaican bobsled team (Sanka, Junior, Derice, Yul Brenner) decide to form a team, they start out divided. Each has his own reasoning for joining the team, and each thinks of himself as an individual athlete with his own objectives.
Like in Cool Runnings, many companies have three departments that exist in silos:
- Customer Service
If each of these departments works as an independent arm, focused on only their own goals without consideration for the other departments’ objectives or cooperation with them in day-to-day-work, they not only miss the opportunity to benefit from the support that other team members could give, but they also fail to contribute in a way that could move an organization forward more effectively.
Also, what departments don’t realize is that their refusing work with other departments doesn’t only hurt one department. It trips up the entire organization, holding everyone back when each department could be performing better.
It’s a lot like the running race at the start of the film: one runner falls and trips the rest. None of them go to the Olympics because of the fall — it’s not just the first to falter who fails.
Aligning Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service: Winning By Learning to Do the Work Together
“Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, get on up, it’s bobsled time! Cool Runnings!”
When you get sales, marketing, and customer service to align and work together, they can support one another AND effectively support each customer — throughout the entire customer lifecycle.
In Cool Runnings, when the team starts to learn how to push and board the bobsled, they have a difficult time. They can’t get their timing quite right, they each want to go at a different speed, and no one can quite figure out how to jump into the bobsled when it’s already moving. Sanka, Derice, Yul, and Junior look more like a group of guys running to catch a bus that’s already starting to pull away, rather than Olympic athletes. With practice, however, the four learn to work in tandem, get the sled going at the right speed, then jump in simultaneously. The process is smooth and each person is working towards the same aim, from the time they start the push until the time they cross the finish line.
Much like the team once they’ve learned to get the bobsled going together, a company with a revenue team that can cooperate can more effectively bring a customer into a company, nurture and convert them, and keep them happy once they’re there.
Aligned organizations don’t just enjoy a better company culture (where everyone gets along, regardless of department). They also see more success when it comes to lead generation, sales, growth, and retention.
Research proves that alignment matters:
- Aligned organizations see 32% annual revenue growth, while less aligned companies reported an average 7% decline in revenue.
- Companies that have their customer service and marketing departments aligned see a 55% greater increase in customer satisfaction rates than those that don’t.
- Companies with aligned marketing and customer service see a 7.6 times greater annual increase in customer retention rates.
- Sales teams at aligned companies see 41% greater annual growth in their attainment of quotas. (source)
- When sales and marketing teams work together, companies see 36% higher customer retention and 38% higher sales win rates.
- Sixty-two percent of marketing leaders say individuals and teams in their departments are more aligned with each other than ever. They’re driving cohesive customer journeys across the whole of marketing, rather than just their own channel or function—the more aligned they become, the better they perform.
- High-performing marketers are 1.5 times more likely than underperformers to collaborate with sales teams on account-based marketing programs.
- Sixty percent of marketing teams track customer satisfaction, 59% track retention rates, and 53% share common goals and metrics with service teams.
Support When You Fall: Aligned and Integrated Organizations Support Each Other When Things Go Wrong
Sanka: “Hey, Derice! You dead?”
Derice: “No, man, I’m not dead. But we have to finish the race.”
When the Jamaican bobsled team crashes their bobsled in the Olympics, the entire team gets up together. They pick up the bobsled on their shoulders and carry it across the finish line. They may not have won a gold medal at the Olympics, but they prove that they’ve learned to function as a true team.
In an aligned organization, one organization can pump the other up when it’s feeling down or struggling. Also, when things go awry, it’s not just left to one department to fix a problem. All of the departments on the revenue team function as one three-pronged unit, with each just as invested in the success of the organization as the others. Because all three departments are working towards the same objective, they are also willing to step up and help fix any errors or messes made.
At the end of the day, in an aligned organization, everyone understands that the success of one department means the success of all departments (and the same goes for failure).