Last updated on October 12th, 2017 at 01:52 pm
What do Paul Revere, sales and marketing rockstars and fighter pilots have in common? They were all in Boston for the Growth Acceleration Summit held at The Revere Hotel – complete with horse sculptures and a modern day mural depicting the famous Paul Revere ride.
The Growth Acceleration Summit is one of the few events that bring together sales & marketing professionals. As you’d expect alignment, leadership and account based marketing (ABM) were hot topics.
My favorite part of the event was sitting down with three women shaping the future of business leadership. We talked candidly about their careers leading business change.
The night before meeting Jen I tossed and turned. I was beyond excited to speak to her. She is a force of nature; a decorated veteran, F-16 fighter pilot, and now flight school owner. Jen has an incredibly inspiring record but I wondered, would our conversation have anything to do with growth acceleration?
The next day, Jen and I met in a conference room with a mediocre view of the city. I got there a few minutes early, reviewed my questions and racked my brain for something that would ease us into a natural conversation. It turns out I worried for nothing. Jen was warm and inspiring at the same time.
We started by talking about her military career. There are very few girls who think “I want to be a fighter pilot when I grow up” so I was curious what had motivated Jen to enlist. She shared that she was one of those people who woke up on 9/12/2001 and knew she wanted to do something. Despite a fear of flying, she completed Army Airborne Training and went on to serve proudly, the control of being a pilot overcoming her previous fears.
Over the course of our conversation Jen taught me about a military debrief process she mastered and today uses to run her own business. Jen believes that the daily feedback habit is essential to good leadership that leads to growth, but it takes work to create a productive environment.
- You have to create an environment that is safe to collect objective, honest feedback
- Acting on the information received is critical to keep information flowing
- Everyone has to feel they have an equal voice
- Provide a strategic framework to assess risks, threats and opportunities
While the strategic framework for feedback and planning was easily transferred from the military to business operations, not everything was as seamless. For one, Jen swears a lot less. More critically, she had to adjust her frame of reference on how the day would progress. In the military you had to earn the right to fly – if you didn’t prepare, you didn’t take off. Today, she runs a flight school and when a student is unprepared it makes her job harder, but she has to make it work.
Jen reminds us that leadership is not about authority, it’s about communication.
Laura has a passion for sales and marketing alignment and it shows! During our conversation we spoke about account based marketing and how some old principles have finally found their time. In that discussion she told me our messaging has to “strive for emotional resonance.”
It struck me how few marketers actually understand how to do this. We’re good at describing what we do, but we need to get better at making an emotional connection to why the buyer should care. This is especially true in B2B marketing where we tend to believe decisions are purely rational, because they aren’t!
Laura also talked about an overlooked reality; any change is pain. She encourages marketers that our marketing needs to be: Human, Helpful and Handy (teach us how to do something).
I knew it was going to be an interesting chat when Trish declared “BANT is dead”, but it didn’t surprise me. Recently Trish wrote a post on LinkedIn about the recent fad of shaming SDRs, and why we have to do a better job of helping, not hurling insults. It hit a nerve. The post garnered more than 650,000 views, 216+ comments and over 2,000 likes. It is her candor and insightful observations that make Trish’s a unique voice.
She encourages empathy in everything marketing does, from a deep understanding of the buyers, to sitting side by side with SDRs making calls.
In our conversation we talked about missing and dirty data, which she calls “the #1 enemy of SDRs”, and marketing’s obligation to use build a comprehensive data plan. While there is no cookie cutter plan, marketing and sales working together can accomplish exceptional growth.
Not to be out done by talented speakers ZoomInfo had a little flash of their own. At the event they unveiled a new user interface that makes using their data easier than ever. The ability to break out contact and company searches separately will be particularly valuable to those embarking on ABM strategies.