HomeBlog There’s No “I” in a B-to-B Team…Or Is There?

There’s No “I” in a B-to-B Team…Or Is There?

November 02, 2015 | By Sonita Reese

  • Marketing leaders are investing more than ever in team development, but there’s an important “I” in “team” – interlock
  • Simply stated, interlock is how functions work together to accomplish a goal
  • Interlock provides three things contributing to functional and overall marketing success: context, conversations and connections

With football season in full swing on both sides of the Atlantic, many of you are regularly donning your favorite team’s jerseys, cheering (or yelling) at the television and devouring news on your favorite teams in between games. And while you probably sport the name of your favorite player on the aforementioned jersey, you know that the team matters … a lot. 

Meanwhile, at most b-to-b companies, marketing is also in full swing, developing its strategy and executing plays to win in the market. And while marketing leaders are investing more than ever in team development, in the midst of it all, there is an important “I” in “team.” This is an “I” that many b-to-b marketing leaders may not appreciate or even be aware of: interlock.

Simply stated, interlock is how functions work together to accomplish a goal. As a former SiriusDecisions client looking for best practices to lead my marketing operations function at a large company, I found the concept of interlock quite mysterious until I started to pay attention to it. As I began to better understand it, I learned that interlock brings insight that can yield targeted improvements. In my former life, interlock helped surface how the absence of a sales operations function was impacting our organization’s work to create and manage demand with sales. Now, as I work with SiriusDecisions clients to assess their marketing organizations and strategies, I see that interlock provides three things that contribute to functional and overall marketing success:

  • Context. Understanding when interlock should occur between functions and where it is needed to make key processes – like global program planning – work. Interlock has two levels of contextual context: the functional level and the marketing ecosystem level.
  • Conversations. Identifying what agreements and discussions your function should have to achieve key goals and how functions should be aligned to enable success for critical initiatives, like strategic planning.
  • Connections. Insight into who you need to work with from a functional and role perspective. For example, effectively managing service-level agreements requires key interlocks between the marketing operations and sales operations functions, but also cooperation between the leaders of those functions.

Are you a leader uncertain of where your interlocks lie? If so, check out the relevant maturity model for your function (like this one for marketing operations). Or are you a leader who desires more insight into how interlock may be helping or hurting you? If so, reach out to your account team or the SD Consulting team. We’re here to help you strengthen your team and work better with other teams in your organization to improve your winning position. Game on. 

Sonita Reese

Sonita is a globally minded marketing consultant and capability builder with 15 years of experience as a marketing and communications practitioner, management consultant and project manager in North America, Europe and Asia.  Her expertise includes go-to-market strategy, organization and marketing process design, marketing operations, demand generation and strategic communications planning.

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