Japanese rugby has improved significantly over the past 4 years and a lot of this has been down to preparation, all units doing their job and team cohesion. The success reminds me of some of the best (and bad) aspects of businesses. In my experience the hardest teams to sync are Sales and Marketing, this can have the same detrimental impact as a rugby team's forwards and backs not working together. Japan managed to execute impressively with thanks to the strong management of Eddie Jones and England's Steve Borthwick .
I am not qualified to advise England Rugby on collaboration tips however here are a few ideas to get your marketing and sales team to work together:
- Qualify - Ensure the marketing function provide relevant information. They win, you win. When qualifying leads, provide as much information as possible to make their job easy. Don't be lazy. Similar to Japan's forwards providing good ball to feed their slick half-backs.
- Keep up to date on your industry - Always keep an eye on your competition, look at what they are doing well and do it better. Maybe a good lesson for South Africa. Google Alerts for key search terms from a competitor is an easy and automated way of doing this.
- Adapt to feedback - As marketing you need to accept feedback. Don't be separated, defensive or stubborn from the Sales team. Allow them to communicate what works and doesn't.
- Communicate results - If the marketing team put effort into qualified leads and background information ensure the sales team provide feedback. Sales are driven by results, so are marketing. Regular standup meetings and live dashboards with clear metrics are useful.
- Provide feedback - Similar to marketing, sales need to share the good and bad. Marketing are not on the front lines and need to know how key market personas change.
- Use content - As a sales team ensure you supplement your own content with those pieces created by marketing. Importantly provide feedback.
Seeing The Japanese players with their supporters at Gloucester this evening and celebrate their achievements really hit home that we all win and lose as a team. Ensuring cohesion between sales and marketing will make it much easier to report on success/failures to achieve sustainable success.
Japan, who left Kingsholm to a standing ovation after a lap of honour, host the competition in four years' time and will go into that tournament buoyed by an excellent World Cup on English soil. They had only ever won one match at a World Cup before, and their three victories in England represent a significant improvement.