Marketing copywriter specialising in writing about technology, marketing, branding, strategy and thought leadership for Articulate Marketing. Avid learner of new things, from juggling to social media management.
The Difference Engine
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It’s the hardest question in every pub quiz: ‘What’s your team’s name?’
Cue the squabbling, hand-wringing and fervent deliberation. It matters, but why does it matter? A team name is a unifier. Just as ‘Quiz Tarrant’ may bring a motley crew of egg-heads together on a Friday night, so, too, will a good team name at work encourage collaboration and a sense of community. Prize-winners can expect greater productivity, more sales and peace among men (and women).
Teaming up is valuable. 97 percent of employees think that insufficient alignment and communication can impact the outcome of a project, while over half say that a sense of community is what kept them at their companies.
When it comes to aligning marketing and sales teams, the value is even more clear: a lack of alignment costs B2B businesses around ten percent of revenue each year. Alignment is clearly a worthwhile endeavour, but what role do names have to play in the process?
Here’s how to use powerful team names to align your marketing and sales teams.
Giving everyone a stake
We don’t mean arming co-workers against vampires. If you give both marketers and salespeople a stake in the naming process, it encourages a sense of ownership and affinity for team names that wouldn’t exist if they were ordained from on high.
This could mean pooling popular ideas and conducting a vote, or it could emerge as a consensus after a brainstorming session. However the conclusion is reached, it’s a chance for marketing and sales to work together in a low-pressure situation. They’ll be collaborating before they even know it. And, it will prove to the skeptics on both sides that maybe better integration isn’t so bad after all.
Keeping it fun
As long as your team names remain internal, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be fun or quirky. Heck, you can even share these for all the world to see, if you want! At Articulate, we work in ‘pods’. One pod has taken the mantle of the ‘Millennial Falcons’, for example, and our design team is affectionately known as ‘The Pixels’.
Fun team names are a great way to break the ice for the marketers and salespeople that might be apprehensive about working with one another. Don’t force it, but allow for suggestions that are slightly less professional than you might be used to. A good team can come from an unexpected place. This can help to build a company culture that’s completely unique to your organisation, and to create a sense of community around shared inside jokes. With 27 percent of the employees that leave after just one year saying that feeling disconnected was a major influence in their decision, community-building is crucial to reduce turnover.
Aligning sales and marketing is as much a symbolic task as a practical one. One way to encourage this connection is through team names that complement one another. Think Halloween costumes for couples: Olive and Popeye, Wills and Kate, that sort of thing. Here are some suggestions:
The classic duo: This one works with any famous pair. Think ‘Team Holmes’ and ‘Team Watson’; Han Solo and Chewbacca, or macaroni and cheese. If you have several teams, you could even go with the whole Scooby gang. FightCollaborate over who gets to be who.
The friendly competitors: If you want to encourage some good-natured competition, there’s no harm in naming yourselves after some famous foes. Montagues versus Capulets, Lannisters versus Starks, and Honey Badgers versus, well, anything and everything.
Creating some consistency and interplay between team names reinforces the connection between departments. While sales and marketing may be working on different tasks, their team names serve as a fun reminder that they’re working towards the same goal. It’s what HubSpot calls team selling, and it works.
Decision paralysis can mean that despite their benefits, team names never get finalised. To combat indecision, we’ve gathered some resources to inspire and guide your journey in nomenclature.
HubSpot have shared seven of their sales team names, and have gone even further by explaining the decision-making behind each. If the names themselves don’t inspire you, the thinking that led to them might.
We have our very own name generator at Articulate, and while it’s geared towards naming projects, there’s nothing to say that you can’t augment your results to fit a team. How does ‘The Leap Zonks’ sound? ‘The Candid Roasters’? It’s random, but a good way to get out of a creative rut.
On the topic of name generators, this one is a lot of fun. It’s meant to be a tool for naming bands, but with a bit of tweaking it pumps out some fantastic team names, too. Highlights from my own experimentation include: ‘Between the Leads and Me’ and ‘Puddle of Blog’. This one would be helpful when it comes to complementary naming, because you could change around a few input elements, (i.e. changing ‘marketing’ for ‘sales’), and keep others, giving you similar results.
68 percent of marketers say that their content isn’t being used to its full potential by the sales team. Just 35 percent of salespeople say that their marketing team knows what content that sales would find useful. This is an expensive gap, but one easily bridged with good communication and powerful team names. What’s in a name? Sales and marketing alignment, that’s what!
BONUS TIP: Five fabulous pub quiz names
Now that marketing and sales are well on their way to lifelong friendship, you’ll probably be making company trips to the pub to battle it out in the quiz arena. You’ve just spent time and effort naming your teams in the office, so we thought we’d make life easier when you’re gearing up for a trivia throwdown.
For the confident quiz-takers: The Winning Team
For those looking to annoy the quizmaster: Please Turn My Microphone Down