A common problem affecting companies today is the massive gap that exists between the marketing and sales departments. Sometimes called “the silo effect” because of how silos keep grain separated from other materials, many companies experience communication and collaboration difficulties between marketing and sales departments. Despite the prevalence of this problem, it is absolutely essential that sales and marketing establish a close working relationship. Let’s take a look at five reasons why a company should bust those sales and marketing silos.
1. Silos Impede Collaboration: Regardless of what department you work in, companies are most successful when employees keep the company’s interests first rather than those of a single person or department. Silos create an environment where territory matters more than the success of the business as a whole. Individuals who work in a silo are more prone to work towards furthering their own career rather than working for the benefit of the entire company, making it difficult for them to work with other departments towards a single corporate goal.
2. Understanding Goals: Sales departments often work based on set goals, whether it’s a desired number of leads or new customers, a desired profit margin, or some other way to measure sales success. It’s important that marketing understands these goals. If marketing is unaware of what sales is attempting to accomplish, it is virtually impossible (barring really good luck) for marketing to support sales in the best way possible.
3. Measurability: Measurability is the big buzz word these days, whether you’re a B2B or B2C marketer. Everyone wants to know if marketing is “working.” The ultimate goal of marketing is to drive new customers through the sales funnel, so it is essential that sales communicate with marketing regarding how many new customers are arriving and from what channels. If marketing and sales silos exist, it will be difficult for either department to determine what is working or what is not working. That can cause big problems for everybody in the company.
4. Audience Targeting: Let’s imagine a company where silos do exist when it comes to marketing and sales. The sales department has decided that prospects in the New England region should be a primary target. This fact, however, does not get communicated to marketing. Working in their silo vacuum, marketing decides the company could benefit from targeting marketing tactics to prospects in the Southwest. How will this story end? Sales is likely to point to marketing and make accusations that marketing doesn’t support sales. Marketing is likely to retort that without a heads up on company goals, marketing can’t do its job properly. What does this accomplish for the company? Not too much that’s good, right? Marketing and sales should align when it comes to targeting messaging to prospects and existing customers. If the departments are not in sync, they can actually detract from each others’ efforts.
5. Finger Pointing: Ideally, things will always go well for a company and everyone can share in the joy of that success. Realistically, however, business has its ups and downs. When the “downs” occur, there are two ways to react. A company can pull together and try to work the problem or everyone can start pointing fingers. Often, the majority of the finger pointing occurs between sales and marketing. Marketing suggests that sales didn’t do their job. Sales comes back with the idea that marketing didn’t drive enough interest in the product or service. In the end, again, the question must be asked – what does this kind of finger pointing really accomplish? The bottom line is that if sales and marketing departments collaborate, problems could likely be identified more accurately and more quickly. Silos prevent this kind of cooperation and could truly handicap an already struggling business.
These are just five reasons why silo busting is so important. While the focus here is on marketing and sales, silos can exist between any departments. Customer service can benefit a great deal from collaborating with sales and marketing. The C-Suite can give great guidance to other departments if silos are not in the way. The list goes on and on.
Do silos exist in your company? How can you alter your company’s culture to start silo busting? We’d love to hear your thoughts!
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gigiomc/2239357678/ via Creative Commons