If you work for a company in any industry, you are probably aware of the importance of collaboration among team members. Businesses rely on employees who get along, can handle challenges as a group and come up with solutions. Although sales and marketing are often separate departments, they also have to work together for a company to be successful.
A silo is a business term for a division that occurs between departments. Essentially, each department in a company works on its own, does not share information and does not interact with others. Although the word silo comes from the agriculture industry and refers to a separate storage container for grain, in business it explains the separation that can happen in a company.
Sales and marketing departments can become their own silos. Each one works separately and does not share progress or ideas. Occasionally, competition and egos play a role in this division. However, the problem is usually linked to a problematic company culture and lack of proper direction from management that would destroy the silos and make everyone feel like a part of a large team.
Recognizing Marketing and Sales Overlap
Silos frequently happen in marketing and sales departments because there is overlap between their duties. When each department has a separate, limited budget and must show individual progress, there is little motivation to get along. According to Maryville University, both sales and marketing are trying to reach the same customer, so this should create opportunities for them to work together.
Marketing wants to promote the product or service to sell it, while sales wants to make a customer buy the product or service. Ultimately, their goal is the same: They want to make money for the business and move products or services into the hands of customers.
Aligning Marketing and Sales
Your sales and marketing teams should be in sync with each other. They should be working together on projects, helping create campaigns and executing them together. When marketing and sales are aligned, they can increase revenue and profits for the whole company.
Marketing can help sales by creating content that will attract the right buyer, and sales can help marketing by giving them buyer persona information. They can both figure out the pain points of their clients to address their needs better. Sales teams need marketing materials to convince customers to buy the product or service.
One area that you can align is lead nurturing and handoff. Marketing can create content to nurture leads, and sales can work with them. There should also be a clear process for handing off leads from marketing to sales and the other direction. Sometimes prospects need more information before they are ready to buy, so this is an opportunity for marketing to nurture them.
Sales and marketing departments should have frequent meetings together and share information. They should have the same goals instead of competing with each other. In addition, they should share tools, so each one knows what is happening all the time.
Team bonding has its critics, but many companies see benefits from it. Most of the opposition to doing team bonding activities focuses on how boring or cliché the exercises feel. The key is to find activities that your business will enjoy and that fit their personalities.
From scavenger hunts to cooking demonstrations, there are bonding exercises that fit all types of industries and workers. For example, your team can learn to make fresh pasta from scratch while learning to collaborate. Another option is to do a boat building exercise that involves strategy, design and working together.
Communicating and Cooperating
Team bonding exercises are a good starting point for helping sales and marketing work together. But once the activities are over, and they return to the office, the collaboration has to continue. It is important for the company to have a culture that encourages cooperation and eliminates cutthroat competition among departments.
Top management can help by creating a long-term and broad vision for the company that makes each employee feel like they are part of the same team. The IT department can also help by making sure everyone has access to the same tools or software and can share information easily.
Your company can also continue to have team building activities on site and events that encourage collaboration. Training seminars that go beyond lectures are a good way to help team members continue to get to know each other and work together.
Although sales and marketing often operate as silos in business, this does not have to be the norm. Your business can help the two departments get along and support each other. This must be an active change that eliminates competition and individual egos while focusing on a bigger vision for the business.