How marketing professionals can conquer silos in their organization

Silos. A true curse of collaboration, and the enemy of smooth customer journeys. In today’s marketing landscape, where a cohesive brand experience is so important, departmental silos can be a recipe for disaster. If you’re in marketing or sales, chances are you have dealt with silos and have seen the negative impact they have on your results. But fear not: Here’s your battle plan to break down the walls and build a stronger, more effective team.

Have shared goals

We all want the same thing, right? Business growth. Customer satisfaction. More revenue and profit. Marketing or sales ROI. It’s really hard to achieve any goal if your teams don’t work towards that same goal. By reminding everyone – from marketing to customer service – of these overarching goals you create a sense of shared purpose. Your shared goal then serves as a vision within which you can fram your campaigns and projects. This helps you highlight how each team contributes to the bigger picture.

Paint the bigger picture

Don’t just talk about marketing goals – discuss the company’s overarching vision and how marketing contributes to it. Do the same for sales, or any other department for that matter. For example, if the company aims to become the industry leader in sustainable practices, translate that into a marketing goal of promoting eco-friendly product features and educating consumers about the brand’s commitment to sustainability.

Benefits of a shared goal

  • Motivated Teams: Understanding how their work contributes to the bigger picture fosters a sense of purpose and ownership among team members.
  • Improved Communication: Shared goals necessitate clear communication across departments, leading to smoother project execution.
  • Unified Customer Experience: Aligning efforts around a common goal ensures a consistent experience for customers.

By shining a light on the shared goal and fostering a sense of collective purpose, you can break down departmental silos and empower your marketing team to achieve remarkable things.

Map the customer journey together

Imagine your ideal customer’s experience from discovery of your brand to purchasing your product or service. As a sales professional, you can probably imaging what the journey looks like after sales, or before you get the lead from your marketing colleagues. and as a customer service employee, you may have a idea about the very beginning of the journey, when marketing is in the lead. But do your really know everything you should about those parts? 

You can solve that by walking through the whole with colleagues from other departments. Try to identify where each team interacts with prospects and clients along the customer journey. Doing this together fosters empathy and understanding. This collaborative exercise can reveal gaps and inconsistencies. Knowing this enables you to finetune your approach and create more consistent experiences for your target audience.

Break down communication barriers

Silos often thrive on a lack of communication. Different departments claim to be communicating with others, but they are really not (enough). What teams should be communicating about, is what their ideal customer looks like, what they are looking for or how you can make sure to address customer needs together. In reality though, communication is nothing more that doing a few presentations now and then to keep up appearance. Afterwards, everyone goes back to working in silos.

A better way to get real results, is to foster a culture of open dialogue. You could schedule regular cross-departmental meetings – not just marketing, but sales, customer service, and even product development. Encourage information sharing and celebrate collaborative wins. Consider using project management tools or communication platforms to keep everyone in the loop on a permanent basis.

Embrace shared metrics and wins

Marketing KPIs don’t mean anything without taking into account other teams. Unique visitors or ebook downloads mean very little if you don’t also take into account sales metrics like number of sales calls, demos and so on. 

So you should identify metrics that matter across departments. For example, track how content marketing efforts translate to lead generation, or how social media engagement impacts sales. The actions that different teams are doing all contribute to company growth.

And when you do have successes that involve multiple teams, make sure to celebrate together. This reinforces the value of collaboration and motivates your colleagues to keep working together. On top of that, make some time to identify what went good or bad, and why. You can use that information to further optimize processes and collaboration between departments.

Stimulate collaboration instead of competition

Internal competition between departments is a recipe for disaster. The constant drive to outdo each other or appear superior is counterproductive, AND it is detrimental for team morale. A culture of competition shifts away the focus on the common goal towards short term personal objects.

Instead, encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing between departments. You could organize workshops where teams can learn from each other’s skillsets or create plans and strategies together. You can also get your customer facing teams together to evaluate past performance and build plans and campaigns for the future. Consider cross-training opportunities or team-building exercises to break down departmental barriers and cultivate camaraderie.

Technology as your ally

There are countless marketing tools and platforms out there these days. Many of those stimulate collaboration between different teams, and some more than others. You can streamline and automate many things, and it’s up to you to determine for your organization what can or should be streamlined.

For example, you could consider using project management tools or shared content calendars. Or think about communication platforms that encourage real-time information exchange. And how about platforms that help you score leads and hand off qualified and prioritized leads to sales, or send automated NPS surveys that marketing can use? The right technological solutions can bridge the gap between departments. Our Ultimate marketing automation guide for example is there to help you make the right choice for your company.

There you go: 6 strategies you can implement to break down the silos in your organization. You’ll need to make some changes in your organization to get there, but it’s worth all of it. And if you watch closely, you will see that organizations that apply this are growing while everybody else is wondering how. Remember: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the same goes for breaking down silos. Just start working, the results will follow.

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