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October 22, 2009

The Sales and Marketing Silos

For this blog post, Strand asks the questions: What do you recommend to help sales and marketing align? And, where does social media fit in the mix …

Heidi StrandMarketingNews’ Elisabeth Sullivan wrote the article “Made for Each Other” which appeared in the magazine’s July 2009 issue.

I tore it out, folded it up and stuck it in a file to read later.

Today …. was later.

The article is a commentary on how marketing and sales departments are not aligned. And, it is a topic I’ve internally debated for years and faced many times over with our clients.

Why is it that many firms continue to work within silos, thinking they alone best understand the customer’s needs?

Our approach at Blue Door Consulting, has been to break down those barriers and preach “voice of the customer” (or research) first, strategies second, tactics third. Yet, if often lands on deaf ears.

Sullivan offers six steps in her article for marketing-sales alignment and I think they do a nice job of providing a process, so I’m including those for your review. However, she doesn’t address the impact that social media is having, and will continue to bear upon, these two departments. And, I feel strongly that social media’s influence will (and likely is) causing additional friction, as most organizations have yet to flush out social media’s strategic use as a marketing/sales tool.

That being said … I’d love to hear your opinions and stories pertaining to this issue. What recommendations do you have to align the two departments? And, where does social media fit in the mix?

6 Steps for Successful Alignment

  1. Get buy-in from both the top down and bottom up. Make sure your C-suite is on board, as well as your marketers and sales reps.
  2. Chart the course – literally. Connect the dots for marketers and sales reps, showing them how their functions align, intersect and support one another.
  3. Create an interdepartmental language. Start by getting both departments to agree on the definition of a lead.
  4. Collaborate on setting goals and creating strategies. And meet regularly to ensure that you’re on the same page.
  5. From the start, select – and build consensus on – a few key metrics to gauge your success.
  6. Follow up. Build a system with which marketers can follow leads’ progress so that they can learn which attributes matter most, and sales reps can keep track of all the leads coming their way.