Multinationals are a sea of silos.
At first glance, that’s what I see as I transition from the world of newsrooms to the corporate world. Newsrooms are vast open spaces where you can see your colleague chowing down on that kale salad several meters away.
Cubicles are king in corporations. Walls everywhere. Departments like marketing and sales aren’t even on the same floor in some cases.
It’s no wonder these two units look at each other with a sense of disagreement. Sales views marketing as a futile endeavor that’s only good for getting in the way. Marketing views sales as the big brother who gets all the money. It’s a battle trying to get sales to see value in the marketing department. Even if marketing is trying to help sales achieve its goals.
“Sales departments tend to believe that marketers are out of touch with what’s really going on with customers. Marketing believes the sales force is myopic—too focused on individual customer experiences, insufficiently aware of the larger market, and blind to the future. In short, each group often undervalues the other’s contributions,” according to the Harvard Business Review.
Based on my experience working in a marketing department, here are some ways to overcome this battle.
Let’s Get Closer
One of the easiest ways of tackling this issue? Bring everyone closer together. Let’s get the marketing team next to the sales team. Get them to talk. Exchange ideas. Ask how their day’s going. It’s small interactions that’ll get the two departments working better with each other as their communication continues to grow.
It’ll be a greater challenge today than every before as millennials and Gen Z’ers prefer to communicate without any human interaction. That’s where technology like Slack comes in.
It’s not always easy to wander out of your comfort zone into uncharted territory. A buddy system can help overcome that apprehension.
Senior managers should buddy up a sales team member with a rep from the marketing team. Do that with everyone on the two teams. Get them to meet each other regularly. This is even more important when the two departments are located on different floors.
Align On Budget
Wars have been waged over money (well, resources but the end goal is to accumulate wealth.) It’s no wonder $$$ is a thorny issue between the two departments. It’s important for the sales team to understand the monetary needs of the marketing department. It’s important for the marketing department to understand that sales cares primarily about making the deal and work on commission. A synergy needs to exist between the two departments that illustrates, transparently, how and where money is allocated.
I help companies grow by telling their stories.