3 Common Missteps that Silo Sales and Marketing Teams

February 26, 2019 | Kaleigh Moore


In today’s customer-centric landscape, the demand for cross-departmental collaboration between marketing and sales is greater than ever—especially now that multichannel marketing has become a hot topic.

The goal of efficient collaboration is to have sales and marketing work together to define the common ‘Q’ value in MQL and SQL, and optimize the buyer journey in a way that speaks to the prospect’s unique needs and expectations. But there’s usually one problem standing in the way of this type of collaboration: silos.

According to Zenith’s Five Commerce Imperatives for Marketers report, operational silos between marketing and sales teams significantly inhibit brands from growing and meeting their business goals. What’s more, they found that companies who use their sales data to enhance their marketing efforts can increase sales by as much as 400%. In other words, when sales people and marketers collaborate, everyone benefits.

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But if silos are a bad thing, why is the silo mentality so common? In this post, we’ll look at how easy it is for sales and marketing teams to fall into the trap of building silos, and explore the ways you can tear down the silo mentality in your company.

Problem 1: A Lack of Communication

It should come as no surprise that a lack of communication is one of the most common reasons relationships fail. While this seems like a no-brainer, people often forget that this applies for business relationships as well—and nothing brings collaboration between marketing and sales teams to a grinding halt as fast as a breakdown in communication.

When ongoing communication stops between sales and marketing, we find that both teams start to forget how intertwined their goals and objectives really are. Maintaining an open channel of communication is necessary for:

  • Ensuring that the goals and objectives of both teams are closely aligned at all times.
  • Creating a two-way exchange of information enabling both teams to make more informed business decisions.
  • Gathering feedback on which processes are working effectively and which ones need to be optimized.

The Solution

Without clear communication between sales and marketing, performance is more likely to suffer as teams make decisions based on assumptions and inaccurate data. The good news is that communication breakdowns are easily preventable when you prioritize collaboration. Here’s how:

  • Engage in ongoing brainstorming sessions between marketing and sales.
  • Implement a real-time messaging service for quick communication. Slack works well for this.
  • Use marketing technology tools, like CRMs and marketing/sales automation platforms, to share relevant data in real time.

The goal of management and team leaders should be to improve relationships between sales and marketing so that communication becomes a two-way street. This will go a long way towards deconstructing the silo mentality, in addition to helping teams make more informed decisions with the help of accurate, high-quality data.

Problem 2: Different Teams, Different Objectives

In the past, marketing and sales worked independently from each other. Marketing would focus on finding top-of-the-funnel MQLs, while the sales department looked at ways to optimize short-term sales metrics, like conversion rates and closed deals.

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But this common approach ultimately leads to the development of departmental silos, creating problems like:

  • Promoting an “us-versus-them” mindset across teams: Sales and marketing teams focus solely on their own objectives rather than improving the organization as a whole.
  • Restricting the flow of important information between teams: Sales and marketing teams are less likely to share information with each other if they’re not involved in collaborative initiatives. As a result, team leaders are less likely to make informed decisions surrounding their sales and marketing campaigns, inhibiting the brand’s capacity to meet their business goals.

Ultimately, communication and objectives go hand in hand. Sales and marketing teams that don’t share the same collective vision don’t see a need for open communication, thus reinforcing the silo mentality.

The Solution

Getting sales and marketing to work together may seem like a daunting task, but it’s not as difficult as you may think. Simply develop a working model that includes initiatives and goals for both teams by:

  • Prioritizing sharing between your teams: Sales and marketing teams should freely exchange data so that both groups are empowered. One way to do this is by setting common KPIs, or creating a service level agreement (SLA), that are aligned to the demands of both departments.
  • Distributing accountability and responsibility equally: Both teams should be equally responsible when it comes to reaching a shared business goal, like the number of closed deals, or a percentage of revenue.

There’s immense value in team collaboration between sales and marketing. Not only does it encourage both teams to work together to achieve a common goal, but collaboration also enables both groups to adopt a big-picture approach that leads to better alignment.

Problem 3: Spotting the Gaps

Achieving sales and marketing alignment is one of the biggest challenges B2B companies are faced with. Teams that are unable to operate in a collaborative manner are less likely to see eye-to-eye on a number of issues, including:

  • The quality of leads generated by marketing: Often times, sales and marketing teams have very different criteria for what makes a lead qualified. When marketers send MQLs to their sales team, those leads go untouched if they are not qualified based on sales’ definition.
  • How leads should be followed up with: Misalignment restricts the flow of communication between teams, which has a negative impact on the lead hand-over procedure. Marketing gives sales MQLs, but fails to share essential data or context associated with those leads. This prevents sales from prioritizing leads effectively, negatively impacting the company’s potential revenue.

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These informational gaps between marketing and sales contribute to internal friction between the two teams, and it doesn’t allow them to work towards a common set of objectives. This often reinforces the “us-versus-them” mentality, strengthening operational silos and undermining any efforts for real collaboration.

The Solution

The only solution to preventing or fixing team misalignment is to bridge the gaps between departments. Sounds simple enough, right? Of course, it requires a concerted effort for both teams to work together to identify holes in their collaboration efforts and come up with a joint solution to solve it.

One way you can improve collaboration, tear down operational silos, and maximize the flow of communication between sales and marketing, is by using a lead qualification tool like SnapApp. But when it comes to sales and marketing alignment, it’s important to find a solution that works well for both teams, and one that seamlessly integrates into your daily work flows.

Preventing Silos from Inhibiting Company Performance

Thanks to new technology, we now have the ability to communicate and share data faster and more efficiently than ever before. Yet companies are still struggling with ways to effectively tear down sales and marketing silos because of communication breakdowns causing teams to drown in information, rather than share it.

The best way to prevent silos from impacting your company’s performance is by prioritizing collaboration and communication. When setting goals, include all relevant teams and departments in the planning phase.

Encourage managers from different teams to work together to reach a common set of goals, and make sure to foster a sense of trust and loyalty in the professional culture, where teams feel more comfortable working together than competing against one another. That way, everyone is working to improve the performance of your company as a whole—not just their department.

Want to learn more? See how Paycor was able to align sales and marketing, and drive over 20% revenue growth year-over-year using SnapApp.


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