On a farm, silos store grain, protecting it from the ravages of winter weather. However, in your business, siloed departments often keep information from flowing, getting into the right hands, and slowing your growth potential down to a trickle.
Tear down those marketing silos and watch your business explode. Here’s why transparency and collaboration, instead of each team guarding its information like a dog with a bone, can help you scale your business to new heights during the coming year.
Silo Snafus Slow Down Sales
Suppose your sales department keeps customer feedback to themselves. That information could help your marketing department shore up your website’s FAQ page or answer some of those customers’ objections in a well-researched white paper or an instructional video.
That ball rolls the other way as well. If your marketing department never talks to the sales team, salespeople won’t know that the marketing team’s webpage conversion data indicate that there’s a new market segment ripe for the picking. Potential wasted, along with all the money and time you’ve spent developing your teams.
For more on silo snafus between sales and marketing, here’s a great video from our good friend, Marcus Sheridan.
Switching departments a bit, let’s say that you have several semi-independent businesses operating within a holding company. For instance, you have a shop that caters to the horsey set just outside of town and a pet supply store at the mall.
What would happen if your equestrian supply store got hold of a new study about a brand-new liniment that worked wonders on top show jumpers but didn’t share it with your pet supply store? If that liniment was also effective on dogs – which a 30-second Google search could find out – your pet supply store would lose out on a lot of sales they could make to owners of senior pets.
As the Sports Technology Group’s Claire Robinson points out, businesses who don’t take a comprehensive approach to information gathering and sharing incur losses that number in the six- to seven-figure range.
Without Silos, Profits Soar
On the other hand, though, companies like German chemical manufacturer BASF, who make information sharing among departments and external stakeholders part of their culture, have realized incredible savings, leading to increased profits.
In BASF’s case, the company saves over a billion dollars every year from information sharing and collaborative initiatives. Just think what numbers like that could do for your growth.
Ditching Silos Improves Customer Experience
According to Forbes’ Blake Morgan, companies that deliver superior customer experiences rake in nearly six times more revenue than those who lag behind. It simply makes good sense to know that when customers have a choice, they naturally gravitate to the brand that makes dealing with them a pleasant experience.
One of the best ways to give customers the kind of customer experiences that evoke five-star reviews is with cross-functional teams, a Harvard Business Review study found.
These teams, composed of people from various departments in the company, get data coming in from all across the company. With a more comprehensive view of the business, they get a better feel for what customers want. Since they consider data from a variety of departments, they can discover how to improve the customer experience from their first search to after-sales service.
Better Customer Experiences, More Growth
Better customer experiences drive customer retention and loyalty. Superb customer experiences, however, inspire customers to become brand advocates.
Brand advocates, in turn, act as your unpaid marketing team. Their recommendations are 90 percent more likely to influence their contacts’ purchase decisions than are all those fancy ads you paid some agency good money for.
All that good juju, though, depends on one thing: teams that involve more than just your marketing or sales force – all sharing real-time data that help your entire staff deliver the kinds of customer experiences worth writing home about.
How to Tear Down Your Marketing Silos, Brick by Stubborn Brick
Now that we’ve established that departmental silos put the brakes on your growth, it’s time to look for solutions. Here are 6 to consider.
Sell Your C-Suite on a Silo-Free Approach
What corporate leader wouldn’t want to implement a strategy that has proven to drive growth? Show your execs the statistics on the benefits of a collaborative workplace and help them drive the message home throughout the company.
Designate a Single Hub for Sharing Information
Obviously, we’d recommend a comprehensive content marketing platform, for starters.
Having such a platform goes a long way toward creating a cross-functional, silo-free workplace, so long as all your teams have access to the data. With a comprehensive data hub, your sales team can see emerging new lead possibilities.
When you combine people from a variety of teams to create compelling content, sales campaigns, and products that provide what that segment needs, your revenue can explode. So, to that end, look for ways to do just that.
Involve People Outside of the Marketing Team to Help Plan Content
As your marketing team gathers for its monthly content planning meeting, think about inviting a representative or two from your sales team. Their insights into what they hear from their customers could be pure marketing gold – if only they have the chance to share.
Similarly, having someone from Engineering sit in on your next content strategy huddle could yield some in-depth information about what to include in your how-to video when you introduce your company’s latest gadget.
Make it a habit to include representatives from your marketing, engineering, and other departments in sales meetings. Their insights can help your sales reps uncover new leads – and have expert information that can help sell a tough customer on your products and services.
Develop Trust Among Teams
Tearing down marketing silos can be tough if an organization’s culture has fostered fierce competition and trust issues. From the top down, encourage idea and information sharing throughout the company. Put as many of your teams’ ideas into effect as you can. The more you involve them, the more ownership they’ll take in their work.
Coordinate Your Messaging with a Content Calendar
To avoid duplication, use a content calendar, visible to everyone, to coordinate and schedule content creation and publication. That way, you won’t have two similar articles or videos hitting the same channels at the same time.
When you involve people from various teams in content creation, remember, they have other tasks to do on their end. Having a content calendar also allows them to see planned content in advance so they can make suggestions for timing changes should a new issue arise.
Unify Communication with One Channel
Collaboration tools that allow your teams to collaborate in real time are a necessity with cross-functional teams. That way, if Joe in Engineering sees an error in the numbers your copywriter is about to publish in an e-book, he can ping the writer to make the needed change before publication.
Experience the Growth That Comes from a Silo-Free Business
When your teams are coordinating their efforts like clockwork, your messaging will become better informed, timelier, and more personalized for each of your target customer segments. Customers will notice the difference – and give you their business.
If you’re ready to ditch the marketing silos for a collaborative, growing business environment, we’re here to help. With our comprehensive content platform, diverse teams from all over the world can collaborate to produce timely, personalized content that your customers will love. Schedule your free demo today.