Business Development StrategyFatal Sales FailuresSales Tips

Fatal Sales Failures: Sales and Marketing Silos

By September 21, 2011 2 Comments

four silver silos in corn field

Today’s guest blogger is the inimitable Gini Dietrich, queen of Chicago, CEO of Arment Dietrich, and author of the wildly popular Spin Sucks blog. 

I’m a big believer in integration. Not integration from the perspective that you’re saying the same thing through every communication channel, but from a “breaking down the silos” point-of-view.

You see, marketing, public relations, advertising, HR, IT, customer service, and all of the other disciplines are supposed to work in tandem with sales. Not in silos, but together.

But it rarely happens that way, which is why we see the fatal silo mistake in B2B sales.

Consider this: You’re on the road, meeting with clients, prospecting for new business, and attending conferences, trade shows, and cocktail receptions.

You’re rocking your meetings and ready to get back to your desk in a couple of days to start closing some new deals and make your numbers for your year-end bonus.

Back in the office, your colleagues have created a campaign that integrates direct, email, public relations, and print advertising around a series of webinars. The webinars are created to generate leads that they’ll then hand over to you for conversion.

You get back to your desk and start closing the deals you started on the road. The webinar series finishes and you’re handed 1,000 new leads.

Which do you focus on first?

I’ll bet I know the answer and it’s not the 1,000 new leads your marketing peers handed you.

So what’s the point?

Well, marketing has been told to integrate so they’re using all of the disciplines to promote the webinar series. And that’s where they’re held accountable and how they make their bonuses.

But they’re not integrating with you, nor are you integrating with them. You’re doing your job and they’re doing theirs. And those 1,000 potential customers? They’re left with a bad taste in their mouths.

Following are six ways to avoid this fatal mistake:

1. Lobby senior leadership to make total integration part of the bonus program for every employee.

2. Develop a team, made up of one person from each discipline, to work towards the same business goals and break down the silos.

3. Meet every other week (at a minimum) to discuss upcoming activities, goals, and review the dashboard that everyone reports in to.

4. Work with senior leadership to consistently convey the integration message and support the efforts of the team.

5. In the webinar example used above, work with your colleagues to determine how/when the series will be held and create a process for following up with the leads that are generated. It could be an email drip campaign or it can be personal phone calls. That’s up to you, but what’s important is the pre-determined process.

6. Create a system for complete transparency so people move out of their comfort boxes and are willing to work together, instead of in their silos.

In some ways, this is change management and, in others, you’re going to be asking senior leadership to do something out of the norm.

But if you think about all the time and energy you spend on the road and how many deals you close that way vs. creating a webinar series that generates hundreds or thousands of leads, where would you rather spend your time?

More on this topic of sales, marketing, and PR silos from Frank Strong, Chad Root, and me (Barbara Weaver Smith).

2 Comments

  • Thanks for having me, Barbara and team! And thanks for linking to what Frank wrote about on Spin Sucks yesterday (which was really smart).

    We have one client who integrates really, really well. We know, to the exact number, what we all need to do in order to drive the business forward. It’s pretty amazing and extremely effective. I wish every business got it.

  • Thanks to you Gini; we are always glad to have you as our guest. Franks observations are also right on. This whole integration concept is what The Whale Hunters is all about–not just marketing/sales/PR (which is where the process starts) but also operations, customer service, and new sales to your current best accounts. Simply cannot/will not happen without clear process and methods to work across silos (if not actually tearing them down!)

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