Closing The Gap Between Your Marketing, Sales and Service Silos

Both marketing and sales play an integral part in your business growth. They attract new customers as well as close sales leads. However, when these two departments see themselves as more important than the other, silos are created.

Silos refer to the thinking in which each division within your business doesn’t want to provide access to information. The result is that your business is stunted in its ability to expand. Also, it can cost you. Research from IDC found that lost productivity costs business 20% - 30% in lost revenue.

The “us vs them” mentality within your organization may be seen as breeding healthy inter-departmental competition. However, what you may not have realized is that it could also affect your customer satisfaction rate and your bottom line.

Streamline your business by eliminating the silos.


Use the same terminology

In any aspect of business, there will be unique terms used within each department. That can lead to those outsides of each section feeling somewhat alienated.

Marketing and sales are both integral components of the sales funnel, yet can use different ways to describe a process. Confusion and a loss of productivity can develop through trying to decipher terminology.

Granted there will be some language differences when discussing the customer’s journey through the sales funnel. Yet, a cross-departmental understanding of the semantics can foster healthier conversations.

You need each other

Ask the people on your sales team what they think the purpose of marketing is. You will most probably be told it’s to drive sales. Now we have an issue. The sales department considers marketing to be an informal offshoot of sales. When there is a struggle in sales, chances are the marketing department will be accused of dropping the ball.

Now, head over to marketing and ask them why the sales department exists. Maybe you will get an answer like “To close on the leads we worked so hard on getting.” Sales is seen to be the team that completes the final stages of a process initiated by marketing. Not closing the sale can have marketing lament that sales just don’t understand the customer.

With all that infighting and resentment, your business growth is being put at risk. Sales and marketing are two sides of the same coin. They are a core part of your business engine. You need that part of your engine working harmoniously.

Develop a unified buyer persona

The image of your ideal customer can vary between marketing’s vision and that of your sales team. Sure, marketing has done thorough research through polls, surveys, and analysis of your competitors. They provide you with the bio of a typical individual from your intended audience.

Go and talk to sales and they could tell you that marketing has missed the target. That is, though leads have been created, sales deals with the bottom of the funnel. Closing the sale is the name of the game. Your sales team deals one-on-one with the customer. That gives them an intimate picture of the buyer’s pain points.

This diversity in what your buyer persona looks like can affect productivity. If your sales guys aren’t giving feedback to marketing, then your campaigns will continue to generate less than promising leads. Without marketing sitting down with sales, the content won’t be sifting out the customers that aren’t interested in your brand or offer. That wastes time in your sales department chasing up leads that were never committed.

Having marketing and sales interact with one another helps to build an exemplary image of your true audience.

Integrate your Customer Relationship Management software
CRM platforms may be considered mainly suitable for the sales guys. After all, these tools provide insight into customer interactions, store contact details, list outstanding appointments that require following up, and identify the needs of the customer.

For those in marketing, using the data from the CRM can help spot which products/services are the most popular, how your audience engaged with your campaigns, and which content attracts the most attention.

This kind of information can be easily siloed between marketing and sales. After all, why would sales be interested in knowing which piece of content has the most clicks? Are the people in marketing interested in leads that haven’t been followed up?

The answer is: both sections should consider these questions. The data provided by the CRM shouldn’t be filtered so that it's either for “marketing’s-eyes only” or “solely for sales”. By allowing access to all the data, each department can gain an understanding of what may be causing blocks within the sales funnel.

This can develop mutual empathy between both sides. From that, the inter-department relationships can grow stronger and more productive.


Share the information
Data sharing can extend beyond CRM. Allow the marketing and sales departments to have available access to each other's materials and information. This can cover assets such as:

  • Sales reports
  • Memos
  • Content creation calendar
  • Internal emails
  • Campaign outline
  • A/B Testing analysis
  • Minutes from meetings
  • Dialogues with external consultants
  • Operational manuals
  • Onboarding contracts
  • Legal information


By making this information readily available, the marketing and sales teams get to understand each other on a deeper level. Each department can contribute to the material. For example, they could co-write a new operating manual that enhances lead qualification. Sales can add notes to the campaign outlines so that it attracts more engagement.

Sharing can be implemented by creating a company-wide intranet. Otherwise, there are collaboration tools available such as Dropbox, Google Suite, Slack, and Zoom.

React in real-time
In life, when there is an emergency, everyone acts instantly. When the alarms sound, people move fast. Though there are distinct emergency services, they work together. There isn’t a moment to lose otherwise the result could be fatal. At times, it can be too late to do anything.

That kind of mentality can be utilized by your marketing and sales guys. Marketing attribution software can give you a real-time view of how people are engaging with content. If an ad or campaign isn’t working, you can take immediate corrective action.

It’s the same with sales. If there isn’t a closure, then revenue is lost. Time spent chasing poor leads can mean lost productivity. The marketing team needs to know as quickly as possible.

Imagine if the police, paramedics, and fire service didn’t cooperate during an emergency. That doesn’t bear thinking about. Having your marketing and sales team pulling against each other is similar. It can cost you, not in something as dramatic as a loss of life, but in revenue.

When there is an “emergency” in the sales funnel, then it’s time for everyone to step in immediately and deal with it.

Create content that converts
Content serves to inform and educate your audience. It’s a way to stand out in the crowd and set you apart from your competitors. However, the overall goal is to get people into the sales funnel.

Yet, if the content you provide doesn’t bring in the right type of lead, your sales team is going to waste time following up with contacts that were never genuine.

On the sales side, the team gets to talk with the customers. That gives the sales team a unique insight into your audience’s pain points. Did the content address those, or was the marketing content too general? Was the message behind the content conveyed clearly, or does the sales team need to spend time talking with confused customers?

Having to explain things over and over again reduces customer satisfaction.

Get the sales and marketing team to collaborate on the content. Have brain-storming sessions over what will give the highest ROI/ROAS and lead to the most closures. Some content is designed for inbound purposes, so can be generic. Yet, sales can let you know if you have addressed the pain points.

With gated material, the information can get more sales-focused. This is where you can have the sales team offer their expertise. After all, they are at the bottom of the funnel and know what will help in the final conversion.

Unify the definition of success
Ask anyone in the different departments within your business to define what “success” means. You will discover that the answer varies. That’s because the term is interpreted by departmental goals. So, marketing may claim that they are successful if they have created a new campaign with a lot of interaction.

Go over to sales and you will be told that success is when they have closed a sale. Therefore, you can find there is a lot of internal debate over which department is more “successful”. What is needed is a clear definition of success that reaches beyond departmental borders.

Have your marketing and sales team come together. Using the sales funnel, they can then work together to create an overarching description of what “success” is. With that interpretation, the teams can work together towards a common end.


Create common goals
Marketing is focused on enhancing brand awareness, generating leads through content creation, and establishing trust with prospective leads. Success in achieving these goals is measured by:

  • Click-Through Rate
  • Audience engagement in social media posts (i.e. likes, shares, comments, and follower numbers)
  • Email sign-up rates
  • Growth of traffic to the company’s website (measured by both organic and paid traffic
  • ROAS
  • Time to conversion

The goals of your sales team revolve around closing prospective leads. How well this is done can be shown through the following metrics:

  • Win rate
  • Year-on-Year Growth
  • Total Revenue
  • Closing rates
  • Percentage of revenue gained by new customers


It can be easy for each department to tick off the goals and bask in the glory. However, if there is a failure to meet some goals, finger-pointing can start. Sales can accuse marketing of not providing them with enough leads to follow up on. Marketing can blame sales for not having the ability to close the sales.

Getting these teams to sit down and work out overarching goals and how to measure success can foster bridge-building. For example, marketing can ask how many leads per month sales want to close. If the mark is missed, then consideration can be made as to if the campaigns need tweaking. Sales can let marketing know how long it is taking to get follow-ups. That can be measured through time to conversion.


What are your next goals?
When the goals between marketing and sales are aligned, there is a common vision. This commonality is extended into the future which then drives each department.

More qualified leads are one example that extends across both areas of your business. That lets marketing know what content to produce and which channels to use. Regarding the sales team, they have higher quality contacts they can follow up on.

Reducing follow-up time on leads can also contribute to productivity. How quickly is marketing inputting contact details into the CRM? How user-friendly is the software?

Have sales and marketing work together to establish mutual targets. Of course, there will still be department-specific goals such as increasing CTR, ROAS (marketing), and Closure of Leads (sales).

Here are some cross-departmental goals that can benefit from the marketing and sales teams

  • Increase ROI by $200 within 6 months
  • Reduce lag time in follow-ups by 3 days
  • Ensure customer satisfaction rates increase by 25% over 3 months
  • Raise revenue year-on-year
  • Raise market share by 10% within 4 months
  • Time to conversion needs to decrease by 20%
  • Unqualified leads have to drop by 50% over the next year.

The goals have to be realistic and measurable. Have the heads of marketing and sales work out a roadmap toward the goals. How can each department support the other in achieving the results set?

What can be done if there is a chance the goal will be missed? When a goal isn’t reached, there shouldn’t be blame placed on the other department. The whole point in sharing the goal is so that marketing and sales can work together. They need each other because both parts of your business share a unique aspect: the sales funnel.


Inter-departmental meetings

Meetings are a great forum to get things out in the air. It allows individuals to share their concerns and discuss solutions. Beyond that, successes can be shared and opinions are given. It’s a dynamic that encourages collaboration and input by those in attendance.

After the meeting, everyone is on the same page. That is, each department has an understanding of how to help steer the business towards success


United under a single head

Silos can be created when teams report to their specific manager. That is, there can be a sense that higher-ups in other departments are not qualified to tackle issues outside of their area of responsibility.

If sales are failing to close leads, reps will express their concern to their manager. That means that marketing may remain unaware of the issue. On the other side, marketing may complain to their boss that sales aren’t following up on leads. However, the problem could be that some leads were not worth contacting. A situation that can be obscured to marketing if sales don’t say anything.

Having one manager who oversees both marketing and sales can unify the teams. Issues are acknowledged and the appropriate team informed. Again, meetings can play a role in amalgamating the teams. Sales and marketing roles could be shared between the members. This allows each person to gain first-hand knowledge of how to generate and close leads. The lines between sales and marketing have now been completely erased.


Respect and communication

Silos are caused when individuals within the separate departments think their job is the most important. That can occur naturally due to being only focused on how they are contributing to the success of the business. Yet, the silos ultimately can affect the very thing everyone is working towards: business growth.

Both your marketing and sales sections share a unique part of the business: the sales funnel. Marketing focuses on getting your audience into the top of the funnel through content. Then the ball is passed over to sales who work at the bottom of the funnel.

Success throughout the buyer’s journey down the funnel is a team effort. That team consists of both sales and marketing working seamlessly. Such inter-departmental integration can be developed by shared communication.

Getting together to offer advice, input and mutual goal-setting will have these departments on the same page. Smarketing is a term that sums this up nicely. Have the sales and marketing teams swap roles. That way respect is formed between the members.

Smarketing refers to the barriers between these two important departments being removed. Marketing content is developed with the input of the sales team. Sales let marketing know how successful the campaigns are. Data from your CRM isn’t sectionalized. Both teams can look at each other’s metrics. Departmental information such as manuals, reports, and internal memos is shared just as freely through your intranet or via online collaboration tools.

When sales and marketing operate together holistically, everyone wins. The teams become happier and more productive. Customer experience and satisfaction increase and your organization’s revenue and market share also head in the right direction.


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