An organization's success is the sum of all its departments' efforts. The best sales org can only take a business so far if its marketing, customer service, or customer success is lackluster — and vice versa.
Every aspect of your business has to be firing on all cylinders if your company is going to realize its full potential — and organizational silos represent one of the biggest obstacles to generating and sustaining that kind of efficiency.
Isolation between departments can be easy to fall into and have big-time implications on sales. Here, we'll look at some of the most common silos that businesses deal with and review some ways you can address them.
How Company Silos Hurt Sales
Aligning your marketing and sales departments is a challenge that's every bit as imposing as it is necessary. Each side plays into the other — marketers are largely responsible for generating the leads sales teams pursue, and sales teams help gather insight about buyers to shape the personas that serve as the basis for marketing efforts.
The interplay between both aspects of the business has massive implications on your sales team's direction and success. If you keep these departments siloed, the quality and relevance of the leads you're working with are bound to suffer — the same goes for your marketing department's ability to accurately cater to your target audience.
A productive, mutually beneficial relationship between sales and customer service is a massive asset for both your organization and customer base. Your customer experience doesn't end with a closed deal. That's more or less just the starting point of your customer relationship — something that's sustained, in large part, by customer service.
It falls on that department to actively offer assistance as the customer needs it — a process that can provide valuable insight to inform a more thoughtful, comprehensive, accurate picture of your customer journey. If you keep sales and customer service siloed, you lose out on that guidance, and your sales org suffers.
If you have a fundamental disconnect in strategy and standards between sales and customer success, you're limiting both departments' potential. Both parties need to be on the same page with respect to the selling points your sales team is pushing.
If your sales org is actively leading customers to expect certain benefits that your customer success team isn't prepared to accommodate, you can wind up with a base of disgruntled clients — many of whom will be vocal about their less-than-stellar experience with your company. And that kind of bad word-of-mouth can make life harder for salespeople trying to sell into those customers' networks, down the line.
How to Break Silos Down
1. Align goals and overall vision between departments.
A company can't be cohesive if its departments all have different objectives in mind. A lack of alignment in vision is one of the main culprits when it comes to problems organizations have with silos.
Departments need to be united in their understanding of the company's mission, its long-term goals, key projects other departments are working on, and other crucial insights that can keep everyone on the same page.
This point falls on company leadership. Executives and each departments' upper management need to establish and convey a direction that can ultimately keep every department on the right track and have them working in step with one another.
2. Build teams that span across departments.
One way to help break down silos is to put together cross-functional teams to solve issues that impact multiple departments. These teams — typically comprised of departmental management — can offer different perspectives to better identify, diagnose, and ultimately solve company issues.
By encouraging cooperation and collaboration between leadership across departments through teamwork, you can help keep every side of your business on the same page and prevent them from remaining isolated from one another.
3. Use collaborative tools.
If you want to encourage synchronicity and break down silos, you need to make sure the technology your organization leverages is consistent from department to department — whenever possible.
Collaborative tools like centralized CRM platforms, shared documents, and project management software can help keep various departments engaged with one another and on the same page — helping open up clearer lines of communication and, in turn, breaking down silos.
4. Facilitate socializing between departments.
Sometimes silos are reinforced by social barriers. If your sales team has no idea who their colleagues in different departments are, they might be less inclined to reach out to and collaborate with them.
If you want to address this point, consider coordinating joint meetings between your team and others within the organization. Let them offer each other perspective on who they are and what they do.
In some cases, it could help to organize interdepartmental off-sites or activities that can help bring different sides of your company together. One way or another, encourage employees across your business to acquaint themselves with the "who" and "how" of the elements of their business beyond sales.
Organizational silos are detrimental — but by no means are they insurmountable. If you make a conscious effort to facilitate cohesion and cooperation between the different elements of your business, you can put yourself in an excellent position to minimize isolation between departments and help your business realize its full potential.