Break down silos: make sweet music together to boost your sales
Author: Nikki Myles
Have you ever been to a concert where the different musicians are playing different tunes at varying speeds so the end result is an unholy, discordant mess? No? Then why does the equivalent happen so often in business? Different departments have varying objectives and even talk in different languages (marketing people are creative, product specialists are techy etc). The result can be chaotic.
It all comes down to silos, which can become one of the biggest barriers to sales success. Typically, various types of information and ideas are locked away in different silos. Each silo jealously guards its own store of information in the mistaken belief that it strengthens its position within the organisation. However, the reality is that this disrupts the ability of other departments to carry out their work efficiently. It also means that a lot of time and money is wasted on campaigns that aren’t as powerful as they could be.
“In business, organisational silos refer to business divisions that operate independently and avoid sharing information.” (Silo Mentality: Definition in Business, Causes, and Solutions, investopedia.com)
In particular, Sales teams need a well-rounded understanding of the solutions they’re trying to sell – and how best to sell them. But they can only have this if they have all the information they need and if people from the relevant parts of the organisation are communicating with them.
So how can you make progress in breaking down silos?
Get everyone on board
It’s no use trying to co-ordinate an orchestra if you leave some of the key instruments out of the equation whilst preparing for a performance. Similarly, if you want to start breaking down silos and improving communication, you need to ensure that all the interested parties will willingly take part and that you’re all working towards the same goal. Through a better understanding of each other’s contribution, your Sales team will be able to pitch solutions to customers much more confidently and effectively. This is vital: according to a recent study by ZDnet, 87% of business buyers expect sales reps to act as trusted advisors.
So, assuming you have the buy-in of all the relevant teams within your organisation, how do you practically go about breaking down the silos that have formed over many years? Some of the key elements that are likely to be needed include cross-functional teams; shared project management; internal webinars; and feedback sessions. Only then will you be able to start aligning the work of the different departments.
Other solutions that some organisations have found helpful include the development of a Revenue Operations (RevOps) structure or the use of digital tools and platforms. According to Gartner, 75% of the world’s most rapidly growing companies are likely to start using RevOps by 2025. However, although RevOps can make a contribution towards better alignment, it won’t have a big impact on sales and marketing or product teams.
Again, some digital solutions are helpful but can easily result in information overload. The ZDnet report mentioned earlier also suggests that 94% of sales organisations are likely to have been consolidating their use of technology over the past year. Yes, digital solutions can be part of the answer – but only if used in tandem with a human-centric approach. It’s a bit like asking AI machines to play the part of the instruments in the orchestra: there would be a lack of emotion and the human touch in the music.
Digital + personal = sales success
So how can you bring all these elements together so you can break down the silos and start to boost your sales potential? A key part of the solution is not as difficult as you might think: it involves creating a digital playbook. In essence, this can be used to engage and align all of the relevant stakeholders in your organisation. It will enable you to break down the barriers that silos have erected to create a clear path forward for your Sales and Marketing teams.
Firstly, you need to create a working party with all of the stakeholders – in essence, all the instruments in your orchestra. And just as an orchestra plays from the same sheet music, you need to use a common language throughout. Get rid of jargon and communicate simply but clearly. And to ensure you continually refine the process, keep asking all the participants to review any ideas, test them and feed back their responses.
This process takes time but is well worth it: at the end, you’ll have a sweet-sounding orchestra that is all playing the same tune. And that means that your customers are more likely to love what they’re hearing.
Why not get in touch with us today to find out more about how a digital playbook could break down your silos and boost your sales?
Or take our Silo Scorecard to assess the synergy between your sales and marketing teams. This powerful tool provides invaluable insights into optimising alignment, boosting efficiency, and driving revenue growth.