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As a company matures, limited resources and tense schedules can result in a lack of communication between teams, forcing each into its own niche. It’s easy for teams to grow in bubbles and develop a limited understanding of other teams’ roles and objectives.
Growing companies still working to create foundational resources for branding, marketing and lead generation may find it difficult to envision a unified vision connecting all teams. Ensuring teams grow together and recognizing their role in monetization can avoid costly misunderstandings. Let’s define these roles and recognize each team’s contributions:
Related: How to Strengthen Your Business by Aligning Sales and Marketing
Sales teams are easily recognized as revenue generators, but it can be a long journey from the first contact with a potential customer to a sale, and each team bears responsibility for different parts of that success. All contributions must be acknowledged.
Marketing and communication
Both marketing and communications professionals need to understand their industry, company brand, goals, and messages. Communications teams primarily interact with customers and investors, although they are also critical to a company’s internal correspondence.
Communications departments spread a company’s brand story and protect its reputation, while promoting employee wellbeing and retaining talent. While these services are often seen only as a cost, they provide measurable value in time not spent on hiring and onboarding, combating negative perceptions about the brand or reclaiming lost customers.
Marketing teams are also responsible for brand awareness, but are focused on research, data collection, campaign creation, lead generation, budget management, and calculating the success of marketing initiatives. Marketing departments have measurable goals and benchmarks that are traditionally linked to revenue.
Design and SEO
Design and marketing are different specialties that are not usually treated as interchangeably as marketing and communication. Graphic designers use visuals to create an emotional connection with an audience and convey brand values. Marketers use the resources created by designers to run campaigns and generate leads.
SEO specialists ensure that potential customers find the company and are exposed to the marketing campaigns. They do critical research and have valuable insights into how customers connect with the brand.
Related: 10 Easy Ways to Build a Collaborative, Successful Work Environment
Breaking barriers and bringing teams together
While all departments have different responsibilities, from an external perspective there is no sharp dividing line between promotions and sales, marketing and SEO, or design and customer experience. All parties must be aligned to create consistent encounters, as consumers can no longer be expected to follow a straight line through a sales funnel, but instead zigzag between different online, media, print and in-person experiences with a business.
Any department can easily get stuck in the rut of day-to-day activities, ultimately leading to division within a company. However, failing to recognize each department’s role in monetization can lead to unintended inefficiencies within the business, including:
Disjointed, ineffective images
Inconsistent or confusing messages
Low quality leads
Repeated, costly design project revisions
Bad user experience with online resources
Low employee morale
Several years ago, when our agency hired a team member for a new sales role, design was first introduced to the language sales used in phone calls and emails. The design team knew broadly what benefits we were offering customers, but not specifically how those benefits were presented.
My partner and I agreed that it was absurd that it had taken so long to share this basic information with sales, marketing and design. Later, when we started branding and expanding our offering, we involved all team leaders in the discussions about our vision and strategy. By getting feedback from all sources on questions and concerns they receive from customers in their day-to-day communications, we were able to generate well-rounded buyer personas and create materials that more effectively address our customers’ needs.
You can cultivate collaborative and profitable relationships by instilling good habits from the start. Here are a few tips:
1. Align Team Goals
Everyone can seem to be working towards the same goals when the reality is subtly different. For example, suppose your marketing department is tasked with delivering leads and measures its success by lead volume.
The goal of both marketing and sales is new customers. However, simply measuring lead volume without focusing on lead quality can hinder sales. Measuring marketing success by quantity and quality of leads is more effective. In a collaborative relationship, teams can:
2. Develop sales-oriented resources
Sales-enabled resources are those resources that help close deals. Aside from the obvious benefit of customer acquisition, creating sales-enabled assets also forces communication across departments and helps everyone understand why customers buy. Examples of sales-enabled resources include:
Email drip campaigns
Everyone from marketing leaders to SEO specialists can play a role in developing these assets.
Inefficiencies and misunderstandings create frustration that can ultimately affect your bottom line. Designers who are involved in a campaign late in the process may feel that their hands are tied and may not be producing optimal work. SEO specialists who do not know the brand guidelines cannot provide a consistent user experience when performing on-site SEO updates. Don’t make people work for the resources or information they need. All teams must:
Have access to all brand assets and design guidelines
Understand brand messages
Understand the emotional connection customers have with the brand
Have access to a central pool of customer data
You should also develop systems for regular feedback and make sure everyone knows that feedback is welcome.
Related: How to Align Product, Marketing, and Sales Goals
Teams need to be aware of each other’s challenges to support each other. They also need to understand the role they play in monetization and why their skills are valuable. Fostering such an understanding from the start helps create cohesive, profitable endeavors.