It is no small task to manage the changing nature of marketing channels. From what used to be six or seven key channels twenty years ago, it has now grown considerably larger with mobile, social media and blogs – and the list keeps growing.

In many marketing departments, content and campaigns are developed in silos across several different parts of the organisation. One part of marketing manages message development, another part manages media buying, while another develops web content. Layer on top of that dynamic the fact that there are so many different skill sets and personalities in marketing.

This means it can be difficult to align the team on messages and manage intricate executions when so many different hand-off points can impact quality and timing. So now, marketers must do what other business functions have done long ago and tear down the boundaries that hold back optimisation and integration across all channels.

Tearing down the silos

Tearing down long-established corporate silos won’t be easy; studies show that little interaction occurs across conventional business boundaries. Further studies show that when looking at communication across boundaries, there are high levels of contact between employees on the same pay level, whereas the communication between higher and lower level employees was close to nonexistent.

Unfortunately, most marketers have grown accustomed to this lack of interaction. It is simply assumed that content and campaigns will be developed in silos across several different parts of the organisation. Fragmentation like this tends to permeate the entire organisation – if marketers don’t communicate internally, how can they interact effectively with other departments, such as sales, public relations and legal?

These days, the explosion of social media channels has ignited a whole new set of ‘turf battles’. Social media contains elements that span multiple disciplines, and without an integrated plan, these new channels can’t flourish.

It can be difficult to align any team on messages and manage intricate executions when so many different hand-off points can impact quality and timing. Today, marketing success depends on engaging consumers in conversations. Maybe we need to take a step back and focus on engaging in two-way conversations with our co-workers first?

Building sales and marketing synergy

Aligning sales and marketing is crucial for both short-term and long-term success, and here is how to start priming both the communication and execution channels:

1. Tell sales what you’re going to do. Sales and marketing need a shared understanding of expectations, forecasts and goals to drive business and opportunities in their territories.

2. Make sales a part of marketing. Create channels for rich, two-way communication so sales can deliver marketing’s message to customers and prospects, and then return data to you for further nurturing.

3. Show sales what you are doing. Working in partnership enables sales to provide marketing with the feedback needed to fine-tune and optimise marketing initiatives.

4. Love sales with leads. Develop a lead score plan so that sales get the most relevant intelligence to manage contacts, accounts and opportunities.

5. Tell sales what you did. For sales and marketing to start working together more efficiently, marketing needs to show sales how marketing leads are moving through the pipeline. Once achieved, both teams will be able to drive more revenue and reduce the overall cost per lead.

Developing a strong working relationship with sales will help smooth the ride through today’s rocky marketing landscape, while driving value and growth for your company. Think of building sales and marketing synergy as one more way to unify the team with central access to assets, content and plans.


Lisa Arthur
BY Lisa Arthur ON 14 October 2011
Lisa Arthur serves as Aprimo’s chief marketing officer driving global market and brand strategy, solutions and product marketing, demand generation and customer-centric initiatives.