Iterative Marketing Podcast Episode 10: How To Break Down Department Silos

Competing for resources and recognition has perpetuated the silo mentality between departments, especially marketing and sales. This week, we identify ways to break down those department silos.

Episode Show Notes

Introduction To Breaking Down Silos Within Organization

(0:00 – 1:10) Introduction To Iterative Marketing Podcast: The Iterative Marketing Podcast provides actionable ideas, techniques, and examples for marketers and entrepreneurs to improve their marketing results. In this episode, hosts Steve Robinson and Elizabeth Earin discuss breaking down silos within the organization. 

The resources discussed on the show can be found at, which includes a blog and a LinkedIn group for community interaction.

(1:10 – 1:53) What Are Departmental Silos: Silos can exist between marketing and various departments, such as IT, HR, and customer service. These silos can lead to conflicts, breakdowns in communication, and ultimately, a negative impact on the customer experience. It’s crucial to address these issues to maintain a positive customer experience.


Benefits of Breaking Down Silos

(1:53 – 2:39) The Power of Collaboration and Shared Goals: One of the benefits of breaking down silos includes increased collaboration and a better understanding of shared goals. By bringing together experts from different fields, they can achieve more together than individually. Additionally, breaking down silos helps clarify objectives and align them with other departments, ensuring everyone is working towards the same big picture.

(2:39 – 3:22) Enhancing Information Flow to Eliminate Duplication: Another benefit of breaking down silos is reducing duplication of efforts. When departments work in isolation, they may develop separate processes to achieve similar goals. By collaborating and communicating with each other, departments can identify these redundancies and streamline their efforts, resulting in more efficient use of time and resources.

Recognizing duplication of efforts would be easier if information flowed more freely between departments. Due to a lack of communication, departments often remain unaware of each other’s activities, leading to redundancies. By breaking down silos, information can be shared more effectively, benefiting both sides and reducing unnecessary duplications.

(3:22 – 3:41) Sharing Information and Expertise: Sharing information within an organization can provide insights into the expertise and skills of individuals across departments, which can be beneficial for the entire organization. Rather than keeping information isolated within departments, leveraging this expertise across the organization can be advantageous.

Ending the Competition Between Sales and Marketing

(3:41 – 6:22) The Role of Budgeting and Revenue Growth in Creating Silos: Silos between departments in organizations often arise due to competing for resources, especially in situations where there is a fixed budget. This can create conflict and an “Us versus Them” mentality between departments, even though they share the same overall goal. How budgets are structured can also create artificial barriers that do not align with the organization’s overall objective.

Silos between departments can also be caused by how organizations measure success. Sales teams are typically held accountable for achieving well-defined goals that can be easily evaluated as they have a direct impact on revenue generation. In contrast, the effectiveness of marketing initiatives may not be directly tied to revenue, making it difficult to assess their performance.. This creates animosity between sales and marketing, especially when it comes to recognition for revenue growth. Both departments want to feel important and contribute to the organization’s overall success, which can lead to heated debates when determining who is responsible for revenue growth.

(6:22 – 6:52) Misunderstandings Between Roles and Processes: Sales and marketing often compete due to a lack of understanding of each other’s responsibilities and methods. Both departments aim to increase revenue but use different approaches, which can lead to misunderstandings and create silos between them.

Charity Outreach

(6:52 – 7:52) Charity Break: Food Link

How to Break Down Silos

(7:52 -9:34) Strategies for Collaborative and Accountable Teamwork: The first step is to have support or buy-in from top leadership. Without it, the competition between departments and responsibility claiming for successes and failures continue. The next step is to become collaborative and accountable. To begin with, the focus is on collaboration. Inviting sales to the table early and often when making decisions or documenting things that impact them helps build trust and a sense of partnership.

Practical Applications of Involving Sales in Marketing

(9:34 -11:05) Why Involving Sales in Defining Your Brand is Essential: In the first three actionable components of the methodology, including brand, persona, and buyer’s journey, involving sales is crucial. Sales is the first point of contact for new customers and they represent the brand experience. If marketing’s version of the brand is different from sales, it creates dissonance in the customer journey, leading to poor results. Hence, involving sales in defining the brand on the front end is essential to ensure that they understand and live it.

(11:05 -15:11) Sales Team Involvement in Persona Development and Customer Journey Documentation: The sales team is critical in persona development and customer journey documentation as they have direct customer interaction and can provide valuable insights and feedback. Involving sales in these processes from the beginning leads to more accurate and effective personas and customer journey maps. Sales teams can also use these tools to improve their own sales efforts and onboarding processes for new team members.

(15:11 -16:45) Maximizing Sales Input in Content Creation: Sales can also provide valuable input in content creation, whether generating ideas or serving as a thought leader. Involving them early in the process and ensuring access to personas and customer journey maps can lead to content aligning with the overall strategy. This is part of the bigger picture of involving sales in various stages of the iterative marketing methodology to improve communication, collaboration, and alignment between marketing and sales teams, resulting in a more customer-centric approach and increased revenue growth.

(16:45 -17:47) Involving Sales in Experimentation: Sales can also be involved in the experimentation phase of iterative marketing to generate insights and a clearer understanding of the target audience and personas. By asking sales where they are most unsure about the target audience and where they see an opportunity to learn, marketing can plan experiments to improve program performance and generate valuable insights. While there may be a need to help sales bridge the gap between what they want to know and what experiments can uncover, involving them in the process can lead to effective experimentation and better results.

Collaborations Between Departments

(17:47 -19:38) Seeking Feedback from Sales: While analytics can provide some information, feedback from sales is essential for understanding what messages are working or killing sales. Getting feedback from sales on the quality of demand generated, how marketing is helping or hurting their ability to close sales, and what should be kept or stopped is crucial for making tweaks and changes to better support the sales team and meet revenue goals. This anecdotal feedback can lead to optimization and experimentation within the marketing program, making it a valuable resource.

(19:38 – 20:50) Maximizing Lead Quality: In lead generation marketing, it is crucial to collaborate with the sales team to identify and generate high-quality leads. This involves understanding what constitutes a qualified lead and defining a marketing qualified lead. It’s also essential to gather feedback on every lead handed over to the sales team to determine its quality. This data can be collected through CRM systems or other methods and used to refine lead generation strategies, ensuring a focus on quality rather than just quantity.

(20:50 – 23:19) Building Bridges to Enhance Collaboration: To foster collaboration between marketing and sales departments, it’s crucial for marketing to take the initiative, reaching out to sales and understanding their goals, pain points, and challenges. Sales might not volunteer this information, so it’s important to ask the right questions and ensure they feel heard. Being responsive to their feedback is essential, even if it means facing conflicts and reconciling differing viewpoints. Using tools like personas and customer journeys can help align the departments’ understanding of each other’s roles, ultimately allowing them to work together more effectively.


Accountability Between Marketing and Sales

(23:19 – 28:01) Strengthening Bonds Through Accountability: Breaking down silos between marketing and sales can be achieved by focusing on accountability. Sales teams are often held accountable for top-line results, while marketing should hold themselves accountable for their contributions to revenue and long-term investments. Establishing KPIs and understanding what constitutes a qualified lead can strengthen the relationship between these departments. It’s important to clarify that marketing and sales are peers, both contributing to overall results. By involving sales in marketing activities and asking for their input, marketing can make better decisions and contribute valuable insights to the entire organization, strengthening its role as a leader within the organization.

Join Us Next Time

(28:01 – 29:27Conclusion: In this week’s podcast, the importance of collaboration and accountability between marketing and sales was discussed, emphasizing the need for breaking down silos and working together to enhance business performance. 

Next week, the podcast will introduce the concept of brand vectors as a way to measure brand value beyond just awareness numbers, providing a concrete and quantifiable method.

Have a great week and we’ll see you next time. This concludes this week’s episode. For notes and links to resources discussed on the show, sign up to the Brilliant Metrics newsletter.

Iterative Marketing is a part of the Brilliant Metrics organization. If you would like more information on the marketing services provided by the expert team at Brilliant Metrics, reach out today for a free discovery call.

The Iterative Marketing Podcast,  a production of Brilliant Metrics, ran from February 2016 to September 2017. Music by SeaStock Audio.

Learn more about Iterative Marketing and listen to other episodes on Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Stitcher, and SoundCloud.

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