By Barrett Cordero, president of BigSpeak Inc.
The conventional wisdom says to break down silos. However, conventional wisdom can be overstated and even wrong. People are more efficient when they concentrate in their area of expertise. Don't break down your silos. Instead, keep the silos and build bridges.
Our two largest silos are the sales and marketing departments. While both departments share our company goal of long-term growth, they have two separate and distinct functions. Marketing generates the leads while the sales team seals the deals. Specialization in their area of expertise is the key to success in both.
However, to expand the impact of both departments and ultimately create long-term growth, both silos must constantly meet and communicate to listen and share. In the early days, we had nine people total and every department in our company could sit around one small conference table to brainstorm and sync up about the marketing and sales plans.
Now our company is three times the size, with members spread across the United States and speaking engagements across the globe. So we have to make certain our sales and marketing teams constantly gather to share knowledge and ensure alignment.
While knowledge sharing is important for all industries, it's especially important for the speakers bureau industry. Our companies act as matchmakers between keynote speakers and big corporations. Our product is our service and our service is to both our clients and the keynote speaker. An important part of this service is based on understanding what both parties need and to provide it effortlessly. This is why it is important that the sales and marketing departments communicate.
How to Build a Bridge Between Sales and Marketing Teams
For the past three years, we've successfully bridged our sales and marketing silos. The result has been more than 100 percent growth for three years in a row. So what is our secret to building bridges? If you want to build bridges, you need to pay attention to three things: timing, tools and content.
Information is only good if it's fresh. Stale information does not help a business grow. So our sales and marketing departments meet twice a month to share ideas and information.
Information that's unseen or unheard helps no one. So we share our information through software such as Act!, shared Google documents, email, monthly newsletters and our in-person meetings.
While others suggest Slack for bridging silos, personally, I am not a fan. This is not because of the software but because of how people typically use it. I have seen companies overuse it to the point where it dilutes or distracts the value of its intended purpose and limits the planned communication that occurs in meetings with agendas. Using our collaborative tools, a salesperson can effectively access the latest information for their sales pitch on Act! while the marketing department has the latest news to spread in our newsletter.
The kind of information we share is important to maintain our success. We always talk about newest speakers added to our roster, companies that are looking for a great speaker and the latest news about both companies and speakers.
One of our favorite content sharing activities is a book club. In book club, we summarize chapters from the latest book written by one of our speakers. This month, we are featuring our newest speaker, organizational change expert Robert Sutton and his book The No Asshole Rule. We also maintain a library of business books so our staff can catch up with and implement the latest business ideas.
So if you want to continue your corporate growth, don't break down your silos. Build a bridge between them. With better communication that aligns your sales and marketing teams, you can increase your knowledge sharing and work speed to improve results.
Barrett Cordero (YPO Santa Barbara) is the President of BigSpeak Inc., a leading global speakers bureau representing business icons, bestselling authors, thought leaders, and celebrities.