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Are Silos Hurting Your Company?

By Bill Johnson
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July 24, 2018

Most businesses don’t start out with departments isolating themselves from each other and failing – or refusing – to communicate. Silos are insidious, often developing slowly over time and becoming so entrenched that people don’t even notice they exist.

If your sales team is falling short of its goals, silos may be to blame. Throughout a company and within a sales team, these communication logjams can really set you back. Read on to find out how you can identify them and eradicate them before they do further damage.

Not just a sales and marketing problem

Silos are often rooted in a basic misunderstanding about another department’s role, goals or pain points. That’s why, historically, marketing and sales teams have experienced some friction in their interactions. Marketing teams may accuse sales teams of failing to follow through on good leads, when sales teams may be so inundated with leads that they can’t get to them all in a timely manner.

That’s a classic example of how silos begin, and probably the one that receives the most attention from sales team managers. But don’t assume that’s the only one that matters.

Account managers need to fully understand a product to sell it. That means if your company offers product support, your sales team should know what type of support is offered, and the most common reasons for customer calls. A support team’s feedback could help sales understand how your product may not live up to some customers’ expectations. Furthermore, open communication between sales and support ensures your sales team is never promoting product features that don’t actually exist.

Shared goals

Silos are not necessarily the fault of employees. Disagreement among company leaders, or a failure of leadership to outline a clear, collective goal, can create an environment ripe for silo formation.

Leaders must present a unified message about a company’s mission and goals. While each team and individual may have specific goals, leaders should emphasize that the company’s overarching mission cannot be attained unless teams collaborate and share information.

Make collaboration easier

In some instances, the incompatibility of software and applications creates a lot of frustration, when employees need to share information across teams. If marketing and sales use different software to track their progress, then sharing data could become a labor-intensive process. When it’s a challenge to share information, some people will default to not sharing it at all.

To promote interdepartmental harmony, companies need a consistent process and technology that can be configured for job-specific functions. Read more about aligning your departments in our white paper, “How to Standardize Your Sales Process.”

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