So my sister and I are twins with very different personalities. I wouldn’t even say that we have two different personalities. It’s probably more like four different types of personalities between the two of us (we are, in fact, Geminis.) We worked as a team one minute — when we were two, I used to push the kitchen chair over to the sink while my sister climbed on top of the chair to get to the faucet. The next minute chaos would ensue: My mother would run into the kitchen after hearing our screaming — my sister grabbed the sprayer on the faucet and used it as a water gun in my face. Not nice! How did our mother deal with the multiple personalities? How did she inevitably sew GinaMichelle back together as a team?
Today, I wanted to follow up on my SalesMarketing article from last year — in fact, it’s been almost exactly a year since I had written the article and I figured that’s enough time to tell if we are moving in a good direction, or if we are completely off track. To refresh your memory (really, I don’t expect you to remember every post I have submitted for the past 12 months) in my GinaMichelle blog post I was discussing my strategy to (in theory) combine my sales and marketing departments as a single entity to facilitate and enhance communication and collaboration. And at that time it was working.
Guess what? It still is… kind of.
So here is what I have learned:
Marketing people are communicators. We told the sales department what we need, what we expect, what we have going on (promos, mailings, ads, shows, etc) and how they can/must help. We even follow up; written cheat sheets, emails, reminders in weekly meetings. We can be kind of annoying perfectionists.
Sales people are, well, sales people. If communicating with Marketing is a diversion from our habits or day to day routine, then we just don’t do it. We don’t intentionally or maliciously decide to not communicate with Marketing. What it means is that we are effective, focused on a single goal — to close sales. What that also means is that we aren’t the most helpful (or patient) marketing counterparts.
How to fix the “Gemini problem” in the SalesMarketing department? Well, I am still trying to figure this out. But this is what I have so far:
1) Automate AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. If you have a CRM program, use it- properly. CRM programs are invaluable to marketing professionals for reports, analysis and ROI calculations. And sales people are already comfortable using them. As long as campaigns, leads, lists and programs are set up correctly, the CRM system can become a SalesMarketing department’s best friend.
2) Require AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE from sales staff. Figure out the minimum amount of information that you need FROM SALES to analyze success, and request that. Yes, you are being accommodating (without losing the most important information), and that’s a good thing. Sales does have to focus on selling.
3) Discuss the necessity for communication, own it (sales!!!) and follow up (marketing!!!). Meetings are great for this, but meetings can also become unproductive, cumbersome and sessions of incessant whining. Another option we have come up with is a monthly internal email newsletter just for the SalesMarketing department. These newsletters highlight the campaigns for the next month, the required elements of communication from each side, “shout outs” to those SalesMarketing professionals who helped make the month before an exceptional SalesMarketing communication month, and analysis from any campaigns, lists, shows, etc. This is a visual reminder as well as a fun way of rewarding those who are working with the team approach.
I am definitely looking for more ways to support my SalesMarketing approach, and will continue to update you on the challenges and rewards. Right now, there are still many more pros than cons to this approach — for my company anyway — and I will continue to work with it. But if you have some advice, I sure would love to hear it!