Cross-team alignment is difficult to master — and we’ve yet to discover the secret to perfection. But in our competitive, hyper-connected world, finding ways to better align teams and streamline processes is more important than ever, especially for Marketing teams.
And the three teams that Marketing must work closely together with to succeed? Sales, Customer Service, and HR.
To be fair, many people are unaware of just how important interdepartmental cooperation is for the sustainable success of the company. After all, a brand’s success does not depend on individual performances, but on the coordinated, aligned interaction of all departments, teams, and employees.
Still, Marketing teams are often confronted with a lack of understanding and acceptance of their activities by other departments — making fruitful collaboration difficult.
The reasons? It comes down to a lack of communication, misunderstandings of what the other does, and siloed team structures. And for brands with complex products or services that require explanation, it can be even worse — as the Marketing team is often dependent on information and help from other departments.
That’s why it’s crucial Marketing is able to convince other teams of the benefits a close working relationship will provide. This article will explore each of the aforementioned issues, as well as provide some tips on how to remedy them.
Because when Marketing can begin to work hand-in-hand with Sales, Customer Service, and HR — by sharing knowledge, data, and goals — they’ll all come to the understanding that no team can truly succeed on their own.
Marketing & Sales: Different Priorities, Common Goals
For many brands, the relationship crisis between Marketing and Sales could probably fill several notebooks.
Although these teams share many goals and objectives, often, the reason for such friction lies in the different priorities and challenges faced by each department. Marketing feels the pressure of bringing in high-quality leads and increasing brand awareness. Sales feels the pressure of converting those leads into customers.
So, although both teams share an ultimate goal, Marketing and Sales have varying perspectives on how to achieve them and what needs to take precedence — which can lead to internal problems.
As a general rule, Marketing teams usually take a more strategic, long-term approach, while Sales teams tend to be more invested in the short-term — like closing the next deal to meet their required numbers. Furthermore, in many companies, these conflicts are historical in nature — they didn’t just pop up overnight.
But there is a real connection between these seemingly opposite teams — one which holds a great deal of potential and can have a positive impact on the entire company should they choose to work together.
So, how can Marketing and Sales put aside their difference and combine forces to achieve their common goals?
1. Appreciate One Another’s Challenges
You can’t successfully sympathize with a problem you don’t understand. And for many Marketing and Sales team members, they don’t possess a thorough enough understanding of the others’ challenges.
Therefore, to create an opportunity for greater understanding and acceptance, it’s a good idea for Sales and Marketing team members to take turns shadowing one another. This allows each department to better understand the other's challenges and broaden their own perspectives.
In doing so, both teams can acknowledge their own strengths — as well as those of the other team — to generate more value from future collaboration. Additionally, this exercise highlights weak points and provides opportunities to better align processes.
By taking a day to step into the other’s shoes, each team member can better appreciate their counterparts’ needs and challenges, which leads to less siloed work.
2. Take Time To Plan Campaigns Together
Though it may seem like a bit much, it does make sense to include a few members of the Sales team when planning a new marketing campaign.
Why is that? Well, Marketing needs input from Sales to create the best content strategy possible. After all, without data from the Sales team, it's almost impossible to create accurate customer personas or understand which leads are the most desirable.
When it comes to developing targeted campaigns, Marketing and Sales should take time to clarify important questions, such as:
What is the goal of this campaign? Will it generate leads that Sales can develop? Will it take advantage of upselling potential with existing customers? Who is responsible for which tasks?
Setting up an exchange before the start of a new campaign can make a big difference in its performance. After all, if both teams are aligned on the goals of the campaign and their respective roles, it’s bound to be more successful.
3. Use Shared Dashboards & Tools for Communication
You’ve heard it before: Communication is the key to success. While it may be an overused adage, it still holds true.
For teams and departments to work together effectively, they need to be in regular contact and willing to share data. And what better way to do that than by using shared tools for communication and data analysis?
From instant messaging apps like Slack to customer data analysis dashboards like Latana, using shared tools allows for more transparency and accountability across departments.
For example, you could create a group chat in Slack that includes members from both departments — where individuals can share updates and ask questions of each other. Or you could use a tool like Latana, which tracks brand perception and provides reliable data on customer insights — information that will be interesting to both Marketing and Sales.
Of course, each team will still have a few tools that only they need access to — but the more teams are able to use common dashboards and apps, the better they’re able to align their work.
Marketing & Customer Service: Helping One Another Better Understand Consumers
We’ve already learned why cross-departmental alignment is critical to a company’s success, but it doesn’t end with Marketing and Sales.
The relationship between Marketing and Customer Service should also be prioritized, as they share some common goals — like increasing brand use and improving customer satisfaction.
And as consumers increasingly turn to social media to engage with brands, a strong Marketing and Customer Service relationship is now more important than ever. In fact, social media is the preferred method of communication for most customers when contacting a brand — ahead of live chat, email, or a phone call.
Therefore, it’s vital that Marketing team members, such as Social Media Managers and Content Creators, work closely with Customer Service Representatives to develop strategies to best communicate with consumers, maintain a positive brand image, and increase brand loyalty.
So, what can Marketing and Customer Service do to better align their respective teams?
1. Gather Content Ideas from CS Experience
Customer Service is constantly communicating with customers — which allows them to learn a great deal about their problems, interests, and needs. This information can prove to be a goldmine for content ideas.
After all, isn’t the goal of content marketing to create content that addresses consumer interest, needs, and problems? And what team is more familiar with these topics than your Customer Service colleagues?
Therefore, it’s a good idea to set up semi-regular meetings where Customer Service reps can provide Marketing with real-life customer issues and desired solutions — which can then be turned into high-quality blog posts, ebooks, whitepapers, and more.
As a member of the Marketing team, don’t you want to know how your product is used or how features are received? As the ones who are in daily contact with customers, your Customer Success team is probably most familiar with these topics.
Holding regular meetings between Marketing and Customer Service is an excellent way to generate new ideas and understand customers better.
2. Set Up Brand Training Exercises For CS
For any partnership to be successful, it has to be beneficial for both parties. While Marketing can learn a good deal from CS’s experiences with customers, Customer Service can also benefit from Marketing’s brand knowledge.
As the ones who have the most direct contact with consumers, it’s imperative that Customer Service reps are familiar with your brand — from brand image to identity to associations to personality. Customer Service needs to have a deep understanding of what makes your brand tick. This way, they can do their absolute best to represent your brand when speaking to consumers.
By setting up brand training exercises, Customer Service team members will learn more about the intricacies of your brand identity. This will, in turn, allows them to further excel in their own roles and contribute to overall brand success.
Marketing & HR: Strengthening Brand Identity With Employer Branding
In today’s professional climate, a good HR manager must be familiar with marketing best practices. They need to be able to present your brand to potential candidates as authentically as possible — to inspire candidates and make them feel excited about your company.
More than anything else, they need to create and put forth an authentic employer brand identity that can hold its own in the cutthroat applicant market and retain top talent for the long term. To do this, both teams should work closely together to plan and implement well-thought-out recruiting campaigns.
Furthermore, by setting up regular meetings and workshops to collaborate — touching on areas like brand image, social responsibility, corporate design, and employee satisfaction — both parties can help create an employer branding experience that aligns with brand values and attracts top talent.
For Marketing to succeed, they need to have high-quality team members — and it’s HR’s job to supply the talent. Therefore, HR and Marketing clearly have common goals — and ones that they should work together to achieve.
Let’s talk action points.
1. Agree On A Consistent Brand Image
To create an authentic employer brand, a transparent and consistent exchange between HR and Marketing is required. In many ways, employer branding is an overlap between HR and Marketing.
When finding candidates for open positions, HR provides important information — such as employee benefits, organizational structure, remuneration, and working time models. All of this and more flows into the development of the employer brand.
On the other side, Marketing provides information on brand values, corporate philosophy, and brand identity. To find the best candidates possible, both teams need to regularly brief and consult the other. After all, you’re looking for candidates that are talented and will be a good fit.
2. Develop the “Candidate Journey” Together
From the first point of contact via a job portal to visiting your website to communicating via email — each potential candidate interacts with your company at various touchpoints in the recruiting process.
Every encounter a candidate has with their potential employer should be both positive and motivating. In many ways, the “candidate journey” closely resembles a successful “customer journey” and should become an instrument of sustainable employer branding.
By working together to set up well-thought-out “candidate journeys”, both teams will reap the rewards. At the end of the day, talent acquisition succeeds when HR and Marketing combine their knowledge and experience.
3. Utilize Employees as Brand Ambassadors
A company’s employees are one of its most frequently untapped resources. When trained well, they can become invaluable brand ambassadors — both for the brand's products or services and for the company itself.
However, for this type of employer branding to work, they must act of their own accord. Forcing employees to post about their company never has the same impact.
Therefore, HR and marketing should work together to develop measures through which employees can get involved and help shape the brand image. From posting about recent content to experiences with employee perks, it can all help shape outsiders’ views of your brand.
There’s no way a brand can be truly successful if its teams become too siloed and do not possess a deep understanding of each others’ work.
Each department has different priorities and challenges, which are often difficult to solve without help from other teams. That’s why fostering strong relationships, setting up regular exchanges, and using shared tools can help brands run smoother and break down silos.
When departments like Marketing, Sales, HR, and Customer Service can work hand-in-hand instead of against one another, brands will be able to achieve far greater success.