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How to strike the delicate balance between technology, marketing, and sales

24 Dec 2015

By Squiz Group CEO, John-Paul Syriatowicz

The number of companies undergoing digital transformation is set to spike in the next few years, with Australia’s current climate ripe for businesses to take advantage of digital technologies. The federal government’s Innovation Statement, the formation of the Digital Transformation Office, and an increasingly mobile, collaborative, and digitally-able workforce means that it’s only a matter of time before most businesses turn to comprehensive digital strategies.

Yet, governing change within your business as digital transformation takes place can be challenging. Technology, sales, and marketing – a triumvirate traditionally known for different priorities and interests – need to collaborate if your digital transformation project is to prosper.

But how do you escape interdepartmental conflict when your company must appear as a united front?

Here are three tips for striking the delicate balance between technology, marketing, and sales.

Focus on the customer experience

If there’s one thing that the technology, sales, and marketing teams will have in common, it’s that the customer is their primary focus. Technology enables customers to connect with the company, marketing encourages customers to form a relationship with the company, and sales clinches the deal with a persuasive transaction.

In order to foster cooperation between these teams during the sometimes-unsettling period of digital transformation, there are a few ways that focusing customers can assist in a smooth transition:

  • It is the responsibility of management to ensure that technology, sales, and marketing teams understand their unique roles in shaping a seamless customer experience. The technology team is charged with enabling an efficient sales process, implementing customer-friendly options like mobile apps and live chat. The marketing team must work to nurture the customer all the way to the point of sale. Without all these channels communicating effectively, it’s the customer who pays the price – and the price for the company will invariably be a lost customer.
  • Set shared metrics that help achieve customer-centric outcomes. Employ a challenges and rewards system that leverages the skill-sets of different departments with the aim to on-board and nurture customers.
  • Invest in systems to ensure each department has access to customer data in real-time. The technology team can set this up, the marketing team can analyse and strategise the data, and the sales team can know who they are speaking to and where the customer is on their customer journey.

Promoting transparency between these departments will help overcome barriers that are often created by siloed technology.

Learn to speak the same language

There’s a lot of jargon out there, and each team will have its own special dialect when discussing technology, customers, and department goals. Marketers talk about cut-through, sales managers home in on targets, and the technology department focuses on usability and maintenance. However, fostering customer loyalty and growth is a common goal of all three departments. There are a few ways to use this goal to drive effective collaboration:

  • Set up regular meetings to increase communication and smooth out potential conflict.
  • Swap department-specific jargon for clear, easy-to-understand language. Avoid using language in internal communications that will alienate any one department.
  • Incentivise collaboration between staff members from disparate departments. This will not only do away with clique-creating mechanisms in the office, but also encourage trust amongst the different teams to help them work effectively together.

With these small but important steps, digital transformation can become a reality in your organisation. Mutual support between your teams with a customer-centric, jargon-free, and shared approach will future-proof your company in the digital age.

Share goals

Traditionally, companies operate within silos of business, each with their own agendas, budgets, and internal processes. Technology, marketing, and sales are no exception; these three diverse teams have always operated under separate umbrellas, working towards individual, and at times, divergent goals.

Today, this can no longer be the case. The mainstreaming of hyper-connectivity means technology platforms are purchased using the marketing budget, sales managers rely on CRM software, and the whole function of technology depends on a customer-centric approach typically favoured by the marketer.

Businesses must begin to avoid structures that encourage a siloed or competitive approach, and link various teams’ KPIs to collective results. Encouraging these three results-driven teams to collaborate is central to driving productivity.

By Squiz Group CEO, John-Paul Syriatowicz