I’ve worked in the corporate world. I’ve seen how difficult it can be at times to work with other departments.
I don’t know if it’s human nature or the competitive nature of people in business, but there can be a level of unease between departments at any company – large or small.
An online retailer might deal with sticky relationships between the marketing and merchandising department. A small business might see issues arise between sales and manufacturing.
There seem to be plenty of potential reasons for having an issue between departments.
Two departments that should work well together yet still seem to have issue from time to time are the Marketing and Sales departments.
Issues can come up when things aren’t going well in the business, but things can also become an issue between marketing and sales even when things are going well.
Marketing could think it’s doing a great job with lead generation, but sales could be dealing with leads that aren’t qualified.
Here is some advice for making sure these two departments work well together.
The businesses that seem to have the most corporation among departments are those that have clear business-level goals. Each department will have its own goals, but those should lead into the overall business goals.
A business-level goal is something like achieving a certain level of sales. Or it could be a combination of revenue, units, profit and return on assets.
Using this type of calculation for a goal and giving a bonus based on performance each year will get everyone on the same team. Then within each department you could have additional bonuses based on performances that still tie into the overall business goals.
One secret to success in life is knowing the things that motivate others. If you can figure that out you’ll be able to work with people to achieve common objectives.
While we all have our own motivations we’re still motivated by some of the same things.
For most people it’s a motivation to provide for oneself and one’s family. Others are motivated to find success in a profession. Others want to be recognized by their co-workers and bosses for a job well done.
In business, sales and marketing can be pushed by different motivations.
Commonly it’s leads for marketing and new clients for sales. Unless these work together to achieve the same business goal you can run into issues.
If the sales team has a specific type of client that they look for then marketing needs to find a way to deliver the exact right type of lead. The best motivation would be to align compensation so that marketing is driven to find the right type of lead (a long-term, repeat client). This aligns the motivations of sales and marketing and gets the teams working together to achieve the same goal.
Learning From Each Other
Another interesting thing to consider is how the departments can learn from one another.
It was always interesting to see the dynamic in the office between departments. We would meet with other departments for certain things, but it was always interesting to sit in on a meeting with another department. You can learn so much.
For example, I used to enjoy sitting in on the new product meeting, which was run by the person in charge of that merchandising department. The meeting was for the benefit of the graphics department, but I liked sitting in as a marketing manager. I could see all the knowledge the merchandisers had about products, industries and the target customers.
If you’re in sales or marketing take some time to sit in on a meeting run by the other department. You’ll see the dynamic in the room. With that understanding you can figure out how to better work with each other and you’ll see how you can learn from one another.
For example, if a marketing were to sit in on a sales meeting they might learn more about the current trends in new clients. This would be invaluable information for the marketer to take and make slight changes to the lead generation strategy.
There will probably always been disconnect between company departments. Sales and Marketing are two examples of departments that should work well together, but that often don’t see eye to eye.
You’ve probably read about communication between the two departments as a way to make things work, but it goes deeper than that.
If you can figure out what professionally and personally motivates the other department you can find ways to align your motivations so you’re working toward the same goal.
And if you take some time to sit in on a meeting you can learn how the other department works. It should lead to insight that might even allow you to have better success in your role.