It’s Valentine’s Day this week, which has us thinking about love in the workplace. No, not the kind that will get you in trouble with HR, but the kind that makes delivering customer delight and business results so much easier.
Below are a handful of the “love connections” we like to see more prominently and frequently in B2B organizations worldwide.
1. Sales & marketing
Yes, this is a general grouping, and applies at all levels between the organizations. We’ve written frequently before about how sales & marketing needs to work more closely together to drive an integrated customer experience that ultimately increases sales pipeline efficiency and conversion.
2. Marketing & customer service
These two teams have more and more in common as time goes by. It’s getting harder to distinguish between channels (such as social) that are cleanly marketing’s responsibility or customer service’s responsibility. The more these teams can work together – especially as it relates to interactions and communication histories with customers – the more likely customers will get what they need.
3. Marketing operations & sales operations
For organizations large enough to have dedicated ops resources on both teams, it’s critical that they work together to ensure logistics on the front and back-end of the business are working cleanly and efficiently. This goes well beyond ensuring integration between CRM and marketing automation systems. It also includes cohesive processes for accepting, handling and managing leads, ensuring a steady stream of training from marketing on new campaigns and messages, etc.
4. Marketing & sales training
In most organizations, these two groups rarely if ever talk to each other. But when done effectively, sales training works closely with marketing to not only get insights about the customer, but to integrate those campaign messages directly into how the sales team interacts, educates and nurtures prospect relationships into qualified opportunities and closed business.
5. The CMO & CTO
It’s been well-documented how much technology the chief marketing officer is already buying, and is expected to increasingly buy in the coming years. But the chief technology officer will continue to manage the overall corporate IT strategy, so these two leaders need to have a coordinated strategy to succeed. At minimum, they need to understand each other’s priorities and find common ground so each can get what they need without wasting time in turf battles.
6. Your demand generation & PR/social teams
Even if your organization is small, I’d bet these teams rarely collaborate today. And if that’s true, it’s a wasted opportunity to drive materially higher leverage and results for each team’s respective efforts with next to zero incremental cost. Why shouldn’t the press release announcing a new product or feature have a unique call to action for customers and prospects who read it directly? Why shouldn’t offer thank you pages encourage prospects to follow the company’s blog or social channels for more information? Lots of love connection opportunities here.
7. Marketing and legal
I’ll admit that this love connection isn’t always easy. And both sides will likely need to concede some ground to make things work. Marketing, you can’t just say whatever you want without justification or proof. Legal, as much as you want to protect the business, you need to ensure the company can still DO business. But there’s a lot of common ground to work in that, ultimately, can make both sides happy. This includes a common, agreed-upon approach to blog content and social channels. In many cases, as long as there’s a proactive plan for addressing negative social content or comments quickly, your legal team will be satisfied that you’re doing the best you can given the nature of the channel.
8. Your customer and your IT team
One of the best things we did at a past company was conduct a series of “customer listening tours” in which a selection of company managers would spend 2-3 days visiting groups of customers in select cities. One of the greatest outcomes of these trips was how well the IT managers started to understand exactly what the customers wanted and needed. They came back with explicit feedback from customers, as well as “between the lines” needs that they heard, interpreted, and began putting into their work plans. The more your IT team can fall in love with your customers – really understand them, what makes them tick, and what will make them successful – the more aligned product development and support will be with your sales & marketing efforts.
What additional love connections would you like to see in your organization?