Teams operating in a marketing and sales silo structure.

Eliminating sales and marketing silos: RevOps automation is the best approach

If there’s one thing I’ve been so grateful for in these last transformative two years it’s the empathy in the business community. I was astounded at how quickly the business etiquette of universal remote work developed. So if we can re-imagine how we work individually since 2020, why do we hesitate to innovate how we operate together? There’s comfort in the status quo, but are the sales and marketing silos that we’re used to the best way to empower businesses as a whole? I believe there’s an opportunity to infuse empathy in the very structure of your organization⁠—ensuring success that scales.

What are sales and marketing silos?

Let’s quickly define what we’re talking about today: RevOps vs marketing and sales ops.

Craig Rosenberg, Distinguished Vice President Analyst at Gartner defines Revenue Operations or “RevOps” as “the function that designs, manages and tracks non-product experiences across the entire lifecycle … responsible for GTM and revenue planning … and enables human engagement across the customer journey.”

However, as we examine this philosophy more closely, we find that it is critically distinct from a model of sales operations and marketing operations that function independently from one another. Sales is concerned with selling, and marketing is concerned with marketing. They each set goals and sporadically share data, but only when handoffs occur. They rarely encourage involvement with Customer Success and IT.

Essentially, the traditional model of marketing and sales ops is siloed by design—they’re two distinctly managed wings of the business that collaborate functionally, but not holistically. The CS and IT teams, similarly, are independently managed, but the work they do substantially affects a company’s revenue outcomes.

It makes sense that companies grow to have these sales and marketing silos, but it doesn’t make sense to continue to operate this way once you’ve recognized it.

Recognize the warning signs of silos

Let’s take a quick quiz to see if you might be afflicted by a siloed structure:

  • Do you know what your customer success teams use to measure success, and how that compares to the way your marketing teams define success?
  • Do you know what technology tools other departments leverage, and for what?
  • Is your IT department bogged down under the weight of the number of disparate technologies they’re being asked to evaluate, implement, and maintain?
  • Do you understand the goals and roadmap for teams outside of your own?
  • Are there times that you find something that’s obvious to your team comes as a surprise to another team?
  • Is your data reliable and complete enough to be useful in strategic decision-making?
  • Are members of the sales operations and marketing operations engaged with, and finding value in your processes and tools?
  • Does accountability for success extend beyond your vertical?
  • Are your teams able to deliver a positive and seamless experience across the buyer’s journey for your prospects and customers?

If one or more of these questions are difficult to answer, you might just be a siloed organization.

Why sales and marketing silos are a risk to your business

The downstream effects of staying in your organizational comfort zone are dramatic. Forrester research showed, on average, aligned companies see:

  • 10-20% increase in sales productivity
  • 15-20% increase in internal customer satisfaction
  • 30% reductions in GTM expenses
  • 19% faster growth
  • 15% more profits

By remaining siloed, you are risking substantial unrealized revenue, poorly-managed operating expenses, higher than normal customer turnover, and even increased employee attrition.

Now, I’m going to tell you something you may not want to hear: these likely aren’t “risks” to your business, but rather they’re things you’re almost certainly experiencing but have chosen to accept because of the allure of complacency.

Ultimately, these marketing silos are prohibiting the organization as a whole from learning and adjusting based on successes and failures, all while being a barrier to achieving customer-centricity in your company culture.

Breaking down your sales and marketing silos

We all know that “it’s always been done this way” is about as good of an excuse as blaming traffic when you show up late to a meeting with a venti iced coffee. The good news is, there are solutions. (First, set an alarm reminding you to leave a little earlier, and try using the mobile app to order ahead.)

Next, take a granular look at your current state with honest empathy. To do this, ask engaged, front-line members of teams outside your own company, and ask customers: what’s working well, what are the specific opportunities for improvement, and what’s the best way to measure these things? Next, let the responses guide your conversation until you can confidently answer more of the questions in that quiz we just took. You must go beyond syncing with leaders and truly seek to understand, specifically, what “great” looks like through the eyes of your customers and colleagues.

You can then tackle this transformation by looking at what you learn through three distinct lenses: technology, processes, and culture. Document what you identify as opportunities for technologies and processes across teams to be streamlined. The most important is streamlining data so that insights derived from it can be appropriately democratized.

This is no small task, but consider it an investment in a future where fewer people are weighed down by manual, menial, and administrative tasks, and more members of your company are empowered to support each other from across teams. The human part of this is crucial—leadership must embody this cultural shift to set the tone for the organization. All employees ought to be engaged in this collaborative, iterative new operating mode.

Once a RevOps approach is in place, teams that previously operated within sales and marketing silos will understand that a challenge facing marketing is also part of the same challenge facing sales and CS, and when they see this, they can solve problems efficiently and in less time.

Why a RevOps approach is best to eliminate business silos

We will be diving into more specific and actionable ways to continue your journey in our next blog, but here’s one spoiler: it won’t involve you scheduling more recurring interdepartmental meetings. In fact, my vision for a more cohesive future aims to eliminate business silos and reduce ineffectual “syncs” that paradoxically create more “work” and get in the way of you being able to do your actual job.

I think that with a mutual clarity of vision across departments we can identify, document, and automate the processes that eat up our time but are necessary—and free folks from spreadsheets and “this Zoom meeting could have been an email except that people wouldn’t read it” meetings to make it easier for them to focus on the human aspects of their job.

Migrating to a “RevOps” model is a refocus on strategy, with a brilliant north star that helps us specialize in our skill sets, without siloing us in the way we apply them.

I hope there was something here that taught you something, motivated you to act, or at least helped reinforce a goal you already have. There will always be more to learn, there will always be new ways to grow – and I look forward to exploring that more with you on our upcoming webinar series. Stay tuned, and don’t be a stranger.

 

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