“For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.” – Benjamin Franklin.
True or not, organization is a fundamental component of any successful process – whether it’s at home or the office. But much like how the information in a data silo and the grain in a farm silo remain isolated from their surroundings, organizational silos are prone to shutting out cross-departmental communication in the workplace, leading to rampant process inefficiencies. This contagious mindset, recognized by business leaders around the world as the Silo Mentality, is the cause of many day-to-day shortcomings that SaaS business models like LeaseTeam seek to streamline. But no technology can’t fix this surprisingly normal and naturally human pattern of behavior by itself.
SILO MENTALITY: A ROOT OF INEFFICIENCY
Simply put, the Silo Mentality develops when various departments in an organization struggle to share information with each other. Not only does this pattern of behavior limit operational efficiency, but it also tends to “reduce trust and morale, and may contribute to the demise of a productive company culture.” In turn, these barriers to collaboration breed miscommunication among peers and redundancy in their efforts, resulting in a collective waste of everyone’s time, money and resources.
Of course, no department is immune to the effects of the Silo Mentality once its slides past the reception desk and sets up shop. Take marketing and sales for example. A Silo Mentality between the two is the root cause of process inefficiencies such as inconsistent brand messaging to current and prospective customers and document anarchy – chaotic design tendencies among company presentations and other marketing collateral.
Keeping this in mind, three steps that can be taken to break down barriers built by the Silo Mentality, or avoid it in the first place, are establishing a unified company vision, embracing departmental alignment and experimenting with employee advocacy via social media.
STEP 1: ESTABLISH A UNIFIED VISION
How do we manage our time and allocate our attention? What are the dominating forces in our daily schedules, and what is neglected as a result? These are the questions every company must ask, because as Steve Goldhaber explains in Why Focus is What You Should Focus on in 2018: “Even though technology has done a great job advancing everything, one of the consequences is that it’s harder to focus. And when you can’t focus, your work suffers.”
Accounting and finance teams carefully calculate and forecast for the fiscal future. Software development, project management and implementation squads construct technology roadmaps, which serve as high-level blueprints for the implementation of new module integrations, industry compliance standards and more. As for marketing and sales, it’s their job to establish mutually beneficial relationships by generating, nurturing and converting prospective leads into loyal, satisfied customers. And this process becomes all the more the fluid when brand messaging is driven by a unified vision that clearly communicates the correct value proposition and secures a position in the desired market. Although marketing and sales spearhead the mountainous challenge of customer journey optimization together, it’s vital that all departments in a company break down organizational and informational silos so they step up to the plate with the same goal as they swing for the fences. This is the first step to stripping the ‘mess’ from your company’s brand messaging, and instead guiding your customer base toward the oasis of process efficiency and productivity we all aspire to reach.
STEP 2: EMBRACE DEPARTMENTAL ALIGNMENT
Now, just because a unified vision has been agreed upon doesn’t mean departmental alignment will magically blossom overnight. Rather, it’s a long-term initiative driven by respect for the big picture – acceptance that although increased transparency may not yield immediate value, over time it will contribute to the greater good of the company. It’s a commitment to honesty and trust in day-to-day collaboration that every organization strives for on paper, but few actually capitalize on its full potential in reality. Alignment among departments means alignment between what you say and what you do; more specifically, between your brand messaging and product roadmap.
Recent global research conducted by the Content Marketing Institute and LinkedIn points to content marketing as a game-changing liaison between fragmented marketing and sales departments that ultimately enables “true marketing success and revenue growth.” And in the proper context, this makes perfect sense. A more accurate understanding of the customer opens the door to a better buying experience – less intrusive and more genuine. This enables the natural flow of feedback, as the members of the relationship have zeroed in on a common goal. As a result, the mapping of the customer journey becomes increasingly streamlined, as does the underlying strategy that caters to it. If executive-level leadership struggled to prioritize marketing efforts before, that will likely change once it sees marketing efforts connect to success in sales. So was the case for CallidusCloud CMO Giles House, who explains the positive impact marketing and sales alignment had on his company: “Operationally, we’re able to attribute a lot more revenue to marketing programs, which is exactly what you need to do when you’re battling for budget in the boardroom.”
STEP 3: EXPERIMENT WITH EMPLOYEE ADVOCACY
With a unified vision in place and departmental alignment now humming along efficiently, that Silo Mentality is well on its way to becoming a problem of the past. But the resolve shouldn’t stop there. Social media is readily available to all – and although that doesn’t mean it’s suited for everyone in a professional setting – it can and should be used by influential employees to drive company engagement, both internally and externally.
As stated by Speaker, Author and CEO Michael Brenner, “Employees are every brand’s greatest asset with the power to build your brand and attract and retain the best talent.” On average, employees have 10 times more 1st-degree connections on LinkedIn than a company has followers. This is one of the many data-driven insights that highlight the importance of engaged employees who come to work inspired and motivated, ready to interact instead of hiding behind silos. When done right, it can serve as a means to amplify brand messaging and collectively communicate the objectives of a product roadmap – all while working toward the same underlying financial benchmarks.
However, employee advocacy via social media is not a replacement for the value of face-to-face interaction, which is still paramount to building successful customer relationships; rather, it’s a limitless extension of the principles a company is founded upon. Moving forward, it can also pave the way for emerging trends like social selling and account-based marketing. Before we know it, employee advocacy via social media will no longer be pigeonholed as an extracurricular afterthought, but championed as a key competitive advantage in our increasingly digital age.
It is widely accepted that the Silo Mentality creates departmental rifts and process inefficiencies in the workplace, such as inconsistent messaging by marketing and sales, widespread document anarchy and various side effects of the confusion that follows. In order to topple these organizational barriers, consider this three-step approach:
- Establish a unified vision
- Embrace departmental alignment
- Experiment with employee advocacy
Transparency and trust are fundamental components of the customer experience every business strives to provide, and it’s just as important they are practiced by its employees, too. When this state of organizational performance is reached, process efficiencies better optimize the customer experience and the departments that support it, keeping everyone on the fast track to success.