Sales teams aren’t the only ones responsible for bringing home the bacon – it’s a cross-departmental effort. And yet, despite revenue being a common goal and a critical success metric for any business, most companies struggle considerably when it comes to cross-team collaboration.
The goal of growth is unanimous, so why is it so common for revenue-driving teams to stay in their departmental silos?
We dug into this common pitfall with several business leaders during our webinar “Siloed from Sales: Break team barriers to form a kick-ass revenue engine.” Click here to dive deeper into this universal business challenge and learn some best practices used to break down those cross-departmental barriers to better support Sales teams and ultimately drive revenue.
The silo effect
Sales, marketing, and operations are all critical revenue-driving teams, yet they require very different types of expertise, different tools, and often different types of people. Each employee has their own set of day-to-day responsibilities and their own goals to focus on. They attend team meetings, their desks are surrounded by team members. Physically separated from other departments — in different pods, different rooms, sometimes even different buildings (or countries!) — it is easy to see how departments become insular or “siloed.”
Hang on: if everyone is an expert of their own domain and able to work super efficiently, that should be healthy for the business as a whole… specialization is a good thing, right?
Specialization is good, yes. The problem is that if each team is too narrowly focused on their own “specialization,” they are missing important context from other areas of the business and likely duplicating efforts. Departments were designed to support each other, not to work independently (or worse, compete against each other). Think of all the time Sales folks spend explaining products or trying to convey the value of something (do we have a 1 pager on this anywhere?!), all the content a marketing team produces that never sees the light of day (but Sales asked for this!?), that killer report ops spent hours building out that no one looks at.
Balancing specialization & collaboration
The Harvard Business Review found that employees who operate outside their silos not only learn more, but they sell more and attain skills quicker, while the company earns higher margins and better customer loyalty. Why is that?
When we shift our focus back to our customers, we start to think more holistically. The customer experience is not segmented into departments — they are not evaluating each team separately. They are interacting with sales reps, receiving emails from marketing, visiting the website, engaging with chat bots, asking the support team questions, reviewing ratings and comments on review sites, and they’re doing all that with competitors at the same time.
The better an employee understands the customer, the better they can message the customer, tailor the pitch, build out a product that provides more value… you get the idea.
Breaking down barriers
Since cross-team collaboration is vital to the success of any business, let’s talk about how you can use PandaDoc to effectively support sales teams and break down barriers to increase efficiency.
- Centralize your content
Start by giving everyone access to the same platform so they know where to store and access the most up-to-date content. No more lost contracts, no more time spent tracking down the latest version of a document.
Not only does this save your team tons of time and effort, it provides transparency into what sort of content is going out the door to your customers and keeps all departments happy by eliminating the use of outdated content, pricing, or T&Cs. Need marketing to buy in? Just whisper “no more blurry logos” in their ear.
- Create a consistent experience
This goes for both internal and external experiences. To create a smooth customer experience, messaging has to be aligned across all of your departments. By using the same central content repository, you ensure that everyone is using the same (and the best) messaging. The goal is to provide customers with clarity, not confuse them with tons of different information.
The benefit for your team is that a consistent workflow enables them to do their jobs more efficiently. The more efficient your team is, the more productive your team is.
- Supply adaptable messaging
While you want to create a consistent experience for your customers, that does not mean you should take a one size fits all approach. In today’s competitive and data-driven world, it’s more important than ever to tailor your messaging to each individual customer.
By creating a library full of targeted content, your sales reps can easily drag & drop content to tailor a document to a specific industry or focus on a particular product set. By using variables as placeholders, reps can autofill documents with specific customer information from a CRM, creating a truly personalized experience for their customers with little to no effort.
- Reduce redundant work
With a centralized workspace for multiple departments, you eliminate redundant work. Ensure everyone is playing to their strengths and not wasting time and resources recreating the wheel (you have access to the whole tire shop… just grab the right wheel!)
In addition to making sure your teams aren’t overlapping on projects, PandaDoc helps reduce redundancies by automating tasks such as sending copies of finalized documents to the necessary recipients and updating information in your CRM.
- Seamlessly incorporate different departments
A great way to facilitate collaboration is to build it into your automated document workflows. In addition to giving everyone access to the same platform used to create documents, you can structure approval workflows to get sign-off from other departments (like finance or legal), automatically send a copy of a final contract to the billing department, and auto-update CRM records and reports.
When you have individuals from each department involved in the workflow, it also gives the opportunity for additional contribution. This is especially important now that many teams are working remotely.
- Provide visibility
Visibility is key for cross-team collaboration. If you have no idea what other teams are doing with their time, what kind of messaging they’re using, and if they are successful or not, how do you know what to collaborate on? How can you identify gaps or replicate success if you don’t have insight into anything beyond your own team?
PandaDoc reporting breaks down what content is being used and provides a leaderboard so folks can see the success metrics of both the team and of individuals. This helps facilitate a feedback loop that keeps teams focused on the right things. Marketing can iterate on the content that’s being used often and stop wasting time on things that aren’t being used. Sales can see which approaches are most effective. Knowledge is power, people.
Going from transactions to interactions
With technology at their fingertips, customers are more informed and more empowered than ever. But even with the seemingly infinite amount of data available to us, we are still human beings which means we tend to make decisions based on emotions rather than logic.
This highlights the importance of the customer experience and why it is critical that we shift our mentality over from executing transactions to having meaningful business interactions. It’s not about feature checklists, it’s about value — and value extends beyond a product or solution itself.
As Brandon LaCourciere, Director of Customer Success at Autodesk Construction Solutions, said during our webinar,
“it doesn’t have to be so transactional. If we start looking at documentation exchange as less of a way to inspire one-off interactions, and more of a way to build a partnership and document that relationship in a meaningful way, our customers will see a lot more benefit in the collateral we send.”
There’s a lot of noise out there. By facilitating meaningful interactions and providing value to prospects and customers, we make ourselves heard over the ceaseless chatter.
Closing the loop
To cut it in this dynamic and competitive market, it is imperative for businesses to shift to a customer-centric approach. There is no way to be customer-centric without collaborating across departments.
It’s time for us to break out of our stagnant, inefficient silos and align ourselves around a shared goal. Put PandaDoc to work for your team to drive seamless collaboration, innovation and, of course, revenue.