TSAM 2014: The Importance of Connectivity Between Sales and Marketing

Last week I had the privilege of attending the TSAM Congress & Expo in Boston, which hosted the world’s leading investment management companies for a day of networking and learning. One of the more interesting parts of the day was a panel titled “Marketing, Sales and Silos: The Importance of Connectivity Between Teams.” Panelists included Jennifer Gilbert, PhD, Senior Vice President/Head of Marketing & Communications at Jennison, Karen McCafferty, Head of Retail and Institutional Marketing at John Hancock Investments,  Clive Gershon, Managing Director- Institutional Marketing and Strategy at Guggenheim Investments, and Carmela DiMeo, Senior Vice President, Head of Marketing- Americas at PineBridge Investments.

The panel spoke of their personal experiences with building and managing collaborative sales and marketing teams, and had many valuable lessons and anecdotes to share. Five lessons I learned are:

  1. Meetings are not overrated. When possible, recurring face-to-face meetings are a great way to connect sales and marketing teams, especially when it comes to structural planning and overall collaboration. This is especially true for executive-level team members, because it’s a time to talk about ways to collaborate and communicate more effectively. But it doesn’t mean that a meeting should occur for every task that needs to be completed between teams; sometimes an email or quick can be more sufficient.
  2. Clearly outlining team and department responsibilities is crucial, particularly as companies grow. This is especially important with data updating and integrity, which is a task that bounces between sales, marketing and IT depending on the company. One panelist noted that marketing “owns” the updating of data, but not the accuracy of that data. This can leave a lot of room for error, and it’s important to find a way to ensure quality of data, but also efficiency of updating.
  3. Message consistency is key. Sometimes the story sales wants to tell to customers isn’t the right one. It’s important for marketing to frame it correctly, and ensure that sales is using the right collateral to tell that story. Especially in global markets, the message must be culture appropriate but still consistent.
  4. Transparency will lead to understanding between teams. Sales is likely to be much less impatient when they understand marketing’s process of creating, updating and approving collateral and other documents. Asset management for high-compliance content can be time-consuming, so if sales is aware of the timeline from the beginning there will be less tension between teams. This goes the same for marketing; if these individuals take the time to understand how collateral is being used, they will be able to create the most effective and successful content for sales, which will decrease time wasted creating irrelevant content.
  5. The importance of content accessibility increases as companies grow. As your teams scale and spread out, universal accessibility to the most important documents and presentations is imperative. One way to do this is to make sure all team members have access to the same content system, because in a perfect world that means that all content being used is the most up-to-date and on-message version.

It’s always helpful to hear from industry experts, and how they are constantly working together to align sales and marketing. This is a challenge that nearly all organizations face, and the ones that address it and come up with solutions for better sales and marketing collaboration are likely to see more success.