5 Communication Tips Every Marketer Can Use to Break Down Silos and Gain Buy-in

Jessica Schaeffer
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Key Takeaways

​What? Marketers should establish positive cross-functional relationships with key members of the company.

So what? Human resources and sales are two of the key groups with whom marketers should forge great relationships.

Now what? Marketers should offer other team members help, get to know them and take time to touch base.

​Aug. 9, 2017

Relationships within an organization are the key to success for nearly any professional, but it’s especially important for marketers 

Human resources and sales can be two of the most crucial groups marketing professionals can build rapport with in an organizaiton. These functions provide great insight into the company, its product or service and its differentiators.

I’ve been fortunate in my career to have built not just professional relationships, but personal relationships with our HR team, our head of HR, our chief revenue officer and our sales team. (It likely helped that I started in an entry-level role and worked my way up, so I’ve been in the nitty gritty with them, executing tasks they needed help with.) I have also helped strategize and see a bigger picture. Here are five tips that I’ve learned along the way that have helped me build these relationships.


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1. Add value first.

Before you ask for anything or try to change anything, it’s crucial to prove your worth. View your role as making easier the job of the person you want to connect with. They will appreciate it, and it will make you better. Ask what you can do to help, then show a sense of urgency throughout the execution. If it’s open enrollment, how can marketing add value and support an important priority for HR (and your company)? If the sales team has a big request for proposal they are submitting, how can marketing support that, streamline the process and make it easier on the salesperson?

If you’re new to the organization, try to understand how the teams have worked together historically. If the teams haven’t worked together previously, seek first to understand priorities and responsibilities of the two groups.

2. Get to know people. 

Usually, when you’ve built a personal relationship with someone, the professional relationship can easily follow. Take them out for coffee, lunch or drinks. A $3 cup of coffee costs nearly nothing but goes a long way when you need to have tough conversations or lean on someone for assistance or insight.

3. Understand what people do and what they care about. 

Go to meetings with your sales team, understand how they talk about your product or service and shadow them. Ask questions. Show interest. If your HR team is responsible for talent acquisition, shadow phone screens and interviews to see how they position your company and what’s important to them as they screen candidates. If you fully understand their roles and their priorities, you can better support them and better market the company, your product or service. 

 

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4. Get buy-in. 

This is crucial as you begin to make changes or roll out new initiatives. Share insights with key decision makers before the rest of the company. Get their insights and their advice. Most times they bring things to the table you haven’t even thought of, and when it comes time to announce it, you have advocates within the company. Down the road, when they have something new or different, they are more likely to come to you for advice or insight.

5. Carve out time with leaders. 

Have a standing meeting once every two weeks for a short amount of time to understand what leaders have on their plate and how you can help. The same is true for IT, finance and operations. Consider how you can work better together and how you can add value to what they are working on. 


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Author Bio:

 
Jessica Schaeffer
Jessica Schaeffer is director of marketing and communications at LaSalle Network, a national staffing and recruiting firm.
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