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How To Tear Down Silos Between Marketing And Sales

Paul Talbot


Helping organizations build an operating model that’s built around the customer.

That’s what Danielle Moffat, managing director of intelligent sales and customer operations with Accenture Operations does. I recently asked her to shed light on the mechanics of this objective, and explain how organizations shackled by internal turf wars can call a lasting truce.

Paul Talbot: The conversation about breaking down the silos between marketing and sales may be one of the longest running conversations in business… what approach will Accenture’s “intelligent operations” take to try and make a difference?

Danielle Moffat: As companies evolve and grow, achieving sustainable growth becomes even more important and elusive. Within my business, we commonly start by transforming the operating model so that it’s organized around the customer.

We create an integrated model that brings together aspects of sales, service and marketing in a unified way—underpinned by integrated business processes, shared accountability and advanced technologies, such as AI, RPA and analytics.

The result: satisfying a customer’s expectations by aligning interactions to what they want and need; therefore, making the best use of the customer’s time.

This approach also makes the most of a company’s talent. Inside sales is becoming much more prevalent but it’s largely driven by manual processes. Sales agents working on lead enrichment spend a significant amount of their time doing research and identifying the right contact within an organization to follow up with.


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With our approach, agents can spend more time pursuing customers vs. spending manual effort doing research and administrative tasks that can be automated through AI, analytics and diverse data.

Talbot: How do these silos develop in the first place and what gives them such formidable strength?

Moffat: It’s common to see deeper silos from well-established companies that have existed for a long time. It’s generally less pronounced across newer companies that were ‘born’ in a digital world.

Before digital marketing began really ramping up a decade or so ago, there were more defined boundaries of where marketing activities end, and sales activities begin. This enabled teams to be formed around the execution of the processes. Digital technologies have caused the lines between marketing and sales to blur.

Talbot: How does personal chemistry between sales and marketing leadership factor in?

Moffat: In order to really align on the prerogative of growth, alignment must exist that recognizes and incents the joint success of the teams working collaboratively to drive growth. Implementing metrics, measurements and incentives that encourage collaboration to drive growth is key.

Talbot: What about comp plans? If a rising tide in marketing fails to lift boats in sales, or vice versa, can anything substantive happen to dismantle the silos?

Moffat:  Compensation plans are designed to encourage collaborative behaviors. That means incentivizing shared priorities as opposed to siloed behavior.  Aligning teams to focus on the overall outcome—customer growth—is needed to unite both functions, and newer metrics that focus on overall impact versus activity will drive the synergy that is needed for this shift to occur.

Talbot: What is your approach to the dismantling of silos doing to provide a permanent rather than a stopgap solution?

Moffat: Ultimately, long-term transformation (of the sales and service function) requires companies to organize around the customer’s success and growth—versus internal business processes—and rewiring the operating model to enable scale, speed and growth. New roles like the chief customer officer are emerging, which is ushering in a shift from process orientation to customer orientation.

Talbot: Any other observations you would care to share?

Moffat: The simple truth is business customers today don’t care about silos between marketing, sales and service—they want to interact with companies on their terms, and in their channel of choice. Companies that want to capture their interest, revenue and loyalty need to meet them on these terms.

Companies have options: completely transform or work with partners to transform parts of the business. One of the things companies struggle with is introducing technologies. Or they can go to a managed service provider who can work with their existing technology and amplify the effect.

As a managed service provider, roles of our people have changed with introduction of new technologies and we’ve had to hire and reskill people to work in a human + machine model. Several of the companies I work with struggle with this point—the people, team and process that goes around the technology.

You can’t just buy and implement technology and expect everything to fall in place. Other changes need to occur in concert.

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