There is a gap between sales and marketing that has only increased as the digital world becomes more sophisticated and “owns” more of the customer journey. This is a particular problem to be found in decision management projects with solutions such as Pega, Oracle and SAS. These projects are seeking to integrate inbound decisions and outbound campaign management by pushing decisions outbound and moving to an “always-on” world and it doesn’t work.  Customers are dropping down the abyss between the two. This gap has been created and driven by technology but it has also been fuelled by organisational structures, silos and mislabelling. As such integration is much more than a technology issue. For example, how many organisations brief copy writers with analytic insight? I can guarantee that if I ran a survey less than 5% of responders would say that they do, and those that say they do may not actually do it!

In order for a new thing to become really useful it must find its place in the world or integrate with what already exists. As a result, integration is about context and relationship and it is vital in the sales and marketing world. It is entirely possible to break a problem down into very clearly defined smaller issues, but, unless there is integration, the danger is that this leads to fragmentation, disintegration and silos. The problem solved becomes too narrowly defined. Indeed, this is a prevailing problem with for example, marketing and digital they are often different functions/departments, but they are the same customers why is digital marketing separate from marketing? Our customers are not silod.

We have broken business down so as to understand its component parts and we now have divisions and departments with specialists managing those divisions. The specialist’s area of expertise is limited to their division and may be also an industry. On top of that we have every type of consultant and guru who will supposedly fix a specific corporate challenge.

Silos are bad for business, to quote Elon Musk –

“The problem with the dept. communication approach is that, while it serves to enhance the power of the manager, it fails to serve the company. Instead of a problem getting solved quickly, where a person in one dept. talks to a person in another dept. and makes the right thing happen, people are forced to talk to their manager who talks to their manager who talks to the manager in the other dept. who talks to someone on his team. Then the info has to flow back the other way again. This is incredibly dumb.”

Now business is possibly as “broken” as it is going to be, it is time for integration. Mending the gap is not a small task. A good place to start for the customer is where your marketing should be starting, with insights, strategy and planning. Per the example above data analysts need to “dig” for marketing nuggets and communicate them to marketing.  The challenge here is that these are possibly one of the more diverse groups of people that you need to work together, they are like oil and water. Analysts and marketers have different business languages but they need to collaborate. Start with a small, very specific project so that the teams can learn the rules of engagement and also, very importantly, gain a mutual respect for each other. Getting to the nugget that helps define a communication is not done in one go, it is iterative. Typically, analysts will produce results on which they make assumptions. In isolation of context these assumptions are often wrong. Only when working with a marketer will they get why that is the case, where to dig further and what to ignore as outliers. Marketers understand the wider market conditions and often this is not something that you can see in the data alone. However, marketing content that is created based on data insight will be much more effective than content that is created without insight.