Improving sales and strengthening engagement with customers requires a range of good practices. But all the "best practices" in the world can't deliver maximum benefit when an organization does not have a healthy flow of communication. Short term, lack of good communication between organizational departments may not have too much of an effect, but long term, it can seriously limit customer engagement and business growth.
In fact, if you want to increase sales and improve customer relationships, improving internal communication is one of the most important steps you can take. Other actions taken to gain customers and improve sales can fall flat if they're not built on a foundation of good communication flow between departments.
Risks of Sales Teams Working in Isolation
When sales teams work in isolation, they may not realize how good-faith actions for improving sales can sometimes backfire. Suppose your sales team is set to attend an important trade show. Sure, they may work with the marketing department to develop promotions and marketing collateral, but if they don't also communicate with the production and customer service departments, trade show success could be seriously compromised.
If a successful trade show appearance results in an influx of new orders with no warning to the production department, the result could be inadequate or slow order fulfillment and new customers who are immediately turned off. Spillover could affect the customer service department as well, who could be faced with an increase in unhappy customers calling.
Reasons for Lack of Cross-Departmental Communication
There are many reasons why departments remain in "silos" and don't communicate with each other. Personal conflict between departmental managers can silence cross-departmental communication, as can common stereotypes some departments embrace about other departments. It's easy for the sales department to think that the production department has it easy, and vice versa, and in organizations where there is excessive pressure for speed and productivity, employees may simply feel like they don't have the time to share important information. And too often, many companies develop and document departmental procedures that completely ignore the importance of communication from one department to another.
Benefits of Communication Across Departments
Effective internal communication builds trust among the departments in an organization . Better trust leads to less second-guessing between departments that can lead to unnecessary fact checking and ultimately to slowed productivity. Internal communication should be built on a foundation of reliability and honesty from the start. Accurate and timely exchange of information helps the organization meet sales projections, distribute products optimally, and meet terms of contracts that everyone understands. The smoother cross-departmental communication is, the higher the overall efficiency of the organization.
Example: How Sales Can Help Production Anticipate Increased Orders
Suppose, as illustrated above, the sales team is soon to attend an important trade show. Early in the planning stages for the company's booth or presentation, communication with the production department can help prevent major problems. Perhaps a piece of production equipment is scheduled for replacement, which will cause a temporary slowdown in production. Knowing the sales team's plan can help the production department schedule equipment replacement so as to minimize interference with new orders that can be expected after the trade show.
Example: How Customer Service Department Input Can Help With Business Development
When there is strong communication between the customer service department and the sales team, sales professionals can make use of the many insights customer service develops from talking to actual customers day in and day out. Perhaps several customers who call in for help with a product mention great satisfaction with a particular feature of a product. Sales teams can make use of this knowledge when developing sales leads. Ensuring there are channels available for customer service and sales to communicate easily is a simple way to help sales teams understand real-world use of a company's products and craft sales presentations accordingly.
When your sales team has a powerful, solution-oriented approach to selling, ensuring proper communication flow among departments can help ensure that new customers receive their products and services on time with outstanding customer service after the sale. CSC 's consultative sales certification coaching helps your sales team develop and polish their core competencies and more importantly, apply them on the job and realize impressive results. When your sales professionals have the skills to achieve their goals, great communication among departments in your company ensures that those sales lead to happy customers and achievement of overall business goals.