When pitching CRM to the board, it is often the benefits of bringing Marketing and Sales closer together which acts as the key selling point – but to deliver on this promised goal, it’s actually the IT department who must act as a catalyst for seismic change.
The barriers that exist between Marketing and Sales are well-documented but there are tried and tested solutions to busting the silo-like mentality that can damage the relationship between the two departments if CRM is deployed correctly.
However to achieve this, there is another key player who must come on board any CRM implementation project – the IT department. But only if they will allow themselves to…
IT, Are You The Problem?
To help with the alignment of Marketing and Sales, IT must first step forward and engage with Marketing fully…
The first issue that CIOs need to deal with is… themselves. While traditionally, the IT department has been left to its own devices from dealing with IT systems through to data wrangling, the modern era in Marketing – and therefore Sales – has seen a shift in attitudes and work approaches.
Modern marketers are being forced to become more data-driven, basing their campaigns and inbound marketing strategies on data accrued through CRM; after all, it’s not unusual to find data analysts working in the Marketing department instead of IT. The CMO’s increasingly important role in choosing technology is becoming ever more prevalent too. According to research by Gartner, CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs by 2017.
And this power shift can cause resentment within IT departments who feel their roles, IT decision-making powers and even budgets are now under threat from marketing. And it’s this mentality that must be dealt as a priority.
The Road Forward
In this new era, it is essential that the CIO works closely with marketing or else the silos that harm performance and interdepartmental alignment will remain…
This new approach should start with the CRM system itself with IT and Marketing working together on the selection and implementation process. At this stage, it is critical that IT drives the debate about how CRM is implemented. The questions it must raise include:
– Who will be responsible for running the CRM platform when it is up and running?
– Who will be analysing the data?
– Who will be setting key metrics and KPIs?
– Who will be demoing and training staff in CRM’s benefits and usage?
– Who will source and present CRM findings and ROI milestones to the board?
Finding the answers to these questions must be done via IT and Marketing working together on an ongoing basis to ensure each question is not only answered in the short term – but constantly monitored on a rolling basis:
– Agree on your common goals and targets together regularly and not in the vacuum of a silo.
– Bring marketing and IT together physically; consider having them work on the same floor or in the same office. It means each department can feed off each other and inform one another.
– Bring on board staff who understand the roles of both marketing and IT and can help advocate this new relationship, educating department staff about how the other works and even what terminology each uses.
– Use your CRM rollout project as an opportunity to forge this new closer partnership; it’s the perfect time to develop a shared skill set and create a true cross-departmental team mentality.
The End Result?
Research shows that when CIO and CMOs work in closer alignment, the business will outperform its competitors by…
… in terms of revenue generation and profitability.
In other words, with so much to gain (and so much to lose), the modern CIO and CMO can no longer work in their respective bunkers; they must team up so that other departments – including Sales – can wake up to the benefits of a properly implemented CRM platform.
Divisions can run deep between departments and a third party consultant can help not only with the selection and implementation of a CRM platform but aid in identifying and allocating responsibilities. Because they are ‘outsiders’ with no baggage (historic or political), consultants can help bridge existing divides between departments and suggest pragmatic steps to address and deal with each issue as and when it arises.