Author’s Note: This blog post is part of the Strategic Approach to Analytics in Salesforce series, which features the strategic approach to analytics of six leaders at Internet Creations. To view the entire series, click here.
Cross-departmental collaboration and alignment is crucial to the success of a business. It ensures that everyone’s goals are aligned and that each department works together to achieve the company’s overall goals. Without this collaboration and alignment, each department would operate in silos. As a result, the business would suffer since each department’s work is related to another in some way.
A good way to think about collaboration and alignment within an organization is to think of the relationships between departments as vendor and customer relationships. For example, at Internet Creations, the top level consists of the executive-level leadership. Below that you have the different departments, which include Sales, Marketing, Professional Services, Product, and Research & Development. The company’s goals are then divided among the different departments. Among the departments, there are vendor and customer relationships. Most departments have a primary relationship when considering whether they are the vendor or customer to another department. However, these departmental relationships are not binary. There are scenarios in which departments can be both a customer and a vendor of another department. For example, while the Marketing department is usually a vendor to Sales, there are scenarios in which Sales is a vendor to Marketing.
Internet Creations conducts an annual planning off-site meeting with all directors to discuss the ultimate goals for the upcoming year. The top goal is usually growth and sales for the company. Everything else rolls up to that. It essentially flows from company goals to department goals to team goals to individual goals. Anthony, George, and Felisa work closely together to calculate all of the targets for Sales and Marketing so that they are in alignment with the goal.
The department heads have bi-weekly check-ins to talk about high-level goals and challenges together. Before these check-ins, Dan recommends meeting with your internal customers to ensure that you are aligned.
Additionally, certain departments have bi-weekly meetings to ensure they are aligned, such as Sales and Marketing or Product and R&D.
George recommends creating joint dashboards for internal vendor-customer relationships to share KPIs with each other. Doing this, enables the departments to stay aligned with each other’s goals. Throughout the year, George and Anthony will meet on a weekly basis for 25 minutes to review their Sales and Marketing dashboard together, which features both Sales and Marketing’s leading and lagging indicators. George, Anthony, and Dan also meet weekly to stay in alignment between Sales, Marketing, and Professional Services. Steve (R&D) and Howard (Product) meet frequently as well, usually weekly, to align on priorities for each release, help with app support, and review progress.
In addition to these more structured meetings among the leaders, it is imperative for individual contributors to meet and work together within their own department as well as across departments. The better communication there is, the better results there will be. Organic collaboration should not be underestimated because it can often lead to quite positive results.
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