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As B2B marketers, we are often reminded about the importance of working collaboratively with our sales counterparts, ensuring that we execute against complementary goals and objectives for the benefit of our organizations as a whole. And while there is significant value to building positive relationships with sales, the mindset of nurturing relationships with colleagues outside of marketing shouldn’t stop there.
Gartner released a report earlier this year predicting that, by 2017, the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO. This illustrates the importance of marketing and IT professionals to work closely together to achieve shared goals.
And relationship building is not limited to IT—now more than ever, it’s important for marketers to learn how to work well with department heads in other functional roles, such as human resources, finance and other departments.
So how do you accomplish the task of building bridges and strengthening relationships with these organizational leaders?
> Ask for input: Nothing builds goodwill more than recognizing colleagues for their strengths and asking for their guidance. By tapping into other departments to get their feedback when you have a question or are facing a challenge that involves their area of expertise, you indicate that you respect their knowledge on the subject and value their insight.
> Remove walls: Intentional or not, many employees find themselves working in silos, where they don’t see the impact—or value—of their efforts beyond their functional area. Meet with other leaders to brainstorm ways to break down these barriers—everything from building cross-functional teams designed to develop and execute projects together to identifying company-wide goals where everyone can contribute.
> Make it a team effort: It’s one thing to make the effort to cultivate relationships in different departments across the company. Encourage your employees to do the same, and you will reap even greater rewards. If your employees work well with their counterparts in other areas of the company, the entire company can benefit from increased productivity and fewer obstacles to success.
> Keep in touch: It’s important to maintain relationships with your counterparts in IT, HR and finance. Think of it as internal networking. By regularly communicating with your counterparts in other areas of your company, you nurture these relationships and have a direct line to an expert when you need it.
With all of the responsibilities that marketers have, it’s easy to narrow in on the tasks that you and your team must accomplish to meet your immediate goals.
However, by taking the time to focus on the big picture within your organization—and the other departments across the company—you can build relationships that can lead to greater success.
Chris Chariton is senior VP of product management & supplier marketing at GlobalSpec. She can be reached at CChariton@globalspec.com.
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