8 Strategies for Internal Communications Alignment [Updated]
Sometimes listening to someone in another department talk about your company’s product can be like trying to understand the Swedish Chef on The Muppet Show. Frustrating.
Product, Sales, Customer Success, and your C-Suite need to be using the same vocabulary as Marketing and delivering the same messages for your company to succeed. To achieve that level of integration, deploy these eight principles.
- Know Your Position
- Get the Facts Straight
- Simplify Your Messaging
- Centralize Your Message
- Integrate Brand Training into Your Onboarding
- Create Open Communications Between Teams
- Send Frequent Internal Messages
- Hire People Who Live and Breathe Your Company Culture
Internal communication hasn’t always been a priority in the tech industry. The companies that sing in harmony will set themselves apart as the number of HealthTech companies continues to explode and digital transformation continues its run through healthcare.
You can enable all the departments in your company to tell the same story, share the same facts, and work together toward a common goal.
Marketing must lead the way.
Do you know what sets you apart from your competition and how to talk about it?
Your top line positioning statement says who you are, what you do, and who you do it for.
Until everyone in your organization can repeat this with word-for-word perfection, you won’t find any traction.
It doesn’t have to be poetic and it certainly shouldn’t use jargon. So many companies try to sound hip, ride the cutting edge, or create their own language that they lose the clarity the market needs for them to succeed.
Implement an internal communications workflow that specifies who and where information ultimately comes from.
The Product Team provides a description of the product to the
Product Marketing Team who organizes the material for the
Marketing Team who creates all messaging and collaterals so the
Product Team can bring clarity and precision so the
Marketing Team can
- Create Demand Generation program for the prospect
- Equip the Sales Team to close deals
- Empower the Customer Service Team to onboard and troubleshoot
DOWNLOAD THE INFOGRAPHIC IN THE FORM ABOVE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Tech companies—especially HealthTech—suffer from the preponderant communication of an overabundance of complicated information, facts, and figures emanating from the technical founder designed to produce a frisson in the mind of the prospect but instead sounds like syllable soup.
Just like that last paragraph.
Simplify the message. Don’t fall under the spell of the three curses of technical founders.
Accurate. Clear. Concise. Easy to deliver.
Create a master repository of materials for each product. That way anyone in your company—from your CEO to the greenest customer service rep—can quickly pull and deliver information.
For example, for each product you may want to create:
- an introductory video
- sales slick (as PDF)
- demo video
- sales presentation
- case study
- stat sheet
- three related blog articles
Collaborate with all teams to make sure this vault is full of the right gems.
In addition, publish a master document with facts about your company including your positioning statement, core mission, value proposition, number of employees, key endorsements from happy clients, and statistics about your product’s adoption. core mission, value proposition, number of clients, etc.
Let this document live in a collaborative space—such as Google Docs—where the document remains the same, but can easily be updated over time. This way, no one will be sending out old data.
The information you created in step #4 needs to be communicated to every new employee joining your organization. Work with your Human Resources team to build time into onboarding for a branding experience. Make it fun and memorable so they will be more likely to use the information in the course of their work. (Samatha Bergin, CMO of 98point6, discusses their brand training in our interview.)
And make sure all of the existing employees have the training, too. A Slack message about the repository won’t be enough. Do it right. Host departmental lunches. Create some desk swag with reminders. Use the prodigious creativity of your team to make adoption easy, fun, and sticky.
Sales and marketing alignment is important—but so is sales and product alignment, and sales and support alignment. Foster an environment of open communication between teams that makes it easy for sales to ask questions and get clarification.
If your sales team needs information on-demand, you can also staff your sales team with a sales engineer who has previous experience on your company’s support or product teams. Arming the sales team with someone knowledgeable of the product opens up doors for communication and ensures everyone is on the same page.
Idea: Focus on internal communications as a way of building camaraderie and company culture. Make it a company-wide initiative for individuals in different departments to meet on a monthly basis, one-on-one, to discuss their role, and how they’d like to work together to grow and improve the company. This concept, known as random coffee, has helped thousands of coworkers connect and communicate. For remote teams, an app was created for Slack called Donut which facilitates this process painlessly.
Mark Donnigan has led both sales and marketing teams at companies led by technical founders. Listen to discover how to have a unified C-suite that trickles down to your entire organization.
Keep your employees in the loop.
Whether you create a monthly newsletter or someone on the senior leadership team posts a weekly update on Slack, keep the information flowing. Don’t leave your team in the dark.
If you create a newsletter, build your culture with it. Recognize accomplishments and personal milestones, such as weddings, births, engagements, etc. Individual departments don’t always have a reason to reach out to each other for work-related tasks, so giving them a reason to reach out, say hello, and congratulate a fellow colleague builds the open communication that is required for company success.
At Golden Spiral, we discuss our values openly in the hiring process and actually “grade” candidates based on our perception of how well they will align with our values.
So that we continue to embody our values, we make value alignment part of our employee evaluation process.
We have a feedback look through quarterly surveys that allows our team to anonymously communicate to senior leadership how well or poorly they are upholding the values.
Our team orbits our positioning. Our team resides in the solar system of our mission and values.
You can do the same.
The First Thing to Do After You Read This Article
If the information flow is broken or marketing and sales reside in different silos, call your peer in sales and schedule a meeting in the next three business days to get started on unifying and simplifying your communication flow.
Updated from November 11, 2020