How Manufacturers Can Break Down Data Silos for Operational Excellence

4 minutes
May 12, 2022
Data Management

A noteworthy Deloitte study of top manufacturers found that one-third of those company’s leaders say organizational silos are a top challenge for their companies. They’re viewed as a top challenge...

A noteworthy Deloitte study of top manufacturers found that one-third of those company’s leaders say organizational silos are a top challenge for their companies.

They’re viewed as a top challenge for good reason. Siloed departments cause delays, operational inefficiencies, and stagnated growth. When departments within manufacturing organizations are siloed, they fail to:

  • Communicate effectively
  • Share important information quickly, or
  • Work together toward the same goal

When all of these factors are working against your organization you will see reduced productivity, wasted time on unnecessary work, and missed revenue targets.

How Silos Form

Silos form when data is not freely moving within your entire organization — whether it’s data about customers, prospects, operations, project statuses, or anything else.

When the marketing team references one data source and the sales team cites another, silos are being created. Or, maybe your teams use the same technology, but since there’s not a single “owner” of the project, users input data in their own ways, create their own reports, and configure settings without oversight.

There are numerous ways silos can form within a manufacturing company:

  • Departments are spread across geographic locations
  • New acquisitions add duplicative systems
  • Technologies have inconsistent data processes

Gladys Alegre-Kimura, Head of Marketing Operations at Aruba, recently described the lack of visibility caused by silos as “swivel chair management.” “When you’re looking at [your data], you can’t get a sense of everything because you don’t have a single pane of glass view,” she explained.

Silos mean each key stakeholder is on a different page when it comes to sales and marketing motions, creating friction for buying teams and lost revenue moments.

When silos form, errors compound… which increases misalignment and decreases performance. Unreliable data can lead to incorrect forecasting and reporting. This is because the revenue team is selling without the complete customer picture.

The good news is that silos are able to be overcome. You can break down silos and see huge benefits by:

  • Establish agreed-upon data processes that your sales and marketing team can rally behind
  • Integrate critical systems like CRMs or MAPs through an account-based marketing platform
  • Consolidate duplicative systems to reduce system complexity and overlap

When you start to implement changes that strive for those goals, data is reliable, your silos will break down, and your teams will achieve higher operational efficiency.

Utilize a Lean, Mean Tech Stack to Overcome Data Silos

A manufacturer’s tech stack should be well thought out, implemented smartly, and enable easy integration to avoid the pitfalls associated with data silos.

If the marketing team uses a Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) to send emails to prospects, but the sales team isn’t updating their CRM regularly, that’s a huge disconnect that can hurt revenue.

Siloed departments and data make it less likely that manufacturers will realize the full value of the technology they employ, according to the Deloitte report.

“In terms of results, executives whose organizations struggle with silos were less likely to say their technology investments have achieved or exceeded their intended business outcomes,” the report said.

When you use a platform that can be used by sales, marketing, and operations to achieve their own goals — as well as broader organizational goals — silos will naturally start to dissolve.

Understand Market Trends to Bypass Data Silos

Silos easily form when your different teams aren’t aligned on market trends or what customers actually want to buy.

Different teams track customer information, changing market factors, and sales statistics. When that data is siloed, different conclusions will be drawn — and different (aka misaligned) strategies are implemented.

The right technology helps uncover the signals your buyers are giving off: what they’re interested in buying, and when they want to buy.

These signals are created by detecting, collecting, and analyzing the following:

  • Historical data about your industry and your company’s past deals
  • The research they’re performing on your offerings
  • The research they’re doing on your competitor’s products
  • The  industry publications and news they’re reading

When this data is gathered and stored in a central location, it reduces the formation of data silos. Different departments can leverage the same data knowing that it’s accurate, and can begin working towards the same goals.

Focus on ‘Everything Revenue’

Data silos make it difficult to create unified goals, for a revenue team. Marketing is concerned with driving leads that are thrown over the wall, sales works those leads without any knowledge of prior engagement, and operations is forecasting without true understanding of buyer’s real intent.

These are worthwhile goals but in the end, every business strives to do one thing: create revenue. When silos form, they make it difficult to gain full-visibility into the health of the business because data is disconnected and it becomes nearly impossible to tell a complete story.

With technology that uncovers buying intent, identifies your ideal customers, and helps you forecast more accurately, your teams can:

  • Build cross-functional campaigns
  • Align on which accounts to target strategically
  • Have a clear understanding of their impact on the bottom line
  • Nurture accounts through the entire buying cycle with a single source of truth

Conclusion

Manufacturers can face silos within their businesses for many different reasons, but whenever they exist they impede efficiency and overall growth. To break down those silos, you should leverage technology that uncovers hidden buying signals and helps everyone laser-focus on the same goal: growing revenue.