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Making Sales and Marketing Collaboration Sturdier Than a House of Cards

Once upon a time, when stockbrokers worked on Wall Street and all politicians were honest, there existed a divide between sales and marketing. Masters of their own domains, each department churned out decent numbers the best they could. This is no longer the state of things. Today, marketing and sales share space in arenas that simply didn’t exist in the world of yester-year.  

Of course, changes of this magnitude can be risky business. Build your new cross-departmental strategy well and the rewards could be wonderful. Do so without the proper support, however, and things could come toppling down like a house of cards. In the spirit of fostering your success, we’re taking a glance into the playbook of one of TV’s most reviled antiheroes: Frank Underwood. Played by Kevin Spacey, the House of Cards protagonist is guilty of every dirty trick in the book. He’s also someone who knows how to get people to work together, so let’s see if we can sift through the muck and discover the gold in Underwood’s strategies.

Know more and know it first. In both politics and business, information is power. The more pertinent that information is to your business, the more power it lends you. Underwood uses a network of media contacts, lobbyists, and advisors to gain his edge. It’s a messy process. Thankfully, you’ve got better options when it comes to gathering insights. Social listening lets you keep your ear to the ground 24/7. No matter where they live or what language they speak, you’ll know what your customers are saying. For marketing this means getting a clear and comprehensive view of demand for potential new products, and sales gains that same clarity of insight on every new client they’re about to visit.

Drive social engagement. During the first season of House of Cards, Underwood routinely steers media sentiment in his favor through the employ of reporter Zoe Barnes (played by Kate Mara). We’ll call the “professional” relationship between the two of them suspect at best. Still, we can’t help but see the benefit in steering social conversations away from those less altruistic members of the online community. By sharing social metrics with folks in both marketing and sales, you’ll be able to pinpoint whatever rough patches might appear online. And by presenting a united front your team will be able to weather the storm, ably defusing negative social sentiment.

Have multiple irons in the fire. Frank Underwood isn’t the sort to be caught unaware. By fostering numerous campaigns and personal relationships at once, he’s always got a strong message ready to go at a moment’s notice. Take advantage of this same brilliance with targeted, multi-stage campaigns. Automated marketing will help assure your message is delivered at the right time, no matter when that happens to be. Add to this your ability to seamlessly conduct A/B testing, integrate offers, and streamline campaign creation, and your united sales and marketing force will be as nimble as Mr. Underwood himself.

Keep your eye on the horizon. In the first episode of House of Cards, Underwood is snubbed of his appointment as Secretary of State. Despite this, the scheming politician keeps his cool and his eye on the horizon. Not even a year goes by before Underwood has once again moved up in the world, despite the setback. By routinely going over your sales metrics, your marketing and sales teams will see where new opportunities are opening up. Working together, they’ll have numbers rolling in from new sectors in no time.

The world may not be as simple as it was “once upon a time,” but if you’re as shrewd as Frank Underwood there’s still plenty of success to be found. That being said, we’re pretty glad that solutions like social listening and social analytics are around to save you all of Underwood’s back-room dealing. If you’d like to see what Microsoft Dynamics CRM can do to get your marketing and sales teams working together on social media, check out just a few of its capabilities here (PDF).