Whether you’re in a global organization or a small business, marketing and sales departments are often on different planets. What can you do to boost sales—and boost communication?

Over and over I talk with marketing and sales leaders. Consistently they tell me horror stories of gaps in understanding and gaps in communication between departments. Sound familiar?

Well, it got me thinking.

How can you use visuals to boost communication…and boost sales?

Here’s my survival list for you to use right away.

Visual Tip 1. Draw A New Org Chart
While traditional org charts show marketing and sales departments in silos, the reality is different. In most organizations, there are many overlaps between sales and marketing.

Spend some time defining your new org chart. Hint: do this with participants from marketing and sales. Define what your ‘real-world’ chart should look like.

Where to get inspiration? Look at other types of maps such as subway maps, transit lines and airport diagrams. You’ll see different layouts create different flows. Translate what you learn from these physical structures to build an effective working structure for your organization.

Visual Tip 2. Sketch Project Processes
Many organizations that have been in business for decades have a defined process for managing projects. Newer businesses often struggle with building an effective project management system.

Whether you’ve been in business for a long time or are just starting out, this is a very powerful way to increase communication between departments.

When working with traditional ‘rivals’ such as marketing and sales, it is often helpful to get objective facilitation. An external facilitator guides the interaction and makes sure that everyone ‘plays nice.’

Visual Tip 3. Whiteboard Project Outputs
New org chart. New project management process. What’s next? Complete agreement on project outputs. Down to the detail. Who needs what by when?

This kind of planning is great to do at a whiteboard. It enables everyone to get involved, show their perspective, and work interactively. If you aren’t used to whiteboarding a real-time discussion, get help. A skilled facilitator will make this kind of innovative project planning a breeze.

Visual Tip 4. Track What Works
There’s nothing quite like an at-a-glance dashboard to show what is working. Involve your department’s best thinkers to define strategy, tactics and measurable actions. Show on a single chart what is working, what is bringing in new business, and what can be improved.

Most of my clients use visual charts to track group projects, strategies and deliverables. Why? It’s easy to use and easy to keep in sight. Everyone can see what’s going on with a single look.

Visual Tip 5. Collaborate
Collaborating within teams and across teams is the mark of a winning company. Find times to come together to discuss issues, problem-solve and trouble-shoot.

Here’s where many small businesses are at an advantage. While you’re small, it’s easy to involve everyone. As your company grows in size, there are different challenges to keep everyone up to date. You must find ways to involve people in headquarters, regions and teams.

Visual interaction is one of the fastest ways to break down barriers, boost communication—and boost sales.

Author's Bio: 

Milly Sonneman is a recognized expert in visual language. She is the founder of Hands On Graphics, Inc., a leading visual training firm, and author of the popular guide: Beyond Words and her most recent book, The Authentic Message, was co-authored with Thomas Sechehaye has been received worldwide. Milly helps business professionals give winning presentations, through online presentation skills trainings at Presentation Storyboarding. You can find out more about our courses or contact Milly through our website at: http://www.presentationstoryboarding.com/