The Wine Industry has a common language, but do we use it between different disciplines?
Stick to 3 rules to empower your colleagues…so that they can help you do your job better.
Many wineries and businesses find themselves hesitant to hire outside help because it seems like heavy-lifting to onboard a new person. Similarly, departments within the same organization can shy away from efforts of collaboration, citing concerns of extra unnecessary work.
Whether working with outside agencies/consultants, or making new efforts cross-functionally, a lot of that headache can be minimized with proper communication. This can especially be true between finance teams and their sales and marketing colleagues.
The Real Estate industry will tell you their guiding principle is “Location. Location. Location.” In the crowded wine industry, to succeed with both consumers and the trade, the rule is “Communication. Communication. Communication.”
Consider this classic scenario in the wine industry:
Sales & Marketing develop a campaign that is projected to meet goals and bring home some revenue. The salaries of those positions may even depend on the campaign’s success. Finance colleagues develop a smart protocol for tracking things properly and sustainably. Then, when the campaign indeed turns successful and everyone should be high-fiving (or toasting) each other, they are instead losing sleep and scrounging together elusive details on both sides.
The added stress is often a consequence of mutual, sub-par communication. How did we get here? The wine industry is magnetic and draws people in from all over the globe. Many are strong communicators and even speak multiple languages. However, there is so much focus on brand communication, that we sometimes overlook the importance of internal communication. The way we communicate internally can be the difference between sleepless nights and win-win success stories.
This begs the question, how do we improve the way we communicate between different disciplines, in order to get the win-win?
While Finance cannot control the outcome of Sales & Marketing initiatives, they can likely control the process with a few guiding principles. These principles can be viewed as 3 rules to speak the same language as your Sales & Marketing counterparts.
Are you in a finance or operations-related position in the wine industry? Here are more details on the 3 rules to speak the language of Sales & Marketing, and empower them to help you.
1. Make things simple!
Simple is indeed harder. Take the time up front to create simple processes that help your colleagues communicate with their VIPs.
Simplifying Life for Colleagues is an Opportunity to Build Respect.
Examples: Sales colleagues’ VIPs are likely their top accounts. How can you think one step ahead, and simplify this communication for them? Sales & Marketing colleagues are often led by the “more is better” approach, since more efforts often lead directly to more sales. This can lead to what appears to be messy efforts in the eyes of Finance teams. If you can offer streamlined communication and a more simplified process for closing and reporting deals, it will count as success, both for you and for them.
2. Provide tools.
Learn about the challenges of your sales and marketing counterparts so you can improve the tools to help everyone succeed together.
Providing Useful Tools is an Opportunity to Create Efficiency for All.
Examples: Sales & Marketing colleagues often cannot predict outcomes as concisely as desired. A proper planning process would require accountability but also allow for realistic wiggle room. Another challenge could be simply keeping up with the number of active promotions and campaigns, and understanding different rules and processes required for each. Picture a sales professional who is expected to travel often or pop into account after account, without much scheduled office time. The frustration of sitting down to wade through emails can be real. It might be time to look closer at the reporting process. Are the guidelines and possible forms streamlined/available on one platform for easy access?
3. Invest in the relationship.
Sales & Marketing often rely heavily on relationships. This is the lens through which many deals are made and it is especially true in the wine industry.
Investing in the Relationship is an Opportunity to Open up Communication.
Examples: The best sales professionals are often quite personable and have an ease of verbal communication. They might shine on the spot, but not always thrive in the rigid nature of reporting to their finance colleagues. Find common ground with these colleagues in order to play their game and partner in a way that feels more comfortable to them. Perhaps a regularly scheduled check-in meeting would help tie up loose ends? You might even learn something helpful, like how your deadline always falls on their big travel day.
In short, Make Things Simple for your customers. Provide Tools for your trade partners. And, Invest in the Relationship of both parties. The above “rules” are quite simple in nature, but are often overlooked in a crowded, product-driven industry. If we go back to the basics, we are reminded that often simple is harder, but simple is better. Communication plays the leading role in being “simple”, and this leads to team success.
Communication is an Incredible Asset in the Wine Industry
Strong communication is a theme that successful brands and teams will carry through from internal team communication, all the way to brand communication for consumer and B2B initiatives. One could say that successful communication about brands and products in the industry usually follow the same 3 rules, and they often come down to communication, communication, communication.
The win-win scenarios may take more work up front. However, after the investment in clear messaging, streamlined tools, and collaboration, we will all be toasting each other in the end.
About Clarity & Co
Clarity & Co’s mission is to offer marketing consulting, trade relations, and project management services to the premium wine industry, and to do so with clarity and collaboration, or Clarity & Co. Owner Theresa Wray is a marketing & communications professional who believes in the power of communication to transform brands and teams. For more information, visit www.clarityandco.com.
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