Tricks of the Trade Venture Partner Series: Internal Communication – You Need a Strategy

Tricks of the Trade Venture Partner Series: Internal Communication – You Need a Strategy

April 13, 2015

Often times organizations get so caught up in the day-to-day work and planning that they forget to communicate internally about what is going on. Communication, although easily overlooked, is an integral piece of a company’s success. Communication from upper management and across teams opens up a more collaborative work environment and motivates employees. There are two primary categories that all companies should have a clear internal communication strategy around.

communicationProduct Development
The product is the driver behind all sales and marketing efforts, without it there would be no company. Yet, those that are not involved in the product development often don’t have visibility into the product’s roadmap. The product roadmap is a sensitive subject to those close to it as it is never “quite right” and therefore, there is a great deal of hesitation when it comes to sharing it with the rest of the organization. As discussed previously there are easy ways to get everyone involved in the roadmap. It provides valuable information to the sales and marketing team and they also enjoy hearing about what the engineering and product teams are working on and what the vision for the product is.

There are three ways this information can be communicated on a regular basis that I would suggest:

  • Quarterly Review – Hosted in conjunction with an all hands meeting, present the product roadmap, company vision, company updates, etc.

  • Sprint Newsletters – Regular communications about things that are being worked on in real time to inspire a more collaborative experience.

  • Product Release Notes – Send an email communication when a release is about to go live that breaks down the elements of the new release. Keep your people educated about the happenings at the organization – they will literally be (and sound) smarter when talking about work!

Corporate
It’s no secret that sales and marketing have historically had their challenges in working with one another, but lets not forget about everyone else in the organization. It is equally important for the corporate side to create a cadence for communicating with the rest of the organization as it is for the product teams. It’s important for product teams to hear about the success of the company through sales wins, media coverage and upcoming events. It also opens the doors for those within the business side to learn from one another and take advantage of all that is being done by their co-workers.

There are three different email/newsletter communications I would suggest to accomplish this distribution of information:

  • Weekly/bi-weekly Marketing Update – An email to the company that includes upcoming events, recently completed marketing materials or press events, recently completed campaigns, other successes and lessons learned.

  • Sales Summary – A regular – maybe monthly – email to the company that features recent wins and lessons learned.

  • Customer Status – An email to the company that provides an update on customers who are super happy and maybe some reasoning behind those that are unhappy. This should be used more as a motivational and instructional notification – a State of the Union if you will.

Whether your company is just starting off or has been in business for years, a good internal communication strategy can make a big impact on your business. It’s also important not to underestimate the power of a face-to-face conversation. One of the benefits of a small company environment is that employees often go directly to one another with questions or concerns. This can result in quick decisions or at the least, forces key stakeholders to sit in a room and work together to resolve an issue. If possible, incorporate those cultural aspects into your company as it grows so you can maintain some of those same benefits of when you were too small to stay out of each other’s business. Lastly, get feedback from your employees on what they like to know about, this will ensure your communication strategy is successful and beneficial to all parties.

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