Smarketing: The Secret of What Makes an Effective Marketing Strategy
The last five years have seen a tremendous shift in marketing tactics and the role marketing plays in an organization’s success. We’ve seen marketing grow from a sort of advertising into a robust, data-driven enterprise that strives to truly understand customers and to make their lives easier. However, one thing that hasn’t changed about marketing is its relationship with sales. Although it might seem like common sense for the two to come together to drive business growth, it isn’t easy for a lot of companies to make sure sales and marketing are on the same page. Fortunately, this is starting to change, and the benefits of sales and marketing alignment can be tremendously beneficial for companies that embrace this model.
A Failure to Communicate
Poor communication is the root cause of virtually all problems in the workplace. Hospitals waste $12 billion each year due to insufficient and unclear communication, according to Cisco. Your inability to get your company’s sales and marketing teams on the same page might not cost you $12 billion, but odds are good that it’s costing you way more than it should.
The traditional disconnect between sales and marketing creates major problems for businesses every day. Marketers blame the sales team for not following up with enough leads, turning their brilliant vision into an ineffective nightmare. On the other hand, sales personnel don’t always buy into the marketing plan, believing that marketers are out of touch with the true purchasing habits of customers.
When multiple groups of people within an organization believe the problem lies in other areas instead of their own, it’s the perfect storm for a catastrophe. Even if these problems aren’t easily detectable on the bottom line, they can cause plenty of headaches for everyone involved. More importantly, this failure to coordinate sales and marketing results in a significant loss of efficiency and revenue for the company.
The notion of sales and marketing getting on the same page to create an effective overall strategy is slowly becoming more common. In fact, it even has its own name: Smarketing.
Hubspot defines Smarketing as “alignment between your sales and marketing teams created through frequent and direct communication between the two.” On the surface, this seems like a simple concept that should already exist. But as you’ve undoubtedly seen, that’s not the case in the vast majority of organizations.
Smarketing does away with the traditional barriers that exist between sales and marketing. Instead of speaking different languages, Smarketing helps sales and marketing align based on communal terms and goals. The end result is a cohesive unit that wants the same result and that understands the importance of the data that makes those results happen.
With Smarketing, neither sales nor marketing are the winners. Instead, both work together to put the customer first.
How Smarketing Works
Inbound marketing drastically overhauled the previous notions of what marketing could be. With Smarketing, these same ideas influence sales. Salespeople are kept in the loop so that they can understand the buyer personas and audience activity that drives lead generation. As they get more familiar with the process behind obtaining leads, they can better sell to those individuals. At the same time, sales has the opportunity to provide feedback to marketing about the quality of the leads they receive. Marketing can then see how their work actually translates into sales in real life.
The heart of this transition is communication. According to Hubspot, 87 percent of the terms used by sales and marketing to describe each other are negative. This obviously isn’t a situation you want on your hands. Real, in-person communication will not only help to break the ice between these groups, but it’ll also help both sales and marketing to have real discussions about how they can help each other.
Principles of Smarketing
Although communication is vital, Smarketing isn’t as simple as sitting down your sales and marketing teams and asking them to play nicely together. You need to get your staff to buy into Smarketing, and the best way to do that is to show them how Smarketing can help to create an effective sales and marketing strategy. There are some important elements of Smarketing that will not only streamline operations, but they’ll provide tangible proof that this initiative is one that’s worth taking seriously.
Service Level Agreement
Whether it’s losing weight or aligning sales and marketing, setting goals is infinitely easier if those goals are written down and strictly adhered to. Creating a service level agreement (SLA) is a great way to lay everything out so that there’s no confusion or room for misinterpretation when you begin to implement Smarketing. An SLA should include specific metrics for both sales and marketing, and it should specifically state how each unit should help each other reach their goals. For example, if sales determines that certain leads aren’t ready to buy yet, they can return those leads to marketing for further nurturing. Additional follow-up meetings should be held to ensure that all parties are abiding by the SLA and to address any potential changes that may need to be made.
Customer Relationship Management
The benefits of a customer relationship management platform (CRM) are well-known to marketers, but not all CRMs incorporate sales. With Smarketing, sales and marketing both utilize the CRM so that they can do their jobs more efficiently. A singular database that contains all sales and marketing properties for each lead is a boon for both sides, particularly sales. Now salespeople have a wealth of information about each person they contact, and they can reference specific instances in which the lead showed interest.
Closed Loop Reporting
The core tenet of Smarketing is one hand washing the other. With closed loop reporting, that process takes place in perpetuity. Since all of the sales and marketing data your company gathers is found in one place, it’s easy to see how one side informs the other of what they’re up to, and vice versa.
For instance, a business selling medical supplies receives qualified leads through a form on their website. The lead is then scored based on their interest level and budget. The lead then goes to the sales team, which can push certain buttons based on the quality information they’ve received. Once the sales interaction is complete, sales can provide feedback to marketing so that they can further refine their lead scoring.
With such heavy reliance on the CRM for data and workflow, there’s potential for relations between sales and marketing to regress. That’s why it’s so important to meet monthly, at minimum, to discuss topics related to Smarketing. Actually agreeing on goals is one thing, but it’s another thing entirely to remain on the same page and continue to support one another as change transpires. Regular communication will help to make sure both sales and marketing get the most out of Smarketing and that the flow of information between the sides also results in positive vibes, which will boost morale and efficiency.
Build a Cohesive Organization
Smarketing may be a new concept, but it’s one of those things that should have always been in place from the start. If you feel like your sales and marketing teams aren’t acting as a cohesive unit, Smarketing can help you to streamline your teams’ processes and create the effective sales and marketing strategy you’ve always wanted. By clearly laying out the benefits and expectations of Smarketing, you’ll create a unit that not only plays well together, but a unit that’s capable of taking your company’s sales and marketing processes to unforeseen heights.