Unfortunately, it's no rarity to see marketing and sales teams not getting along – for instance when they are supposed to optimize a company's multichannel or omnichannel marketing strategy. This could be a major reason marketing and sales plans aren't coming into effect.
Both, sales and marketing alignment can help add punch to the end-year results in terms of return on investment (ROI). A growing viable company needs marketing to generate, nurture, and score leads, and to develop prospect relationships, just as much as it needs sales to cultivate customer rapport, close deals, and even up-sell and cross-sell.
Clearly, B2B companies will want their sales and marketing teams to be best friends. But how does one get the sales and marketing teams to stop the constant finger pointing and become members of a cohesive team?
That is what smarketing is for...
But What is Smarketing?
Smarketing calls on the marketing and sales departments of a B2B organization to integrate main agendas to promote more effectively and efficiently a firm’s product or service right from the initial marketing stages to the sales end of the buyer’s journey.
Smarketing involves both departments talking to each other. It is common to find sales complaining that the marketing department is not bringing in quality leads. On the other hand, it is common to have marketing complain that sales does not follow up on leads quickly enough – if ever at all.
The solution is to formulate, implement and work towards optimizing the smarketing alignment.
What is Smarketing Alignment and How to Use it to your Benefit
Smarketing alignment is all about integrating the goals of both departments towards attaining the greater objectives of the entire organization – everyone’s goal.
Optimal smarketing alignment can be achieved in a number of steps:
Identify Who Does What
The first step is to categorize each department’s role in the buyer’s journey and what comes next. Since the inception of smarketing around the year 2000, marketers realized they could get visitors by creating content to educate the buyer and later, use SEO to gain more leads from Google Search traffic.
However, buyers, through their social media channels took the positions of sales people by reviewing products/services, making personal recommendations, and make use of word of mouth — almost rendering the sales team irrelevant.
By the time the marketers brought in the prospect, the latter already had a purchasing decision in place and could hardly be convinced otherwise by the sales team.
Still, the sales force is essential to closing a sale – some customers still trust the salesperson more than the company.
For this step teams should:
Define their overall company’ goals, especially the revenue goal
Determine how many leads you need to generate, defining a sales-ready lead
Also what lead-to-customer conversion rate to aim for
Establish how many customers and what average deal size it’ll take to clinch the goal
Work up a Deal
Then your sales and marketing teams need to formally agree (on paper) on what both will do for each other in practice.
Signing a service level agreement can help both in various ways. For example, in the case of the pain points mentioned earlier above, marketing can agree to provide a specific number of quality leads (as predefined by both) within a specific time scale. This way sales can hit their target. And sales can commit to following up on quality leads within a specific timeframe, speed, and depth to advantage the lead nurturing conducted by the marketing team.
A Closed-Loop Reporting
Both departments can provide each other with data to help each other understand and be responsible for optimizing the other’s efforts. For instance, both can firstly define and agree on the company’s ideal customer – the buyer persona.
Marketing can also illuminate the sales department with additional marketing intelligence regarding the marketing funnel to help sales follow up on a sales-ready prospect.
Then sales can feedback their reports to marketing to provide detailed data to help marketing comprehend the characteristics of a quality lead – a prospect who converts to a customer – right from the start.
This back and forth trade of sales and marketing intelligence is what is referred to as closed-loop reporting. This process can further be made seamless by integrating your sales and marketing Software. Both sides will benefit from valuable data and gain a 360-degree view of the customer.
Smarketing alignment is an ongoing procedure. To achieve continuous improvement in smarketing, open communication between sales and marketing should be encouraged to ensure progress made is enhanced.
Sales and marketing departments should be best friends. As seen above, both have complementing roles that have a direct impact on the annual revenue report. By defining either’s role to play in the buyer’s journey, integrating activities in a closed loop reporting mechanism, committing to serve each other with relevant data and following up on this technique helps to achieve the company's goals. Find further knowledge about how to align your sales and marketing team in one of our other blogposts here.
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