The harmonious coexistence of sales and marketing teams is fundamental for any growing business. The two must cooperate to capture, nurture, engage, and eventually convert leads without running into conflicts of their own. However, since they work a bit too closely with one another, conflicts are not uncommon. Sales teams are known to complain about the poor quality of the leads generated by marketing, while the marketing guys berate the sales people for not working the leads hard enough. This constant bickering can be a strong deterrent to workplace harmony and productivity, and thus calls for a solution. Enter Smarketing.
What is Smarketing?
Smarketing can be defined as the necessary alignment between sales and marketing teams, made possible by perpetual to-and-fro communication. Marketing guys must not consider their job done once they hit a monthly lead generation quota; they should be willing to join the sales team when they make important follow-up calls, if asked. In the same way, sales guys must also provide constant, constructive feedback to the marketing team regarding the nature of leads they are receiving. The two must be ready to blur the metaphorical boundaries separating them, in an attempt to create a more dynamic relationship. This will make them realise that they are fighting the same battle, and are geared towards the common goal of revenue generation. Let’s look at some tangible benefits of smarketing:
Benefits of Smarketing
- Everyone is on the same page: Smarketing entails that the goals of both sales and marketing teams be aligned with overall aims and objectives of the business. Everyone knows their role and the whole business starts operating as a well-oiled machine. Marketing teams must provide accurately scored leads for sales teams to pursue, and sales teams must ensure that they convert a certain number of these leads to customers.
- Better customer experience: Both marketing and sales teams interact with customers in their own way. Each knows a thing or two about the customers that the other doesn’t. By communicating with each other more often, they are able to exchange these important bits of information. This leads to a better understanding of the target market and an opportunity to deliver a more engaging customer experience.
- Growth in revenue: A report compiled by Aberdeen Group indicated that organisations that focused on aligning sales and marketing efforts, saw an annual revenue growth of around 20%. Need we say more?
Now that we have established just how effective smarketing can be, we must answer the burning question: How do you implement Smarketing in an everyday workplace, where there is no love lost between sales and marketing teams? Well, let’s find out:
Talk Revenue; Not Numbers or Leads
Both marketing and sales teams should know that their ultimate goal is to increase the company’s revenue, and not just meet their departmental quotas. The conflicts between the two arise mainly because marketing only talks in terms of leads, and sales care about nothing other than numbers. The solution to this problem is making the two teams speak the same language: revenue. Instead of asking marketing to generate X number of leads throughout the year, and instead of asking the sales teams to convert Y% of those leads into customers, ask both the teams to help the business increase its revenue by Z%. This will make them work in unison to achieve the common goal of furthering business growth.
Integrate Marketing and Sales Software
First things first, you need a CRM solution if you haven’t got one. Maintaining a central customer information database is imperative if you intend to establish seamless communication across your company. Moreover, it also helps if you integrate your sales and marketing software. This can allow you to have marketing automation and sales funnel features bundled up in one application available to everyone. Sales teams can know the recent interactions a lead made with your company, and marketing teams can keep an eye on the customer journey from start to finish.
Establish Accountability via a Service Level Agreement (SLA)
Even though you want your sales and marketing teams to function as a unit, you also want to be able to hold them accountable individually. A Service Level Agreement (SLA) helps a lot in this regard by documenting the expectations and responsibilities of all parties involved. Here it’s important that you create a point-based SLA, after incorporating the following suggestions:
- Points should reflect monetary gain: Don’t assign a point to a marketing agent right after they generate a new lead. Wait for the lead to generate any monetary gain before disseminating points.
- Concise: Every team should know the precise number of SLA points they need to achieve, to hit the revenue targets.
Regular Smarketing Meetings
In order to maintain open communication between both teams, it’s a great idea to hold smarketing meetings on a weekly basis. This allows both teams to talk about important notions like changing customer expectations, tweaks in the buyer personas, promotional deals, marketing and sales strategies, and much more. They can also track their collective progress to identify and remedy possible areas of improvement.
Monitor Performance Using Reliable, Shared Metrics
Smarketing is a systematic change that will bring a paradigm-shift in the way your team manages customer journeys. Naturally, it will take some time for everyone to get used to it. Managers should monitor both the teams closely as they adapt to the new changes, and also keep an eye on the performance metrics. Refer to the SLA and see if the teams are on track to achieve their revenue targets. Make sure that the performance of one team isn’t getting negatively impacted by the shortcomings of the other.
Sales and marketing teams are two pivotal parts of your business. It’s paramount that they both form an unbreakable bond with one another; one that boosts workplace harmony and productivity.