Sales and marketing: They should be the ultimate dynamic duo. But failure to align the efforts of these teams often leaves businesses wasting valuable resources pursuing different goals, or worse, putting sales and marketing teams in direct opposition to one another.
With good sales and marketing alignment seeing companies drive an average of 208% more revenue as a result of their efforts, businesses of every shape, size and industry can benefit from smarketing.
But first thing’s first. What is smarketing?
Smarketing is a portmanteau of the words ‘sales’ and ‘marketing’. It refers to the alignment of sales and marketing in sharing efforts, knowledge and resources to achieve a common goal.
While the relationship between sales and marketing has often been one of competition — 87% of sales and marketing leaders believe collaboration between the two enables critical business growth.
Smarketing encourages an atmosphere of open collaboration, resource-sharing and mutual accountability, allowing you to turn the differences between sales and marketing into your greatest strength.
The benefits of having sales and marketing working together
With businesses who have strong sales and marketing alignment reported to be 67% more effective at closing deals, and 58% more effective at retaining customers, smarketing is the smarter, more efficient and more cost effective approach to managing your teams.
Here are some other benefits to getting your sales and marketing teams working together:
Shared resources, knowledge and insights
While the differences between sales and marketing can often be a source of contention between the two, by fostering an atmosphere of knowledge and resource sharing, these differences can become your business’ greatest strength.
In the course of their work, your teams are bound to pick up some information that may not necessarily be useful to them, but could prove vital to someone else. If your teams aren’t communicating, these resources may go to waste, and valuable information could go unrecognised.
When sales and marketing are working together, on the other hand, they can share information and insights that help drive their efforts.
As they say, four, ten, FIFTY eyes are better than one!
Pursuing mutual goals
In a game of basketball, every player on the team is aiming for the same hoop. But if you’re treating sales and marketing like two totally different teams, you’re going to end up shooting at both ends of the court.
Without collaboration, your teams may end up pursuing different things. This will lead to you pouring more resources into more goals, while reducing your chances of scoring any of them.
if you’re treating sales and marketing like two totally different teams, you’re going to end up shooting at both ends of the court.
By getting sales and marketing to agree on what they’re trying to achieve, they can pour all of their shared efforts into achieving it. Not only will this save valuable resources, it will also increase your chances of success, and vastly improve your results.
Agreement on what constitutes a qualified lead
Surveys have found that only about 7% of salespeople believe that they are receiving high quality leads from their marketing team. And only 28% of salespeople believe that their internal marketing team is their best source of leads.
If there’s no collaboration, your teams may end up with two totally different ideas of what constitutes a qualified lead, and end up wasting their efforts on leads that are unlikely to convert.
In more collaborative environments, on the other hand, surveys have found that 94% of the top performing salespeople describe the leads they get from marketing as either ‘good’ or ‘excellent’.
Alignment is a better use of resources, allowing your teams to attract better quality leads, make more conversions, and ultimately achieve better results for your business.
A better atmosphere in the workplace
While, in some circumstances, a competitive atmosphere can be beneficial, competition between sales and marketing is downright detrimental to your bottom line. With the failures of one often diminishing the successes of the other, competition between sales and marketing will see your business losing more than it gains.
Rather than trying to outplay the ‘opposition’, you should be encouraging your teams to think of themselves as partners in productivity. Not only is this good for business, it will also lead to a happier, healthier and more productive atmosphere for everyone.
A well-defined strategy
Successful sales rely on a streamlined customer journey. So why should your marketing strategy only cover half of the trip?
Sales and marketing alignment allows your teams to work out their strategy from start to finish, mapping out the journey your customer will take to make a purchase. By collaborating on your sales and marketing strategy, your teams will be able to make the customer journey as cohesive and efficient as possible, while working out any bumps in the road.
Continuity and consistency for the customer
Ideally you want the transition from marketing to sales to be as seamless as possible, so that you can offer the most consistent experience for your customers.
Assets such as objection-handling notes, call scripts, PDFs and email templates can help establish a smooth transition to sales, by allowing salespeople to continue the conversations that marketing began.
How to align sales and marketing
Aligning sales and marketing may take a bit of work, especially if your teams have already established a more competitive relationship.
Here’s how you can build a more collaborative atmosphere that helps your teams work together:
Sales and marketing SLA
The first thing you need to do is set up a sales and marketing Service Level Agreement (SLA) to get your teams working on the same page (literally).
The SLA helps to define the working relationship between sales and marketing, and should contain the following information:
- Ideal buyer personas
- What constitutes a qualified lead
- Goals and KPIs
- When and how leads should be handed over to sales
Both teams should collaborate when creating the SLA, to ensure that everyone’s needs, expectations and goals are aligned.
Schedule regular meetings
Regular meetings are vital to monitoring your progress and ensuring that everyone is still on-track.
Consider scheduling a weekly meeting that allows sales and marketing to discuss achievements, failures and areas for improvement. This also offers your teams a perfect opportunity to share new information and insights that may be beneficial for everyone.
Regular meetings help maintain the relationship between your teams by minimising misunderstandings, celebrating achievements and solving issues together.
Many resources can go to waste attracting the wrong audience, so it’s important that everyone be on the same page about what constitutes a qualified lead.
Ask your teams to sit down and really analyse their data to determine what characteristics define your ideal customers. Once you’ve identified these characteristics, you can begin to ‘score’ them based on their importance in making a sale. Lead scoring also helps you determine where a customer is in the buying cycle, and therefore when the lead should be handed over to sales.
Characteristics to look out for include demographics — or business information, in the case of B2B sales — customer behaviour, online behaviour, engagement and much more. Your lead-scoring criteria will be unique to your business and may change over time, so it’s important to monitor your audience continuously for shifts in the market.
Once you’ve established your lead scoring criteria, you should include the information in your sales and marketing SLA.
Build a team atmosphere
Try to encourage a friendly atmosphere and discourage competitiveness between sales and marketing.
Things as simple as the layout of your office can have a big impact on how your teams work together. By establishing an open environment and not isolating sales and marketing from one another, you can offer a space that better supports collaboration, communication and information-sharing.
Keeping teams separated may unintentionally result in an ‘us’ vs ‘them’ mindset, so try to avoid sectioning off office spaces too much.
You should also consider scheduling social nights and dinners to help build a fun and connected team atmosphere within the workplace.
Work smart: become a team
The differences between sales and marketing can often make alignment a challenge.
But don’t worry, with a bit of patience and care, even businesses with a long-established atmosphere of competition will be able to bring their sales and marketing teams together.
By sharing resources, scheduling regular meetings, and implementing a mutually developed SLA, it won’t take long for sales and marketing to recognise how much more they can achieve when working as a team.
If you need help with your sales and marketing alignment, we can help. Collaboration and teamwork is our greatest strength, and we are happy to show you how to make it yours as well. We can help you determine what qualifies a hot lead, produce the assets your sales teams need to make a sale, and establish a sales and marketing strategy that covers the entire customer journey.
Contact The Walk today to get your teams working together to achieve your goals.