When your sales and marketing teams work together they can achieve great things. Historically, sales and marketing departments have always been perceived to be two separate functions or entities within businesses. Marketing, responsible for content production, advertisements and promotions, whereas sales, are solely responsible to convert these leads into paying customers. Often these two departments have very little understanding of their corresponding strategies and everyday tasks, resulting in disarrayed and misaligned practices.
Whilst this traditional method may still work fine for some businesses, it’s important to note that many an opportunity can be missed working this way. Your business can achieve so much more when these two teams work as one, working towards shared goals and objectives.
What is Smarketing?
The hybrid term ‘Smarketing’ often refers to the alignment between your sales and marketing teams. This alignment is achieved by creating synchronised goals as well as maintaining frequent and direct communication. This business strategy relies upon the cooperation of your marketing and sales teams to create an integrated approach.
The purpose of the smarketing strategy is to improve the organisational structure and design as businesses continue to increase the percentage of leads that stem from organic and inbound marketing tactics.
It’s a well-known fact that in some businesses there are prominent divisions that exist between these two departments and are quick to blame one another for their shortcomings. So rather than finger-pointing, smarketing helps these two teams to work towards common goals, supporting one another.
Why is Smarketing Important?
Ultimately, smarketing can help your business succeed, achieve better results and reach optimal efficiency. Both marketing and sales teams have unique perspectives in any business, when shared, they have the ability to create a more targeted and effective approach to driving new business.
The way consumers make purchases has changed. Salespeople used to be solely responsible for providing prospects with information. Nowadays customers like to do most of their own research on their own terms. A wealth of information can be found about almost every product and service offering, made easily accessible online. The developments in consumer behaviour have made strategies like inbound marketing so effective.
In modern-day marketing, marketers have to gain a much thorough understanding of their target market to ensure that their messaging is communicated effectively. To ensure these messages resonate with the desired audience, marketers require unique insights about their typical buyers.
Whilst these insights can be derived from all sorts of market research, ultimately it’s your sales departments that will understand your customers best, often having front-line interactions with prospects. Sales personnel will over time learn what influences or dissuades sales, the pain points, challenges and ambitions of the customers that approach your business. This data, or insights, will be paramount to the shaping of your overall marketing strategy and the messaging used throughout your content.
Equally, your sales department can learn an abundance of information from your marketing team too. Marketers tend to be data-centric, constantly collecting new information about potential leads and using it to optimise their campaigns. Your salespeople can use these insights to learn about consumer behaviour and develop their own approach to how they conduct sales.
Since your marketing and sales departments have so much to teach each other, you should now begin to see the importance of aligning these teams.
The Benefits of Smarketing
Improve business efficiency
The success of your smarketing strategies depends on the alignment of your sales and marketing teams. This alignment particularly applies to working towards the same aims and objectives for the business. A strong understanding of the critical role each team plays will help your whole business operate more efficiently.
Better customer experiences
We’ve all experienced a sub-standard customer experience before. Whether it’s a misplaced order or a late refund, it can become increasingly more frustrating having been passed around from one department to the next.
By maintaining a strong line of communication between the two teams, they’ll be able to exchange important bits of information about the customer. On a larger scale, this leads to a stronger understanding of the target marketing and unlocks an opportunity to deliver a more engaging and consistent experience.
Increase Your Return on Investment
With improved communication across your sales and marketing departments, your sales team can gain insights into the online behaviour of their leads. These insights will support your sales team to improve the relevance and personalise communication. This will help them provide a customer experience that hits each of the user’s touchpoints, building trust and improving the likelihood of closing the sale.
With this, marketing will gain a stronger understanding of where their best leads come from, learning which types of leads are most likely to convert into valuable customers. Your marketing team will then have the ability to allocate their time and resources into areas that will maximise their ROI.
5-Easy Steps to Creating Your Smarketing Strategy
Your smarketing strategy’s effectiveness will depend on a number of key factors, of which mutual understanding and consistent communication will be paramount. Aside from the steps below, your teams should be knowledgeable about their business, their role and their target market.
Assess Where You Are & Set Goals
Do you know how well your two teams are working collaboratively already? If not, it could be worthwhile evaluating the relationship between the two departments to establish which areas or processes need improving. It could be that the link between the two teams requires a complete overhaul which could take time, but the payoff will be worth it. Consider exploring how often your teams meet, what information is shared, and how do the two normally communicate.
Once you’ve got a good idea about how your teams interact with one another you can get to work on how your smarketing strategy will perform going forward. One key way to track your progress is to set collaborative goals. These goals, as with all things marketing, should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely). Your SMART goals should be based on building your cross-departmental relationship.
A Collaborative SLA
After establishing your baseline and some reasonable goals, the next critical step is to empower each team to hold each other accountable for operational efficiency. An SLA or service level agreement can support your business by documenting the expectations and responsibilities of all parties involved.
To avoid things becoming too complex or vague, we recommend creating a point-based SLA with simple and explicit commitments. This will ensure that each team feel they have their own assurances and mitigates the risk of standards slipping once the initial novelty of the process wears off. Your SLAs may include your shared SMART goals or mutually agreed-upon KPIs. Formalising these details in writing will support the long-term success of your smarketing strategy.
Communication is key!
In all relationships, business or personal, effective communication is vital. To maintain this crucial communication between your sales and marketing teams, it’s a great idea to hold regular smarketing catch-ups on a weekly basis. This will enable them both the opportunity to discuss important developments and reporting.
Any sizable changes within the departments or the actions each team carry out should be effectively communicated to ensure consistency across the business. Remember your marketing and sales teams can learn so much from one another, ensure that this opportunity is utilised! Consider creating a monthly agenda so that your meeting structure is organised, for example:
- Week 1: Persona Development and Shared Insights
- Week 2: Upcoming Promotional Deals
- Week 3: Customer Expectations
- Week 4: Marketing and Sales Strategy Development
Monitoring & Reporting Performance
Data should be at the centre of every strategic decision your business makes. Ultimately its this data that will help you understand the performance of your marketing and sales efforts, exploring your business successes and equally, your failures because they do happen!
Your sales and marketing teams should have easy access to the data they need, more crucial than this, however, is the source of these data sets. Your teams should always have visibility on the same sources of data, that way you won’t get discrepancies.
Tools such as a CRM, or Customer Relationship Management system can help ensure the seamlessness and reliability of your data sources. From there, you can begin to evaluate your KPIs and goals in collaboration, exploring what is or isn’t working. Again, most importantly here, this isn’t an opportunity to play the blame game, after all, you should be going after a shared goal, to grow your business. You may be surprised about the ideas that can come from your contrary team.
Leap-frogging from the previous point. Your sales and marketing team must have visibility of the other’s actions, goals and progress. By reporting in a closed-loop, marketing will have a stronger ability to send information to sales, and sales will be able to provide feedback off the back of recent marketing activity.
You may need to consider things such as lead sources, lead quality scores and other attribution metrics for this. Doing so will empower your sales and marketing teams to strategically plan for the future, focusing on what drives the strongest results.
Smarketing is a systematic change that will impact your business in its entirety, if implemented and managed correctly you should start to see improvements over time. Naturally, it will take some time for everyone to get on board and adapt so don’t expect any overnight changes. As with most things marketing, your smarketing strategy will also evolve and grow as your business does.
Smarketing & Inbound at Bright Design
Bright Design is an inbound marketing agency, we believe in providing value to prospects, leads, and customers to earn sales. We do this with the support of our Smarketing strategy and the HubSpot CRM. As well as utilising the platform ourselves, we’re also one of the UK HubSpot Solutions Partners. If you’re looking to align your marketing and sales teams, why not get in touch with our friendly team.