We are often taught that sales and marketing are two completely different business entities that work beside one another rather than together. Marketing has been stereotyped as a bunch of creatives who focus solely on developing witty catchphrases and advertisements, while not caring about the numbers and ROI associated with what they are doing. Sales, on the other hand, was stereotyped as the lifeblood of a company, solely focused on results without caring about the people involved in the process. These stereotypes have been disproved over and over again, resulting in a change in how these two departments operate. Now, sales and marketing are becoming much more aligned. Our friends over at HubSpot have coined a term for this new relationship: Smarketing.
So, What is it?
In its simplest form, HubSpot has defined it as the alignment and connection between sales and marketing. However, it is much more than that. Sticking these two departments in the same physical space in your office isn’t going to boost lead generation or revenues, they need to be actively working together to get the right marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) and sales-qualified leads (SQLs) based off of your goals. The only way to successfully do this is through transparency between the departments. Having a weekly meeting between the two teams, even if only the executives are present, is a great way to keep everyone on the same page and up to speed with the types of leads that should be focused on. This way, both teams are able to generate better quality leads,improve conversion rates, and ultimately increase revenue.
How Can I Make it Work?
Now you may be thinking, “This sounds beneficial to my company, but how can I successfully implement it?” Other than having open communication between sales and marketing, there are a few other key steps that are needed to ensure successful alignment.
Clearly Establish Each Teams' Goals
Although both departments are working towards the same overall goal, they are focused on different data points. Marketing is concerned with lead flow, while sales has a focus on close rates and percentage of leads worked. If both teams have clearly defined goals, it will be easier for the departments to understand what is going on and better adjust. Data also helps validate opinions allowing for smoother strategy meetings.
Hold the Departments Accountable
A great way to do this is by creating a Service Level Agreement (SLA). Both teams will be able to determine the amount of leads they are either attracting or working and then be able to keep track of both party’s progress. Since marketing will be responsible for attracting the leads for sales, it is important to define both quantity and quality of leads.
Another way to make sure everyone has access to the same data and is on the same page, is by integrating sales and marketing software. This can be done by using a marketing automation tool such as HubSpot, and a CRM system, such as SalesForce. With this integration, both parties will be able to identify where the best leads come from and what stage of the lifecycle they are currently in.
Marketing teams should be focusing on adding value to consumers during the buying process. Leveraging tools like HubSpot, marketing teams can attract, engage, and collect data about buyers. This data includes personal information such as name, company, and email address. Then, lead nurturing sequences can be setup to pull buyers further down the sales funnel. Once this happens, there must be a clear hand off of these leads to your sales team. This allows them to do what they do best: build relationships and convert leads into clients. This is Smarketing!