Smarketing: How Sales and Marketing Alignment Can Better Your Business
Sales and marketing. They’re a powerhouse pairing that can catapult any business to success. But when these two vital business functions fail to click together, the converse can be true.
Double handling, wasted resources, and too many separate goals make for a fractured environment that can confuse the customer journey. In worst-case scenarios, the two teams may actively be working in opposition to each other.
Doesn’t sound too productive, right?
On the flip side, if you can get all of these things on-point, and are able to effectively align your sales and marketing efforts, you may see huge increases in revenue.
Well, companies that manage to do this see an average of 208% more revenue.
So it doesn’t matter how big your business is, or what industry you happen to be a part of, smarketing has something to offer.
Before We Get Started, What Is Smarketing?
Let’s be honest, smarketing is kind of an odd-sounding word, but it’s for a good reason.
A portmanteau of the words ‘sales’ and ‘marketing’, well-executed smarketing ensures sales and marketing are pulling in the same direction and working towards a common purpose.
You wouldn’t think it’d make sense for these two areas of the business to work in competition. You’re not alone, in fact, 87% of sales and marketing leaders believe that efficiently sharing resources within a culture of open and honest collaboration can have far-reaching and long-lasting positive effects on business growth.
Misalignment of sales and marketing is rarely intentional, and that’s why it’s worth paying attention and actively monitoring what’s working and what isn’t.
What Makes Sales and Marketing Such a Powerhouse Combo?
The numbers don’t lie: Businesses who successfully align their sales and marketing teams reported to be 67% more effective at closing deals and 58% more effective at retaining customers. It’s simply the best way to reduce wasted resources, bring down costs and fast-track improved results.
Let’s take a look at some other key benefits of stronger sales and marketing alignment:
Shared Information Means Nothing Gets Missed
No doubt, there are many key differences between sales and marketing.
When alignment is weak, these differences can create a culture of conflict and competition that can have a negative effect on the customer experience, and therefore conversions. But by turning this around and bringing the two together, you can encourage the free exchange of ideas and open collaboration, transforming these differences into a strength for your business.
Sales work with different information than marketing, which means that communication becomes key in helping each other out. Not all information will be relevant to those who receive it, but in openly sharing information amongst sales and marketing, you boost your chances of recognizing important information that in turn channels your efforts into the right direction.
Establishing Common Goals
It seems blindingly obvious, but when sales and marketing are pulling in different directions, you’ll end up with poorer results and lost revenue.
Like with horses harnessed to opposite ends of the same cart, it’s hard to get to where you need to go. By bringing these teams together, time, effort, and resources can be easily shared, leaving your business with fewer goals to reach, and a greater chance of hitting the mark and getting the results you’re after.
Reduced Confusion on Definitions of a Qualified Lead
Recent surveys have shown that only a mere 7% of salespeople believe that marketing teams are sharing high-quality leads. Not a lot, is it?
An even more telling figure is the fact that only 28% of salespeople believe that their own marketing team is their best source of leads. This displays a deep lack of trust and faith in a team that should be their greatest asset and ally.
If collaboration is lacking, and communication non-existent, it can become very easy to disagree on what actually constitutes a high-quality lead. With confusion over which leads to pursue, the chance of following leads that were always unlikely to convert significantly increases.
When a collaborative environment is successfully encouraged and implemented, surveys have shown that 94% of the top-performing salespeople trust that they’re always receiving high-quality leads from their internal marketing team.
By getting this step right, the chances of your business attracting better leads that convert into sales will grow exponentially.
Nurture a Positive Workplace Atmosphere
A bit of healthy competition isn’t the worst thing for a business. It can spur on a desire for better results, and a stronger feeling of achievement when you get those sales across the line. But when you find your sales and marketing departments going head to head, the only thing that suffers is your bottom line.
Aligning goals and targets helps everyone understand that they’re in the same boat and working towards a common goal. This will help your business flourish, plus you’ll have created an exciting, positive atmosphere that’s better for all involved, which also aids skills retention.
Meet in the Middle on Strategy
Getting your strategy right from the get-go is vital. Your customer journey needs to be understood by both sales and marketing to be as smooth as possible for a potential purchaser.
So why is it then, that two different teams, working for the same business, don’t connect to ensure that this happens?
Strong sales and marketing alignment provides a greater opportunity to have a clearly defined strategy from end to end. When your sales and marketing work closely together, they have a better chance of ironing out any kinks and creating a well-thought-out customer journey that results in more sales, more of the time.
Remove Obstacles from Your Customer Journey
We all want our buying experience to be as painless as possible. In fact, you’d hope that it provides your customers with a consistent, enjoyable experience that they’ll want to tell their friends about. To do this, sales need to pick up where marketing finishes, so the process feels frictionless and organic, with consistent business messaging.
By sharing relevant resources such as objection-handling notes, call scripts, PDFs and use email templates, both teams will always be on the same page and ready for a smooth handover of leads.
How to Align Sales and Marketing
Aligning sales and marketing can take a bit of time and effort to get right, especially if these teams are used to operating within a competitive environment.
So what can you do to make the shift away from this mindset, and create the collaborative space both teams need to succeed?
Let’s take a look:
MMutually Develop a Sales and Marketing SLA
To get the ball rolling, you’ll need to set up a sales and marketing Service Level Agreement (SLA). This is a document that outlines the requirements and metrics for business success.
The SLA will clearly state the ongoing work relationship and any relevant expectations. It should contain the following information.
● Ideal buyer personas
● What constitutes a qualified lead
● Goals and KPIs
● Accountabilities and responsibilities
● Timings of transition from marketing to sales
Of course, in order to create the most thorough and effective SLA, both teams will need to come together to get it right. This way, everybody’s needs, ambitions, and goals are mutually developed and understood by each other.
Get Together for Regular Meetings
Maintaining an open line of communication between sales and marketing is critical to keeping on top of your goals and monitoring overall progress.
Scheduling regular meetings are one simple way to bring everybody together and discuss successes, areas that need improvement, and a general look into how everybody is progressing. As an open forum, a weekly meeting is also the perfect place to freely share new ideas, resources, and insights that could help everyone.
If these are implemented effectively, you should see stronger working relationships in no time.
Score Your Leads
One of the most common issues that can arise between sales and marketing is the wasted resources on appealing to the wrong target audience. As we mentioned earlier, having a clear picture of what actually constitutes a qualified lead is the best way to avoid this situation.
By getting your teams together to discuss the ins and out of your ideal customer persona, you can ensure that everybody recognizes the most important characteristics of these customers. Once you’ve got this sorted, it helps to rank each of these characteristics based on how vital they are to a successful sale. This will then help you score your leads, which is one of the most effective ways to recognize where a customer is on their buyer’s journey, and if the transition to sales is ready to be made.
Key buyer characteristics to focus on include demographics, business information, customer behavior, online engagement, and past purchases, plus much much more. With all this in mind, it’s important to remember that your lead scoring should never remain stagnant. With constant shifts in market trends, it’s essential that you consistently monitor and adjust your lead scoring criteria to better reflect the current state of your business and its relationship with your customers.
After finishing the lead scoring process, be sure to include all key criteria within your sales and marketing SLA.
Cultivate a Team-First Atmosphere
While it should probably go without saying, teams who work in a friendly environment are more likely to support each other to reach their goals. By actively encouraging a positive working atmosphere, you can drastically change the way your teams understand each other and how they can best work together as a unit.
Even simple things like your office layout can play a massive role in boosting positivity and collaboration. By keeping things open and removing any isolating factors from your space, you can break down physical and communicative barriers, and promote endless opportunities for collaboration and support amongst each other.
And while these ideas focus on the office, it’s also worth considering organizing regular social events and team-building exercises to help employees learn about each other and grow connections that translate into better working relationships.
Work as a Team to Achieve More
As a broad generalization, salespeople and marketing people are just inherently a bit different. And these differences can prove difficult to overcome.
But with a transparent and inclusive alignment process, even the most competitive of business environments can smash down the barriers to success and build a strong, supportive team.
By openly sharing insights, resources, and a common goal, you can make this transition as seamless as possible. Integrate regular meetings and a collaborative SLA, and the days of poor results stemming from mistrust and competition will be well behind you.
Let the Walk Help You Build a Team
If you need help with your sales and marketing alignment, we can help.
Collaboration and teamwork are our greatest strengths, and we’re happy to show you how to make them yours as well. We can help you determine what qualifies a hot lead, produce the assets your sales teams need to increase conversions and establish a sales and marketing strategy that covers the entire customer journey.