Aligning your sales and marketing stars is a hot topic on the Internet, and for good reason. There’s even a special name for it - smarketing (personally, I’d have gone with “salketing” or “marketales”). On a serious note now, smarketing is both a strategy and a way of doing things. The distrust between sales and marketing teams is well-noted for its misalignment when measuring different metrics and the lack of relevant and accurate data (not to mention accountability) on both sides.
Solving this issue can positively impact your business in so many ways, but perhaps the most important one is the effect on the bottom line. According to TAS Group, with sales and marketing in sync, companies raise their close rate efficiency by 67%, generate 208% more revenue from marketing and enjoy up to three times more revenue. Not bad, right? Read on to find out how they
Focus on shared goals
The divide between sales and marketing can be bridged by focusing on common goals the two have. On one side, Sales is responsible for converting leads into customers while on the other, Marketing is in charge of turning absolute strangers into interested visitors. Converting visitors into qualified leads is where the two sides meet. This crossover stage is critical to achieving optimal efficiency for both departments. Both sides need to work with each other toward common goals, not alongside each other.
What does that mean, really?
Aligning marketing and sales teams goals begins with connecting the analyzed data at your disposal. The very type of data that provides marketing insights differs from the one derived from sales efforts. Lead generation is a prime example of how marketing may place the highest importance on it, but sans proper sales conversions, these leads will end up falling short of the high-quality variety. The most trouble-free point where both sales and marketing goals align is the financial one - boosting the company’s revenue. It’s a good a start as any, but for best results, you’ll need to…
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Define your process
For starters, create a clear outline of your different buyer personas. Next, clearly define the overall process of how leads move from marketing to sales (what stage of the marketing funnel it is, when is it ready to be passed on to salespeople, etc.). Both departments need to be on the same page when it comes to qualifying a sales-ready lead. You don’t want either department chasing its tail and wasting time on leads that have no business being there in the first place. Most importantly, misalignment means lost sales, By defining your process, Marketing can focus on targeting the right people with their content creation efforts, and make sure the leads they pipe out to Sales are qualified and worth their time.
The concept of smarketing will only succeed if the marketing team’s ideal customer profile does not vary from the sales team’s. If Sales is having difficulties selling a particular product or service, the marketing department can form a strategy with the aim to promote awareness and market the specific offering to high-potential leads. At that point, sales can take over and move these leads through the sales funnel to close deals. With mutual accountability and responsibilities firmly set in place, these two teams rely on each other equally as themselves to create and share targeted and high-quality content and make sales.
Measure for accountability
In addition to jump-starting the collaboration, both teams should continue to move in the right direction by being open about any problems or misalignment that may occur. Once again, data should be the foundation to keep both sales and marketing accountable for joint success. To provide a uniform and transparent customer view, a shared set of metrics is required.
This includes lead flow, where the goal is to measure both the quality and quantity of leads Marketing hands off to sales. Both points should grow on a monthly basis if the business wants to grow. Then, you have leads worked which will measure the overall productivity of your sales team in relation to the leads Marketing hands off. For their part, Sales needs to have a steady and high rate of working leads in order to validate the leads provided. In the process, the lead-to-customer close rate should also be steady, providing a good indicator of good lead quality and the ability to handle the necessary lead volume.
It’s all about data-based numbers. For example, if Sales feels lead flow has dropped, Marketing can provide numbers from previous months and base the discussion on tangible evidence, not feelings. On the other hand, Sales can provide lead data in the form of monthly leads worked percentage if Marketing thinks the effort isn’t there.
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Another way for holding the sales and marketing teams accountable is to create a sales level agreement (SLA). It can be used to clear up any confusion and reinforce the roles of each department in the entire lead generation process by defining the number of quality leads Marketing will deliver to Sales and how much of those leads will Sales work. Along with the optimal measure between the two sides, ideally, the SLA should also include where teams can find relevant information, and the definition of relevant terms (i.e. what qualifies a lead as a high-potential prospect).
Band together on the technology front
Data is the glue that holds smakerting together so it’s vital to create a single customer view. The best way to do it is by integrating your sales and marketing software such as your lead generation and tracking tools with CRM. The integration allows both sides to have a clear picture of all marketing and sales interactions your audience has with your business, creating a joint pool of valuable data both teams are free to use and improve their efforts. By having insights into the entire visitor-to-customer lifecycle, Sales can track the digital footprint of their leads to turn a cold into a warm one. As for Marketing, it receives a better understanding of how leads come to be and which ones are more likely to pan out as customers.
Communication is key for smarketing
A major cause of asymmetry between sales and marketing professionals is the absence of effective communication. Without professional and constructive communication between these two teams, any chance for a productive lead generation and making sales is slim at best. When based on factual data, communication in smarketing can provide constructive feedback each side can relate to each other. Marketing will have a better idea who to target while sales, in turn, will receive better leads. They’ll communicate on the ones who aren’t all that good and considerable time and money will be saved. That’s the idea of smarketing, now it’s up to you to make it happen.