Sales and marketing are the pillars of a business. They feed into each other and keep a business alive. When sales and marketing align within a company, it makes great things happen.
That is Smarketing!
Want to know “what is Smarketing definition”?
Smarketing is a way of fusing your sales and marketing divisions to work in alignment. It aims at building closer coordination between teams through transparent communication and interwoven processes.
But what happens when they are disjointed? The sales pipeline develops cracks through which leads and customers trickle out.
Marketo research found that if sales and marketing teams are hands in glove, the lead closing rate improves by 67% and lead acceptance by 108%. In terms of revenue from marketing-generated leads, you can see an increase of 208%.
Are you excited to know more about smarketing? Read on.
What is Smarketing?
Wanna know what is Smarketing?
“Smarketing” is a portmanteau made of two words- Sales and Marketing. It refers to a specific strategy in which sales and marketing teams can closely align for an integrated and collaborative approach.
The objective of both teams is to build a strong relationship depending on the shared business goals and a unified strategy for reaching out to them.
It is achieved through several steps, including closed-loop reporting and joint team meetings.
Smarketing doesn’t mean creating a new department or hiring new people. It is just a concerted effort to bring your sales and marketing teams on the same page to communicate and collaborate better.
In 2010 study showed that companies with solid and integrated Sales and Marketing functions achieved an approximate 20% annual revenue growth.
And the marketing companies discovered that companies adopting the Smarketing approach gained a 36% higher customer retention rate and 38% more sales conversion.
Why is Smarketing Important?
Traditionally, sales and marketing are considered sole purposes with different goals. But in truth, they should work in tandem since their common target is to increase revenue for the company. Businesses can achieve better alignment between the two if they are combined.
Here’s why Smarketing is a smart thing:
Buyers Have Become Less Accessible
New-age customers educate themselves and rely on recommendations, referrals, and self-discovery to identify brands they want to engage with.
A Forrester research found that customers read 11.4 pieces of content before approaching a seller. They don’t trust brands as much as they did.
Hence, all forms of self-promotion and disruptive advertising are being shunned. If sales and marketing teams don’t collaborate end-to-end, this new buyer breed will remain an enigma for brands.
According to Gartner, the sellers’ influence on customers’ buying journey decreases. B2B buyers spend only 17% of their time interacting with vendors.
This is because a spate of product information is available on the Internet, which buyers use for product discovery and research. Customers don’t feel the need to consult sales reps.
So sellers have a narrow window of opportunity in which they need to impact a customer’s purchase decision. If the combined power of smarketing is unleashed in this sweet spot, the chances of making a sale are strong.
Buying decisions have become hard
A typical B2B buyer group involves six to 10 decision-makers, starting from the executive to the C-suite. They gather information about products, vendors, and buying options (which are burgeoning every minute) by independent research. Often, they work at cross-purposes and find it challenging to arrive at a mutually satisfying decision.
77% of B2B customers claim their last buy was challenging. 90% of them say they have to back-track and revisit past decisions at least once to arrive at a final answer. The entire process becomes time-consuming and inefficient.
By adopting smarketing, brands can give a consistent message to buyers, which can make their buying decision a no-brainer. Customers are more likely to trust such brands and return for high-value purchases.
Smarketing improves customer experience. Once both teams work together, the customers receive the proper communication at the right time. With a perfect understanding of the goals and team collaboration, your marketers will be able to focus on the right place and pull the qualified leads.
How do you align sales and marketing?
The alignment of sales and marketing improves sales conversion and boosts lead generation and targeting. Better productivity will keep your customer-facing teams motivated. Since happy employees produce happy customers, smarketing will be a win-win.
We have compiled five simple steps to give you a head start on smarketing.
Perform a tools audit
You need to take a deep look at tools and systems that your sales and marketing teams are using individually or jointly. Try to answer the following questions:
- Are they using disparate systems that don’t give them a transparent look into what the other team is doing?
- Is a lot of manual effort wasted in migrating data from one tool to another? What is the leak percentage?
- How well-fused are your sales and marketing pipelines?
If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, you will need to invest in a few collaborative tools, including a CRM, a project management solution, and a unified dashboard.
Your processes will become transparent, reporting more accessible, and minimize human errors by employing these automated tools.
Educate co-dependent teams
While your sales and marketing teams might be experts in their domain, how well do they understand the roles and challenges of the other team?
Are they willing to cooperate and support one another?
Often, marketing teams will turn over half-baked leads to sales. Since the leads are not sales-ready, they fizzle out, and the sales team is left dejected.
Similarly, sales folks can put up unrealistic targets for marketers. Again, this has no productive output, and a general feeling of discontent is created.
To avoid these issues, act proactively and educate co-dependent teams. Have a joint team meet and imbibe a culture of sharing in your company.
Once smarketing teams understand that they complement each other, you can hope for a better working relationship and outcome.
Who will make strategic decisions if sales and marketing are rolled into one? Who will be accountable for the team’s performance?
To maintain working order in this new regime, you will have to define leaders.
- Aligned management: The leaders from constituent teams will jointly collaborate and build a new strategy. They will govern members in their respective teams and work towards achieving the new goals. Most practitioners of smarketing follow this form of leadership since it doesn’t result in reshuffling or rehiring hassles.
- Combined management: The original teams are disbanded, and a single smarketing team is created with select members or new hires. A leader is appointed for the restructured team. This kind of overhauling involves additional hiring, attrition, and training costs.
Whatever option you choose, secure your management’s buy-in since you require their ongoing support and cooperation.
Gain clarity on technicalities
Do your teams follow the exact same definition of the ideal buyer persona?
Are the milestones in the buyer journey clearly etched in their minds?
What is the end goal of a campaign?
What metrics matter?
These questions need to be tackled at the outset if you want your smarketing experiment to be a success. You also need to define terms and benchmarks for your teams.
Two common terms used concerning the sales funnel Marketing-Qualified Leads (MQL) and sales-qualified leads (SQL).
These are the touchpoints where a lead/prospect/customer is handed over to the next stage in the buyer journey. They are also critical metrics for any sales funnel.
MQL leads are more qualified to become a customer than other leads. Intelligence and analytics tools play a crucial role in identifying MQLs.
SQL is a prospect deemed ready for the next stage in the buyer journey. This is based on an evaluation by both marketing and sales teams.
MQL and SQL and their transition rate are the lifeblood of a smarketing team. Conflicts are bound to happen if sales and marketing teams are not on the same page regarding their definitions.
Have stringent handoffs
In a smarketing ecosystem, a strict handoff policy can help eliminate finger-pointing when the numbers are dipping. It will also ensure that everybody is on the same page and knows how to proceed.
Here are some concerns about handoffs: How will handoff happen- CRM or email or instant message? What protocol is to be followed? Who is culpable if an issue is escalated? What is the TAT for various tasks?
You can reduce missed deadlines and cap lost leads if you engrain a handoff culture in your company.
Smarketing is not complex. If you understand the rationale behind it, you will be able to develop innovative ways of smarketing yourself. The key is to keep your sales and marketing teams close and personal- the rest will follow.