A couple years ago, HubSpot coined a new word: smarketing. It’s a combination of the words sales and marketing and it is endlessly fun to inject into any conversation — yet very difficult to take seriously. Sorry, Hubspot, but it just sounds obnoxious. For employees working in sales and marketing, however, understanding the concept behind this ridiculous phrase can provide valuable insight into improving cohesion and increasing revenue — as much as 20%!
Sales and marketing have had a notoriously rocky relationship.
“You send us the worst leads!” Sales professionals will say to their marketing teams.
“It’s not our fault you can’t close any deals. Your jobs aren’t that hard.” The marketing team retorts.
“Maybe if you didn’t spend so much time on social media and more time giving us good leads, we could do our jobs.”
“Maybe if you fully understood what you’re even trying to sell, you wouldn’t suck so much.” In marriages, this kind of negative back and forth is called the crazy cycle and it certainly applies here. If sales and marketing are going to make this relationship work, they are going to have to start doing things differently. Any good relationship has reciprocation and cooperation, and that’s what these guys need too. But, how?
How to SMark
What do sales and marketing want from each other? If the answers that come from sales and marketing are different, then they are not aligned for success.
The marriage of sales and marketing, like any marriage, will require several important milestones. Eloping may seem like the simplest and fastest way to achieve your goals, but don’t do it. Spur of the moment decisions never pan out, and no couple ever solved their problems by jumping into a situation they weren’t prepared for. Instead, follow these steps to build a strong relationship that can pass the stress test.
Like engagement, the first step of Smarketing is agreeing on the foundation of the relationship. Common definitions of terms and practices should be shared by both parties. Buyer personas, messaging and lead qualifications should be agreed on prior to anything else.
Sales teams often complain that marketers do not provide the good leads they need to do their job successfully. Clarifying the definition of a good lead can eliminate this particular issue. Like communication in marriage, there can never be too much clarification.
Each company will have their own unique obstacles to achieving Smarketing alignment, but the more specific both sides are in defining their needs, the better partners they will be to one another.
After sales and marketing have built a strong foundation, they need to make a commitment to one another. Creating a joint strategy together can protect the relationship from potential breakups in the future. This commitment should come in the form of service level agreements (SLAs).
Again, these vows are particular to the company and the roles marketing and sales have agreed upon but, generally speaking, these vows should concern the care of something both sides value, such as leads. For instance, marketing vows to give sales X number of quality leads per month, sales vows to contact those leads in X amount of time and follow up with marketing and both have one revenue target. An important feature of SLAs is that when marketing and sales have a joint strategy in place, it reduces the need of the two to compete against another.
Making a commitment like the one stated above, on the other hand, encourages collaboration and accountability.
After the Honeymoon
That feeling of satisfaction and delight doesn’t last long after the SLA has been put into place, and soon, reality sets in. It isn’t just an idea anymore; the guidelines of the SLA have to be implemented, now, and this may be the hardest part.
During this time, it’s important that both sides be honest and transparent with each other. If marketing feels its contributions are being under-appreciated and if sales feels the leads they were given were not good enough, this needs to be addressed, preferably on a daily basis.
Marketers need to know what delivers the best leads and sales needs to know how leads get to them in the first place so they can offer better insights. It’s also not as easy to measure the success of a good marketing strategy like it is to measure the success of a good sales strategy. Sales might start thinking that marketing is just there to support them, but they are independent parties working together for a common goal. Regular, transparent communication will help them come to this conclusion. Like the saying goes: a couple that shares data stays together. Am I right?
Every relationship is a journey and one as complex and important as sales and marketing will always require hard work and patience. Coming back every month or so to reaffirm their commitment to each other and remember what they’re fighting for — company revenue growth — is important to the success of any smarketing strategy. This reaffirmation ceremony also provides an opportunity for everybody to celebrate what their teamwork has accomplished.
Does sales understand the job of marketers better now? Does marketing receive feedback on what generates the best leads now? Do they appreciate each other’s contributions now? If the answer’s yes to questions like these, then smarketing, no matter how infuriating the word may be, has been a success.
Looking for someone to officiate this marriage? Brandcave is ordained in inbound marketing and would love to help you align your marketing and sales strategies. Give us a call.