‘Smarketing.’ It’s not the nicest example of a portmanteau out there. There are others that manage to effectively and more nicely capture a two-word concept into one, from the now mundane ‘brunch’ or ‘internet’ to the entertaining ‘craptacular’. But craptacular term aside, the concept behind ‘smarketing’ - having sales and marketing working together - is great, and is one that business and agencies really should be familiar with and practising.
It would seem to be plain common sense, but there are so many businesses out there that do not operate with this interdependency at the heart of their sales and marketing campaigns, so to give a simple answer to the question of whether smarketing can help achieve your digital marketing goals: Yes, it most definitely can.
It’s true that the sales and marketing teams can appear like an old couple, weary of each other’s company and apparent failures, but reluctantly accepting they would be lost without each other. That sometimes volatile relationship can, and should be, changed, as this entertaining blog from Cisco explains.
The important thing to remember on both sides is that the end goal for each is the same: profit. With that in mind, it makes sense for each department to work together for a mutually beneficial result, so sales and marketing become ‘smarketing’.
The sales team wants more qualified leads to convert into customers, and the marketing team needs to provide the sales team with these through effective content that engages with the consumer. The marketing team needs to know what is bringing in customers, so they can better tailor their content accordingly. So, both need the input and open communication of the other, and smarketing is about the integration and coordination of both teams to create a comprehensive sales and marketing strategy that will generate and convert leads. That means better ROI, more customers, and more profit.
In a previous blog, we made the analogy of a football team, where the midfield and striker need to work in unison to, literally, achieve their goals. The midfield supplies the chances for the striker to convert, and in doing so, the striker brings in the much-needed success that allows the midfield to improve further, while both parts of the team should also, meanwhile, be able to inform the other of what is working, what is not, and why.
Just as a football team with a short and pacey striker won’t succeed if the midfield keeps firing high crosses into the box for him, the sales team won’t close anything if they are given the wrong ammunition, or if the build-up hasn’t led to a proper goal-scoring opportunity. But that information needs to be relayed so better chances can be created.
Working together towards a common goal just makes business sense, but how do you go about aligning your sales and marketing departments without seeing hair flying? After all, they don’t often see eye to eye, and this can get worse if tasks and duties overlap, so setting down an agreed workflow is important.
First off, you need to have a clear positioning strategy that all team members are familiar with, that includes your buyer persona, how they are engaged with and which channels they are engaged through. From this, a thorough marketing campaign can be built, and this should also include closed loop reporting, in which all data from the campaign is communicated to the marketing team – every lead, every customer, every bit of revenue generated from the content created – so they can better understand the lead sources that work.
For the marketing team, the benefits of closed loop reporting include:
- Up to date info on and status of leads
- Knowing what content is working well
- Better results, which means better ROI
For the sales team, the benefits include:
- Avoiding lead duplication
- Prioritisation of leads
- Increasing close rate and ROI
Avoid any doubt or confusion over how many leads need to be generated or how far a lead is pursued by sales with a Service Level Agreement that outlines the KPIs for each team, and keep those lines of communication open.
For instance, you need to set out agreed goals for each department, asking the following:
- What does the business need as a bottom line?
- What is the Average Customer Value?
- What is the length of the sales cycle?
- What close rate do you need to aim for?
- What is the current lead value?
Then you need to map out a process determining how many leads you need to generate and convert to reach your targets.
If you have 10,000 visits to your content, and 0.01% of those turn into leads, that gives you 100 leads. If 10% of these have a chance of closing as sales, you have ten sales. If each closes at a value of €10,000, your benchmark is €100,000.
The traditional impasse that occurs is that the sales team think the leads they are given are no good, while the marketing team feels aggrieved that they have worked hard to generate leads, only for the sales team to not pursue them properly.
This is why, as this slideshare from HubSpot shows, it is also important to use the data that comes from your efforts so you can determine the type of content that will help to attract and qualify leads, and both departments need to be on the same page when it comes to devising a strategy that will lead consumers down the conversion path.
The basic roles for the marketing and sales teams should of course remain the same. Marketers need to attract website traffic with great content that is SEO ready and gives a positive user experience, nurturing leads through a series of blogs, downloads, emails, etc, until they are ready to be approached by the sales team.
The sales team needs to sell – it’s that simple – but your online content and in particular your website, which is itself your number one salesperson, needs the input of all team members to make sure it is a growth-driven business asset. Also, as mentioned, the sales team needs to report back to marketing on the successes they have and the challenges they face. Are leads still not ready to make a purchasing decision by the end of the marketing cycle? If so, both teams need to look at what else can be done to push them towards that final step, or how the content can be tailored to better engage with the consumer or lead.
If something doesn’t work, it is of no use to start pointing fingers. Instead, those trusty lines of communication need to be used to work together to find out why things are not going to plan, what step of the buyer journey is proving to be weak, and what both sides can do to improve this.
After all, you are in the same boat, and you all need your strategies to work in order to bring in the sales that will keep the business afloat.
A successful sales and marketing strategy is all about lead generation and conversion. Find out how you can improve your strategy by downloading our Lead Generation Survival Kit.