The term Smarketing (Sales + Marketing = Smarketing) has been around for several years now. Basically, it’s the process of integrating sales and marketing so that both departments have a common approach and shared objectives.
It isn’t just a buzz word. Companies that have adopted this approach have reported a growth in their revenue numbers as a direct result of Smarketing (sometimes into double figures). In addition, organisations with tightly aligned sales and marketing functions enjoy around 36% higher customer retention rates and 38% higher sales win rates.
If organisations are managing the two departments as separate entities, which is often the case, they are missing out. Keeping the two entities separate leads to sales and marketing perceiving each other in negative light, i.e. sales being egoistic and marketing colouring in things! In fact, a Corporate Executive Board Survey found that 87% of the terms sales and marketing used to describe each other are negative.
Of course, the reality is that sales and marketing, split or combined, are actually working on the same process – they are both contributing to driving revenue for the company. So how can you gain the benefit of Smarketing and develop a more harmonious and profitable environment? Here are my top six tips:
Get executive buy-in
Just like any other initiative in the organisation, if combining sales and marketing does not have executive sponsorship it will fail.
Align the teams
Clearly, without objectives, targets and service level agreements that are aligned sales and marketing will never work closely together. But don’t forget incentive schemes and bonuses as well. A sales force that is purely rewarded on orders, for example, is unlikely to want to expend effort on account management or prospecting.
As well as common goals and targets, regular communication is vital. It enables sales and marketing teams to review each other’s progress, understand where things are going well and refine strategies and tactics when plans are faltering.
Clearly document plans and processes
Clearly documented plans and processes, including campaign objectives and roles and responsibilities, help to keep both teams informed and activities on track. Before deploying a new marketing campaign at LexisNexis Enterprise Solutions, for example, we document all the necessary information and circulate it around the sales and marketing teams for review and comments. Each stakeholder (including Sales) then knows exactly what is expected of them and by when to ensure timely progress. Publishing everyone’s roles and responsibilities helps to make each member of the team accountable to the whole team and not just marketing.
Work together on projects and proposals
Typically, RFPs, RFQs and tenders are the domain of the sales organisation. However, marketing can often provide valuable market and industry insights that can help make the documents more relevant to customers.
Use one, up-to- date CRM system
Having one CRM system that everyone uses to track marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and sales qualified leads (SQL) through the various sales stages helps both teams understand the progress that is being made and where action is needed.
In addition, analysing the data in the CRM system can deliver valuable insights into winning sales strategies in the past – and the reasons for failures - that can be used to drive future success.
Isn’t it time you integrated your sales and marketing teams? Let’s get Smarketing.