Smarketing: How to Align Your Sales and Marketing Teams
For organizations to function like a well-oiled machine, every department must work together to achieve common goals. But in the case of the sales and marketing departments, the reality on the ground is far different.
Reports show that 25% of companies know that their sales and marketing teams are either misaligned or rarely aligned. But that’s not all. Studies also show that even though 61% of marketers send all their leads to sales, only 27% of those leads end up being qualified. So, the two departments, which should be working together to increase your business revenue, are usually at cross purposes. And that is where smarketing comes in.
What is Smarketing?
Smarketing is the process of aligning your company sales and marketing teams. It involves the integration of the sales and marketing processes of your business to improve business revenues. When done right, smarketing can do wonders for your company’s bottom line.
Here are a few statistics to ponder on:
- Organizations that implement smarketing are 67% more effective at closing their deals.
- Businesses with aligned sales and marketing processes will increase their customer retention rates by 36%. Also, smarketing increases sales win rates by 38%.
- 56% of companies that implement smarketing will hit their revenue goals while an additional 19% will surpass those goals.
- Companies that strongly align their sales and marketing functions will achieve an annual growth rate of 20%.
Therefore, if you want to keep your customers and increase your business revenues, you have to align your sales and marketing processes. But how should you go about it?
How to Align Your Sales and Marketing Teams
Different companies use different approaches to align sales and marketing processes. But there are conventional approaches that all companies can benefit from. Here are several ways that you can implement smarketing within your organization:
1. Create interdependent and measurable goals
Your sales and marketing departments need to understand that they are all on the same team. Everyone needs to remember that they all work for the same organization. They should share the same revenue goals. That is why both departments need to align their processes by creating interdependent and measurable goals.
Both the sales and marketing professionals in your organization must agree on what they can achieve together. They need to speak the same language throughout. Then they can set up a way to measure the progress of their goals.
2. Create and Implement a Service Level Agreement
A Service Level Agreement (SLA) is a formal agreement that can be made by both the sales and marketing teams. This agreement defines what each department is committing to do to support their counterparts in achieving their shared revenue goals. It comes after both departments have sat down and agreed upon the measurable goals that will benefit the company and increase revenue. It is the SLA that will solidify the interdependent goals that your sales and marketing teams come up with in the end.
The kind of SLA that both the sales and marketing teams develop depends on what works for your business. But it must be multi-directional – from the sales to the marketing department and vice versa. They could choose to agree on a specific number of leads qualified and followed up on each month. For example, if the marketing team agrees to generate an X number of qualified leads each month, then the sales team can decide to make Y attempts in a specified period to engage those leads to prevent wastage.
Or it could involve an agreed-upon sales quota that is tied to the marketing timeline. For example, if the shared revenue goal is $100,000, and the average deal size is $1000, then the sales team must commit to convincing 100 leads to buy. But if the conversion rate is 50% between stages of the sales funnel, it means that both departments must qualify twice as many leads for the sales team to engage at every stage. That means the sales team must have access to 200 opportunities, 400 sales qualified leads (SQLs), and 800 marketing qualified leads (MQLs).
Smarketing can also be implemented based on the content created and generated and the terms used to appeal to leads at each stage of the sales funnel. But the more specific the smarketing SLA is, the more efficient your business will be at ensuring your alignment efforts bear fruit.
3. Improve communication between the sales and marketing departments
It is not enough for your sales and marketing teams to sit down and agree to create interdependent goals. They need to communicate clearly and very often. Without clear lines of communication, misunderstandings will arise. And your company’s efforts to implement smarketing will fail.
Communication starts right at the beginning – by defining what qualified leads are. Only 50% of companies have a formal definition of what a qualified lead is. Both sales and marketing teams need to continue communicating about the company leads at each stage. Communication should involve honest feedback, given frequently.
The clearer the lines of communication, the better the smarketing implementation will be. The sales team can help the marketing team refine its efforts so that they can generate more qualified leads through its feedback.
If at any point, the potential buyer preferences change, who better to know than the salespeople that deal directly with the target audience? In return, the more qualified leads the sales teams have, the more likely they are to close the deal. And that provides a win-win situation for both departments.
4. Incentives based on shared marketing and sales goals
It would be prudent to offer financial and other kinds of incentives. But rather than offer these incentives to individual departments, you can offer them based on shared marketing and sales goals. Doing so will act as motivation to everyone within the two departments. It would inspire them to work harder together to ensure that they generate more revenue for your business.
5. Enhanced inter-departmental visibility within a closed-loop reporting environment
You need to have a closed-loop shared reporting environment. This is where feedback is shared between the sales and marketing departments in both directions. It ensures the lines of communication stay clear and enhances visibility across the marketing and sales department.
Any organization that intends to implement smarketing successfully must provide a common platform for both sales and marketing teams to share data and information. This may require using sales and marketing automation software. Such software should produce shared reporting dashboards that relevant groups can access to determine the progress of their collective efforts.
The sales and marketing departments can use them to track joint KPIs. It also helps to have a shared messaging platform for both departments to communicate better. Then each team can decide on the best course of action depending on the sales level agreement that everyone agreed upon.
For example, if the marketing department generated leads by creating content like case studies or whitepapers, they can then qualify those leads based on the decision-making abilities of each contact.
Through a shared CRM, messaging, and reporting platform, the sales teams, can then contact those marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and determine the best opportunities available for generating sales. They can then contact these leads several times to try and close the deal. Later on, the salespeople can share feedback with their marketing counterparts concerning each lead, how close they were to buying, their behavior, etc.