- On September 23, 2020
Remember when sales and marketing departments only communicated to pass over leads?
Consider that mindset a relic of times bygone, a dusty old sarcophagus lost to the sands of time – for integrated sales & marketing is now a must in order to maximize conversions.
If you can bear the wordplay, ‘smarketing’ is the alignment between your sales and marketing departments, created through frequent, instantaneous communication between both parties. They work together like Batman and Robin (I’ll let you figure out who’s who) with the shared goal of increasing revenue.
As a vendor, you’ll know that B2B buying has changed; sales personnel once had full control over the information customers received. Fortunately (for the customer) this isn’t the case anymore – and hasn’t been for years. Customers can do their own research, read independent reviews, and see how competitor solutions stack up with relative ease. Digital advancements mean inbound marketing has gone from strength to strength over the past decade, with email nurturing, blogging, PPC & SEO attracting potential buyers. Thanks to this, around 60% of the buying cycle is complete before a sales rep gets involved.
Due to over half of the sales process depending on the efforts of the marketing team, it makes sense that sales and marketing should be joined at the hip to ensure leads convert. It’s just smart… keting. (sorry).
Smarketing: Where to Begin
Now you know the why, let’s talk about the how.
1. Make Collaboration Seamless
Sales operate through information shared by the marketing department, and the marketing department uses feedback from sales to generate relevant, high-quality content that draws in fresh leads. Your goal is to make these communications as quick, as easy and as frequent as they possibly can be.
In order to achieve this, all software tools and resources should be located in a place that’s accessible to all. Cloud-based storage is a must, with systems like Dropbox making collaboration and communication simple. Cloud-based communication and storage has the added benefit of allowing channel leaders to send important and time-sensitive documents with ease, ensuring the whole smarketing team is on the same page.
2. Speak the Same Language
No, I’m not saying everyone should speak French. I’m saying that terminology and phrasing should remain consistent between both parties.
Allow me to clarify – a ‘lead’ could mean different things to different departments. How qualified is this lead? What does it take to be classed as a lead? A lead is a generic term that would need to be further segmented in order to harbor value. By creating shared, more in-depth terminology, you’re ensuring both teams are on the same page and miscommunication is kept to an absolute minimum.
3. Optimize the Sales Funnel as a whole
An optimized sales funnel is terrific at generating sales. What’s more, it can help develop lead gen tactics too. When a funnel is operating efficiently, your marketing department can analyze the data to pinpoint exactly where prospects are dropping, and what content keeps them engaged/moving through the funnel.
In order to achieve this, both teams must fully understand the sales funnel, and it has to be highly accessible. Adding depth and nuance to your sales funnel is noble – as long as it’s not sacrificing readability or adding unnecessary hurdles.
4. Utilize Closed-Loop Feedback
Much akin to communication, teams should be able to report feedback effortlessly. Sales doesn’t always have time to record important detailed insights they receive from customers, so it’s vital feedback can be shared instantaneously and without hassle.
One way to minimize loss of customer feedback is by holding regular brainstorming sessions, where sales personnel can share what they know is resonating with your buyers whilst it’s fresh in their minds. A closed-loop feedback system ensures you’re taking the opportunity to leverage customer data, in order to give them more of what they want.
Sales and marketing departments are often caught up in rivalry, as both sides can fail to see how they benefit from the other. Whilst this isn’t always the case, it’s often best to assign managers to oversee their alignment.
Nobody likes change – but challenging times call for measures of efficiency to be implemented. After all, HubSpot reports that misalignment between marketing and sales departments cost B2B companies 10% in revenue or more each year.
Looking for a more hands-on approach to implement Smarketing and optimize your funnel? Don’t hesitate – we’re here to help. Click here for more information.