When I want to buy something, I go onto Google. I'm sure you do too...
I look at relevant websites, read what people are saying about the product and what possible alternatives there are out there. This is what today’s sales cycle is like.
Sam Mallikarjunan, Principal Marketing Strategist at HubSpot, stated that 60% of the Sales cycle is over before a sales rep even comes in the picture.
The term "smarketing" refers to alignment between your sales and marketing teams created through frequent and direct communication between the two.
The goal is to have measurable goals that each team agrees to hit so there's mutual accountability. For instance, Marketing might have a mutually agreed upon leads SLA (service level agreement) to hit, and Sales must agree to follow up with a certain amount of those leads.
Smarketing goals should be made together and re-evaluated every month to identify opportunities for improvement on both teams.
There can be a lot of contention between Marketing and Sales teams, but studies show that companies with Sales and Marketing alignment can generate over 2x more revenue.
Speak the same language
If both teams aren’t speaking the same language, you won’t be able to communicate effectively.
What do you call a visitor to your site? What do you call someone that signs up for your blog? How about someone who has shown interest in your product and your service? How about someone who has spoken with sales, but wasn’t quite ready to make a purchase?
Gather a list of all the different terms that your Sales and Marketing teams are using and definitive means for each one.
Whose responsibility? Now let’s make sure someone is held accountable for them. Come to a fair agreement of where in the buyer’s journey a prospect will transition from a Marketing responsibility to that of Sales.
The idea is that leads should be handed from Marketing to Sales at a calculated point, not only “when it feels right.” For example, here at Hart Design a visitor becomes Marketing Qualified when they subscribe to our blog. They are marketing's responsibility to help. Once a qualified Marketing Lead starts looking at our About Us page or fills out a consultation request they become a Sales Qualified Lead.
Situations may arise where a “sales-ready” lead doesn’t turn out to be as ready as everyone thought. Once you have the responsibilities mapped out, it will be easy to see how this lead would get passed back down to Marketing.
Define what a “good-fit” client is;
“All the leads that I get from Marketing aren’t qualified!” “Sales never follows up on my leads!”
Do these sound familiar? Well let’s fix that by defining what a “good-fit” client is. Not only will this allow Marketing to focus their content creation efforts on the right people, but it will ensure that the leads that make it to sales are qualified and worth their time.
When defining think about who your best clients are: what makes them great and what made your relationship successful? On the other hand, think about the relationships that didn’t work out: what made that happen?
Create open lines of communication
Hold weekly meetings. Why don’t we put these people in the same room once a week? It may sound a scene from Office Space, but I can assure you it will be helpful. Have a conversation about how each team’s goals are affecting the other. Use it as an opportunity for Sales and Marketing to get to know how much work each other are doing.
Encourage Sales and Marketing to share suggestions. Sales and Marketing teams often have valuable insight into each other's processes, but if that information never leaves their department, it’s not much use.
Create a venue for these suggestions to be shared. For example, part of a good sales process is uncovering what is stopping prospects from achieving their goals.
Sale teams can leverage Marketing’s insight into buyer habits to better understand what drives these prospects.
Make an agreement
Create a Service Level Agreement (SLA) You have a plan, make people responsible for their part in it. A service level agreement will make Marketing and Sales’ responsibilities to each clear. To quote HubSpot, “Establishing a Marketing-Sales service level agreement (SLA) leads to higher ROI. The presence of an SLA also correlates with budget and staff increases.”
A great start is deciding on how many qualified leads Marketing will deliver to Sales, and how quickly and intently Sales will follow up on these leads. These responsibilities can serve as a jumping point for your weekly meetings.
Reward Sales and Marketing as one. The SLA is just a document. If it isn’t upheld, it doesn’t mean much. You want your Marketing and Sales teams to understand they are just parts of something larger, and they should work together towards the company goals and budgets.
The best way to do this? Reward them as one. If both teams uphold their side of the SLA, reward them, but if one team falls short, make sure that everyone shares the blame.
Make everything transparent
Create a dashboard. You want all your information to be openly visible between both teams and frequently updated.
The best way to do this is to put it in one central location (HubSpot makes this super easy!). Not only will this keep both teams honest and on-track, but it is also a great way to see how your new Smarketing team is performing.
Ok, now what? Your Sales and Marketing teams are no longer exchanging dirty looks, everyone is hitting their new goals, and all around, your prospects are enjoying a better sales process.
Hubspot's 6 step process to implement smarketing
Have a regular smarketing meeting to align goals.Hold regular meetings for both teams to present what they’re doing and give feedback on what’s working and what’s not.
Agree on an SLA that relates to revenue and quota.Tie as many marketing activities back to sales as possible. How is this marketing activity helping reps sell more?
Agree on an SLA about activity.Sales reps should report on how they’re working on the generated leads and be clear on reasons for rejecting any of them.
Measure the entire funnel.Find out where opportunities for leverage are. See how you can lower lead acquisition costs or increase conversion rates.
Invest in sales enablement.Use tools that facilitate communication and reporting between marketing and sales teams.
Respect the customer lifecycle.Customize marketing and sales communication based on what the customer’s interested in and where they are in the buying cycle.
We’ve implemented a similar process at Hart Design, an Inbound Marketing NZ company and since aligning our marketing and sales teams, we’ve tripled our MRR in one year.