Smarketing: Why Sales and Marketing Should be Friends

Sales and marketing need to be friends

It’s good to have friends. It’s even better if those friends mean you can enjoy exciting new experiences. Like business success. Because ultimately that relationship between sales and marketing could be the difference between achieving your business goals, or languishing in the limbo of a damning departmental disconnect.

As a marketing company in Malaysia with extensive experience of the digital realm, we’re here to tell you that this style of business marketing is more important than ever. As inbound marketing continues to drive business leads, organisations need to increasingly look to cross-functional teams that work in partnership to unlock business value.

Oh, and it’s got a name. The name is terrible – it’s called smarketing.

So, smarketing?

Yes, smarketing. We’re not happy about it either, but it makes sense. What makes even more sense is understanding the reasons, and the results, that underpin the argument for true collaboration between sales and marketing.

With the evolution in the business landscape brought on by connectivity and digital platforms, it’s essential to align your marketing and sales efforts. Whatever your marketing niches, it doesn’t matter if you work in service marketing or the latest in trendy travel experiences, that connection between marketing and sales is crucial.

How do you gain the benefits of advertising if you don’t know how to turn that particular avenue into a sale? Consider a social-driven advertising campaign on Facebook. It’s more than likely that your marketing team will be responsible for leading those efforts. So what do you do with the leads?

It’s not just the limited scope of social advertising where this opportunity resides. With the growing focus on content marketing and inbound marketing to tease and attract business leads, your marketing team is going to be a gatekeeper of an increasingly potent list of potential customers.

So how do you expect to transfer a potential lead into a sale without communicating with the team who have the greatest experience with selling? That’s the kind of disconnect that smarketing is built to address.

You need to align sales and marketing

As the share of digital leads a business receives grows, so too does the potential lost value from a disconnect between your sales and marketing teams. Research conducted by LinkedIn revealed that 60% of global sales and marketing professionals thought that the misalignment of these two functions can negatively impact financial performance.

This communication isn’t just one-way traffic. In a properly aligned organisation, your sales team should be operating from customer information provided by your marketing department, while your marketing department should leverage the sales team’s extensive experience to create powerful content that contributes to your customers’ journeys.

Marketing in particular has seen a huge growth in accessible sales data over recent years. Facebook’s audience analytics and Google Analytics are just two examples of powerful data sources which could offer huge value to your sales team. Meanwhile, as the focus on content creation grows, your marketing team are increasingly reliant on the unique insight which your sales professionals can offer.

Tools to support smarketing collaboration

Ensuring your sales and marketing team have the tools to collaborate should be a vital business priority. Thankfully there are some very powerful digital tools out there today to provide the foundation to that future partnership.

Slack: Slack is a cloud-based team messaging and collaboration tool that can greatly enhance your business operations. Its simple functionality allows you to build channels that not only improve operational communications, but can help enhance general teamwork throughout your business.

Google Drive: Google Drive provides another cloud-based software solution to support smarketing collaboration, helping you store, share and collaborate on files throughout your organisation. Alongside the ability to share files, the simple word processor, spreadsheet and presentation tools offer all you need to ensure sales and marketing can work in partnership.

Dropbox: Dropbox provides another simple file-sharing tool to use without the need for a Google account, providing a limited amount of cloud-based storage that enables teams to easily share key files and allow business-wide oversight.

There are a huge range of other messaging platforms, file-sharing apps and collaborative tools out there for you to explore. The important thing is that you support adoption to enable the greatest positive collaboration.

It’s not just digital, it’s cultural

Like any true business transformation, success is determined as much by the cultural change as the digital tools which enable it.

There are a range of ways you can ensure your sales and marketing team can work together. Don’t be afraid to fall back on the tried and tested ‘spending some time together’. It won’t surprise you to know that having a positive relationship is the foundation of successful collaboration. Why not try spending time working in each other’s teams to understand the challenges and opportunities that you share.

Speaking the right language is another simple but important step. Make sure your terminology aligns. There’s no point talking about the QC of your QLs in your TMA if the other team are just sitting, scratching their heads, wondering where all the extra letters went. Build a consistent use of terminology that means everyone is operating on the same page.

Share the funnel

Everyone loves a good marketing and sales funnel. You’ll see increasingly conflicting reports on just where responsibility lies throughout this funnel in the modern business landscape, but the truth is both marketing and sales should be committed to its success. That means working together at both ends of the funnel.

A study by Marketo and MathMarketing across 500 organisations discovered that companies with better sales and marketing alignment had a 67% higher probability that marketing-generated leads would close, and a 209% stronger contribution to revenue from leads generated by marketing.

Marketing is almost certainly going to drive the conversation when it comes to elements like awareness and consideration, and sales will be pushing forward to turn those qualified leads towards qualified sales success when it comes to conversion, but that doesn’t make those areas of the funnel mutually exclusive. There is no defined point in the modern marketing funnel where you can designate a ‘handover’ from marketing to sales.

In an ideal smarketing world, both teams should be collaborating and supporting each other through every part of the customer journey, from awareness through consideration to conversion. The evidence is clear – organisations with better sales and marketing alignment are benefiting from greater financial success.

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