Smarketing and Its Importance to Your Firm
Smarketing refers to the integration of the sales and marketing processes to reach a common business goal. According to a study by The Aberdeen Group in 2010, companies with strong alignment of sales and marketing has led an annual revenue growth of up to 20%.
Two Teams, One Goal
B2B companies like accounting firms usually have separate teams for sales and marketing, and these two teams don’t usually see eye to eye. But when you come to think of it, these teams are after the same goal – improve the company’s revenue.
It is important for the sales and marketing teams to have a regular joint meetings to update each other, i.e. marketing fills in sales on campaign activity or new info on products or services. This way, you can resolve issues as early as possible and discuss opportunities that may arise along the way. Having smarketing meetings also makes it easy for key managers of both teams to discuss the relevant data with the management.
Each team must identify and agree on who is responsible for which stages of the funnel (website visit, lead, marketing qualified lead, sales qualified lead, opportunity, sale). Remember that the marketing pipeline should be tied to sale quotas. This means that the marketing goal should work its way backwards from sales.
Sales Ready Lead
To make sure that both teams are on the same page, they need to agree on the characteristics of a sales ready lead. This is basically the combination of a great “fit” and high level of “interest.” If there is a fit but with low interest, marketing needs to nurture the lead. If there is a fit and great interest, sales needs to follow up quickly. Once the sales and marketing teams establish the definition of a sales ready lead and understand the ideal customer or buyer persona, the handoff process will run smoothly.
Why does the sales team complain about poor quality leads and marketing team grumble on weak follow-ups? Poor smarketing alignment. What these teams must do is to set up a closed loop reporting to keep tabs on particular prospects from the marketing stage through direct sales efforts. With closed loop reporting, the marketing team can send additional information to sales, and sales can provide immediate feedback to marketing thru reporting. It’s all about real-time updates for real-time improvement.
Service Level Agreement (SLA)
Once both teams hit it off, they should come up with a service level agreement or SLA that outlines each team’s commitment to each other – marketing commits to sales in terms of the number and quality of marketing qualified leads (MQLs), and sales commits to marketing in terms of the speed and depths of MQL follow-up. This ensures that there is a clear alignment between your teams in reaching your revenue goal.
Now that there are concrete data available, everything will be real-time and transparent. Having a common dashboard for marketing and sales lets each team rely on data, instead of emotions, when facing an issue. Through this dashboard, each team can track and communicate SLA progress daily.
The steady collaboration of sales and marketing, or smarketing entails team effort in order to minimize problems even before they arise. Incorporating smarketing into your organisation can help improve results and reach your overall business objectives.
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