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Aligning Sales and Marketing with Smarketing

Peter Campbell
By Peter Campbell - May 17, 2016

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Sharing the responsibility of generating revenue for your company, Sales and Marketing are two departments that are often at odds with one another. Sales might be upset because they don’t feel like Marketing is providing them with enough quality leads. On the other hand, Marketing might be frustrated because they don’t feel like Sales is working hard to enough to follow up on the leads they do have. Out of this tension, a new discipline was born. It’s called Smarketing.

What is Smarketing?

“Smarketing” refers to the integration of your Sales and Marketing teams. In Smarketing, these two departments will work together towards common goals through steady communication and mutual accountability.

Smarketing is designed to eliminate inefficiencies in the way that your Marketing team and Sales team work together. The danger is that, without good communication, Sales and Marketing will waste time generating and pursuing unqualified leads. The implementation of Smarketing will not only eliminate this inefficiency, but, according to a recent study by the Aberdeen Group, boost revenue growth by an average of 20% per year. That’s nothing to sneeze at!

Defining Qualified Leads (MQLs vs. SQLs)

A Marketing Qualified Lead (or an MQL) is a visitor to your site that has engaged more intentionally with your content than a simple view or two. For example, they may have downloaded your eBook, or commented on an article you have posted. A Sales Qualified Lead (or an SQL) is when one of your visitors takes the first step towards doing business with you, perhaps simply by supplying their personal information to you. However, at a certain point, what passes as a qualified lead subjective. That’s why, in order for Smarketing to work, you first need to clearly define what MQLs and SQLs are, and are not.

The best way to define what passes as a qualified lead is to devise a system of lead scoring. In order to do this, you will need to…

  1.     Develop buyer personas.
  2.     Examine the corresponding buying cycles.
  3.     Define what characteristics make these buyers good prospects.
  4.     Assign numerical values to each characteristic depending on its importance.
  5.     Define the numerical threshold where leads become qualified.

From this point forward, it should be crystal clear to both Marketing and Sales what kind of leads they need to be pursuing. Next, you need to get them to work together.

Implementing Your Smarketing Agreement (SLA)

Once you have defined clear parameters for qualified leads, it’s time for action! Have your Marketing and Sales teams enter into a Service Level Agreement (or an SLA) so that there is quantifiable accountability between them. An SLA essentially promises that a certain level service will be provided by each party. So, in practice, what would this look like?

Your SMarketing SLA would go something like this:

  • Marketing is responsible for providing Sales with a certain number of leads every month.
  • Sales is responsible for pursuing a certain number of Marketing’s leads every month.
  • Progress is measured via the point system. Points should correspond to dollar values!
    • Sales earns points by closing more Sales. The point value of each sale will correspond to its dollar value.
    • Marketing earns points by generating more leads. The point value of each lead will correspond to how qualified the lead is.

It may take a couple months for you to workout the kinks in your SLA. However, once your period of troubleshooting is over, your Sales and Marketing teams will have quantifiable obligations to one another. If both teams fulfill their side of the SLA, there shouldn’t be any conflict between them.

Accountability + Communication + Integration

Throughout this entire process, it’s important to foster an environment of clear accountability and open communication. If there is bad blood between Marketing and Sales, those grievances need to be aired. However, it’s important that these grievances are backed up with hard data. Numbers are always impartial, so using data to validate or nullify complaints between Marketing and Sales will be an effective system of conflict resolution.

As you begin to implement your Smarketing strategy, it will be useful to hold weekly meetings between Sales and Marketing. Do everything you can to unite these two teams in pursuit of common goals. Celebrate big Smarketing wins! Use encouraging visuals aids to each team’s track progress week-to-week or month-to-month!

You should also begin the process of integrating your sales software with your marketing software. Implementing this sort of closed loop integration will give you new insight into what turns visitors into customers. Both your Marketing team and your Sales team can benefit from this information. Use it to help them work more effectively, and exceed their SLA goals each month.

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