The trick to unifying sales and marketing departments resides in good, old-fashioned communication. Now, sales and marketing departments can use state-of-the-art methods to facilitate that communication. By bringing good leadership principles together with top tech, your company can turn your sales and marketing efforts into smarketing.
Turning Sales and Marketing into Smarketing
Integrating sales and marketing systems creates a “smarketing” approach to business. Whether they are separated into two departments or positioned under one executive, their functions always overlap. Ideally, as marketers promote products or services to prospective buyers, sales people close deals quickly.
Steve Olenski writes in Forbes about 5 Places Sales and Marketing Can Collaborate in 2018. His suggestions include the following tips:
– Compare information on Buyer Personas to actual customers.
– Facilitate a faster feedback loop.
– Develop better content by agreeing on themes.
– Format proposals and agreements to save time.
– Analyze results together.
In a practical sense, there are several steps businesses can take to make this collaboration a part of both teams’ daily activities. By integrating each of the practices below, you can facilitate better communication between sales and marketing.
Establish Regular Meetings
Don’t relegate data to an easily-deleted email. Set regular meetings to review the information and explore areas for improvement. These meetings should challenge participants and force discussion.
After the meeting, both departments can work on their assignments and report back on completion. If any challenges or questions arise, participants should bring up concerns quickly. With this approach, both sales and marketing can align their efforts for maximum impact.
Remove Redundancies and Fill Gaps
Unfortunately, gaps and redundancies plague sales and marketing departments because they are so closely aligned. For example, both departments may be generating similar content to reach prospective customers, or there may be important areas that both departments are missing. An analysis of each team’s activities might reveal a need to reorganize responsibilities to best align with each teams’ strengths. Then, they can both focus on their tasks without redundancies or gaps.
Integrate Your Software
With so many options available, businesses must find a software that integrates the core systems of sales and marketing. Otherwise, communication breaks down between the transition of marketing qualified leads to the sales team, and feedback on lead quality can become lost or skewed.
Closed-loop reporting ensures that the sales and marketing departments are on the same page, allowing for an endless cycle of feedback and information to be shared. Smarketing streamlines the information cycle, so both departments save time and money. So, using a CRM and automation software that links sales and marketing is a solid long term investment.
Measure Results Consistently
While most organizations talk about data, few measure results consistently across sales and marketing. Instead, they look at the information silos without considering the impact on the other team. For maximum effectiveness, two main figures must be measured consistently. First, marketers should strive to produce a high volume of marketing qualified leads. Feedback on the quality of leads from sales must inform future initiatives. Second, sales people should aim to follow up on every lead quickly.
Dun & Bradstreet found the average salesperson spends over two hours researching a potential lead before even contacting them. If marketers can work to produce buyer information or personas, sellers can spend more time actually selling. If each department works together, the research and selling processes can be streamlined to produce and close more valuable leads.
Implement a Service Level Agreement (SLA)
Accountability starts when both sales and marketing develop a Service Level Agreement (SLA). For marketing, this equates to a specific number of leads delivered to the sales team each month. For sales, the team must commit to working a certain number of the leads generated by marketing each month. Together, they can assess performance by reviewing the percentage of marketing leads that resulted in sales.
Other considerations include:
– Total sales goal as a percentage
– Average sales deal amount
– Average lead to customer closing rate as a percentage
– Average sales cycle length
The sales team will work the leads in a timely manner, delivering their feedback on lead quality faster. Similarly, marketing can adjust their strategy to deliver more or different leads based on that feedback. Instead of both teams working in a vacuum, they can create a business system to meet the ultimate goal of increased sales.
Celebrate Common Goals
Often, sales and marketing compete with each other. Typically, sales blames marketing for the quality of leads. In turn, marketing blames sales for letting leads grow cold. However, celebrating common goals promotes unity between the teams. Leadership can fix this by shifting the focus from blame to collaboration, centered on raising sales.
A rise in sales should be attributed to both departments. While sales teams close the deal, the leads started with marketing. Additionally, each team should be held accountable for their responsibilities in the SLA. Over time, this will motivate both departments to work together and challenge each other in a healthy way.
The key to an effective smarketing business strategy? It’s communication. Executives can combine solid leadership principles and smart tools to reach their goals. If you take the steps mentioned above, your teams will be able to communicate better and work more efficiently.
Do you have any experience promoting collaboration between sales and marketing? Let us know in the comments!