You've probably heard of Smarketing, which means that sales and marketing work together as a team to get even better value from their efforts and activities. Historically, the sales and marketing departments have worked completely separately. Sales has been running its activities and focus while Marketing has been doing its thing. In recent years, sales has started to demand more from marketing to deliver more warm leads. This has resulted in marketing warring on with lead-generating efforts to make sales happy. This is all well and good, but let's not forget that the very best results occur when sales and marketing start working as a cohesive team.
Sales can't, and shouldn't, sit around waiting for sales-ready leads to start rolling in. It's not a race where the baton is just passed on, it's a joint effort where everyone works together daily to achieve the set goals. When companies start to realise this and connect sales and marketing in a real way, the company's overall performance starts to increase. From this was born Smarketing as a way of working and that's what I'll tell you more about below. I will also take you through the best practices for succeeding with this new setup as well as give you lots of tips and tricks.
For a successful Smarketing effort, the following elements should be done
Set common goals such as closed deals from leads, booked appointments from leads, upsell on existing accounts and total revenue.
Ongoing reconciliation with the team:
Ensure that selected people from sales and marketing meet regularly to review progress. In order to achieve sales and marketing alignment, reconciliations between the two departments need to be done on an ongoing basis.
Sharing important information:
It is important that both sales and marketing provide information to each other on an ongoing basis. For example, sales can tell you what customers say in sales meetings, common objections and why customers cancel a contract. Marketing can tell you what messages create engagement, what content is most interesting on the website and which audiences are best attracted. This is about sharing knowledge and insights so that the Smarketing team can gear up and make 1+1 become 3.
Sales helps with lead qualification, updating the market on which leads work best and finding out what the customer has been working on.
Keep each other updated:
Market tells you what they do for sales so that it aligns with the sales efforts being made.
Accountability for Smarketing efforts:
The sales manager and marketing manager set the processes for how sales and marketing work together. It is best if this is documented so that everyone knows what to do. Evaluate these processes continuously and optimise them. For your knowledge, a new role has also emerged: the CRO - chief revenue officer who has overall responsibility for managing and developing the companies' sales and commercial offerings. This person can be the boss of the sales manager and the marketing manager.
Follow up the results:
Important to continuously evaluate what works and what doesn't. Smarketing is a long-term effort that needs a lot of love to make it work. Like all sales and marketing efforts, it takes time to see the actual results and especially if the sales processes are long. Here it is important to set sub-goals which can be different KPIs such as more leads, more contact with existing customers, more engagement on social media and more. This is so that you have sub-goals to follow up but then of course more closed deals in the long run is the big goal which is revenue.
The benefit of CRM + Marketing automation tools in a Smarketing work:
There's a lot of talk right now about marketing automation tools and how they can help marketing create even better results. But here we shouldn't forget that it can bring extra value to sales, especially when sales and marketing work together.
Now I will try to give an example. Sales and marketing actively work towards a certain industry and specific target group. Marketing does targeted activities while sales does its activities towards the same target group. Suddenly a hot lead falls in via the website thanks to an ad on LinkedIn.
Just because a lead comes in doesn't mean they're ready to buy. They may have just downloaded a guide and want to learn more. Unless sales has established a contact with this person already and they see that this person is the right decision maker. What do they do then? Do they call right away and say hello? Or do they wait. I would say that at least two things should be done. 1. Sales can either call or email the person and ask if they got everything they need or if they need help with something. If sales hasn't already done this I think they should connect with this person on LinkedIn. Maybe not the same day but after some time after I think it is a good idea to send a contact request. Then sales can have indirect contact with the lead until they get ready enough to talk business.
However, this assumes that sales has an activity on LinkedIn where they continuously share relevant content for their prospects. In this way, they maintain indirect contact. If you would like to learn more about Social Selling, please feel free to take our Social Selling course here for free.
If marketing during this period also engages the lead with relevant content and retargeting ads, the opportunity for business is maximized even more.
So what does this have to do with marketing automation? Well, with the help of a system, marketing and sales can process these leads together. Marketing can send automated newsletters to the contacts and sales can send automated and slightly more personal emails to these people. These should not be too salesy but more knowledge driven and helpful. During this time, sales can see exactly which customers are clicking and reading the mailings or browsing the website. We know that a customer who spends a lot of time on a website and where activity increases is more likely to buy. While this processing is happening, sales keeps an indirect contact with the lead by publishing content continuously on LinkedIn.
Thanks to a common CRM and marketing automation tool, it's easier for the Smarketing team to keep track of efforts, leads, and whether or not a deal is ultimately made.
How do we start our Smarketing work?
My advice to you is to start by launching a joint ABM project. ABM stands for Account Based Marketing and means account-based advertising. Of course, the marketing department can do this without any sales, but then you will miss out on the great leverage that the joint effort can provide.
When I learned more about the Account Based Marketing strategy a while ago, I became even more curious about making my own sales work more effective. I think there is an opportunity here for sales and marketing to work even more closely together and create even better results.
In my world, Account Based Marketing is about the marketing and sales departments working together as a close-knit team to identify the companies they want to work with and then set a strategy and activity plan for joint efforts. Can also be towards existing customers as well.
In order to start an ABM project, it is important to find out, among other things:
- Which companies should we focus on?
- Which decision makers are involved in each deal?
- What types of content trigger these decision makers?
- What channels are these decision-makers in (social media, on Google, on specific sites, in the email inbox, etc.)?
- What are the characteristics of these customers?
- What is their business like?
- What are their challenges and needs?
This is where sales and marketing need to sit down together and dig in. Because once these questions are answered, it will be much easier for the marketing department to develop tailored content for these companies, each individual decision-maker and the channels they are in. The idea is that the potential decision-makers at the selected companies will feel really hit by the content and will be more receptive to your message. This makes the marketing more accurate and gives the sales people a really good basis to work with in order to work on the potential customers. This is where it really matters that the sales people set a really good sales strategy to work on the decision makers in the meantime. My advice here is to make a really sharp LinkedIn strategy. If you want to learn more about how to do this, feel free to schedule a meeting with us below.
It is also important that you set common objectives for your ABM project. My advice is that you do this project for at least 6 months and then evaluate how it went. If you are going to do this remember to do it properly and with commitment. This will be an excellent test to see how sales and marketing can work together. I think the goal should be that you will continue to work as a team even after this ABM project as hopefully the synergies will have a big impact.
Summary of Smarketing
At some point, you'll have to start working together, so you might as well get your calendar open now and book your sales or marketing colleague in for a first meeting. At this meeting, you can mention the value that sales and marketing can add to overall sales if they start working together.
If you need to talk to someone before a possible first meeting, please feel free to book a meeting with us below.
I would also like to recommend an article written by our friends at Saleonomics about Smarketing. You can find it here! It's a good idea to get tips from other experts in the field.
Thanks for reading!