Every business owner wants to take their company to new heights. The thing is, while you have that vision, how are you going to get there? Market and sales trends and best practices are constantly changing. New goals often come with newer, more unique challenges. How do you create an approach that ensures your business’s success?
This is where sales and marketing alignment, or smarketing, comes in. But what is sales and marketing alignment? What role does it play in getting the results you want? Should sales and marketing be combined in the first place? And why so many questions?
Ultimately, you want to create a single entity that works together towards addressing customer pain points and opportunities. With sales and marketing alignment, you’re taking a more holistic and proactive approach in viewing the buyer’s situation and problems. This also minimises or eliminates any internal tension between your marketing and sales teams, which, when left unchecked, can wreak havoc on your operations.
What’s Smarketing? Is That a New Chocolate Brand?
Smarketing: You bring two disparate departments together, sales and marketing, to create a new entity that can drive growth. The concept of aligning sales and marketing isn’t new, but it has become more important to create a seamless customer lifecycle.
The term ‘smarketing’ was popularised by Dan Tyre, HubSpot’s Sales Director, back in 2008.
As the new kid on the block, smarketing breaks down the challenges and unique barriers set by traditional organisational silos, referring to departments that work independently. While organisational silos may be the norm for most corporate environments, where each department vie for budget and control over operations, this model isn’t going to work if you want to achieve progress. Silos can bring in questionable leads, minimise opportunities for customer retention and may even cost you potential revenue. To sum up the concept of silos, it’s like working in a bubble, independent from other teams. You don’t talk to each other or share information, according to Steven Poole, a writer from The Guardian, who reviewed the concept of silos.
It’s not just large multinational companies that suffer from misaligned sales and marketing departments. Even smaller start-ups suffer from the effects of organisational silos where infighting and excessive competitiveness can adversely affect operations. According to Wendy Ritz and her colleagues, in their Harvard Business Review article, the lack of alignment between marketing and sales departments can demotivate teams and compromise profits. You’re also introduced to what Ritz and company call ‘unnecessary difficulty,’ which creates goals that make it impossible for your endeavours to succeed.
Smarketing does away with silos, paving the way for higher conversion rates and increased revenue. Sales and marketing alignment combines powerful tools such as social media and other digital marketing methods to market your business. Compared to silos, smarketing also makes tracking results and progress easier.
Benefits of Sales and Marketing Alignment
To keep up with changing customer needs, demands and market trends, businesses need to evolve, like Pokémon.
The conventional sales and marketing funnel primarily focuses on the sales aspect of a business, while the newer model emphasises the coordination of the two departments to better attract, inform and retain your customers. This leads to shorter sales cycles, improved ROI, sales productivity and, of course, company growth.
According to the Aberdeen Group, companies that optimise their sales and marketing arms can potentially enjoy a faster growth by up to 32%. Moreover, you can enjoy revenue growth of up to 208%. By aligning sales and marketing, you can better tailor them to meet your KPIs, whether you’re a B2B or B2C business. You’ll also benefit from having a more motivated work culture.
Aligning Sales and Marketing for Your Brand
So how do you actually go about aligning your sales and marketing departments? Let’s start with the basics:
1. Align your goals, roles and systems
It’s important for the two teams to work together, which is why it’s crucial to sit down with them and discuss your shared goals to create shared accountability. Discuss how you’re going to tackle the three key aspects, namely lead scoring, lead generation metrics and service level agreements.
Make sure to define the separate goals for each team, enabling them to understand what you expect from them. It’s also important that you work on formally agreeing on the definition of common sales and marketing terms. This allows your teams to create or share information that can be understood by either department.
Using the right tools, such as the HubSpot Marketing Hub, can help the two teams organise and analyse assets and data and use them to acquire and retain more customers. The HubSpot Sales Hub is one such CRM platform that’s ideal for small businesses and larger enterprises.
2. Track KPIs
Sales and marketing measure KPIs differently. By creating joint key performance indicators, you’re bringing the two different teams together to create and meet common goals.
3. Foster open Communication
By fostering a culture of open communication, you’re encouraging teams to share important information and ideas. Having regular meetings where you can discuss and review current strategies and objectives lets you spot potential problems and address them accordingly. Moreover, finding ways to make it easy for the teams to communicate can minimise misalignment.
4. Don’t Disregard Customer Feedback
Customer feedback is crucial in aligning sales and marketing. Through feedback, your sales team can determine customer pain points, which can help your marketing team create new campaigns that can address these pain points.