The Power of Smarketing: Need, Features and Benefits
Any successful business leader knows that sales and marketing are two sides of the same coin. And yet, the two departments fail to collaborate sufficiently, and often blame one another reflexively when times are tough. Smarketing strategies, which aim to align the goals of sales and marketing teams more closely within an organization, can drastically improve the efficiency of a company’s revenue-generating arm and better facilitate rapid growth.
What is Smarketing?
Definition of Smarketing – “Smarketing” is the integration of sales and marketing processes in order to better serve the shared goals of both divisions: new customer acquisition and revenue generation.
Both teams have unique perspectives that—when shared with the other—can enable a more targeted and effective approach to driving new business.
What can salespeople learn from marketers?
Marketers tend to be more data-centric than salespeople. They’re constantly collecting information on potential leads and using it to hone their campaigns and drive top-of-funnel lead generation.
Salespeople can use the unique insight gathered by marketers about customer behavior to change the way they sell.
For example, a salesperson can easily anticipate a prospect’s pain points if provided with broader, data-driven understanding of market trends and the needs of their existing client base. This is the sort of information that marketers can provide.
Salespeople can be equally useful to marketers, because their days are filled with front-line interaction with prospects.
The value of listening to a potential customer explain what they need should not be underestimated. As useful as marketing data can be, there is no substitute for person-to-person interaction.
Sales prospecting can yield valuable insights about customers’ chief concerns and uncover gaps in the market.
Marketing teams can use the valuable information from their sales colleagues to bolster their messaging around products and services or even rework their brand image.
Need for Smarketing: Alignment of Sales and Marketing
Since marketers and salespeople have so much to teach each other, it should come as no surprise that aligning these two departments is a wise move for any growing business.
But the real reason that Smarketing is such an important concept is because the customers are getting smarter. Or at least better at doing their own research.
The fact is that everything a consumer would want to know about a product or service can be found online. Earlier, sales teams would be the go-to resources for this kind of information. Now, it’s the job of marketers to guide their target customers’ search for knowledge through inbound digital marketing strategies like SEO and PPC.
Because marketers now play such a significant role in the buyer’s journey and consequently have greater influence over the sales cycle, they need to work more closely with their sales teams to ensure both parties know exactly what it will take to turn curious prospects into satisfied customers.
Key Features of Successful Smarketing Strategies
The effectiveness of a Smarketing depends upon open communication and mutual understanding.
Both teams need to agree on whom they’re targeting, and what the process should look like for identifying prospects and converting them to customers.
1) Shared Understanding of Target Customers
Sales and marketing teams should be in agreement over who the target customer is, and what his/her needs are.
Salespeople can help determine this based on their experiences with prior prospects and existing customers. What kind of professionals in what industries are the best fit for the product? What made them so interested, and most importantly, what specific pain point of theirs did the product address?
Marketers can then supplement this information with data surrounding search behavior and online engagement to help identify who is most likely to buy and what the sales reps need to show them in order to close deals.
2) Mutual Adoption of Joint Smarketing Funnel
Once the target customer has been identified, it’s crucial that a joint Smarketing funnel is developed. It should govern how (and by whom) leads are nurtured and determine the point at which they’re handed from marketing to sales.
Some organizations choose to have their marketing team nurture all leads. Others allow salespeople to maintain relationships with hesitant prospects over a longer period of time to preserve the personal touch and increase the likelihood of a future sale.
Either way, accountability on both sides is key here in order to avoid the traditional sales vs marketing back-and-forth. Both teams need to take decisive ownership of specific stages in the funnel and be able to recognize when the other team is better equipped to engage with a lead. This mutual trust is crucial for the operation of both teams as one cohesive unit.
3) A collaborative Smarketing SLA
None of this fruitful collaboration can be possible, however, if both teams don’t hold each other accountable for operational efficiency.
Drafting a service level agreement (SLA) is therefore an important step to codifying the new relationship between sales and marketing and ensuring that the commitment on both sides to mutual success does not diminish once the novelty of Smarketing wears off.
In addition to determining the ideal customer and creating a unified funnel, effective SLAs should identify shared goals and set mutually agreed-upon KPIs. Formalizing these important details is key to the long-term success of any Smarketing strategy.
What Are The Benefits of Smarketing?
A serious investment in sales and marketing alignment will pay dividends for any business, but accelerated revenue growth isn’t the only result of adopting a unified Smarketing strategy.
Combining the accumulated knowledge of their sales and marketing teams will also help businesses improve their retention rates by providing them with a clearer picture of their customers’ needs, and make it easier to identify costly inefficiencies in both funnels.
1) Better Understanding of Customers
In today’s hyper-competitive market, any information that a business can get about its target customers is extremely valuable.
After all, individual consumers and larger organizations choose products and services based on how they perceive themselves. They would want to do business with a company that understands them.
Together, sales and marketing teams can come closer to truly understanding the attitudes and needs of their customers than they would functioning in siloes. Marketers’ data combined with the personal insight provided by salespeople can help businesses improve their retention rates by crafting a customer experience that is second to none.
2) Lower Costs and Increased Revenue
Sales and marketing alignment reduces costs by making both teams more efficient and thereby shortening the overall sales cycle.
Sales reps can customize their pitch decks based on the data marketing can provide around sales engagement with online materials. This way, reps can deliver more compelling pitches right off the bat and close deals more quickly.
By the same token, marketing teams can talk to sales about what characterizes a promising lead and put filters in place to weed out those that don’t meet the criteria. By only focusing on leads with a high likelihood of closing, both teams can save time and money while driving unprecedented growth.
Future of Smarketing
No business can reach its full potential without combining the distinct but compatible functions of its sales and marketing teams.
The success of one is dependent upon the other, and so, any company serious about growth should seek to bridge the divide between the two departments and develop a unified revenue strategy that allows the unique strengths of each to complement—instead of hinder—one another.
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