Smarketing, and How to Make it Work in Your Business
You don’t necessarily need a salesperson pounding the pavement and flipping through their Rolodex in order to be successful at growing your business. In today’s fast-paced business world, sales can be more intelligently driven and precision-focused because of the amount of information available.
Many companies are using smarketing techniques (a close coalition between sales and marketing) to grow their client base. While smarketing can work with any combination of sales and marketing team members, it’s uniquely well-suited to partnerships with outsourced sales teams.
Because when sales and marketing are located within the same company, egos and office politics can sometimes create conflicts. When one team is an outsourced partner, it makes it easier to work toward one set of goals without personal conflicts getting in the way.
What is smarketing?
‘Smarketing’ refers to alignment between your sales and marketing teams created through frequent and direct communication between the two.
Why is smarketing relevant?
The internet has changed how we do business in more ways than one.
Today’s buyers have a wealth of resources, information, and contacts at their fingertips. In fact, 77% of B2B buyers say they wouldn’t even consider purchasing a product for their business unless they had completed research beforehand.
How do they get the information they need? Online content is one of their chief sources.
The average buyer reviews 10 pieces of content before making a purchasing decision. That means they probably spend a little less facetime with a traditional salesperson than they have in the past, and a lot more time reviewing valuable information you and your competitors share in emails, on your website/blog, and in whitepapers and case studies.
With that in mind, you can see the value and potential of marketing and sales working together closely.
- If you’re on the marketing side, you have the opportunity to create good content and advertising that attracts prospects and nurtures their interest.
- If you’re working with an outsourced sales team, they can turn those prospects into qualified leads through outbound calling, social selling and sales chat. They have the resources to generate leads, keep your funnel full, and pivot quickly when necessary.
If smarketing is going to work, that means marketing and sales have to work together. How do you get them to agree?
Smarketing is a collaborative effort. Neither side should dictate rules to the other and expect their edicts to be followed. Instead, any smarketing partnerships should be cooperative.
Just as you’d create a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with any other business partner, you can create an SLA or a set of goals between your sales and marketing teams.
When it comes to outsourcing sales, businesses report the greatest satisfaction when they take time to lay out expectations early in the process. The same goes for a smarketing partnership.
Both sides should discuss what reasonable expectations look like. For example:
- Marketing may believe they can bring in X prospects a week from trade shows and online advertising. They’re responsible for passing those leads to the sales team in the timely manner that you define.
- Sales should determine how they will respond to the leads and the timeframe in which they’ll make their calls as well as their goals for revenue from the leads they receive.
The teams should maintain open lines of communication, identify their key points of contact, and determine in advance how they’ll handle it if either side is unable to hold up their end of the deal.
While taking time to create these definitions ahead of time may seem arduous, it’s not just another round of corporate-mandated busywork. Rather, companies that take time to clearly define smarketing goals and create SLAs to back them up generally have higher sales success – 65% of teams using sales/marketing SLAs report higher sales numbers than those that don’t.
How do I make sure that my smarketing is working – that my marketing is benefiting my sales team, and vice versa?
Of course, all the goal-setting in the world won’t help if you don’t have someone keeping track on the backend and making sure the data aligns with your goals.
You need to make sure you have good data tracking, good communication, and a good handoff to be able to make your smarketing partnership a success.
Good tracking mechanisms
Another benefit of doing sales and marketing in the digital age is the wealth of information you have available to you. Each time you have an online interaction, whether it’s a chat session, a social media interaction, or a click of an email link, data is generated that you can track and analyze.
If you’re working with an outsourced sales team, they’ll have Quality Assurance representatives working constantly to analyze your data and determine where you’re succeeding and where you might have room for improvement.
If they see that call numbers are lagging or that relationships aren’t advancing past a certain point, they can bring forward specific callouts that your team can review. If a particular feature/benefit isn’t compelling to your audience, it can be important to know that, and either tweak your marketing pitch or take a closer look at your buyer persona.
Good communication (in bad times)
As mentioned, it’s important to be upfront and honest in these smarketing relationships. Building an SLA is a great starting point because it allows everyone to share their expectations before they become emotionally invested in the process.
However, that same level of communication must continue throughout your relationship.
If either side starts seeing issues or red flags, those problems should be shared proactively and cooperatively, rather than avoiding conversations or pointing fingers in the heat of the moment.
Good communication (in good times)
And, communication doesn’t have to occur just in problem situations. Clear communication when you’re building relationships with clients is extremely valuable as well.
Two-thirds of customers feel that salespeople are unprepared for conversations. However, if you’re building a strong smarketing relationship, there’s no need for that pain point to ever exist.
Your marketing team generates useful and valuable content to share with prospects. That same content can be passed to your outsourced sales team for them to use for education/training purposes, or for them to share with the clients as a way of highlighting your business’s knowledge and expertise.
A good hand-off
We’ve all been to trade shows and other events with the infamous drawing box. Everyone who wants to win the latest Apple product walks by and drops their name in, regardless of whether they have any actual interest in the product you’re offering.
This tactic isn’t necessarily an example of brilliant sales and marketing collaboration. In reality, it likely saddles your sales team with making a lot of extra calls that don’t lead anywhere.
Instead, work to develop a process that generates high-quality prospects and implement it on both the marketing and sales sides of the table. Take an account-based approach by thoughtfully researching prospects that fit, then creating content and messaging that speaks to them.
When you generate marketing leads, collect information that makes it easier to speak them and sell to their needs.
For example, ask specifically about pain points or issues in a form they complete online, then pass that information to a sales team member. That extra bit of data allows sales to prepare and make a “warm” outbound call, instead of cold calling without being able to personalize the conversation.
Get it right and you’re in a great place to win
If you’re working with an outsourced sales team, make sure you identify the points at which your in-house marketing or sales teams are respectively responsible, and the data that should be passed back and forth at those times. In that way, you’ll be able to provide your potential clients with a seamless and efficient experience that leads to greater satisfaction.
Smarketing works … but only if sales and marketing put in the work. Teamwork and collaboration are mandatory if you want to be able to create the increased success that committed smarketing partnerships can provide.
Are you smarketing? If not, what’s missing to be able to create a partnership that works for your business? Feel free to share in the comments below:
Have you been looking at new approaches to exceed your sales goals?