Zach Benard
September, 07, 2016

3 Strategic Ways You Can Align Sales and Marketing Now

It’s quite common for sales and marketing teams not to see eye to eye. Contrary to what each department might think, marketing is more than just frills and catchy lines, and sales is more than just closing the deal. But what if your company were to align sales and marketing? You could start a new tradition called "smarketing," where both sales and marketing teams are integrated.

Smarketing should be part of your B2B lead generation strategy. Here's how you can implement smarketing to yield BIG results and transform your business into a powerhouse.

1. Align both your sales and marketing goals.

"Companies with aligned sales and marketing generated 208% more revenue from marketing. Setting goals is a good way to track everyone’s progress and contributions. (Source: Hubspot)

Sure, sales and marketing may have their department goals, but they usually have the same company goals. It’s important for both teams to realize this in order to start rowing together in the same direction. When the teams are in sync, companies increase their closing rate by 67% (Source: Hubspot).

What are examples of goals you should avoid?
  • "We need more sales this month."
  • "We need to double our leads."
  • "More content by the end of the month!"

It's easy to say, "We need more leads." But it's also easy to track the progress of your goals if you know what kind of numbers to reach. You run many risks without making clear goals, all plagued by miscommunication. Set goals that your company can achieve, but make them challenging, too.

The key is to make your goals SMART. This isn't just an adjective we put in all caps; it's an acronym: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound.

What's an example of a well-defined SMART goal?
  • "We need 1,000 visitors, 100 leads, and 10 customers within the next 12-months from our inbound marketing efforts to achieve our revenue goal of $100,000 from widget sales."

2. Set realistic expectations.

Setting clear expectations is the foundation of a high-performing smarketing team. You can outline expectations with a service-level agreement, or SLA. SLAs define what each department will commit to in order to support one another. It's important for both marketing and sales to have numeric goals. For instance, marketing may commit to a certain number of leads each month, while sales will commit to a certain number of follow-ups on those leads. SLAs also make it easy to measure and report on team performance.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when putting together your SLA:

  • Does each department have the same definitions for the terms you're using, such as your buyer persona or quality leads?
  • Do your marketing team's goals line up with your sales team's goals? Do they also mesh with your company's goals?
  • When will each department check in with each other on a regular basis to track progress?
  • Lastly, is there anybody who has questions about your SLA? Clarity is a must-have, and any gray areas should be addressed before moving forward.

The only way for an SLA to work is if there is an open discussion about each other's roles in making it happen. Open discussions about achievable goals will keep everyone on the same page and provide transparency. While meeting department goals, you can then meet company goals.

3. Create a feedback and communication loop.

George Bernard Shaw said it best: “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Assumptions will get you nowhere - or worse, you'll end up in reverse. Sales and marketing are interdependent and, therefore, need an open line of communication at all times. Holding regular meetings and using a real-time messaging tool such as Slack can help ensure better communication.

What information should sales and marketing share with each other?
  • Your company's buyer persona (i.e. who you are gearing your marketing efforts towards)
  • Plans for product and service improvement
  • New leads
  • New sales efforts and strategies
  • Team progress towards goals
  • Just about everything major (or minor) that can affect each team (e.g. roadblocks, challenges, etc.)

Making this information common knowledge for these departments keeps everyone accountable. Because sales and marketing are interdependent, communication is essential for companies to thrive.

Now we have Smarketing!

As the old saying goes, two heads are better than one. In this case, it rings true. Together, they can create a unified experience for your customers. With an open line of communication, everyone will know who is accountable for each task. And if they don't know, they can ask with no problem! It's not the future of how businesses should operate; it’s the present.

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