In our experience there’s often a disconnect between sales and marketing, in terms of things such as: what is a lead? Who should we be targeting? What are the lead generation objectives? At INCo we have always been at the sales end of marketing and as a result have often been the SMarketing interface between our clients sales and marketing departments.
The term "SMarketing" has appeared in recent years and refers to the alignment between your sales and marketing teams through frequent and direct communication and shared goals between the two.
The main goal in creating “SMarketing” is to have mutual accountability between your sales and marketing departments. What that means is that both teams will be part of a goal setting process which ensures everyone agrees to hit targets for the benefit of the company.
Now, this may seem like an ideal agreement but how does it work in real life? Well here at INCo, our marketing team runs our efforts in the same way we would run a campaign for our clients. This means working with our business development callers and using all the digital marketing at our disposal to deliver a specific number of MQL’s per month to the sales team.
The sales team then agree to do everything in their power to follow up on a minimum number of these leads per month, using email and phone to reach the prospects and fully engage with them and understand their needs completely. This, in turn, should help reach the increased revenue goals set by the CEO for 2016.
We bring both teams together bi-weekly to discuss their progress, discuss strengths and weaknesses and discover opportunities for improvement in all cases.
In today’s post, we’re passing on some of our wisdom, and showing you a few steps you can take to start building a great SMarketing relationship.
1) Communication, Communication, Communication
Communication is key in any relationship. This is easily the most important part of a SMarketing relationship, and is one of the only reasons it works for us. Our teams meet every morning, to discuss opportunities and threats and their targets for the day, meaning that any issues are discussed and rectified before they become too big to manage.
When a companies’ objectives and values are aligned and discussed with both sales and marketing teams, they are able to project a unified understanding of the business to potential customers and clearly explain the product’s and solutions you offer with no risk of crossed purposes.
In order to be considered trustworthy and reliable, businesses need to communicate well with their leads. This starts with SMarketing; by giving your sales and marketing team access to the same programmes and protocols the marketer who found the lead will fill out all the information necessary before passing the lead to sales. Once sales receive it they can see where the lead originated, what particular challenges the prospect is facing and what business areas they are interested in, which should make closing the sale easier.
2) Work Together To Build Buyer Personas
A major part of any lead generation campaign is knowing your market. When running a direct and digital campaign you’re instructed to develop buyer personas based around this market, and one of the best ways to help your SMarketing team get to know the market is by tasking them to build and develop those personas together.
Furthermore, once these personas are developed with traits deemed important by both sales and marketing teams, they’ll have a deeper understanding of the market pains, goals and even the best ways to attract the right people to your business.
We’re always working on our buyer personas, constantly updating them when we learn more about our target market, and everyone has access to these to help close leads.
3) Which Content Is Working, and Which Isn’t
In order to attract customers to the business, and to entice those prospect we are engaging with, it is vital to create content and material that is tailored to their needs and catch their attention. Content is one of your greatest assets as a business; if it is created and used effectively.
Additionally, your value proposition is what you will be known for with your clients and prospects. When communicated effectively, this can be the hallmark of your organisation, however, it’s going to take work and analysis to get there.
A strong SMarketing partnership will understand that not all this content will hit the mark and resonate with the audience and as a result, we analyse the data to discover what is working and what isn’t. And while marketing automation software and data reports can give you some insight into what is working, the best information will come straight from the horses’ mouth.
Engage your sales team; they are the ones speaking to the prospects and picking up on leads found by marketing. While their conversations won’t be an interview about effective content, it can provide key information that sales can pass back to marketing to allow them to change and edit the content that is out there. Two-way communication is one of the most important parts of a good SMarketing relationship – closing the loop on reporting and allowing everyone to be part of the discussion for a healthier close process.
4) Software Can Help
A good lead generation campaign does not rely solely on numbers. We realise that there is a much bigger picture, in terms of market trends, time of year, etc, that can affect a customer’s buying power from day to day. A big example of this is the current oil and gas industry situation – companies that might have been looking at new software, security or any other purchases for the business are almost all suddenly putting projects on the backburner and focusing on their core services while they wait and see what the market does.
So, while you can’t rely solely on numbers, they can offer indicative points for calculating effectiveness and ROI. If your teams are struggling with content or efforts and can’t figure out why, turning to the data can help discover issues and sometimes provide a solution too.
In line with our above points regarding communication and visibility, it is therefore important to align as much of your software as possible to open up the data and allow both teams to collaborate more effectively and ensure their messages are aligned.
Here at INCo, we combine HubSpot, Salesforce and Teamwork so that anyone can see how a project they are connected with is performing across the board. This helps with our marketing efforts, our asset management and of course with sales; allowing us the information we need to improve.
This integration doesn’t necessarily mean that sales are tasked with projects in HubSpot and marketing are playing around with information in Salesforce – it simply means that when it comes to a sticking point in an opportunity, or when researching a lead (as detailed in this post), both teams have all the information they might need at their fingertips.
5) Set Your Goals
We are all guilty of saying things like “I want more leads” or “I need more clicks on this email” and while these are things we may need to reach our objectives, it’s not really something you can pass across the table at a SMarketing meeting.
That’s why you need SMART goals.
Described as specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely, SMART goals are a way to keep your organisation pushing towards an objectives in a way that can be monitored and managed. Some examples of this may include:
- 25% more unique website visits in Q1 than the same quarter last year
- Close £60,000 worth of continuation business each quarter
- Increase email clicks by 10% by March 2016
SMART goals are also an analyst’s dream. If you need to go to your boss or to the board and explain why your team hasn’t reached its goals for the month it is much, much easier to do if you have data you can search through to discover where you went wrong. On the other hand, if you do reach the projected goal, you will be able to analyse which efforts were most effective in reaching this which will improve productivity for your next set of goals.
SMarketing is Easy
It might seem daunting at first, but once you align your sales and marketing teams, you’ll wonder what you ever did before this. There will be more understanding and less tension between teams and you should begin to see your efforts flourish.
These five steps are only a small insight into how we’re making it work here at INCo, but we’d love to discuss how you can start making SMarketing work for you and your objectives.
To find out how SMarketing can help your lead generation efforts, click below: