There is a vast number of content pieces out in there in the world wide web that seem to suggest that Marketing & Sales fight like cat and dog; scrapping whenever and wherever they meet. Perhaps this is a slight exaggeration?
The reality is maybe a little more subdued; it's more like a mild misunderstanding.
A good relationship between sales and marketing is of the utmost important in a b2b lead generation campaign, and is essential in accelerating growth and building a strong pipeline of nurtured leads. So while most sales and marketing departments have an ‘okay’ relationship, they are not often not ‘great’.
So how do you take your Sales & Marketing relationship from okay to great?
The existence of communication and understanding are the crucial factors that are most commonly missing in a healthy SMarkerting relationship and without them, it is all too easy for the sales pipeline to not only spring a leak but to become completely disconnected.
Telling each team that they must communicate without any kind of framework in place will probably only result in a few extra head nods in the corridor. Achieving a strong, harmonious relationship between sales and marketing requires work and a system that will trickle down from senior management to all levels.
A Service Level Agreement (SLA) between sales and marketing is often one of the most crucial steps to introducing the missing communication and understanding between the two teams.
4 steps to creating a great smarketing SLA
1) Facts and figures are undeniable & measurable
Sales teams often have targets coming out of their ears. From the number of calls made to the number of people spoken to, and most importantly, the number of deals closed. Of course, Marketing have KPI’s too. But are they the same?
Time and time again we hear stories of how Marketing are working furiously to generate brand awareness and introductory sessions; sending them across to Sales where they are promptly disregarded. Sales on the other hand are feeling the constant pressure to close business and bring on new logos and the only support they get from Marketing are sessions with people who aren’t ready to buy.
Sales and Marketing teams are two parts of a whole and should be treated as such. Targets should be mirrored across the two teams, ensuring that both are working towards a shared goal.
By building these targets and goals into the SLA, the two teams must produce work that supports the work of the other; holding them both accountable for the achievement of success.
2) Communication breeds transparency
If the goals and targets are shared, then the discussions of progress should also be shared among the two teams. If one team fails to meet target then ultimately so too has the other. Constant communication between the two teams will create a relationship of accountability and transparency.
The lessons learned by questioning why a lead or sales target was not achieved will be beneficial to both teams in the short and long term. With this increased level of communication, a greater understanding of what worked well and what didn’t across the whole campaign. For example, Marketing may think that a particular tactic worked extremely well, while sales believe that the quality of the leads suffered as a result.
However, it is not just the inability to meet targets that should be communicated. Successfully meeting team targets and goals should also be celebrated to reinforce their importance and develop a close knit team spirit.
3)Documentation seals the deal
While in the past an agreement might have been sealed with a spit soaked hand shake; however, the agreement between sales and marketing shouldn’t be left so open ended.
Commitments made by each department should be documented to the other in to a SLA. This will enable each team to understand exactly what they are responsible for and what support to expect from the other throughout the entirety of the lead generation campaign and sales effort.
At the very least, this will ensure that marketing is providing the right quantity of relevant and qualified leads to sales and that sales will follow up the leads passed over by marketing.
4) Report, report, report
Regular communication on the progress towards the achievement of goals and targets is crucial, but it’s also important to document these successes and achievements in a regular report, along with the additional metrics. These regular overviews will allow you to identify trends and common occurrences. Armed with this information, you will be able to continuously develop and evolve the SLA for the most harmonious SMarketing Relationship.
Sales and marketing don’t fight like cats and dogs; but even an amicable relationship isn’t enough to accelerate business growth and build a sales pipeline that doesn’t leak. With a well-defined SLA, the alignment of the sales and marketing roles can become well documented, increasing communication, and developing a transparency and an accountability that enables both teams to work towards a common goal.
For more advice on smarketing, and other tricks to create a successful lead generation campaign, check out our infographic on the most powerful Tips & Techniques