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Sales and marketing alignment, also known as smarketing, is much more than the sum of its parts. Especially as your company grows, it’s important to establish and maintain these connections. In this post, we’ll discuss ways to ensure that your sales and marketing campaigns are working together to create lasting success.
Sales and marketing alignment starts with shared definitions. For example, how does your company define each stage of the purchase journey? What do these definitions offer to your team? How might they change over time?
Creating a shared set of metrics and definitions is key to integrating sales and marketing efforts. You can do this through a shared handbook or a cooperative sales and marketing dashboard available on automated marketing software. Consolidating sales and marketing materials will encourage your team to combine and expand fields of expertise. You can even use some of these materials to create content for your customers – for example, an online sales infographic.
An effective smarketing initiative will designate points of contact between sales and marketing teams. Building on the “shared definitions” aspect of smarketing we covered above, consider your company’s definitions for “Market-Qualified Lead” (MQL) and “Sales-Qualified Lead.” What defines an MQL? When is an MQL passed to the sales team? What is the typical timeline for an MQL’s engagement with sales?
For clarify, contact points should be developed in collaboration with your sales and marketing teams. What information does the sales team need in order to maximize lead conversion? How can the marketing team solicit concerns from leads? The info stream runs in both directions – how can the sales team help to collect customer feedback on marketing campaigns?
Sales and marketing alignment is a collaborative effort – and you might be surprised by the innovative solutions you can harvest from your team. Schedule weekly or monthly meetings with your marketing and sales teams so you can talk about how marketing will support the sales team – and how sales representatives and managers can help implement marketing efforts. You can also use these meetings to solicit topics for content posts and updates.
Whenever you bring a new sales associate on board, schedule a meeting to speak with them about marketing directives. Asking them about past experience with cooperative marketing efforts is a great way to get a sense of how other companies align sales and marketing, and you’ll make them feel like active contributors. Meeting regularly with your team ensures that everyone stays on the same page.
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Develop a seamlessly integrated sales and marketing strategy by shifting your perspective. Ask your sales and marketing teams to envision a typical customer. How does that customer interact with the company? How do they engage with marketing materials? What does their first encounter with a sales representative look like? What questions and concerns do they have as they move forward through their purchase journey?
Looking at your sales and marketing efforts from the customer’s viewpoint will help you picture an aligned whole. Automated marketing programs and online advertising services like Facebook Advertising are excellent tools for implementing this “customer-centric” strategy, since they allow you to archive updated marketing campaigns and metrics in one accessible location.
Effective sales and marketing alignment is much easier when your sales and marketing team are working towards the same specific, transparent goals. Tracking sales and marketing success using the same metrics – opportunities, lead conversion – will help both teams see the value in their respective contributions. Defining success by MQL conversion focuses sales and marketing teams on the point where their efforts become synergistic.
You can use automated marketing software to ensure that members of your sales team receive notifications when a new lead is assigned to them, which motivates quick action. Most automated marketing software programs will allow you to create “hotlists” of active sales prospects, or a “daily digest” email to provide updates on pertinent sales information. Your sales team will feel more confident with an organized lead portfolio, and they’ll increase their working knowledge of the marketing team’s daily activity.
Effective collaboration is about developing and maintaining relationships. Facilitate working relationships by giving your employees multiple opportunities to bond. Company retreats and social events – even something as low-key as a picnic barbecue or happy hour at the corner bar – will help your sales and marketing team become one big, happy, smarketing family.
You can also encourage good relationships by modeling collaborative interactions on the job. Your sales and marketing employees will be that much more likely to engineer a collaborative, constructive response to any problems that arise. Consider building these relationships by tasking your sales and marketing personnel with an event or conference presentation.
Successful sales and marketing alignment requires proactive collaboration at every level. But if you commit to designing and implementing a cooperative strategy for your sales and marketing team, alignment will be built into the way you do business. Using this guide, consider ways in which your company can craft smart smarketing strategies. You’ll be on your way to a more efficient, productive business model in no time!
Are you interested in learning more about smarketing and other smart sales and marketing strategies? At Square 1 Group, we make it a mission to stay informed about innovative sales and marketing techniques so that we can use our expertise to serve our clients. Call us for a consultation today!