Higher customer retention, more significant sales figures, and better lead follow up are the primary promises of smarketing. Pull your sales and marketing teams together and help them collaborate on content in a way that will deliver on the big promises of smarketing strategic planning.
Understanding the Sales and Marketing Integration and Impact
Smarketing is a recent, but not necessarily “new,” concept. The idea of smarketing is to blur the line that divides your marketing and sales teams. Sales teams often report that marketing leads are weak, while marketing funnels their efforts into cultivating engagement with customers or prospects. It’s become a ‘not-my-job’ argument between the two departments, and smarketing is changing that outlook.
Integrating these two departments with smarketing content creation and management can solve these critical problems experienced by most companies:
- Marketing team’s lack of understanding of purchasing processes
- Sales providing different or conflicting information than the marketing content material
- Teams disconnecting in lead handoffs
- Sales teams not receiving marketing support
- Marketing teams not seeing closure on leads
Bringing the sales team into the content creation, publication, and management processes can change how these two departments work together and the results they produce for your business.
Step One: Your SLA and KPIs
To get started, you’ll want to draft a service level agreement or SLA, which is just an outline of what each team should do. The SLA should include the activities that belong to each group, quotas for both teams, followup procedure, and confirm the commitment of both teams.
You’ll need to go through your SLA occasionally to ensure that the goals and quotas are still accurate for the company’s needs. As you set these goals and discuss changes, you’ll need to continually ensure that your two team’s KPIs are in line.
The metrics which overlap between sales and marketing include:
- Volume of marketing-generated leads
- Marketing lead conversion rates
- Sales response time to lead handoffs
- Customer lifetime value
- Customer acquisition cost
This step will create mutual accountability, cultivate strategic planning across sales and marketing teams, and promote collaboration.
Step Two: Content Planning
Only about 24% of marketers gear content for sales enablement, but shouldn’t every piece of content be enabled for sales? Not necessarily. Although 24% is way too low, many situations call for content creation that isn’t outright sales copy.
When creating an editorial calendar, many marketers focus on the products that are coming out and making connections in complementary products. But, if you talk to sales teams, they’ll be candid about the most frequently asked questions they get early into the sales funnel.
Create your smarketing content calendar with the season, current trends, and sales funnel in mind. When mapping out your upcoming content, bring in the sales team and ask them what questions they are asked most often and if they can point out particular concerns that lose people in the later sales stages.
Step Three: Adapt Content for Lead Nurturing
Aligning your two teams means making clear connections between your sales and marketing funnels. They should line up entirely without any gaps, and the bigger goal here is redistributing your marketing team’s focus from lead generation to nurturing.
Hubspot found marketers prioritize their inbound marketing in this order:
- Building organic presence (lead generation)
- Blog content creation
- Marketing automation
Although these priorities address marketing struggles of generating traffic, it doesn’t address any of the sales funnel outside of lead generation. Only 21% of marketing leads convert to sales, which means that the current marketing climate is taking a shotgun approach by trying to increase sales by gathering more leads.
However, nurtured leads make larger purchases, and are likely to become more loyal customers. It’s well worth it to nurture leads than to chase leads that have a 2 in 10 chance of converting. When you get your marketing team focused on nurturing leads alongside their sales teams, you’ll see bigger and more consistent sales.
To accomplish lead nurturing, the content must be relevant to that lead or prospect’s degree of interest. Relevant content can produce an increase of 72% on your conversion rates. Have your marketing team focus on creating content that will support sales teams as they work with leads, prospects, and qualified prospects to close deals.
Step Four: Content Management
Sales teams do not use 90 % of marketing content, and there is a variety of contributing factors to that figure. The most significant factor is the method of delivery and ease of use.
How does the marketing team provide sales teams with deliverables? Is it via email, is there a company intranet with a database of useful articles? Or, are these deliverable sitting in some unknown folder on your company’s network?
Then look at how easy it is to find a piece of marketing material. Can you search by a keyword and find what you’re looking for quickly, or are you clicking through the different months hoping that you correctly remember when the content was published?
Implement smarketing content management, best practices:
- Use a CRM that allows you to find content quickly
- Make maps of where content can/should be found based on need, topic, and target market
- Establish a culture of communication where if a salesperson can’t find marketing content, they can quickly reach a marketing team member for help.
Content management rellies heavily on teams following set processes and using systems that make it easy to find one article among thousands or tens of thousands. When information is easy to find and access, your sales team will begin using that information more consistently.
Bring Your Teams Together
These two teams are so intertwined with digital marketing and e-commerce that they can’t operate separately anymore. When brought together and when there is a company culture that promotes collaboration and support, these two teams can boost sales substantially and within a short time frame too.
Ensure that your teams know they must work together and that they understand how they are both contributing to company goals. With shared terminology, KPIs, and time spent planning and managing together, these teams will have a greater understanding of what each needs from the other. With a smarketing strategy in place, your sales team can better nurture leads, your marketing team can better aid sales, and your company should see a jump in sales.