Smarketing: Get Sales & Marketing Talking to Close More Deals
Read Time: 6 Minutes
In our previous post we talked about how Sales can leverage Marketing’s content. But what if your company’s Sales team did more than just utilize the content Marketing creates and actually contributed to it in order to make it better and close more deals? What if you took both teams and turned them into a world-class Smarketing team?
The Frustration Between Sales and Marketing Teams Today
There is a common finger pointing game Sales and Marketing like to play when deals aren’t being closed and revenue goals aren’t being met. Sales says it’s Marketing’s fault for not generating enough quality leads and Marketing says it’s Sales fault for not working the leads they send them efficiently. In reality, it’s probably a mixture of both of these reasons and neither team’s sole fault.
If the leads Marketing generates aren’t turning into SQLs, then their content isn’t attracting the right buyers and addressing the right questions. If Sales isn’t working the leads quickly and efficiently, then there is something broken in the sales process. The best way to resolve these issues, is together. Therefore, organizations must find a way to eliminate the frustration between these two groups. (But only if you want to help your business become 67% better at closing deals.)
As a leader, it’s important to take a step back and evaluate your role in the process as well. If you’re a CRO – are you setting both teams up for success? Are you aligning the teams’ KPIs? Are you looking at the big picture in terms of Marketing’s long-tail strategy and Sales’ quick wins? You need your teams functioning together from the top down.
But, how do we get these two groups to work together?
The first step is aligning the Smarketing goals.
The goal of both teams is revenue – scalable, repeatable revenue. If these two groups have the same goal, why work separately to achieve it when two department heads are better than one?
The second step is aligning management.
You have to start at the top and get the VP of Marketing and the VP of Sales on the same page. Maybe your team starts at the Director Level, regardless of title, there is no chance of aligning the Sales and Marketing teams if the department heads aren’t in alignment first.
The third step is to get Sales and Marketing talking.
7 Key Elements Sales & Marketing Must Talk About to Close More Deals
1. Buyer Personas & the Buyer Journey
Buyers are now 67% of the way through the buyer journey 50% of the time before they speak to a live Sales Rep, which means Marketing is the voice of Sales for that first 60% of the journey. (If this surprises you… you may want to take a look at our Evolution of the Modern Buyer’s Journey Infographic to see how far your team has fallen behind their buyers.) The concept here is that if these two groups aren’t in agreement on their ICPs, then Marketing can generate and push hundreds of leads to Sales, but leads and prospects won’t convert to new business. That’s thousands and tens of thousands of dollars in time and content wasted. The worst part is, this ICP misalignment can be hard to catch because buyers are so far down the buyer path before ever being touched by Sales—and then the finger pointing turns to Closers.
Marketing is your company’s creative wordsmith and can make complex services and products easily understood and appealing. But Sales are the people who hear real feedback from potential customers. A prospect may have read 5 pieces of content distributed by Marketing, but what questions weren’t answered? What was difficult to understand? What are customers really looking for in your product/service? Sales are the people that discover this and can help Marketing hone in messaging on future content.
3. Content Alignment & Strategy
A big gap between Sales and Marketing is neither team is aware of what the other is doing. The left hand isn’t communicating with the right. In some cases, this can lead to the repetition of information; in others, Sales is unaware and unprepared to leverage current promotions being executed by Marketing.
To remedy this, your Smarketing team needs to have a shared promotions calendar and meet regularly to discuss follow up talking points and follow up Sales cadences that go hand and hand with Marketing’s. Sales and Marketing should always be aligned on current content pushes and prepared to meet buyers every step of the journey or potential business will be lost.
4. Feedback Loops
Communication should never stop between your Smarketing team. Even after both teams have agreed on the ICPs, content, messaging, and strategy, a feedback loop needs to be established so Marketing can continue to refine and hone their messaging based on what buyers are communicating to Sales. Sales can also help identify what marketing channels are generating the most quality leads, and Marketing can share with Sales new ideas, campaigns, and innovations they are putting into play.
5. Quality of Leads & Lead Source
As part of the feedback loop and process, the quality of leads and quality of lead sources (such as email, PPC, website traffic, social media, etc.) need to be communicated. There are some platforms that generate hundreds of leads a month but rarely generate lead-to-sale conversions. There are other platforms that only generate tens of leads a month, but are better quality lead. It’s imperative that this is communicated between the two teams in order to continuously adjust where the marketing budget and Sales’ focus should be spent.
Ensuring accuracy of these lead sources starts with your CRM. Use tools like Salesforce’s WordPress integration, HubSpot CRM, or your Zapier to mitigate the manual labor going into documenting the source of the lead – but also encourage your Smarketing team to spot check your prospects as often as possible.
6. Lead Handoff
Lead handoffs will vary team to team and business to business. Often, there won’t always be a clear lead handoff from Marketing to Sales, however, both teams need to clearly agree on when it is appropriate for each to connect, nurture, and overlap communications with leads. As long as a process is established, documented, and put into place, lead handoff will be a smooth transition for your buyer.
The definition of your MQL, SQL, and Opportunity should always be documented. New employees should be able to easily reference and determine the quality of their leads. In order to set your team up for a successful handshake, they need to feel comfortable in knowing the lead is ready to go – otherwise you will have frustrated Sales teams and nervous Marketing peers.
7. Sales Enablement Resources & Where to Find Them
65% of sales reps say they can’t find content to send to prospects. Marketing creates tons of content and buyer resources for Sales but sometimes they aren’t easy materials to find for two reasons. 1) They aren’t stored in a central location, and 2) Sales is unaware the content was ever created so they don’t know what to look for.
Not only does Marketing need to store all sales enablement resources in one central and easily accessible location for Sales, but there needs to be a feedback loop for these materials as well. For example, when Sales notices a piece of content is missing a small but important detail they’d like to share with a prospect, they now have to send a second piece of content that covers that information. Sales should relay this back to Marketing to update, reducing the number of sales materials they have to share and reading material for busy prospects.
So where do you go from here? We hope we’ve provided you with a few key takeaways that you can reference and spot-check your smarketing performance at any time. However, this isn’t a molehill of a problem, it’s a mountain.
At Skaled, we pride ourselves on aligning these teams from the top down. We’ve worked with hundreds of companies and know that this misalignment is not a problem unique to one company – it’s found somewhere in most. With top talent, pulled directly from the field, our Consultants have found the solution to these problems dozens of times.
Skaled Consulting aligns sales and marketing with modern technology and processes that drive sustainable results. Getting these two teams talking can be a challenge, but that’s where Skaled takes the reins. It just takes 20 seconds to reach out and take the first step in solving your organization’s biggest challenge. Start today.