Marketing and sales teams have a reputation for not getting along. Working towards the same ultimate goal in different ways means there is often friction. We’ve all heard that when the sales are coming in it’s because the sales team is doing a great job and when the sales slow then the marketing team needs to pull its socks up. How do we fix this? The key levers are regular and open communication, an understanding that each team needs the other in order to succeed, and well-implemented systems that help, rather than hinder performance for both teams.
Just a few years ago, HubSpot coined the term “smarketing,” which captures the notion of an integrated sales and marketing strategy. Back then, it was an aspirational idea. Today, it has become a necessary reality. Many companies are scrambling -- and struggling -- to put an effective smarketing strategy in place. To overcome this challenge, consider one thing: alignment.
The first step is to get sales and marketing teams in agreement about who the target audiences are and what the pain points are that the product is solving. Once buyer personas are determined, marketers and salespeople should agree on specific and quantitative definitions of a lead: How does each team define a qualified lead? Co-creating these definitions puts everyone on the same page and eliminates complaints and accusations down the road about “bad” leads.
The next step in creating a strong smarketing strategy is to agree on the numbers. As a founder, you should oversee team's progress in creating a two-way sales-marketing service-level agreement (SLA) which defines how each team will help and support the other. The agreement includes a commitment from marketing on the number of leads that will be generated, rules for how fast sales will follow-up on leads and actions to be taken to engage with prospects.
Depending on your organization, an SLA could look like this:
• Marketing will deliver 75 leads per product, per month.
• Sales will make its first attempt to engage with a lead within five business hours, but will make no more than four attempts in 16 days.
Once joint success is clearly outlined, with quantitative factors, the final step is to live and breathe the data. Use dashboards (CRM tool) to create transparency between marketing and sales, quickly visualize the lead pipeline and identify where and when challenges arise. Marketing and sales have the same goal: increase revenue. It’s time for the two divisions to come together, make agreements on how each department can help the other and create a culture of honesty and transparency. Now, it’s high time that these people and processes step up and adapt to the changing B2B market.