Smarketing: Combining Sales, Marketing Teams for Double Effectiveness

Posted by Rory J. Thompson on Sep 1, 2016

Given all the challenges Chief Marketing Officers face today, rather then throwing up their hands smarter CMOs are turning their focus inward and looking at the assets they already have in their sales and marketing teams. They’re turning them into ‘smart sales-marketing’, or “Smarketing” representatives.

While only recently being embraced by many companies, the term "Smarketing" has been around for years. The word found its beginning at inbound marketing software platform HubSpot, and was popularized by HubSpot Sales Director Dan Tyre in 2008.

"It became famous in a Harvard Review Case Study on HubSpot by Professor Thomas Steenburgh," Tyre relates. Smarketing refers to the alignment between a company’s sales and marketing staffers that’s created and encouraged by frequent, direct communication between the two. As always, the reasoning for such a move comes down to results on the bottom line, along with marketing effectiveness.

According to global B2B research and advisory firm SiriusDecisions, “B2B organizations with tightly aligned marketing and sales [teams] achieved 24% faster revenue growth and 27% faster profit growth over a three-year period.”

Traditionally, sales and marketing teams have been rivals. While on the surface they may appear to be working together (or at least tolerating each other), a HubSpot survey found that “87% of the terms sales and marketing teams use to describe each other are negative.” That’s not good for anyone.

By instituting smarketing best practices, infighting can be eliminated.Writing in Entrepreneur magazine about the rival factions, Jason Wesbecher, CMO of Mattersight – a company dedicated to personality-based software applications – said, “The two departments put on a good show in front of the CEO and board of directors. But the ‘snark’ comes out as soon as everyone retreats to his or her respective office. You’ll hear people say things like, ‘The marketing leads are terrible,’ or, ‘Salespeople are lazy!’”

The following are some ideas on how to get these ‘frenemies’ working for the greater good of the company, to create your own Smarketing team:

Keep Communication Open: When both sales and marketing feel like they’re being kept in the loop, resentment and jealousy is held to a minimum. If each side knows what the other is doing, and what challenges they face, they’re more likely to understand the other side’s point of view. One way to keep the lines open is to set regular meetings where both teams can sit down and talk strategy. Just being able to be heard goes a long way toward building trust and cooperation.

Bring Them Together: In a traditional office, ‘sales’ and ‘marketing’ each have separate departments. What if desks were shuffled, so that sales people and marketing staffers sat next to each other? Writing on the Inbound Marketing blog, CEO and co-founder Bill Faeth sees value in doing so. “By sitting next to each other, marketers get to see firsthand how salespeople do their jobs – and whether marketing activities are actually helping them,” he notes. “Sales reps benefit by having a neighbor they can reach out to with questions about particular leads, or about new marketing campaigns. These informal conversations go a long way toward keeping the entire team happy and productive.”

Jointly Determine Which Efforts Are Fruitful: Selling doesn’t work in a vacuum, and the people in the field have the best insight as to what is working … and what isn’t. Hence, it makes sense to get their input on any ongoing marketing efforts. Doing so will help encourage their buy-in, showing that their particular knowledge adds value to the overall push.

Integrating marketing and sales software can help smarketing efforts.‘Sharing is Caring’: If the software that you’re using isn’t integrated between marketing and sales, it should be. HubSpot recommends doing so, “so there is a seamless handoff of leads and shared data. The more visibility each team has into the other’s activities, the more that you will not only strengthen the Smarketing relationship, but also help keep overall efforts aligned.” Keeping those lines open will also help reduce suspicions that the other side isn’t pulling their weight. Transparency works for everyone’s benefit.

If you still need convincing, B2B demand-generation agency BlueBird Strategies took a deeper dive on the benefits of a sales and marketing alignment. They found that when the two sides worked in tandem, businesses:

  • Became 67% better at closing deals;
  • Generated 209% more value from marketing;
  • Saw a 51% decrease in customer churn; and
  • Enjoyed a 126% increase in marketing contribution to total revenue.

A smart leader recognizes that the knowledge each salesperson or marketer brings to the equation will serve to strengthen the company’s position when combined. Walter Wriston, former Chairman and CEO of Citicorp, was widely regarded as an innovative banker  – introducing ATMs and interstate banking -- so he knew a thing or two about business. One quote he’s remembered for: “The person who figures out how to harness the collective genius of his or her organization is going to blow the competition away.”

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Topics: Brand Marketing Trends