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Sales and marketing teams generally have the same common goal to increase revenue and generate profit in their company. The two teams need each other to thrive successfully and to reach those goals; but oftentimes find themselves pointing fingers at one another.
The marketing team may come to their employer saying, “I gave great quality leads and the sales team didn’t close.” Or the sales team may come bickering that, “The leads the marketing team gave me were trash and there’s nothing I could do with them.”
Digital marketing has changed everything. Sales teams used to be in charge of basically all stages of the sales process, since there were significantly less mediums available to market on. If someone came to a sales member, it was their job to tell them about the product — it wasn’t something the prospect had heard of from the internet or been able to do in-depth research on. Today, a lot of decision buyers make their decision before they even speak to a sales representative.
Hubspot picked up on this and decided to come up with a solution for everyone: “smarketing.” Smarketing is the alignment of sales and marketing goals. It requires two-way communication, measureable goals and a lot of adjustments along the way.
Smarketing is a way to get your sales team and marketing team to work together in beautiful harmony that results in more closed leads; and you can have your team’s practice smarketing in no time with a few minor adjustments.
No problems will ever be resolved in the workplace if no one is aware that something is a problem. The marketing team could be proactively taking initiatives they believe are smart and successful, but they may not be working successfully to close the lead. You could take the most-hip, up-to-date approach in your marketing efforts, but if it doesn’t align with your buyer personas’ needs/preference of communication, it’s just wasting your time.
Having regular meetings where the marketing and sales team can talk about what’s right, what’s wrong and what they can do to fix it now will help relieve their tension of miscommunication, along with corrective action in fixing the things they see as problems.
Encourage communication from both sides during meetings, and have each side support their claims by numbers. In the end, when it comes to reaching the goal, there’s only one thing that matters: numbers. Marketers may create buzz; but unless that buzz is generating leads, it’s costing you. Your sales team may have called every person on your list, but unless they’re communicating in a way that backs up what the lead already knows and likes from what they’ve seen through your company’s marketing, they will do their research elsewhere (and maybe even go with your competitor). Bring data to each meeting and then frame your discussions around improving the numbers.
Along with talking about the things that are wrong, and what they should do better, the teams should also communicate what the other side is doing well. If the sales team has noticed that email marketing initiatives get brought up or complimented a lot when discussing closing the sale, they should communicate that to marketers. This makes the discussion more light and works for those who work better off of positive reinforcement.
None of either sides’ initiatives matter if you don’t know who you’re selling to. If your club is a boutique style health club with a hefty price tag on memberships, don’t use marketing materials that are attractive to college students. You have to understand every part of who you’re marketing to and then frame your pitch and your materials around what that person will enjoy. It’s important to speak the same language so your client feels like you’re talking to them — and not at them.
I never knew how important that was until I started studying marketing myself. I see so many people market things in this uncomfortable, overly-professional voice that seems insincere and robotic. That may not be what your audience wants. If you’re a laid-back, easy-going gym, don’t seem too prestigious in your marketing materials. It’s misleading and will turn potential clients off. Your brand essence and your brand voice should seep through all of your materials along with the tones and verbiage used by the sales team.
Buyer personas are relatively easy to make, and you could have anywhere from two to 15 different personas for your company. The sales and marketing teams should create these personas together based off of trends and feedback they’ve gotten from their efforts to successfully find what ultimately works. One way to do this is for them to interview a focus group of eight to 12 people that they’ve noticed successfully take to the marketing and sales initiatives, then find out why. It’s also good to have negative leads, or people that don’t take well to the efforts, so they can see what they need to adjust in order to get a better reach.
Once your sales and marketing team work through this to define who their buyer persona is, they will have discussed both things that did and did not work in a way that was less-forced and less aggressive than a conference-table discussion in a formal meeting. And once they define the personas and decide on their new efforts, they can measure their efforts on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly meeting together and adjust accordingly.
This open communication will hopefully lead to less finger-pointing, and an increase in numbers and satisfaction on both teams. Look at it this way— your offense and defense may be strong on their own— but isn’t it magical when they work together? Use smarketing to your advantage.