Smarketing: The Gap between Marketing and Sales
October 12, 2017
In most companies, the sales and the marketing departments operate independently, working towards different goals. Salespeople are totally sales focused, prospecting leads in order to reach out and ultimately, close deals. The marketing department traditionally focuses on branding, communications and promotions. With the proliferation of digital media and the transition of marketing communications towards online platforms, marketing objectives have become less and less relevant to the sales department. So-called “vanity metrics” like the number of fans, followers, impressions and clicks started to overshadow the true objective of the marketing departments function, which is priming prospects for the sales pipeline to achieve the overall business goal of increasing sales.
HubSpot’s State of Inbound Report 2017 shows that only 22% of the respondents feel that their company’s sales and marketing teams are closely aligned. Departmental alignment has become a critical factor in the overall success of the business. The first step toward the alignment between sales and marketing involves placing the customer, or the future customer, at the centre of all your sales and marketing efforts. When sales and marketing departments are solving different problems, you’ll find lower levels of success. Consider a motor vehicle driving in two different directions – higher levels of friction and fuel-consumption and less forward motion.
HubSpot defines “smarketing” as the process of aligning sales and marketing teams around common goals within a business or organisation, focused on improving revenue.
So, how do you begin to align your company’s marketing and sales efforts?
Clearly defined objectives
The first step towards true sales and marketing alignment is for the two teams to agree on their joint objectives and suggest approaches that could work to meet these. Tactics need to be tested and measured in order to understand their impact on the goals set out by the two teams. This is a process and will require flexibility and revision in order for the team to find the process that works for them.
Adopting processes that work
Once the two teams have achieved a certain amount of success in meeting their joint goals, it is time to operationalise this process and formalise the framework, be it meetings, documents and other process work. Where the previous step was about getting people on the same page, this step is about keeping them there. Consider monthly (or weekly) report back sessions where the teams can continuously re-align and re-optimise their process.
Choosing technology partners that enable success
Too many organisations operate several different technologies across the business, many of which do not offer integrated functionality across the different departments. Often costs are duplicated on functionality that is replicated across technology stacks, but there are still gaps in the job to be done, which need to be filled by band-aid solutions.
Modern software companies, such as HubSpot, offer a full-service marketing and sales solution where lead generation, pipeline information, communication collateral, contact databases and reporting are housed and managed. This big data is neatly summarised into one executive dashboard that gives all stakeholders in the business a comprehensive view of the entire marketing and sales programme.