The SMARKETING Playbook

By Julie Warren, Marketing Director

When I walk into many organisations for the first time, one fundamental issue typically stands out – and that is the extent of the alignment (or otherwise) of the Sales and Marketing teams.

A combination of Sales and Marketing, the term ‘SMARKETING’ has been defined by Hubspot as ‘the process of aligning the Sales and Marketing teams around common goals within a business or organisation, focused on improving revenue.’

It’s a definition which I’m not only happy to accept; I also know that, with effective leadership, it can be truly transformational.

The statistics in favour of achieving Sales and Marketing alignment are undoubtedly compelling:

Aberdeen Group found that highly aligned organisations achieved an average of 32% year-over-year revenue growth, while their less aligned competitors saw a 7% decrease in revenue.

According to SiriusDecisions, B2B firms with tightly aligned Sales & Marketing operations achieved 24% faster three-year revenue growth and 27% faster three-year profit growth.

According to MarketingProfs, organisations with closely aligned Sales and Marketing functions also enjoyed 36% higher customer retention rates and 38% higher Sales win rates.

Sales and Marketing teams come to the table with very different but complementary skills. By engaging with Sales and drawing on its knowledge of what customers want and respond to, Marketing are better equipped to develop buyer-centric campaigns that Sales will want to support and rally behind. Similarly, Sales can benefit directly from the strategic direction set by Marketing in terms of prospect identification, key messages, lead nurturing and content.

In today’s challenging environment, putting the principles of SMARKETING into action has never been more vital. That’s why I have produced a practical 4-step SMARKETING Playbook based on my own experience, to help Sales and Marketing leaders meet one of the main challenges facing businesses today as they look to emerge stronger in a post-Covid world.

The SMARKETING Playbook

Awareness

Ultimately, the commitment to incept and cultivate a SMARKETING approach has to come from the top. There are many reasons why misalignment can occur within an organisation and these are all fundamentally down to leadership including a siloed culture, lack of objectives & communication, poor visibility & transparency of reporting and results.

LinkedIn reports that 52% of Sales and Marketing professionals cited that shared objectives and KPIs would help the business enhance its collaboration.

Getting the implementation of SMARKETING principles correct demands an investment in both time & resources and an openness to discuss goals, communicating challenges & opportunities – and, importantly, to celebrate successes.

An anonymous internal SMARKETING Survey is a good place to start to identify existing issues, attitudes & perceptions as to where and how improvements can be made in respect of Sales and Marketing alignment.

Acceptance

It is essential to take on these issues and to be able to use the talents of the teams to resolve them, so that they own the issues. An independently facilitated SMARKETING Workshop, with clear rules of engagement, is a positive way to get cross-functional teams working together.

Remember to involve your agency partners to maximise value from the sessions, a sample agenda for which is below:

  1. Detailed company strategic and revenue objectives delivered by the MD/ CEO/ Project Lead
  2. Feedback from the SMARKETING Survey
  3. To identify what can be done better or differently to achieve the stated objectives

Alignment

The new SMARKETING model is about interdependent goals, not independent goals. The next step is to create a SMARKETING workstream that unites the Sales and Marketing teams to move forward in unison to deliver on generating revenues together. Prioritise and assign the key actions arising from the Workshop (who, what, when).

Accountability

A two-way Sales and Marketing Service Level Agreement (SLA) defines the actions that each team will commit to accomplishing in order to support the other in reaching the shared (revenue) goals. Closed loop reporting (CLR) then ensures the actionable data & information collected by Marketing and Sales teams is made available to both.

Delivering the SMARKETING Approach

SMARKETING has a single minded purpose; to align Sales and Marketing to achieve the company’s objectives, revenue streams and profits.

A clear road map, experienced teams that have done it many times before and an organisation that is open to doing things differently are essential ingredients to creating a powerful & cohesive business development unit that will deliver long term sustainable value.

In my experience, most CEOs I have encountered have very quickly recognised that SMARKETING is the smart way to do business.

Have you put SMARKETING at the heart of your business strategy?

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