Your company has a marketing team. It has a sales team as well. But are you actually committed to embracing full-fledged “smarketing?”
The seamless alignment between sales and marketing (often referred to as smarketing) can give you a powerful industry leg up. Conversely, misalignment between marketers and sales personnel can be a surefire road to financial woes. Therefore, it behooves you as a leader to improve workflows and communication between these two departments.
How can you rev up your marketing practices and achieve a cohesive, “we’re in this together” mentality? It takes time, diligence, and a bit of trial and error. However, you can start moving toward better dialogue and trust between sales and marketing fairly rapidly. Just put a few of these techniques into place to see measurable results.
1. Break Down the Silos Between Employees
People don’t tend to work with people they don’t know. And you can’t depend on someone in sales to just randomly start talking with a marketing colleague. This is especially true in the era of remote and hybrid work when people aren’t in the office full-time.
To promote introductions, set up regular cross-departmental team meetings. These meetings give workers the chance to get to know each other. They can be formal events, such as brainstorming sessions. Or, they can be laid-back get-togethers like Zoom coffee clutches or in-person happy hour meetups. The more familiar your staff members are with each other, the more likely they are to collaborate in the future.
2. Budget for More Asynchronous Communication Between Smarketing Team Members
The internal interactions within any workplace can be divided into synchronous and asynchronous communications. The former includes any conversations that happen in real-time and require immediate responses. The latter involves dialogues that occur over a period of time, such as a several-day email exchange.
Now that more people are working flexible hours, synchronous communication is harder to achieve. Therefore, focus your efforts on driving asynchronous exchanges between your sales and marketing employees. Not only will all give-and-take be documented, but people will be able to put thought into their responses. For example, a marketing team member may ask the sales team for input on a new campaign. Each sales employee gets time to mull over ideas and submit them later. The result may be more valid, comprehensive suggestions rather than off-the-cuff thoughts.
3. Move to Common Tech Stack Solutions
Do you feel like the efficient movement of information between your sales and marketing teams is impossible? The problem could lie in your technology. Even if both your departments have the latest software, you could still have difficulties. Why? Not all software integrates effortlessly. Consequently, sharing knowledge or data can be cumbersome—and cumbersome processes rarely happen.
The easy way to tell if your technologies could be causing smarketing hiccups is with an IT-related audit. Find out what systems are being used. If they don’t work together, see if they can be integrated through third-party solutions. Alternatively, look into investing in a centralized system that can serve everyone’s needs. When you make it simple (and practical) to share items, you fuel future smarketing transparency and success.
4. Get on the Same Page With Customer Personas
Marketers regularly leverage customer personas to bring leads into the business. Those leads are then handed over to sales to convert. What happens, though, when there’s a mismatch between ideal personas? In that case, sales may feel like marketing’s not doing its job. That’s a large stumbling block, particularly if you’re hoping for sales-marketing alignment.
At some point, gather everyone for a session to discuss customer personas. Have marketing share their thoughts, and ask sales to contribute to the discussion. Remember that salespeople may have a stronger sense of which consumers would make better personas. They may also be able to inform marketers of persona concerns based on what they hear day to day. Marketing employees can use what they discover to update their strategies and attract stronger leads.
5. Create and Share Short-Term and Long-Term Goals
It’s much easier for sales and marketing to work hand-in-hand when they’re moving toward common goals. As part of your initiative to boost smarketing efforts, develop objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs) between departments. You don’t have to involve everyone in these meetings. However, make sure you have equal representation from both verticals.
Don’t attempt to handle these meetings in secret, though. Aim to keep everyone informed of what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and what’s happened so far. When you agree upon some shared goals, help everyone understand what they need to do. Ideally, you want to get your people’s buy-in across the smarketing landscape.
6. Give Sales a Voice on Customer-Facing Marketing Communications
No doubt about it: Marketing churns out content. That’s the point. When you’re feeling like your creative well is a little dry, why not ask for contributions from sales? Your sales team might not want to write complete blog posts, social media posts, or video scripts, of course. Nevertheless, they could contribute bullet points to get you started.
Look for opportunities to integrate sales-related content into all your customer-facing platforms and exchanges. For instance, you could spotlight sales tips in your email newsletter. You might even want to interview sales employees as part of a special social media series. It’s a terrific way to ensure that your sales people get a visibility lift. Plus, it takes some of the burdens off marketing to innovate in a vacuum.
7. Consider Hiring Across Verticals
When positions in sales open up, do you ever think about asking marketers if they’re interested? Similarly, would you tap a sales employee if you had an unfilled marketing role? Sourcing talent between these two silos might not be as unusual as it seems. Depending upon the team member, the move could be logical. It might even help forge stronger bonds between departments than you might have imagined.
To be sure, hiring across departmental verticals works better in larger corporations with more (and varied) positions. However, it’s possible at any company. You might even want to set up mini “internships” or “job shadowing” initiatives to give sales a taste of marketing and vice versa. If nothing else, you’ll foster greater understanding and perhaps empathy between workers.
Without customers, your organization couldn’t continue to operate. Make sure that the two most important sources of bringing on customers—sales and marketing—work in tandem. All it takes is some smart smarketing strategies.
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