What would business be without jargon (or healthcare, defence, IT for that matter)? And while no doubt it always makes its wielders sound way more important, they also have a way of befuddling not only the people they are used at, but said wielders as well.
Marketing and sales make for great points here. Both are well known throughout the modern world. But oftentimes, both are used interchangeably to the point where there seems to be no difference between them.
Sales is from Mars, marketing is from Venus
It’s the same situation in any company. Both marketing and sales rarely hold the other in high esteem. So, while sales thinks marketing is purely academic with no concrete goals, marketing’s opinion is that salespersons are lazy and would be lost without them.
Both sales and marketing need to work hand in hand. The role of marketing is twofold –
- Ensure that your company’s reputation (or as jargon would have it – brand equity) remains intact. It accomplishes the same by running PR campaigns through various channels.
- Generating interest in the company and its products and turning interested persons into leads.
Sales on the other hand is typically tasked with the following –
- Convert the leads provided by marketing into customers and/or accounts.
- Retain customers by ensuring their requirements vis-a-vis company’s product/services are always met.
Here’s where most problems arise. If there isn’t good communication between marketing and sales teams, then marketing won’t know if it did a good job, and as a result, sales won’t get the leads it wants. Oftentimes, sales teams just sit and wonder why they have such low quality leads to go on.
The bigger issue is that people today use online content (articles, blog posts, press releases, whitepapers etc), social media and peer recommendations to make buying decisions, which of course only make things worse as far as delegating responsibilities to sales and marketing teams go. After all, how are we supposed to decide which team was successful if a person read an article on the company blog and hit purchase?
Welcome to the world of Smarketing
Smarketing is a new philosophy that attempts to integrate sales and marketing in a unified whole. The idea has been around since 2000 when internet browsing began to pick up.
Here’s how Smarketing works.
Sales and marketing teams agree upon common metrics. For instance, both teams need to decide upon a common definition of what a lead is. Typically, a lead can be understood as a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) i.e. a person who has expressed interest in a company through one of their channels, and a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL), or a person who knows what to buy and has a budget in mind. Here’s an excellent piece on which all metrics you should consider aligning and more.
Proper communication must exist between both sales and marketing. Closed Loop Reporting as it’s called requires sales to provide marketing with actionable information on which strategies, channels and contents are yielding the highest quality leads, and which are not.
Finally, both sales and marketing must agree on the same messaging strategy to engage the customer so that the brand’s voice is not distorted. We cannot have each team telling their version of the company story.
By aligning your sales and marketing goals, you can make your activities more efficient and simpler. There is proof that Smarketing can result in a 20% increase in revenue, so it’s definitely worth a shot. In any case, integrating sales and marketing should be a top priority in any company so that a concrete plan can emerge. While we may not have cure for inter-office politics, everyone should be focused on the same goals at all times and should be helping each other do so.