Did you know that lost sales productivity and wasted marketing budget costs companies at least $1 trillion a year?
By now, most marketers understand the importance of mending the traditional rift between sales and marketing. The mistrust and miscommunication that’s so often found between the two teams can act like an anchor on your company’s growth rate.
Organizations with good alignment between sales and marketing teams achieved 20% annual revenue growth. In contrast, companies with poor alignment saw revenues decline by 4%. That’s why many companies work hard to generate better communication between sales and marketing – only to see cracks between the two groups re-open over time. The bottom line is that achieving sales and marketing alignment can be tough, but maintaining alignment is even tougher.
Creating a solid, lasting partnership between sales and marketing requires a strategic approach that treats the two teams as a single, revenue-generating organization. HubSpot refers to this organization as the “Smarketing” team to recognize the fact that sales and marketing are critical partners – not adversaries. HubSpot credits this approach to helping maintain strong communication between sales and marketing, even as the company grew quickly from a handful of employees to a global enterprise.
Regular meetings foster communication and collaboration.
Another way to get sales and marketing to think like one Smarketing team is to let those two groups actually get together and interact in person. Regular meetings between the two groups foster communication and collaboration, and help sales and marketing managers improve their Smarketing tactics. You should hold two types of meetings:
A weekly all-hands Smarketing meeting
A monthly management meeting
Weekly Smarketing Meeting
Get the entire Smarketing team together at least once a week to discuss recent results and upcoming activities. The size of your organization will determine the format of this weekly meeting. For a company with only a handful of sales and marketing staffers, the Smarketing meeting can be a highly interactive session, welcoming discussion and questions from anyone in the group. But for a larger company with dozens of marketing and sales staff, the Smarketing meeting should be a fast-paced, high-level overview to keep sales and marketing teams on the same page and moving toward the SLA goals.
Tips for Running Meetings
Keep it Short
It’ll be best if you can keep Smarketing meetings short and to-the-point. If you can keep it to 30-40 minutes, that will be great. Just make sure it doesn’t go over an hour.
Pick Timing Carefully
Hold it at the end of day to avoid disrupting the sales team’s prime calling time.
Designate one presenter each from Sales and Marketing to deliver their half of the Smarketing update. That update should include current status toward SLA goals, plans for upcoming activities, recent highlights or big wins, and so on.
Think of it more as a performance than a dry presentation of charts and metrics. Look for presenters who can entertain and energize the group while quickly conveying the most important quantitative details.
Monthly Management Meetings
The monthly management meeting is an opportunity to take a deep dive into results and to hash out upcoming plans, strategy questions, and any potential problems that may be nudging your sales and marketing teams out of alignment.
Invite three to five key managers from the sales and marketing teams to the monthly meeting, and empower them to work on the issues that affect sales and marketing alignment. In this way, they will forge solid relationships that will help your Smarketing organization scale as your company grows
Suggested Agenda Items
Review of Metrics
Detailed discussion of closed-loop analysis reports and current funnel metrics, so sales and marketing can address any issues related to meeting the requirements of the SLA.
Sharing plans for future marketing or sales projects, and discussion of potential strategy changes.
Resolving disputes between sales and marketing about lead quality or quantity
Sales follow-up efforts
The definition of the MQL (Marketing qualified lead)
Lead scoring standards
Technology or product updates
Any other important terminology or practices.
Other SMarketing Communication
For marketers, the sales team is just another customer base. Even if your SLA is bulletproof, you’re generating well-designed dashboards, and running meetings to provide regular dashboards, you still need to maintain satisfaction. Marketers still might need other ways to show the sales team how their efforts are helping achieve revenue goals. In other words, marketers should think about the sales team as another customer base, and try to“market” the role of marketing to that internal audience. As with any marketing campaign, it helps to tailor your message to the audience’s persona. In the case of the typical salesperson, that’s someone who’s super busy, doesn’t want to be distracted, doesn’t want to read long reports, and needs to know how the information you’re sharing will help them right now.
Types of Communication
Consolidate the information you need to convey to the sales team into simple, weekly newsletter-style reports intended to help them do their job. HubSpot’s SMarketing program uses two reports on a weekly basis; a marketing and product update.
Weekly Marketing Update
Weekly marketing updates can consist of a list of weekly planned promotions with short soundbites. This information helps the sales team understand where new leads are coming from, so they can prepare for those contacts.
Weekly Product Update
If your product or service change often, consider informing your sales team about these changes. Send these weekly email updates from your email marketing platform, so you can track open and clickthrough rates. You’ll see which sales reps are reading the updates and which ones are ignoring them. And if you notice overall opens and CTR declining, you know it’s time to refresh the newsletter format or tweak information you’re sharing to make the report more valuable to the sales team.
Finally, you can encourage better communication within your Smarketing team by mixing sales and marketing desks together. By sitting next to each other, marketers get to see firsthand how salespeople do their jobs – and whether marketing activities are actually helping them. Sales reps benefit by having a neighbor they can reach out to with questions about particular leads, or about new marketing campaigns. These informal conversations go a long way toward keeping the entire team happy and productive.
This blog is an excerpt from IMA's SMarketing eBook, an intermediate to advanced resource for sales and marketing managers! To learn how to build a data-driven sales and marketing service level agreement (SLA) and much more, download your free copy today!
image credit: richard rutter via flickr cc