In the 2020/2021 State of Sales Report by Pipedrive, about half (52%) of respondents who were sales professionals were struggling with lead generation. Daily, 53% of these professionals spend most of their workday selling, 46% spend their workday prospecting leads, and another 36% are occupied with generating leads.
There has been a considerable decrease in the percentage of salespeople who spend most of their time selling but instead are bogged down with admin tasks. While most have started using available sales tools and technology to ease lead generation and sales tracking, some salespeople still use traditional tools like spreadsheets. Salespeople see increased performance across key performance indicators as they adopt tools that cater to their needs.
Although the sales department is responsible for converting leads to paying customers, the marketing team acquires and nurtures leads. Traditionally, sales and marketing teams operated independently, with the marketers controlling the top of the sales funnel and sales focusing on the bottom, closing deals. However, the key to closing deals in many instances is the sales enablement handoff from marketing to sales with a consistent experience for the prospect.
It is important to align these two teams to ensure effective and efficient functioning and enhance productivity. Aligning the sales and marketing departments supports strategic planning initiatives, enhances open communication, and leads to the creation of cohesive key performance indicators. This alignment allows them to work as a unit, creating effective and converting marketing strategies, improving sales effectiveness, and consequently increasing revenue.
What does Smarketing entail?
Sales and marketing alignment, otherwise called smarketing, brings together the sales and marketing teams to enable them to work with better communication, transparency, and collaboration for greater efficiency. It involves integrating these teams so that goals and processes can take one form and be optimized.
Smarketing occurs when there is cross-functional input into marketing plans, a closed-loop for feedback on sales content, seamless handoff between marketing lead generation and conversion by the sales team, correspondent customer service, and shared goals and objectives.
In smarketing, the marketers are responsible for educating buyers, nurturing and qualifying leads, providing competitive intel, influencing market trends, and engaging customers to deliver additional value. In addition, they ensure buyers continue evangelizing the company.
On the other hand, the sales team shares information including buyer needs, market dynamics, real-life applications of products, marketing content validity, product capabilities, customer habits, and process efficiency with the marketing team. This information can enable the marketing team to execute effective marketing strategies.
Smarketing can be used to solve the traditional problems faced by the sales and marketing teams. The issue of poor customer data can be addressed by creating an operational center of information that both teams can tap into.
Smarketing will enable marketers to create converting sales content that wholly addresses the sales team’s needs, thereby leading to more adoption and fewer lost deals. In addition, better-informed content creation solves the problem of lead handoff with a refined process and enhanced returns on investment (ROI) on marketing spend.
Aligning Both Teams
Smarketing can be hard to implement, primarily if the teams use different terminologies. However, this can be solved by creating a general glossary for the company’s terminologies. A service level agreement (SLA) can also be implemented to manage expectations from the teams. Other issues include not discussing revenue generation, not sharing feedback, and being hesitant to give feedback.
The first step to aligning both teams is defining the goals of the teams and unifying business outcomes. The next step is enhancing strategy by understanding market trends, buyers’ needs, and solutions. The processes to implement these strategies are then agreed upon by both teams. An important factor in smarketing is centralized communication. Sales enablement is also essential in creating a neutral space for collaboration and implementation between both groups.
Many CRMs can be used to implement a unified smarketing program across companies; one of my favorites is Pipedrive, launched in 2010 as the first customer relationship management (CRM) tool designed for salespersons by salespersons. It helps users visualize their sales through scheduling, completing, and tracking sales activities. It features tools for generating and managing leads, sales automation, marketing automation, and email and communications.