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What is ‘Smarketing’ and what are its advantages for B2B marketers?

Written by James Self

Jan 5 2015

If you’re exploring the advantages of an inbound marketing strategy, you’ve likely come across a lot of new and unfamiliar words and phrases, in particular; ‘smarketing’.

‘Smarketing’ is a portmanteau or ‘blended’ phrase, combining the words ‘sales’ and ‘marketing’. Coined by inbound gurus Hubspot, it is one of the foundations of the inbound methodology, and describes the closed-loop alignment of the sales and marketing teams in an organisation/firm.

For B2B marketers, Smarketing is invaluable

For B2B marketers the advantages are apparent, firms that have their sales/marketing teams aligned can achieve to up to 20% revenue growth. However, many marketers and sales managers are not familiar with the term. Given smarketing’s value, it’s important to understand what ‘Smarketing’ is, precisely why it should be implemented and how it should be achieved.

Bringing sales and marketing together for combined benefit

We have already mentioned that Smarketing is the practice of aligning your sales and marketing teams, so they are able to work with each other, ‘speak’ the same language and close the reporting loop. Historically, marketing and sales have operated solely within their own domains, with neither one nor the other communicating well with the other. But the two teams should complement one another; they are BOTH responsible to grow business!

Traditionally, marketers are there to attract and nurture interested prospects. After that, the sales team comes into action; implementing a personalised conversation with the prospect to uncover their needs, then offering a sale solution at the right time. If the relationship and communication between marketing and sales is suffering, then seamless growth of your business will suffer too.

So how can both sides be aligned? Clear communication is just the start. Sales and marketing should not wash their hands of one another after their tasks are done. They should collaborate; both teams should have clear and identical revenue goals so they are able to track each other’s progress. Next, marketing and sales should align around the same type of persona. In inbound methodology, personas are semi-fictional characters based on research and insight; they are ideal customers and the people we want to attract. Both teams should know the specifics of the persona they are targeting, and should maintain a dialog to keep everyone informed as personas develop and goals are met.

This may sound difficult to action, but clear smarketing alignment can be achieved with 5 easy to follow steps:

  1. Speak the same language - Both teams should have numerical goals, it is all about revenue after all. Having a marketing goal number based on the sales goal number is a way to align both teams. Both teams should be on the same page with respect on buyer personas, their journey and their stage in the sales and marketing funnel.
  2. Closed-loop reporting. By having closed-loop reporting, your marketing team will be able to pass more lead intelligence, data to the sales team and get feedback from them.
  3. Make an agreement. When both teams agree on having a service level agreement. Each team commits to perform specific tasks to support the other. This agreement should help with the alignment of both teams around the same revenue goals.
  4. Maintain open communication. There are many ways/options to keep open communication between both teams, examples can include both teams by having weekly meetings to discuss common topics for both teams - Product info, buyer personas, agreement clauses. Having members of both teams sitting together, so marketing team members see how sales work.
  5. Rely on data. Use shared marketing and sales dashboards that both teams can access and rely on to asses how teams are getting on, dashboards should align to the teams’ goals. By using data, both teams are able to see if targets are being hit and if not, they could figure out what has gone wrong and how it can be fixed.

Align teams, goals and personas for effective growth

Having your sales and marketing teams aligned towards the same goals and around specific personas will be key for your company’s revenue growth and internally it will help to develop stronger relationships between teams that historically have had often a conflicting dependency.

Featured image/ Ignacio Palomo Duarte


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