Smarketing is a new term coined to mean sales and marketing alignment. The importance of sales and marketing alignment seems to be increasingly recognized for the benefits it will bring to an organization. Smarketing is more than a change of processes or best practices; it is fundamentally a change in culture.
Change can be hard. The probability of driving successful change will increase when there is a shared need among all stakeholders. Rather than being imposed from above, sales and marketing leaders need to see the value in collaboration and alignment and drive that change at their levels and for their teams. The “stickiness” of this change will increase when this change happens without being asked or forced by executive management.
There’s no doubt that marketing and sales come from differing perspectives, but they both have much to contribute. Appreciating those differences and finding ways to create synergies will help both teams grow and will ultimately improve the customer experience.
Marketing tends to take a longer view – building a brand, growing brand awareness, planning campaigns, nurturing and qualifying leads, driving social media engagement, and analyzing metrics to see what can be improved. Sales tends to take a shorter view – looking to close the next deal and meet a monthly or quarterly target. Both perspectives are important when running a business. Having an ambidextrous approach – balancing short-term and long-term – will keep things on track strategically and tactically. Sales and marketing must acknowledge and appreciate these differences. One simple way to drive this enlightenment is to spend a day or two shadowing a counterpart to get a better “inside view” of another role.
The buyer’s journey has shifted. Now most buyers do their research online and have a pretty good idea of what they plan to purchase before talking with a sales person. Rather than having marketing and sales in separate camps, they need each other to deliver the personalized experience that prospects deserve. When sales and marketing work together to map out this journey, they will quickly realize that both parties play key roles in guiding a prospect from awareness to purchase.
It takes time, and it takes intention. Smarketing is smart marketing and smart sales aligned!
About the Author
Melanie R. Varin is Chief Operating Officer and consultant for TopLine Results Corporation. Melanie specializes in business process consulting for organizations across many industries. With more than 30 years of business expertise, Melanie focuses on providing clients with winning strategies for improving their sales, marketing and overall business processes from assessment to implementation.