Hubspot provided a definition to smarketing in 2014, and that hasn’t changed. The gist is a process by which your sales and marketing team get on the same page around goals and communicate regularly. The results can be huge. A 2016 LinkedIn report found nearly 60% of teams that reported sales and marketing alignment saw customer experience improvements, and a 2013 report from Marketo found companies with sales & marketing alignment are 67% better at closing deals and drive 209% more revenue.
For a deep dive into driving sales and marketing alignment, check out our comprehensive guide on the topic. But today we’re going to take a look at smarketing in practice; there’s plenty on the internet that can define smarketing. What we’re going to look at is real-world examples of the impact it can have on your sales and marketing operations.
This review will follow key topics touched on through past posts on sales and marketing alignment.
Commit to Smarketing from the Top Down
In order for any smarketing effort to be effective, you have to commit to it throughout your organization – starting by leading from the top.
Over the past year, our work with a client who believed in this from the C-level to the front lines has seen significant benefits from tight sales and marketing alignment.
But how do you measure the benefit of sales and marketing alignment commitment? This isn’t a scientific, double-blind survey, but on average, our client whose leadership team not only buys into smarketing alignment but drives it forward, has seen faster time to marketing traction and ROI. This is especially impactful for inbound which on the short end can take 9 months or even up to 18 months to start showing in the numbers.
If the anecdote above leaves you wanting more sales and marketing alignment proof, keep reading. We share some down and dirty numbers that back up our smarketing claims.
Establish & Track Key Measures
Knowing what and how to measure smarketing alignment can sometimes be a challenge. The two teams are often coming to the table with only their view of the funnel. But at the heart of a harmonious sales and marketing alignment, lies marketing qualified leads (MQLs).
You may have a program that with your first pass at an MQL definition is driving good volume, but when push comes to shove, your marketing contributed revenue isn’t all that great.
The benefit of this is when your best-educated guesses go wrong. We have a favorite saying at Lake One, “No plan survives first contact with the enemy.” – multiple sources
Over the past 12 months, our unified sales and marketing alignment with our client resulted in increasing marketing-sourced revenue while actually flattening the volume of MQLs.
Wait, what? MQLs flatlining? It truly is about quality over quantity. Fewer, better quality MQLs could only be accomplished because of regular communication, and in two quarters of work, we saw a little over two times the marketing sources impact on revenue.
Get Acquainted & Communicate
Just saying we’re going to agree to a few measurables isn’t enough to drive an aligned sales and marketing organization. You need to develop a sales and marketing plan for regular communication and alignment checkpoints.
Two heads are better than one, a whole group of heads – that’s magic. With the client we’ve been mentioning throughout this post, our smarketing alignment is tied into all of our marketing program meetings. Sales is represented in every meeting so we get to hear weekly what’s working, what’s not, and what’s coming up. This kind of immediate connection between two teams that don’t traditionally work together opens up lines of communication. Both teams feel comfortable lobbing ideas over the fence in between those meetings.
Ideas that have lead to optimizations seeing traffic nearly quadruple and leads nearly double in 6 months.
Smarketing Results and You
This is just one example from one client of how smarketing can drive impact throughout the funnel on an organization. Every organization is different, but with so much attention, smarketing or sales and marketing alignment or whatever you want to call it is getting we thought it was worthwhile taking a look at how bringing the two teams responsible for revenue closer together – can actually make a measurable impact.