Smarketing' Strategy 101: Integrating Sales and Marketing for Better Alignment
Admittedly, when MaestroGroup Principal Claire Daniel Gordon first met Co-Founder Will Fuentes at a Washington, D.C.-based startup some time ago there was some suspicion: “Best talk with me first,” cautioned one colleague in the marketing department, “before sales poisons your thinking…”
That type of distrust is typical between sales and marketing teams, which are notoriously dysfunctional in communication and plagued by broken and flawed processes. Further misalignment surfaces in reporting challenges when different measuring metrics are used between teams and when there is a lack of accurate data on target accounts, a lack of common prospect & customer data, and a lack of accountability on both sides.
“Smarketing,” aka sales and marketing alignment, is simply having the right kind of alignment between your sales and marketing efforts. Its overarching goal? “… [T]o position your sales and marketing departments in a way that supports bigger business initiatives: better communication with prospects, shortened deal cycles, more efficiency with a given number of resources, and—of course—revenue.” (Thank you to The Kapost Blog for that nice summation.)
“Smarketing” also has another benefit—it builds teams and boosts morale: a pleasant side-effect Claire and Will both noticed when they first joined forces. Claire and Will quickly understood that the key to success was open lines of communication. They set up weekly interdepartmental newsletters and invited members of each department to the other's meetings. They also created workshops where marketing could learn about the sales pain points in messaging or delivery. Further, they taught sales how they could influence marketing by gathering critical data from their prospects. Through this process they created unified, threaded messaging and a cohesive sales and marketing team.
Resultantly, distrust gave way to respect as they discovered they made a great partnership with overlapping, mutually-beneficial skills and a shared ethos to dream big and strive for excellence.
What the MaestroGroup founders both realized, and what they both brought to the table, was the knowledge that customer success is your success—an insight gleaned from their respective professional experiences in media and on the sales floor: Who is your customer? What are (current) customers doing? What do customers want to do? What do you want customers to do?
No matter if you’re on the salesfloor, on the beat, or on the wild ride of launching a start-up, pitching the latest product all comes down to knowing who your audience is, what they want to do, and marrying it to what YOU and your business wants them to do.
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