You've heard us crack on about aligning your sales and marketing to better benefit your business. You’ve probably heard the term “smarketing” bandied about too. And this so-called smarketing, which aligns inbound marketing teams with Inbound Sales teams, is your key to more effective lead nurturing and revenue growth.
The question is, are your sales and marketing teams directed towards one another and do they form a productive tandem or a disjointed duo?
"No matter how the CRM industry evolves, getting the Sales and Marketing teams to synergise is organisational goal number one. Every success grows from their collaboration and free exchange of ideas because you can't serve the customer right when your best people are working blind." - Marshall Lager, Managing Principal, Third Idea Consulting
Let’s take a look at what we at Struto deem to be the top three tools that are optimal for achieving this symbiosis between sales and marketing.
Why Align Sales and Marketing?
Take a closer look at how your revenue stream is set up. Look at all the differentiating factors. Do these various steps seem to benefit your efforts, or are they crashing and slowing down your sales productivity and marketing ROI? At first glance, maybe not, but taking a deeper look - especially when applying an Inbound approach – may reveal otherwise.
Although it seems that these two streams have different goals, they don't – or shouldn't! The Inbound Marketing methodology proves that a unified approach is potentially the best opportunity to improve your business's performance and affect top-line growth. You know what they say about "all rivers leading to the same ocean"?
The purchasing funnel is no longer split down the middle with Marketing reaching out from Awareness stages to Consideration, qualifying the lead as MQL, and then passing along to sales. This traditional approach has proved not only premature but hazardous to qualifying the smart and informed modern buyer. With a combined approach, Marketing fully nurtures the lead throughout the funnel, and only once an Intent is expressed, and the lead is Evaluated, will it be passed onto Sales. So a Sales/Marketing dichotomy then still exists?
No, not really. With a combined Smartketing approach, the teams work in tandem, each aware of what the other is doing – and more importantly where the lead is in their Buyer's Journey. The combined groups cooperate to evaluate:
1. Lead Scoring
2. Lead Metrics (MQL, SQL)
3. Service Level Agreements (SLA)
The result is a better understanding of 1. a lead's ranking and sales-readiness, 2. whether the lead still requires nurturing, or is ready to be passed on to sales and 3. the timing outline each team has to react and perform the next step.
Looking at this approach, in conjunction with Inbound Marketing, it becomes easier for Sales to conduct the purchase and then pass the customer back to Marketing to further nurture and delight them to promoter status. So how do you achieve this unified Smarketing synergy?
Top 3 Tools to Align your Sales and Marketing:
TOOL #1 – HubSpot
"In 2011, the Aberdeen Group released a study that claimed highly aligned organisations achieved an average of 32% year-over-year revenue growth – while their less aligned competitors saw a 7% decrease." - HubSpot
Better quality leads isn't a mythical unicorn; it is an actionable, achievable, goal which every business can reach. To get you there, though, you'll have to open those channels of communication between Marketing and Sales, and you'll need the best platform to do so. One of our favourite tools for this is HubSpot. From a powerful CRM to an equally efficient CMS, HubSpot has all the sales enablement tools you need and is an essential all-in-one tool to create a flow of seamless integration between your teams.
The portal makes it easy to see what each team is doing:
- The success of your marketing gets measured by the volume of quality leads they hand to sales.
- Sales metrics may then represent the percentage of leads worked and the rate of closed leads. If the work rate or close/d rate declines, it may then reflect a poor lead quality which then gets flagged back to marketing.
HubSpot easily integrates with Salesforce, giving your team a full view of the lifecycle from visitor to customer. Closed-loop reporting allows Sales to track the behaviour of these leads and report back to Marketing, who may then use these valuable insights to adapt the Buyer Persona. You can then identify which leads are most likely to convert and which are the most valuable to pursue.
HubSpot remains the most vital tool in our Inbound Marketing arsenal.
TOOL #2 – Prezi
No one understands the correlation between Sales and Marketing better than Prezi. The presentation powerhouse has designed a host of presentation formats and templates to serve businesses focused on getting their Smarketing streamlined.
"Prezi has a marvellous approach to the visualisation of information – the freshest I've seen since the 1980's." - Rob Campbell, Founder, PowerPoint
As a tool, Prezi allows your business to focus on reporting in a whole new way. Their granular approach to templates allows you to tackle and display each and every facet of your customer's Marketing and Sales steps through their Buyer's Journey.
Marketing can clearly document their place, pace and growth, thanks to Prezi's innovative Conversational Presenting approach. Not much then gets lost in translation for the Sales team who may easily interpret the data and go on to produce accurate estimates, projections and sales reports.
With a cutting edge design platform and dynamic interface, the look and feel of your Marketing or Sales reporting will be as aesthetically appealing as they are informative. Thanks to the layout and visual-heavy design interfaces, both teams will be on board with what the other is doing.
For even further validation – Prezi teamed up with HubSpot to deliver a free toolkit to design your very own Smartketing reporting templates.
TOOL #3 – Zoom
Communication between your teams is paramount. You will need a reliable communication tool to effectively bridge the gap between your Sales and Marketing guys and girls. For larger, international organisations, this becomes even more integral as salespeople may be spread out nationally or globally. Communication and feedback are essential in lead nurturing and generating better quality leads.
Zoom is that tool that's powerful enough to get everyone together in the same place, at the same time. We wouldn't recommend it if we didn't also use it ourselves. The Cloud conferencing tool allows for group collaboration and communication across various formats and operating systems. It allows for seamless group messaging and easy, secure, multimedia sharing. With unified login options, integration with Salesforce, Slack, Google, etc., this remains our go-to communication tool of choice.
The icing on the cake is the Marketing/Process automation feature which sees you easily integrating with Marketo, HubSpot, Zapier, Eloqua, and others, for your automation processes.
So, your Smarketing relationship might be more important than you thought it was. For further insights on how you can differentiate your business, consult our handy eBook.