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Sales and marketing departments often view one another as adversaries. It's all too common for marketing to hit its target while sales miss, each blaming one another for the reason the company is underperforming.
Marketing believes they're pulling in more visitors who view more pages and make more enquiries, request more trials and convert more demos. They view the sales team as the root of the problem.
The sales team believe they're getting crap leads that aren't ready to buy, aren't qualified properly and that this is the reason why they're selling less than their quota.
Who's right? Both? Neither?
Clever companies are retooling their approach, their goals, rewards and team alignment, adopting the moniker 'SMarketing' to unify their teams.
SMarketing is simply the alignment of sales and marketing so that their goals and rewards are co-ordinated.
In the old way of doing things, each team had distinct Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which were used to determine their success.
In the new way, both teams have some goals unique to them, but share a common core or overlap that means each one is doing their part to make the combined sales and marketing approach a success.
Focusing both teams on Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) as the cornerstone of success is one of the most straight-forward means of embracing SMarketing.
Research from Aberdeen Group found organisations with highly aligned marketing and sales operations achieved an average of 32% annual revenue growth - while less well-aligned companies reported an average 7% decline.
Why isn't everyone doing it? Because it isn't easy…
Marketers are not used to working with SQLs because they require qualification. Marketers typically deal with traffic, visitors, views, downloads, enquiries, button submits etc. They are not used to having someone intervene, evaluate the qualifications and readiness of the lead and decide if indeed each lead is sales qualified.
Business development reps are often the ones who get the leads from marketing as Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) and then assess them to confirm whether or not they are SQLs.
Marketing needs additional education about the qualification process and will often come away with a better understanding of the target market, thus helping them to improve their content creation, advertising, PR and other activities.
Sales typically refer to poor-quality leads as the reason for why their pipelines are not flowing well. Leads can be from non-decision makers, companies who are very early in their research phase of making a purchase or who have no real intention of buying. They can be from companies without a budget for a purchase or who are in a sector that is a poor fit for their solution portfolio.
The sales team has to take the initiative and explain to marketing why these were rejected as non-SQL. Marketing then has to embrace this information and use it to help shape their buyer personas, buyer journey maps, content, website, email drip campaigns etc. from top to bottom.
Changing a phrase here, a caption there, product literature and other customer facing communications can reshape their offering, so that it more tightly fits the desired prospects and pre-eliminates those which would be rejected as not qualified.
Great article @webgeek.
Thanks Yiuwin, much appreciated!