It seems like an obvious way to streamline your business proposition and achieve real alignment. But can ‘smarketing’, that blend of sales and marketing strategies, really work for small and medium enterprises?
When HubSpot defined the term, they said that smarketing was achieved through ‘frequent and direct communication’ between sales and marketing teams. But if you’re running a small business, you may not have teams dedicated to each function - in fact you may even handle both jobs yourself.
A typical day for you might involve updating your Twitter feed, uploading a shot of your snappy new logo designs to Instagram (if you’re really on the ball, you invited followers of the feed to design it for you), commissioning some flyer printing from Helloprint and then following up on some potential interest on your Facebook wall with a number of direct sales enquiries.
That, in a nutshell, is smarketing. With the line between sales and marketing getting ever blurrier, it makes sense to deconstruct the two roles and rebuild them into something better suited to the way your business operates.
Indeed, in today’s business-to-business environment, the role of a sales team is much reduced compared to 15 or 20 years ago. Instead of gentle persuasion from knowledgeable sales people, buyers now rely on readily available information: thought-leadership editorial, white papers, case studies, the recommendations of colleagues and current and forthcoming trends, much of which is nurtured and surfaced by canny marketers.
Many companies are desperately trying to latch onto the fashion for smarketing, some more successfully than others. If you run a small or medium-sized business, you’ve already got an advantage: you don’t have large, established sales and marketing teams to manoeuvre around, no long entrenched sense of ‘us and them’ to overcome and a small or maybe non-existent alignment gap to bridge.
In larger companies, a workable smarketing strategy would involve sales and marketing teams agreeing on a number of steps. First, identifying target demographics and how a product can satisfy their needs. Second, determining buyer personas and agreeing on the definitions of a lead.
By getting buy-in from both teams at the beginning of the process, the traditional blame game – ‘marketing are generating bad leads’, ‘sales are failing to convert leads’ - is dismantled before it can even begin.
However, in your SME, you’ve got no such trouble. Your sales and marketing strategy can be aligned and actioned quickly and efficiently. You can decide to generate a certain number of leads each month, make a defined number of follow-ups within a set timeframe up to a limit per month and create an easy-to-use dashboard that clearly shows the data generated by both functions. This can then be turned into a set of KPIs for your business - and all without any animosity.
Sales and marketing each have the same goal: increasing income. The technology and platforms are available to create the hybrid of the two that helps your business to smarket its way to improved profitability.
Get started with these five smarketing steps from Commonplaces.com.