Smarketing – 6 Steps to Sales and Marketing Integration

Despite large investments in sales CRM and marketing automation technologies, the adoption of inbound marketing, and all the hype around sales enablement, c-level execs are still scratching their heads over the level of disconnect between sales and marketing. The number one question now on their minds is “where’s the ROI from these two departments?”

If you, like many of the c-suite execs we know, are looking to see measurable ROI from your sales and marketing efforts then it’s time to go beyond alignment to achieve true sales and marketing integration, a.k.a. ‘smarketing’ — the ultimate state of marketing and sales nirvana. In fact, sales and marketing integration can lead organizations to become 67% better at closing deals and to see a 209% increase in revenue from marketing, according to a study by Marketo.

So how exactly is this achieved? In this blog we’ll cover some potential challenges, considerations, and steps you can take to achieve true sales and marketing integration and drive the ROI you have been seeking.

6 Steps to Sales and Marketing Integration

At the crux of the ROI issue is sales and marketing disconnect. The common causes being an overall lack of communication, bandwidthstandardized processes, common metrics, and accountability measures. We’ve found that following these 6 steps have helped to transform sales and marketing teams within our client’s organizations — resulting in increased revenue from sales and a measurable contribution to ROI from marketing.

Step 1: Attain internal alignment from stakeholders

The sales and marketing landscape is shifting and digital marketing is at the forefront of this movement.

“B2B, eBusiness, and channel strategy professionals must radically transform their historical sales models to accommodate a real-time and global buying environment where websites, not salespeople, are at the heart of how B2B companies buy and sell.” (Forrester, 2015)

To facilitate this change:

  • C-level execs must agree upon, and set the tone for, the organization’s strategic course to sales and marketing integration.
  • Marketing and sales leaders must agree to create and execute plans that align with corporate goals.
  • Sales teams must embrace digital marketing as a core strategy for lead and demand generation.
  • Marketing teams must rally behind the opportunity to create content for sales that can be tracked as a measurable and definitive method for creating ROI.
  • Company culture must shift to accommodate and support marketers and salespeople working together.

  • Step 2: Create a standardized sales and marketing process

    If your sales and marketing team does not have standardized processes in place, your company is probably leaking potential revenue. The lack of standardized processes, common language, and lead protocols often leads to prospects becoming lost in the marketing and sales funnel. In fact, due to the chaos and confusion surrounding funnel stage ownership, 36% of marketing generated leads are never even called according to Forbes. Having a standard process helps to streamline your sales and marketing efforts, eliminate role and task overlap, and creates funnel transparency. Here are three key tasks that can help you begin to define this process:

  • Standardize lead definitions – What defines a Lead, Prospect, MQL, SQL?
  • Establish protocols for managing leads – Where are the marketing-sales handoff and hand back points? How will leads be followed up with? Who is responsible?
  • Define key metrics – What is the ideal lead-to-customer close percentage? What does a healthy revenue pipeline look like? Consider metrics like deals sourced and deals influenced by marketing.
  • Step 3: Sales and marketing maps the buyer journey together

    Marketing and sales tend to see the customer journey through very different lenses. This fragmented vision of the prospect/customer lifecycle often leads to confusion over the marketing-to-sales handoff, overlapping responsibilities, and lost revenue. In order to truly understand the ‘big picture,’ sales and marketing must work closely together to identify buying behavior and define the role each party plays in guiding the buyer through their journey.

    The New Buying Funnel:

    the new buying funnelSource:

    Step 4: Create a clearly defined brand story

    Why is a brand story so important? When a company has a clear and unique brand story it can provide a strategic-framework for decision-making. In order to move towards a unified team, put your why into words and:

  • Identify core business competencies.
  • Determine a unique value proposition.
  • Document your mission, vision, purpose, and positioning statements.
  • Revise existing content to communicate these ideals.

  • Step 5: Map content to the buyer journey

    A brand story translated and distributed digitally has the power to bring companies and prospects together. The challenge is that the modern B2B buyer can reach the decision stage of their journey without ever contacting or speaking to a salesperson thanks to the wonderful world wide web. The key to engaging and influencing these prospects along their buyer journey is in the content.

    The stages of the buyer journey


    Through highly targeted content mapped to the buyer journey and skillfully distributed through inbound and outbound channels your sales and marketing teams can become a revenue generating powerhouse.

    Step 6: Establish accountability measures and feedback loop

    One of the most critical steps to smarketing, is implementing accountability measures and feedback loops. For a team to be truly integrated, each party must be held accountable for their role in the sales process. The best method for accomplishing this is to develop and document a SLA (service level agreement) between sales and marketing that defines the expected outcomes of the sales process and details both qualitative and quantitative goals. Once the terms are agreed upon by both parties, it is essential to hold regular smarketing meetings in order to build trust, optimize sales and marketing efficiency, and identify any gaps in the pipeline in order to ensure prospects are nurtured from the top of the funnel all the way through to a closed deal.

    Smarketing Success: Driving Revenue Through Integrated Sales and Marketing

    At Figmints, we have experienced the power of smarketing first hand, for ourselves as well as for our clients — getting both teams to work together to focus on driving revenue.

    For us, we see this happen when our inbound team and our inside sales team focus together on finding engaged leads that may be a good fit for our company. The inbound team developed a gated asset called the 51 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency. Our inside sales team reaches out to those who downloaded the asset to see if they could provide any more information to help them. We have had many great conversations, sales presentations, and new business signed from this effort (including one of our largest accounts) that was a direct result of the joint efforts of our marketing and inside sales teams.

    We have also seen great results when our clients’ marketing and sales teams begin working with us — they see each other’s strengths and work together to figure out where the gaps are that need attention in the smarketing process. The head of sales at a leading healthcare technology company had a challenge. His passionate and experienced sales team was spending more and more time working with clients they signed on, rather than prospecting for new business. He knew his team was spending over 60 percent of their time on non-selling activities, which was not going to help them hit their aggressive quotas.

    We utilized our SalesAmp process for five of their key sales reps. Our process allowed these sales reps to have an “always on” prospecting engine running for them while they were pulled into other activities that were taking them away from prospecting and driving sales. SalesAmp was bringing new leads into the top of the funnel and moving them through the pipeline until they were ready to speak with one of the sales reps.
    The results:

  • Just over 350 engagers with the campaign
  • 35 appointments set
  • Deals closed or in contract – 5X ROI for campaign

    Bottomline, there are very few companies that have the skillset and bandwidth to do every portion of what is necessary on the smarketing journey. Understanding where the gaps are is the first part of seeing the ROI from both department’s efforts.

    At Figmints, we are on a mission to redefine marketing and make it work for sales through our proprietary SalesAmp process. We are more than just a digital marketing and creative agency. We are revenue-focused agency that combines everything you know about marketing [outbound, inbound and digital marketing] and combines that with inside sales support. Through this process, Figmints identifies and navigates gaps in your pipeline to ensure prospects are nurtured from the top of the funnel all the way through to a closed deal.

    Intrigued? Let’s connect to see how SalesAmp could work for your company.

    The Halftime Huddle Guide

    A sales and marketing (smarketing) alignment guide.