⏰ Read Time: 10 Minutes
👉 TLDR: When your marketing and sales teams are misaligned, it can feel a lot like the battle for Middle-earth. Enter “the fellowship of the smarketing” — a heroic process that helps align your sales and marketing toward one integrated approach. Learn why your business needs smarketing and see how these “precious” steps are crucial to getting started on the right path today.
You were part of a successful business. All was well with your team and your ROI was at an all-time high. But one day, your marketing and sales departments began to get out of sync and started working in silos. When one department went left, the other went right, leading to conversion opportunities that got destroyed in the pits of Mount Doom. Sales complained that marketing wasn’t generating enough quality leads, and marketing blamed sales for not effectively converting their leads.
But why the misalignment? It should seem like a no-brainer that sales and marketing would work hand in hand. After all, both teams share the common goal of generating leads and ultimately revenue for their business, right? The truth is, many sales and marketing teams work in silos — often pitting themselves against each other without even realizing it.
But fear not, the quest to unite your marketing and sales departments can lead to a happy ending with the right hero to the story.
Smarketing Saves the Day
Enter: “the fellowship of the smarketing”. It’s the process of creating cohesive alignment between sales and marketing teams within an organization. First coined by HubSpot Sales Director Dan Tyre, smarketing is more than just a clever portmanteau — it’s a strategic tactic that pivots your teams toward the same overall goal of maximizing ROI for your business. Doing so can help ensure you’re spending less time pointing fingers and more time converting leads.
Picture it this way: let's say your sales team are elves and your marketing team are dwarves. While both hail from different regions, smarketing is the fellowship that binds them together and makes them a team. Just like Legolas (elf) and Gimli (dwarf) in The Lord of the Rings, marketing and sales can use this new fellowship to work toward the common goal of saving Middle Earth (in your case: conversions and your bottom line).
Read on for helpful tips on how to get started aligning your marketing and sales departments into a revenue-generating fellowship.
Why Use Smarketing?
According to a 2020 LinkedIn report, 87% of sales and marketing leaders say collaboration between sales and marketing is critical for business growth. In reality, that number should be closer to 100%.
But why isn’t it? While both departments often know what the primary business goals are, both have different approaches to achieve them. It’s unintentional, but it’s very common.
Nerd out with us for a second: just like the scene in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring when Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli join the Fellowship of the Ring, each has something unique to offer toward the common goal of helping Frodo on his journey to destroy the ring at Mount Doom:
- Aragorn – his sword
- Legolas – his bow
- Gimli – his ax
Being aligned via smarketing benefits both departments as well as the entire company:
- Marketing is better equipped to deliver higher quality leads
- Sales is better equipped to successfully work those leads into clients/customers
- More customers result in higher ROI for both teams
- Higher ROI allows for more opportunities (such as additional resources, better tools/equipment, ways to improve employee satisfaction and much more) for the entire company
I think the underlying truth of sales and marketing = #BetterTogether.
— Kat Hughes, Director of Client Partnerships at Designzillas
Smarketing Essentials for a Successful Quest
1. Determine Your Baseline & Set Goals Together
Maybe your sales and marketing teams’ communication is in a good spot but needs some tweaking to make it better. Or, perhaps your teams are completely out of sync and need a totally new plan.
Whichever state of alignment or misalignment these teams are in, the first step is to evaluate the following to get a good baseline to work with:
- The frequency in which both teams meet
- The nature of the meetings (productive or confrontational)
- The channels and frequency of communication that exist outside these recurring meetings to share important updates more urgently
- How each team refers to the other (complimentary or critical)
- The data on how many leads are coming in from marketing efforts that get followed up by sales (lower numbers may indicate an issue with the follow-up process)
- The data on how many leads that get followed up with by sales actually result in a conversion (high follow-ups but low conversions may mean the leads being driven in aren’t great quality)
Gathering this information is crucial to knowing where to start on your smarketing strategy. From there, you can set your SMART goals (goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely) together.
2. Create Consistent Communication
What better way to get your teams routinely communicating than to discuss new initiatives and goals over second breakfast? Or maybe even elevensies?
Whatever your preferred frequency, constant communication throughout your funnel is necessary to keep customers moving through it. This communication should be consistent, engaging and collaborative.
Here are some recommended ways to do this:
- Conduct a recurring smarketing meeting (ideally on a weekly basis, but could be biweekly or monthly depending on your company’s resources and other variables) between sales and marketing to assess, iterate and collaborate with the goal of helping each other to achieve a common goal together.
- Create and conduct an onboarding smarketing meeting with every newly hired salesperson and marketer to introduce them to your smarketing process. (Note: Be sure to update the talking points for this meeting as they evolve over time.)
- Have marketers attend the sales department’s recurring meetings, and vice versa (or at minimum, review the meeting minutes to ensure everyone has the same up-to-date information).
- Use a shared file in Google Docs, OneDrive or other shared tool that allows for real-time editing to collect ideas and references.
- Appoint a leader (maybe the department head) of each team to follow up on deadlines, updates or other important information as they arise.
3. Form a Smarketing Agreement
For smarketing to function smoothly and maximize revenue, it's crucial to ensure both marketing and sales teams define and work toward common goals. Creating a service level agreement (SLA) for this can help clarify the roles of each department throughout the lead generation process.
If you’re unfamiliar with what this term is, an SLA is essentially a contract that outlines deliverables that a person or group of people has agreed to provide to another. This agreement can exist between a business and its customers, one department that delivers a recurring service to another department within that business, or even between individuals if applicable.
An SLA might state, for example, that marketing will deliver a specified number of sales-qualified leads each month and that sales will convert a certain number of those leads into sales each month. It can also outline goals, define ways to hold each other accountable and more. This SLA can be tracked throughout the month so both marketing and sales can always stay in alignment.
4. Integrate Closed-Loop Reporting
In order to truly work toward the same goals, both sales and marketing must have full visibility of each other's progress. Sharing (and staying on top of) data between both teams will ensure transparency and build trust in each other's promises.
This data is often visualized through closed-loop reporting. Closed-loop reporting means sharing data and insights from one team that affects the other, and vice versa. A closed loop happens when the sales team reports to marketing about what happened to the leads they received. This helps the marketing department learn where to pivot and revise their strategies to attract better and more qualified leads.
Easily share data across departments by integrating your sales and marketing tools. For example, connecting your marketing analytics to your customer relationship management (CRM) software allows both teams to easily access critical information whenever necessary.
5. Measure to Ensure Accountability
Data is the best way to measure how your efforts are paying off and determine what you are and aren’t doing right. It’s the key piece of information you need to know whether you should continue what you’re doing or try a different tactic.
Tracking critical data points will help keep both sales and marketing accountable for smarketing progress. Some important metrics to measure effectiveness include:
- Monthly Visits
- Time on Page
- Marketing Revenue Attribution
- Lead Source*
- Lead Quality
- Conversion Rates
- Close Rates
*Why this is important: most businesses rely on referrals for growing their business, however they struggle to scale because referrals are unpredictable. If they can identify sources like organic, paid, etc., they’d be able to see what’s working and what’s not in order to iterate effectively.
One helpful way to track both your marketing and sales teams’ progress toward your goals is to use our KPI Scorecard Template. This template allows you to input key performance metrics for your business, helping create transparency on the progress both teams are making towards increasing leads and conversions, and ultimately, your ROI.
Let the Fellowship of the Smarketing Lead You to Success
If you’re having difficulty attracting and converting quality leads online, smarketing might be the “precious” key to unlocking quality leads and conversions for your business.
Or, if you’re ready to take it to the next level with an agency partner, Designzillas is Gollum-obsessed with generating ROI through strategic conversion marketing. Ready to start increasing conversions and transforming customers into lifelong advocates of your brand? Contact us today to learn more.