If you are an SME, your Sales and Marketing teams are already aligned since they probably sit together in your little office. At least from my experience at my current role, it is the case. In our office, the Sales and the Marketing teams sit often so close together that the Marketing colleague sometimes asks the sales colleague what the fuss was about the last call with the client. On the other hand, the Sales colleague suddenly notices a content creation in the process and tries to help the marketing colleague with wisdom and insights. Do you find your SME in this? If yes, read on! If not, please DO read on!
No matter what your SME size is, Sales and Marketing alignment does not only mean sitting together and extending a helping hand to each other on a chit-chat basis. Alignment of these two teams, historically stereotyped as rivals who always point out to each other in case of any failure and take credit solely in any success, is a well- thought process that would require the SME to redesign its status quo, work culture, and the investments in technologies.
While there are countless tips and advice out there on the web which are extremely good, these 4 actions are specifically for SME owners who want to align the two teams right now without needing a Change Manager in place (that’s what big corporations would do).
Keep Data Fresh and Updated
Your SME probably has a number of cloud apps to facilitate sales and marketing operations. 64% of businesses are using cloud apps, with an average of 13 apps per business. Starting from iCloud or Google Contacts used by the sales team to the Email Marketing app used by the marketing team, cloud apps have become the most helpful weaponry for both the teams. With the addition of apps in each team, the frictions between the data used by both the teams increase. This is also true for the apps jointly used by both the teams, a CRM for example. Aligning both the teams would require the teams using the same data whether its a contact, a stage in the customer journey, or the analytics. Looking at the same data would ensure adherence to the strategy jointly held by sales and marketing teams. There are several solutions in the market that helps to keep data fresh and updated across apps. Most of these solutions provide trigger based workflow automation. On the other hand, there are very few solutions that offer specialized solutions for contacts, the most basic yet the most important form of data used by both the teams. It is no secret that any analytics without any contact entity is useless for sales and marketing actions. PieSync is widely trusted by SME owners to sync contacts across their cloud apps that would keep contacts fresh and updated in real time.
Sharing Big Goals
At the end of the day, the revenue is a combined effort of sales and marketing teams. While marketing works at the Top of the Funnel, the sales works at the Bottom of the Funnel. They mutually push all of their converging efforts to closing the deal. According to Marketo, only sharing goals is not enough. Sales and marketing teams need to sit together to decide on the Lead Scoring, Lead Generation Metrics, and Service Level Agreements so that they can determine specific actions and level of efforts for leads with varying readiness stages and attractiveness. Read more here on the importance of a shared goal by both teams.
Sitting Together- for a Serious Cause
Drawing on shared goals and shared strategies, it is imperative that sales and marketing teams sit together to follow up the progress based on the agreed strategies. According to Hubspot, these meetings would not just highlight the agreed metrics. The Marketing team needs to inform the sales team about their reasonings and routes for contents. Thus marketing team can help the sales team understand which references to use when they are in conversation with the customers. The Sales team can also bring to light their content requirements so that the marketing team can brainstorm and develop content accordingly. Both the teams can discuss the current industry trends and insights so that they can agree on the best practices. One expert (Rob Steffens) writes in Databox that his company has combined two isolated sales and marketing meetings into one weekly Smarketing meeting. Another expert (Mike Schutz) in the same article has advised having an unstructured meeting over a lunch between the sales and marketing teams so that they can better understand each other.
You have fresh and updated data, both the teams understand they are striving for a shared goal, and both the teams now sit together for a Smarketing meeting. Is that all? Are there any missing pieces to the puzzle? Yes, there is. In order to have a perfect collage of sales and marketing alignment, it is important that they are in constant touch with each other. This is very true for the SME’s who has remote teammates. In order to facilitate ongoing communications, some tools might be very effective. A separate channel “ Smarketing” on the Slack can instigate interactions between sales and marketing teams on a constant basis. Rather than keeping notes on a trend or an insight for the next Smarketing meeting as an agenda, it’s better to start the conversation instantly on this dedicated channel. Task management tools like Trello or Monday are extremely useful to realize the actions agreed during the Smarketing meetings.