Have you ever watched the 4x100m relay race in the Olympics? The current men’s world record was set at the London 2012 games by the Jamaican team, smashing their own record from a year prior by almost 0.2 seconds. It’s a thing of beauty really and perhaps my favourite event at the games because it’s a great showcase of teamwork. Each person working to get to the next, delivering the baton to them as efficiently as possible. This is what your organisation should be like; marketing should be working to deliver the baton to the sales team who are at the end of the relay race, trying to get over the sales finish line.
The term ‘Smarketing’ is an amalgamation of sales and marketing. The philosophy is that it’s integral to account-based marketing success that the marketing and sales teams align. The earlier this is achieved, the better for long term success using the ABM process.
Episode 4 of the #FlipMyFunnel podcast discusses the merits of creating a ‘one team’ culture. Essentially the same as Smarketing, ‘one team’ culture promotes a togetherness of certain teams within an organisation that are all buying into the same philosophy. The one question that every person in the Smarketing team should be asking themselves on a reoccurring basis is; are you acting together for the benefit of the team and ultimately, the customer? This one question summarises the Smarketing viewpoint in a concise way that reiterates the message. In theory, if marketing and sales are aligned, not only will it generate more revenue, but it should make for a better customer experience.
Why Can’t We Be Friends?
Content is such an important part of uniting marketing and sales; as soon as the prospect is engaged, marketing should be backing up sales with content right until the deal is closed. Marketing should be sales’ greatest asset, but if they’re not aligned, then marketing can be delivering bad content to sales, making them more of a hindrance than a help. But this can be remedied; the first and most important step is to admit that there’s a problem in the first place. Many people don’t even realise it; a shocking statistic from Kapost suggests that 65% of sales reps say they can’t find relevant content to send to a prospect. Furthermore, 60-70% of B2B content created is never used, because it is irrelevant or simply just not good enough (Source: Content Marketing Institute). Smarketing can help solve a common problem, you need to pinpoint the flaws where communication between marketing and sales is falling short of the mark (whether this be separate meetings, different goals, or simply office set up). If marketing and sales communicate better, then the content should be more effective.
Another common problem that causes friction between marketing and sales is that it’s hard to track the success of the marketing team. Sales get frustrated with marketing because they can’t see their contribution towards revenue. It’s not marketing’s fault, they’re in a completely different job role and traditionally have different goals. However, if the Smarketing viewpoint is adopted, then there should be less conflict, because the two teams are understanding of the others’ role and they should be working towards targets that are aligned.
It’s all well and good throwing around buzz words like Smarketing and ‘one team’, but if there’s not a structure in place that supports the notion, then things aren’t going to change. This structure will involve meetings and workshops where marketing and sales are both equally involved and both input ideas about how to best succeed. Marketing and sales have different viewpoints because they have different roles, so what can marketing be doing to help sales and vice versa?
A simple but easy remedy to misalignment amongst teams is socialising. Whether this occurs by moving the office so that marketing and sales sit amongst each other, or by socialising outside of the office. As Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing suggest, after two and a half pitchers of beer, you’ll find out the problems that sales have. It’s much easier to be on the same page as someone if you understand them better as a person, and spending time with them in a non-office related environment can be instrumental in building a relationship. Essentially, go for beers with the office! (Drink responsibly)
According to Marketo, companies with aligned sales and marketing teams generate 208% more revenue and close 67% more of their deals. While these stats are slightly ambiguous, there is more concrete evidence that supports the hypothesis. For example, the Act-On Sales and Marketing Alignment survey of 2015 found that 56% of teams adopting the Smarketing mind-set met their goals and 19% exceeded them; compared to 37% and 7% respectively for teams that were not aligned.
Shoplifters Marketers of the World Unite
To conclude, marketing and sales should be working in tandem. Indulge me in an analogy; account-based marketing is the proverbial tandem bicycle, marketing is on the back of the bike, pedalling to support sales, while sales is on the front, pedalling to reach their goal. If Smarketing is achieved, then everyone rides off into the sunset.
It’s much more beneficial to the long term success of an ABM business to align their sales and marketing teams than to leave the two teams to their own devices. One important thing to note is that it’s not just marketing and sales that can align: customer success, account executives, BDRs/SDRs, etc. If the whole organisation buys in to the Smarketing/’one team’ way of thinking, the more success you’ll find with account-based marketing.