We love a good double act here at Woven. Ant & Dec (pre-drink driving, obviously), Jay-Z and Beyoncé, Chardonnay and Mondays. Chardonnay and any day whatsoever. Things that are good on their own (except Mondays), but when they join forces, boy, that’s when the magic really happens.
These dynamic duos exist in the business world, too. Content marketing, for example, doesn’t work half as well without brand strategy. Designers and copywriters are natural-born BFFs. And, when it comes to boosting your bottom line, there are few better bedfellows than sales and marketing.
But how so? Well, as is so often the case, we turn to marketing pioneers, The Spice Girls – and in particular their toe-tapping, and slightly creepy, chart-topping business anthem, 2 Become 1 – to explain things.
Identifying the problem
As a fresh-faced Sporty Spice sang way back in 1996:
“Silly games that you were playing
Empty words we both were saying
Let’s work it out boy, let’s work it out boy.”
Clearly what Sporty is saying here is that the aligning of your sales and marketing functions is not always an easy task. And that, in most cases, it’s the lack of positive communication between sales and marketing teams that is the cause of the problem.
According to HubSpot, 87% of the terms sales and marketing use to describe each other are negative. Whilst Altify’s Business Performance Benchmark Study found that only 54% of sales respondents agreed that marketing was an effective use of company resources.
Turning foes into friends – the road to smarketing
So sings this copywriter’s favourite Spice Girl, Mel B:
“Free your mind of doubt and danger
Be for real don’t be a stranger
We can achieve it, we can achieve it.”
To those of us with a business mind, this is a thinly veiled metaphor for the need for constant communication between your marketing and sales reps.
To achieve this, start by setting up a sales and marketing task force (containing no more than 10 people to keep things streamlined – see here for more details) and build in regular meetings to discuss what problems you need to solve, how to solve them, whether the relationship is yielding fruit, and that there is a positive spirit amongst the two departments by celebrating successes.
Whilst you’re doing this, ensure both teams are using the same language to describe your processes and actions. This will not only clarify your messaging, it will help create a stronger bond between these two traditionally separate groups.
Ask your sales team to feed back on the quality of leads generated by your marketers – not just the number of leads. Are your prospects well-informed of the product or service you offer? Where have they come from? Are they expecting a sales person to contact them?
Essentially, it’s up to marketing to generate quality leads so that your sales force can use their time to close rather than convince. Correspondingly, ask your marketers to sit in on sales calls to help seal the deal.
Integrate your sales and marketing CRM software. Getting everyone on the same system means having everyone on the same page, so you can easily share what’s working, quickly find out where your leads are in their buying journey, and ensure that leads have been well vetted and nurtured by the marketing team before being handed over to their sales colleagues.
Finally, codify this newly forged friendship in a target-based SLA to promote regular communication and hold both teams accountable for turning sales and marketing into smarketing.
2 become 1: it’s the only way to be
Over to Baby Spice:
“Be a little bit wiser baby, put it on, put it on
‘Cause tonight is the night when two become one.”
It’s plain to see that Emma Bunton knew, long before the term smarketing was even invented, that to get the most out of your sales and marketing you have to box clever and “put it on” – i.e. show the benefits such an alignment brings.
Which, essentially, is better profit, as companies with stronger sales and marketing achieve 20% annual revenue growth on average. But, more than this, it’s better profit generated by building stronger, happier and more seamless relationships between your sales and marketing functions. And that can only be good for the long-term health of your business.
“It’s the only way to be,” sings Mel B sultrily at the end of their singalong sales and marketing manifesto. And by “it’s” we’re pretty sure she means “aligning your sales and marketing teams into one seamless smarketing function to promote greater internal relationships, more productive sales leads and higher profits for your business.”
Although, in fairness, Mel’s version is a little punchier…