What Is Smarketing And How Does it Work?
Smarketing. I must admit that I got the wrong end of the stick when I first became aware of the term not long after I got into this business. Clearly it’s an invented, compound word, and that “marketing” embodies one of the elements in the compound.
However, my assumption that the other element was “smart” was, in the end, wrong (a little embarrassingly, I don’t mind telling you).
I’m not too hard on myself, though, for it is an easy mistake to make – if you had invented a method to do “smart marketing” then you would hope that the word “smarketing” would still be available for you to add your own brand new piece of jargon to the digital marketing lexicon and immortalise yourself accordingly.
But, alas, such an option is now closed off to us all, for “smarketing” is a term that has already been appropriated to describe the elision of “sales” and “marketing” – and, as it happens, this is indeed very much a smart idea.
“Sales” + “Marketing” = “Smarketing”
Indeed, aligning these two traditionally disparate elements of a business model into one cooperative, complementary effort is – especially in the digital realms of 2016 – one of the most fruitful things that a business can do.
Here’s Mark Roberge from HubSpot hitting the nail right on the head with what the concept is:
“As companies continue to increase the percentage of leads that originate from inbound marketing, effective alignment of sales and marketing becomes a critical area of organizational design. If the two departments are managed as separate silos, the system fails. For companies to achieve growth and become leaders in their industries, it is critical that these two groups be properly integrated.”
Integration. That’s what’s key here. In fact, the concept is rather beautifully illustrated within the compound itself. As we mash the words “sales” and “marketing” together to get “smarketing”, so too do we mash these two roles together within a business.
It is too often the case in the enterprise that sales and marketing are at war with each other. Of course, it’s not unusual for different departments within the same company to constantly be at loggerheads – kitchen staff vs. front-of-house staff in the restaurant trade; development vs. operations in software design; sales vs. marketing here, there and everywhere else.
What can happen when internal conflict is allowed to continue – even escalate – for too long in a business is that a “toss it over the wall” culture can prevail. One team completes its task in isolation, and tosses it blindly over the figurative wall to the next team. The second team picks it up, and tries to work with it. Eventually a problem occurs. The first team is called in to help troubleshoot. Team 2 complains that Team 1 has given them faulty artefacts. Team 1 says there’s nothing wrong with the artefacts, it’s just that Team 2 doesn’t know what it’s doing.
And on and on (and on and on) it goes…
In Lead Generation Terms
HubSpot once again explains this dissonance very accurately in specific sales and marketing terms on its blog:
“Marketing is measured against aggressive lead quantity goals. They scramble to meet these goals, focusing on campaigns that produce the most lead conversions. Lead quality is de-prioritized and suffers. Sales becomes frustrated with all the time it takes to comb through dozens of unqualified leads to perhaps find one good one. They stop paying attention to these leads and revert back to expensive, and oftentimes unprofitable, cold calling. Marketing complains that sales is ignoring the leads that marketing worked hard to generate.”
Put simply – it’s a mess
As Rodney King said – “Can we all get along?”
Yes, we can, Rodders. Yes we can.
Smarketing, it has to said, is not really a set of rules or guidelines that dictates how a business should be run. It’s not a playbook or an angry voice saying “If you want results, then this is exactly how things should be done.”
Smarketing is a culture, an attitude, a spirit of collaboration that essentially takes a holistic view of the business at large. That is to say, that to understand smarketing and deploy it effectively, then all participants must believe that the enterprise is truly greater than the sum of its parts. No department is more important or crucial than another, and the end goal for everyone is exactly the same.
Put simply, smarketing is all about the merging of departments – specifically of sales and marketing, though there’s no reason why the concept can’t be expanded throughout the whole company – to form a culture of collaboration that will drive the business towards greater success.
Some Tips For Effective Smarketing
Ok, so we’ve gotten to grips with the concept, now let’s consider how effective smarketing can be put into practice.
Have Sales And Marketing Meet Regularly
Yes, it really is as simple as that. Your inbound marketing team will be working hard on generating leads – but what does the sales department really know (or care) about this unless everyone sits down, perhaps even every day, to have a serious powwow about what’s going on?
Smarketing meetings, you will soon see, are invaluable. The team as a whole can review all new leads that have come in, and the status of existing ones. The beauty of communication is no better exemplified than here – the leads that are generated can be literally handed over to the sales team to convert, with all data succinctly communicated in order to give the best possible chance of conversion.
Encourage And Nurture Internal Relationships
If you’re all working on the same team, then why shouldn’t you all be working amongst each other, rather than in separate rooms or even floors? You shouldn’t – it’s as simple as that. Outside of smarketing meetings, there’s no reason why sales and marketing desks can’t be mixed together around the office – it’s the perfect way to eliminate the “us against them” feuds that can far too easily become the norm.
Indeed, the whole idea here will be to try and create the spirit of one team. And it’s no secret that the majority of relationship-building amongst peers is conducted informally in the workplace, and not necessarily in formal business meetings. So encourage this, nurture this, and, first and foremost, enable it.
Learn Each Others’ Jobs
Yes – why not? In the interest of bettering the whole company, why should it be that, once a person has established him/herself as a marketing force to be reckoned with, that he/she shouldn’t then be shown the ropes of sales?
This indeed will make the person an even better marketer in the first place. Understanding the difference between generating leads and generating sales will effectively lead the marketer to pursuing better leads to present to sales. And the same works in reverse: the sales person who understands how leads are generated is in a far better position to try and convert that lead, than one who knows nothing about the process.
Get your employees shadowing one another in their various roles and watch empathy spread throughout the whole enterprise. And, with fresh pairs of eyes looking over every part of the business, new ideas will be generated constantly, and sales and marketing will become assets to one another, rather than enemies – and, you never know, we might all live happily ever after, after all…