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2019-08-14 22:22:48

By Nikki Carlson, co-founder/co-president of ChicExecs Retail and Strategy Firm

The problem is that sales and marketing are often out of alignment. Think of the two departments as wheels on a car. They work independently and move the car forward. But they have to work in tandem, in alignment, for the car to go anywhere. 

Although both sales and marketing want to get more revenue, they’re often at odds. Businesses often push both teams to pursue their own key performance indicators (KPIs) and work within themselves, creating harmful silos that limit collaboration. The result? Lower customer satisfaction, more internal confusion and less revenue for your business. 

Instead of pitting sales and marketing against each other, it’s time to embrace what some are calling “smarketing,” the combination of sales and marketing into one department.

Why Smarketing?

Why do sales and marketing exist? At the end of the day, their function is about customer experience. Both teams need to be on the same page to give customers the best experience. Aside from the customer experience, smarketing has other benefits for your brand. 

Consistency is key in our online-first world. Most of your customers check out your brand online before interacting with your marketing or sales team. That’s why it’s crucial for you to have consistent offers, terms and tone across sales and marketing collateral. This enhances customer trust and encourages them to choose your brand over a competitor.

It isn’t enough to convince a customer to buy once. The true lifeblood of any growing business is repeat customers. Smarketing creates more timely, relevant offers that keep customers coming back for more. The smoother path to conversion also encourages more purchases.

Is your sales team having trouble closing deals? With a smarketing department, they’ll see improved close rates. This is because smarketing addresses customer pain points through better messaging. The funnel is clearer and more targeted, leading to better sales outcomes. 

Three Ways to Bring Marketing and Sales Together

It's frequently stated that sales and marketing misalignment cost businesses $1 trillion every year. Keep more of your hard-earned revenue by bridging the gap between these two teams. Use these three strategies for smarter smarketing.

1. Increase physical proximity.

Absence -- or distance -- makes the heart grow fonder, but that isn’t the case in business. Sales and marketing typically work in silos with their respective teams, literally working apart. 

For smarketing to work, sales and marketing need to be physically close to each other. Watercooler conversations and casual run-ins often lead to the best outcomes. 

If you can, combine both departments in one space. If that isn’t possible, call regular joint meetings for both departments to collaborate. Off-hour social events and team-building also work.

2. Create a joint process.

Most smarketing fails because brands don’t create a process. Proximity alone won’t fix silos. 

Sit down with sales and marketing to create a precise, specific process for them to work together. Outline this process in a standard operating procedure (SOP) and map it to a task-tracking software, like Asana or Trello. By mapping this process, you train sales and marketing to work together using a tool to stay on track with the new process.

3. Collaborate on campaigns.

Typically, sales and marketing don’t know what the other department is doing. This is a recipe for confusion. 

For example, sales needs to know that marketing is promoting a certain product or offer so they can be ready with that information to close the deal. 

That’s why sales and marketing need to create campaigns together. Sales should have input in the ads and content marketing produces, while marketing should have a say in sales messaging. 

The Bottom Line

Most businesses treat sales and marketing as separate entities, but they’re two sides of the same coin. By creating a smarketing team, you can reduce friction and encourage growth. Get out of your business plateau to get better insights, improved customer satisfaction and happier employees. 

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

inc.com @yec
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