smarketing...it's a strategy - not a typo.
No, it's not an erroneous stroke of the keyboard. Smarketing describes how Sales and Marketing are intertwined in today's B2B world. I created a company's first "Smarketing" function. Intrigued? Here are a few tips to help you do the same...
We can get along just fine
The assumption that Sales and Marketing can't be on the same page is just rubbish. Yes, the personalities can be polar opposite. But today Sales and Marketing have to be on the same team, especially when Marketing is tasked with delivering revenue...not just clicks, downloads, and leads. When push comes to shove, work to understand the nuances of a Salesperson's objectives, motivations, challenges, and roadblocks. Help your employees do the same. If someone from my team doesn't see eye-to-eye with Sales (or vice versa), we initiate a no-drama, candid 1:1 conversation with that colleague, and work it out from there (sometimes over a drink...or two). When Sales and Marketing are arm-in-arm....that's Smarketing, friend.
Learn from the experts on the front lines
Who knows what prospects want and don't want? Who can tell you what competitors are doing...and saying? Sales!
Interview them early and often. Schedule office hours and host regular meetings, so you can get their insights and share your marketing wins and roadmap. Bring their knowledge into your collateral, decks, website, ads, and beyond. Connect Sales with cross-functional teams. That's what we did for Sales and PR. Sales shared territory-specific trends and insights (i.e. there's a huge relocation trend in city X or competition is especially fierce in metro Y). PR was excited to have new ideas to pitch to news outlets in target markets. Your marketing strategies will be much more effective when you collaborate with these subject matter experts. Boom. Smarketing.
Give em' something to talk about
Excellent Salespeople will stay up on industry trends, prospect painpoints, and social selling - but they can always use a little help, right? Introduce a daily email with abstracts and links to relevant articles and research stats - to make it easy to post on social media. Develop collateral for Sales to send out after a pitch, with stats to help prospects "sell up" to management. Create high-end direct mail pieces with an executive gift to re-ignite conversations with prospects who have gone dark. Print your ebooks, infographics, and guides for Sales to use as leave behinds or direct mail pieces. These little things add up to some killer Smarketing.
Put Sales in front of the people who matter
Getting face-time with a decision maker is a huge priority for Sales, second only to closing the deal.
Are you sponsoring large national trade shows or events for buku bucks? How's that working for you, anyway? Can you measure "awareness"?
If you're in a B2B environment, try invite-only regional C-level events instead. The good ones will give your salespeople a set number of meetings each day with interested decision makers in their territory.
These events are also expensive, but you're paying for face time with the right people instead of having a fruitless conversation with a gal from Wyoming who thinks her boss' boss may be interested in your offering. She'll take a brochure, and a tin of mints, and you'll never hear from her again. Here's another B2B tactic: allocate budget so Sales can select and sponsor small regional networking events in their territory, with support from your marketing. Even combine the two approaches. Voila! Smarketing.
Make it super simple to track progress every step of the way
I've never seen a salesperson wear an I heart Salesforce t-shirt. Have you? If so, I WANT PROOF.
Look - it's not that Salesforce isn't wonderful. It's the "world's #1 CRM platform". It's just that salespeople have bigger fish to fry. What salesperson wants to take the time to check boxes, fill out fields, and select from 20 options in a drop-down menu, etc?
But here's the thing - if certain steps are missed or processes aren't followed, marketing can't prove ROI. What to do, what to do? Smarketing to the res-cue.
Hire a marketer who is savvy in sales enablement and the corresponding technologies - i.e. Salesforce or your CRM of choice. Get in lock-step with your SalesOps and IT teams. Ask Sales what would be helpful and add or change the most requested fields in your CRM. Create documentation, step-by-step instructions, and conduct training sessions often. Post these on your Intranet or wiki. Keep checking in to see how things are going. Help Sales understand why you need them to follow certain steps in the short term to make you both successful in the long-run. Yep, Smarketing.
Help Sales look good
S.W.A.G. The Stuff We All Get (not the other kind). I have a love-hate relationship with it. I hate spending marketing budget to mass-produce plastic chotskies that will eventually end up in a landfill. But there's a time and a place for S.W.A.G. When it's done with class, it can help Sales (and Account Management) impress prospects at a meeting, or express their gratitude during the holidays or when a deal is signed. Think: good looking notebooks, presentation folders, pens, tote bags, or umbrellas. Find a promotional products vendor that has their finger on the pulse of what's new, useful, and popular. Purchase things that contacts will keep in their bag, in their car, or on their desk. Bonus points if your SWAG partner can label, tag, package, and ship them however and whenever you want. Here's a lesson for the ages - a prospect will use your brochure as trashcan liner (sorry to share the the cold hard truth), but they'll read a colorful tag on a tote bag or a first page "tip-in" insert in a journal. AXIS Promotions - a national company - is my go-to*. A great way to create some good lookin' Smarketing.
This certainly isn't the end-all-be-all comprehensive recipe to create sales + marketing magic. The steps you take to add an "s" to "marketing" will depend on the size of your team and the structure of your business. But these are simple and tried and ways to kick things into action. Plus, let's face it - "smarketing" is just fun to say.
*If you're in Boston/Burlington and want to contact AXIS - ask for Larry.
What has worked for you and your team? Are there tactics that you've wanted to try? Share away in the comments below.
Thumbnail photo credit: Tyler Nix on Unsplash