What Is Smarketing? Meaning, Challenges, and 5 Steps to Nail It

Liucija Adomaite
LAST UPDATED
May 3, 2024
READING TIME
7 min.

Sales and marketing teams are your company's two critical functions for growing revenue. But there's a limit to how much they can achieve by working alone. 

Joining together and aligning their workforce for common goals is called smarketing.

In smarketing, marketing and sales teams become a unified force. It allows both teams to unlock their full potential and boost revenue.

In this article, you learn what is smarketing, its benefits and main challenges, as well as 5 crucial steps to implement it. Let's get to it.

What is smarketing?

Smarketing is the alignment of sales and marketing teams to work together for a smoother customer journey and more sales.

The term "Smarketing" is made from a combination of "sales" and "marketing." It's used to refer to a business strategy in which the sales and marketing teams are closely aligned to create an integrated approach. 

The goal of smarketing is to build a strong relationship between sales and marketing teams based on shared goals and a unified strategy to reach them.

Is smarketing effective?

Smarketing is a very effective strategy to business and revenue growth. 

According to sales and marketing stats, when sales and marketing teams work closely together, businesses see a 27% faster profit growth.

Moreover, 2020 research shows that, according to 22.1% of salespeople, aligning sales and marketing teams to work together helps to close more deals.

Why is smarketing important?

Smarketing is important because it breaks down silos between sales and marketing, leading to a more unified approach that boosts sales, improve customer experience, and help businesses grow.

Imagine sales and marketing as two sides of a coin - they both work towards the same goal (revenue) but from different angles. Smarketing gets them working together seamlessly. 

Smarketing allows sales and marketing teams to: 

  • Define measurable goals where everyone is accountable. For example, both teams collaborate on establishing a leads service level agreement (SLA) for marketing. It includes the contingency that sales must follow up with a certain number of the leads they receive. This mutual agreement guide both teams to work as a unified force.
  • Work in sync to improve customer experience.
  • Re-evaluate the goals of both teams to identify opportunities and things to improve on both teams.
  • Shift all focus on every customer. 
  • Communicate goals and challenges openly within both teams.
  • Streamline sales cycle 

A smarketing strategy requires sales and marketing teams to work in sync to tackle various dynamic targets: 

  • Qualifying Leads
  • Shared Goals and Key Performance Indicators
  • Target Buyer Personas and Related Messaging
  • Process for Transferring Leads from Marketing to Sales
  • Centralization and Visibility of Data

Key benefits of smarketing

When executed well, smarketing brings a bunch of advantages for businesses.

The main smarketing benefits include:

  • Improved customer experience. With marketing and sales on the same page, customers get a consistent and relevant experience throughout their buying journey. No more mixed messages or confusing handoffs.
  • Higher sales win rates. Smarketing ensures that marketing generates qualified leads that are a good fit for the product or service. This makes it easier for sales teams to close deals.
  • Shorter sales cycles. By working together, sales and marketing can identify and address customer needs more quickly, leading to faster conversions.
  • Increased customer retention. Smarketing fosters a more holistic view of the customer, allowing businesses to develop targeted campaigns that keep customers engaged and coming back for more.
  • Better resource allocation. When sales and marketing collaborate, they can avoid duplicating efforts and allocate resources more efficiently.
  • Faster revenue growth. By combining the strengths of both sales and marketing, smarketing can significantly accelerate a company's revenue growth.

Smarketing: main challenges and how to tackle them

When your marketing and sales teams are misaligned, the sales operations will suffer. The misalignment can cause internal friction and create a bad customer experience. 

There are numerous signs of poor or failed smarketing implementation. If your sales and marketing teams are misaligned, you can see bumpy lead handoffs between marketing and sales. Inconsistent or incomplete data that makes it difficult to track ROI on marketing and sales efforts is another warning that both teams are not in sync. The main sign of poor sales and marketing team alignment is low conversion rates and/or poor customer retention rates.

The most common smarketing challenges are:

1. Siloed Teams.

Sales and marketing teams often have different goals, priorities, and even cultures. Breaking down these silos and fostering collaboration can be a hurdle.

Solution: 

  • Set shared goals and vision. Clearly define common goals for both sales and marketing teams, aligning them with the overall business objectives. This creates a sense of shared purpose and motivates collaboration.
  • Organize joint activities like workshops, brainstorming sessions, and even social events to encourage interaction and understanding between teams.
  • Establish Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that outline how sales and marketing will collaborate on lead qualification, handoff procedures, and communication protocols.

2. Communication breakdowns. 

Without clear and regular communication, smarketing efforts can easily fall apart. Misunderstandings about target audiences, messaging, and lead qualification can lead to wasted resources and frustrated teams.

Solution:

  • Host regular meetings (weekly or bi-weekly) for sales and marketing to discuss campaigns, customer feedback, and lead qualification criteria.
  • Share communication channels like project management tools (CRMs) or communication apps (like Slack) to ensure everyone is on the same page and information flows freely.
  • Encourage to share content between both teams with each other, such as sales insights feeding into marketing content creation.

3. Metrics and measurement. 

It can be tricky to agree on how to measure the success of smarketing initiatives. Sales might focus on closed deals, while marketing might prioritize brand awareness. Defining common metrics and KPIs is crucial.

Solution:

  • Define common KPIs that track the success of smarketing initiatives. This could include metrics for lead generation, conversion rates, and customer lifetime value.
  • Map out the customer journey and identify touchpoints where both sales and marketing contribute. This helps track the impact of each team's efforts on the overall customer experience.
  • Implement data analytics toolsto measure the effectiveness of campaigns and identify areas for improvement.

4. Technological hurdles. 

Having the right technology infrastructure in place is essential for smooth smarketing operations. This could involve implementing a CRM system that integrates with marketing automation tools.

Solution:

  • Invest in integration and try marketing automation tools and CRMs that integrate seamlessly to share data and track progress across departments.
  • Provide training for both sales and marketing teams on how to use the new technology and optimize its capabilities for smarketing success.

5. Lack of leadership support. 

Smarketing requires buy-in from senior management. If leadership doesn't see the value of collaboration, it can be difficult to get sales and marketing teams on board.

Solution:

  • Showcase data and case studies that demonstrate the benefits of smarketing for revenue growth and customer satisfaction.
  • Start with pilot smarketing projects to demonstrate the value proposition to leadership. Early wins can go a long way in securing buy-in.
  • Identify an executive champion who understands the importance of smarketing and can advocate for collaboration across teams.

There's no solution that fits all when it comes to beating smarketing challenges. Your task is to tailor you solution specifically to the problem your sales and marketing teams are facing. The sooner you address and tackle these smarketing challenges, the more positive impact and faster growth you will see in your company.

How to implement smarketing in your business?

Here's a 5-step framework to nail it:

1.  Lay the groundwork to determine how aligned your teams currently are

  • Assessment and Goal Setting: Start by evaluating your current sales and marketing practices. Set clear goals for your smarketing initiatives, ensuring they align with your overall business objectives.
  • Team Alignment: Get buy-in from both sales and marketing leadership. Foster a culture of collaboration by breaking down silos and encouraging communication between teams.

2.  Build a strong foundation for your smarketing strategy 

  • Define Buyer Personas: Develop detailed buyer personas that represent your ideal customer. You can speed up the process of defining your business’ ideal customer profile with lemlist free ICP generator. This ensures both sales and marketing target the right audience with the right message.
  • Service Level Agreements (SLAs): Establish clear SLAs that outline lead qualification criteria, handoff procedures, and communication protocols between sales and marketing. SLA refers to a document that outlines a commitment between a service provider and a client, including details of the service, the standards the provider must adhere to, and the metrics to measure the performance.

3. Leverage technology and implement tools to boost smarketing strategy

Implement a CRM system (like HubSpot CRM) and marketing automation tools (like lemlist) that integrate seamlessly to share data and track progress across departments. Train teams on how to use these tools effectively.

For example, lemlist is a very helpful tool for implementing a successful smarketing strategy because it gives you the following:

  • Improved Personalization and Lead Nurturing: lemlist allows you to create personalized outreach campaigns with features like video inserts, dynamic images, and custom landing pages. This resonates better with leads, increases engagement, and fosters relationships – a key aspect of smarketing.
  • Streamlined Collaboration: lemlist offers features for team collaboration, allowing sales and marketing teams to work together on crafting email sequences and sharing templates. This fosters communication and ensures messaging aligns with both teams' goals.
  • Automated Workflows: lemlist automates tasks like sending follow-up emails and scheduling outreach. This frees up time for both sales and marketing teams, allowing them to focus on more strategic initiatives and personalized interactions.
  • Data and Analytics: lemlist provides insights into campaign performance, such as open rates, click-through rates, and replies. This data can be shared between sales and marketing, helping them measure success, identify areas for improvement, and optimize their smarketing efforts.
  • Multi-Channel Prospecting: lemlist goes beyond email outreach, allowing you to integrate social media and other channels into your campaigns. This aligns with the smarketing approach of reaching leads across various touchpoints.

4. Develop and execute your smarketing strategy through collaboration and planning

  • Content Collaboration: Work together to create targeted content that attracts leads, nurtures them through the sales funnel, and positions your brand as a trusted resource.
  • Campaign Planning: Plan and execute joint marketing campaigns that leverage the strengths of both sales and marketing. This could involve co-hosted webinars, targeted email campaigns, or social media initiatives.
  • Measurement and Optimization: Track the results of your smarketing initiatives using common KPIs. Analyze data to identify areas for improvement and continuously optimize your strategy for better results.

5.  Focus on continuous improvement by reviewing, celebrating, and evolving

  • Regular Reviews: Schedule regular meetings to discuss campaign performance, customer feedback, and areas for improvement.
  • Celebrate Successes: Recognize and celebrate wins achieved through smarketing collaboration to keep teams motivated and engaged.
  • Adapt and Evolve: The marketing landscape is constantly changing. Be prepared to adapt your smarketing strategy to evolving customer needs, market trends, and new technologies.

Key Takeaways

Smarketing aligns sales and marketing teams to work together, enhancing the customer journey and increasing sales. It is shown to significantly increase profit growth and deal closure rates when sales and marketing collaborate.

Smarketing improves customer experiences, increases sales win rates, shortens sales cycles, boosts customer retention, and facilitates better resource allocation.

As a business strategy, smarketing is based on collaboration, transparency, and full integration of all processes for both teams. This allows sales and marketing teams to unlock their full potential and boost all the sales funnel stages. 

The major challenges include siloed teams, communication breakdowns, measurement difficulties, technological hurdles, and lack of leadership support. Solutions involve setting shared goals, enhancing communication, defining common metrics, leveraging technology, and securing executive buy-in.

Ultimately, smarketing is a special power to grow your business and revenue. 

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