One of the most difficult components of a sales and marketing alignment strategy is maintaining an ongoing momentum. Clear communication and collaboration between teams requires consistent prioritization and management of your efforts.
One of the most effective ways to tackle this issue is by delivering periodic sales and marketing alignment (also known as "smarketing") meetings. Within these meetings you will be able to dedicate time for both teams to develop a more communal understanding of goals, content, expectations, and strategy.
There are two types of smarketing meetings that you will need to implement. The first is a management smarketing meeting which is intended for management to design and maintain SLA’s and goals for both teams. This meeting should be held on a frequent basis to keep an eye on the progress of both teams towards your revenue goals.
More importantly, this meeting is utilized to plan out the content and agenda for the second type of meeting which involves the entirety of each team. Below are six possible agenda items you can think about incorporating into your full scale smarketing meetings.
Smarketing Meeting Agenda Items
Presentation of SLAs
If your management team has recently outlined new SLAs for each team to work towards, this meeting is the perfect venue for announcing what the SLAs are why they are in place. Be sure to include information about strategically how each team should be working towards these SLA goals and where to find reports to keep track of the SLA progress. It’s important that these SLAs are presented as formalized ways of measuring and monitoring the progress of your company. These SLAs should not be seen as a method of determining where to place blame if they are not met. The intention of a SLA is to create clarity and specificity in your goals and not to further divide your teams.
Every team is working towards the same revenue goal, however there are many other metrics that can be used to help each team understand the performance of their strategies. We usually suggest backwards planning your funnel so you have an idea of how many leads you will need in each stage of your funnel to meet your revenue goals. This will enable you to prioritize certain lead sources if you are struggling to meet the quota for specific sections of your funnel.
You should also have some time to highlight key performance metrics that are of importance to your sales and marketing teams. Typically there will not be enough time to present and analyze all of the performance metrics you listen to, but you can focus in on a few of the positive trends and shed some light on the negative trends.
One of the most important areas to align your teams on is your content strategy. Often this is a conversation that sales is left out of, but you can use this meeting to educate the sales team on the content that is already in circulation and the content they can use to help nurture a lead. Enabling your sales team to better understand the type content that leads are consuming prior to being handed off will help guide their conversations throughout the sales process. Information about the content a lead has already read will provide more context as to what information the lead already knows and what primary challenges the lead is facing and researching.
Marketing might also have content pieces that are specifically written for the sales process to help a salesperson foster a relationship with the lead. This section of the smarketing meeting can be geared towards highlighting some new or important offers and the key takeaways a lead will have from those offers. If there is time, you can end this section with an open forum for additional content ideas.
A great way of encouraging the group to dedicate more effort to sales and marketing alignment is by highlighting champions that have seen success from working collaboratively with the other team. A champion could be a marketer who designed buyer personas with help from sales or a salesperson who created successful nurturing templates using marketing generated material. The intent of this section is to cultivate an understanding of the success that can be driven from further alignment and communication between teams.
Strategy or Trend Spotlight
This is a chance to share valuable knowledge about current industry trends or particular strategies/playbooks that are being used. Empower members of your team members to deliver these sections and take ownership of a particular topic. This section will ensure that both teams have up-to-date industry knowledge and have opportunities to collaboratively expand their skills. Depending on the size and scale of your smarketing meeting you might be able to incorporate either an activity, discussion, or forum to add an interactive element to the meeting.
Alignment cannot happen if the there is a strong social dichotomy between teams. Give your team members a space both in and out of the smarketing meeting to talk and build relationships that aid in strengthening communication. While functionally within your business marketing and sales are divided into two separate teams, you want to give them as many opportunities as possible to work collaboratively as one force working towards your company goals.
This meeting is just one of many tactics for aligning your sales and marketing teams.
Originally published Aug 30, 2017 12:00:00 PM, updated February 15 2018