476092309_(1)It seems we’re hearing more and more about Sales and Marketing Alignment, Service Level Agreements (SLA), Smarketing, and everything that these areas cover.

Are they just buzzwords that are being thrown around too easily and checked off a list of things to do or can they really change the way you do business forever?

I’ve been wondering this myself as I talk to many different sales organizations about the obstacles they face in achieving their marketing and sales goals.

Personally, I believe there is a necessary and growing need for this culture shift across industries.

I’ve seen time and time again how a lack of alignment can not only make processes less efficient and stressful, but they can truly affect results when it comes to any type of sales or marketing initiative.

These are not two departments that can survive living on their own islands. Instead, they should be constantly communicating, evolving, providing feedback and insights, and working toward the same goals—even if their role in achieving those goals are different.

By having these important, ongoing conversations, you’ll then be able to better align the buyer’s journey to your sales process and sales funnel. This is what it as the core of Smarketing! The more accurately you’ve aligned these two areas, the more productive your team will be and the more ROI you will realize.

It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of what it might look like to move toward a more structured and communicative relationship between these two departments but I’ve found that there are some pretty clear ways to actually measure the success of your efforts long after finishing a Smarketing redesign.

1) Are all the key players involved

Owners, management, and all key decision makers can’t just be onboard but they need to be closely involved in making this happen. They’ve got to be bought in on the importance of sales and marketing alignment, not just as “something we do every month in a meeting,” but as a true change in the organizational structure.

2) Are people providing feedback without being asked (or forced) to?

One great part of a true alignment between sales and marketing is the consistent, ongoing feedback and communication that happens and allows both departments to perform better at what they’re expected to do.

3) Have you seen an increase in marketing and sales qualified leads?

Better feedback from sales leads to better marketing efforts and more regular optimization of your campaigns. All of this leads to better and more qualified leads coming down the funnel.

4) Are your salespeople using content and lead intelligence more effectively throughout the sales process?

Knowledge is power, right? A great benefit to having a team of Smarketers is everyone starts understanding the value of the lead intelligence, and they are staying up to date on new content being published, while uncovering (and sharing) ways they’ve found success using content to help move prospects through the sales funnel.

5) Have you saved everyone time by automating some of your processes?

An unexpected but common result is the ability to automate many things that were being done manually before. For instance, if you’re really aligned with who your target personas are and what deems a lead as sales qualified, then you could successfully use lead scoring to save time and effort. The same goes for other types of marketing automation including lead nurturing emails and setting up workflows.

Smarketing isn’t just a fun word you slap on a program; it’s a long-term commitment to aligning the roles, expectations, processes, and goals that make up your business so that everyone is working together more effectively toward superior results. Look for these signs mentioned above as a sure sign of the progress you’ve made.

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Originally published Nov 7, 2014 3:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017

Topics:

Sales and Marketing Alignment