Marketing and Sales Alignment Should Actually Look Like This, Especially for the Sales Enablement Process in the Complex Sale

— November 2, 2016

The 80’s gave us a lot of great things but the one thing we could have done without is buzzwords. Well, we could have also done without a few other things from the 80’s, but I digress. I’m not a fan of buzzwords because I believe they cheapen the true meaning behind them. It’s catchy and easy to convey but, over time the purpose and complexity is lost. Synergy is a great principle but in overused corporate jargon, what is it really?


Beyond Just a New Buzzword


Smarketing is a new buzzword that is meant to describe aligning your sales and marketing team. However, true sales and marketing alignment is rarely achieved. I’m not saying that results are scarce but, I am saying that we rarely see the full potential of proper alignment. Belgian draft horses are a perfect example of what I’m describing.


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The Belgian draft horse is one of the strongest and largest breeds of horses in the world. To test their strength, competitions are held to see just how much weight one of these amazing animals can pull. Now, by itself, a single Belgian draft horse can pull roughly 8,000 pounds.


Interestingly, when you harness two together, they’re then able to pull close to 24,000 pounds. All of this seems impressive until you find out what’s truly possible. If you put two horses together that are raised and trained together, they’ll be able to pull 32,000 pounds.


“Synergistic” teams are a lot like this. Marketing and sales start working more closely together and results increase. But, they’re still not reaching what’s possible.


Two Teams One Process


A fully aligned sales and marketing team, or smarketing team, is part of one single sales/ marketing process. They’ll still have their own strategic initiatives and goals but, even those will still align with the single overarching process.


If sales and marketing only somewhat work together, their relationship will mirror what most companies experience. The marketing team focuses on generating leads and the sales team focuses on closing them.


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Here’s the problem with that shallow type of alignment. Because the two teams are still disjointed, it’s easy for them to blame the other when there’s a breakdown in the process. The marketing team complains that the sales team can’t close their leads and the sales team complains that marketing isn’t generating good leads.


The two teams are married in the process of generating new business but, they’re still not fully aligned. So, how should they become one “smarketing” team?


From First Contact Til The Ink On The Contract Dries


It’s first going to start with a well thought out plan that guides both teams side-by-side throughout the entire sales process. Now, instead of marketing looking at how to generate more leads, they’ll look at what the sales rep will need at each step of the process. The sales rep will also let marketing know what is and isn’t effective at each sales stage.


In focusing on the first stage of the sales cycle, the marketing team may want to create an educational ebook that the sales rep could send to leads or prospects. This ebook would need to be valuable in the eyes of the client and from that, the sales rep would be viewed more as a trusted advisor than just someone trying to book new business or close the deal.


This same sales rep will likely have a list of contacts that have gone silent. Rather than spend hours trying to get a returned phone call or email, the sales rep can let marketing know they need help reaching out to these contacts. Marketing could then create an automated “drip-campaign” to continue working the leads. This frees the sales rep to focus on more effective sales activities.


This is a very brief overview of what true “synergy” looks like but, I hope it helps you realize the potential that’s available. Until both marketing and sales have one goal and one process, they’ll never be as effective as they could be.


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