3 min read

Smarketing: 5 Steps to Successfully Align Sales and Marketing

Smarketing: 5 Steps to Successfully Align Sales and Marketing

What is Smarketing?

So, what the heck does the fancy term, “Smarketing” mean, anyway? Actually, Smarketing is essentially just what it sounds like. Simply put, Smarketing is the alignment of sales and marketing strategies based on common goals and buyer personas, with a final objective of creating an integrated approach to both.

By removing the barriers that typically exist between a company’s Sales and Marketing departments, allows for greater visibility into the individual goals and achievements of each department. By working together rather than separately, sales and marketing are able to leverage each other’s knowledge and data, which results in more efficient lead handling, and ultimately more sales.

Sales and Marketing Alignment

The importance of a Sales and Marketing alignment is often undervalued. By integrating the two, each department can provide the other with insightful information, which can lead to generating more leads and closing more sales. When done right, Smarketing can increase sales considerably. In fact, “according to a study by the Aberdeen Group, organizations with aligned sales and marketing teams achieved 20% annual revenue growth while their counterparts saw revenues decline by 4%.” David Demoe, Search Engine People.

But how is Smarketing done successfully? What factors are involved in creating and implementing an effective Smarketing strategy?

1. Get everyone on the same page.

In order for your Marketing and Sales departments to function as efficiently as possible, they have to work with each other rather than alongside each other. But first, you’ll need to ensure they are both speaking the same language.

Define your company’s different buyer personas, outline specific procedures for delivering leads from marketing to sales, and determine at what stage of the marketing funnel a lead is ready to be passed to sales. If both departments don’t have the same expectations as to what qualifies as a sales-ready lead, you are going to lose more potential sales and/or waste time trying to close leads that never should have been passed to sales in the first place.

2. Establish a sales and marketing service level agreement (SLA).

When you clearly define what goals and metrics each department is responsible for, it is easier to see how each supports the other in achieving their goals. Use specific numbers, percentages and timeframes within the agreement, so performance can be easily measured for each department.

It is important to hold marketing to a specific, numeric goal, similar to that of the Sales department, so everyone is held accountable and has the same motivation for reaching their established goals. Be sure to reevaluate the SLA on a regular basis in order to keep up with performance and to be sure Sales and Marketing are constantly striving for better results.

3. Connect your marketing analytics software with your customer relationship management (CRM) software.

Once your leads leave the marketing realm and are handed off to the sales department, what happens to them? Do you track them as they move through the sales funnel? Does Marketing ever find out what happens to their leads? Wouldn’t it be more beneficial if marketing could see whether their leads turned into closed sales, and why or why not?

In order to close the loop in your reporting and keep both sales and marketing in the know, you’ll need to connect your marketing automation software (like HubSpot) and your customer relationship management (CRM) software (like Salesforce). By connecting these two systems, marketing is able to send additional information about leads to sales, which will assist Sales in making warmer calls and increase close rates.

On the other end, Sales is able to provide feedback about which marketing programs are working vs. those that aren’t, in addition to what content or calls to action may have assisted in converting a customer into a lead. At the end of the day, each department is able to obtain information that would otherwise be lost.

4. Measure, analyze and learn from the data.


Measure the performance of each department at each stage of the marketing and sales funnels. How many leads did Marketing provide to Sales last month and how does this compare to the goal? What percentage of leads provided did sales contact and engage with last month, and how does this number compare to the goal?

Share this data with Sales and Marketing, ideally using a dashboard, so everyone can see their progress toward meeting the goals established by the SLA. By measuring and sharing the data, each department can determine what is and isn’t working, or where there is room for improvement.

5. Communication.

One of the most important factors in creating a successful Smarketing strategy is – you guessed it – frequent and direct communication. It’s important to meet regularly to discuss what’s going well and what isn’t. Members of Sales and Marketing should meet weekly to discuss changes that need to be made to the SLA, learn about product updates, tweak buyer personas, and more.

If Marketing is running a special campaign this week, make sure Sales is fully informed about the campaign so they can utilize it in their sales calls. This is also a good time for sales to mention if there are any issues with marketing campaigns or any other feedback they may have for marketing.

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