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What Smarketing Really Means“Smarketing.” It’s a weird buzzword, and an ugly one at that; it feels less like a business plan than a typo. But behind that unfortunate façade is a really killer idea that bringing metrics, accountability, and sales integration.

So what exactly is “smarketing?”

The word’s been around for a few years now, but it’s still getting around. In short, smarketing is the process by which we bring together the marketing and sales processes of a business to better returns. It focuses on building structures of collaboration and accountability revolving around strong communication and clear, measurable expectations; if marketing agreed to deliver five SQLs (sales qualified leads) to the sales team this month, and only delivered three, then this failure would be owned, discussed, evaluated, and a solution agreed upon.

In other words, everybody is operating under some kind of quota. And what that does is bridge the divide between these two often-at-odds teams in your company. There’s a good reason for doing this: the line between sales and marketing is extremely blurry.

Modern buyers don’t rely on salespeople the way they once did, and get more and more of their information (and make more and more of their purchasing decisions) through marketing materials – which turns your marketing efforts into what are really first-line sales pitches. This radical redefinition of the selling process means that sales people are more dependent on marketing than ever – and marketing people are increasingly frustrated with sales.

But what’s really going on is that expectations and needs aren’t being communicated; marketing doesn’t know how to deliver SQLs because sales hasn’t told them what an SQL looks like. Nobody has bothered to communicate to the marketing team what the kinds of leads who end up closing have in common so that marketing can target them. And even worse, marketing doesn’t know what sales needs to hit their quotas.

Because nobody is talking.

What was once an aspirational nice-to-have – “wouldn’t it be great if sales and marketing were on the same page? Everything would be so much more efficient!” – has become an unavoidable necessity.

We’ve already talked about how to get started putting smarketing in place by aligning these two teams:

  • Get sales and marketing to agree on who they’re trying to reach and how
  • Determine measurable, quantitative goals
  • Formalize these goals in a written agreement
  • Hold regular accountability and assessment meetings

But let’s focus for a second on what these structures add up to: communication and integration. You can have all the right pieces in place and still not have a functional smarketing operation because your company doesn’t have the right idea as to what it all is supposed to amount to: not sales numbers, but a culture of communication and accountability that recognizes both sales and marketing as two parts of the same machine: the fuel and the engine.

Both sales and marketing have the same goal, and the hard part is getting everyone to see that. It’s important to keep aware of the dangers of working transactionally; everyone is focused on getting a specific thing done without thought for how it fits into a larger plan or goal. When that happens, mistakes happen; nobody is thinking about how to operate as a team in the service of a larger aim.

The thing to remember, and to make sure you hammer home as you build up a smarketing team, is that everyone is after the same thing: revenue. That’s it. Marketing isn’t after generating leads; they’re after revenue. Sales isn’t trying to close; they’re trying to bring in more revenue. These teams will both be better able to do their individual tasks if they’re integrated into a larger context; smarketing structures simply formalize that.