Why inbound is the key to sales & marketing working together

When left in isolation, the extremely different skill sets of marketing and sales teams can be drastically underutilised, meaning inefficiency and missed opportunities across the board.

This is where inbound marketing steps up to the plate. By aligning marketing and sales teams with common goals and clear communications tactics, the two factions can start to work hand in hand, feeding insight back and forth to refine and tailor the way leads are dealt with through every stage of the buyer journey.

This process is called smarketing and is far more than just a funny word. To help you successfully integrate sales and marketing we’ve pulled together our top five tips.

1) Start speaking the same language…

This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised. To create a fully cohesive system, both sales and marketing teams need to speak the same language. This means that all terminology used to define the various stages of the sales process, and the varying types of leads, needs to be universally recognised and understood within the non-infinite confines of your business.

It’s a simple step, but a necessary one. Only with a clearly defined and understandable set of terms, spanning both teams, can true efficiency be realised, setting the foundation for everything to come.

2) Get everyone on the same page with a service level agreement…

The next step is to set up and implement a service level agreement (SLA) between the marketing and sales teams. An SLA defines distinct targets that each team commits to realising. By having an SLA in place, both teams understand their individual role in the company and what part they need to play to reach shared revenue goals.

TIP – Here’s what your SLA could look like…

From marketing to sales:

Marketing will deliver 100 leads per sales representative, per month.

From sales to marketing:

Sales will make 1 attempt to engage within 4 business hours, with 5 attempts in the following 14 days.

3) Get streamlined with closed-loop reporting…

Individually, marketing and sales teams gather a lot of valuable information about leads. Not sharing this information can be a costly mistake.

‘Closing the loop’ is fairly straightforward. It essentially requires sales teams to report to marketing with insights (and data) on lead behaviours and responses, thus allowing the marketing team to learn which efforts and campaigns are working well, which aren’t, and what they need to do to upgrade their approach. In return, the sales team receives more clearly defined leads; meaning more effective calls, higher close rate and increased sales ROI.   

4) Data is king…

If we’re being honest, data doesn’t lie. It has no prejudices. It just is what it is. Consequently, a reliance on data is an extremely valuable way to guide decision making within your business.

Data doesn’t lie. It has no prejudices.

To use data effectively you need a common hub where it is collated, interpreted, and then used across all relevant areas to modify and refine your marketing and sales tactics.

In doing so, you can (amongst other things) measure the amount and types of leads you’re generating, track leads by their source, analyse and compare campaign success rates, and gain a clear understanding of what is and isn’t working from a sales point of view.

A transparent, and scientific approach to data allows both teams to recognise and understand their shortfalls, affording you the opportunity to figure out what’s going wrong and how, as a business, you can fix it. Relying on data makes this possible, and avoids inner quarrels.

5) Launch open communication…

Keeping one’s ducks in a row can be a tricky feat. In reality, what you need is a particularly malleable row, where the ducks at one end can quickly interact with the ducks at the other (and vice versa), with open communication being encouraged across the board.

Making it easy for both sides to talk to each other, share ideas, and contribute to the successes of the other, helps to establish a sense of company-wide ambition and unified progress. The alternative, internal competition, is simply not good for business.

TIP – To get started, you can introduce…

Weekly smarketing meetings – where sales and marketing teams can get acquainted and share insights

Monthly management meetings – where managers can discuss and resolve issues

Campaign & product meetings – where marketing can provide sales with new campaign and product details, keeping your sales approach informed and up-to-date

Bringing sales and marketing closer together is better for everyone involved and key to success in inbound marketing. It’s all about setting up a complete system that is transparent, and conducive to progression via adaptation.

If you’re still not convinced, here’s a quick recap of exactly what smarketing can bring to your business…

  1. Speak the same language – A shared understanding of terminology and categorisations means maximum efficiency can be reached
  2. Implement a service level agreement – Establishing a unified work ethic allowing both teams to work together with interconnecting goals
  3. Set up closed-loop reporting – With both teams reporting back to each other with valuable insights, the entire sales process can be streamlined
  4. Rely on data – By tracking successes and failures, you can make informed decision to adapt and progress your business
  5. Maintain open communication – An atmosphere of open communication will unify your business in working towards collective progress