Drinking the Smarketing Kool-Aid

Marketing ‌• August 16, 2012

Smarketing /n./ 1. The concept of Sales and Marketing being closely aligned. 2. A made-up word that is very useful.

I’m a very visual person. I’m no great artist, but I love to sketch my thoughts and surround myself with visual reminders when I’m working through big projects or new ideas. Hence the container of Kool-Aid® that sits on my desk…because it’s all about everyone believing in the same thing.

In a previous post, I mentioned that some of the best marketing advice I ever got was to not do anything that Sales hadn’t bought into. Achieving smarketing alignment, however, can be incredibly difficult. Maintaining it even more so, which is why it’s imperative Sales and Marketing teams take the opportunity to frequently re-align.

I coordinated a smarketing alignment session this week here at OppSource with the primary goal of getting us all drinking the Kool-Aid® . What did this mean?

  • For starters, it meant setting a baseline for conversation which was accomplished with the results of surveys the Marketing and Sales teams took a few weeks back.
  • Second, it meant blocking off a substantial part of the day so that we could really dig in and focus. It’s hard to be out of pocket for an afternoon but it’s necessary to really dig into conversation.
  • Most importantly, it meant having some fun. I won’t bore you with all the details, but I’ve learned two things about workshop facilitation: 1. Play-Doh keeps people awake, and 2. Home-baked desserts make people happy.

So what did we accomplish? Frankly, quite a bit. We’re lucky to have a smarketing alignment expert in-house (why yes, she is available for outside consultation), but it all starts with a willingness from your teams to come together and honestly discuss the state of your union. Here were my top three take-aways from the workshop:

  1. Working from common definitions is critical. What is a lead? What is the go-to-market messaging and strategy? Who falls in our target addressable market? What attributes are more important than others? Everyone’s opinion may vary , but at the end of the day, everyone has to walk out of the room working from the same playbook.
  2. Marketing and Sales need a formal Service Level Agreement in order to achieve smarketing harmony. When will Sales follow-up? What criteria does Sales expect in order to follow up? What will Marketing do with a lead that’s passed back for nurturing? What timelines does everyone agree to follow?
  3. Things change. So must your processes. The last thing we did was agree on how and when we will continuously review what we decided. Your worldview today may be completely different next quarter, shouldn’t your process change, too?

Sometimes discussions get tense but they’re well worth the effort. And who doesn’t enjoy a midday brownie?

Sugar: the ultimate motivator
Sam McCue
Inbound Marketing guru, avid fisherman, and all-around backcountry enthusiast.

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