Smarketing-The-Guide-To-Lead-ConversionMerging sales and marketing teams is kind of like wearing polka dots and plaid. They just don’t go.

That’s exactly the thought process that companies shouldn’t be following. Many executives choose to leave their sales and marketing departments as separate entities when really they should be insisting the two groups work together to form a unified Smarketing team.

Whether or not these two groups like to admit it, what they do is vary similar and equally important to the success of the company they work for. So blaming each other for shortcomings or leads that weren’t converted is not the answer.

The failures and successes of a company are a direct result of both of the teams and can’t be done alone. For the best possible lead generation and conversion rates unify your employees into a successful Smarketing team by implementing these elements:

Funnel Stages

Within your company it is crucial that your sales and marketing teams determine every stage a lead goes through within the sales funnel. And, with that, they must examine exactly how to transition them appropriately and easily within that funnel. The funnel’s stages will vary based on your company’s process, so just make sure you take the time to directly define each step a lead will go through from both a marketing and a sales perspective and discuss how the transitions will go within the Smarketing team.

Closed-Loop Reporting

Examine your company’s data to monitor progress toward your goals, analyze lead quality, and measure marketing return on investment. A closed-loop reporting system will track both marketing and sales metrics on an ongoing basis. Implement marketing software to manage your lead generation as well as a customer relationship management, or CRM, system to track sales activity. These two data systems should be integrated to monitor every lead and client from their first site visit to closing the sale.

Service Level Agreements (SLA)

Create an SLA, or service level agreement, for your new Smarketing team. An SLA is an agreement, similar to a contract, for what each team will provide to the other to make sure that the company is running as smoothly as possible. Typically this entails agreements from marketing to get a certain number of qualified leads and from sales to follow up with those leads in a timely manner. With closed-loop reporting your SLA can also include lead status updates and history, new lead actions, and documentation of contact attempts made. The groups will hold each other accountable for their end of the bargain.

Follow The Data

Don’t base your company’s future on a feeling that you have (unless of course you are a psychic); feelings can’t prove a point or deliver results. Numbers and statistics do that. Run analytics on every aspect of your business, including lead opportunites that were both successful and unsuccessful to look back on to improve both sales and marketing’s overall process in the future. It is helpful to host weekly Smarketing meetings to review and assess the numbers involved with both teams and how to improve them as a whole.

Takeaway

The problem with separate sales and marketing teams is a lack of communication that leads to misinformation and blame. Establishing the sale funnel stages will prepare the team for smooth transitions, closed-loop reporting will provide analytics for both groups, service level agreements will make expectations clear to all involved, and examining and analyzing you Smarketing data will improve the process in the future.

Follow these tips to bring the Smartketing mentality to your company. If you can turn you company’s sales and marketing teams from adversaries to allies everyone profits!