Inbound marketing is awesome. Don’t believe us? Check here, here and here. We’ve spent so much time talking about the marketing side of inbound (because it’s hella-fun) that we've been remiss in giving sales its share of the sun.
You see, at the end of the day (or, at the end of the funnel) all that inbound marketing effort is wasted if there’s no closing the loop.
Do you ever find yourself becoming frustrated about sending leads to sales and never hearing about them again? Do you often wonder about the impact your marketing efforts are having on revenue? If any of this sounds familiar, marketing and sales are not closing the loop, and any efforts being made on either side are not as effective as they could be.
‘Smarketing’ is HubSpot’s snappy term for the intersection of sales and marketing in the funnel. It’s the point where marketing and sales align to achieve the same goal: revenue.
Smarketing is critical to inbound success because of its location in the ‘close stage’ of the funnel. It’s the moment where marketing hands over qualified leads, so that sales can close them as customers. Because let’s face it: a lead will never be more than a lead if the deal is not closed.
So how do you achieve Smarketing?
Firstly, you need to align your goals. For any business, this goal is moolah (or more specifically, more moolah). Secondly, you need to play open cards with your data. This way, marketing and sales are clear about how everyone is doing and can make the necessary adjustments in real time.
Here are three best-practice tips to achieve Smarketing (and essentially close the loop):
- Speak the same language
When it comes to the basics of the funnel (we are very fond of the funnel), marketing is responsible for the top of the funnel and sales is in charge of the bottom of the funnel. The responsibility for the middle of the funnel is typically shared between the two.
Within each of the three sections of the funnel, more stages can be defined. While you may inevitably change these definitions to meet your organisation’s needs, both marketing and sales need to agree on them, i.e. speak the same language.
- Implement a service level agreement
Put a ring on it! Once marketing and sales are speaking the same language it’s time to make a commitment to each other in the form of a service level agreement.
A marketing and sales SLA defines what each team will commit to accomplishing to support the other in reaching the revenue goal. It is all about a commitment from marketing to sales regarding the number and quality of leads, and it’s all about sales committing to marketing regarding the speed and depth of following up on those leads.
- Close the loop
Now that you’re speaking the same language and there’s a clear commitment to each other, it’s time to set up closed-loop reporting (cha ching, it’s time to close the loop!).
Closed-loop reporting completes the feedback loop between marketing and sales. At its core closed-loop reporting allows you to pass more lead intelligence and data over to the sales team and get more feedback from sales to marketing about which marketing efforts are translating into customers.
Specifically, closed-loop reporting allows you to:
- Analyse which marketing sources are producing the most customers.
- Understand how each piece of content you create contributes to closing customers.
- Provide a timeline of all contact interactions such as content downloads and email clicks.
- Pass information to sales that can help them to engage with contacts within the first
For marketing, the major benefits of closing the loop come down to receiving up-to-date contact information and status updates, learning which campaigns, content and platforms are working and which aren’t, and gaining visibility into ways to increase marketing ROI.
The significant benefits of closing the loop for sales are weeding out duplicate contacts, prioritising contacts and growing the close rate and sales ROI.