Fix These 3 Problems Dividing Your "Smarketing" Team

Louise Armstrong
by Louise Armstrong on October 8, 2014 in Sales
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fixing smarketing issuesAs a refresher, “smarketing” is sales and marketing cooperating and collaborating to increase sales. Wait! Don’t stop reading; it can happen!

But in order for smarketing to work you need to address three issues that can crater your good intentions. You already know that today’s consumers by-pass the call to sales in favor of doing their research online and contacting you much later in the buy cycle. Marketing and sales must collaborate and cooperate just to keep up. If they don’t you can suffer wasted leads, lost sales and reduced revenue growth, just to name a few.

Be aware of the three issues below and take steps now to fix them.

The Issue of Misconceptions

These are the misconceptions that marketing and sales have of each other creating a combative instead of collaborative environment. You are probably familiar with these refrains:

“Sales is full of incompetent hotshots with little intellect.”

“Marketing people are nothing but bean-counting academics concerned with irrelevant information.”

Marketing feels as though sales does nothing but complain while sales thinks marketing sends over poor quality leads expecting miracles to occur.

What’s So Bad about This Misconception?

With these two teams at odds it impacts the company culture negatively making it tough for them to work together. The trust level is in the basement. Revenue goals can’t be met because sales is wasting time sourcing their own leads and marketing doesn’t know what sales needs.

Fix It

Stop the all-out war. Begin by teaching each team the other’s processes and get them to start talking about their needs. Bring everyone together on a routine and informal basis to start acquainting them with the overall goal of smarketing and encouraging them to seek each other out for feedback.

Both the teams and team management should be meeting on a regular basis as well to talk about goals, progress, and the benefits of working together towards those goals. Management will need to find ways to mitigate the argumentative culture and foster more trust.

Make them sit together. Instead of sales sitting together on the third floor of building A and marketing sitting together in the basement of building B rearrange seating so there are teams with both marketing and sales that work on the same customers. And no celebrating if only marketing or only sales hits goals. Everybody must win or there’s no party.

Lastly, it’s time to be an adult and learn to get along with each other. This attitude is set by management and filters down to direct reports. As management goes, so goes the team. Make sure the leaders have a positive working relationship and do not badmouth the other team. Working toward mutual goals should help this along.

The Issue of Misalignment

This refers to the bad habit of siloing. Businesses have traditionally seated staff by function which narrows that department’s view of the business to a narrow slice of the whole. When their part is finished it goes over the wall like a cannon ball. Then the fighting begins.  The managers may be in touch but the staff knows nothing about the rest of the equation.

What’s So Bad about This?

Eventually there is no communication whatsoever. Marketing just churns out leads while sales wastes time on unproductive prospects. Neither understands what the other needs to know or how to discover and handle leads efficiently.

Fix It

As noted before, put the people who work on the same customers together in the same space. This is where developing personas can really benefit your company. Then sales can explain what makes up a high quality lead and marketing can work on ways to generate and nurture that exact type of lead.

Each team of smarketers will have goals specific to their particular persona. This is more realistic than a company-wide goal for all customers.

The Issue of Misleadership

Each department has goals but the details and how it is expected to reach them are not clear, so they muddle along as best they can. In addition, in a siloed company sales and marketing will have very different goals and their own ideas how to fulfill them.

What’s So Bad about This?

Marketing won’t know the best type of lead to generate; sales has no strategy for working the leads is does get. Confusion reigns.

Goals aren’t met and that spells disaster for the bottom line.

Fix It

Use data to determine the definition of a quality lead that both marketing and sales agree on. Then create a service level agreement (SLA) spelling out the responsibilities of each part of the team. This resolves any ambiguity and provides clear, quantitative expectations.

Marketing and sales work together to:

  • Define lead attributes
  • Determine how much each lead behavior is worth
  • Follow up leads per the SLA
  • Generate actionable feedback to improve campaigns

Management must hold everyone accountable to the SLA and shared goals using data to show where the process needs improvement. Everyone now knows the goal and how to reach it while remaining flexible to needed changes.


Today’s marketer is active much farther into the funnel than before, providing support and nurturing to leads that have been clearly defined. Sales spends all its time on working qualified leads and closing sales rather than sourcing its own leads or wasting time on unqualified leads.

Data brings clarity to the process while working in proximity toward mutual goals set using hard data. More data is collected during the process to highlight areas of improvement and more closely defining the customer. Both sales and marketing use the feedback loop to continuously improve the process and more lucrative sales are closed more quickly while quality leads are more sharply targeted with well-defined campaigns.

Everybody wins.

Now, that’s Smarketing.

Louise Armstrong

Louise Armstrong

Louise is a Senior Digital Strategist at Bonafide. A pop-culture addict with a passion for all things digital. She's Scottish by birth, but don't ask if she likes haggis...