As far as portmanteaus go, “smarketing” is among the laziest and least imaginative. There are many more creative word mashups, like:

  • Askhole: Someone who asks a lot of obnoxious questions.
  • Carcoleptic: Someone who falls asleep easily during car rides.
  • Doppelbanger: Someone who hooks up with their doppelganger.

Be that as it may, smarketing is a damn important concept.

What does smarketing stand for?

“Smarketing” stands for sales and marketing alignment.

A “smarketing team” would be made up of marketers and salespeople. Ergo, a “smarketing strategy” would be the unified sales and marketing strategy. It follows, then, that a “smarketer” is someone on a unified sales and marketing team, not to be confused with a “snarketer” or snarky marketer.

In all seriousness, smarketing alignment is something that a lot of businesses struggle with – much to the detriment of revenue.

Studies have suggested that sales and marketing alignment can lead to 208% growth in marketing revenue. There’s a lot of money to be won or lost based on how well your sales and marketing teams collaborate.

The sales-marketing disconnect

Most misalignments between sales and marketing stem from divergent incentives. Marketers are in pursuit of the marketing qualified lead (MQL). An MQL is any lead that marketing deems ready to be passed to a sales rep for further nurturing.

Sales strives for taking each sales qualified lead (SQL) and nurturing it into a customer.

If you ask marketing, they’ll tell you too few of their MQLs ever get allocated to sales for further nurturing. If you ask sales, they’ll tell you that too few of marketing’s leads are worth allocating.

Both teams will tell you that their commissions/bonuses are on the line, so they’re going to hit their number regardless of what the other team is doing. At the end of the day, the biggest incentive is to make money to feed families and fund hobbies.

In fact, one of the more revolutionary ideas is to create a single commission for sales and marketing “a smarketing bonus” or a “smonus.”

If you’re not ready for that yet, rest assured, there are plenty of other ways to bridge the gap between the sales and marketing departments.

The MQL is at the heart of everything

As mentioned, lead generation is often the priority among marketers. They tend to focus on everything leading up to the bottom of the sales funnel, with the ultimate goal of marketing to leads until they are decidedly more likely to convert at the point of sale (aka, becoming MQLs).

How much more likely to convert? That’s really up to smarketing to decide. As we pointed out in a recent post about MQLs, the marketing team should involve the sales department in their deliberations over what qualifies as an MQL.

But even that isn’t enough.

It would be asinine to let sales tell marketing what their ideal lead is without them fully understanding a) what is within marketing’s power to deliver and b) all the inbound marketing activities that lead up to the MQL.

If marketers are guilty of not always delivering sales-ready leads (and they are), sales is guilty of not taking the time to understand marketing.

Smarketing integration strategies

The core tenant of smarketing is that you can integrate sales and marketing, and that they can, in fact, work harmoniously toward a common goal – the revenue goal.

This unification process starts with closed-loop reporting, which is a fancy way of saying sales and marketing share the same data. Both teams can see reporting data all the way through the sales cycle, starting at the earliest phases of lead generation and ending with customer loyalty.

The goal here is to track the customer journey and identify common threads between the types of leads that convert best at the point of sale. Marketing could be right about many of the leads they pass to sales; conversely, sales may be onto something when they say certain leads are fruitless. The only way to know is for the two teams to be looking at the same data sets.

But the larger objective is really to get sales and marketing collaborating with one another more closely. This is achieved by using data to get sales and marketing to agree on fundamental aspects of smarketing, such as the ideal customer profile, marketing ROI and inbound marketing goal completions.

Ultimately, there is really only one sales funnel in digital marketing. Marketing may own the marketing strategy in the same way that sales may own the sales process.

But only smarketing owns revenue.

Smarketing ties all of its efforts back to that single metric: revenue from new deals. Bringing in the inbound leads and closing sales are important indicators, but to beat a dead horse, there’s only one true KPI, and that’s revenue.

Sales enablement: Smarketing’s under-appreciated perk

One of the things that closed-loop reporting accomplishes is that it gives sales a window into marketing efforts and vice versa.

The surface benefit is that seamless smarketing integration we’ve been raving about. Brafton sales reps, for instance, have a 360-degree view of inbound marketing activities. Rather than focusing on cold outreach, they can tailor their messaging based on actions that a lead has taken (e.g., downloaded an eBook on a certain subject, completed a form on a particular product landing page).

But the other big benefit is that sales can start delivering marketing collateral to prospects in their pipeline. These could include case studies, white papers, thought leadership blog posts and other content that, when used in this context, becomes sales enablement content.

All of this adds up to the fact that value-added marketing continues into the sales process. Sales can deliver collateral created by marketing, and even take a cue from marketing by creating their own content, such as competitor scorecards.

The result is a frictionless path without that jarring bump in the road where marketing transitions into sales. It’s a fluid customer journey that eases MQLs into becoming prospects, prospects into SQLs, and SQLs into paying customers. This is what smarketing is really all about.

Carcoleptics be warned. Smarketing is the smoothest ride of all.

Dominick Sorrentino is a senior writer in Chicago. He's a wordsmith who endeavors to use language, story-telling and creativity to solve problems. He enjoys pizza, the musical styling of A Tribe Called Quest, traveling, a good conversation and, of course, putting pen to paper.