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Sales and Marketing Alignment = Smarketing

Ian Jacob | June 19, 2017


A black hole exists in most sizeable businesses. You’ll find this magnet of woe dead smack in the spot between the sales department and the marketing team.

Research done around the world suggests that 87% of terms used by one side to describe the other is a negative term................I can only shudder at the thought of guessing some of the terms.

So what does this suggest to you? On the obvious front, it is likely it reinforces your alignment with the popular opinion; being that sales and marketing are just naturally opposed, like cats and dogs, so putting up with that perceived reality is exactly what you should be doing.

However, reading between the lines, there is another screaming headline: align sales and marketing and change things forever.

There are so many cases of cats and dogs existing happily together. So if it can be done with canines and felines there is no reason why it can’t be done with people!

Sales vs Marketing

For true sales and marketing alignment there must be some effort made to appreciate that the key attributes, behaviours and personalities present in each field are usually very different. There is no point in trying to get sales people to be marketers and marketers to become sales people – it just doesn’t work. Marketing manager overload is not a good thing. 

There are a few actional steps that can implemented to facilitate a better working relationship bewteen sales and marketing:

  • Use common language
  • Both departments need to establish a Service Level Agreement (SLA) and commit to it
  • Be mutually accountable for results
  • Commit to meeting regularly with action oriented outcomes   
  • Culturally evolve to be more accepting and respectful

What has worked for me in the past is relatively simple though. It is irrelevant if we are referring to sales or marketing but what is vital is focusing and educating each side on the benefits of working with each other. Benefits on its own sounds a bit thin doesn’t it? A bit like fluff?

Let us translate the term benefits into the question “What’s in it for me?”

If you can get sales to ask themselves the question ‘What’s in it for me?’ and you can answer the question properly, then they will start to value the work of marketing. We need to translate the positives that marketing produce in to a format that sales can see real value in. The same insights need to be applied to marketers to see the value in the sales team.

Without sales' feedback, a marketing manager will get poor results.


When we can truly get sales and marketing teams to recognise the benefits of working together and how each other’s work can enhance the other’s results then the effects can be staggering – perhaps they will even reach a point of mutual respect of each other.  

Sales teams need to understand and appreciate the value that marketing teams can offer their results positively.

Marketing teams need to understand and appreciate the value that sales teams can offer their results positively.

Smarketing is the process of integrating the sales and marketing processes of a business. The objective is for the sales and marketing functions to have a common integrated approach. This can lead to annual revenue growth of up to 20% over and above your current benchmarks with a divisive clture - in my opinion, that sells itself.

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Topics: Marketing, sales

Ian Jacob
Ian Jacob on June 19, 2017

Ian has 16+ years of experience in the online world he has seen the evolution of web marketing and advertising online. His goal is to make his clients marketing & advertising profitable.