The 3 C’s of sales and marketing alignment (smarketing)

Everyone understands that sales and marketing alignment (or smarketing) is a good thing. But the reality is that most organizations are a ways off from the VPs of Marketing and Sales being besties. I believe if organizations truly understand the value and have a clear path to get there, it will happen. Enter the 3 C’s of Smarketing: Communication, Coordination and Collaboration.

Communication: Start creating purposeful dialogue between sales and marketing

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Marketing and sales have to communicate to get their jobs done. But to start to create optimal efficiency, more detailed communication needs to happen. Organizations need to have clear definitions of what sales is looking for in a lead so that marketing can create campaigns accordingly, which is an awesome first step toward solid alignment. If you don’t yet have this, invite your counterpart to lunch and start the discussion. Bring data to review why some leads were followed up on and others weren’t. Look at new customers that went through the pipeline the fastest and keep an eye out for commonalities.

Once you have a common understanding, get it all down in writing so you have agreed upon definitions. Then make sure you can track to these stages and measure conversions from lead to sales accepted (or Sales Qualified Lead – SQL). Ideally, you’ll also have a stage in between for Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) so that marketing can scrub out anything that clearly doesn’t meet the qualifications of what sales wants before you send the leads over the wall.

Coordination: Continually optimize  the outcome of sales and marketing efforts

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Once you’ve got clear lead definitions, it’s time to create a feedback loop for continuous improvement. This means getting sales and marketing leadership together on a regular basis to review results and make changes in lead definitions or even campaign spend according to the feedback. Many organizations do this on a quarterly basis as “QBRs” or “Interlocks”.

No matter what fancy name you give to these meetings, make sure both departments understand the purpose and what they need to bring to the meeting. These meetings become worthless after 1-2 sessions if it is just marketing showing data and asking for feedback from sales. BOTH sides need to come with data and be prepared to explain what the data is saying.

Here’s how. Create some dashboard reports that both teams can access for the following data:

  • Highest and lowest performing campaigns for the quarter in terms of SQLs, Opps and Closed Won (6 different reports)
  • Highest and lowest performing inside sales reps (or telemarketers) for the quarter in terms of conversions to SQLs, Opps and Closed Won (6 different reports)

Both parties should analyze this data before the coordination meeting and come prepared with feedback from their teams on why they think those were the results. Having the analysis and team input take place before the meeting (from both sides) will make these meetings more successful. As you mature in this process, you may be able to set goals for conversion rates and use that as a bar to analyze what campaigns over or under performed.

Collaboration: Get significant revenue growth by working toward the same goal

collaboration

So now that you have great communication and you are meeting regularly to obtain coordination, what more could you possibly achieve? The answer is collaboration. In this stage, the lines between marketing and sales start to intentionally get fuzzy. Marketing starts doing things that fall in the sales realm and sales starts getting involved in marketing programs, otherwise known as smarketing. With smarketing, the offices of the VPs of Sales and Marketing are next door to each other and they might even report to a centralized executive like a Chief Revenue Officer responsible for both marketing and sales.

While this may sound like a scary alternative dimension, when you start smarketing, it’s totally awesome! This stage means the end to the blaming as sales and marketing are truly working together to achieve the mutual goal of growing the company. Marketing bonus plans are on revenue, not leads. There is mutual respect, because these groups are in tight alignment.

So how can a company achieve this nirvana? It’s actually a lot easier than you might think. At the heart of smarketing collaboration is sales and marketing working together on a common program. This means designing the program together, promoting it together and tracking results together. This is the essence of smarketing.

The most effective program to achieve smarketing collaborative alignment is a referral marketing program. While sales already gets that referrals are their highest quality lead, most sales folks don’t ask often enough or have a “give-get” to offer. With help from marketing through a referral marketing program, sales can not only get more referrals, but turn referrals into their most productive lead source. In fact, data from customer referral marketing programs running on the Amplifinity referral platform shows an average conversion from lead to purchase of 13%, 10X over referral industry standard and 17X over marketing lead standard according to an Implisit study.

And when Amplifinity customer referral software enables sales to take an active role in the referral process, the average conversion rate rises to 30%. This is possible through referral software that enables collaboration between sales and marketing by integrating into the sales CRM to allow marketing to create the brand message for the program and sales to help execute on it.  This permits marketing to extend its lead generation team to customers or partners who can connect your message to target buyers in their networks.

Bottom line – This scalable personalized lead generation works so well because it is backed by both marketing AND sales.

If you’d like to learn more about achieving smarketing, I recommend this paper from Marketing Profs: How to Climb to Smarketing Success: A maturity model for sales and marketing alignment.

If you’d like to learn how to start a referral program that encourages sales and marketing collaboration, check out the page, referral software for Salesforce to maximize the value of Salesforce and create a highly charged revenue source.

Salesforce referral program

Care to further the discussion? Tweet me @Trishawinter

Originally published on Salesforce

Dreamforce 2015 – it was all about Personalization

Sitting here on the plane going home from Dreamforce, it is the first opportunity I’ve had to really think about the conference. More specifically, what message I can take back for my organization and for where the market is going. Despite my extreme lack of sleep, it is clear to me that everything boils down to one word: Personalization.

As Mark Benihoff said in his keynote, “We are all here to fill the gap between our companies and our customers.” And personalization is the way to do it.

As a marketer, I get that the more custom and personalized I can get with communications, the better they do. But Dreamforce made me think about how personalization touches every aspect of business. (And of course, Salesforce has solutions for each one.) I can almost hear you ask, “But how can I personalize my marketing even more than I already am?”

Personalized Marketing – There are lots of phenomenal capabilities available today for companies to take in the incredible amounts of data available on prospective customers and serve up information that is specific to what they want. Mathew Sweezey, Author, Marketing Futurist and Salesforce Evangelist, commented that “The average number of pages a visitor to your website sees is 1.5. Don’t you think you should make those 1.5 pages count?” But personalization in the marketing realm goes way beyond web and email.  The way you acquire leads in the digital age needs to be personal as well. It’s clear that many companies are looking toward advocacy and referral marketing to help fill that gap.

Personalized Analytics – After years of complaints, Salesforce is releasing its new UI/UX called Lightning. It looks great and has great functionality, but the key is that they heard their customers say they want to customize views. Don’t limit me to 2 columns, I might need 14 columns! And they are delivering. I think all companies need to think about what level of customization they can deliver to their customers. It really does make people happier with the experience. We all want what we want, the more flexible you can make your product, the better.

Personalized Sales – It’s clear that Salesforce sees the lines between Marketing and Sales as blurry at best. The Engage functionality coming out of Pardot clearly sees Marketing investing in tools to help sales prospect in a more personal way. Do generic marketing blasts even work anymore? It’s all about getting an email from an individual with a message as catered to them as possible. Doing that at scale is of course where Pardot and Salesforce comes in. It is clear that the faster that sales and marketing leaders get over their differences and begin practicing the art of smarketing, the more successful they will be.

Personalized Community – The Community keynote at Dreamforce was awesome. What Salesforce has done with this product is incredible and I’m sure it is the fastest growth area of their business. It looks so easy to spin up communities for customers, employees and partners with incredible functionality.  And of course, communities are the embodiment of personalization. You can provide a way to allow your customers to hear from other customers on your products/services and even make purchases from within the community. I predict this will be a powerful add on for companies to seriously pursue and I’m sure much more functionality will be added over the coming year.

Personalized Service – Lots of sessions were focused on Customer Success and the idea that they own the customer journey. This means that they need to understand it and find ways to influence it and make it consistent across silos of engagement. Salesforce has always been a great tool for this as it integrates across departments. The real innovation comes with some of the AppExchange partners doing advocacy and referral marketing with a sales referral program. With those as add-ons you can get an actual ROI from your customer journey while making customers feel more engaged with your brand. It’s no wonder that companies are aligning around this function and are hungry for improvement.  Who doesn’t want happy customers and revenue growth to boot?

In the age of digital, it is clear that companies need to be looking in every area of the business for ways to enable 1 to 1 interactions and provide an experience that makes each person feel that your brand understands them. Each engagement is an opportunity. An opportunity for delight. An opportunity to generate a high quality lead. An opportunity to turn a negative situation into a positive. Make each engagement count with personalization! Now time to get some much-needed sleep!

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‘Smarketing’ has never been so easy!

Expanding your sales reach with referral automation

The world of sales and marketing have never been so intertwined as they are today. Everyone is looking for ways to align sales and marketing, so much so that it has been named ‘Smarketing’.  As marketing continues to frantically search for new ways to produce the highest quality leads, organic acquisition by way of customer referrals has become of increasing strategic importance. Referral automation technology has allowed the marketing department to increase the generation of quality leads and nurture those leads. But the seamless transfer of these leads into the sales lead management process continues to be a challenge. Not to mention the challenge sales faces when trying to extend their reach with the help of their best customers. Luckily, we’re in the position to help sales overcome these challenges.

Our mission as a product team at Amplifinity is to continue to innovate our Referral Automation products to drive organic growth by empowering marketing to generate quality leads through customer referrals, to easily move those leads into the sales process, and to give sales the tools to quickly extend their reach with the help of their best customers.

Today, we are extremely excited to introduce the Amplifinity Connector for Salesforce. This product enhances the power of the Amplifinity Referral Automation platform to improve lead management by shifting the process into Salesforce. This empowers sales by imbuing them with the ability to harness the power of referrals within the Salesforce interface.  A smarketing dream!

The Amplifinity Connector for Salesforce provides features dedicated to harvesting the trust of your customers, partners, and employees to deliver high quality demand generation and unbelievable ROI. These features include:

  • Account Verification And Lead Sync: Automatically verify that a new advocate’s account exists within Salesforce and creates a lead in Salesforce when a prospect is converted in Amplifinity
  • Referral Sourcing Identification: View the Amplifinity Referral Program that produced a specific referral in the Lead views in Salesforce
  • Advocate Status Tracking: View the current enrollment status of an advocate in the contact record
  • Advocate Invite: Send an Amplifinity platform invite to a potential advocate from the contact record

The Amplifinity App’s unique value for aligning sales and marketing

Amplifinity’s new app integration is highly unique. The Amplifinity app is optimized to engage and enable your direct sales team to obtain and nurture high quality leads. By integrating the Amplifinity app into Salesforce you’ll add immense value to your leads and gain advantages such as:

  • Easily Seeing The Referring Advocate: Identify the advocate who made the referral so that you can contact them for more info and thank them for the referral.
  • Easily Inviting Contacts To Become Advocates: With a single click, sales can send an email to a contact to recommend they join the referral program.
  • Quickly Seeing High-Quality Referral Leads: View referral source from your Lead List to immediately prioritize the best leads to follow through on
  • Easy Implementation: Obtain lead routing and field mapping with SSO to access Amplifinity data. In addition, this adds 2 new lead record fields and 2 new contact record fields.

With the technology available today why continue to struggle with aligning sales and marketing teams?  This connector will allow you to empower your marketing and sales teams to work together and achieve an all-inclusive management of referrals with 100% accuracy so no referrals are missed.  Strengthen your marketing and direct sales teams today by exploring the value of the Amplifinity app integrated with Salesforce.

Questions? Email me at Jswenson@amplifinity.com

 

What is brand advocacy?