How sales and marketing departments align within businesses is radically changing according to a way of thinking called smarketing. This concept of smarketing, first coined in 2005 by Brian Halligan, reinvents the relationship between sales and marketing teams by improving the customer journey, smoothing out the process of acquiring leads and then converting them, and generating new revenue.

What is Smarketing

In this business model, sales and marketing teams must be integrated and not managed as separate entities. Smarketing requires frequent and direct communication, where mutual goals for both sales and marketing mean mutual accountability. Cooperative in nature, this model is vital for customer retention and company growth.

Inbound marketing is a dynamic, overall strategy geared toward new revenue generation that leads to smarketing within your organization. Inbound marketing combines multiple tactics to find potential consumers already interested in your product and convert them to customers. Part of smarketing prioritizes customer experience by aiming to deliver the right information at the right time, made possible by sales and marketing teams working closely together. The only way smarketing works is if sales and marketing understand each other and have a unified strategy. Marketing must understand sales to pull in qualified leads, and sales must understand marketing to convert more leads.

Over the past couple of decades, overlap and integration of sales and marketing are more common now that data, particularly behavioral data, is becoming more easily accessible and universally important. Aligning sales and marketing is becoming a top priority for many large companies, where companies can no longer ignore misalignment between sales and marketing.

Six Fundamental Steps for Smarketing

According to Kevin England, Founder and CEO of Vonazon, there are six fundamental steps to making a smarketing department. You must align your sales and marketing departments together into one by:

  • Restructuring customer journey into a universal one, working together to see what the customer journey looks like and how customers engage with your content, company, and brand. Have both teams define the customer journey and then align them through shared goals and objectives.
  • Developing an agreed, mutual target buyer persona as part of inbound marketing determines who your target audience is, where sales and marketing together focus on one audience at a time. This persona is a fictional representation of your ideal prospect or company.
  • Measuring joint KPI (key performance indicators) ensures your sales and marketing teams are aligned with the same common goal. Measuring common key performance indicators (KPI’s) helps your smarketing team understand how your customers engage with content and move through the conversion process.
  • Gathering and sharing sales feedback between teams to understand the customer’s voice allows for alignment and achieving common objectives.
  • Matching your messaging across an entire campaign from start to finish is essential. Your teams should create messaging together that starts at the beginning and moves throughout the whole sales process.
  • Working together on pre, during, and post-sale retention and growth of a customer or prospect as they move down their path or journey is vital.

See Kevin’s Figuring It Out podcast for additional details on how to make a smarketing department.

Traditional Sales and Marketing Model

There are reasons why the traditional sales and marketing team relationship is not working. When the two departments are managed in silos, problems arise that cause a drop in revenue and customer retention. The problems exist for critical reasons.


The way that sales teams and marketing teams are traditionally compensated raises questions on which team is valued more. When companies pay the groups in different ways, competition between teams instead of cooperation is inevitable. When you compensate both sales and marketing in the same way based on achievement, sales and marketing can genuinely work together productively.

Lack of Integration

In the traditional model, sales had been about numbers, and marketing was about people. It was marketing’s job to create content and promote the company by bringing in leads, where it was the sales team’s job to convert those leads. In many cases, sales and marketing teams have had little understanding of each other’s strategies of what the daily work looks like of each other. Part of successful alignment attempts means having each team walk in the other’s shoes to understand each other. Another way to help integrate is to have both teams led by one individual.

Lack of Communication

A lack of communication causes the lack of integration. When the two teams are not regularly updated on each other’s work and progress and do not meet with each other frequently, it is nearly impossible to reach a unified goal together and cooperate. The importance of communication is a reason why sharing customer feedback is paramount. A CRM tool and marketing automation tool combined into one allows for better communication when two teams work on the same platform together, receiving constant updates from each other, working toward the same common goal.

Communication Tips to Foster Smarketing

Since better communication between sales and marketing is at the core of smarketing, utilize the following tips on how to foster unity through increased communication.

  • Try mixing marketing and sales desks within the workplace in a way that is conducive to workflow and the smarketing process.
  • Have regular and frequent sales and marketing meetings. The only way to create shared goals and focus on one campaign together at a time is to communicate and update each other on progress regularly.
  • Use data to communicate. The proliferation of behavioral data available related to your customer journey is invaluable to a smarketing team to gain essential insights into your customer journey and experience. You should agree as departments on transparent data-sharing.
  • Use standard terminology to communicate as one team. Agreeing on set terms aids discourse between departments and streamlines processes.

Smarketing isn’t just jargon – it is a tangible, transformational way of generating new revenue and retaining more customers. Smarketing must be built into your organizational culture for your sales and marketing departments to align correctly as part of a strategic inbound marketing program. Ultimately, you must bring sales and marketing together for a common goal, where you will gain unique insights into the sales process that pay off.

Vonazon specializes in sales from a marketing perspective.

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