Your Sales Funnel and the Smarketing Method

In Blog, Business to Business, Business to Customer, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Sales by Amy AlexanderLeave a Comment

Marketing and sales departments don’t always get along.

I’m a marketer at heart. I like colorful collateral and edgy marketing headlines placed over beautiful photography. But, it’s no secret that direct mailers, digital banner ads, and expensive ad placements can’t always be directly connected to ROI. And, sales and marketing teams like to blame one another when revenue is on a downward slope. In fact, 87% of the terms sales and marketing teams use about each other are negative (Hubspot: The Power of Smarketing). In the end, however, a sales team needs their sales funnel full of qualified leads.

So, when your Director of Sales is complaining that the marketing team isn’t feeding them leads they can close, it’s a problem. Instead of blaming your marketing efforts, the smarketing method can help your marketing and sales team work together for the same goal: revenue.

Extend your sales funnel to the marketing team.

This may sound extreme. But, if the efforts of your marketing team directly relate to activities of the sales team, then a seamless funnel is exactly what you need. Below is a marketing funnel developed by Hubspot, our partner in inbound marketing. You’ll see that the top of the funnel remains the marketing team’s responsibility. Their efforts are meant to bring prospects into conversation with your brand.

->Get a strategic marketing plan that brings marketing and sales together

The middle of the sales funnel has shared roles between the marketing and sales teams. This middle section is crucial, because it’s where the marketing team can logistically pass off a lead to the sales team. And, vice versa. Whether a lead is an MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead) is determined by both teams. That Marketing Qualified Lead is then passed off to sales, where they can label it a Sales Qualified Lead and push it to the bottom of the sales funnel. The bottom of the funnel is solely in the sales team’s purview. If, however, it can’t be labeled as a Sales Qualified Lead, it gets pushed back to the marketing team for further interaction.

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The true beauty of this kind of model is that–over time–your sales and marketing teams become more effective. If the sales team is not getting leads they can label as SQLs, the marketing team will need to know. They can adjust their course and continue refining their marketing strategy. On the other hand, if Sales Qualified Leads can’t be closed by the sales team, managers will be able to identify that weakness and give the sales team the proper support and training they need.

Sales + Marketing = Smarketing

This extended sales funnel will only work if your marketing and sales teams are on the same page–with similar goals and constant communication. Personas should be created and shared with each side of your smarketing team. When everyone is clear about their target market and working toward one revenue goal, success will follow.





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A service level agreement is a fantastic way to create accountability. An SLA will define the number/types of leads marketing promises to provide to the sales team AND what the sales team promises to do with those leads once they have them. Each part of your smarketing team will know what’s expected of them, and what to expect from each other.

Example Marketing SLA

Marketing will deliver 100 leads per sales rep, per month.

Example Sales SLA

Sales will make 1 attempt to engage in 4 business hours, with 5 attempts in 14 days.

Data is your foundation.

When combining the efforts of two traditionally separate teams, emotions often rule the day. In order to avoid this, set reporting systems in place that can provide valuable data to both teams. This will encourage decisions based on facts and figures–not opinions and emotions. Start a weekly smarketing meeting, where team leads can deliver data reports, discuss success, and consider opportunities for improvement.

Companies with sales and marketing teams that are strongly aligned get an average of 20% revenue growth (Aberdeen Group).





Download the free ebook on smarketing: creating the right hand-shake between sales and marketing.




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