Just like a machine, it’s the synergy of a team that makes it work. When sales and marketing work together, the result is a powerful alignment that drives next-level success. Ben Nordman of Obsidian Manufacturing talks about the “Smarketing” concept, its benefits, and how to use it during the #USAMfgHour chat on Twitter.
Smarketing is all about collaboration as it is the integration of marketing and sales within a company. Nordman said with a company working like a machine that has many parts, all the parts need to be doing their jobs and working together to run as efficiently as possible. He then asked the group about why collaboration is important.
“Collaboration is HUGE in #manufacturing,” said Amatrol. “We encourage companies to collaborate with local schools, which helps educate #CTE students but also helps with closing the #SkillsGap. A road to employment helps everyone!”
“Teamwork makes the dream work! No matter how much you think you'll be successful alone, collaboration is vital,” said Crescent Software. “The knowledge that coworkers or colleagues could give could make life easier for everyone when working together. We can always take lessons from others!”
“Collaboration is important--more brains are better than one brain when it comes to a large project or even just life in general,” said Radwell International.
“Collaboration helps us solve problems, learn from each other, and can improve our working relationships,” said WiscoLift.
“Collaboration can help with efficiency,” said Graphic Products. “When a team works together, ideas and problem-solving are met on a universal front.”
“We all have different skills,” said Ruby Rusine of Social Success Marketing. “Each skill complements, enhances, and improves a process, a team, or a company. We need each other, we need collab. One person can’t do ALL.”
“I believe collaboration is important in anything in life,” said Extreme Molding. “No one gets by alone in any aspect. But more importantly in sales and Dan (at Chenango Valley Technologies) will tell you if you can rely on each other and you trust each other you share leads.”
Collaboration can open more doors and more accomplishments. According to Nordman, it is the key to success for any entity that has multiple people, personalities, or moving parts. “Since we are all familiar with manufacturing, imagine if a machine had one single part not doing its job,” he said. “The whole machine would not work, and the production line would not be producing. The same is true with any and every team atmosphere.”
What do you think are some of the benefits of aligning marketing and sales?
“We've already seen some benefits: 1. Aligning annual goals 2. Marketing can capitalize on what sales are doing 3. Sales can use marketing information to boost their efforts,” said Drive Source International/Dynamatic.
The struggle between sales and marketing associates can sometimes be strained.
“Sales will receive better support but also will have a great understanding of what it takes to get that support. Sometimes Marketing doesn't get much empathy from Sales,” said Radwell.
“As someone who’s been in sales for a better part of her adult life, I find that marketing doesn’t always listen to sales and vice versa. They both have their own agenda sometimes,” said Extreme Molding.
“Communication between those teams is crucial,” said Amatrol. “Your sales team can help identify trends they're seeing, and the marketing team can do the same for sales. That kind of collaboration helps with the generation of leads AND sales.”
“Marketing undergirds sales. Each has a distinct function or role but are closely tied,” said Rusine. “Marketing paves the road for sales. However, what I find is that some company owners confuse marketing with sales. It is not.”
“Aligning marketing and sales can help immensely because you need several points of contact with the same message to generate enthusiasm and create interest. Joining forces is more powerful,” said DCSC.
“Exactly!,” said Nordman. “Being on the same page is HUGE in alignment. Market what your company is selling and sell what your company is marketing!”
The three main reason's Obsidian said it began its smarketing are:
- Revenue (close to 20% increase annually when completely integrated)
- Streamlining the buying process
- Create a better corporate culture
The #USAMfgHour group of manufacturing and other industry professionals was then asked what they think inbound marketing is and why is it important to align it with sales.
“I am assuming this is sales leads. It is important to communicate any relevant information gathered to sales so they get the customer taken care of properly and it is not missed, lost, or messed up by lack of information,” said CVT.
“Providing valuable content to current and potential customers is a great asset,” said Rico Equipment. “The more a sales team buys into marketing efforts, the broader the reach for your content and brand.”
“That buy-in is critical. Marketing and sales need to work in tandem to drive the success of any inbound marketing campaign, said NJMEP.org. “We're right back to #Collaboration!”
“I think inbound marketing is making consumers aware of your products and services so they think of YOU when they need them,” said WiscoLift.
“(WiscoLift) took the words right out of our mouth,” said NJMEP. “No matter what your inbound strategy is, having customers come to you when they have a challenge because they know you can provide a solution is the goal of inbound marketing.)”
“Inbound marketing is creating content the customer may want to see,” said Cleveland Deburring. “It's important to align it with sales so that the content fits the product touchpoints that are part of the sales process. Inbound then becomes the beginning of the customer's sales journey.”
“If marketing is effective, it's attracting leads and then those leads get fed to sales. If there is no communication and alignment the customer experience and the close rates suffer.,” said Paul Kiesche of Aviate Creative.
“A customized marketing approach that evolves from customer-generated topics, questions, content inquiries, etc. Constant communication between the sales and marketing teams,” said Sue Nordman of Obsidian Manufacturing. “If they do, you will achieve maximum performance from both teams.”
“Inbound marketing is the content we provide our customers in social media, blogs, catalogs, pamphlets, mass mailing, etc. This content is made in thanks to the alignment and collaboration with the marketing and sales team,” said SCTools.
“Our AWESOME marketing team works hard to create content that goes beyond showing what we sell, but shows what we believe and how we can help,” said Amatrol. “Assuring customers that they could be working with amazing people makes a difference. We write articles, produce videos, and more to pass on knowledge, but also to show who we are. You're never just dealing with a business, you're dealing with people.”
“Rather than the traditional ‘push your brand’ marketing, inbound marketing wants to draw customers in. Whether that's an online presence or creating a household name in your industry,” said Crescent. “Sales have clients that were the product of successful marketing, collab to find what works.”
Inbound marketing is anything that attracts customers to our products, whether it be digital media or traditional marketing. It's important to collaborate because we want to market what our salespeople are selling, Ben Nordman said. It’s also crucial that the customer is getting the right information from both sales and marketing and promptly.
Why is there a bigger need to align sales and marketing in today's business environment?
“Alignment is proactive because Sales gets information on what the customer's needs are and Marketing can then focus on those needs for increased sales,” said WiscoLift.
“Consumers have more power than ever before in history,” said NJMEP. “One Google search will result in nearly every business that can provide that service. Relationships are critical, the collaboration between sales and marketing to nurture those relationships are critical.”
“You only get one chance to make a first impression,” said CVT. “If the communication in your company doesn't work, how can a customer rely on you to get their orders right, problems fixed, and so on.”
“The buyer is in control - particularly with digital means, so they can find everything they need with a few clicks,” said Dynamatic. “Marketing can pay attention to these trends and sales can create efforts to go after those potential buyers.”
“Seeking leads online isn't an option anymore, it's a part of commerce. If sales and marketing teams can collaborate, they can harness each other's knowledge of what's working and what could work to bring in even more customers,” said Amatrol.
“The market is shifting rapidly to online platforms. For certain products, consumers are using social media to search,” said SCTools. “Therefore, the content will be relevant, especially if it is aligned with the company sales pitch. What, How, and Who.”
“Because so much of business is driven by online sales and marketing. It’s almost essential to have a good marketing department. Because knocking on doors is a thing of the past. You rely on marketing for leads. They are your right hand,” said Extreme Molding.
“One word: Reach,” said Rico. “The broader your brand reach can only mean good things for your organization. Sharing content not only keeps you top of mind but also helps your brand to become that source for knowledge in your industry.”
“With many companies decentralizing their teams, because of COVID, it's important sales are kept up-to-date with strategy via Zoom, email, Slack, or whatever tool you use,” said Foxmere Technologies. “Many businesses are now struggling, efficiency and efficacy are now more important than ever.”
The team all agrees that the marketing atmosphere has changed significantly over the past 10-15 years.
“It's important to keep sales teams aware of the changes and how marketing teams are handling the always-changing landscape,” said Ben Nordman.
How do you or could you organize a better way to communicate between your sales team and marketing team?
“This should start from the top then down, and at least, annually. Then do a monthly or quarterly follow up including goals & what each one is doing to reach it. And provide room for change too since things could happen,” said Rusine. “Remember the curveball called COVID. Note to marketing: Sales is a great resource for #inboundmarketing because they are the ones facing your clients every day; hence the need to communicate regularly.”
“Encourage more interactivity, communication, and strategy together. Establish goals, a vision, and a mission together. Marketing should also have discussions with sales about customer concerns, pain points, interests, etc.,” said Kiesche.
“We schedule weekly meetings to keep everyone on the same page and to look ahead to what might be coming,” said Dynamatic.
“We have monthly Sales & Marketing meetings to discuss how to target new and/or existing clients, collaborative projects, etc.,” said WiscoLift.
“We use Google Sites to maintain a company intranet web page where we post weekly updates about the company, strategy, and plans. This way, every week, Sales can keep abreast of the latest opportunities and ideas that Marketing has produced,” said Foxmere.
“I am a big advocate of communicating. Our sales team is in one big room—the bullpen. Nothing goes on there without everyone else knowing. We have our up-and-down days but when things get going in there, we all achieve success. It is a beautiful thing to watch,” said Sue Nordman.
“Monthly meetings between marketing and sales. Before COVID, the marketing staff shadows our sales team with customer visits, which helped tremendously to the content used on our marketing communication,” said SCTools.
“Our entire organization gets together virtually once a month & shares updates/plans for moving forward. Leadership consistently encourages both Marketing & Sales to connect, engage, & brainstorm about new inanities, materials, etc. until the next company meeting,” said NJMEP.
“We have our marketing/sales meeting almost every week to discuss our progress in our online socials as well as reaching out to leads,” said Crescent. “It's important to keep everyone in the know so that we could pass ideas around on how to better market/sell our product.”
“A conscious effort,” said Rico. “Should be easy, but there is a need to be deliberate in focused communication between departments.”
“Opening up the lines of communication is so easy. Start with a monthly meeting of key team members, discuss objectives and what you've observed, then brainstorm,” said Amatrol. “Keep in touch between meetings as things change. BUT, as discussed before, those teams can have different goals in mind and may have different expectations from other key players. Respecting boundaries is important.”
Weekly and monthly meetings to discuss KPIs and performance that month work for us here at Obsidian, Ben Nordman said. “We make sure we're on the same page with what we're doing well and what we can improve upon.”
What do you think you would do to start the process of smarketing?
“It all starts with culture,” said CVT. “It has to be open and honest. That is the only way anything works and works well.”
“I would say the largest difference was when we hired an inside salesperson who is on the phone all day. All other inside salespeople are taking orders and outside sales are attending to their customers which does not directly align to marketing efforts as well,” said WiscoLift.
“Communication. This was the first step we took to bolster our Smarketing initiative,” said NJMEP. “We made sure sales understood they had a direct line to marketing. It was marketing's responsibility to consistently engage with the sales team. It's been working!”
“Get better at social media. Our sales department is 2 people strong. But our marketing is lagging. I’m trying to get better at it during our slow time which is now. Which is why I’m here. It can be hard trying to wear two hats,” said Extreme Molding.
“This is a great question. I guess we are working that way without the marketing label. At any rate, any change requires a great level of communication and motivation. What, Why, How, Who, When, Where,” said SCTools.
“Get team leaders to hash out boundaries, establish lines of communication, meet occasionally, and figure out common goals,” said Amatrol. “From there, everyone can begin to support one another.”
Collaboration makes us better.
Anyone who champions U.S. manufacturing can join in on a new conversation each week on Twitter using the hashtag #USAMfgHour. The chat starts at 11 a.m. Pacific Standard Time/2 p.m. Eastern. Share positive blog posts, helpful articles, news, important information, accomplishments, events, and more with other manufacturers and supporters from throughout the country.
Are you interested in hosting a #USAMfgHour chat? Contact organizers @CVTPlastics, @DCSCinc, and @SocialSMktg.