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Smarketing: A Sales & Marketing Love Story

Once upon a time, sales and marketing were in love

True, Marketing wanted a long-term relationship and Sales only wanted a one-night stand, but it was clear where everyone stood.

Then, the relationship began to change

With the advent of digital and social tools, buyers – not sellers – stepped into the driver’s seat.  They began using online means to conduct ROI analyses before making final purchasing decisions.  Today, according to Sirius Decisions, buyers are more informed than ever because they’ve got access to online content as well as an extensive online peer network.  And, according to a recent DemandGen Buyer Behaviour report, almost half of buyers create a short-list of potential vendors and one- third conduct initial research on solution options before the first communication with a sales rep.

Marketing started to use tactics that buyers, not Sales, preferred

Marketing started to change too.  As Cisco’s CMO Karen Walker has said, “Marketing was the last function to be industrialised and the first function to be digitised.” With the buyer in control, Marketers started moving away from outbound tactics like tradeshows, live events, and email campaigns that Sales was used to.  We started using digital tactics that matched the buyers’ desire to look for information online using search engines, vendor websites, and social media sites. But neither Sales nor Marketing was happy.  Things got so bad that Hubspot reported:  “87% of the terms sales and marketing teams use to describe each other are negative.”

Enter Revenue Marketing

Like a good marriage counsellor, Revenue Marketing helped Sales and Marketing rekindle their relationship.  In a nutshell, Revenue Marketing ensures that Marketing strategies and campaigns align with Sales and business objectives to generate a measurable ROI to the bottom line.  Using Revenue Marketing principles, Marketing started to transform from a cost centre to a revenue centre. Marketing and Sales began to work in partnership again. And they began speaking the same language – using terms of endearment like planning, forecasts, pipeline, bookings, and revenue.

Back on track:  Smarketing

Today, the romance between Sales and Marketing is back on.  And, like all happy couples, they’re using a pet name:  Smarketing.  Hubspot defines the term Smarketing as “the alignment between your sales and marketing teams created through frequent and direct communication.” We’ve embraced the term and the concept here at Cisco, and here are four lessons learned to strengthen the relationship between sales and marketing.

4 Tips For Smarketing bliss

 1. Speak a common language

It’s important to be on the same page. For example, here at Cisco, Sales and Marketing both know exactly what we mean by terms such as Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL), Sales Accepted Leads (SAL), and Sales Qualified Leads (SQL).

2. Gaze in the same direction

Marketing and Sales must also share revenue goals and strategies.  We have defined how much Marketing will contribute to Sales  – both to the pipeline and to bookings.  We have also articulated what each team will do to support the others’ efforts.

3. Communicate, communicate, communicate

Once you’re on the same page, tune your operational systems to give visibility into results – and refine your processes continually.  At Cisco, Sales and Marketing use common reporting dashboards and hold each other accountable.  Both teams listen and respond to feedback.

 4. Celebrate success hand-in-hand

Now that Marketing can concretely prove its value, both teams can celebrate together. This builds strong team morale.

Smarketing may be a cute term but it has very real ramifications.  In fact, according to a study done by the Aberdeen Group, companies with strong sales and marketing alignment can get 20% annual revenue growth.  Now that’s worth celebrating.

So please raise a glass and join me in congratulating the happy couple.  To….Smarketing!

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CRM Implementation is Crucial for Revenue-Generation Marketing

In the last blog on revenue generation marketing, I took some time to discuss how our operational implementation was working at Cisco. As part of that, I shared the four main best practices we discovered during our revenue generation marketing journey. Of course, if you missed that post, please give it a read. To sum it up, however, I believe your operations team simply has to focus on:

  • Setting a goal
  • Keeping the goal simple
  • Setting key success indicators for individuals
  • Reporting

That is the high-level look at operational implementation that we saw here at Cisco. But in this final blog on our revenue generation marketing journey, I want to dig a little deeper and talk about implementing those best practices within your customer relationship management (CRM) software and combining that with marketing automation. Read More »

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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – October 25, 2013

Partner-Weekly-Rewind-v2Every Friday, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco partner news and stories of the week, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:

Off the Top

In her most recent blog, Sherri Liebo talked about transforming marketing from a cost center within Cisco, to a revenue generating center. By explaining the term “revenue marketing” she opens up the conversation with you on tying marketing into a measurable ROI for your bottom line.

Sherri is striving to help partners understand the changes at Cisco, and use the resources and training we have available to continue making our partnership succeed.

Be sure to join the conversation with Sherri. Read More »

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Marketing: Trading in Fluff for Buff

“Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.”

— Coco Chanel  

 I love that quote by fashion maven Coco Chanel. In today’s B2B marketing world, challenges can’t be addressed using outdated marketing tactics – hoping they will magically open new opportunities along with new revenue and ROI.

Growing trends in customer buying behavior and the technology used to make purchases are driving major changes for the role of marketing. As marketers, this gives us a fantastic opportunity. We can transform from what has sometimes been seen as simply “fluff” (and what many sales executives see as a cost center) into a revenue-generating center. Read More »

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Words Of WISDOM At Cisco Marketing Velocity

As Cisco Marketing Velocity wrapped up in Cannes last week, Sherri Liebo, Cisco’s vice president, global partner marketing, offered a final takeaway and call to action to the 200 Cisco partners in attendance.

WISDOM.

Repeat: “What I say and do differently on Monday.”

Read More »

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