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Smarketing 101: Bridging the gap between sales and marketing

sales and marketing

At Flock, we don't really think of sales and marketing as two different functions. The way we look at it, both sales and marketing ultimately work towards two common key results—get meetings with prospects and convert customers from those meetings. 

Every activity that we undertake as a combined go-to-market (GTM) organization drives one of those two key results. What we found, especially as we scaled, is that sales must drive what we do for marketing

Our marketing Flockstars don’t walk alone when brainstorming new blogs, crafting new content, or implementing acquisition campaigns. They bring friends from sales along, cajoling them into sharing insights on what our potential customers are looking for.

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In practice, this means that every marketing meeting has representatives from sales and every sales meeting has the head of marketing as active participants. In these conversations spread throughout the week, we get continuous feedback on the quality of leads, what we learn from them, and what they are looking for in Flock. Marketing also gets real-time feedback on what the persona of the lead is and whether they ought to double down on that (or try something else).

Our first value is that we remain customer-obsessed. Ultimately, this means that the customer’s voice should be heard in any decision that we take, whether it is what they find valuable in the product, what drives their purchase decision, or ultimately what delights them. Building an integrated go-to-market (GTM) team has exponentially improved not just our ability to live this value, but also our overall satisfaction, revenue, and retention.

Building sales and marketing (smarketing!) goals

Our sales and marketing teams work toward the common goal of driving increased adoption and conversion. The integrated GTM team serves to accomplish different components of that common goal—marketing communicates the value of our product to prospective customers and sales communicates that value to interested prospects, converting them to customers.

Take, for example, operations teams in organizations making the switch to remote work due to the pandemic. During prospecting, we learned that the teams that struggled the most with the transition to working remotely were actually operations teams—the ones responsible for making sure business continues to run smoothly. Our business development reps found that a business collaboration platform like Flock was adding immense value in that segment, so marketing realigned their focus to start speaking to the needs of those teams.

Our marketing material created a positive feedback loop leading us to customers to whom we could offer the most value. As it turned out, operations teams were a goldmine that sales helped marketing tap. Ultimately, what helped sales and marketing succeed as a unified team has always been the core of our business at Flock—communication.

What are the most effective tools and channels of communication to work with sales and marketing?

Our marketing teams are great champions of project management platforms like Asana for helping them execute large, distributed campaigns from a single console. Designers, developers, writers, and campaign managers all come together on Asana, and the beauty of it is that, as the head of the team, I can always check out the calendar view to see exactly when our campaigns and assets are going live. 

Sales, on the other hand, is a far faster and more reactive function, where reps must always be available to take on new conversations at a moment’s notice. We implemented a zero-lag response time in Hubspot, our CRM of choice, where the right representative to help a company based on their size and geography is always available. Because this means our sales reps need to know immediately whenever someone is waiting on them, we use Flock’s fantastic notification system, which integrates all of our sales and marketing systems. 

How do Smarketing meetings help you establish your goals and plan your to-dos?

Thanks to the availability of task management platforms, our meetings can end up being forums for discussion rather than dry status updates. We utilize check-in meetings to not just gather data and share status updates, but also to get feedback from different stakeholders on tasks, initiatives, and ideas. In a nutshell, we consistently try to think of what's next based on what we know today. 

A tactic we championed internally that has been incredibly helpful is a segment in every meeting that we call “sales stories.” A sales rep walks the entire team through the story of one unique conversation or customer who stood out to them that week: who they are, where they're from, what's their story, what problems they’re solving, and what value they’re trying to derive from Flock. This single activity has sparked follow-up conversations on what customers are searching for on our website and landing pages and has driven decisions on content strategy, advertising, and even actual product strategy.