Merging words is commonplace these days, with creations like "hangry" so popular, it's been added to the urban dictionary. Smarketing is another one of those blended ideas that may have a new term slapped on it, but the concept isn't new. Small businesses, or solopreneurs (another one!) have been actively smarketing for years. Probably you have, too.
Smarketing: A blending of sales and marketing strategies; the merging of two similar, yet different concepts in business to achieve increased revenue.
If your business is established with a distinct sales team and a distinct marketing team, blending these two activities might pose a challenge, but for many small businesses, startups, and one-man/woman gigs, smarketing is all in a day's work.
Merging makes sense
Chances are your "sales team" is your website, twitter feed, Facebook page, and LinkedIn profile. You gather leads from blog interaction, comments, retweets, and connections. And you follow up on those leads to generate revenue.
Today's customers are vastly different from those of 15 or 20 years ago. Once upon a time, a buyer's decision-making process included information gathering from a trusted source. Think door-to-door encyclopedia or vacuum sales. Think car dealerships and Radio Shack.
Decision-making today happens more often after an autonomous fact-finding mission using the internet, interpreting trends, reading reviews, whitepapers, and comparisons. Once that sort of information gathering occurs, you're lucky (as a business owner) to get the personal opportunity to close a sale. Therefore, your information, presented by your marketing department, translates to sales without handing the reigns to an actual sales team. It's smarketing.
Merged sales and marketing efforts using your website and social media is organic in a start-up, because few businesses today are launched without an online presence. Determine at the beginning what your strategy will be for setting lead goals and following up, and know how your activity translates to revenue.
A number of lead management software tools can help your small business develop a dashboard for sales/marketing/revenue tracking, goal setting, and analysis. Look to websites like Capterra to help narrow your search for the right software, whether it's an install or a web-based, to highlight the features you'll need, and check out pricing.
Are there downfalls to smarketing?
Traditional sales and marketing has been an effective and completely necessary function of business. Each requires a level of expertise, each handles one facet of revenue generation. Can a merge of the two concepts, and absolute reliance on your web world be detrimental?
Putting all your eggs in the digital basket isn't the only way to go, says Forbes contributor Neil St. Clair. "In a world where everyone is digital-marketing crazy, there is a certain majesty to being the salmon that swims against the stream. Yes, you may get eaten by a bear, but you also get to spawn."
He advocates that "people are influenced to buy through their peers, family, and reference groups." Storytelling, media articles, celebrity endorsement, and in-person meetings drive the meaningful interaction that prompts decision making, asserting that simple click rates don't automatically turn into sales and revenue.
Statistics show a growth in advertising, promotions, and marketing manager occupations in the next 10 years, indicating that although technology may put your company in the market ring, it's the people in your corner who truly sell your brand. So while you're integrating your social media platforms to your website and tracking leads, don't lose sight of the need for both qualified software and people.
How do you merge sales and marketing efforts to your advantage? Are you a 'smarketer'?