Article
Written by Adnan Essa
Posted on 03/06/2015

How big data tools are fuelling smarketing

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Sales and marketing aren’t always as aligned as they should be. Indeed, in some companies, the tension between the two functions is palpable. However, savvy businesses have moved to a ‘smarketing’ model – creating an aligned sales and marketing approach with the goal of converting more prospects. Even savvier companies are using big data tools to fuel their smarketing engine. Businesses with strongly aligned sales and marketing functions typically see a 20 percent growth in annual revenue according to Hubspot; it’s clearly in every company’s interest to do the same.
 

How does smarketing work?

The principle of smarketing is to create strong alignment and collaboration between sales and marketing teams and put in place the same or connected goals. The combined aim of both teams is simple: to attract interest, convert this into leads and close it as business. To do this, marketing should be investigating leads and harnessing intelligence to feed to the sales team.

“Big data tools are helping to bridge the gap between sales and marketing. The smarketing approach uses intelligence gathered through big data to help sales teams investigate leads and boost conversions.”
 

Big data tools and smarketing

This new approach is being fed by a range of big data tools that enrich companies’ knowledge of their customers and prospects. The introduction of big data has created a significant shift in the role of marketing, which has moved from a traditional awareness and advertising function into an intelligence-gathering mechanism.

“The marketer now needs to be more technical, providing information captured through big data to sales teams. As more intelligence continues to be fed into the marketing cycle, marketing is becoming a key driver behind business activity.”

In fact, some would argue that the modern marketer is replacing the traditional sales person in the sense that they now provide the intelligence to help sales make successful conversions. Indeed, in some smarketing models the marketing team provides as much as 80% of this information.
 

How does big data contribute?

There are many ways that companies can use big data tools to support their smarketing engine. One method that’s particularly effective is monitoring website visits. This information can then be plugged into your CRM to create a data platform for sales to follow up.

Through big data tools for marketing, you can find out who visits your website, what search terms they used, which pages they visited and how long they stayed. Indeed, some big data companies can even track anonymous visitors to your website and check their IP address against their own database of company IP addresses. They then supplement this with information about the company’s employee size and credit rating to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of your prospect.
 

Utilising big data insight

With this knowledge, the sales team can then approach a particular department within that company and create a tailored offering. In knowing the company is already interested, this targeted approach is more likely to result in business. So the more intelligent the data that marketing team delivers, the better equipped the sales team is for success.

The return on investment (ROI) can then be measured far more accurately than through traditional advertising functions of marketing.
 

How do I adopt this approach?

It’s important that your smarketing approach is underlined by a joint sales and marketing agreement. This will outline the information marketing should provide, the budget allowed for both teams and the timescales within which sales should follow up data. Creating joint incentives can often foster better collaboration and alignment.

“There are a host of big data tools out there to support your smarketing approach. The key is cherry picking the right ones for your business. Monitor the conversion rates and ROI to determine whether your tools are right for your business.”

Crucially, remember that this is a work in progress. It will take a while for marketing to understand the intelligence that sales needs, and for sales to formulate effective proposals that best utilise this intelligence. You also need to be prepared to invest financially in the right tools. Provided you analyse what you need in advance and plan how to make the most from this intelligence, it’s likely you’ll see an increase in upselling and a clear ROI.