Smarketing. What the heck is that?

Smarketing. What the heck is that?

What the heck is smarketing and why should you care? Over the last decade I have been coaching both sales and marketing. During these years I created blended sales and marketing courses based on a merging selling process. As well, during this time, I’ve spoken about the paradigm shift of the selling process. Prior to this time, for decades, sales and marketing departments seldom spoke to each other let alone consulting with each other about their work. Over time then, the shift in the selling process that we’ve seen has gone from an 80% sales and 20% marketing ratio to an 80% marketing and 20% change.

With that shift in mind, then, today’s B2B selling process should be focused on a combined sales and marketing approach. A new term called “smarketing”has been the response to that percentage shift between sales and marketing. It is defined as “the process of integrating the sales and marketing processes of a business. The objective is for the sales and marketing functions to have a common integrated approach.

Why should we blended smarketing process?

I have listed a few reasons from my sales and marketing experiences and several from recent research for you to consider.

  • promotes product or services to potential buyers integrating the sales and marketing process and activities.
  • most current CRMs such as Hubspot, Infusionsoft and Salesforce integrate the selling process from lead gen, to opportunity, to close.
  • allows sales and marketing departments to agree on a common terminology for sales and marketing collateral.
  • permits data sharing throughout the entire selling process first, identify prospects, second, how to comommiciate and third, when to followed up.
  • Works best to provide closed loop reporting by tracking successes the marketing stage through the sales efforts.

What should be the expected results of this blended duo?

From research, the Increased revenue growth expectation should be at least 21% or more. This growth is created by efficiencies, shared resources and streamlined processes. My one concern however, is that the “new salesperson” will require new skills and an attention to detail which marketing individuals must have in order to be good at what they do.Having said that, I trust the new hires will be more adept in this new role having had proper training for both sales and marketing.

Another trend on the heels of a blended selling model

The other trend that follows this blended sales and marketing process, is marketing automation with ecommerce purchasing. I was fortunate enough to be a product of this model several years ago when the company I worked for moved to full ecommerce model and releasing salespeople. They filled the sales gap with a heavy marketing frontend for promotion and communication, dealer portals for purchasing and internal specialist to answer questions. Those that couldn’t transition to ‘smarketing’ were left by the wayside.

Needless to say, we can’t live in the past and should embrace and welcome the change so that we can do better at meeting the needs of our client, dealer or customer experience. It’s really a win win both ways because there is a more efficient selling process for companies’ bottom line and frankly, labour savings as well. So, next time you hear the term ‘smarketing’ you’ll know what it stands for.

Spring into action this year

Spring into action this year

It’s that time of year when we anticipate renewal and growth after the long winter months. It’s the time we are all in the mood to refresh our yards, give our homes a new coat of paint and give the car a thorough cleaning inside and out. Perhaps then, it’s also time to apply the same philosophy to our business and our marketing because it’s never too late to count the cost of doing business.

Spring time business

For our businesses, it’s a perfect time to purge our accounts and clean up old files on our server our terminals, our laptops and our phones; a good time to renew or update our software and security systems. In sales, it’s a fitting time to clean up our accounts and visit those that have been neglected due to other priorities. It’s time to grow your business by trimming back the old growth from last year. For marketing, it a beneficial time to refresh websites, campaigns, marketing lists and social media.

Your Branding

With focus on small business marketing and design, perhaps your branding needs some new coats of paint or you may want to take a closer look at your taglines. If your brand has an old logo, maybe it’s time to rebrand in order to grab some market attention.

Your Website

Is your website a little dated? Actually in the marketing world, If your website is 2-3 years old, it‘s really showing its’ age. If you haven’t revised your content recently, then to keep it fresh and current, you may want to take some time to consider updates.
From our experience, the hidden backend of your website likely needs the attention. SEO requires constant updates with current key words and phrases as well as Google algorithms changes on a regular bases. Therefore, re-applications and settings should get some attention. Not doing anything can having negative effects such as losing you ranking against your competitors and lowering search results.

Your Marketing

Where are your marketing tools? Are you tools up-to-date? If you think websites and SEO change quickly, marketing tools are the winds of change like trends. You need to be on the leading edge to be competitive. Are you still sending out flyers with expensive mailing, little results and no success report analysis? If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it. Are you paying good money for online ads that aren’t working or have poor ROI because you’re not up to date with best practices? Are you relying on email marketing for products when you should be using Google remarketing tools?

Yes, Spring is finally here. To coin a phrase, it’s time to spring into action. Commence cleaning up your business by applying current marketing tools so that your business can flourish.

Marketing keeps me awake and why it does

Marketing keeps me awake and why it does

I was thinking about the marketing and client issues I see every day. It kept me awake for hours. But why, I asked myself? Is it that fact that what I learn is outdated so quickly? Is it that the marketing tools we use are constantly changing? Is it that clients think they can do it themselves or are told they can? Or can it be that what I share is in fact current and appropriate but doesn’t seem reasonable to them? Perhaps I didn’t explain it well enough or avoided jargon so it seemed too simple.

Marketing Reality

Experts make the complex look simple. Keeping current along with a compilation of years of knowledge and practical experience is what a professional brings to the table. We also fight against the myriads of scammers who offer ‘a shiny penny’ then bill their customers an exorbitant price for little scope of work done. Even so, many small business owners still put a marketing plan in place based on what used to be done and what used to work. Still others, up to 80%, don’t have a marketing plan at all nor do they budget for one. Now do you see why I’m losing sleep?

Experts versus novelists

If the expert can barely keep up and stay current with the ever changing digital online marketing, how can a novelist? With the rise of DIYers and marketing platforms promoting self service to bump their profits, consumers think they can do it themselves. But when the actual results of their marketing efforts come in, that is even if they’ve put something in place to gage their results, and their efforts are not realized, client frustration sets in and budget money is often wasted.

Observations and suggestions

Watching from the sidelines and listening to many client experiences, I believe what really needs to be done is for clients to set aside a little each year to create a marketing plan, set a budget and seek expert advice (not a sales pitch). Keep in mind that a business needs to spend about 10% of annual revenue on marketing to stay where they are and 15% to grow their business. It’s worth paying an experienced, in-the-know marketing expert who will advise their clients with no obligation to use their services or services of affiliates. They will teach you what current marketing methods will be suitable for your business in an ever changing marketplace and demographics.

So by listening to the experts, setting a budget so that together you can create a marketing plan you can sleep at night….and so can I.

Strategic marketing. What’s your move?

Strategic marketing. What’s your move?

Strategic marketing may be marketing jargon to many, but perhaps this blog will explain it more clearly. In a recent chat over a hot cup of coffee on a cold, snowy winter day in a local coffee shop, a good friend of mine introduced me to a colleague of his. She had some great questions about starting up her new business. During this discussion, I found myself sharing the same message I have repeated numerous times with other clients. I really didn’t mind, but after having many of these similar conversations; sharing about what is required for small business marketing, I thought it might be a good idea to pass on these words of ‘strategic marketing’ wisdom with you.

Strategic marketing today

Marketing your small business today is really not much different than it was over the past several decades. Much has stayed the same, but much has changed too. The current tools have changed, perhaps the market is more competition and marketing is focused on in-bound rather than push marketing. Similar aspects in marketing over the years are that we need to watch out for the scammers and charlatans trying to take our money, not providing the results we asked for and simply making a beeline to and laughing all the way to the bank.

Small business marketing

The intent in this post is not to provide a list of best of brands and my own marketing services, but help you understand that marketing is about a process not products. Today’s small businesses and owners need to have a clear path, follow a planned process and make time for honest reflection so that going forward, your moves are strategic not random.

Therefore, begin your marketing with a strategic marketing plan based on your objections and work backwards figuring out what processes and tools need to be in place to make your plan successful. Once this has been thought out and written (typed) down, It’s important to note that setting up your process is all about how to attract your online traffic (inbound marketing). You want to provide the leads required to close your business and increase revenues/profits. How you do that depends on your business model, your company mission and organization philosophy. Having said that, I recommend multiple channels of attraction, monitoring results and allocating funds on the most desirable channel that has the best results per $ spent.

I recommend your process should include a current mobile friendly website that tells your story well and including organic SEO setup to make sure your website gets found. Social media pages can improve your branding, but paid ads and search advertising will improve your lead generation. Email marketing and automation will save your time and will proactively increase sales revenues reaching out to existing customers and educating potential new ones. After all is said and done, regularly reviewing of your results, analyzing the successes and failures and tweaking ongoing efforts is a step not to be missed or your efforts will just simply be in vane. It’s all about strategy.

So what’s next?

If you have not done so, the new year is a good time to look at your marketing planning process and review. Keep it simple and execute it well. Perhaps hire a marketing coach to have a third party objectively look to find areas that have been overlooked or seek troubled areas that need improvement.

Your thoughts? Or should I say Your Move?

Help me out with the marketing terms

Help me out with the marketing terms

As a small business owner, marketing can be tough enough. Yet understanding common marketing terms and acronyms can be down right confusing. Here’s some questions you might be asking: So why do I need to know these marketing terms anyway? Can someone at least explain the common terms? When do I use them? What ones should I use for my small business?

The reason you need to know marketing terms as small business, is that as you work with a marketing expert or whether you do it yourself, you need to understand what they are talking about. This way, you don’t get caught in the myriad of marketing scams.

A Few Common Acronyms

SEO (search engine optimization) this is referring to the organic or unpaid search results on the web once settings are made on websites and typically submitted to Google Webmaster and Google My Business for ranking.

SEM (search engine marketing) is paid website traffic which happens when your business purchases ads through search engines like Google or Bing. It’s also known as paid searching. There are different types within this marketing tool. PPC (pay per click) or PPC ( pay per call) CPC ( cost per click)) and CPI ( cost per impression) All are performance based on a bidding system and you only pay for what is used. The most well know name is Google Adwords.

SSM ( social media marketing) This refers to marketing your products or services through your social media pages such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram etc. Your social media strategy can be done in many ways; from simply making regular postings of words and media to paid advertising through these channels on a PPI (pay per impression) bases. You may see SMO ( social media optimization) that refers to the promotion of your website through social media channels.

EMA This is better known as email marketing or marketing automation. This type of marketing is still the most affordable and highly effective marketing tool. Email marketing starts with sign ups usually with a “carrot” to attract subscribers. This allows you regular sending of email campaigns to educate, inform and promote. Extending EMA to marketing automation allows trigger emails which are a series of emails sent over time, and include but are not limited to, birthday emails, abandoned shopping cart reminders, relevant or personalized customer emails based on website activity and so on.

Which and when do I use these?

When to use these online marketing tools depends on you business type and where you are in your online marketing journey. Having said that, it’s always a good idea to combine all online marketing channels for the best results.

If you are a new business or just built a new website, then you must make sure your business is found online by search engines like Google as a start. Using social media marketing for regular posting is free, but you may need a little push by using paid promotions to get known. Remember that likes and followers don’t bring in business, but they do provide a platform and audience to share your message.

Email marketing and using an attraction of a free offer, is highly affordable and effective marketing. If your business is online with a shopping cart for purchasing, then email marketing automation is a must to communication with your customers and encourage more sales. Start building your list of subscribers early in the game.

If you have the the budget, paying for online ads will give you the boost your website ranking needs rather than gradually getting found through Google searchers. Most small businesses don’t start here, but use these paid tools to boost existing sales.

In conclusion

The most important message is that you need a marketing plan in place to map out your strategy and set your marketing budget for your business type. Using an affordable and experienced marketing expert will provide better results with better return on investment.

What are your thoughts?