Every modern marketer should be driven by data — after all, data is more widely available than ever. CMOs are on the path to outspending CIOs on technology by 2017, and much of this spending is in the pursuit of better data.
While great metrics can provide amazing insight into whether or not your marketing tactics are working, there’s another method for gathering insight that data will never be able to replace: a good, old-fashioned conversation!
Marketing teams do everything possible to get in their audience’s head. In most cases, however, they are not spending the bulk of their time on the front lines speaking to actual prospects and customers, like the sales and success teams. SMarketing meetings give marketers a chance to understand how one-to-one conversations are unfolding between your business and your current and potential customers. This insight allows them to perfect messaging, identify content gaps, and refine your buyer personas.
SMarketing meetings are crucial to keeping sales, marketing, and customer success on the same page. In our humble opinion, these meetings should be a staple at every B2B organization.
Here are five items you should make time to review at your next SMarketing meeting to gather more learnings and ensure it’s a productive use of everyone’s time.
1. Deals that closed
The term “SMarketing” came to be because sales and marketing teams are working toward the same goal: revenue.
Kick your SMarketing meeting off on a positive note — give yourself a quick pat on the back for your successes. Have each Account Executive go through the deals they closed in the previous month and answer a few key questions:
- What pain point was the customer experiencing?
- How do they plan on using your product?
- What key features led to the close?
- Were you up against any competition?
It might help to document the answers in a chart, like the one below:
As patterns start to emerge, this document will become a goldmine of content ideas for your marketing team. They’ll be able to use it to identify common pain points, as well as figure out repurposing strategies for content that led to closed deals. They can also identify questions that keep coming up, and squash them with future content.
2. Opportunities lost
Adding time to chat about lost opportunities to your SMarketing agenda might not sound so fun at first. After you review the deals that closed, set aside some time to review all of the qualified opportunities that fell through the cracks. Same process as before, but have your Account Executives summarize why these potential deals went south.
- What pain points could we not solve?
- Were there any features the prospect disliked?
- Did we lose out to a competitor? If so, who?
Of course, sometimes a deal falls through because of an issue with budget or timing, which doesn’t provide a ton of actionable insight.
However, for the issues that we can help, these questions are great at bringing up more of those content gaps we started to see in our “closed deals” conversation. Marketing can also assess if there is collateral that the sales team should be using more often.
It might seem counterintuitive to review closed lost opportunities, but the only way to improve a process is to understand its inefficiencies.
Plus, if there aren’t any closed-lost opportunities, then your reps are probably keeping opportunities open for far too long. We recently crunched some numbers in Salesforce and learned that our team spends way longer (six to seven times longer, in fact) on deals we lose versus deals we win — now that's actionable insight.
3. Metrics, metrics, metrics
Everyone on your SMarketing team should already know how the funnel breaks down, and have visibility into the hard numbers, or the what. Your SMarketing meeting is an opportunity to understand the why and the how.
Take a second to examine your numbers. Which sales reps killed it last month? What content were they using to close deals? Were the reps that struggled running into questions that they couldn’t answer with content? These answers will provide more insight for Marketing.
On the other hand, Marketing hopefully has data on what content has been most engaging for their different buyer personas, and they can use this SMarketing meeting as an opportunity to confirm if customer conversations are seeing similar results.
Another thing we do at Uberflip is review a percentage breakdown of why we lost deals. Are losing deals because of product pricing? Timing? Features we don’t have? Competition?
These insights can go through Marketing, and often to the product development team as well (another department that likely isn’t having a lot of front line conversations). If the same issues keep coming up, odds are your current content and positioning need an adjustment.
4. Churn risks
We recently started discussing churn risks at our own SMarketing meetings, and it’s proving to be very effective. Bringing churn up at these meetings serves two purposes:
- Sales can be more proactive about intercepting common reasons for churn during the sales process.
- Marketing can develop content that closes any knowledge gaps that are leading to churn (potential use cases, product features, etc.).
Again, these meetings are a great way to see emerging patterns in the way customer conversations are unfolding. If Customer Success is continually dealing with the same complaints, then it should be addressed in sales calls before it becomes an issue.
It’s necessary to be flexible to customer needs as a sales team, but if customers are being misled about certain product features or limitations, they could come to light in these meetings as typical churn risks. That’s not to say anyone is lying to prospects, but perhaps your messaging needs to be tweaked.
If a particular use case is prone to churn, then new content should be created to mitigate that. Maybe customers aren’t using the product in the most effective way. Content isn’t just for closing — it helps Customer Success keep your user base happy as well!
5. Lead sources
Time to bring it all together.
The SMarketing team has now discussed how prospect and customer conversations are going, and how content is assisting in the sales process. Hopefully, some patterns have emerged and you can refine your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) a little bit.
ICP is something we talk about a lot at Uberflip: who “gets” our product, and who is the most successful in using it? By going through the lead sources with a high conversion rate and low conversion rate, we can further refine the qualities of who we like talking to, and who likes talking to us. This allows sales to use their time more effectively.
For example, maybe you hosted a webinar that brought in a ton of leads that were way too small to use your product. Marketing can take note that the topic of the webinar might not be ideal for attracting your ideal customers.
Shake up your SMarketing meeting agenda
Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success don’t operate in a vacuum — the actions of each affect all of your organization's other departments.
This can be stressful when the departments are butting heads, but when everyone’s in sync, it can be a beautiful thing. Both the sales and marketing teams are invaluable resources for the other, so it’s important to set aside time to generate new insights through conversations.
These regular meetings will get your entire revenue team firing on all cylinders, and (trust us) will help to improve the results of your entire team!