Written by: Federica Cuccia
Marketing departments and the sales teams in many companies often go in opposite directions, and sometimes they actually compete against each other. This is usually due to the use of different methodologies and strategies, a service provided at different stages of the customer’s journey, as well as the lack of communication between the professionals in charge. However, in a market such as the tourism sector where the exchange of data, objectives and techniques is even more important to face the competitors, the alignment of these teams is crucial to the success of your business.
Most of the tourism sector professionals are aware of the consumer habits changes of the last decade. Your potential customers are increasingly informed about holiday destinations, products and services and, within their relationship with hotel brands, require more and more personalized attention.
In this new context, traditional Outbound marketing techniques are no longer effective and the Inbound philosophy has conquered professionals from all sectors, who now face new challenges in their work.
In classic business organizations, marketing and sales teams have always worked separately, but the need to focus efforts on common goals has led to the birth of a new term to define their alignment: Smarketing.
Its definition is very simple and concrete at the same time, in a few words the Smarketing goal is to align the actions of your marketing and sales teams so that they focus on the mission shared by all your employees: generate income for the hotel.
Thanks to this type of smart marketing (Sales + Marketing), hotel chains can take advantage of a new methodology useful not only to gain new market segments, but also to improve the relationship with existing customers, create effective loyalty campaigns and optimize its internal structure.
As we mentioned earlier, the common goal of marketing and sales teams is to generate revenue for your company. Reaching it through the Smarketing philosophy is much easier because it allows you to create detailed buyer personas when the teams work as one. Let's see some of the many advantages when these teams are aligned:
If your marketing and sales teams know which stages of the buyer’s journey should they control and when, as well as what type of insights they need to fluently transfer to their colleges, this will benefit both of them when trying to influence the potential client.
This new clear understanding of the client favours a "shared ownership" of their experience. As a result, your prospects will never perceive a lack of continuity in your organization or a fragmented and discontinuous attention.
Speaking of feedback, both the marketing and the sales team add relevant knowledge about your prospects. By sharing this data on patterns of behaviour, interests, concerns and opinions, both teams can develop a detailed record of potential and current clients, determining which ones to prioritize.
Promoting and enabling alignment allows your company to have a general and at the same time detailed overview of the buyer's journey of each prospect. This means developing more personalized campaigns and providing the opportunity to optimize and improve a high-level business strategy. Because with the alignment of marketing and sales teams your professionals will have to work with the same “conversion funnel” and will get a realistic understanding of the prospect's experience, reducing the risk of making erroneous assumptions and losing the potential client.
When marketing and sales interact and share ideas regularly, they unite their actions and amplify the impact of their efforts. Working together as a well-designed machine, marketing and sales can launch successful campaigns for maximum impact, manage potential customers fluently and generate new leads. In addition, they can respond with agility when the market dynamics change thanks to the synergy between the two groups.
Moreover, when your hotel management team finds out about this commitment to coordinate the efforts of the employees and the results obtained, your company managers will be motivated to help ensure the alignment success. They can further promote communication within the company, manage their resources more effectively and accurately and develop new compensation plans that will further boost this team work.
If these benefits have attracted your attention, surely you're wondering how to implement the Smarketing philosophy. This HubSpot guidelines’ summary can help you start the alignment process through practical advice.
SLAs, or Service Level Agreements, are documents that should be part of any Smarketing strategy. This document represents the "statute" that defines the commitment and needs of each team and that all its members commit themselves to guarantee its success.
Your new SLA must also include the metrics according to which the service will be evaluated to favour the measurement of the results. Some of the main ones are lead generation, MQLs, the percentage of prospects involved and the conversion rates of leads to customers.
Therefore, it is very important that this document is as clear and detailed as possible and that all your employees who will be part of the alignment accept and subscribe.
The first basic step to start the alignment process is to gather your teams. To successfully develop new strategies, it’s very important to share the processes, resources and good practices right from the beginning. Whether they are large or small teams, the dialogue can start with a monthly meeting to establish the guidelines and answer the questions of your professionals.
In addition, your Marketing team can attend Sales meetings to understand their internal processes and offer assistance when necessary. In the same way, your salespeople can take advantage of the meetings of the Marketing department creatives to learn about upcoming campaigns and content and provide recommendations for their future actions.
Last but not least, plan a monthly meeting with the managers of both teams to analyse the results and evaluate the recommendations of your SLA.
One way to accelerate the process is to share the working tools of each department and create new tools to promote a more fluid and efficient know-how.
The marketing team can create new profiled content in their campaigns by taking advantage of the sales person’s suggestions and their actual knowledge of the customer. On the other hand, your sales department can start working with Social Networks thanks to the guidance of your communication experts and learn to recognize common behaviour patterns among users and their needs.
These interactions and many more can be register within Google Calendar spreadsheets to be always up to date on the stages of work, Google Docs to share new ideas and a solid hotel CRM system to add all relevant data and make them available to your staff at any time.
Aligning your teams doesn’t just mean providing tools and setting standards. When it comes to individuals, caring for the human side is equally important for the success of this transformation.
Your involved departments need a new team building and, as a boss, you can lend a hand. Invite them, for example, to conferences in the hospitality industry, organize award trips at other hotels in the chain and schedule hours of fun in an informal environment.
Sharing these types of experiences outside of the workplace can strengthen the relationships between your employees and also the relationship they have with you and your management team.
In short, we know that your teams are experts in their sector, but sometimes there are specific cases in which they may need help in the alignment by external professionals. Through workshops, brainstorming sessions and revolutionary Inbound tools, you can achieve this perfect union and take advantage of all the incredible Smarketing benefits.