The relationship between sales and marketing teams is often fraught with uncertainty. In fact, data from HubSpot suggests that 87% of the terms sales and marketing professionals use to describe each other are negative. Yet, both sales and marketing are critical in helping companies convert anonymous consumers to leads and leads to customers to achieve their revenue goals.

So, how do you get these two vastly different, but vital, teams to work together?

You may have come across the term smarketing at some point in your marketing career. That is, if you didn’t write it off as a misspelling. Smarketing, as defined by the professionals at HubSpot, refers to the alignment between sales and marketing teams created through frequent and direct communication.

Sales and Marketing = Smarketing. Pretty simple, right?

Many businesses already enlist the help of both teams to achieve revenue growth, but they don’t always work together. If your sales and marketing teams could stand a lesson in “Kumbaya”, keep reading for six steps to achieving sales and marketing alignment.

Get Everyone on the Same Page

Remember it all comes down to revenue, which should be the main goal of everyone from sales and marketing to accounting and customer service. Your company’s revenue can tell you a lot about how well your brand is performing. While you’re focusing on revenue, don’t forget to keep an eye on your buyer personas. A major component in understanding your brand is understanding the representation of the type of individual that you’re trying to reach with your marketing efforts. Sales representatives consult with customers regularly and have firsthand knowledge of your buyers, so be sure to keep them in the loop.

Score Your Leads

Lead scoring is a tool used by both sales and marketing departments to rank leads by specific activities or data. For example, you may want to award more points to a prospect who has visited your website often than one who has never been to your website at all. Or you may want to score a prospect whose job title is CEO more highly than you would an office manager. Lead scoring requires input from both sales and marketing to be effective and both teams should be involved in determining the overall value of different prospects.

Set Up Closed-Loop Reporting

Closed-loop reporting completes the feedback loop between sales and marketing. Marketers will want to make sure that the leads they generate are effective by creating reports that identify which marketing efforts lead to qualified leads and, ultimately, sales. Closed-loop reporting is critical to understanding which campaigns offer the best ROI.

Implement a Service Level Agreement (SLA)

SLAs, or service level agreements, are a way to explicitly define the responsibilities of sales and marketing teams to enforce accountability. They encourage sales to support marketing and marketing to support sales by detailing in no uncertain terms what each team must do to reach their goals. An SLA typically specifies the criteria for a qualified lead to help marketers avoid campaigns that inundate sales teams with “junk” leads who are unlikely to make a purchase.

It may also include a formula for sales follow-up on those leads who do meet the criteria for “qualification”, with X leads and Y hours/month to help sales reps determine how many attempts they should make to follow-up with the lead.

Maintain Open Communication

Weekly smarketing meetings. Monthly management team meetings. Campaign and product communication. One of the most critical components to sales and marketing alignment is seamless, cohesive communication whether it is in-person, online, or via conference call. Communication is key in implementing a successful smarketing strategy.

Rely on Data, Not Emotions

Between dashboards, charts and marketing qualified leads, it’s important to leverage your closed-loop reports to analyze how leads are tracking through the marketing and sales funnel and optimize the process over time.

Overall, when you integrate smarketing into your business, both departments must be willing to collaborate. The more open the sales and marketing departments are with each other, the more achievable your end goals will be.

So, next time you hear the term smarketing you’ll know it’s not a slip up, it’s a modern way of communicating and working fluidly with your entire team, that maybe you should try implementing.