The Sweet Spot: A few salient questions about ‘smarketing’

This week’s guest post is an interview with Naviga CEO Kathleen Steffey and Matthew Schwartz, editor of Follow the Lead and a contributing writer at Crain’s BtoB and BtoB’s Media Business magazines. He can be reached at

Sales and marketing alignment is all the rage right now, as companies grapple with how to blend the two disciplines together to create better efficiencies. But first they have to break down the silos, and we’re not about to hold our collective breath on that one. We caught up with Kathleen Steffey, founder-CEO of sales and marketing recruiting firm, Naviga Recruiting & Executive Search, to get her take on whether the debate about sales and marketing alignment will result in concrete action.

Follow the Lead: What do you think are some of the concrete steps organizations can take to meld the two disciplines?

Steffey: First, they need to talk about it and acknowledge that the revenue opportunity in the groundswell space even exists.  Most companies are not on the bandwagon just yet and are still only attacking old school/traditional ways to gain revenue.  Second, they need to either hire marketing experts in this space or assign a key person to lead this initiative inside the organization.  The head of sales or marketing needs to be the advocate(s) behind the overall strategy and approach towards the execution.  The sales leader [also] has to incorporate the groundswell audience into the sales performance.  There needs to be core training on the how, what, when and where in order to capture this audience and stay in front of them. Marketing needs to be the provider of information and act as an ongoing resource for tools and strategies for the sales team to be effective. It’s a very different approach/strategy for sales people to be involved in, so the training and process needs to be coddled, at least at first.

FTL: What are the some of the pitfalls companies can avoid when trying to bridge the gaps between sales and marketing?

Steffey: Acknowledge, meet, collaborate and align.  Make sure that the sales and marketing strategy for the business is agreed upon and go hand in hand. There are many questions to prompt discussions: How is our target audience utilizing the groundswell? Are they using it to socialize? Make decisions? Gain information? Research and observe? Companies then need to ask what they are doing to keep in front of existing clients that are utilizing the groundswell and what can their individual sales people do similarly to approach this audience and maximize revenue opportunity? [Lastly], you have to ask: How are we tracking the effectiveness of this approach?

(This piece originally ran on Follow the Lead)