The Case for Smarketing (Why Sales & Marketing Should Stop Fighting)

Blair Staples - Smarketing

When I first began digital marketing years ago, perhaps I was one of the ‘rare lucky ones, or so it seems when it comes to most companies & businesses.

I came from a world where my marketing funnel went from Top of Funnel (TOFU), Middle of Funnel(MOFO), to Bottom of Funnel (BOFO). If the potential lead was considered an actual lead – and made it to the ‘BOFU,’ they were passed on to the dedicated salesperson. Otherwise, as a marketer, it was my job to continue to nurture and work with them through the process to make them become a ‘BOFU’ worthy lead.

In all actuality, my goal with every single lead I ever received was to try and nurture them in an online way in every capacity possible before having to have a salesperson get them on the phone – so that I was not wasting my salesperson’s time. My ultimate goal was to make it so that potential lead was so nurtured and aware of whatever product or service we or I provided was so worthwhile; at the point, they talked to a salesperson, all the salesperson had to do was say, ‘This is the pricing, and this is where you sign.’

Let’s be honest: the truest marketers (especially online marketers) weren’t meant to be salespersons. Marketers weren’t meant to be the closers (which is why we have sales staff!). I know for sure that is where I fall short in my weaknesses, and thus that is why I focus solely on generating leads, qualifying them, and then nurturing them. AND THEN – gladly passing them off to my salesperson, who knows how to do demos, who knows how to share pricing without ‘eeeking,’ who knows how to say ‘sign on the dotted line.’

Yet for many business owners, companies, and the like – when generating leads in the online world, it’s hard to know when to shift that ‘marketing qualified lead (MQL) to a ‘sales qualified lead’ (SQL) and how to give both credits. Even more so, it’s hard for many to grasp the concept that inbound marketing goes beyond just the initial lead generation.

Inbound marketing is about connecting, collecting, and generating leads. We, as inbound marketers, are drawing people and leads to whatever company and business through many avenues – paid, social, content, etc. However, business owners often misunderstand one of the most significant components: inbound marketers, we continue to nurture leads. Whether it’s sending follow-up leads. Or it’s placing that phone call (which heck, I don’t like to do, but I often do just so I can know why a client may think not or share how we can be the best option!) It’s about continuing the conversation far past the point of a form fill out on day one.

Inbound Marketing is far past the point of filling out a form.

Sure, I’ve gotten a lead, WOOHOO! I can pass it on to my salesperson and count it towards whatever my target goal may be. But are they converting? Are they becoming a sale? Are they becoming a client? 

Are They Becoming a Client

This is the most critical question to ask and to have answered – and why it is so important that sales and marketing teams work together (aka smarketing). Because if perhaps a typically qualified “MQL” that turns into a “SQL” but then does not end up becoming a SALE – should you just drop the potential lead? Of course not!

Nonetheless, this means that your sales team and marketing team must work hand in hand throughout their efforts. Perhaps the lead didn’t sell this time. Well, your sales team should tell your marketing team to continue their nurturing process so that maybe next time, they do become a sale. That’s not just a win for marketing or sales; that’s a win for the business. (Updated 2021** this is what marketing automation tools are for, thank you, HubSpot!)

Marketing Can’t Help Sales without Sales Helping Marketing.

The point: if marketing passes on a potential lead to sales – but has failed to learn about the follow-up connection – whether that person became a lead/sale or not: there’s a huge missed opportunity for all.

  1. Marketing can not continue to potentially nurture the unqualified lead in the future, which could have become SQL (sales qualified lead).
  2. Marketing is missing opportunities on potential content, conversations, and failed to possible examples of clients as case studies – all of which reinforces the circle of the success of sales and marketing working together.

In Conclusion

The point that I am trying to make – and any marketer and salesperson together should ever make, is that there needs to be a ‘more innovative approach. A written, defined, understood way to what happens to each lead that comes through the funnel. No marketing funnel stops at the top – no matter what, just like no sales funnel, ends at the bottom.

Sales and marketing must be a collective force that works together to better achieve their own goals and the goals of the businesses they represent.

Happy Smarketing!

Posted by Blair Pettrey

Blair Pettrey is a digital marketing professional from Maryland. Learn more at or

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