"In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed." Charles Darwin
It's the age-old battle within companies: sales versus marketing. Both are tasked with driving more business but are always playing tug-of-war with budgets based on who can prove their value better. They try to stay in their own lanes, but responsibilities are often unclear, lines are blurred, and each plays the blame game.
To build a content marketing structure that is better focused on earning ROI, marketing and sales need to cross these arbitrary lines, get involved in each other's workflows, and collaborate on a content strategy that serves customers and generates revenue.
Stepping Away from Silos and Stereotypes
The silos between sales and marketing departments have severely hurt many organizations. When sales and marketing are not in alignment, processes are inefficient, and departments waste time creating content that isn't useful. Companies report that 60-70% of B2B content created is never used because topics are irrelevant to the buyer audience. On the other end, 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales, often due to the lead never being nurtured. All this effort has a considerable influence on the bottom line: companies with poor technological and process-oriented sales and marketing alignment have a 4% revenue decline while costing 10% more in revenue per year.
Image attribution: chuttersnap
The highest performing companies know the secret to drive sales growth: marketing and sales alignment. According to an Aberdeen Group study, 77% of best-in-class organizations report having a "good" or "strong" sales and marketing relationship when leaders of each team meet regularly. Fostering collaboration between sales and marketing will not only make the work environment better, but it will also improve the way you do business.
Creating the Right Content for Sales Enablement
Today's B2B buying process makes content more critical than ever. B2B buyers are self-directed and seek out information from multiple sources before even speaking to a salesperson. So while marketing had previously only focused on brand awareness and early engagement, these days sales is beginning to understand the value of content to further nurture customers down the funnel, and marketing teams continue to shift closer and closer to the actual purchase. Empowered B2B buyers are not interested in understanding how your organization is structured or who is responsible for which piece of the process they go through. They're interested in a seamless interaction with both human and digital assets to gain the information they want so they can make an informed decision. This has generated a need for a specific later-stage form of content marketing-sales enablement content.
Sales enablement content helps generate a sale, just as every other piece of marketing content, but this content needs to be different from the content created for brand awareness or lead generation because the intent of it is to convince people to buy. This is the content sales teams is use on the front lines when directly interacting with customers to help them close the deal.
Ideating Through Dynamic Collaboration
Similar to creating other content, sales enablement content requires that content marketers do research and consult with subject matter experts. Most importantly, marketers should be bringing in the people that are going to be using that content on a regular basis to give some input on what they're looking for the content to do and say.
When sales and marketing align to collaborate, everyone benefits-especially the customer. Dynamic sales and marketing collaboration means that the customer has all the information they need from the top of the funnel all the way to the bottom to make the best and most informed decision they can without being pressured into making a purchase.
Here are some ways you can bring these two teams together and foster dynamic collaboration from marketing and sales:
A Documented and Cohesive Strategy
Having a well-defined content strategy, including established customer personas, brand tone, and buyer stages, is foundational to making sure your marketing department is investing in content that will be a useful tool in sale conversations. Both marketing and sales should agree on what this strategy looks like and jointly define, discuss, and align the content that will be most impactful at each stage in the pipeline. Skyword's own Content Strategy Playbook can help your organization establish an effective and dynamic content strategy that will help both marketing and sales people execute exceptional experiences. A defined process for content creation and continuous regular communication-both high-level (strategic) and tactical is vital. Meetings that bring everyone to the table should be consistent and mandatory to gather feedback and make improvements.
Mutually Agreed Upon Metrics
A concrete way to set clear goals for your teams are putting in place standardized metrics and developing mutually revenue-focused goals that take into account how content contributes to areas like leads, conversions, and closing numbers. This data should be reviewed frequently and used to draw relevant insights for adjusting and adding to your sales enablement content strategy. By putting the numbers behind how specific content initiatives directly influenced or contribute to profits, you'll be able to more strongly advocate for marketing's value within the sale process. This should also make it easier to earn buy in from all sides of your organization once everyone understands that alignment is necessary and that it will contribute to success.
Image attribution: Ian Schneider
Technology Alignment and Better Communication
When everyone is on good terms and communication is happening, everyone feels empowered to ask for what they need and, in turn, give what is asked for. One big way that companies can support this communication between departments is with a marketing tech stack that connects the needs of the entire enterprise. By integrating your content marketing software with marketing automation and analytic capabilities, you can ensure that everyone has the information they need to drive growth in their roles.
As B2B consumers become more empowered and continue to do their own research, the need for more informed, quality content at all stages of the funnel will grow. Successful teams will take this into account and bring marketing with sales together to make sure the types of content that these consumers are looking for will be accessible. As this sales and marketing collaboration grows, there will be more opportunities to bring down the silos and broaden sales and marketing alignment to create a cohesive and more efficient organization.
For more on how Skyword360 helps brands create best-in-class content to support goals throughout all levels of an organization and deliver greater ROI, schedule a demo.
Featured image attribution: LinkedIn Sales Naviagator