Marketing and Sales have historically been at odds with each other, which is totally counterintuitive to the mutual goals of the two teams. Marketers think salespeople are lazy and sales teams are constantly frustrated with marketers for not drumming up enough leads. While this rivalry generates a little healthy competition between the two teams, it’s actually kind of annoying. The bottom line is that aligning your marketing team with sales will make your job easier and your work more productive. Companies with strong sales and marketing alignment achieve 20% annual growth rate vs. the 4% decline of those with poor sales and marketing alignment. Which side do you want to be on?
As sales and marketing continue to grow closer together, content marketers need to do a bit of work around their content ideation and creation. As you’re continuing to churn out a steady flow of content, you can kill two birds with one stone by bringing sales into the mix at the ideation stage as opposed to scrambling to find a way to make your content to fit into the sales pipeline post-creation. Everyone is doing content marketing right now but not everyone is winning at it. The ones who are winning are thinking from a sales perspective.
Make Sales Your Target Audience
When you’re creating content, market it toward the sales team. Make them your customer. Remember, in order for sales to succeed you need to create consistent, compelling content that will get found in searches, and also drum up regular, targeted lead gen opportunities. Essentially, sales knows what the customer wants so you need to create what sales wants.
If you’re not already doing this, you should be! Marketers should be familiar with every stage of the sales funnel and should have content ready to go that answers questions in every stage of the buying process. If you aren’t helping your potential customers along the way, you might lose your leads.
Use Common Definitions
This alignment will only be successful if sales and marketing are communicating effectively. Both departments need to be on the same page about the difference between a Lead, a SQL, a MQL, a Contact, an Opportunity and so on, as well as the next steps to take with each. Only 1 in 2 companies say that sales and marketing have a formal definitely of a qualified lead – this is a huge problem!
Use Their Insights
Contrary to what you might think, the sales team is in a wonderful position to glean insight into what your customers and prospects need. And this is often the perfect place to start your content ideation. Kapost has a great story about how their sales guy was on a call with an SQL. He followed up with her after the call and ended the email by asking what other problems she was facing that additional content might help solve. She responded with two questions, one of which hadn’t been addressed in their content. He checked in with their Head of Content and she moved some posts around and wrote something answering the prospect’s specific question the very next week. No doubt that material was helpful to other prospects as well.
Track Your Success
One of the best parts about getting aligned with sales is that you’ll have more concrete evidence that the work you’re doing is paying off. CRM and marketing software make it super easy to ensure that your content team is delivering great leads to the sales team so that you don’t have to keep making the case for your content marketing budget.