Marketing and sales are two teams that work towards similar goals, but usually in very different ways.
The main aim of the marketing department is to raise awareness of the brand and product and to try to ensure those customer perceptions and interactions with the brand are positive. A sale is usually an end goal for marketers too, but this is often a long-term goal only after they’ve built a relationship with the customer. Marketing generates leads, which it then passes to the sales team to try and convert.
The sales team wants to make as many sales and as much money for the company as possible. They’re often focused on short-term goals, and aren’t always concerned with building a long-term relationship with each customer.
Despite how closely these roles are related and how they ultimately depend on each other to achieve their common goals, sales and marketing teams are often at loggerheads.
A quarter of businesses say their sales and marketing teams are not aligned, and this “misalignment” may cost B2B companies as much as 10% of their annual revenue.
Poor communication between the teams, inefficient processes, and working towards different metrics are commonly cited issues for this disconnect. But if sales and marketing can get over these obstacles, both the company and customers benefit.
Companies with well-aligned marketing and sales teams enjoy higher revenue, higher customer retention rates, and faster growth rates. Both teams hold access to important information that can help the other do their job better. So why can’t they just get along?
Bridging the Divide with Content Collaboration
There are many ways that sales and marketing can work together, but developing content is one of the most obvious.
However, it seems that most teams can’t overcome their differences, even where content creation is concerned. 90% of content created for the sales department by marketing is never used, and 65% of sales reps say they can’t find suitable content to send out to prospects.
So what exactly is going on here?
The crux of the problem is that marketing isn’t creating content that meets the needs of the sales team. They’re creating content they think they need, but it’s not actually useful or helpful when it comes to driving sales.
The solution? Ensure marketing and sales collaborate on content from the start. By being involved from the very beginning, your sales team can inform marketing of the content materials they need to support them, and your sales reps will have valuable content to help buyers overcome objections at every step of the sales funnel.
Marketers should talk with the sales reps to discover the most common pain points and objections from customers that stop them from making a sale.
The marketing team can then create content to inform and educate the customer to help them overcome their pain points.
Marketing also has access to valuable information that the sales team can use to better target prospects during a sales call or other communication. Industry trends and analytics from the marketing team can help sales to segment their prospects and figure out which content works best for each audience.
The Importance of Buyer Personas
One of the most important stages for creating effective content for sales purposes is to develop buyer personas. These help the marketing team understand who exactly they’re targeting when they create content.
Information for buyer personas may come from several different sources, but the marketing department tends to rely on more general market research and data from social media and web analytics.
The sales team actually talk with customers in person, therefore, they have valuable audience insights. Passing these on to the marketing team can help them create more accurate and detailed buyer personas and more targeted content.
How Marketing Can Create Better Sales Content
This initial collaboration can go a long way to creating better, more targeted content to drive sales. But salespeople aren’t usually expert content creators. They don’t need to be – their job is to close sales. It still comes down to ultimately marketing creating this content, no matter how much input sales have had into it.
So how can marketing create better content for the sales team?
Reviewing existing content often provides a good yardstick on which to base future efforts. Ask your sales team which content they’ve used, and why. Ask them to identify any useful talking points in the content and key messages they re-iterated in their sales process.
This information should be used in combination with metrics and analytics to judge the effectiveness of content – don’t rely on numbers alone when it comes to assessing how effective sales content is.
For each new piece of content produced, the marketing team can help sales use it by providing detailed information about the audience it’s intended for, the stage of the customer’s journey it should be used at, and the key messages and CTAs that should be reinforced by the sales rep.
Research into marketing and sales collaboration shows that in businesses where teams are not aligned, the marketing team does not discuss with the sales team how to use the content or when to use it. By simply discussing these important factors with the release of each new piece of content, the two teams can work better together towards their common goals.
Bring Marketing and Sales Together and Make Magic Happen
For marketing and sales to collaborate and continue to work in alignment, it’s important for them to communicate regularly. Meeting once a quarter or once a year to discuss the marketing strategy simply won’t cut it. Most teams will need to meet at least weekly to get the most out of their collaboration.
As well as sales using the content prepared by the marketing team, it’s important that both teams agree on a clear brand voice to use in all communications with prospects and customers. When marketing and sales messages feel like they’re coming from a conflicting tone of voice, it’s confusing and off-putting for potential customers.
Make sure both teams work together on developing a brand voice and style guide and ensure the sales team uses it when speaking directly to customers too.
A content collaboration tool like DivvyHQ can help you to align your teams, share ideas, manage content production, and create a content repository so everyone can find the content they need at any time. For more information or to schedule a demo, get in touch.