An ever-increasing problem for companies of all sizes is a lack of communication and unity between their marketing and sales teams.
An easy way to gauge is by visiting your marketing department and asking them to describe their ideal buyer profile. Ask them about the customer’s demographics, interests, and pain points. Then take that same line of questioning down to your sales team and see how they differ.
Chances are they differ quite a bit, and that’s a problem.
Neither department is necessarily to blame, since each entity traditionally spends years working in their respective silos. Clearly, it’s time for a change, because when these two pivotal teams are united, great things happen.
In fact, LinkedIn found that 58% of marketing and sales professionals report that collaboration improved customer retention. Beyond retention, 54% stated that their alignment directly contributed to positive financial performance.
So, how can you bridge the gap?
Start with aligning content. If you’re not currently using content to support elements of your sales cycle and assist your sales team, you’re missing out. Here’s why:
1. Generates Possible Leads
Lead generation is the lifeblood of any thriving sales and marketing partnership. Content plays a huge role in inbound marketing since it helps drive traffic to your company’s website. However, once a prospect performs a certain action that indicates they’re interested in your content or product, such as signing up for your mailing list, they need to be followed-up with.
If your company fosters cooperation between the sales and marketing teams, your sales reps should be able to easily take over from there. Since the prospect has already shown interest in your content, they’re categorized as a warm lead, meaning they’re further along in the purchase funnel than they would be on an initial cold call.
Aligning your content strategy can help properly identify leads and streamline sales prospecting. For instance, if a lead subscribes to a blog post, they may be in the discovery phase and aren’t a confirmed prospect yet. However, if they register for specific webinars or request a demo, you can easily lump them into the consideration phase as a prospect.
2. Help Increase Future Sales
Done right, content marketing can actually kickstart the sales process, build trust with clients, and make them more likely to close a deal down the line. An excellent content alignment strategy is repurposing case studies as blog posts to simultaneously showcase your product’s features and corresponding benefits with real client testimonials.
The key points to creating a truly great case study are:
- Writing about someone your target customer relates to
- Telling the story from start to finish and sparing no details
- Including real numbers to provide weight to the story
- Include direct quotes from the client to boost credibility
- Peeling back the curtain on specific features or strategies used
A good case study essentially becomes a how-to guide and doubles as a promotion for what your product does well. This strategy, among others, helps lead prospects down the sales funnel, and helps the sales team in turn.
3. Content Can Address Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ content gets a bad rep. It can come off lazy or impersonal, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, the right kind of FAQ is a critical element of any high-converting sales funnel.
According to Google’s research, 53% of shoppers always do research before buying to ensure they’re making the best choice. If people are browsing your website, and likely your competitors, then help guide them toward a purchase decision with you by answering some common questions.
Consider it from your customer’s perspective:
- They may not know anything about your company and therefore don’t trust you yet
- They’re reluctant to pull out their wallet until they have more assurances
- They’re too lazy or too busy to email or call you
FAQs have the added perk of identifying questions your customers don’t yet realize they want the answers to. If your product or service has first-class security or the highest-rated support team on the market, it may be worth adding in questions about those things – especially if people are generally more concerned about other benefits. Essentially, whatever differentiates you should be front and center.
FAQ content doesn’t only benefit consumers, it can help your SDRs and sales reps as well. For starters, FAQ content allows your sales development reps to answer common questions and provide detailed education during their outbound sales process. The right content can also help sales reps overcome the most common sales objections prospects may have.
4. Maintains Connection with Prospects
If your company has developed a content repository with blog articles, eBooks, and other material that helps explain and resolve industry questions, it becomes easy to reconnect by simply sharing these resources with prospects.
Storytelling via case studies are especially useful when prospecting because, following a presentation, 63% of prospects remember stories, whereas only 5% remember statistics.
In prospecting emails, these materials act as conversation starters. The ability to share industry insights via whitepapers or offer a unique webinar is sometimes all it takes for sales reps to get their foot in the door.
Once identified, prospects receive a regular cadence of sales rep touchpoints until they’re moved through the sales funnel to close the deal or marked cold. Either way, the right content can keep clients engaged post-sale for future purchases, referral possibilities, or as a retention tool.
With cold leads, a steady stream of high-quality content can sometimes reanimate their interest, which appears in the form of email opens and click-through-rates (CTR) on embedded links.
5. Can Establish Your Salespeople as Thought Leaders
Your salespeople know the ins and outs of your product and can explain it in the simplest way possible to a prospect. When your content strategy complements their expertise, some of your sales reps may end up establishing themselves as thought leaders.
Think about it: your top sales reps likely have a sizable following of peers, prospects, and customers at their fingertips via platforms like LinkedIn. If marketing and sales partner up to create the highest-quality content available, then that expertise and audience combo will naturally amplify that content to new heights.
The real trick is finding the right content balance between providing real value and not overly promoting your brand. Over-promotion is a big problem, but not if you space out your promotional content between enough high-value content.
In the end, creating said high-value content is the fastest way to generate more leads and subsequently, more sales. Nobody knows prospects better than your sales team, which is why partnering up with marketing is so crucial to your company’s success.
How are you actively aligning your sales and marketing team’s efforts? Tell us in the comments below:
Author – Sujan Patel
Sujan Patel is a partner at Ramp Ventures & co-founder of Mailshake. He has over 15 years of marketing experience and has led the digital marketing strategy for companies like Salesforce, Mint, Intuit and many other Fortune 500 caliber companies.