Sales and marketing alignment has been a challenge for organisations since… well... basically, since businesses have had sales and marketing departments. Over recent years there has been a lot of buzz about sales enablement – giving sales the right knowledge and information to sell effectively. However, one component of the entire process is often left out of the equation – Content.
No, I don’t mean the numerous pitch decks, battle cards and playbooks that sales are presented with. I’m talking about great, educational content.
Content is the Glue that Holds Sales and Marketers Together
Jonathan Perelman (Buzzfeed) was quoted in a Forbes article Content is King, Distribution is Queen: “Social is the starting point online, but the only reason that Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest work is because of content. Content is what makes Facebook work. Content is what makes Twitter work.”
In today’s digital world, content is the glue that holds sales reps and marketers together – the ultimate enablement tool for both teams. The role of content marketing in today’s business is not only to drive leads, but to educate and engage. That’s not only true of prospects, but also applies to your sales team. A content-driven digital marketing strategy and well written content is not only a powerful way to increase brand awareness it is alsothe tool that enables you to develop a winning sales team.
So, where does content sit in today’s world of digital marketing and demand generation? At its very core of course! In a Twitter chat between Joe Chernov and Joe Pulizzi, the topic of content-centric marketing was on the table. An interesting question was asked – what comes first, social media or content marketing? If your immediate answer is not content, then it should be because content doesn’t just generate traffic, bring leads and educate prospects – it also enables sales.
Using the Right Content Strategy
If your content marketing strategy is primarily focused on generating buzz and filling the top of the sales funnel, you are missing the opportunity on some of the best that content has to offer. Research shows that sales representatives spend around 30 to 40% of their time preparing for meetings. Now, more than ever they need selling tools and content resources to help them more effective engage and nurture prospects through the customer journey.
Getting marketers and sales on the same page ultimately benefits both teams. Sales get more effective content assets to share with prospects, while marketers gain a clearer understanding of the business issues and types of content that perform best at different stages of the pipeline.
All this sounds pretty easy in theory, but putting it into practice can be a different story. How does one achieve an aligned content marketing and sales enablement approach?
Marketing Automation, the Ultimate Enablement Tool
Traditional marketing automation solutions and more modern content experience tools such as Uberflip provide a great platform within which sales and marketing teams can collaborate to their mutual benefit. They give marketers all the essential tools they need for publishing content and analysing end-user consumption.
On the other hand, for sales, they provide direct access to prospect data and interaction history. They also offer the ability to quickly find and share appropriate content assets directly with their prospects. With the efforts of both teams being tied into common reporting and analytics, it becomes possible to create metrics that illustrate which messages work best, what types of content are most effective, and at which part of the buyer journey. This way, both teams get a common, in-depth analysis of the successes (and failures) of their combined marketing and sales efforts.
The End Game: Who’s Enabling Who?
Sales representatives need great content from marketers to engage with their prospects, while marketers need insights from sales people to create the right material. Marketing automation is a great opportunity to bring these two teams together, enabling them to successfully collaborate and integrate their work for a closed-loop marketing and sales cycle that will ultimately drive your business to new levels of success.
If you need help developing your own content marketing strategy or implementing effective marketing automation solutions for your business, then reach out to us now. We love to share our knowledge, so feel free to ask us anything.