Sales and marketing alignment has been a challenge for organizations since...well, basically since businesses have had sales and marketing departments. There's been a lot of buzz about sales enablement – what marketers should do to enable sales. But one component of the entire Sales and Marketing enablement process is left out of the equation – content.
Jonathan Perelman (Buzzfeed) was quoted in a Forbes article Content is King, Distribution is Queen: "Social is the starting point online. The only reason that FB, Twitter and Pinterest work is because of content. Content is what makes FB work. Content is what makes Twitter work. PR is bound for a renaissance because it’s about creating content. You’re creating stories, a communications strategy for a brand."
In today's digital world, content is the voice of your brand – the creation of original and creative content is not as easy as it seems. Its delivery through established channels, a complex task on its own. But if you want to take your brand from good to great in today's world of digital communication, content is essential, if not mandatory. Content is also 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 build and nurture relationships. A content-driven digital marketing is a powerful way to grow an online business and increase brand awareness.
Who Gets To Order First?
So where does content sit in today's world of demand generation? In the very core of any digital marketing efforts. In a recent #CMWorld Twitter chat with Joe Chernov and Joe Pulizzi, the topic of content-centric marketing was on the table. An interesting question was asked at the very beginning of the discussion – what comes first, social media or content marketing? And really, what comes first for businesses and their marketing efforts? If your immediate answer is not content, then it should be. Because content doesn't just generate traffic, bring leads and educates prospects – it enables Sales.
Your content marketing strategy is primarily focused on generating buzz and filling the top of the sales funnel? Well, your approach is not necessarily wrong. But you sure are missing the boat on some of the best that content has to offer. Marketers and sales representatives are basically members of the same club – they are both active participants in the entire sales-cycle. Therefore, the necessity of partner enablement in inevitable. Sales reps need selling tools and resources for more effective engagement and lead nurturing down the funnel. Research shows that sales representatives use 30 to 40% of their time in preparing for sales calls. And that's just wrong.
Getting marketers and sales on the same page will benefit both teams. Sales will be equipped with the necessary content assets to share with prospects while marketers will gain a better understanding of the types of content that sells better. It all sounds pretty easy in theory but the practice is an entirely different story. How can one achieve a rather flawless partner enablement?
The Ultimate Enablement Tool: Marketing Automation
2.0 Marketing automation solutions aim to provide a platform that enables sales and marketing teams to collaborate for their mutual benefit.
Marketers are equipped with all the traditional and essential tools for creating and publishing content. Also for implementing email campaigns, sending out newsletters and personalised emails and capturing lead data.
On the other hand, Sales are provided with priceless enablement tools. They allow them a direct access to prospects data, a variety of sales enablement materials and the ability to quickly find and share the appropriate content assets directly with their prospects. The efforts of both teams are tied into the sophisticated analytics opportunities that marketing automation software offers – an in-depth analysis of the successes (and failures) of marketing and sales efforts.
The End Game: Who Enables Who?
When used correctly, marketing automation software is the bar that enables sales representatives and marketers to walk in, have a drink and work smoothly together and accomplish their common goal – drive business. And the end game?
Sales representatives need selling tools from marketers to engage with audiences while marketers need insights from salespeople to create valuable content. Marketing automation is the best solution for enabling these two teams to successfully collaborate and integrate their work for a closed-loop marketing and sales cycle that will ultimately drive your business.