Sales and marketing are the unruly siblings of the business world. They fight over budget, point fingers at each other whenever there’s trouble, and sometimes even refuse to talk to each other altogether. That can be problematic, because marketers have a lot of choice words for their sales teams, and salespeople have a lot to say to marketing in return.
While there are some things in life that will inevitably lead to conflict (deal attribution and deciding who gets to pick the channel on TV are two that come readily to mind), an amicable relationship between sales and marketing is essential to smooth revenue growth. That’s why alignment between the two “siblings” has to be a main area of focus for Sales Operations.
One tactic to achieve that goal is effective content management. Content creation is the perfect bridge to promote sales-marketing alignment because the result is win-win enablement for both sides.
Marketing receives guidance from the sales team about the pains their target audience experiences and the questions they are asking about the company’s product, which allows for more targeted content that generates more leads. In return, sales receives content that is specific to their needs and specialized to move prospects at each stage of the sales funnel.
The challenge is ensuring that once the content is produced, there is a system in place for distributing and amplifying that content. The two pillars of that system are:
Effective content hinges on communication between the two teams, and on their ability to deliver a consistent message through each stage of their prospects’ buying process.
The basis for this communication is accurate customer profiles. By compiling data about what type of companies stand to benefit the most from your product, you ensure that both sales and marketing tailor their go-to-market approach to the prospects that are most compatible with your company’s offering.
If your go-to-market strategy is founded on well-developed customer profiles, it’s easy to identify the missing pieces of your content offering. Sales Ops can then gather anecdotal evidence from sales based around gaps in the existing marketing collateral, and help the marketing team to target their messaging around those gaps.
Once the process of creating new content is complete and the marketing team releases new collateral, the next challenge is to distribute it. A big component of sales enablement is to simply encourage the sales team to leverage the resources that are provided for them.
The sales team needs a system that alerts reps to new content and helps them to find the right collateral for each of their engagements. The reality is reps don’t exert effort to find the right collateral — they use what’s at their fingertips, and do without content if there’s nothing there.
To make distribution simple, it’s important to invest in a content management solution (like Docurated, Box, or Google Drive), organize content around the sales process your team follows, and send out regular notifications whenever a new piece is produced.
By tying content around consistent customer profiles, providing sales feedback to the marketing team, and making content accessible to the sales team, Sales Operations both streamlines the movement of opportunities through the sales funnel, and amplifies content as it is produced.
Sales reps can (and should) be big-time promoters of your company’s marketing content. Involving them in its creation and matching it to their needs ensures that they will be.