Bridging the Gap Between Marketing and Sales by Successfully Leveraging Content

You can have all the content planned in your calendar. You can have your best Salespeople working with the most profitable prospects. However, none of those strategies will work if your Marketing and Sales teams are out of alignment, working in silos.

According to a study, only 10% of Marketing and Salespeople all over the world believe that there is perfect alignment between the two teams. Also, 25% of the respondents believe that this lack of alignment leads to lost opportunities for closing deals. Sales and Marketing team alignment is the glue that binds your content strategy together and makes it successful.

Read more: Why Your Business Needs a Digital Content Strategy

How to Achieve Rapid Business Growth Through Content Marketing?

“More leads mean more business and higher revenue” — It’s a deceptively simplistic growth hack that many marketers tend to follow wrongly. A business that generates fewer leads than you can still generate more profit and revenue by collecting highly qualified leads.

Your Marketing team’s lead generation strategy needs to focus on getting a higher number of qualified leads to the Sales team. To get more of your leads to buy from your business, they should be closer to making a purchase decision.

Generally speaking, the closer someone is to purchase, the more keywords and topics they search will indicate their buying intent. For example, if someone wants to hire a lawyer for legal advice, their search would include phrases like “find a lawyer” or “consult a lawyer”. Someone who is not ready to buy would try to understand the specific parts of the law itself. They may not be ready to consult immediately.

The Hockey Stick growth strategy exploits this basic fact to present a bottom-up approach to Content Marketing. It starts by finding the Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU) keywords, for which you will create landing pages for products/services on your website.

To send people to these buying pages, write content for Middle of the Funnel (MOFU) keywords and strategically place links to your landing pages within these articles. Publish these articles on your own blog and on high-authority publications within the niche.

What Changes Can Help You Achieve Alignment Between the Marketing and Sales Teams?

“As Marketing converges with Customer Service and Sales, Marketing today is more about helping and less about hyping.” – Joel Book, Former Spokesperson for Salesforce and Keynote Speaker on Digital Marketing

This statement shows the evolving role that marketers play in modern organizations. They must help inform and educate prospective customers about their solutions and help the Sales team close their deals.

Set Sales-Oriented Goals to Make Content Marketing More Effective

A viral blog post does have a good branding value. But the Sales team is not concerned with the branding value it generates. Their immediate goal is to bring you more Sales, better revenue, and higher profits. Their day-to-day job is not to create content. They may lack the perspective to understand the content creation efforts of your Marketing team.

Content Marketing metrics translated using Sales-oriented goals can help evaluate and demonstrate the value of Content Marketing.

Therefore, Content Marketing goals must be in sync with your Sales team’s targets. These goals will direct your Marketing efforts toward conversion and revenue. A Digital Marketing strategy that focuses on conversions rather than just lead generation is naturally better positioned to bring in quantifiable ROI.

If a blog post generates high traffic, the questions you should ask is:

  • How many of those visitors came around to inquire about your products/services?
  • How many of them booked a Sales call?
  • How many of them bought your products?

Connect Sales and Marketing Teams to Enrich Customer Personas

Marketers use several tools to create more effective content. A customer persona is one such tool. The Sales team is more directly in touch with prospects. They have a greater awareness of the main problems facing them and their expected solutions. Knowing this, marketers can create more personalized content to qualify prospects and move them down the funnel quickly.

Through discussions with the Sales team, marketers can enrich their customer personas with more granular insights. The better these insights are, the more personalized is the content that the Marketing team can generate.

For example, instead of making assumptions about the prospects, the Sales team can give them data to confirm or refute these assumptions. In the long-run, data-driven personalizations will always provide more confident Sales predictions.

Let the Sales Team Provide Inputs to Optimize Your Content Marketing Calendar

To generate value in every content piece that the Marketing team creates, they need to be aware of the prospect’s needs, pain points, motivations, and expectations. A sales-enriched customer persona should allow them to do just that.

Moreover, the Sales team updates itself regularly on current market conditions. They can also suggest when to release such content for maximum lead qualification effect.

For example, the Sales team are aware of major industry events and conferences. They can help the Marketing team to plan content to release just before the event. This precisely timed content helps create a larger impact with their presence at the event.

Create Sales Enablement Content to Make the Job of Sales Team Easier

B2C segments serve hyper-personalized content and market through multiple channels. Such techniques have colored the expectations of B2B buyers as well. They come to your Sales team after a few rounds of due diligence by their own decision-making team. Sales teams now understand the value of creating content that helps influence prospects during this due-diligence phase.

The Marketing team will create bottom-of-the-funnel content with the intention to empower the sales team’s processes. They will create different types of content such as case studies for the Sales team to showcase company success with a similar client. A colorful infographic can also help nurture leads before or after they connect with the Sales team.

The Marketing team can also create a large how-to guide showcasing every problem your product solves for the customer. Such a guide often proves to be a game-changer in influencing prospects in the final stages of decision-making.

Using principles of Account-based Marketing (ABM), Sales and Marketing teams can collaborate to create personalized content. it helps target each member of the prospect’s decision-making team and increase the chances of conversion.

Regularly Share Knowledge Between the Two Teams to Build Trust in the Long-Term

Formal communication often is often limited to only certain agenda points. This tends to limit cross-team communication instead of facilitating it.

For proactive coordination between both the teams, a wider range of issues may need discussion. Simply asking them to communicate openly may not be enough. You need to set up processes in place to ensure this happens.

Get the members of the Sales and Marketing teams together for combined brainstorming sessions. These meetings should focus on proving how Content Marketing efforts contribute to Sales results. The Marketing team can also assist the Sales team with other content-related tasks to move the leads through the Sales pipeline.

Eventually, this meeting stops being a trust-building exercise and becomes a place for proactive and progressive business discussions.

Final Words

Sales and Marketing teams tend to stay misaligned because they are working in silos with little trust between them. To help break these silos, the Marketing team can create different types of content to assist the Sales team in lead nurturing as well as late-stage Sales Enablement tasks.

As this alignment increases, the general discord between the two teams reduces. This gradually leads to higher quality leads and higher deal closing rates.

Read more: Why CMOs Should Add Visual Interactive Sales and Marketing to Their MarTech Stacks

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