Sales and Marketing go together like peanut butter and jelly. But try telling them that.
In the current business environment, B2B companies that don’t strongly align their Sales and Marketing efforts suffer the consequences—loss of business and revenue. Because your prospects are more intelligent than you think, and it takes a heck of a lot more effort to win their business today. That’s why Sales and Marketing work together, sharing analytics and strategies, to close more deals and contribute as a team toward revenue growth.
If that’s true, then why are only 8% of B2B companies achieving the smarketing relationship? Sales and Marketing know they need to work together to accomplish their goals, but they are still at odds over the approach to get there.
Enter Content Marketing.
Content Marketing is the engine that drives the strategy. It can shorten the sales cycle and streamline the decision making process. It works to present prospects with valuable, insightful information at each stage of the decision making process. Marketing makes it; Sales uses it. Here’s how.
Marketing creates content offers such as eBooks, blogs, white papers, even social media posts, and strategically distributes them in places where their prospects “hang out”. In addition to directly distributing content to prospects, Marketing also provides relevant content for Sales to use throughout the sales process.
This is where the disconnect usually happens. Sales often complains that Marketing collateral is hard to find and their unsure of when to use it. On the other hand, Marketing spends copious amounts of time creating this content only to have it go unused. Or worse, Sales uses the content, but Marketing has no way of knowing in what context and if it was effective.
That leaves us with only one option then: streamline the content marketing distribution process between Sales and Marketing. Effective smarketing is achieved by teams that know what the other is doing.
Here are the 4 steps toward Sales and Marketing alignment through the use of content marketing:
1. Align content offers with the decision making process
Streamline content creation with a TOFU, MOFU, BOFU strategy. Create different content for each stage and inform Sales of which content assets to use at which points.
2. Collaborate on a content marketing plan
Marketing can’t just go in blind; they have to know what works and what doesn’t. This information comes from marketing automation software as well as Sales’ feedback. If a particular piece of content, say an eBook on sales prospecting tips, works to convert leads into opportunities, then Marketing can work to create more content around that topic. A collaborative strategy is the only way to fully know what the prospect is thinking.
3. Perform a content effectiveness audit
What worked well? What didn’t work so well? Just like a content marketing plan can be created through Sales and Marketing collaboration, so too can a content audit. The purpose is to identify the content assets that perform highest, at what stage in the sales cycle they convert leads, and the level of engagement of leads after download or click-through.
4. Optimize content assets with CTAs
Think of content marketing as a never-ending river. Consistently adding calls-to-action’s on your blog posts, social media posts, landing pages, etc. will allow prospects who find you to continue absorbing your cleverly crafted assets. For instance, a tweet with a link to your blog goes out. A prospect sees it, clicks it, reads the blog, then clicks on another CTA in that blog that brings them to yet another piece of content. It’s a cycle, or a flowing river, whichever metaphor you prefer.
In the modern business environment, the smarketing alignment is essential to growth and success. Technology has produced a seemingly never-ending flow of data that both works to your company’s advantage and disadvantage. It is now easier to find you, but it is also more competitive to be found.
Make sure your company is found. Align Sales and Marketing. Read more about the necessity of the smarketing alignment. Download the free Smarketing eBook below.