You’d think that from the first time a business owner put pen to papyrus to advertise his wares that businesses would see marketing and sales as two sides of the same coin. Indeed, early on, marketing and sales alignment was the norm, with both working in tandem to boost business revenue.
When advertising agencies came into vogue, though, marketing and sales ceased to exist under one roof. Companies turned most of their marketing over to these agencies, while sales teams made calls, set meetings, and wrote up the sales. Although they were aware of the advertising campaign du jour, that’s about as far as the relationship went.
That all went out the door when digital marketing became a thing.
Today’s customers demand more than a slick ad. They want information about the product. They want to know how much expertise the manufacturer has in the field. More than anything, they want to know how the product could solve their problems and help them achieve their goals.
To meet this demand, today’s companies blog, post on social media, and produce videos that range from product how-tos to tutorials and seminars. This strategy—content marketing–continues to even the playing field between small businesses and large, legacy enterprises.
Content marketing success, however, demands a close working relationship with sales teams. Your marketing team needs to know all the objections your sales team hears out in the field. Likewise, your sales team needs to be aware of the content your marketing team produces to talk knowledgeably about the product.
Even more importantly, your marketing team can set the stage for sales success—but only if they collaborate with your sales teams. Convincing content can pave the way for a sale.
When it comes to B2B sales, alignment with the marketing team is even more critical, as Businesss2Community’s Christina Clark points out. Targeted content that aligns with the interests of each decision-maker can clear objections before a salesperson even sets foot in the company’s office.
To have those advantages, though, you need to tear down the walls between your sales and marketing departments. Here’s how:
Tearing down traditional silos starts with a visionary leader that encourages collaboration. Start by holding joint meetings.
Streamline communications, as the Digital Marketing Institute suggests. Using a cloud-based storage and communication system is a great place to start. But there’s more you can do. When you integrate your sales and marketing software, both teams can see at a glance what the other is doing.
Not only that, but each team can see the other’s successes. Shared success builds team spirit—and that’s the key to collaboration.
One quick way to tear down walls is to adopt shared terminology. In sales, you’ll hear BOFUs and TOFUs and even an NSA or two—and your marketing team might think that your top salesperson is a spy who loves to eat tofu—when she was actually speaking about prospects who are at the bottom of the sales funnel, the top of the sales funnel, and non-sales-related activities, respectively.
Marketers, too, have their own lingo. KPIs and CTAs, pepper their conversations about key performance indicators and calls to action. SEO? Wasn’t he that guy in The Matrix? Nah, just search engine optimization, to your average marketer.
How about just using plain English—or at least ditching the acronyms? Using terminology that everyone understands will go a long way toward bringing your teams together. So will encouraging people to ask questions about terminology they don’t understand.
In addition to regularly meeting together, try off-campus social activities, as HubSpot’s Carolina Samsing advises. Going out after work to a game or to a club for drinks goes far towards building the trust level among people from both teams.
Not only should you involve both sales and marketing teams on choosing content topics and direction, but you can also bring other teams into the content creation process. Engineers, for instance, can help provide needed technical expertise for how-to videos, while sales teams can lend their knowledge of typical objections to include in an FAQ article.
Artificial intelligence (AI) can turbocharge data analysis, giving both your sales and marketing teams insights that impact both aspects of your business faster than ever before. For example, if you’re planning to target a particular customer segment with a combined marketing and sales campaign, AI can compare that customer segment’s habits, likes, online behavior, and demographics against the planned thrust of the campaign.
If the AI insights indicate that this segment might not respond to the campaign’s messaging, the sales and marketing teams can regroup, tweak the language, and re-analyze, saving money and time they otherwise would have spent on the campaign.With a united workforce that crosses over traditional barriers to collaborate on both sales and marketing, your company has an excellent chance to disrupt the industry to become a thought leader within its field. Discover more ways to put your best foot forward in both sales and marketing. Get in touch with our expert team today.