It’s a fact of life: Your fancy new NordicTrack won’t help you lose weight if you don’t get on it. Duolingo won’t help you finally learn that language unless you click the email notification and study.
And your marketing collateral won’t help close sales unless somebody uses it!
Lots of sales and marketing teams are still adjusting to doing things the inbound way. There may be an assumption that marketing collateral is something sales professionals will rarely need.
The truth, of course, is very different. Applying the right marketing collateral at the right time has helped many a deal get across the finish line.
For that to happen, though, two things need to be true:
- Marketers need to develop collateral aligned with the stages of the buyer journey.
- Sales professionals need to understand the value of content and be ready to use it.
Luckily, marketers have the three-stage buyer journey as a succinct, effective way to make sure every piece of content serves a purpose. Likewise, they know that most – though not all – of the marketing collateral used by sales pros will be for the Decision phase.
But there’s still a big question: How can you bridge the gap with sales?
Marketing managers are on point here, and they need compelling ways to make the case for their content. Luckily, there is an art to this: Prove value and your sales colleagues will see the light.
1. Use Sales Feedback to Craft Marketing Content
Whenever you create content for sales pros to use, you want to be sure it’s compelling to leads.
One of the best ways to make sure of this is to ask sales experts about the buyer objections they run into. Objections aren’t a “one and done” deal: If one person raised an objection, dozens of other leads are probably thinking the same thing.
Yes, you can rev up your content engine to answer these worries earlier in the process. But sometimes, unified messaging between your marketing collateral and your sales presentations is just what the doctor ordered. This content makes selling easier – and who doesn’t love that?
2. Make It Easy for Sales Pros to Get the Content They Need
Even if you’re meeting with sales regularly – and you should be – odds are good that everyone on the team isn’t keeping up with everything marketing does.
That’s fair. They’ve got a lot on their plate. For the love of Jiminy, don’t make sales teams sift through your monthly content output to find the things relevant to them.
Make it easy for them to use sales collateral. Here’s how:
- Make sure all content relevant to the sales mission can be accessed in a central location.
- Connect the content pieces to sales needs with quick executive summaries of each one.
- Send out monthly or bimonthly notifications of new content and how it should help.
One, two, three. Initial setup may take a few hours, occasional messages to the sales team may take 15 minutes or so each month. In exchange, marketing collateral usage will skyrocket.
You can even consider setting up a way for sales representatives to request specific content. Think of it as a Bat-phone for sales enablement. Remember that rule: If one person asks for something, many people probably have the same need.
3. Link Content to the Most Valuable Sales Metrics
Just like marketing, the sales organization has to sort through a jungle full of metrics before settling on a small handful to focus on. What gets measured gets improved.
Sure, that narrows a world of opportunities down to just a few key ideas. But it also ensures that efforts aren’t spread too thin. And it gives you a powerful lever for managing the relationship.
Simply take a look at the metrics the sales team is measuring. Is the focus on warm social media prospecting? Terrific. Is it on setting up client demos and on-sites? Groovy.
Whatever the case may be, architect content that maps directly to those metrics. That will make your marketing collateral mission critical for sales reps striving to hit their monthly quotas.
4. Foster Visibility Between Sales and Marketing
It’s one thing – a wonderful thing – to be sitting around the table and talking.
It’s a very different thing indeed to be seeing the world as the other team sees it and reacting in real time. And for that, only a centralized, data-driven “command center” will do.
Luckily, there’s a solution: Customer Relationship Management.
A CRM suite helps close the loop between sales and marketing by providing an end to end view of what each lead and customer does. Every interaction can be tracked, allowing you to pinpoint exactly where, when, and how marketing content enables sales.
This has a psychological effect: It shows in no uncertain terms marketing collateral is working.
It also paves the way for further collaboration because sales engagement stats are readily available to everyone. That means your next round of sales-focused content can be even more effective.
If you don’t have a CRM in place yet, it’s never too early to set one up. We recommend taking a gander at the free HubSpot CRM, which is designed with sales and marketing teamwork in mind.
With Content, Sales and Marketing Can Be Better Than Peanut Butter and Jelly
In the end, supercharging the relationship between sales and marketing means understanding what each piece of content is for, where it fits in the sales cycle, and who it speaks to.
When everyone is in agreement on these points, it frees sales and marketing teams to work with one another as partners. Deep, ongoing coordination takes time, but it’s worth it.
Everyone has their own role in making a company the best it can be. In this case, the marketing manager has the chance to take the lead making a better future for everybody. Follow these four steps and building the relationship with sales can be easier than assembling IKEA furniture.