5 Ways to Align Marketing and Sales

By: Chris Thompson on October 21, 2014 Categories: Content Strategy, Corporate Communications

“How did you find us?” This is a question I ask every customer. Typically they’ve found us through a Google search referencing top content marketing tools, marketing solution lists, etc. We meet some customers at conferences, while others are referrals or were recommended by agency partners. Potential customers we talk with know they have a problem, and they’ve already started doing their own research. They’ve likely also talked with or reviewed our competitors, and they already clearly understand what kind of solution they’re looking for. The customer is in charge of where and when they’ll buy. Companies who want to do business with this new customer need their sales and marketing teams to act as one.
So how can you create and drive alignment through your sales and marketing teams? Well, it might be more easily said than done, but we think there are 5 key steps you can take to head down this path to revenue enlightenment!

1. Develop strategies for how and where you want to engage with your customers, based on where they are at in their own unique buyer journey. Some customers have done more research than others. Some have used competitive products or services, and some haven’t. Make sure your strategies are not single file, rather organized in a matrix of options that can capture a wide net of customer interaction points.

2. Use what you already have. Audit your existing content, from both your sales and marketing teams, and determine where it fits into your matrix of the customer experience. Do you have content for sophisticated customers exploring a certain feature set, or introductory content for those beginning to explore options? And remember, all content can serve a role- from presentations re-purposed to slideshare, video blog posts, white papers, e-books, etc. People all have their own styles of learning and exploring, strive to have something for everyone!

3. Plug the holes. Once you’ve completed your content audit, and tagged and mapped your content against your strategies and themes, personas, and customer journey, it will be evident where you have gaps. Here’s where sales and marketing can really come together, with content created collaboratively or assigned individually to the members of the team. Different customers seek to engage with different content, so in the same way seek to create unique perspectives and voices from sales colleagues and marketers alike, all who bring different voices to your content.

4. Drive down new pathways of content creation. With your content strategies soundly in place, it’s now time to add new layers to your efforts. You haven’t put together any infographics yet? What content can be visually repurposed into something presented in a new way. You haven’t plugged in to your own customers to get their perspectives in an easy to read case study? Now’s the time to start.

5. Measure your results in an easy to use solution, purpose built for content marketing. Why is this important? Spreadsheets are great for budgets, and calendars work well managing simple events over time, and project management tools can manage technical projects with ease. The complexity of the team involved in content marketing, however, and the types of content, publishing channels, themes, personas, etc. are too multi-facteted to try to squeeze into the old tools that just weren’t built to help manage the process of content marketing, and all of its moving parts. This is where finding an efficient, easy to use solution to help take away the pain of sales and marketing alignment comes in.

Interested in learning about how Marketing.AI makes the Content Marketing alignment process easy? Check out our FREE trial here, or get in touch with me at kevin@marketing.ai.