Until recently, sales and marketing teams have had what some might call a rocky relationship. HubSpot reports that 87% of the terms sales and marketing teams use to describe each other are negative.
For years, companies have separated the two into different organizational silos, looking at them as totally separate. That is no good! This can be extremely counter-productive if the end goal is to improve both functions across the business and grow revenue.
It’s time to breakdown these silos once and for all. In this article I’m going to share a process to help you create harmony between sales and marketing, reduce sales team workload, and improve success.
Step 1: Gather Content Assets
The first step in the process is to create a spreadsheet that houses all of your company’s current content that can be used to assist sales (I will refer to this content as sales assets). Once you have all this content cataloged and in one place, you can match these sales assets to the appropriate buyer persona and where they are along the purchase cycle or sales funnel. Download the Sales and Marketing content asset library spreadsheet here.
Here’s what the phases of cataloging and matching should look like
Phase 1: Catalog Current Content Assets that can be used to assist sales. Examples include:
- Blog posts that tackle common sales questions or pain points
- Case Studies of current clients that resolve pushbacks that prospects are having
- Social Proof and trust elements - testimonials from clients in similar industries, press mentions, etc. Here’s a couple of examples we use in our sales process – NY Times article covering Cedar Creek Cabin Rental and Hubspot Case Study for Cedar Creek Cabin Rental
- Product Demo videos that resolve pushbacks and ease pain points
- 13 Types of roduct content sales needs to close more deals
Phase 2: Match current content assets to buyer’s journey. By matching up and delivering the appropriate type of content at the appropriate stage of the buyer’s journey, your content assets will help move the prospect further down the sales funnel and one step closer to becoming a paying customer.
- Information Qualified Lead - They are hungry for information at this point in their journey so give it to them in the form of blog posts that help them solve pain points or answer common sales questions
- Marketing Qualified Lead – Not only have these potential customers shown interest in information on a problem but also what solutions your brand offers to solve this problem. These folks are now trying to determine the best option. They are in the decision phase of the buyer journey. Show them why YOUR COMPANY is the right choice by sharing case studies and testimonials they can relate to, comparison charts that show how you outshine top competitors, or product demo videos that key in on how your product eases one of their specific pain points
- Sales Qualified Lead – These are red hot opportunities and your sales team should be reaching out to these prospects ASAP and providing them with a timely piece of content built to nudge them over the edge. Content targeting this area in the sales funnel is more product or service specific such as pricing pages or product demos.
Step 2: Fill The Gaps
Once you’ve cataloged and mapped out your current content sales assets to the appropriate buyer persona and purchase path, it’s time to find the holes and fill in the gaps.
The first way to find content gaps is by simply looking at your cataloged content. As you scan the spreadsheet the holes will become quite evident. Another way to find gaps is by talking with the sales team.
Here, the sales team gets to offer the assist by discussing sales conversations and informing marketing where the gaps are in the sales funnel. Marketing can then use this information to fill those gaps with the perfect piece of content for the job. So what should you ask the sales team? We provide a few example questions that you can utilize:
1) What common questions come up in the sales process that we don’t have resources to support?
If you find content holes here, plan out what type of content best answers these questions and create it.
Blog posts are usually excellent ways to answer these questions while at the same time, bringing new visitors to the site that might be searching for these same questions in the search engines or on social media.
2) What are some important buyer persona pain points that aren’t covered by in our current content?
Again educational blog posts teaching people things they can do to reduce the burden of these pain points are great for this.
Case studies and testimonials from clients who’ve had similar issues but were able to overcome these issues by working with your company are great here also.
If you sell a product you could create a demo video that shows how your product solves these specific pain points.
3) What common purchase barriers or pushbacks that come up in the sales process that we don’t have resources to support?
Here’s another perfect opportunity to share your Case studies and testimonials from clients who’ve had similar issues and resolved them using your product or service.
Once you’ve created this new content, add the new assets to the catalog and match them to buyer persona and purchase cycle position within your spreadsheet.
At this point you should have content that covers each phase of the buyer’s journey for each of your personas. You can continue to build out these content assets as your sales team has more conversations and gains more data on what potential customers need to get them to buy.
Now that you have the assets needed and cataloged to make them easily accessible, sales can create plug and play email templates that cover common pain points, common sales questions, and pushbacks with content assets included. Now, when they have conversations with a potential customer that fits the mold, all they need to do is copy and paste the appropriate template, do a little personalization, and Voila! You’re speaking their language, they will feel understood. And in today’s marketplace, being understood is worth its weight in gold.
I hope this article has given you a simplified process to help get your company started on the path to aligning your sales and marketing. Got anything to add? I’d love to hear your input, leave us a comment and share this article if you found it useful! Until next time!