Differences aside, sales and marketing divisions have a common and singular goal to increase revenue. When these two teams gain insight into each other's inner workings, the impact of that alignment can be impressive -- amounting, on average, researchers say, to a 31.6 percent year-to-year growth in annual company revenue.
Indeed, leading marketers are now realizing the treasure trove that is sales data. They're beginning to use that data to inform their editorial calendars and creation cycles. Instead of including only content that caters to the marketing funnel, these marketers are now including content that helps their companies' sales teams and reduces friction at the funnel's later, sales, stage.
The message here is, marketers everywhere should pay attention: They need to create content that caters to prospects all along the funnel.
Marketers also need to make it clear to their respective companies' sales teams that their marketing arm is an essential part of the machine that increases company revenue. To do that, marketing must leverage its company's sales might. Here are three tips on how to do that.
1. Make marketing decisions based on sales data.
Sales has a lot of data. Each salesperson tracks any or all of the following data points on a quarterly, monthly or weekly cycle:
- Win rates
- Number of deals closed
- Dollar amount of revenue generated
- Dollar amount in their pipeline
- Opportunities lost
That abundance of data is often housed within the sales team. However, these data sales can give a marketer an incredible amount of clarity into what makes customers buy, what makes them leave the funnel and what gets them stuck somewhere in the middle. If the sales team is moving toward a more consultative approach, it's a marketer's job to arm his or her sales brethren with the right content at every step.
Smart marketers need to keep a pulse on what's happening over at sales. Sharing sales data with the marketing team, meanwhile, is the first step toward transparency.
2. Arm your sales team to make your leads convert.
Don’t let your leads go to waste. You want the leads you’ve spent time building into the funnel to convert and drive revenue for the business. This starts with arming sales with the materials that that team needs to close.
In its 5 B2B Buyer Preferences to Know report, LinkedIn found that, "Nearly 90 percent of B2B buyers are more likely to engage with sales professionals who are viewed as thought leaders in their industry." For this reason, it's important that marketing provide sales with the right messaging, content and other collateral that will position them as smart, in-the-know leaders.
Here’s a list of the types of assets marketing can develop to help prospecting reps get the job done:
- Create and curate content: Concentrate on topics (HR compliance, cloud storage, recruiting, etc.) that matters to a prospect’s specific role or industry.
- Buyer personas: Segment your audience and create stronger sales and marketing strategies.
- Ebooks: Ebooks are a strategic opportunity to present rich and engaging information to prospects.
- Infographics: Help salespeople visualize data points, statistics and best practices in a direct way that requires minimal text.
- Videos: Videos demonstrate instant value and are short yet effective enough to hold an attention span.
- Product overview sheets: They should be sent after a discovery call to quickly inform prospects on your solution.
- Call-to-action: Include CTAs on your website, where prospects are likely to stop and take immediate action.
Once you get into the latter pricing stages, sales should have an arsenal of marketing collateral. The high-level content also needs to shift toward elevating your products and why it justifies the cost.
Sales team members need marketing to help them create these assets. For aligned companies, this is the point where they lean on hyper-specific content: in-depth blog articles, customer testimonials, interactive content and case studies -- which in turn work harder at this point in the funnel.
3. Use sales to better understand your competitors.
Whatever the format, marketing wants to know what sales is hearing from prospects about potential competitors, whether that be feedback about why a particular sale was lost or some product-improvement customers would like to see.
Sometimes, a sale lost to a competitor is an opportunity to glean valuable information. Knowing the details could influence and elevate the way marketing develops products, messaging, pricing, services and new features in the future.
Marketers have a challenging job. They need to exhaust all avenues for success -- and their sales division is often underutilized in helping them do that. When marketing draws on sales data, arms sales teams with the best possible content to help convert produced leads and taps sales as a resource for competitor intelligence, marketing can optimize its efforts and truly ramp up its company’s bottom line.