Marketing and sales, despite sharing similar goals, are historically at odds. As marketing is responsible for generating qualified leads for the sales team, disjointed views on what constitutes a qualified lead or a sales-ready lead often result in efforts that fall short of providing a consistent, personalized experience for leads as they move through the buyer’s journey. Rapid growth is fueled by strategic marketing-sales alignment, beginning with a consistent content management system to facilitate consistent, personalized experiences throughout the buyer’s journey.

Most Companies Fall Short of Proper Marketing-Sales Alignment

According to a report from Forrester Research, just eight percent of B2B companies have achieved proper marketing-sales alignment, meaning 92 percent of companies are operating with poorly aligned, disjointed strategies, visions, and content. One of the most prominent symptoms of poorly aligned marketing and sales efforts is the creation of collateral in silos, making it nearly impossible to achieve an effective and logical flow for leads moving through the buying cycle.

Marketing spends significant amounts of time creating content that largely goes unused by sales; sales reps say they can’t find the content they need. At times, sales reps spend valuable time re-creating content assets that already exist. Marketing has little to no knowledge of what content is actually being used and what content proves most effective in closing deals, resulting in an ongoing guessing game that’s unproductive and ineffective.

When marketing and sales works together, content marketing holds tremendous potential in streamlining the buyer’s journey and creating a highly efficient sales funnel, the fuel that drives fast-growing sales teams. These steps will put your organization on the path to a strategically aligned, efficient collaboration between marketing and sales that improves lead quality, streamlines lead nurturing, and facilitates buying readiness.

5 Key Steps to Strategic Marketing-Sales Alignment

1. Align collateral with the buyer’s journey

The buyer’s journey serves as a roadmap, the primary decision point and benchmark for all future content creation. Align content according to the three stages in the buying journey: awareness, consideration, and decision-making.

2. Conduct a content audit

You can’t map the best route to your final destination if you don’t know your starting point. Sales enablement tools facilitate the content audit process by gauging the ROI of existing content assets and enabling sales to identify the weaker components of the company’s content arsenal.

3. Formulate a plan for content creation

It’s imperative that sales and marketing teams collaborate on content creation. Sales leaders can provide key insights into the gaps that exist in the current content infrastructure and equip marketing with knowledge on the type of content that should be created to target specific buyer personas. In essence, sales leaders can serve as strategic advisors to content creators.

4. Address growing mobile content consumption

In the modern landscape, much content is accessed via mobile devices. Sales leaders provide valuable insight to marketing teams for defining use cases for mobile content and strategically generating content accordingly.

5. Incorporate CTAs to keep prospects engaged

Adding calls-to-action to content that are relevant to the subject matter aids in keeping potential customers engaged with your company. Follow best practices for CTAs, including placement above-the-fold, using action-oriented language, and employing contrasting colors to draw readers’ attention. Above all, conduct ongoing testing to evaluate the effectiveness of CTAs and determine the most effective layouts, colors, and copy.

Creating effective content relies on the ability of sales and marketing teams to work together, share knowledge, and inform the content creation process from the start. Sales representatives encounter questions and objections that should have been addressed during earlier stages in the buyer’s journey, leading to frustration that lead-nurturing efforts fall short of nurturing leads to the point of buying readiness.

When marketing and sales are in strategic alignment, through the use of sales enablement tools and cooperative initiatives that allow sales teams to provide valuable insights to inform the content creation process, the buyer’s journey becomes a smooth, consistent process and sales representatives have more time to spend converting valuable prospects to customers. A strategic alignment between marketing and sales provides the essential foundation that enables sales teams to achieve rapid growth at scale.

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