The impending post-pandemic economic storm has been forecasted for months and now corporate finance managers have brought the reality of operational cost restructuring to marketing’s door. Meanwhile, the impetus for the sales team to win orders with net new customers has never been greater. 

Sales reps are typically challenged trying to find the right content to send to prospects. This is the most common complaint cited by sales teams. Sales enablement, which should be the main goal of content creation, is often not considered or not given priority when creating marketing content.  

This can translate into situations where adequately qualified marketing leads never get through the qualification process conducted by your business development staff because they are not able to properly match content assets with the use cases they encounter. 

In well-aligned organizations, the top rated leads (according to sales) come from marketing (39%) versus those generated solely by the sales team (30%). Conversely, in unaligned organizations, sales teams generate 44% of top-rated leads and marketing contributes a mere 16%. 

Top 3 steps to take now to achieve better alignment of your sales and marketing functions.

  • Both teams should collaborate in creating the ideal customer profile (ICP) and mapping the various stages of the customer journey. When the buyer persona is tested and verified by both teams, the best approach to reaching them at the right time and with the right content will follow more naturally and intuitively.
  • Agree on the most relevant and measurable KPIs for both teams. While each team’s KPIs will differ, when both teams select KPIs that also support the work of their counterparts, the result will be a win for both teams. For instance, defining a measurable lead conversion goal for marketing campaigns (with an agreed upon criteria for lead qualification) will make it more likely that sales will meet their target % of closed-won deals. Some organizations have gone so far as to establish a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) position whose charter includes the development and tracking of cross-functional metrics. 
  • Work together on the creation of content assets of all types. Marketing can tap the wealth of knowledge the sales team gains from speaking to prospects, learning first-hand about their pain points and the most common questions they want answered. These insights can then be used to create content (including customer testimonials, case studies and videos) that is much more relevant to potential buyers.   

Here are some additional ideas from Hubspot: 

At InsideUp, we’ve seen success with having at least two collaborative meetings each week where both teams attend. Ideas are shared and discussed, metrics are reviewed, and actions are decided upon. Regular brainstorming sessions with both teams contributing have resulted in some of our best performing strategies. 

Collaborating on content has also proven very helpful. Creators on the marketing team listen to feedback from sales agents, resulting in content that is more useful to the agents and the potential customer they engage with.  

Rather than adopting all of these new habits at once, select two or three that you believe will show immediate results, and gradually add more. You may find you’re already implementing some of them, so give yourself and your team kudos for what you’re doing right.  

Better alignment is possible – even in these current headwinds. Only by working together can these two teams emerge stronger and ready to produce even better results in the coming year.