Sales And Marketing Alignment Influences Content Creation, Too
Carpenters, doctors, architects and almost all other professionals need the right tools to do a good job. People in marketing and sales are no different.
In 2019, you purchased HubSpot and started your own content marketing effort. Maybe you’re even working with an agency on both of those initiatives. Good for you!
But your focus has been primarily on marketing while sales keeps plugging away with the same sales process and approach they’ve been using for the past few years. Not good!
Did you know…
- Aligning sales and marketing leads to 30% higher sales win rates (source)
- Sales and marketing alignment can help your company become 67% better at closing deals (source)
- Aligning both departments helps generate 209% more revenue from marketing-generated leads (source)
But getting sales and marketing aligned takes leadership, vision and perseverance. One of the best and easiest ways to get started is to leverage content created by marketing in your existing sales process with your existing sales team.
Here’s how to do that.
Questions And Answers
The best way to leverage marketing content in the sales process is to understand what questions prospects ask and when they ask them.
Here is a great example: When people are looking for an agency, they like to interview and review a handful of agencies before they make their final choice. Generally, people like to know what questions they should be asking when they do their due diligence.
We published a few pieces of content that give them those questions. Typically, when people are early in the buyer journey, they’re still deciding if an agency is even the right course of action.
In that case, they don’t need this type of content. But when they get deep in the buyer journey and they’re talking to our sales guides (our team of people guiding our prospects through their buyer journeys), we have this type of content to help them with their own selection process. The sales guides provide them this content, even though it’s on our website.
Nine times out of 10, the prospects haven’t noticed it or downloaded it yet, so a quick review of our CRM shows us if they’ve consumed it, and if not, we offer it as part of our sales process.
You need to map out every question your prospects typically have in their head at every step in their buyer journey from click to close.
This is a big part of the strategy work we do with our clients, and these questions inform many different and separate marketing tactics, like getting clients found on Google, relaunching their website, generating leads with content and running paid ads on Google or social sites.
If you do this correctly, you’ll notice that the questions they ask early in the buyer journey are different than the questions they ask later in the buyer journey. You need to be aware of these differences and address them differently with content.
Understanding What Makes Your Prospects Nervous
A ton of research shows that people make purchase decisions with their reptilian brain, the same part of the brain that controls flight or fight. This means no one buys anything unless they feel safe.
Your job in both sales and marketing is to make prospects feel safe. The sooner they feel safe, the sooner they sign, and they only feel safe when they know, like and trust you.
Look at the picture above. How does it make you feel? Anxious, nervous and concerned. That’s how your prospects feel when they first meet you.
Now look at this picture. How does this make you feel? Calm, relaxed, comfortable and safe. This is the feeling you have to create for all of your prospects, from first click to final signatures.
For you older sales folks who remember long lunches, golf outings and tickets to sporting events, these interactions helped people get to know, like and trust you. But today, sales rarely has these in-person events to lean on.
You have to be smarter about how your reps go about helping prospects get to know, like and trust your company. Content checks a lot of these boxes.
Using Different Types Of Content
One of the superpowers we have at Square 2 is to think like our clients’ prospects. We put on their shoes and consider their perspectives day in and day out.
How would you feel if all you got from a company you were interested in was research? Research study after research study. Even if you loved research, you’d probably become content blind to it eventually.
You want to avoid this. You avoid it by making sure you have diversity in your content. Now before you go crazy, keep your personas in mind. Engineers like data, and if you start showing them fluffy visual content they might tune out, but generally persona-aligned content should be diverse.
- Written content like e-books, blog articles and whitepapers
- Visual content like infographics, pillar pages and presentation decks
- Video content like email-embedded vignettes, on-demand webinars and webcast TV shows
- Audio content like podcasts
- Useful content like playbooks, templates and planning tools
All of these different types of content need to be considered when looking at your prospects’ buyer journeys. Marketing will deploy some of these content offers to generate and nurture leads, while sales will hand out other offers on a one-to-one basis.
Only when all of these content offers tell your story consistently, help your prospects feel safe and answer their questions will marketing and sales achieve its desired goals.
Getting enough leads to drive your revenue goals month over month is challenging. Getting reps to close enough business to exceed your sales targets is equally challenging, but today technology makes this much easier. You just have to use it.
HubSpot is one of the options, a single platform tool that helps with marketing, sales and servicing customers. But many similar products provide value, including Salesforce, Zoho and SharpSpring, to name a few.
If you’re not considering a single platform or at least an integrated set of tools to create this platform, you’re going to be wasting time and money with an inefficient process.
You’ll lose deals you should have won, you’ll miss qualified leads that never converted and you’ll lose revenue opportunities from customers that you’ll never realize.
Giving prospects that click-to-close experience is no longer something a team of humans can do without some sort of technology. You would never run your business without financial software like QuickBooks. In 2020, you should not be running your business without marketing automation and CRM tools either.
Let The Data Set You Free
The technology above provides your team something it’s likely never had before — data.
Marketers have long struggled with the sales aspect of the business. Sales doesn’t respect marketing because they never sold, and marketing doesn’t respect sales because sales doesn’t typically play well with others.
You have to move on from this historic feud, and the best way to do that is put all of that b***s*** aside and look at the numbers.
Both groups have a single focus — close more new customers and close them as fast as possible. More good news: Data shows whether you’re making progress on these objectives or not.
No more arguing, just data.
Start by benchmarking your entire Revenue Cycle from click to close. Each stage of the buyer journey has a conversion rate, and you need to know what that is today. Then you need to be tracking those numbers as they improve every single month.
The other number you need is your sales cycle in days. How long does it take from first contact (regardless of what that contact is) to final signed paperwork?
Is it 30 days? Is it 94 days? Is it 152 days? Once you have that benchmarked, track this monthly too, and make sure it’s going down.
When you have this data, marketing and sales can sit down and jointly start working on initiatives to accelerate your sales process, improve efficiency and shorten your sales cycle.
Once you couple this with jointly-owned monthly revenue goals, you’ll have a sales and marketing team that is aligned, and they might not even notice.
Square 2 — Building The Agency You’ll LOVE!
Posted By Author Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist
Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.