marketing and sales . Marketing teams focus on the cycle of buying messages, hearing and processing but when they broadcast content for distribution they are considering hardly their internal sales teams.
That reminded me of an experience I had when I was working in a global marketing team within a Fortune 500 company. We had refined the product message, developed dynamic examples and charts, and released attractive new assets for a launch. Only when the sales department heard about the new version did we realize that the launch notice had not been given to their sales teams. Suddenly, we played catch-up.
Our content survey eventually taught us that less than half of what we developed was used and distributed by the sales team.
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How we became friends with sales
The biggest change we made was to open the doors and invite the sales team to the table during planning and strategy of our next campaign. This has become a best practice in our team and has been adopted by other marketing groups within the company. These discussions revealed that several process deficiencies hindered the alignment of our teams.
We have determined that three main areas should be addressed:
Communication between the teams
Delivery of relevant and useful content sought by customers
Ease of access so that the sales team can get their hands on this content when needed
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Communication, collaboration and coherence
Many teams are spread across the country or the world. So we used online calendar tools and web conferencing to manage ongoing discussions. We also shared information about an intranet system that informed the sales team of updates, updates, launches, and planned content recently added to the Digital Asset Management site . These discussions kept the dialogue going and made sure that the right content was used at the right time.
Reconcile the content of sales
A report from 2015 on Docured's sales productivity indicates that salespeople can spend 31% of their time searching for the content they need. As a marketing director, I've seen a simple solution – the content clearly communicated and easily found is the most used content. We used the available systems, adding only a few new tools to associate the content with the process. Keeping the process inside the box has eliminated the need for retraining.
Most CRMs also link to (or offer) a content repository, which links content assets directly to account management, which can be even more convenient for sales teams. Working with Salesforce in my previous company, we found that the connection between our content repository and the CRM allowed a natural broadcast of the material from beginning to mid-course. If you have the technology, make sure you can track the use of the content. Otherwise, go out and take it.
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What content works best and why?
The sales team for the most part needs content in the startup phase. This should be a very attractive information that helps the sales team to differentiate the organization.
According to Mary Byrne, Chief Operating Officer of Personal BlackBox Co. in New York:
The most important thing is to keep things short, enjoyable and very engaging. Once something is very tangible, it becomes viral in the sales team. And make sure it is compatible with mobile devices.
Mary monitors the content to which sellers gravitate – and what they share – to gain insight into the most effective ways of conveying their message.
In my experience, the most requested documents are electronic guides (visual documents and interactive less demanding in text), case studies and . blogs – all supplemented by a set of social publications to generate traffic.
My clients' statistics show that the consumption of these assets has increased by 100% due to the internal distribution of the content. This, in part, is related to the regular pace of publication, but also to sources operated within the organization as experts in the field.
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Look in the box to find the content
With marketing managers and marketers closely tied to company revenue, it's critical that marketing teams align with sales to focus on the same goal. The measures are no longer just tracks and opportunities and "tastes" and actions. There are also conversion rates on these leads, a return on investment for marketing spend and consumption rates for content.
It's helpful to look at the inner workings of your company's content – especially how sales are done – and share with that team the top priority, even before sharing it with the public.
The mere fact of opening these lines of communication can create a world of new opportunities in your marketing plans.
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski / Content Marketing Institute