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  • Many companies are producing great content, but is it benefiting the revenue cycle?
  • Getting buy-in from your sellers is the key
  • Setting up an asset library helps the bottom line

We’ve all been there when it comes to requests for sales team feedback on a piece of copy. It usually goes one of two ways. An almost never-ending silence and four ignored email chasers can follow. Perhaps even worse is receiving the reply of ‘fine’ in almost the same minute you click send – only to find the sales executive can’t recall the piece when you send them the clip once its been placed a couple of weeks later.

Yet the marketing department will receive an email a few weeks later from the same executive asking if we’ve got any content around topic ‘xxx’. This is a gap between departments we’ve observed in many cases – but it’s not necessary.

Sales and marketing, a match made in heaven?
The key here is that marketing and sales need to cease operating in their own silos. Modern marketers are increasingly coming to see the marketing department as
an extension of sales, and the marketing effort needs to be tailored to not only generate, but ‘cultivate’ prospects at various stages of the buying cycle.

This means providing the sales team with content, written or visual, that can be used to aid them in their conversation with prospects. For example, having the press release announcing a key customer win or analyst review to show in the early stages of sales pitching, or perhaps the thought-leadership article and position paper that may finally influence the clinching of a decision when a prospect is in the final stages of reviewing a bid.

A whole new ballgame is providing help, education and material for their social media engagement. I’ll talk about that in another blog. Here it’s the closeness that counts.

Internal communication the key to getting buy-in from your sellers
The Pitch&Place team at IBA have a saying when it comes to placing editorial content – ‘you could have written the best article ever, but if you don’t get it placed you may as well frame it and hang it on the wall.’

The same message can be applied to all the content and coverage generated through marketing and PR campaigns. The marketing team could be producing streams of on-message and useful content, the PR campaign could be achieving very good coverage, but if this goes no further within the company itself, then it’s only achieving one part of what is possible.

Internal communication is a key part of making content available to the sales team. A monthly newsletter highlighting key industry topics, available content and stand-out media coverage exposes them to a regular resource to draw on to nurture their prospects as they see fit.

Even just catching up with members of the sales team one-to-one on a regular basis helps the sales and marketing causes align. A two-way feedback process means both sides are on the same page when it comes to messaging. Marketing are aware of what best suits prospects at different stages of the buying-cycle, and sales are aware of the content that allows them to further convert prospects in the pipeline.

Making a withdrawal – the Asset Library
Once initial connection between departments has been made, the next phase of silo removal can commence. Simply centralising all marketing content – be that press releases and media alerts, customer case studies, articles, blogs or even webinar recordings – is the next step in breaking down departmental boundaries and encouraging a communications ecosystem.

Content has a long ‘shelf-life’, and can sometimes still be relevant over 12 months after its initial creation. Having all that history in an easily navigable central repository, we like to call it an ‘asset library’, means even busy sales execs can get their hands on the content they require on a case-by-case basis.

These are just a few simple steps to aligning marketing and sales to benefit an organisation’s bottom line, if you have any further suggestions please feel free to post in the comment box below!

Jamie Kightley is head of iBAengage at IBA International

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