3 Steps Toward Marketing & Sales Alignment with Interactive Content
August 7, 2018 | Justina Logozzo
Prospective customers today are made up of digitally-connected, savvy buyers who take the time to research a variety of competing products and services before deciding on a solution that provides the most value to their organization.
In order to generate sales and drive leads down the funnel, businesses have to understand the unique needs and interests of prospects while demonstrating value to decision-makers. With this in mind, businesses need to align sales and marketing efforts—tailoring both departments to actively engage leads and convert them.
Unfortunately, almost half of all B2B sales reps list lead quantity and quality as their biggest challenge – and that’s a red flag that marketing and sales are not aligned.
Marketers are no longer being asked to deliver a high number of leads, they’re being asked to provide quality leads, ready to convert. And failing in this key responsibility is holding businesses back from achieving their most important goals.
In fact, a study by Aberdeen shows that 90% of marketers say poor alignment keeps them from reaching their objectives.
Then, there’s this research: Three out of four best-in-class organizations operate with complete or strong sales alignment. Because of alignment, they reap both department-specific and organizational benefits, including:
- Being able to better meet the demands of prospective customers
- Demonstrate value across a wider and more complex customer journey
- Provide honest assessment of where prospects are won and lost
- Increases efficiency and maximizes budget spend
In Greg Allen’s recent post, he explored why interactive content can assist marketing and sales alignment. Now, we’ll show—in three steps— how incorporating interactive content can drive marketing and sales alignment.
Step One: Bring Marketing and Sales to the Same Table
The first step toward effective interactive content is to define what “effective” will mean. In other words, marketing and sales teams need to be brought together to discuss where and how marketing can sync with sales team needs. From there, marketers and salespeople can pool together their insights, knowledge, and experiences to ensure interactive content is working toward this shared definition.
With both teams strategizing together, they can ask the questions that lead to better marketing efforts. Here’s an example: is sales not following up on certain leads? Why? Maybe there’s a lead generating content asset that doesn’t lead to a promising sales conversation, so they’ve given up.
By bringing sales and marketing together to discuss where their efforts are working and where they’re falling flat, both teams can begin to align.
Take Paycor, for example. In order to ensure that they were consistently aligning their sales and marketing teams, Paycor established biweekly meetings for the marketing and sales teams — simple as that. These meetings helped highlight what drove the needle for sales and where the marketing strategy could provide support.
Step Two: Identify Shared Objectives
In order to effectively align sales and marketing efforts, the two teams need to identify shared objectives. It’s easy for sales to say they need higher quality leads, but what does high quality mean? Often times, marketing and sales have two separate definitions. Both teams should accurately understand what’s needed by sales and marketing teams, and then develop demand gen efforts to achieve that goal.
With aligned criteria for marketing qualified leads and sales qualified leads, prospects can be more quickly qualified or disqualified. Now dig deeper: What are the sales-qualifying questions? Where are the buyer pain points and challenges? Because sales people talk to customers and buyers every day, they will have excellent insight into the minds of potential buyers and marketing can use this insight to create content to address these critical points in the buyer journey.
Step Three: Build Content to Reveal the Best Leads
Once objectives have been laid out, it’s time to start developing interactive content that meets those objectives. By including sales in the process, as we did in in the creation of this interactive content asset, marketers can craft interactive engagements that resonate with prospects and drive the kind of leads sales requires.
In this case study, S&P Global discovered that many of their MQLs weren’t leading to the right SQLs, they decided to align their marketing and sales teams to find a solution.
In the process of integrating interactive content into their marketing strategy, S&P used insights from their sales team to tailor interactive engagements geared toward better lead scoring. With alignment, the content addressed prospect pain points and improved engagement. The measurement opportunities of those interactive engagements then allowed marketers to score leads more accurately, leading to higher quality SQLs for the sales team.
For businesses today, the question is no longer if they should align their sales and marketing teams, but how. Interactive content can be a valuable tool, helping provide opportunities for both teams to gain insights (from each other and from potential buyers) and achieve shared objectives.
Want to see creative examples of interactive content in action? Check out our interactive content examples for ideas on how to engage your prospects – and help unify your sales and marketing teams along the way.