Aligning sales and marketing when creating sales collateral can improve success in both areas. Not sure how to get started? Here’s our guide to sales and marketing alignment for collateral.
Marketing and sales teams often disagree about effective strategies for buyer engagement. While they share a common goal — to attract and sign new clients — each team plays a unique role in the process. Marketing thinks about potential customers as increasingly narrow segments and focuses on generating leads. Sales teams typically focus on engaging with individual prospects, understanding their unique needs, and closing the deal.
Although marketing and sales operate as separate teams, potential customers don’t – or at least shouldn’t – see it that way. For them, your brand is one entity. Without alignment on goals and messaging, the client experience can break down when marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) finally meet your sales team. If marketing messaging differs from sales messaging, your prospects could get confused and abandon ship.
One way to bridge this gap is to align sales and marketing strategies when creating sales enablement collateral. By ensuring that the collateral you create helps drive sales conversations, you can make both teams more effective while creating a seamless, holistic client experience.
Why Is Content Alignment Important?
For B2B buyers, marketing materials (brochures, white papers, and industry blogs) and sales conversations comprise a single experience — they introduce your company identity and the value you offer potential clients. Quality content can help you seal the deal, but if each piece of collateral is not closely aligned with your sales strategy, they may impact the quality of conversations you have with prospective clients.
Beyond incurring unnecessary costs, poor alignment between sales collateral and sales conversations can interfere with the presentation of your product and reflect poorly on your company’s professionalism, organization, and capacity to add value.
Poor alignment can also drain team morale. Sales team members often complain that the sales collateral they receive does not align with the interests and preferences of individual customers. Marketing teams, in turn, insist that sales teams abandon strategy and do not follow up with MQLs.
Conversely, aligning marketing and sales teams can add demonstrable value to your company by increasing your chances at success. Teams that align content between marketing with sales teams experience a 73 percent higher than average conversion rate. Organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing teams also boast 38 percent higher sales win rates and 36 percent higher retention rates.
Aligning Sales and Marketing Through Content
Collaborating on sales enablement content is an easy and effective way to ensure that your marketing and sales teams are working effectively toward the same goals. To help you get started, we have identified a few key steps to help your marketing and sales teams get on the same page:
1. Agree on a customer persona (or personas) and create a unified customer journey.
Creating effective sales collateral depends on aligning your goals from the start. For marketing content to help drive sales conversations forward, your marketing and sales teams need to develop and agree upon a buyer persona. Marketers can help determine, based on web analytics and research, what types of leads are responding to your web content or digital marketing efforts. Your sales team can help provide feedback on which buyers are more responsive and a better fit for your company.
Sales collateral can be tailored to support each step of the B2B buyer’s journey — from awareness, to consideration, to decision. Once you determine a client persona, you can begin thinking about how each piece of collateral supports that journey. For instance, if you know your buyer is likely to be an IT or HR manager, then providing white papers that address their particular pain points — and not just industry trends — are more likely to encourage further conversations.
2. Figure out your goals and develop a narrative for your content.
In addition to having a clear audience, your sales collateral should be in service of a concrete goal. Before you begin creating content, determine your sales goals more broadly. These will help set specific goals they hope to achieve through each piece of collateral:
- Are you looking to raise awareness about your company’s offerings in a new area? If so, your marketing team may focus on creating materials that demonstrate thought leadership, or one-pagers that introduce new services products.
- Are you pursuing a new type of client? If so, it may be a question of creating new collateral while re-tailoring existing content to speak to a different audience. When it comes to creating quality content, ensure consistent messaging across all your sales collateral.
3. Create content that taps sales and marketing expertise
When it comes to actually creating collateral, here are a few key tips for success:
- Align your messaging across marketing and sales teams. When creating content, marketing teams typically focus on segments of potential clients — based on industry, demographics, and other broad factors. By working together with sales managers and associates, marketing teams can tailor company content to ensure it speaks to the needs and interests of individual prospects.
- Map out an overarching narrative that threads through each piece of collateral. Ensure you are giving the prospective buyer something new every time while remaining consistent in your messaging. For instance, white papers can help introduce your company’s expertise, and as the sales conversation progresses, you may switch to one-pagers that introduce your specific offerings, and case studies that demonstrate the concrete value your company can create.
- Make every piece of collateral visually stunning. Beautiful design showcases your professionalism and your brand identity, helping your company stay top-of-mind when buyers make their decision.
Customer Experience Is Key
Sales and marketing teams have different viewpoints on how to engage a potential customer, but it’s possible to leverage their differing perspectives to drive sales success. Simple alignment on sales collateral can help both teams become more effective and create a more professional and holistic customer experience. Finally, ensuring input from both teams when creating sales collateral can help create a culture of teamwork.