You know this story. Sales thinks marketing is out of touch. Marketing thinks sales is lazy.
The marketing team pours endless time and resources into creating materials and generating leads that the sales team never uses.
The sales team pours endless time and resources into generating leads and searching for (or creating) content to support their efforts.
Both teams pour time and resources into bad-mouthing each other.
Meanwhile, the organization’s leaders give lip service to the benefits of “sales and marketing alignment.”
Whatever the heck that is.
Almost nobody ever achieves it.
And the result? Both your marketing and sales teams are sucking up resources that you never see the benefit of.
Here are 3 ways your marketing team is wasting their time. And what to do about it–once and for all.
1. They create collateral that the sales team will never use
How many case studies, success stories, white papers, press releases, newsletters, and blog articles does your marketing team create each month?
How many of those are your sales reps using?
Nearly every organization I’ve ever worked with has a dark corner somewhere, full of this expensive, glossy material that will never actually be seen by anyone who cares. Could be in a link buried deep on the website, or a file hidden in an endless labyrinth of marketing collateral folders. Wherever it is, the salespeople never go there.
Why? Sometimes it’s because the marketing team is out of touch with what the sales team actually needs. Sometimes it’s because the sales team doesn’t know the materials exist, or where to find them. Sometimes the salespeople are, in fact, too lazy to go look.
Or afraid of getting lost in that labyrinth and never finding their way out again.
2. They have no idea how the content they create is being used
Most salespeople have a few pieces of content they rely on regularly to communicate with their prospects.
They’ve put these somewhere convenient and easy to find, somewhere that doesn’t require them to go poking around in dusty corners.
And most marketing folks have no idea which pieces they are.
Or what the salespeople are doing with them.
Or how the prospects are interacting with them.
Or whether they’re effective.
In fact, even though the salespeople are using these materials, the salespeople don’t really know whether they’re effective, either. They just know where they are and that they need something–anything–to show the prospect.
For all the energy that has been put into developing content marketing analytics in the last decade, very little energy has gone to provide marketing teams with insight into the sales side of what they do.
They can’t see what’s sitting on the salespeople’s laptops. Or when they email this stuff to prospects. They can’t see when the prospects open the content. They can’t see whether those prospects shared content with colleagues and that this fact helped progress a deal to the next stage of the sales process.
And as a result, they might keep making the wrong materials and sending them into the depths of the content labyrinth, never to be seen again.
3. They update materials while salespeople continue to use outdated versions
No matter how much time and resources your marketing team spends updating your collateral, it’s a waste of time if your salespeople are still using last year’s materials.
Yet this is what happens in most organizations.
Most reps have a few go-to pieces they use to communicate with prospects. They may have downloaded these pieces to their computers years ago, and may not even realize there are updated versions available.
Or, they may go looking for collateral to answer a client question and, not knowing where to look, download something that is outdated.
The nightmare of endless versioning.
Worse, often salespeople create their own content to meet their needs. This content might end up being off brand, off message, or just plain unprofessional.
How to actually achieve sales and marketing alignment
The phrase “sales and marketing alignment” have become cliché, yet almost nobody even knows what it means.
Or how to achieve it.
It’s actually not as hard as it seems.
Sales and marketing alignment means that both your sales and your marketing teams are working together effectively to generate revenue for your company - by focusing on what prospects need to make a buying decision.
It’s that simple (well, at least in theory).
And the solution to actually achieving it is closer than you may think.
What has been missing until recently is the ability for marketing and sales to measure the effect of marketing’s efforts on key sales metrics. Because this is something CRM systems don't do.
Over the past decade, the marketing industry has been treated to a wealth of technologies that have made it possible for them to measure the effect of their work through clicks, leads generated, and other detailed metrics. It has become both an art and a science to leverage these analytics to optimize key marketing performance to a fine point.
Until recently, it has been very difficult to measure the effectiveness of marketing on sales numbers with the same level of granularity.
Membrain, with our new Content Hub, addresses this problem. Membrain’s Content Hub allows marketing to:
- Make only the latest versions of marketing collateral available where salespeople can find it
- Intelligently serve content up to salespeople exactly when they need it, based on context
- Track which salespeople are using what content, and how, and when
- See how, when, and in what ways customers interact with the content that salespeople send them
- Manage key metrics including conversions, progress through the sales pipeline, and close rates, as related to the leads and materials they produce for the sales team
We won’t pretend that aligning marketing and sales teams is easy, but we have made it easier and more measurable than ever before.
We’d love to give you a tour and show you how our technology can enable your marketing team to stop wasting time–and your sales team to achieve better performance than ever before.
Photo credit: Maciej Szczepaniak