There are nearly 17 million Google search results for “marketing and sales alignment”–too many in my mind, given that they all sound pretty much the same.
Most of them beseech marketers and salespeople to “just get along,” but while they advertise “shockingly simple secrets,” most of them are troublingly vague. How, for example, is one supposed to “utilize effective sales collaboration and engagement techniques?” Other than buy a thesaurus, that is. These articles, stripped of their buzzwords, are often little more than empty husks scattered around the base of a genuine and intractable problem.
But this one is different. This article is going straight for the jugular. Today, I’ll share how marketers can achieve alignment by simply enabling sales to close more deals. As a sales leader of mine once said, “When the cowbell is ringing, all sins are forgiven.”
The best way to do that? Create content that’s so good that it becomes the sales teams’ secret weapon.
Here are four assets you can create to enable sales to close more deals:
1. Quick Reference Stats List
Give the salespeople what they want and produce a fast stat sheet! This is the killer asset for salespeople of all stripes and seniority, from SDRs up to AEs, and here’s why: people trust statistics. They just do. Prospects want certainty, and a confident salesperson with access to a lengthy list of well-organized and credible statistics is exponentially more effective.
To see what I mean, compare these two phrases:
A: “Our solution reduces your expenses considerably.”
B: “Research from Accenture shows that software (like ours) reduces expenses by 40%.”
No matter who says the second phrase, they stand safely behind the laurels of Accenture’s credibility and hard facts. Even the entry-level, first-day-on-the-job salesperson can say this and be believed. It gives you instant credibility.
Now, you might be late to the party, but don’t worry. It’s very likely that your sales team has already started to create this list on their own. In my past sales roles, our team built a communal Excel spreadsheet that was sorted by industry, product, and challenge, and we wove them into our calls, emails, and presentations to great effect.
What we could have used, however, was some expert guidance from someone who knew what they were doing. As a marketer, you can not only do it better and save your sales team time but also weed out troublesome, sketchy third-party statistics that have no place being shared publicly.
2. Story-Driven Case Studies
Help your sellers sell with story-driven case studies! Whether you know it or not, if you’re writing case studies, you have some secret admirers on the sales team. All salespeople engage in the act of storytelling to get their prospects to understand why others have purchased from you and how they’ve been happy. For their stories, they turn to your case studies.
Essentially, salespeople want prospects to view or hear them and go through this train of thought:
- That company is like mine.
- Their problem is like mine.
- They solved their problem with this company’s product.
- This might work for me, too.
Do your case studies mimic this flow? Do they end in credible but impressive statistics rather than loose phrases about “joint success?” If not, it’s time to revise. For a good example, check out how FunnelWise, an analytics software, organizes theirs.
Case studies that are purposefully written will not only be shared more widely, but the sales team will learn them by heart and recite them to clients. Few things enhance their credibility more than being able to rattle off the name of similar clients who had excellent results. Great sales teams will even incorporate them into their sales onboarding.
3. Create Well-Produced, Bite-Sized Videos
Video now accounts for 74% of all internet traffic, and 59% of executives would rather watch a video on a product than read text. Videos are thus extremely valuable for salespeople in snagging executive attention.
Create bite-sized videos (1-3 minutes max) that succinctly whets prospects’ appetites to learn more. These are ideal for salespeople to pepper into email or social outreach because watching video is a passive activity. The barrier to entry is lower than if you ask them to read a case study or visit a website. For an example, here’s a Marketo video testimonial from GE that can be shared on different channels.
While you’re at it, go for gold and produce a series of videos that are segmented by vertical, company size, product, and use case to make them even more targeted and effective. This small arsenal of verticalized video content will improve sales outreach.
4. Deliver Competitive Intel
Salespeople are always dying to know what’s going on with competitors: What products are they planning to release? Where do we compare favorably? Sometimes, they hear so many things that it’s hard to know what’s true and what isn’t. As a marketer, you can make them more confident and informed by assigning or hiring a competitive intelligence liaison to sales.
This person’s job should be to take all the research that marketing has already done and package it up for sales. This includes competitive one-pagers that outline competitor weaknesses and company strengths, deep-dive decks on their products, suggestions for sales landmines, and links to customer complaints or unfavorable reviews about the competitor. This material should reflect sales sentiment: produce whatever sales needs.
The result of this, in my experience, is a once-a-week meeting that salespeople eagerly attend which opens a much-needed channel for feedback wherein the teams can collaborate. Or, dare we say, align?
Marketers and salespeople may have different responsibilities, but their bottom line is the same: drive more revenue. By creating content that’s so effective that it becomes sales’ secret weapon, you can ensure for happier teams and better alignment.
What other assets would you add to this list? Share in the comments below!