Sometimes, it seems like those of us in the digital content marketing world just can't catch a break. There's always some new trend to be aware of, or a new strategy to employ—it can get to be a lot. And at the end of 2016, 2017 had already promised to be an exciting year in many respects, including but not limited to our favorite… marketing, of course! And quite honestly, so far, it's certainly lived up to the hype. Inbound Marketing has been on the rise for years now, and it certainly looks good for our business in 2017. But this New Year might hold even more than that. Marketing and sales have always worked with each other, but for the most part, they’ve remained very separate. This year, though, just might be the year of the epic collaboration between… yup, you guessed it: sales and marketing.
What You Need to Know
There are a few things you need to know about aligning your sales and marketing procedures in order to truly be successful this year. After all, while it may be the year of Inbound, that doesn't necessarily mean that making it work for you or your business will be a cakewalk.
- CRM Integration
This one is key, so naturally, it’s coming first in our list of musts. At Can-Do, we use HubSpot for this... and just about everything else Inbound. With HubSpot's CRM, setting up integration is extremely easy. It's in here that your sales will start to flourish. And with that in mind, it's imperative to remember that things move quickly in this industry. If your CRM isn't up to date and keeping up with your pace or scale of work, it's time to rethink for success in 2017.
- Keeping Sales and Marketing Informed on One Another
Aligning your sales and marketing teams is number 2 on our list, but really, it could be number one and then some. Smarketing, as some call it, is essentially the practice of integrating sales and marketing as one. Or, if you're not willing to go quite that far and make duties cross borderlines, hold a sale and marketing weekly, or bi-weekly meeting to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Opening lines of communication between these two groups is key, and truly honest, smart collaboration can make for some stellar outcomes. If you decide to hold meetings with both teams, ask the important questions. “What are we wasting time on in sales? Marketing? What can we ask of [sales/marketing] to help us do better? What can we communicate more effectively to make this a more successful relationship?”
- The Funnel for Content
There’s an internal funnel that many organizations overlook when it comes to content. Look at it this way: you have a great idea for an infographic, but you’re not in the design sector, and if you took to Photoshop to make it happen, you’d end up with something resembling a toddler’s collage. While "communicate to the design team" might be your first answer as to how to remedy this situation—well, that's sort of right, but it’s sort of wrong, too. And we want to do this totally right. So—be aware that sales and marketing (the latter including design in this case) need to be united on a content-front as well. Sales generally knows what needs to change when it comes to content—they’re the ones taking a monetary look at what works, and what doesn’t, whereas the creative side can sometimes get bogged down with the process. It’s an exhausting one, after all, and we don’t blame you.
All things considered, if your sales team is running spam through impersonal email campaigns and largely bogus lead nurturing efforts, it should come as no surprise that things are going to look rather dreary. Value-driven content is created rather easily when the team behind it is doubly as strong. So get creative, and get personal.
If you work on a team, or you’ve ever been on any type of team—er, ever—you know that there are ups and downs. Be it in sports, a work environment, or even a family setting, teamwork is wonderful, and admittedly, often quite difficult. We don’t always know how to best communicate with one another. But when we do, it usually yields fantastic results. Set yourself and your team(s) up for success this year by appropriately aligning your sales and marketing efforts. Take some of our suggestions above for a spin, and let us know how it goes.