According to a new joint study published by LinkedIn and CMI, content marketing can play a major role in bringing marketing and sales teams together to drive better brand recognition and benefit a business.
The report, titled “Content Marketing: Unlocking Sales and Marketing Performance,” reveals how quality articles, blogs, news releases, videos and a documented strategy that links marketing to sales can enable “true success and revenue growth.” The two departments are often at loggerheads in modern businesses, as the marketing department often claims that the sales department doesn’t follow-up on leads while the sales department claims that the leads generated by the marketing department are weak.
A previous LinkedIn study found that 60% of sales and marketing professionals said a failure to align sales and marketing can be disadvantageous for the business and negatively affect financial performance. It is obviously in the best interests of brands to reduce silos and bring the two departments closer together, but putting that plan into action has traditionally been difficult.
Less than half of marketers in the new study believe the two departments are “highly aligned” at their enterprise, while 54% admitted marketing and sales teams currently have “low alignment”. This is a challenge that brands will be eager to address in 2018, and the new research suggests content could be the key that unlocks a scenario where both functions work in tandem without issues.
Content collaboration drives greater alignment according to the study, as more than three-quarters of highly aligned brands have marketing and sales teams interacting with each other to build and optimise content strategies. Highly aligned companies are also much more likely to collaborate on content than to work in isolation.
To clear the initial hurdle, brands should prioritise a document strategy for content, as the most successful enterprises have written procedures, objectives and schedules to work towards. It is also important to meet at least weekly so salespeople and content marketers can actively collaborate.
To increase alignment, marketing and sales teams should also agree on shared metrics to drive better performance and leverage the right mix of technologies to “develop a single view of the customer that enables teams to act quickly and decisively to deliver more value,” CMI’s Chief Strategy Advisor, Robert Rose says.
Working on content together then puts the building blocks in place for sales and marketing teams to come together more often for other business efforts. Content can create a culture where everyone pulls together for the benefit of the business. Rose also urges brands to experiment. He adds: “Iterate often and create enthusiasm for controlled experiments that can inform process changes and investment decisions.”
When brands work with agencies for creative output, this three-way relationship between in-house sales and marketing teams and the third party must also be managed carefully. Alignment is advantageous for all, as it can then lead to bigger budgets. Six out of ten companies say they will have more to spend on content and marketing endeavours in 2018, but this drops to just 35% for those that are not aligned.