Your sales & marketing teams might need therapy.
Sales and marketing, two most important functions in any company, usually don’t get along, and the colder the shoulders the worse it is for everybody. Content marketing might provide the therapy your teams need. Here are five reasons content marketing fails.
Content marketing is perfectly suited to hear both sides of the sales and marketing story.
Content marketing adapts to consumers’ power and how they are buying. This new discipline is perfectly suited to hear both sides of the sales and marketing story. Like a neutral counselor, content marketers hear from the frontlines of salespeople and their price nagging and about marketing’s big product and promotion pipe dreams.
Content has been defined as all information components produced by marketing to communicate ideas and transfer knowledge to buyer and seller audiences to drive demand. Content must support the types of conversations that move the buying process forward. Avoid these problems:
1. Misaligned goals.
If you want a happy family, bring marketing and sales together early in the product or campaign development process. Each group already has a different culture, plus they have different economic motivations that color how they see things. They usually are very different personality types, and they are rewarded differently, which can cause conflict.
How many times do salespeople roll their eyes when they see marketing’s new ads with boastful pricing and product that they know won’t meet a customer’s need? Or that they are paid better for selling something else?
And how many times do marketers just shake their heads thinking sales people are lazy and don’t know how to sell – especially when they have all that great marketing copy?
Marketing goals and sales compensation strategies must align to avoid demotivating people and sabotaging processes and sales.
2. Lack of clarity in each other’s needs
Salespeople are on the frontline of your business connecting directly with customers. They hear what customers want and are concerned about. Sales people often don’t use your marketing materials for selling because they are irrelevant or promote something that doesn’t help salespeople meet quota.
Frank Cespedes, a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School and author of Aligning Strategy and Sales (Harvard Business Review Press), examined 34 million interactions between customers and content on DocSend’s platform, which allows sales organizations to upload and share documents with prospects. He found that most content isn’t read and if it is prospects spend less than 3 minutes on it.
Do marketers know what price and promotion will work so sales can sell it through? When sales and marketing teams cooperatively identify what customers really want, what they value, and their expectations on product and price, these departments can start working as synergistic teams.
Marketers should ride with sales people and sit in on sales calls and account reviews to best understand what key customers need.
3. Confusion over who you’re serving
Content marketing is about intimately knowing your customers and being able to connect with and guide them wherever they are on their purchase journey. Content must align with buyers’ and sellers’ personal needs or it can’t create the conversations that move the buying process forward and create loyalty.
Marketers must segment customers based on specific customer needs and types, otherwise conversations are garbled. You can’t gain mind-share, leads, and new customers by being all things to all people. Content must speak to immediate needs relevant to where customers are on the buying journey – from discovery, to consideration and research, to pricing, and when and how to buy.
That means knowing not just customer titles, but what their responsibilities are, what they’re accountable for, how they live life every day.
4. Having too much content, not enough customer
Many marketers churn tons of social media blurbs, white papers, and case studies but a lot of this information is just noise. Not only did Cespedes find that most content isn’t read or customers spend less than 3 minutes on it, but he also found that case studies have the most staying power with an 83 percent completion rate — “orders of magnitude higher than other sales and marketing content provided during the buying journey,” he says.
That’s because case studies offer relevant insights into how others have used the product or service and how it might relate specifically to the buyer’s circumstances. It also makes justifying decisions easier to others in the company.
Content must be adapted to new ways customers are shopping and speak to critical needs at any point on the journey. From sparking interest in potential customers, engaging interested customers to confirm needs and requirements, to becoming friends through information and then converting them into customers, content marketing must adapt to customer behaviors. What does your content do at each step to lead to a happy sale?
Designing a content marketing framework helps identify those paths, what’s needed along the way relevant to the customer, and making it easy to sell and buy.
5. No go-between
A liaison trusted by both marketing and sales can be like a marriage counselor helping ensure open communications. An internal or third-party provider can work with your sales team and communicate back to marketing what the team is going through, obstacles and challenges, specific sales initiatives or promotions, key customer goals, and more.
A liaison can add more realistic dimensions to marketing content with real-world experience that complements egghead surveys, trend reports, and creative intuition. The results will be relevant content for each step in the buying journey that will drive demand and conversions.