When people hear the word "marketing," they might picture employees lounging on multicolored beanbags, scribbling flashes of inspiration on sticky notes. Or maybe they picture Don Draper musing over a legal pad, waiting for his next killer campaign to just pour onto the page. Marketing, and all the buzzwords surrounding it, can elicit common mental images, and as entertaining as those stereotypes are, they don't capture the endgame of every marketing team.

At the end of the day, marketers are businesspeople, and their primary goal is to keep the company in the black. Your team is probably using a variety of marketing tools to generate leads, engage your audience, and refine your thought leadership strategy to build your brand in your industry. That's a lot of responsibility, all of which ultimately culminates in your team's biggest goal: generating revenue.

So while maximizing your sales team's potential may not be a task for the archetypal marketer, the importance of doing so can't be overstated.

Now, it's tempting to silo marketing and sales teams and maintain a strict division of labor. That's historically how a lot of companies have operated. But thanks to changes in buyer behavior and audience expectations, the need for alignment between marketing and sales has never been greater.

Thankfully, the right content can help bridge these two teams. To help, here are five strategies every marketer can use to create sales enablement content that enhances sales and boosts company revenue:

1. Host brainstorms.

Just getting marketing and sales in the same room can go a long way toward alignment. Weekly or monthly meetings will remind everyone that they share the same goals and give them a chance to discuss current projects in a brainstorm setting.

For example, sales reps will likely have specific obstacles they want to bring up, and marketing has to be ready to help them address those needs with content. Fortunately, the sales team's concerns are perfect fodder for valuable content, so be sure to capture them during the meeting. Keep your notepads handy and be prepared to document your plan while you're all in the same room.

2. Maintain open communication.

It sounds obvious, but communication is critical to any relationship, and the sales-marketing alliance is no exception. Marketers need to understand the sales reps' role and learn how they communicate with leads -- and how leads communicate with them. Shadowing a sales call, for instance, could provide insight for marketing team members who don't spend as much time talking directly with leads.

Even simple tools like email and Slack are great ways to communicate consistently with the sales team. As soon as you have a question or an idea, you can run it by a sales rep to get his or input, and vice versa. Whenever anyone is feeling inspired, there will be a number of ways to communicate that content trigger.

3. Involve sales in content creation.

The sales team's contribution to the creative process doesn't have to stop with an email. Try letting sales team members write their own content or at least lend their expertise to an article. This will ensure the content addresses the right concerns in the right language, and it'll give the sales team more credibility during key conversations with prospects. Plus, you'll have a better understanding of the sales process the next time you get creative.

4. Send email updates with new, relevant content.

Whether your sales team helped create them or not, your content assets need to be as accessible as possible for everyone. Your new guest post or video may be a sales enablement masterpiece, but it means nothing if a sales rep doesn't know where to find it or what to do with it.

Make a regular habit of sending your sales reps effective emails with links to recently published content. Add a short description of what the content is and how it can be useful to them in a particular scenario. This way, your new content won't get lost, and sales will have all the tools it needs to be as helpful and effective as possible in critical meetings.

5. Create a sales resource library.

Email is a great way to keep everyone updated, but it limits your sales reps' tool kit to the latest content available. A sales resource library, on the other hand, is a convenient, user-friendly archive they can use to access a relevant piece of content no matter when you published it.

The challenge here is to keep the library organized. Try structuring it by product, sales scenario, or some other common topic. You never know when sales reps will need to reference previously published content during a conversation, and if the resource library is neatly organized, they'll have what they need at their fingertips.

All of this may sound secondary to your main marketing tasks. After all, "Make things easy for the sales team" probably isn't the first bullet point in your job description. But when your primary success metric is monthly recurring revenue, it's in your best interest to keep the sales process humming. Aligning the marketing and sales teams to produce powerful sales enablement content is a great way to do that.

Published on: Sep 30, 2018
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