“I don’t like being measured and I don’t like being told what to do. I’m in sales!” Sound familiar? No?
How about, “Who cares if this tactic leads to actualsales, it got great buzz!”?
If neither of these perspectives sounds familiar to you, your marketing and sales teams are probably perfectly aligned with little to no issues nurturing leads and closing deals.
More likely, your company is like most - you struggle getting marketing and sales to work together toward one common goal - revenue. You don’t need any additional obstacles on your road to achieving your goals, so we’ve put together a series of resources you can use to create better marketing and sales alignment:
We also created a free checklist you can print off and fill out to assess the current state of your sales and marketing alignment.
What we haven’t talked too much about yet are the tools you need to make alignment possible.
Here are three tools we’ve found indispensable. Please leave us a comment and let us know what tools you’ve found particularly useful.
1. HubSpot + HubSpot CRM for lead generation and nurturing
A lot has been written about why the right CRM is key to sales success and the right marketing automation platform (MAP) is key to digital marketing success. Therein lies one problem with this - for marketing and sales to work well together, which is key to any business, disparate tools create nothing but problems. Sure, there are integrations for a lot of the CRMs and MAPs, but anyone who has worked between two disparate systems knows what a headache such integrations can be.
That’s why it was such a revelation when HubSpot announced their CRM last year.
Before that, I’d already known the power of HubSpot - a relatively affordable tool that wraps your website, analytics, content publishing, social media publishing and monitoring, email marketing, workflows and SEO tools all into one easy-to-use platform.
Unfortunately, I’d also experienced the problems associated with the HubSpot/Salesforce integration. Any time you tweak a setting in one system, something gets broken in the other. No good.
HubSpot’s MAP/CRM system is the perfect antidote since it’s not an integration, but rather one shared platform with the same contact records.
The best part? The CRM is free. Add it to your HubSpot MAP and talk about killing two birds with one stone.
2. Docalytics for selling with content
If you’re a marketer, you’ve probably experienced the inevitable frustration of sales people asking you to create numerous content/collateral pieces with no proof that they work. It distracts you from important work you’re doing to fill the top of the funnel and generate leads for sales in the first place.
The good news is there’s a tool that will let you track which content pieces (like ebooks, white papers, brochures, case studies, etc.) are most beneficial for sales.
Docalytics, a start-up here in St Paul, MN, lets marketers see which leads read which pieces, what pages and sections they read (with heatmaps!), and whether they clicked on any links in the document.
They have sales plugins for Gmail and Outlook that let salespeople track the attachments they send and get notified with engagement reports when prospects interact with content.
Our favorite feature of these tools is that they work together to inform marketing about what content sales is using and which pieces work the best. Rather than arguing about which design each team thinks looks the best, Docalytics provides an objective way for marketing and sales teams to measure content performance and pick pieces that close the most deals.
3. Trello for content collaboration
The content marketing teams we talk with usually have one or more of these problems:
They struggle to come up with enough ideas
They aren't seeing any traction because they aren't speaking to the true interests/concerns of their target audience
There just isn’t enough time in the day to generate enough content
One solution that we’ve found highly beneficial to these problems and more is recruiting members of our sales team to assist with content. They have first-hand experience with prospects and customers, so they bring great, relevant ideas to the table. Plus, if spread out among several sales and marketing team members, a high volume of content is easier to create.
Now, I’m not unrealistic - I understand that salespeople often object to propositions like this because it takes them away from prospects and customers. It’s a fair point, but the benefits of sales and marketing (smarketing) content far outweigh the costs. Not just for marketing but for overall sales results as well.
We recommend starting small. Come together with your sales team and ask them to help make a list of prospect and customer frequently asked questions. Record the conversation and organize ideas inside a free online tool called Trello.
Trello is an amazing place to record your brilliant smarketing content ideas. You can create lists of ideas, assigned blog posts, in-progress blog posts and published posts. You can categorize and color-code by target audience, by topic, or by author. You can even assign posts so salespeople who are willing to write content get helpful notifications reminding them of their deadlines.
For a free tool, we’ve found that Trello is the best way to set up an editorial calendar and keep cross-functional teams on the same page when it comes to content creation.
This, in turn, has helped us develop more targeted, relevant content in larger volumes.
Now it's your turn - what are the keys to marketing & sales collaboration at your company?
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in March 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.