Communication Is Key for Better Sales and Marketing Alignment

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“There’s room for improvement when it comes to sales and marketing alignment. Communication here is key, and marketers need to step up and better communicate with sales on ideal customer profiles and buyer’s journey pain points. Schedule more frequent check-ins so that your content is timely to prospects, even anticipating their upcoming hurdles.”

That’s from the 2019 Content Fitness Report from Heinz Marketing and PAN Communications. Their study of content marketing departments found that less than 50% of marketing and sales teams communicate regularly, with only 33% truly aligning their efforts.

Ryan Vincent, director of media sales, EHS, Simplify Compliance, also hit on this in his session at SIPA 2019. “Sales working with your marketing and editorial teams should be an integral part of our success. You have to bring the teams together so you're all on the same page. You must collaborate and then develop solutions."

He listed 5 ways this can happen:

1. Create a single business strategy.
2. Establish a healthy dynamic.
3. Set expectations for editorial integrity—this is the biggest bullet, Vincent said.
4. Cooperate proactively. "If you give too much on the editorial side, you lose integrity; but if you're soft on sales, you lose money," he said.
5. Create workflows.

Here are more key takeaways from PAN Communications’ report:

Storytelling must get better. Respondents noted that weak points within their content marketing programs came from three places: storytelling, analytics, and automation. When asked what skill sets were most lacking, storytelling was, in particular, a pain point. “Storytelling plays a large component when it comes to relaying your brand’s messaging and defining a solid industry stance, but companies often lack an experienced storytelling team,” the report says.

Celebrate successes. The report says that while sales might be more concerned with new business prospects, marketers must pay attention to current clients and celebrate their success stories via content and social media. “Marketers need to recruit and hire talented storytellers that can utilize data and analytics in a way that propels customers in the right direction.”

A better connection to revenue must be made. Almost 70% of respondents are not confident in their content measurement strategy and delivering ROI, while 56% of respondents say their content marketing efforts are not being attributed toward revenue.

Customers look for trust and thought leadership. “While influencer marketing and customer advocacy remain a high priority for marketers, thought leadership and executive programs reign supreme. Brands must amplify their message and establish trust while bringing in their point of view through content created by their subject matter experts (SMEs). This gives companies authority, authenticity and brand reinforcement.”

Better consistency is needed year-to-year. “Consistency year over year continues to be a struggle in terms of measurement, ROI, and content marketing integration,” the report’s introduction says. “It’s something that marketers should strive for in the near future as they work toward content resonation, authenticity and trust, brand awareness, and standing out amongst key competitors as go-to thought leaders within their industry.”

Better training is needed. “Focus on educating team members so they can foster engagement and dialogue, and also infer that feedback into the most effective content marketing program.” Marketing conferences like SIPA's Business Information & Media Summit Nov. 11-13 in Hollywood, Fla., could be an answer for that training.

Integrate a strong social program to amplify content. “Social and syndication are being overlooked. Marketers need a refresh on the importance of content amplification. We can no longer rely solely on organic traffic when content competition remains so fierce.

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…