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how to connect sales and marketing teams
June 16, 2022

4 Ways to Bridge the Sales and Marketing Gap

how to connect sales and marketing teams

Every company wants its sales and marketing teams to be aligned, yet few companies can bring these efforts together.

At first glance, both teams are on the same page: each believes timely, relevant, and impactful content is the way to move the sale forward. But in today’s evolving hybrid selling environment, it isn’t enough for marketing to create these materials; they must also ensure sellers know how to access these resources and when to deploy them in the sales process.

In a recent webinar with MarketingProfs, Allego’s Chief Marketing Officer, Wayne St. Amand, explored the latest practices for improving sales and marketing alignment, content management, and content activation.

Here are four takeaways from the webinar, Closing the Great Divide: Building a Bridge Between Sales & Marketing.

1. Collaborate and Co-Create Sales Content

The story is familiar: Marketing works hard to produce timely, relevant content that reaches the buyer and moves the sale forward. But all too often, that content is not enough, and sales come to marketing with an urgent request to create content that meets a specific need or situation.

“Sales cannot treat content requests like a drive-up window,” says St. Amand. “Content created using this kind of model usually results in imperfect content. And when something is not right—even a small thing—sales won’t use it or, worse, they’ll create their off-brand content. Then no one is happy.”

To create brand-centric content that reaches the buyer, St. Amand recommends focusing on co-creation and activation. Marketing and sales must collaborate to develop effective, relevant content that sellers know how to use and can activate in their moment of need.

Equally important is iteration. Sales processes change, as do customer demands and competition. Those changes require marketing to understand what content works and needs to be updated.

2. Align Content with a Hybrid Sales Process

Over the past two and half years, a completely new buyer’s journey emerged: Buyers now control where and when they engage with content.

This new sales framework divides sales activities and content into what St. Armand terms “frontstage” and “backstage.” The seller’s direct conversations and contact with the buyer are on the frontstage. The content the buyer consumes on their own, asynchronously, is called the backstage.

This new hybrid selling process begins with backstage activities. This step introduces the seller and the company to the buyer and generates trust. Backstage content must be easily understood because the buyer is reading or watching it on their own. Backstage content such as video introductions, solution briefs, and meeting agendas help prepare the buyer for the frontstage meeting.

Following the introduction, buyer engagement moves to frontstage. In this stage, the buyer and the seller meet face to face, either in person or via videoconference. At this point, the seller must use virtual selling techniques to facilitate the meeting. This can be something small like adding an agenda to the chat window for the buyers to refer to or something significant like recording the meeting and sharing the recording afterward.

Recording these presentations captures vital information, creating a record of what was said and agreed to. Sharing the video with the buyer can help make them a champion in their organization—sending the video internally to key contacts who weren’t at the meeting.

For marketers, these video recordings provide critical insight into how sellers pitch, their messaging, and how they use content they have developed. This insight is crucial to co-creating content that sellers want to use.

After the meeting, the sales process returns to the asynchronous backstage. The seller can prepare a thank-you email that summarizes the key points covered in the meeting and share links to relevant content. Sharing a video of the meeting reinforces key points and helps the buyer effectively share additional details with other influencers.

“This hybrid environment is the reality of how sellers interact with buyers today,” says St. Amand. “The content you choose to use may be different. but looking at these interactions as either backstage or frontstage ensures you create the materials needed to support sellers through this framework.”

3. Curate Buyer Experiences with Digital Sales Rooms

Another way to help customers navigate their own experience is via digital sales rooms—a secure, online space to share content with buyers. Using the right sales enablement platform, a seller can create a digital sales room that houses brand-sensitive content and personalized experiences curated just for the buyer, including marketing content, recorded calls, and discussions—all without the distraction of competitive noise.

In the digital sales room, the buyer can access all the content and information related to the deal and share access to the room with others in their organization. In addition, sellers can watch what is happening in the “room” and gain detailed analytics to trigger appropriate follow-ups.

Moreover, the digital sales room technology helps marketers see how buyers interact with content and enables them to iterate appropriately.

“Seeing their work in action makes marketers part of the sales process. This connection is an important step in connecting sales and marketing efforts,” says St. Amand.

4. Learn What Sellers Care About Most

Most marketers understand the need for great content. But great content is only the start; the seller must also be able to access that content when they need it the most—in their moment of need. Achieving those goals requires marketers to focus on co-creation and activation.

To start, marketing must keep sellers engaged at all stages of content delivery, including the frontstage and backstage. That requires marketers to listen to feedback that can hone and improve messaging.

St. Armand recommends marketers go beyond the numbers of their sales enablement analytics. Reviewing content usage reports is essential. But reviewing qualitative results can help marketers find the hidden truths of how assets work for sales.

“Marketing must become part of the sales team, getting continuous feedback by watching recordings, sitting in on meetings, reviewing numbers, and analyzing results,” says St. Armand. “This ongoing, continuous feedback cycle builds deal-specific content that is useful and accessible for sellers and moves the sale forward. And that is a win for sales and marketing.”

Learn More

To learn more about connecting sales and marketing, download Broken to Fixed in 90 Days: How to Simplify Sales Content Management and Improve Seller Adoption.

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