In this issue our theme is partnership, and we asked our Rockstar CMOs who is the most important collaborator when they want to make that sweet marketing music. Some pushed back on choosing just one, like Robert Rose, author and Chief Strategy Officer at The Content Advisory who suggests the best marketing acts need a band.
There is a saying (usually appearing as a complaint among marketers) that everyone has two jobs – theirs and marketing. It’s funny, my experience is that this is almost always true when marketing is trotting around the newest creative campaign or the newest design for the website. Everybody has an opinion and wants to partner on that. But when it comes time to sweat out how to get one more incremental point on a conversion rate, or how to allocate scant media dollars to the most effective media, suddenly no one wants to come to that meeting.
Today, marketing must partner with every other group in the business to be successful. Whether it’s legal for GDPR, and data compliance, IT with technology deployment, customer services with social media messaging, and of course sales with every top of the funnel activity.
But above all, it is perhaps in the sales teams where marketing needs to bring the “band back together” in a most pronounced way.
We started the 2000s with this amazing vision of a rock and roll touring band utilizing customer relationship data to optimize the trust we built from the time we first met a prospect to the time they became a customer. New technology, and use of data, was going to usher in this new era of “one to one marketing”, where the promise was that we could develop one, common view of every customer, and ensure that every experience was consistent, relevant, and able to deliver value. We called this sales and marketing rock show – the 360 degree view of the customer.
And we’re still trying to play. Four guitarists, three drummers, and a whole slew of technology later, we’re still trying to fill the arenas.
New, disruptive channels, legacy processes, and an attachment to old ways of operating have hindered many marketing and sales strategies in their quest to evolve into this common vision.
Today, the technology is here. While implementing it well can be tricky, there are no excuses to be had that prevent us from joining together relevant, digital, content-driven experiences meant to deliver trust to our customers. And, as I’ve already noted, content today is unlimited. It is, in fact, almost infinite.
As consumers today, we browse less and search more. We have come to expect hyper-personalized, helpful experiences at every step along our journey. Ecommerce delivers exactly what we need, as online services cater to every entertainment wish we have. And we interact with this content on devices that cater to every size, shape and capacity that we wish.
There is no reason to doubt that buyers expect the same. What can we do?
The first step might be to make peace with our lead guitarist – the sales team.
- Sales and Content Marketing alignment is more than simply understanding each other’s tunes. True alignment is about integrating into one, cohesive strategy shared by sales and marketing. To achieve this, sales needs to develop clarity around its definitions, and marketing needs to help develop sharper definitions around where and how content will be applied to the customer journey. Perhaps Account-Based Marketing is the bridge, but one thing is clear – frequent and honest collaboration among the teams is key. Frequent, standing meetings are crucial to ensure internal activation and participation among the marketers and sales teams. Not talking to each other, or talking past each other, isn’t working.
- We should leverage data to understand the buyer through all our lenses. The critical benefit of content creation, marketing and sales alignment is to pull trust forward and develop a much more well-rounded and rich information set on prospects and customers. Systems and technologies need to be put into place to help draw this bridge between the marketing data being gathered and the customer as they transform into leads and opportunities. Businesses need to develop a single view of the customer that enables them to act quickly and decisively to deliver more value.
- Agility, Agility, Agility. A true rock and roll partnership between Sales and Marketing will enable the team to continually challenge the assumptions being made about how customers buy or how the team finds, engages, and closes customers. It’s easy for sales and marketing personnel to get “stuck in their ways” because “this is what has always worked.” The newly aligned team can be more open to new approaches and techniques. Iterate often and create an enthusiasm for controlled experiments that can inform process changes and investment decisions.
Content – and the creation of it as a strategic function in the business – might just be the bridge to this alignment. It can perhaps be the thing that brings crazy artists together again, so that the arenas fill, and the music is sweet.
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