One of the most classic chick-flicks of the 80’s is ‘When Harry Met Sally’. Harry and Sally drove together from Chicago to NYC to start their new lives after college. During the ride, they discovered they have vastly different personalities and goals. They politely bid farewell and went their separate ways after they arrived in New York City. Just like any other chick-flick, they reconnected years later, became friends first, supported each other through Harry’s divorce and Sally’s break-ups. Eventually, love prevailed. They embraced their love for each other and acknowledged their differences to make their relationship work. That’s how I feel about sales and marketing. Like Harry and Sally, Sales and marketing tend to have different goals. Sales focuses on closing the deals, while marketing focuses on brand awareness and demand generation. When sales and marketing work together, it’s about acknowledge the differences and make the relationship work. It may seem like a long road sometimes but this is essential. One company that helps make this relationship work is Curata. I recently got a chance to talk to Phil Cappadona, Director of Sales and Sasha Laferte, marketing manager, of Curata. Although Sasha resides in marketing, her primary function is to create content to educate prospects and help sales close deals.
That’s true sales enablement synergy.
Curata is a platform that can help you curate, plan and measure your content marketing efforts. It has a visually pleasing interface and a solid platform to help you curate relevant content. They also offer analytics to quantify the ROI of content marketing efforts. I am not affiliated with Curata at all, but I love their curation platform and analytic capabilities. You should check it out! I asked Sasha, what the secret sauce of building alignment between marketing and sales is. Here’s what she had to say:
It’s about sales and we are one team!
What she said resonates with me: the holy grail is to think of sales and marketing as one team that share the same goals. Sasha emphasized that it’s it’s important to sit down with the sales team to understand what their challenges and needs are. To stay on top of their needs, she sets up a monthly meeting with them. During the meeting, she shares the content roadmap and solicits feedback from them to modify content editorial so that everyone is on the same page. A two-way dialogue and regular communication between sales and marketing is key. Furthermore, Sasha told me that it’s important for her to set up credibility with her sales team. The best way to establish credibility is to meet the deadlines that she’s promised. It’s vital that she delivers what she commits to since sales is counting on that to convince prospects and use them to complete the last mile. Reporting is also an important element. Curata has a great reporting tool to connect content’s revenue contribution. If you integrate your marketing automation, website content downloads and CRM with their platform, you can track if you contact facilitate or contribute to sale wins and revenue. In addition to the content pipeline, she shares the pareto analysis of best performing content with the sales team.
It’s about making sales’ job easy!
Sasha also makes a conscious effort to help make the sales team’s job easy. If a long form content is created, she not only shares the content, but also informs the sales team of the target persona, the stage of purchase cycle, proposed e-mail copy for sales to forward, proposed social media copy and more. Sales can quickly know how to use the content. It helps the sales team connect the dots. Then, I asked Phil if the sales enablement function is necessary and also what he believes are the key areas for future improvement.
Let sales focus on selling
He mentioned that sales needed to create content and sell before Sasha’s role was created. That was a lot of work and took time away from selling and talking to customers. In addition, each sales person was creating content to support his own sales efforts. Duplication and inefficiency were an issue. Having sales enablement support from marketing simplifies and prioritizes content needs. Monthly meetings allow sales to review the content pipeline. Occasionally, some sales reps require certain content to be created urgently. After an open discussion, they realized that it was not as urgent as they think it should be or some other content suggested by others may accomplish similar objectives.
Better storytelling in the future
For 2018, Phil would like to further explore the idea of storytelling. Not just showcasing Curata platforms and their benefits, but making an effort to tell a convincing story about the offerings as a whole. This storytelling is a holistic thinking process and detailed editorial planning from value proposition, messaging framework to content planning that maps the purchase cycle. At the same time, the creative approach and writing angle also need to be compelling.
Solicit feedback from the Sales Team
At the end of our conversation, Sasha mentioned that she conducted an anonymous survey once she’d been part of the team for six months. The team regularly, but this survey gave the sales team an opportunity to provide honest and direct feedback. I understand that Curata is a start-up and the team is small, so it’s easy to build a friendly and tight rapport between sales and marketing. But you can also do that with bigger teams by having a plan and fully committing to execute and deliver. Sasha said it nicely: it’s about listening and respecting the sales team’s needs. I agree! Of course, the sales team need to meet her halfway as well. Like Harry and Sally, sales and marketing may have different goals and personalities, but it’s possible for these two teams to fall in love despite their differences. Sasha and Phil, it’s wonderful that you have such a great relationship. Are you already creating synergy between sales and marketing? Let me know by replying to this Tweet or leaving a comment below. Image source: 123rf.com