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Inbound Marketing Blog

Why It's More Important Than Ever For Marketing and Sales To Align [State of Inbound Report 2016]

Posted by Stacie Chalmers on 13-Sep-2016 07:02:00


HubSpot’s 2016 State Of Inbound Report has arrived and, as usual, it’s a veritable treasure trove of information about how Inbound is changing the marketing game.

The annual report is highly anticipated amongst marketing professionals each year as it examines the global trends and offers insights into how Inbound is shaping marketing and sales.

One of the key findings of this year’s report highlights the need for a closer alignment between marketing and sales – a trend known as smarketing.

The report uncovered some intriguing new statistics that will be of interest to the Marketing and Sales teams, as well as the C-Suite when it comes to lead generation and conversion.

It found that organisations with Service Level Agreements (SLAs) between Marketing and Sales worked more effectively, and generated better quality leads.

For survey respondents, the most powerful combination of characteristics for an effective marketing organisation is to 1) be inbound and 2) have an SLA between Sales and Marketing

The report found that Inbound organisations with SLAs are over 5 times more likely to rate their marketing strategy as effective compared to outbound organisations with misaligned marketing and sales teams. Yet 70% of companies say closing more deals is their top sales priority.

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“Marketers in companies with SLAs also have more faith in their marketing strategy. Smarketing has been a core tenet of inbound for years -- and our data shows how critical it is to Marketing’s success,” the report states.

“Just 22% of our respondents have a formal SLA between Marketing and Sales, and a further 44% told us the two organisations were generally aligned.”

“Inbound marketing philosophy works hand in hand with the concept of smarketing, and our data shows that when the two work in tandem, there is a higher chance for success. Of those with an SLA, 82% said their marketing strategy was effective. For those who said they were misaligned, only 20% thought their marketing strategy was effective. The less aligned Sales and Marketing are, the more negative the outlook.”

So how do we bring Marketing and Sales together for better leads and greater results?

In late 2015, Forbes Insights released The Power of Enablement report, a comprehensive guide to boosting sales productivity. Through vigorous research authors found that the world’s most successful organisations rely on well-crafted and strategic marketing content to drive their sales.

“Content facilitates effective sales conversations. Top-performing sales organisations know the key role it plays in sales productivity,” the report states. “Creating the right content and ensuring that sales reps can find it when they need it is a significant challenge for some companies. Getting that activity right is the secret to success.”

Forbes Insights asked sales teams from around the world what type of content would be most beneficial to them. The results shed some fascinating light on the needs of our sales teams:

  • Create content that is relevant to the needs of the customers we call on: 67%
  • Help communicate a value story in sales meetings: 63%
  • Proactively recommend content in specific selling situations: 63%
  • Improve access to content by salespeople: 59%
  • Create content that helps differentiate our company: 59%
  • Make it easier to find content relevant to a client or sales situation: 59%
  • Create content that reinforces our sales training in day-to-day calling: 59%
  • Better align content with the customer journey and sales process: 56%
  • Write content that better supports sales and service interactions: 56%

When it comes to helping sales generate leads and convert new customers, content certainly is King.

The 4 Kinds of Content Your Sales Team Is Looking For

Persona Documents

To fully convey the value of your company’s offerings, you have to fully understand your personas – specifically your buyers and users. Your Sales team need to be familiar with your buyers’ top pain points, challenges, motivations and responsibilities.

Product Pages

It seems obvious, but many companies pay the least thought to the content on their product’s own webpage, leaving it to stagnate. Up-to-date product pages are essential tools for a high performing sales team.

Product Blog Content

By now, we’re all well aware of the benefits of blogging. Attracting customers, thought-leadership and SEO are just some of the advantages. Blogs can also play an important part in the announcement of new products and updates, and can even be a stand-alone platform that both customers and sales reps can access for the latest information.

Case Studies and Success Stories

Case studies are punchy, real-life demonstrations of your product in action and how it helped your customer achieve their goals. When presented correctly, case studies offer powerful content for a sales team looking to persuade prospective customers. 

State of Inbound 2016

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Topics: State of Inbound, smarketing, Marketing and Sales Alignment


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