First things first, sales and marketing can definitely be combined.
In fact, a sales team working alongside a marketing team can totally make magical things happen, like customer delight.
The graphic that follows speaks for itself in terms of illustrating the value a company can get from making sure that sales and marketing are harmoniously combined:
However, that in no way means that the two are the same thing.
Although many people might mix those two up, the truth is that they are quite different in terms of their approaches as well as their aims.
On the one hand, marketing is about making a company, or a product, well-known and recognizable by a large number of people.
In doing so, a marketing team needs to focus on a specific target audience and highlight the company’s best qualities.
On the other hand, sales is about focusing on working with prospective customers and trying to get them to start using a product or service.
In an attempt to give a simple sentence that explains the main difference between sales and marketing we could simply say that one succeeds the other and the two are intertwined.
Put another way, a company first works on its marketing strategy in order to raise awareness and spark the interest of their audience and then brings the sales strategy in, in order to nurture that interest and convert.
Starting from the need of dealing with silos and acquiring a single view of customers that helps create a unified customer experience, companies should always keep in mind the importance of having these core departments in alignment.
Keep reading to find some reasons why there might be friction between sales and marketing.
We’ve talked about the main difference between sales and marketing.
Let’s now discuss some interesting reasons that explain why there’s friction between them.
A rather important issue that might lead to misalignment between sales and marketing is the lack of a unified view in terms of the customer.
First, what is a unified view of the customer?
To have a unified view of the customer – which is also called asingle-view of the customeror a360-degree view of the customer– means that all activities and strategies that start from the company and involve the customer are aligned and reported on a platform that all stakeholders can access.
That might involve a number of different things from demographic profiles for your target audience to a prospect’sactivity on social media.
Having a unified view is important because it can empower both teams to work more efficiently and adopt approaches that work to the advantage of each other’s work.
Additionally, it helps streamline business processes and also creates an efficient and coherent workflow.
Here are somebenefits of a unified view of the customer between sales and marketing.
On the other hand, the lack of a unified view of the customer leads tomiscommunication and misalignmentthat makes companies incapable of offering value to their customers.
Similar to what we just discussed, having different engagement methods and tools is yet another reason that makes sales and marketing teams inefficient or incapable of working together.
As a result of using different methods and tools, teams tend to only learn how to work in isolation and that might cause serious problems when they might be required to work together.
We understand that different teams might have differing needs, but friction is created when one is not getting value for the other’s work.
How about using an example that will help us illustrate this point?
Let’s say that there are two teamsworking for an email testing tool.
Instead of trying to find differences that’ll make each other’s work harder, let’s focus on the similarities and similar needs both teams probably have.
For example, it’s very likely that both the sales and marketing teams will need to use a communication tool or a customer engagement software.
On the other hand, the marketing team probably can make more extensiveuse of an online presentation softwareor amodern video editing service, but that shouldn’t mean that the sales team can’t incorporate that asset to their sales activities too.
On that note, we all know that one of the most important things for good marketing is to have a website that performs well.
In other words, a website that facilitates the user’s journey.
A successful way of doing so is through making it easy for users to get in touch with you, possibly through chat.
Here’s how Dune London uses Freshworks to help serve their users and make sure they’re taking the service they deserve.
It’s as simple as giving users the opportunity to contact the company easily and hassle-free, right from their homepage.
What we’re trying to say here is that multiple tools and difficulty in identifying common methods might lead to miscommunication, data that’s muddled, and software that’s difficult to juggle.
Companies should try to adopt a more unified approach that’ll make it possible for their sales and marketing teams, as well as any other team members, to work together efficiently andincrease their creativity.
As a result of the reasons we explained a little further up, thecustomer experiencemight get seriously impacted.
A combination of working with disparate systems and team silos can ultimately lead to creating an inconsistent customer experience and might make customers feel overwhelmed or unmotivated to engage with a company’s content.
In other words, friction between sales and marketing can significantly affect the outcome in terms of the customer lifecycle.
We think a unified approach in terms of content can help bridge the differences and avoid friction.
Let’s now dive deeper into what type of content might work in order to help keep both teams aligned.
As you probably already know, there are many different types of content that a company can use as part of their marketing and sales strategies.
Before we give you some specific content ideas that can work for both, we wanted to discuss some types of content that might be more appropriate for only one of the two.
First of all, I’d like to use a few sentences for each type of content taken from Josh Ritchie, founder of the content marketing agency, Column Five.
More specifically, here’s what Josh writes aboutmarketing content on Forbes:
Put another way, content for marketing hasthe ultimate goal of attracting people,of bringing them closer, and making them want to engage with the content and know more about the company that the content promotes.
Let’s see what he says about sales content:
Simply put, sales content is about taking people that have already come closer to your brand and convince them to actually start using your products.
In other words, sales content is to do with continuing the work that marketing has already done by convincing people to take some action and close the deal.
In terms of what kind of content works for each, we could say that marketing content is not necessarily about the brand.
Since marketing content is meant to attract and charm people, it might be anything from the following:
Or any other sort of valuable content that will help keep them engaged.
Here’s an example of a content marketing agency, with Siege Media sharing an ebook on their homepage:
On the other side, sales content is created to convince them to take action, making it more company-focused without overdoing it.
For example, sales content can be:
Have a look at an example of SaaS business, Asana, sharing a case study blog post on their website.
We therefore understand that yes, sales and marketing are different because they’re built to bring in different types of results.
They do, however, have a common target: to help a business grow.
Let’s get deeper into our topic by taking you through seven different sales and marketing content ideas.
After we’ve talked about the differences and frictions between sales and marketing, let’s take a closer look at some content ideas that can help companies bring sales and marketing together.
Let’s get into our first sales and marketing content idea.
The first sales and marketing content idea we have for you is tocreate case studies.
First things first, to make sure we’re all on the same page in terms of the value of case studies, let’s just say that case studies can be very beneficial in educating clients and prospects.
They are also great in terms of increasing conversions.
By giving the opportunity to your audience to have access to your case studies you basically manage to do some really great marketing and sales things.
You raise awareness of your story, your company’s philosophy and way of working, while also showcasing some of your most powerful attributes, like problem-solving, and the way you approach your customers’ pain points.
Here’s an example of featuringcase studies by B2B SEO agency, MINUTTIA.
First of all, the agency gives visitors the opportunity to access their case studies from their homepage, as you can see above.
By doing so, it’s easy for the site visitor to come across thought-through and detailed case studies that can totally be used for marketing and sales purposes.
Thankfully,creating a case study is not hardbut it can totally make a dynamic junction of sales and marketing that can help you expand your audience and convert.
Let’s get to our second content idea.
Webinarsare yet another type of content that can be used as both sales and marketing content.
The great thing about webinars is that they’re usually inexpensive to organize and run.
What’s also really important about using webinars is that, because of the repetitive nature of the content and the fact that they most likely engage with a specific niche, they are great in terms of helping create and maintain a community around them.
Having such a community can significantly help a company take better and on-point marketing decisions as well as monetize their efforts.
In fact, here’s a fantastic story from a company – ConvertKit – that used the power of thewebinar to grow their monthly recurring revenue(MRR).
The growth is impressive, isn’t it?
Here’s another example of a company that’s consistently using webinars to promote their tool as well as help their clients actively use their product.
LinkedIn message automation tool, Expandi, is keeping a consistent webinar schedule as you can see.
We can only assume that the team has such a tight live demo schedule because there’s interest in their webinar content.
Live demos like these probably help the company’s sales and marketing teams get value from their content.
Customer stories and spotlights are two of the most efficient and direct types of content a company can use for sales and marketing.
They help promote a business as a whole and might also be really persuasive in terms of convincing clients to make a purchase or start using a product.
Here’s how Freshworks is doing it, by creating acustomer spotlight videoslanding page that features engaging videos that can totally help the company promote and convert:
An additional example comes from Klientboost and their video testimonials landing page:
Showcasing the results you helped your clients achieve while also featuring the impressive list of people you’ve worked with makes client stories a truly efficient sales and marketing type of content.
We think a company can take great value from detailed guides.
Creating in-depth guidesthat illustrate the value of your products and services is one of the smartest ways to promote your product while also convincing a prospect that they can earn from using your product or trusting your service.
We’re going to look athow backlinks software, Respona, is doing it.
One of Respona’s use cases is PR outreach.
Therefore, it makes sense that the team writes content that shows their audience and clients how one can actually reach out to people through Respona.
Let’s look at a blog post they recently published:
That’s a blog post that provides readers with information about finding influencers in their niche and reaching out to them.
For that reason, it includes a step-by-step guide on how to do that through the tool:
The guide includes a wide range of screenshots from within the tool that provides the reader with a really clear idea of what the process of using Respona looks like:
Our second example comes from all-in-one SEO toolset, Ahrefs.
The company frequently publishes content that includes screenshots from their product, like these screenshots that feature the Ahrefs’ Site Explorer:
In fact, Ahrefs’ CMO, Tim Soulo has written about how the start-up is growing its annual recurring revenue (ARR) by growing its blog traffic.
The way of doing so is through engaging, optimized, and valuable blog content.
Let’s move on to the next content idea we have for you.
A podcastis a diverse and engaging type of content that can be used both to boost sales and as part of your marketing strategy.
Long story short, a podcast can get you on your target audience’s radar without having to be spammy or sales-y.
Additionally, through a podcast, you can build a nice relationship with a wide audience as well as maintain a relationship with your clients.
An example here comes from Hey Digital and The SaaS Marketing Show podcast:
Dylan Hey, the creator of Hey Digital and host of the podcast usually interviews industry experts thus establishing a relationship with them.
One of Dylan’s LinkedIn posts says it all:
If someone as successful as a podcast host as Dylan says it, then we can only assume that podcasts can indeed help a company in terms of marketing and sales.
Moving on to our second to last content idea.
Our second to last sales and marketing content idea is touse gated content.
Gated content is used mostly by marketers as a way of giving a read access to valuable and interesting content in exchange for their email address, phone number, name, and other contact information.
Here’s an example of how Siege Media is using gated content.
As you can see on the screenshot above, the company is giving access to readers to a free ebook on how to increase website traffic in exchange for their email addresses.
Another great example of this is theFreshworks Sales & Marketing Alignment report.
If anyone lands on the page, they can clickGet the Report, insert their information into the popup, and wait for it to arrive in their email.
As simple as it gets!
Gated content can be used for both marketing and sales for an extra reason apart from the obvious.
Gated content gives users access to valuable content that might be a detailed how-to guide; it implies that after reading the resource, you can always request for help from the company that provided you with the content.
First things first,creating a communityboth for clients and your audience – who mightn’t have used your products or services – can be a great marketing and sales tool.
Focusing on building a community has a great advantage over simply trying to reach out to your target audience or trying to make your leads buy your products.
It’s to do with the establishment of a personal and emotional connection that can indeed bring great results.
The following infographic gives us some valid reasons for trying to establish an emotional connection with our clients and audience.
As you can see, emotional branding can bring some fantastic benefits to companies that are going for it.
One of the most important, in my opinion, is the fact that emotional branding has the power to differentiate a brand from its competitors thus increasing brand loyalty and customer retention.
Who doesn’t want that to happen, right?
Like we’ve done with all our content ideas, let’s look at an example that will show us a SaaS business that’s focusing on building a community, or a “family” as they call it, rather than marketing and sales.
It’s worth mentioning that a company with this attitude gets from zero to $4 million ARR in three years.
That must mean something, right?
It means that the team has really invested in nurturing and showing passion and care about the people that are joining their so-called family.
What the team at Lemlist tries to do differently to others is to actually provide their audience with valuable and unique content, like insights, important announcements, and other types of content that do more than merely establish a buyer-seller connection.
In a few words, these guys truly care and their audience appreciates it so they remain engaged.
Another great example is theFreshworks Community, where users can go to ask questions, help other users and build relationships.
This is community building and it’s one of the best ways to accelerate growth for your business.
There you have it.
A list of seven content ideas that work both for sales and marketing purposes.
In this post, we discussed the difference between sales and marketing and also touched upon the reason why there might be friction between the two.
We strongly believe that content can be a fantastic way to create a positive and efficient junction between sales and marketing and achieve growth.