Who doesn’t enjoy the passive-aggressive banter between sales and marketing people, often about content development and who does what? You’ll be glad to know I have a great suggestion to unite them.
The next time you see sales and marketing folk together at a water cooler/printer/canteen, just take them aside and calmly tell them in an agony-aunt manner that in order to create great content they must work together and that this is how you should do it. They will instantly come together in their overwhelming hatred of you – job done! Easy!
For the record, if you do choose this approach, here are the best ways for sales and marketing people to get over each other and make great content together that sells products and services and keeps everybody happy.
It’s not me, it’s you
- Understand me – Ok…get it all out of your system. “Until you have been laughed at by a herd of engineers or seen an IT Director gleefully bounce a phone call from you as he rises through a building in a glass lift, you’ll never understand how tough we have it in sales”. Or … “You only have to open your mouth, it’s us that painstakingly create every piece of content and brochures under crazy tight deadlines”. Bitching to each other about various aspects of your jobs will help you gain an understanding of what the other does and is the foundation of many fruitful working relationships.
- Timing – is there a seasonal pattern for content needs? Is there an annual conference or tradeshow that everyone must be ready for? An editorial calendar sounds like lots of work but ultimately it will make for less work and a lot less panic in the medium to long term. Sales must go through their diary and start keeping track of content demands and let Marketing know, so such an editorial calendar will work efficiently.
- Content cave – some content works all the time and some does not work as often. You need to create a full inventory of all marketing collateral, brochures, videos, sales decks, boilerplates and have them in one place like a shared folder. Once it’s there, everyone knows where to find it. Sales must tell Marketing honestly what works and what does not. Marketing needs to listen and bin stuff that no longer delivers or update materials that do.
- Sit in on their meetings now and again – right, you can get up off the floor now. Stop laughing…hear me out please! A seat at a sales meeting gives a marketer an inside view on content in terms of roles, expectations, targets and outcomes. A marketing meeting is also an opportunity for a sales professional and allows them to offer crucial observations on user personas, decision-maker profiles and more.
- Give sales full input on content writing – there are some types of content that sales people simply must help with. For example, IT IS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO WRITE A GOOD CASE STUDY WITHOUT A FULL CONVERSATION WITH THE SALES PERSON WHO SOLD THE SOLUTION. Sorry for shouting, but the person who won the job, knew what was required, monitored the work and understood what eventually worked and what did not knows more about this case study than anyone else. If Marketing is writing the piece, just make sure you get it all out of Sales or even…wait for it…ask Sales to write the first draft themselves.
If the first thing you think of while reading this is that somebody has to start this process – and we are already too busy, it should really be them!…. Well then, a fight-to-the-death between your strongest team members in reception on Friday lunchtime is my final recommendation.
I’ve been a freelance B2B copywriter for many years but I have also been sales professional and held marketing roles. One thing I do know is that engaging B2B content depends on input and action from all quarters. So all you need do now is wait by the water cooler to dispense this all-important advice…