Aligned teams are a well-kept secret. But marketing and sales don't always see eye to eye. One way to do this is to make sure your SEO and sales teams are on the same page. It's time to embrace collaborative marketing.
Now, this doesn't mean that the teams have to create a group dance. That's not what we mean by being in-step. I mean, if you think it would help it might be worth a try. A 1, a 2, a 3, 4, 5. But before we crack out the tap shoes, it might be worth trying some other techniques.
But why is misalignment so bad in the first place? Well, m
But more often than not, the two teams can even be in conflict. The sales team might get mad at the marketing team for lack of leads, and marketing will be annoyed the sales team aren't closing deals.
And without communication, these issues will continue. According to a recent study from InsideView, only 37% of salespeople reported meeting with marketing to discuss lead scoring. Plus, Hubspot's report found that only 44% of marketers feel they are aligned with sales.
- Organisations with aligned departments can achieve up to38% higher sales win rates.
- Aligned organisations save 30% on their customer acquisition cost. Plus, their customers have a 20% higher lifetime value.
- Gaining new customers as keeping existing ones.
- Companies with “tightly aligned” departments reach and 27% quicker profit growth for three years.
- Companies see an average of 19% faster revenue growth and 15% profitability when sales and marketing teams are aligned.
- More than 80% of sales and marketing executives describe each other’s departments positively
But this isn't just a two-team issue. Misalignment can disrupt the productivity of the entire company:
- 87% of sales and marketing leaders say collaboration between sales and marketing enables critical business growth.
- The most common measurement of success for content marketing programs is Total Sales.
- 76% of content marketers forget sales enablement
- 95% of shoppers prefer companies that provide them with relevant content through every step of the buyer’s journey.
- Demand generation and sales training teams report the least alignment around asset/content development (34.6%) and analytics/metrics (31.8%).
- Only 1 in 2 companies say sales and marketing have a formal definition of a qualified lead.
With the increase in technologies available to companies, it is easier than ever for sales and marketing to align. But many companies still treat these departments separately.
According to Sudipta Choudhury, marketers identify their top challenge as a "lack of timely data to make strategic decisions". They also found a need to improve:
- Gaps in expertise or skills – 41%
- Inefficient workflows – 38%
- Augmenting their analytics and technology usage – 17%
- Overall marketing alignment with different teams – 11%
- Acquiring more consumers – 14%
- Increasing the customer lifetime value – 11%
All these issues can be helped, if not solved, by close strategic alignment between teams. So, let's have a look at SEO and sales in particular. How can you align your SEO and sales teams?
1. Encourage Content Marketing Collaboration
Content is a vital part of marketing, and this is no different for SEO and sales. Without content, there is no ranking, nor sales.
For example, Google relies on content to identify if a page is relevant to a customer's search and if it satisfies a searcher's intent. Relevancy and search intent are two key ranking signals. Then, in sales, content is one of the most important factors behind the customer journey. Content can directly impact purchasing decisions. According to Forbes, 60% of B2B buyers say they are able to make purchase decisions exclusively based on digital content, without talking to sales reps or seeing a demo.
The phrase "content is king" is thrown around liberally in marketing, but it is only effective in this way if it enables sales. Too often there is a gap between those producing content and the organisational teams who are trying to leverage it.
Plus, it can help generate content for teams, too. Syncing up with sales can help develop new content ideas based on the feedback they're hearing, the questions prospects and customers are asking, and the information they are looking for.
Sometimes teams can get so fixated on keyword research and roadmap, it can be easy to overlook valuable keyword targets with lower search volume and solid search intent. So, these keywords might not be on the SEO team's radar but will be included in the language of the prospects on the phone.
So, chatting and strategizing with sales can help avoid these issues. As a result, your sales reps will have a piece of content to share with prospects and customers to better nurture them, or strengthen the existing relationship. On top of this, you'll have a piece of content that is carefully crafted to rank on Google. All without learning the cha-cha. Or the waltz.
2. Set Up Regular Integrated Meetings
Setting up monthly or weekly meetings to discuss goals, strategies, results and campaigns can be a game-changer. The key to success is ensuring everyone knows what is happening, why it's happening, and how to address it. Many times, marketing launches a campaign without telling the sales team - the exact people who are supposed to be selling what's being promoted. How can they sell something they don't know anything about?
To conduct these meetings, they need to be focused on the common issues experienced by the clients and customers. So, what are the options?
- Weekly Meetings. A weekly meeting will help both the SEO and sales team gain knowledge on what each team is doing to achieve their short-term goals. It can generate a number of new ideas linked to upcoming campaigns, on top of content for that particular week.
- Monthly Meetings. These meetings will give your teams the chance to analyse and evaluate their performances over a longer period of time. There should be sharing of lead generation and conversion rates between the teams.
- Slack Channels. With an easy setup and immediate implementation, Slack provides daily communication between the two teams. A slack channel can open lines of communication and shared knowledge which equates to a more cohesive team.
3. Apply SEO Data to Inform Sales
It's not just about sales providing information to marketing. You can also use SEO data to boost your sales, as it involves a bunch of analytic activities to understand the performance of the site. This can include the nature of the visitors, what they like (and dislike) about the site, and how a digital marketing agency can improve it.
Gathering these valuable pieces of information can be used alongside competition insights, which can save a lot of hard work and time. But what other data can be utilised?
- Best performing content topics. The sales team doesn't need every single little detail, but if any topic resonates with a large group of users, then this issue or trend can be bought up when pitching to clients.
- Competition campaigns. It's vital to have market awareness, in order to know the performance of your competitors. This collected data will help the sales team pitch in an effective way.
- Positive and negative reviews. What feedback is your user base leaving? What do they think of your company? Then you can figure out what the sales team do after receiving this information.
4. Test and Track
Keeping an eye on the traffic to your website can be useful. But how are users converting? And are they even converting in the first place?
This can differ depending on which industry you're in, and what your business model is, for example:
- Retail or e-commerce websites track if visitors are making purchases.
- For B2B organisations it is when visitors fill out forms, for ebooks or contact requests.
This means that setting up goals in Google analytics and Google Tag Manager will be essential. Then, you need to analyse this data regularly and adjust your strategy as needed.
This also allows you an insight into customer behaviour when they're on the site. If you're seeing an increase in traffic to a landing page, but if no action is taken, you'll need to consider shaking something up. You could ask:
- Are you reaching the right users?
- Could the page be further optimised
- Is there enough information on the page?
- Do competitors have a similar page, and what is the difference?
Then, when you've done all this, it's all about the alignment. Yep, you thought I'd forgotten about that. Nope, not a chance for a barn dance. Instead, you should ensure that you have the data needed to report progress back to your teams, make informed decisions, and adjust your strategy.
Then, before dedicating a budget to any new SEO moves and strategies, it's important that you make sure you will be able to properly track and monitor the data and report results back to both the marketing and sales teams.
So, it's vital to eliminate the alignment barriers between marketing and sales. No one person, team, or data source is sufficient for businesses to rely on.
The evolving marketplace needs a willingness to prioritise observation and insight into issues and uncover what is hindering the success of SEO and sales teams. Using structure and managing expectations will improve the alignment process significantly. All without learning the Do-si-do.