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Feb 23

Why an In-Depth Understanding of Your Customers Is the Only Marketing Strategy You Need

Lead Gen

Successful marketing is about more than tracking analytics, building a social following and getting traffic on websites.

Ultimately, successful marketing is about the customers. No matter how great your marketing efforts are, it doesn’t matter if you can’t connect with the audience.

So, if you want to be truly successful, you need to have an in-depth understanding of your customers.

What is a Customer-Centric Marketing Approach?

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Customer-centric marketing uses personalization to deliver products, messages and content to the customer that provides them with the answers they need. This applies not only to marketing, but also to your entire organization.

Putting your customers first can improve your relationship with them and retain more customers over time, since they feel valued.

With customer-centric marketing, you stop telling your customers what they need, which comes across as unappealing and untrustworthy. Instead of pushing products and aggressively asking for the buy, with customer-centric marketing, you craft your messaging, content and products around addressing their needs first.

Ultimately, if a customer knows they have other options and feel undervalued by the business’s lack of attention, they’ll move on.

The Value of Knowing Your Customers

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More and more businesses are taking advantage of the power of blogging and content marketing, meaning that the internet is flooded with content everywhere you turn. As a result, customers no longer need to waste time on low-quality content that doesn’t serve their needs.

If you want to stand out among this crowd, you need to create unique content that’s relevant to the needs of the target audience. When you can create content that fits their needs, you develop trust and value with your business. This makes customers more loyal to your business and its products.

Having loyal customers with repeat purchases offers many benefits to your business, not only in revenue, but in positive brand reputation and word-of-mouth recommendations.

Loyal customers are also easier to sell to, reducing the amount of time necessary to nurture and convince them to buy from your business. Instead, you can toss them right back in the sales funnel and make the sale much faster.

In fact, repeat customers are 65 percent more likely to convert over new prospects. This means reduced marketing costs and more sales for you.

Loyal customers are also more likely to support your efforts to generate new business, since they want to share their experiences with their family and friends. This boosts your trust with new customers and gets you more sales.

So, when you stop guessing at your customers’ wants and needs and start paying attention to the feedback they give you, you get both long-term business relationships and increased profits.

How to Get an In-Depth Understanding of Your Customers

Developing these relationships and this understanding of your customers takes time, however. Your customers’ needs may change over time, and you need to change with them.

Here’s how:

Build Your Buyer Personas

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A buyer persona is a guide to the audience you’re trying to attract to your business. A buyer persona describes one ideal customer or client in detail, giving you insights about their behaviors, demographics, background and other unique identifiers.

A truly in-depth buyer persona goes beyond this knowledge, however. It dives much deeper into understanding the customer’s life and the challenges they face. What are their problems? What influences their decisions?

The key to all of this is not to guess, of course. When you create buyer personas, you can’t just create a customer. It needs to be based on the loyal customer base you have.

If you’re trying to reach a different audience, you can even create multiple personas to target new customers, while also keeping your loyal customers around.

Keep in mind that these may change over time as well, so you should watch how they evolve and continually find new ways to reach them.

Listen on Social Media

Many people are comfortable displaying much of their lives on social media. This can provide you with valuable insights about them and how they feel about your business.

If you only pay attention to posts and comments that relate to your business, however, you’ll miss out on insights from them about what they need from a product or service. To get a real understanding of the target audience and what they expect from your business, you need to go beyond the mentions.

Social listening tools can be helpful for this. Mention is one of the best tools to monitor your brand anywhere. It gives you insights about who’s posting about your business, where they’re located and what influence they have. From there, you can do a little more research into these potential customers to learn more about them.

You should also work to connect with your audience when they come to you. With the availability of brands online, most customers expect quick responses when they inquire online. Be sure to pay attention to questions, comments and feedback to you about your business, so you can get an idea of the problems your audience is experiencing.

Use Surveys

If you’re not getting the answers you need from social listening, don’t be afraid to ask your customers directly. Surveys provide you with opinions and insights that you may not have otherwise, and they’re easy for customers to participate in.

Keep in mind a few things, such as:

  • Keep your survey short and simple.
  • Humanize your message to let them know that their feedback has a purpose.
  • Use a progress bar to let customers know how long they have to complete the survey.

Ultimately, the idea behind the survey is to keep it as quick and painless as possible for participants.

Pay Attention to Visited Content

Whether it’s videos, blog posts, infographics or images, customers engage with a variety of content throughout the day. To understand what they want and need, you need to pay attention to the type of content they visit.

The best way to learn more about popular content is with Google Analytics. This will show you popular content and the patterns that may arise, as well as the type of content that works better for your audience.

Don’t forget to check out your competitor’s social media pages to see what posts get a lot of attention as well. Using this information, you can create more content that’s aligned with what’s working for your competitor.

Look for Lost Conversions

In addition to learning about current customers, you can learn a wealth of information from the leads that don’t convert. This process is a little more involved, but it can provide you with valuable insights.

First, let’s look at the buyer’s journey:

  • A customer is aware of a problem.
  • A customer considers the options to solve that problem.
  • A customer decides what solution to try.

If you find that you lose buyers in the consideration phase, you may be doing something wrong that keeps them from converting. Of course, not every customer coming in contact with your product will buy, but it’s still important to find leaks in the sales funnel.

With this in mind, you want to create content for each stage of the buyer’s journey, so you can address any concerns a buyer may have along the way.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to marketing, don’t assume you understand the customer better than they know themselves. Instead of telling your customers what they need, focus on providing them with information and solutions that address their needs, so you can create a loyal following that grows your business.

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Feb 15

How to Ensure Your Blog Posts Stay Evergreen

Content Marketing

The best part about content marketing is its versatility. It can be specific to your niche, free and anything you want it to be, plus it’s easy for beginners to get started.

That said, not every aspect of creating content is easy. In fact, content marketers can get discouraged in many ways and end up giving up altogether.

In this instance, we’re talking about the maintenance of content marketing. Updating older content is a great way to boost your SEO, but many marketers don’t take advantage of this opportunity.

Here’s why that should change.

Content’s Final Stage

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Content creation involves a defined process and repeated stages that begin with research. From there, the plan is formed to make new content over time. Once the content is designed or written, it’s published and shared, with not much done after the fact.

But the time after publishing, the maintenance phase, is vital. Unfortunately, in the fury of constantly pushing new content, the end of this process is often neglected.

The content you’ve created to provide long-term value — your evergreen content — plays an important role in your site. These pieces are designed to stay relevant over time and guide new customers to your brand, so they shouldn’t be neglected.

Just think about some of the benefits evergreen content brings to the table:

  • Driving traffic.
  • Backlinking.
  • Authoritative keywords.
  • Site and content continuity.
  • Improved ranking.

Evergreen and constantly maintained pieces serve as a foundation for the rest of your content and grow your authority on a subject. This also alleviates the stress of constantly struggling to source or validate new content.

Maintenance doesn’t have the urgency of creation, however, so it tends to take the backburner in content marketing. Content maintenance is about nurturing a sustainable relationship with your growing audience by keeping your post reliable.

If a loyal customer were to stumble upon an old, outdated post, they may lose faith in your brand.

Content maintenance is challenging though, which is why many content marketers ignore it. Evergreen content requires time, research and updates to stay relevant, which means adding a second plan in addition to your content marketing strategy.

Here are some methods you can use to update and maintain older content:

Technical Updates

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Like anything else, your site needs maintenance over time. Whether it’s broken links or an outdated background, technical issues are likely present in your old content.

Even if it was published in peak condition at the time, there will likely be one or more elements that should be updated.

For example, Google recently made changes to their meta descriptions. The previous limitation of 160 characters is no longer the case, so what was once optimized is no longer optimized.

Maybe your meta description still works for SEO today, but it’s still worth the time to refresh your old content and check for things like this.

You may also want to experiment with new title tags to boost engagement and refresh your post. You may find that you have broken links or links to outdated businesses or businesses that no longer operate, which harms your credibility.

Broken links hurt your SEO, so take the time to find newer information or statistics that emphasize your point and link to those. You can also update your “last updated” timestamp to show viewers that your content is fresh.

Another technical challenge is the way content is consumed now versus how it was consumed years ago. The end of Flash, for instance, has also ended plenty of excellent content pieces that relied upon it. If you created content with Flash, it won’t last much longer as Flash is being phased out. Many sites recommend Flash be disabled anyway, so it’s a change that will come no matter what.

A way to update that content for modern audiences is by switching out JPEG images for PNG images. PNG images have better quality and load times than JPEG images, so if you don’t update them, you may find that you have slower load times that impact your SEO.

Revitalize Your Most Popular Old Posts

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While maintenance is important, you don’t need to update every single piece of old content, nor should you. The best place to start with updates is with your best and most popular pieces, regardless of how old they may be.

You can find out what these pieces are with Google Analytics under the “Behavior” section. This section will show you a detailed breakdown of each page’s performance for the history of your site and the posts that have stayed popular over the years. You’ll then have a list of pieces that are worth maintaining.

If you focus on maintaining and revitalizing these older pieces of popular content, you’ll most likely be able to continue to leverage them in the future.

You may also want to consider why these content pieces have been so successful. Each piece of content has a purpose, so you may learn more about what works and what doesn’t by analyzing your popular pieces.

If you think that an older piece could do better, consider “upcycling.” Upcycling turns your old pieces into a new format, which is commonly done with a video. It’s the same information, but it’s presented in a way that revitalizes the content and gets it more attention.

Make Relevance a New Goal

No matter how evergreen you thought your content was, time will always make your posts irrelevant. Eventually, posts will turn into old news, which requires maintenance to keep them relevant.

One of the benefits here, however, is that you can turn your piece into something noteworthy with your new perspective. So, instead of focusing on updating the piece for popularity, focus on making changes to make it more relevant.

To start, evaluate your content according to three questions:

  • Does your content still pique interest?
  • Is it timely?
  • Will it provide a purpose to your users and your business?

If the answer to all three of these questions is yes, then you have content that’s worth updating.

The most relevant content will be viewed and shared more, so taking the time to revamp your relevant content can improve your content lifecycle.

Once you decide that the piece should and could be updated, it’s a good idea to check the topic with Google Trends to make sure there’s interest in the topic of the old post you’ve chosen to update. If you see too many peaks and valleys, you may want to wait until the optimal time to revamp your piece.

Final Thoughts

Content maintenance isn’t the most exciting part of developing a content marketing strategy, but it’s incredibly helpful for your business. If you want to continue to create evergreen content that grows your business, you need to put in the effort to reach your customers.

This means taking the time with your old blog posts and checking for technical issues, popularity and relevance to see what will work best. It also means making a serious commitment to making these changes.

Evergreen content isn’t designed for overnight success. Instead, it takes up a vital place in your content library that will bring traffic and credibility to your brand for years.

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Feb 09

Using Google Analytics to Improve Content Marketing

Content Marketing

Google Analytics provides remarkable free analytics tools to help marketers get more insights into their audience and improve their marketing efforts.

With so many tools to choose from, however, it can be overwhelming to learn and use them to inform your campaigns.

Fortunately, we’re here to discuss Google Analytics and help you get the most from these available tools for content marketing.

How Does Google Analytics Help Content Marketing?

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Data is used to guide marketing strategy. Google has a huge collection of data related to your audience and your business, so you can use this mountain of data for actionable insights about how your efforts perform and how you can correct or improve.

It also helps you answer questions about your content marketing strategy, such as:

  • Is my content marketing effective?
  • What opportunities am I missing with my content marketing?
  • Where am I losing customers, and how do I fix it?
  • What are some of my trends?
  • Are my efforts more or less effective?
  • What content types perform the best?
  • What are the gaps I missed?

The more in-depth data you can compile and the more questions you can answer, the better your insights you can gain to inform your strategy..

By using a methodical approach of reporting and metrics, you can determine if something is or isn’t working and why. You have the ability to analyze your traffic and audience to determine how customers interact with your business.

You can also decide if your content marketing is worth your investment, or find areas that are performing well, but can still be improved.

Here’s how:

Define Your Goals

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As we’ve discussed, Google Analytics has plenty of resources to measure your performance, but you should customize them to get valuable insights.

Defining goals is the best way to customize this process.

Four different goals that can be used to monitor your marketing strategy are:

  • Destination: a specific location.
  • Duration: session time.
  • Pages/Screens per session: a user viewing a specific number of pages or screens.
  • Event: a predefined action is triggered.

Google Analytics will help you set up your goals and walk you through the process.

Use On-Site Search

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Websites can grow rather quickly, especially with a blog. With so much growing content, it can be difficult for customers to get what they’re looking for unless they get there from Google directly.

Fortunately, you can help your customers find your website and stay there with a search bar. This will not only get them to the page they’re looking for, but it also gives you insights and data through the Google Analytics on-site search terms report.

With an on-site search terms report, you’ll discover the keywords that are most searched on your website and compare them with those you’ve targeted. You may find that your content should be updated with a new keyword and you may even want to create new content to gain better engagement and more traffic.

You may notice a lot of traffic to a specific page within the search, which can be used to:

  • Target pages with marketing campaigns.
  • Link the page with high traffic to low-performing pages.
  • Redesign the site to improve the visibility of your popular pages.

To perform this search in Google Analytics, log on to your account and go to the “Behavior” reports. From there, choose “Site Search” and “Search Terms.”

This takes you to the dashboard of your on-site search terms.

Optimize for Mobile

Mobile devices are used more by consumers than ever before, so it’s important that your site works well for mobile visitors. You should also verify that the changes you make work.

Log on to Google Analytics and find the “Audience” tab on the left side, then find the “Mobile” tab. Expand it to choose “Overview” to determine how well your site performs on mobile devices.

If you’ve defined a goal related to mobile traffic or conversions, it can be included in this report. On the right side, select the goal completion to display with mobile performance. With this information, you’ll be able to look at the conversion rate and goal completion over a time frame.

If you find that your mobile site version performs poorly in comparison to your desktop site version, you know that you need to do more to optimize your mobile site.

With Google’s recent mobile-first indexing policy, it’s vital that your site has high performance on mobile devices to keep your content marketing efforts effective.

Optimize Site Speed

Most sites load too slowly, meaning that they fall below the three-second benchmark for load times. In many cases, these sites take over nine seconds.

As the page load time increases from:

  • One second to three second, the bounce rate increases by 32 percent.
  • One second to five seconds, the bounce rate increases by 90 percent.
  • One second to six seconds, the bounce rate increases by 106 percent.
  • One second to ten seconds, the bounce rate increases by 123 percent.

This information matters for two reasons:

  • Speed affects  your bounce rate.
  • Google factors page speeds into ranking factors.

So, having slow load times will have a detrimental impact on your search engine ranking and traffic. Before you’re able fix this problem, however, you need to diagnose it. It may be a site-wide problem, or it could just be a particular page, so you can identify the particular pages and make improvements.

In Google Analytics, you can find this information under “Site Speed” and “Page Timing.” This report shows you the pages on your site and their respective load times, so you can analyze the particular pages.

You can also find a “Speed Suggestions” report, which will provide recommendations for how to improve the speed of different pages.

Know Your Customers

Gaining an in-depth understanding of your customers is paramount to your content marketing efforts. In fact, many marketers have already prioritized personalized experiences.

By tapping directly into your customers’ needs, you can increase your sales and profits.

Google Analytics Affinity Category reports can help with this. Log on to Google Analytics and find the “Audience” section on the left side. Here you will find “Affinity Categories.” Here you will see which affinity groups have high traffic and low bounce rates or high conversions on your site.

For instance, you may find that you perform well with unexpected segments of your audience. This information will help you develop your future marketing campaigns.

Another helpful report for understanding your customers is the “Audience” report. You’ll find this under the “Audience” section, but you’ll choose “Overview.”

While the overview doesn’t give you in-depth information regarding your customers, it will help you target broad interests like devices and locations.

Final Thoughts

We hope that these tips help you gather information to inform your content marketing campaigns. Keep in mind that these are only a few of the tools available with Google Analytics. Google holds an incredible amount of data about your website that can be useful.

On top of that, it’s completely free. It’s important to make use of what Google Analytics has to offer, so you can learn what is and isn’t working and elevate your content marketing campaign.

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Feb 02

How to Research and Optimize for Questions

SEO

If you’re not optimizing your content for questions, you’re missing out on opportunities to engage customers and drive more traffic to your site.

Questions are valuable for many reasons:

  • Question research is excellent content inspiration.
  • Questions are engaging and trigger a natural reflex to answer.
  • Questions are useful for audience research.
  • Question research gives you a better understanding of natural language for voice search.
  • Question optimization increases your organic search visibility.

Types of Questions and How to Categorize Them

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  • Basic questions: These typically define concepts, and those searching for them are looking for quick answers.
  • How-to questions: These typically include step-by-step questions.
  • Branded questions: These typically include a brand name or product name.
  • Online research questions: These are typically specific questions that relate directly to your product, such as pros and cons or reviews. These include:
  1. High-intent questions, such as asking how to buy.
  2. Navigational questions about site navigation.
  3. Competitive research questions, such as brand comparisons.
  4. Reputation questions, such as concern your company culture.

Regarding basic and how-to questions, the query may only have the intent of searching for information. That said, there’s always a possibility that this question is searched with the intent to purchase.

How to Discover Questions with Tools

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“People Also Ask” Tool

The “People Also Ask” tool from Google contains related questions to a given query. While not a lot of information is available on how Google generates these, we can assume that these questions would only be shown if there are enough queries to justify them.

More space is taken up in the search engine results by the “People Also Ask” tool, and showing up in more search engine results with one query is a valuable aspect of organic search visibility.

The “People Also Ask” tool is important for content marketing for two reasons:

  • It offers insight into the searches of the target audience.
  • It boosts organic search visibility.

Google Search Engine Results Page

Search results provide a lot of information about terms and concepts from search engine results pages, if you analyze them properly. A Text Optimizer tool will extract terms and concepts from the search engine results pages and analyzes them to provide a list of questions to include in content. This tool will expand on the knowledge you gain from the “People Also Ask” tool.

Google Suggest

Google Suggest is a search-based tool that’s designed for content marketers. Google autocompletes a query based on the most popular searches from other users. With this in mind, we can assume that Google Suggest results have a significant search volume or demand to end up in the suggested index.

The challenge with Google Suggest is deciding how to start the question to see it completed. First, you type your query in and hit search, then you pull your cursor back to the beginning of the query. If you add “how,” Google will suggest other popular searches.

You can take this a step further by using Serpstat, which is a keyword research tool that gives you niche questions according to your core question. You can also sort the results by the original question and filter questions by the most popular term to organize your results.

Quora

Quora is arguably one of the largest sources of questions online. Unlike some other discussion boards, however, Quora requires users to post discussions in a question form, so it only offers questions.

Quora’s search can be challenging, due to the complex architecture of topics, and it doesn’t show you the most popular questions. The algorithm works on personalization, timeliness, activity and some other factors.

With this in mind, the Buzzsumo Question Analyzer is useful to organize your Quora results. It aggregates results from Quora and other discussion boards to analyze your query and generate results, giving you in-depth insight into what searchers are looking for.

Twitter

Though not many content marketers use Twitter for this purpose, it’s an incredible source of content inspiration. Twitter’s question search allows you to see what questions users ask when discussing your brand or product with the following search:

Type [brandname ?] (be sure to include a space) into the search box and you’ll see any questions related to your brand, product or topic.

This can also be used to monitor your competitors and get an idea of what your prospective customers are searching for from them, so you can position yourself to solve customers’ problems better.

How to Include Questions in Your Content

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Questions provide a virtually limitless source of content marketing opportunities. Here’s how you can use questions to inform your content:

  • Create a frequently asked questions section that addresses the basic questions that come up in queries often.
  • Develop and optimize your existing content to address common questions.
  • Add Q&A sections to your landing pages, which may also help you get a product page in Google.
  • Develop new content to address a question that lacks satisfying answers.

The value of questions goes far beyond content, however. Question research should involve different departments in your company to maximize your results.

Basic Questions

Basic questions do well with content like glossaries or FAQ. The customer support and sales teams should use this information to adopt the same language or jargon as the customers. The CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) team should be involved as well, since basic questions could be transactional.

How-to Questions

How-to questions do well with content like FAQ and videos. Your CRO team should be involved, since these can lead to sales.

Branded Questions

  • ROPO (Research Online/Purchase Offline) questions: These should be addressed in the form of blog content or tutorials, which should be optimized for many related brand terms. The product management team should be involved to collect answers and feedback and to implement product improvements or updates.
  • High-intent questions: These should be addressed in the form of a product Q&A. The CRO team and A/B testing expert should be involved to optimize on-page conversions.
  • Navigational questions: These should be addressed with a product-specific knowledge base and video tutorials. The design team should be involved to improve usability and to solve any existing navigational concerns.
  • Competitive research questions: These should be addressed with specific landing pages and videos that address benefits, as well as being optimized for brand-related terms. The product management team should be involved to collect feedback and implement improvements. The sales team should also be involved to learn how to best explain the product benefits to potential customers.
  • Reputation questions: These should be addressed with landing pages and videos specific to the query. The reputation management team and social media team should be involved to address these questions properly and to ensure your brand has the best possible image.

Final Thoughts

Questions are incredibly useful for content marketing inspiration, but they can also provide insights into audience research, conversion optimization and product development. Optimizing for questions also boosts your SEO and ensures that your copy is ready to earn you more organic search visibility.

Researching questions and optimizing for them is a continuous process, however. Over time, you may discover new questions or new ways to find them, offering real-time knowledge that gives your business a competitive edge.

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Jan 25

Sales and Marketing Alignment to Reach Your Business Goals

Lead Gen

For many businesses, sales and marketing are delineated teams. Marketing is tasked with generating leads, while sales is responsible for qualifying leads and getting to the sale. Unfortunately, this can lead to a lot of dissension and opposition between the two teams, which impacts the success of both.

Sales and marketing alignment is one of the most important aspects of generating continued revenue for your business. What this means is that the sales and marketing teams collaborate to reach goals, rather than working singularly and in opposition.

In fact, businesses with proper alignment of sales and marketing have 36-percent higher customer retention rates and 38-percent higher sales, according to MarketingProfs. They also achieve higher revenue growth than businesses without alignment.

Despite this, sales and marketing alignment is something that many businesses struggle with. Here are the key elements both teams need to work on in order to achieve proper alignment and work together to reach goals.

Target Buyer and the Buying Process

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In order to be successful with your ultimate business goals, your sales and marketing teams must be in agreement about who the target buyer is, as well as understand the complexity of their journey. They must understand what they buyer is looking for, what they care about, and why they choose to buy the products or services.

There are two critical elements in understanding the buyer:

  • Buyer personas: These provide in-depth knowledge of the target buyers through demographics, objectives, priorities, and challenges, all of which inform the purchasing decision.
  • Buying process map: This is a detailed view into the buyer’s journey. It’s important to understand and map the buyer objectives, the activities they engage in, how they interpret information, and the communication tools they use to access that information.

Both of these elements are integral to the revenue chain, which means that they’re vital to both sales and marketing. In-depth buyer research informs the sales and marketing processes, content, and campaigns, giving them the tools necessary to reach the buyer in a compelling way.

Revenue Process

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Once both teams understand the buyer, next comes the revenue process. This refers to a set of conversion points that start at the top of the funnel — the awareness stage — and end with closing the sale. There are plenty of conversion points throughout the funnel, but the shared revenue process should focus on five to seven conversion points:

  • Lead.
  • Qualified lead.
  • Opportunity.
  • Demonstration.
  • Proposal.
  • Closing the sale.

These conversion points should be well-understood and agreed upon by both teams, and the process of tracking and reporting should be visible so that the process can be optimized.

Messaging

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Messaging is one of the bigger challenges in aligning sales and marketing, as well as a source of tension. Marketing tends to focus on the messaging, while sales tends to assume that marketing’s messages are ineffective. This issue usually arises from a disconnect between the two teams and their individual objectives.

Regardless of how effective a message is, however, the sales team needs to believe it and be able to use it properly in order to make the sale. Testing only goes so far, so marketers should tag along on sales pitches to get a real-world view of how the message comes across and to gauge the reaction. This not only helps marketing hone in on their own messages, but it also helps the sales team believe in the message.

Content

Content is a vital part of the selling process, but many salespeople don’t know how to use it effectively. This can be corrected by both teams coming to agreement and understanding about the following:

  • Content strategy.
  • When to use content.
  • How to use content.
  • How to judge the effectiveness of content.

Once this is achieved, salespeople have a better understanding about how to use content, and the marketing team can focus its efforts on the content.

Lead Handoff

Another challenge often faced by sales and marketing teams is when to send a lead to sales. The sales team tends to think that marketing can’t produce quality leads, due to a communication breakdown.

A qualified lead should have all the demographic and psychographic information, which are both agreed upon by the two teams and shared with all involved. By doing this, sales will have more trust in marketing to deliver truly qualified leads, and all will benefit.

Revenue Service-Level Agreements

There are several service-level agreements that need to occur between sales and marketing for alignment and success. The marketing team should agree to a quota of qualified leads, while the sales team should agree to a follow-up process that accounts for how quickly they follow up and how much effort they put into the process. If the marketing team’s leads fit the predetermined definition of a qualified lead, then sales should have no issue following up quickly and thoroughly.

Optimization

The common theme of all these elements of alignment is communication. The final agreement between the two teams should be to communicate on a regular basis and to continue to optimize the process. This can be achieved through regularly scheduled meetings to address any shortcomings and work toward solutions.

Here are some recommended meetings:

  • Revenue meetings: Revenue meetings should occur on a weekly basis. These meetings should cover reporting metrics at the various conversion points, the processes, and the expectations. At the end, a plan to improve in the future and specific goals for both teams should be reached.
  • Lead generation meetings: Both sales and marketing are tasked with generating leads and qualified leads, so meetings should occur on a regular basis to optimize this process. Both teams can view the metrics, specifically the conversion rate between leads given, and provide feedback for each team. During this meeting, the marketing team should prepare to optimize campaigns further, and the sales team should prepare to optimize the follow-up process.
  • Sales enablement meetings: Ultimately, the sales team wants assistance from marketing in moving sales prospects through the pipeline, and not the leads themselves. These meetings should review the content and determine what is and isn’t working, giving both teams a better understanding of how they can improve and reach sales goals.

These are a few recommended meetings, but meetings can be tailored to your specific teams. Initially, sales and marketing teams may need more frequent meetings to realize their shared goals and work together effectively, which may change over time.

Moving Forward

Sales and marketing alignment is a critical aspect of a successful business. Though achieving this alignment can be challenging, the goal of these two teams is generating revenue. Once both teams communicate openly and realize their shared goal, it’s much easier to align and work together toward achieving that goal.

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