Converging Marketing and Sales Teams around Content

Highlights from ConnectIn 2016

July 14, 2016

LinkedIn's ConnectIn Sydney

B2B marketers and sales professionals equally struggle with influencing the buyer’s process. While we’re both trying to show prospects how our company can benefit their business, we are rarely set up to help each other when only 8% of brands have their sales and marketing teams aligned. This causes trouble at a grand scale when an estimated $1 Trillion USD is lost due to misalignment between our teams.

We explored how marketing and sales can come together to solve this challenge at LinkedIn’s ConnectIn 2016 event yesterday in Sydney. Our speakers shared how these two separate teams must converge around common customer-centric goals to close new business and retain customers. The benefits of building a seamless customer experience are substantial to the bottom line. Brands who do this well have seen 36% lower churn rates.

What does Customer Centricity Look Like?

The common denominator between sales and marketing is out obsession with customers – finding them, converting them, keeping them. Research into how top performing companies have adopted a customer-centric approach cross-functionally across their organisations highlights common ground for managers. The findings were presented by Casper Write, Managing Partner at Veemer, and Sabina Sobinina, APAC Insights Manager at LinkedIn, and included convergence around:

  • Mapping all communication – from the brand and individual sales reps – to a clear, shared brand purpose
  • Personalising the customer experience with data across product design, customer support, sales, and brand messaging
  • Insuring that all customer touch points are consistent

Content is the Link Between Companies and Customers

The heart of customer centricity is content. Our keynote speaker was David Meerman Scott, internationally acclaimed marketing strategist and author of bestsellers such as The New Rules of Marketing & PR and The New Rules of Sales and Service. During his session, David explained, “Content is the link between companies and customers.”  

He shared multiple real-world examples of sales and marketing working together across customer-centric content. Some of his recommendations include:

How can B2B marketers do a better job with content?
  • B2B is not “Be too Boring,” marketers should aim to develop content that equally informs and entertains
  • Don’t focus on data sheets and press releases alone. Hire journalists and specialists in telling stories and holding the attention of the reader
  • Be relevant and real-time through newsjacking
How can sales be involved with content?
  • Don’t let your leads get cold, responding to leads within one hour generates 7x higher conversations
  • Use social media to engage prospects
  • Be real-time responding proactively with content to help them make a decision

Where to Start Aligning and how LinkedIn can Help

Matt Tindale, APAC Director of LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, and Mark Dick, ANZ Director for LinkedIn Sales Solutions, further discussed the importance of sales and marketing convergence and how LinkedIn can assist in this collaboration around customers.

Agree on a defined customer persona so that marketing creates an experience for prospects that the sales team can easily close. LinkedIn’s targeting is based on member profile data and can provide a clear picture of your target audience’s experience, education, skills, seniority, industry, and more.

Empower your sales team to curate branded content. LinkedIn can help with tools like Elevate, which allow marketers to turn employees into brand advocates.

Create content based on data, sales feedback, and customer research. For example, we look across all three of these pillars to create a content strategy for APAC at LinkedIn. We have data on what our customers consume and how they use our site – which is also used by our Product team to continuously evolve the member experience. We incorporate feedback from field sales into a full-funnel content strategy so that marketing campaigns compliment what sales shares with customers. And we perform customer research to understand what’s working and what they want to hear from LinkedIn.

Distribute content within a relevant context. By including LinkedIn as a content distribution and engagement platform in your content strategy, you’ll reach highly-targeted professionals while they are thinking about their business and consuming information that they truest. Our Sponsored Content reaches members in the newsfeed and Sponsored InMail helps with one-to-one reach within our professional messaging environment.

Drive warm referrals and follow your customers online. Tools like Sales Navigator can scale those warm referrals. Additionally, it arms your entire sales team with insights into what individuals are sharing so that they can effectively curate relevant content, research, and tips that will help them become trusted advisors.

If you’re ready to explore more around how to build your content strategy, download The Australian Guide to Content Marketing, which we shared hard copies of to all event attendees at ConnectIn 2016.