Nov 29, 2017
On this episode, rather than addressing one marketing question, I’d like to share a conversation I had with the sales and marketing team at Curata.
Curata is a platform that can help you curate, plan and measure your content marketing efforts. It has a very nice, solid platform that allows you to select relevant content and quantify the ROI of your content. BTW, I am not affiliated with Curata at all, but I love their curation platform and analytic capabilities. You should check it out.
Curata is still in the startup phase. They have a full-time sales enablement manager, Sasha Laferte, who resides in marketing. Her job is to use content to educate prospects and help the sales team close deals.
I asked Sasha, what is the secret sauce of building alignment between marketing and sales?
What she said resonates with me: the “Holy Grail” is to think of sales and marketing as one team and share the same goal. She also mentioned that it’s important to sit down with the sales team to understand what their challenges and needs are. To stay on top of their needs, she sets up a monthly meeting with them. During the meeting, she shares the content roadmap and solicits feedback from them to modify content editorial so that everyone is on the same page. A two-way dialogue and regular communication is key.
She told me that she makes all the efforts possible to meet deadlines. It’s vital that she delivers what she commits to since sales is counting on her content to convince prospects and to get their prospects to the finishing line.
Sasha also makes a conscious effort to make the sales team’s job easy. If a long form piece of content is created, she not only shares the content, but also informs the sales team of the target persona, the stage in the purchase cycle for this piece of content, proposed e-mail copy for sales to forward, proposed social media copy and more. She makes a conscious effort to help the sales team understand how to use the content effectively.
Phil Cappadonna is the Director of Sales at Curata. I asked him, is the sales enablement function really necessary?
He said before Sasha, sales needed to create content and sell. That was a lot of work and it took time away from selling and talking to customers. In addition, each sales person was creating content to support his own sales efforts. Duplication and inefficiency were an issue. Having sales enablement support simplifies and prioritizes content needs. Monthly meetings allow sales to review the content pipeline. Occasionally, some sales reps have urgent desires to create specific types of content. After open discussion, they might realize that their need was not as urgent as they thought or that some other content piece suggested by others may accomplish similar objectives.
Then I asked Phil, what were his target areas for future improvement?
He answered that he would like to further explore the idea of storytelling. In addition to showcasing Curata’s platform and its benefits, he would like to make an effort to tell a convincing story about the offerings as a whole.
At the end of our conversation, Sasha mentioned that she did an anonymous survey when she was 6 months into the job. It gave the sales team an opportunity to provide honest feedback.
Phil admitted that their company is unusual in that it’s so committed to content and inbound marketing. I believe that’s usually a case for SaaS companies. And startup. Sales and marketing at Curata are both committed to demand generation. Both drive traffic to the websites. Both are all about leads and both strive to measure the effectiveness of their content. Sharing the same goal between sales and marketing is crucial to them.
I understand that Curata is a start-up and the team is small so it’s easy to build a friendly and tight rapport between sales enablement and sales. But you can also do that with bigger team with a positive attitude and a commitment to your internal stakeholders. It has nothing to do with the size of a company. Sasha said it perfectly, “It’s about listening and respecting the sales team’s needs.” I agree! Of course, the sales team needs to meet her halfway, as well.
Sasha and Phil, it’s wonderful that you have such a great relationship. Thank you for sharing your story.
Thank you for listening, until next week.