When you’re making a big purchase, you probably don’t walk into the store and drop next month’s rent on the first top-shelf item you see. You do your homework first: You go online to compare specs, read reviews, comb through resources, and weigh your options. And even though there’s a salesperson at your beck and call, you want to be informed when you get there.

B2B buyers operate the same way. They’re spending large amounts of money on behalf of their organizations, and they’re going to make sure no dollar is wasted. To ease buyers’ fears, your sales team needs the right content at its disposal to help educate and build trust with prospective customers. And the best way to achieve that is to align your marketing and sales teams.

A Beneficial Partnership

Your marketing team may be producing engaging content, and your sales reps may be friendlier than Mr. Rogers, but your approach is doomed if the two aren’t on the same page.

A solid partnership between marketing and sales leads to a much stronger content marketing program and brings out the best in each department. In fact, alignment can boost marketing revenue by 200 percent and increase customer retention rates by 36 percent. Highly aligned marketing and sales teams understand the ins and outs of each role, resulting in growth for the entire organization.

Done correctly, aligning these teams forms a mutually beneficial partnership: Marketing can create more specialized, effective content for sales, and sales better understands when and how to use that content to enable conversations and close sales.

5 Ways to Connect Your Marketing and Sales Teams

Unfortunately, aligning marketing and sales isn’t a one-step process. You can’t toss sales reps a bunch of irrelevant content and assume they’ll utilize it, just as you can’t expect marketing to produce effective content without the right insights from sales. Thankfully, there are several strategies to combine the two teams and create a long-term, productive collaboration between them.

1. Get people in the same room.

It sounds simple, but the first step to aligning marketing and sales is to physically get them together. Hold regular content brainstorms every week or month to keep both teams in the loop and working toward their shared goals.

The key to making these meetings effective is to prep for them in advance. Sales reps should come prepared to discuss the objections they’re hearing from prospects and what resources could help them overcome those objections. And marketers should be ready to take notes on the talking points that have worked well with leads so they can incorporate them into future content.

2. Collaborate on content.

Content creation may be marketing’s specialty, but that doesn’t mean sales should step back and “leave it to the creatives.” Involving sales in the creation process does two key things. First, it helps ensure the content meets your sales team’s unique needs because it’s being informed by those with direct sales experience. Second, it helps your sales reps understand exactly what resources are being created and when they can use them in their conversations. This collaboration leads to better content that stands a chance of being used consistently to streamline the entire sales process.

3. Keep communication open.

It’s easy to get complacent after a few productive meetings. But things are always changing, and it’s vital that marketing and sales stay in touch. Communication platforms like Slack provide a convenient way to ask questions that can’t wait until the next meeting. But don’t just reach out when you’re confused. Consider having marketing shadow sales calls to gain more insight and keep the dialogue going.

Surveys are another great way to generate creative ideas for content. Implement a form that lets anyone submit content suggestions. Follow it up with open-ended questions like “Why should we cover this topic?” and “How could this content drive sales?” to engage with your entire team. You never know when a content-related light bulb will go off, and providing an outlet like a form or survey can help capture the inspiration as soon as it strikes.

4. Create a resource library.

Sales reps don’t have hours to spend searching for that one blog post they think the company wrote three years ago. As you continue working together, your content stockpile is only going to get bigger. That’s why creating a central resource library should be a no-brainer for every marketing-sales alignment initiative.

It’s up to you how you organize the library, as long as it’s easy for your sales reps to access. You might consider structuring it by product, sales situation, or some other common theme. This way, sales reps can easily get their hands on the content they need to prepare themselves and their prospects for better conversations.

5. Debrief.

You’ll never know if your efforts are working unless each team shares feedback with the other. Hopefully, your sales team will have a number of successes to report since you started collaborating. Inevitably, though, not everything’s going to work — feedback allows both teams to make the needed course corrections.

So reserve part of your meetings for debriefing. Use your website’s analytics to see what content’s been successful from a marketing perspective, and talk to members of your sales team to determine what content has worked for them during the sales process.

Truly bringing marketing and sales together doesn’t happen overnight. But if you take the right steps and commit to the process, you may find that this alignment is the growth catalyst your organization needs.