When it comes to B2B marketing, alignment across teams can make or break your ability to execute campaigns successfully.
Unfortunately, with a diversity of roles, functions, and technologies, teams are, more often than not, siloed. Singular, one-off projects are matched with custom, one-off KPIs or limited to a siloed business unit. Demand gen may know that the content team is blogging about X topic, but they're more focused on lead generation for a different customer segment. Meanwhile, the product team knows a major event is coming up, but has no insight into what the events team is planning.
So, how do you create internal alignment around a shared vision? Planning.
When you plan a marketing road map, you increase your odds of success. Average website conversion for companies with defined processes is more than twice that of companies without (5.9% vs. 3.8%). Moreover, a plan helps you pinpoint what efforts work and what doesn't, so you can not only have a repeatable, scalable process, but you also have a process that can be easily iterated to improve results.
Ready to create alignment in your marketing team? Follow these four steps to plan your marketing content and create better cross-team alignment.
1. Establish Your Vision
Your vision is the what. Your team needs to decide what it is you want to accomplish with your marketing efforts. Are you aiming to:
- Grow pipeline
- Strengthen value propositions
- Optimize customer experience
This vision ought to be more than just your numbers, although some may be closely tied to a metric. Instead, your vision should provide clarity, which includes how day-to-day tasks fit within the broader vision.
With a vision, each team, regardless of roles, can plan how their function aligns with what the team wants to do, and how the marketing as a whole fits within the broader vision of helping the company achieve its goals.
2. Plan Key Initiatives
So you have your vision, now teams can plan key initiatives that align with that vision. Different teams within an organization are, by nature, going to be tasked with different responsibilities. Alignment is about bridging the gap among the differences.
Build your key initiatives into a road map and write them down as a team. Keep them in a place your entire team can see.
At Kapost, we use the pillar model to plan marketing campaigns, i.e., initiatives. If our vision is to strengthen our value propositions, we may choose to make our next campaign about running a data-driven content operation. The pillar model, however, requires work from more than just the content team, but we already have internal buy-in from supporting teams because the initiative supports our shared vision.
From there, we can build additional initiatives that also support our vision, perhaps digital marketing will create new web pages and demand gen will build out new nurture tracks. With multiple initiatives flowing around a single vision, along with the visibility of a written plan, other teams can leverage each others work so that the content team can highlight product pages in blog posts and demand gen can use the content team's ebook in a nurture track email.
3. Create Workflows
Pre-determined, custom workflows involve outlining the owner and deadlines, step by step, for your marketing content—the secret to taking your campaign from idea to reality, with minimal bottlenecks.
How many times have you been stuck waiting for someone to build out a landing page, finalize web copy, or share the link to the product video? How often have you been the person someone is waiting for? Most of the time, it's because people forget, or don't see your task request as a priority.
With an initiative supported by a united vision, you can build workflows that align with individual priorities and capacity. Your workflows will line up expectations with the reality of work loads and deadlines.
Now tasks can be complete and not forgotten, you can stop sifting through emails to remember that thing you were asked to do, and your team can shake off the negative sentiments that come with frustrating bottlenecks.
If you need a little help with setting up your workflows, we have some printable planning templates that may help.
4. Set Goals
Finally, in order for alignment to be achieved, you need to set up measurable goals and metrics. Take your vision and put it into numbers.
Let's return to our Kapost example, where our vision was to strengthen value props. Accordingly, we might measure our qualified lead rate, to tell us if our top of the funnel content truly supports our value props or if it's missing the mark. Perhaps we'd measure the number of opportunities that turned into closed deals, to provide insight into how product marketing materials supported our sales team (although multiple factors may be at play). We could even start to measure the percentage of our traffic that went to new product-centric web pages and then check the bounce rate.
Setting measurable goals creates alignment because an entire team has something to work towards as an integrated unit, instead of individual KPIs.
True alignment is more than just project visibility, although that's important. It's about buy-in across key initiatives—from idea to in progress to final completion—because each initiative supports a value proposition aimed at driving measurable results.
Forget ad hoc projects or siloed teams. Instead, focus on a plan that brings alignment, empowering your teams to focus on creating their best work.
Download the Modern Marketing Essentials Guide to Content Marketing to improve your content marketing strategy, while aligning your team to work toward the same goals.