Businesses traditionally grow to a size at which Sales and Marketing are forced into separate corners. But business leaders recognize that these two departments affect each other at every step they take. Without the help of the sales team, Marketing might fail to properly understand the needs of its target market. And if Marketing were to vanish tomorrow, leads for the sales team likely would as well.

Yet the teams often don't work as collaboratively as they should. In fact, they may even be at odds. Sales might blame Marketing when leads are lacking, and Marketing might criticize Sales when a lead falls through the cracks. The result: more division, less revenue.

Only 46% of marketers describe their sales and content marketing teams as well-aligned. That means 54% of companies are relying on sales and content teams with too much tension between them and not enough cooperation.

To get the maximum return on investment from their content marketing and sales teams, executives need to create a culture that enables those teams to work together. Here's a three-step guide to creating that kind of company atmosphere.

1. Make communication easy

You don't have to hold more meetings to encourage communication. After all, nobody likes to sit in a meeting when she could be cracking away at her to-do list. Marketers want to be creating content and marketing materials, and salespeople want to be closing more leads. So rather than cramming these two teams into a room together for a few hours a week, encourage collaboration in an organic, enjoyable way.

At my company, our marketing and sales departments sit right next to each other. When one of our marketers has a question for the sales team, all he has to do is scoot a chair a few feet away or get up and take a short walk. That isn't just an easier way to answer work-related questions, it also allows these teams to chat and get to know each other better. And it's a constant reminder that the two departments need to work together cohesively.

If your sales and marketing departments can't work in close proximity, they can still interact in a beneficial way. Encourage communication through Slack or Skype. You can create specific chat groups or threads that can be designated for the sales and marketing teams to ask questions and collaborate.

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image of Kelsey Raymond

Kelsey Raymond is a co-founder and the CEO of Influence & Co., a content marketing firm that helps companies showcase their expertise through thought leadership. Its clients range from venture-backed startups to Fortune 500 brands.

LinkedIn: Kelsey (Meyer) Raymond

Twitter: @Kelsey_M_Meyer