Sales and content marketing teams are more closely linked than businesspeople may realize.
Those on the sales team are privy to insights that help content marketers craft lead-generating content and drive traffic to company websites.
On the other side, the sales team needs certain types of content from the content team to help it communicate with potential customers.
Bridging this knowledge gap takes more communication than the teams may be used to. First, both sides need to communicate their needs.
As problems and issues arise, consistent communication between teams is the only way to address these issues as soon as they appear. When content marketing and sales get together, they become an unstoppable company asset.
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Generate Leads via Social Media Sharing
When LinkedIn conducted a study of B2B sales focusing on how companies perceived sales reps, representatives who felt that a product wasn’t relevant to their business did not view sales reps favorably. However, when the sales reps came across as “thought leaders” in their respective fields, 92 percent of potential buyers were willing to engage with them.
Content is an untapped resource for many salespeople but it shouldn't be. When sales representatives share content on their personal blogs, LinkedIn pages, or Twitter accounts, they begin to brand themselves as thought leaders. Potential customers want to engage with someone who has valuable information to offer not just a sales pitch. Approaching customers cold via LinkedIn and other business networks generates more leads when your online presence shows a deep knowledge of your field and your product.
Give Content Teams Access to Customer Questions
Salespeople are the contact point for many customers, which is why salespeople (instead of the customer service line) often receive emails with questions about operating the product. The content team can use these questions to generate more content topics. An in-depth article tackling a difficult problem, a how-to series for beginners, or an instructive video are all great opportunities for the content team.
What’s more, reps will have a bigger arsenal of resources for potential customers when the content team starts creating content based on customer questions. Head off questions in the first place by sharing a handy beginner’s guide or a series of articles focusing on operation with new customers. How-to content, especially in the form of an attractive, readable infographic, offers a great way of convincing a potential buyer that the product is easy to use. A sales rep can share instructional content to boost his or her own credibility as a thought leader.
Focus Content on the Buyer
The content marketing team wants to focus content on potential customers, and the best way to know who potential customers are and what they want is to talk to the sales reps who interact with them. Sales reps may be wishing for a certain type of content to engage an audience, but without proper communication, the content marketing team has no way of knowing that.
Content that focuses on the buyer sees buying the product as a journey and offers resources to illuminate that journey. Information about the product is a good place to start, but the content marketing team also needs to create content centering around the industry. Data about business, articles spotlighting industry leaders, and infographics with relevant information that offers solutions to common problems are other great types of content to produce.
Keep Potential Buyers Invested
Sales reps have an interesting hurdle to overcome: buying committees. In larger organizations, purchasing decisions don’t come from a single person. They require executive approval from several different people. Convincing one contact point to buy is just the beginning of the battle; sales reps have to be so effective that the contact point is able to convince a committee, or at least one or two other executives.
Content is a surprising resource but an effective one. The right couple of articles and infographics might provide the simple, effective information that your contact point needs to convince the others to buy your product. Your contact won’t be able to deliver your sales pitch, so provide resources straight from the creatives at your company to help your contact craft his or her own.
Sharing content with potential buyers is another way to keep your company on their radar during negotiations. It takes more than a few days to leverage budgets and get approval, and you don’t want a prospective buyer to start thinking that maybe the company will be fine without your product after it hasn’t engaged with you for a week or two. Shooting over an e-mail containing a great new article is helpful, and it keeps you in mind.
Meet Together More Frequently
The content team and the sales team need to meet together at least once every two weeks. Sending e-mails and staying updated electronically is good in the interim, but short face-to-face meetings are most effective. You want to discuss the problems each team is having so the other team can help. If you see problems or issues developing, this is the time to make everyone aware so that you can put a plan in place.
One frequent problem sales reps run into is that of relatability. A Forrester-released graph indicates that potential sales leads often feel that sales reps can’t relate to their positions that sales reps don’t have relevant case studies or information. If sales reps report that they’re running into these problems, the content team can come to the rescue. Creating some case studies and writing content that gives sales reps the right insight into the people to whom they’re selling can help avoid these issues, showing customers that sales reps do understand what they’re looking for after all.
Related Article: Shortening the Sales Cycle Through Content Marketing
Content marketing has much more flexibility than traditional advertising, which makes it the perfect resource for addressing many of the concerns the sales team has. When content is relevant to buyers’ experiences and when the sales team understands how to use the content that already exists better leads and more sales are in the offing.