Understandably, content marketing and sales are two distinct departments in a business.
But that’s not to say that they’re so different they have no connection with each other – far from it.
Actually, when content marketing and sales work together, you’re more likely to have “happily-ever-after” endings for your business.
No, not a literal end, you know, like cessation, but results. Here are some statistics to clear your doubts:
- When content marketing and sales teams work together, they are 67 percent better at closing deals
- Almost 90 percent of teams that align content marketing and sales report an increase in leads and conversions
- Aligning sales and marketing teams leads to 24% faster three-year revenue growth and 27% faster three-year profit growth
The question is, how can sales teams help with content marketing? Consider these four ways.
1. Use sales calls for marketing content ideation
In the 2018 B2B Content Marketing Trends, 74 percent of respondents said they value creativity and craft in content creation and production. Undoubtedly, you’ll agree that creativity in the content creation process begins with coming up with topic ideas to create content on. Thankfully, this shouldn’t be difficult if you let your sales team help you.
Your sales team is in a good position to help with content ideas for every stage of the sales funnel. They’ll hear objections or problems prospects have with your product or service and it can help them create content addressing this problem, where they can easily direct prospects to instead of verbally responding to the same objection over and over again. If they’re not creating the content – which they should – they can send it over to the marketing department or your writers who will handle it better.
One example of content that can address objections of prospects is found on the FAQ or “Help” section of your site. Taking notes during sales calls can give topic ideas for these parts of your site. Questions on an FAQ or Help section also stand a good chance of ranking on the featured snippets part of search engine results, aka position zero.
Here’s a typical Help page from Dropbox.
It has a comprehensive list of issues customers and prospects are facing and answers to them.
Also, apart from the drudgery of manually taking notes of common objections and pain points of prospects, marketers can use a tool like ClickMeeting to watch replays of sales demos, where they can see common problems and objections from prospects firsthand, which will give them ideas for blog posts, FAQs, or even gated content.
2. Don’t overlook sales’ content assets
An effective sales team will generally use some content resources to generate and close leads. Ideally, your sales team are often in the best position to create such content assets because they can easily gauge how important a problem is to prospects by their tone of voice and they can address these concerns by using terms the prospects are using. That has been proven to be a powerful copywriting tactic that’s excellent for increasing conversions and sales.
Additionally, research has shown that up to 70 percent of marketing content is unused. It happens because content marketers create content that disinterests prospects because they don’t know what’s going on in a typical sales funnel.
People readily think of content like webinars, case studies, or white papers as good content assets for generating leads, but a demo is also great for lead generation. Here it is in practice from the folks at Scoop.it.
Demos are excellent content assets
If a sales team do not have the time or skills to create content, they can offer content recommendations for every stage of the customer’s journey or every stage of the sales funnel to content marketers. This will help these marketers create content that will make the customer’s journey successful or push them down the sales funnel to the inevitable close.
3. Send sales leads to the marketing team
Sometimes sales teams have leads of their own they did not acquire through content marketing but maybe through companies that sell leads, or in-person events for example. After several follow-ups and conversations with these leads, they may still not be ready to buy yet. It’s not uncommon to have sales teams discard them as bad leads, but they should do better.
Cold-calling or buying leads works, but the fact is, not everyone will purchase from you initially. Maybe they’re not a part of just 19 percent of buyers who prefer to connect with a salesperson during the awareness stage of the buying process. And that’s okay.
Salespeople need to change tactics here.
Sending some of those leads to the marketing team for nurturing is a good idea. A Forrester report shows that 82 percent of customers viewed five or more pieces of content from the winning vendor before making a purchase. Those leads probably need content tailored to their unique stage in the sales funnel, and the marketing team should be on hand to deliver several pieces of content for their consumption.
Yet, the reality is, it may still not work out and some such leads will still not buy, but nurturing them and giving them a chance is still better than classifying them as bad leads.
4. Sales teams can help in creating more accurate buyer personas
Buyer personas help you determine who your target market is and the best way you can market to them. There are many ways you can create buyer personas, but Jeff summarizes it best with these questions:
- What are their biggest problems and challenges in their job?
- Where do they get their information from? Blogs, trade magazines, books?
- What would stop them changing to your product or service?
- What conferences do they attend?
- How do they convince their boss to make a buying decision? Do they print off an ebook and put it on his desk?
- What media do they consume? YouTube videos, white papers, podcasts?
Without personas, you’ll likely be creating content you think your audience wants and not content they really need. Personas make your content creation efforts more likely to succeed and strike a chord with your audience.
Your sales team is at the forefront of customer interaction, especially if you’re a startup is trying to get your first few customers, so they’re in a good position to help you with creating content your audience will devour.
The first point about taking notes during sales calls or watching replays comes in handy here. You’ll notice common objections to purchasing your products or challenges that prospects may have and that will help with fleshing out a buyer persona.
Here’s what a persona template looks like in Xtensio.
Image Source: Proposify
Don’t skimp on building personas, and even if you have one already you may revisit it again especially if you’re not finding success with your content marketing efforts – this time with help from your sales team. According to a B2B Benchmark Study by Cintell, “65 percent of companies that revised their personas within the last six months beat out the competition when it came to exceeding revenue and sales goals.”
Increase your content marketing ROI
When your content marketing and sales teams work as one, the benefits are enormous. However you choose to do it – whether in the actual content creation process or in creating buyer personas and content ideation – you can accomplish more with your content marketing efforts if you involve your sales team.
The question is, will you?
Guest Author: Vikas Agrawal is a start-up Investor & co-founder of the Infographic design agency Infobrandz that offers creative and premium visual content solutions to medium to large companies. Content created by Infobrandz are loved, shared & can be found all over the internet on high authority platforms like HuffingtonPost, Businessinsider, Forbes , Tech.co & EliteDaily.