Content can be your sales team’s best tool for meeting the diverse needs of B2B buyers, according to research by Content Marketing Institute and LinkedIn. Yet, the research also shows that roughly 80 percent of content created by marketing goes unused by sales.
Look at your own marketing program: Is your sales team aware of all the content you create? Are they using it to support conversations with prospective customers?
If you answered no to either, that’s a huge miss. And, unfortunately, all too common.
Successfully aligning sales and marketing can help generate over 200 percent more marketing revenue, close 38 percent more deals and earn 36 percent higher customer retention rates.
To get those types of results, engage sales when creating content and effectively arm them with the material.
Educate & engage sales throughout the content development process
During a voice of customer research project, we learned that sales representatives are one of customers’ top sources for content – surpassing trade publications. Therefore, it’s important to educate your sales team about their role in providing prospects and customers with industry knowledge. In fact, LinkedIn found that 92 percent of B2B buyers will engage with a sales professional if that professional is a known industry thought leader. With that kind of power, the sales team needs quality content that also aligns with the buyers’ needs.
Your sales team is on the front lines talking with customers daily. To create the most effective content, engage your sales team from the start. Pick their brains and ask questions like:
- Which pieces of content are well-received by customers?
- What questions are your customers asking?
- How do you use or how will you use content in the sales process?
Build content that meets these needs and ask for feedback on the finished piece. The more your sales and marketing teams communicate, the better and more useful your content becomes for nurturing and educating prospects.
Arm your sales team
Sales teams are busy. They often don’t have time to review all existing content and seek out relevant pieces for each customer meeting. Your job is to make it easy for them to use content in real time. Here are four ways you can help arm your sales team with the right content for every sales meeting:
Leverage your CRM platform – Some CRM platforms make it easy to alert sales reps when new content is available. Leverage your CRM to share content for specific prospects based on where they are at in the sales cycle, their industry vertical or purchasing role.
Email – Beyond your CRM, share content with your reps on an ongoing basis through email. Whether weekly or monthly, send regular emails linking to published content and include a high-level summary with tips for when and how they can share it.
Create a content hub – We can all agree our inboxes get overwhelming and finding specific information when you need it can be a challenge. A content hub where all material is stored will help your sales team easily access what they need. Make it even easier for them to navigate by organizing the hub according to common sales situations, industry segments or purchasing roles.
Sales decks – Turn your most compelling data or case studies into slides for sales presentations. Develop a few slides that your sales team can leverage in business reviews. These high-level snippets of content can also create an opportunity for your sales team to follow up post-meeting with the full article or report.
Your sales team is a key extension of your content development team. To get the most out of your content, engage sales and arm them with content to help nurture your future customers.
What's your take? Do you find this to be true in your work, as well? Share your comments on LinkedIn, tagging @Inprela.