Mind the gap between sales and marketing – it can be a big one to cross successfully. Unfortunately, marketing often isn’t considering what sales needs when creating content, and many sales reps don’t know about all the great marketing content they have at their fingertips.
This is a serious problem since B2B buyers today complete 57% of the sales process before ever engaging with a sales rep, according to research from Google and CEB. Buyers are visiting your company’s website and reading case studies, blog posts, eBooks and much more before they ever get on the phone with a rep. If this concerns you, it may be time to update your marketing content to help drive the sales process.
Here’s how you can better align your content marketing with your sales team, in order to create targeted content and close more deals.
Create Sales-Focused Content
Your marketing team shouldn’t just be writing content for their own amusement. They should work closely with sales leadership to create content specifically tailored to your company’s ideal customer. First, you have to figure out who that ideal customer is – is it a manager from a small business or a VP at an enterprise-level company? Then, marketing should create an array of different content that targets that profile and follows that buyer’s journey through the sales process. This should begin with simple content to attract leads to enter the top of the funnel and transition to more detailed and in-depth content to move prospects down the funnel. By creating targeted content, marketing is essentially taking the first step in the sales process and qualifying prospects before they talk to a rep.
Warm Up Leads with Content
Reading content on your website isn’t just great for qualifying leads, it can also act as a powerful trigger event for sales reps to use on an initial cold call. You should put forms on all of your higher-level content, so that you know when a new prospect clicks on it and reads it. When a prospect downloads your newest eBook, a sales rep can quickly call that prospect and say, “I see you downloaded our eBook on X. What did you think of it? I’d love to talk to you about it.” This conversation is usually much more productive than a traditional cold call, because the prospect already knows something about you and has shown that they’re interested in learning more. You’ll see a much higher conversion rate on cold calls using content-based triggers, in comparison to a cold call using no content at all.
Use Content Strategically
Once a sales rep gets on the phone with an interested prospect, that doesn’t mean the collaboration between marketing and sales should end. Beyond the content they’ve created to qualify leads, marketing should also have a readily-accessible list of resources for reps to use throughout the sales process. This could include the most popular case studies, eBooks, competitive comparisons and much more. After the initial call with a prospect, reps should continue to use content creatively in all of their interactions with the prospect. In a follow-up email to the prospect, the rep can reference a great case study or blog post that may be of interest or help them overcome a specific sales objection. This keeps the prospect engaged, thinking of your product, and always learning more before they decide to buy.
If you’re concerned that the content your marketing department is creating isn’t helping your sales team, it’s time to act. Get your sales and marketing leaders together and come up with a new strategy to use targeted content to help your sales process, push your team of reps to use that content, and you’ll see great results.