If you had to boil down the purpose of your marketing team into a single sentence, what would it be? My guess is that you’d say something along the lines of “Marketing’s job is to create content that generates leads, and then supplies those leads to our salespeople for follow-up.”
You wouldn’t be wrong with that answer: That is a tremendous part of marketing in today’s world, where a huge bulk of a potential customer’s buying research is conducted online. By creating valuable content, Marketing is able to attract the leads that Sales will then be able to sell to.
But this isn’t the only thing that Marketing should be doing. In addition to creating content that attracts leads, Marketing should also be using that content to enable your sales team to close sales.
Analyze Your Buyer Personas
Marketing eats, sleeps, and breathes buyer personas, and with good reason: Accurate buyer personas ensure that Marketing is creating content that will attract the appropriate kind of prospects. If the buyer personas aren’t accurate, then Marketing will create the wrong kind of content—and attract the wrong kind of prospects—which will ultimately leads to fewer closed sales.
As such, Marketing must constantly adjust their buyer personas to be sure that they are attracting the right kind of leads. After all, buyer challenges change from time to time, so the content used to attract them should likewise change as needed.
While Marketing has access to research and statistics about their buyers, Sales directly interacts with buyers every single day. This makes salespeople a valuable resource to Marketing: Who better to glean insight into your buyers from than the people who interact with them daily?
Sales can provide Marketing with a treasure trove of data—the common goals, challenges, and aspirations of buyers—which Marketing can then use to create valuable and on-trend content that will attract more of the right kind of prospect. This is a really big component of enabling Sales: Listening to input from Sales and creating the content that the ideal buyer actually needs.
Create a Centralized Library of All Marketing Content
According to a study by IDC, up to 80% of the content created by marketing teams never gets used by Sales. A big part of why this is the case is that Sales often either doesn’t know that certain content exists, or doesn’t know where it is located on your company’s servers.
If your sales team can’t find the content that you’ve already created, then they are either forced to do without it or to create it on their own from scratch—which is a big waste of time that they could put to better use by selling.
To better enable Sales with the content that you’ve created, there needs to be a centralized content library of sorts that keeps everything in one place. Whether this is a content management system (CMS) or some kind of organized, sortable spreadsheet is up to you, but you need some way to organize the various kinds of content that you create (this includes customer testimonials, webinars, white papers, ebooks, infographics, videos, email templates, blog posts—everything).
Help Sales Answer Frequently Asked Questions
It’s no secret that salespeople often find themselves answering the same questions from prospects over and over again. This leads to a lot of retyped emails and long phone calls, which ultimately leads to a lot of wasted time that your Sales team could have been using to actively sell.
Marketing can aid sales in this regard by asking Sales to tell them what questions they get asked repeatedly, and then using these questions to create shareable content (whether in the form of a blog post, downloadable pdf, or some other sort of content). Then, the next time Sales is asked the question, it’s easy for them to send either a link or a document to the customer. This saves time, allows your salespeople from derailing their conversations with prospects, and ensures that messaging is consistent across all channels.
Supply Sales with Content for Social Selling
Salespeople are spending more and more time selling, researching prospects, and building brand awareness through social media—this is, after all, where a lot of prospects spend the majority of their time online. Your sales team understand that they need to be active on social media, and they know the importance of building a big following, but they often struggle with it because they don’t have content to share.
Marketing teams can help with this challenge by providing Sales access to a library of content that Sales can then distribute through their own social networks. Something as simple as notifying Sales weekly of any new content that has been created will make it much easier for Sales put that content to use.
If they really want to be proactive in enabling Sales with social media, marketing teams can go so far as to pre-write the social posts that would go along with the content, and send these posts to the sales team in a weekly digest. In addition to making it easier for salespeople to share the content, this also guarantees that the posts contain any relevant terms and keywords that will help attract the right audience.
Don’t Forget About The Bottom of the Funnel
When marketers are brainstorming and creating content, they’re usually focusing on awareness stage content: The stuff that will likely attract the most eyeballs. While this is great for generating leads, it leaves the sales team holding the bag as the funnel becomes more and more narrow because Marketing didn’t create anything needed for the end of the deal.
Marketing can easily save Sales a lot of time and effort by drafting some bottom-of-the-funnel resources that Sales can use when finalizing their deals. Things like one-page product/service sheets, competitive comparison sheets, battlecards, and case studies can be drafted, saved, and reused endlessly (as long as the information stays the same) to facilitate sales. And the fact that it’s all coming from marketing means that the content can remain on-message.
Putting Content to Good Use
You’re putting a lot of time and effort into creating content that will help your business grow and attract new customers, so it makes sense that you want to put it to its best use. Enabling your sales team to use your content is one key way of doing this: It not only saves them time, allowing them more time to actually close sales, but also reinforces the connection between Sales and Marketing for everyone involved.