Marketing as a small business presents several challenges. Between budgetary constraints and a lack of clarity about the right ways to market a business, it’s no wonder that marketing is often a small businesses least favorite business function. But it’s probably the most important. It’s crucial to maintain an ongoing marketing and lead generation strategy to yield beneficial outcomes for your brand.
Creating High-Value Content for Your Sales Team
Content Marketing Can Fill Gaps in Your Sales Cycle
The digital marketing landscape is ever-changing, constantly challenging marketers to learn new ways to reach their audiences. Most businesses that are determined to succeed incorporate some form of content marketing. An often overlooked benefit to creating compelling content is equipping your sales team with the right resources to fill gaps in the sales cycle and increase their close rate.
Your Content Must Be Worthwhile
Getting the most out of your content means not only is your target audience able to find value, but so is your sales team. The relationship between sales and content is so closely interlinked that 95 percent of buyers choose a service provider who delivers the content to help them navigate through each stage of the buying process. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that just any piece of content will work; the content needs to provide genuine value to the audience otherwise, it may have damaging effects.
Most of your content marketing strategy should focus on client-facing content such as blogs, videos, podcasts and webinars. Internal content such as pre-call sales checklists and sales manuals have their place in a content strategy, but this article focuses on client-facing content.
Why Don’t Sales Reps Use Content?
In a perfect world, sales reps can use provided content during outreach, lead qualification and to help support proposals. Perspective clients can walk away well-informed and ready to make the right decision. However, this isn’t necessarily the reality because sales teams repeatedly miss the opportunity to provide prospects with the valuable content your marketing team has created.
Some reasons that sales reps don’t use content are:
- They don’t know if the content is up to date
- Finding the right content among the waves of existing content is time-consuming and daunting
- They’re unsure what content is best for the specific stage of the sales process (in some cases, the content could be too “high-level” for initial discovery meetings.)
Pro Tip: As of 2020, 70 percent of marketers are actively investing in content marketing, which means it might be time you did the same to stay competitive.
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How Can Sales Teams Start to Incorporate Content?
Every great organization requires effective communication to be successful. For sales reps to start utilizing the appropriate content during their pitches, the marketing department should educate them to ensure they are aware of what’s available. Organizing content according to type, audience, and objectives will help sales teams find what they need to bolster their sales. In addition to better organization, consider the steps below to help facilitate good communication and collaboration among internal teams.
Meet with Your Sales Team
They are on the front lines, fielding common concerns and questions which means they have a slew of pain points your clients are constantly facing. Frequently connecting with your sales team will enable your marketing department to better understand what content can help increase overall sales.
You’ll also better understand:
- Prospect feedback on your products/services
- Common objections sales reps face
- Find gaps in sales strategies that you can fill with helpful content
Audit Existing Content
After meeting with your sales team, you should have a better idea of what is working well, and where your content can be improved. As marketers, we also have access to massive amounts of data. Have you tracked the metrics on the content your team has already created? The internet is constantly moving, which means the shelf life for pre-existing content doesn’t last long and may need to be re-optimized. Additionally, sales teams can’t use out-of-date content during their sales calls, so it’s equally important to create content and revitalize old content.
Set Clear Goals
Working with your sales team, you can establish clear goals that promote a harmonious relationship between the marketing and sales departments. While you might have an overall sales goal that’s driving your plan, also consider smaller KPIs related to engagement that can indicate if a piece of content is in fact helping prospects through the buyer’s journey.
Creating High-Value Content
When it comes time to create content, pulling a topic out of a hat or an online topic generator is no longer enough. Marketing departments have many different areas of their organization they need to evaluate before deciding on content topics. Remember that creating content takes time, and unless you’re bootstrapping, it will require an investment of time and money. It can take upwards of 50 hours per month to create high-quality content, which is why many organizations opt to partner with a content agency.
Bringing It All Together
If your sales team isn’t using the content you’ve created, then both the company and the sales reps are losing out on substantial growth. Content marketing is not only meant to attract and inform prospects but also to arm sales teams with more tools to have a well-rounded sales process.
Keeping content current and filled with value will enable sales reps to increase close rates by providing prospects with a clear picture of the products/services your organization offers. Over time as the sales and marketing departments continue to work together, they’ll learn how to maximize each other’s gains and promote overall company growth.
Hopefully the tips above will help improve your content marketing campaigns. Have more questions about partnering with an agency? Reach out to us directly.
Outsourcing your marketing is one of the best decisions you can make for your small business. Traditional in-house marketing teams are a great solution for larger organizations that have the resources available to employee experts in the 10+ roles that it takes to run an effective department.
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