You might not be a criminal. But if marketing is the only business department that’s leveraging content, a crime IS being committed.
Why? Content has awesome capabilities that don’t end with the marketing department.
Getting sales and customer service in on the action helps you convince, convert and cultivate valuable relationships with existing customers to drive business. Neglect to do this and you’re missing more than half of an effective inbound marketing strategy.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at the types of content that can be used across each department, and the eye-watering ROI up for grabs when you execute a strategy that covers all your bases.
How Marketing, Sales and Customer Service Distribute & Promote Content
As you can see from the diagram, it's marketing's job to create and distribute content to sales and customer service (with their input, of course). Sales and customer service can distribute content between them if it helps.
However, it's everyone's job to promote content to the customer — it's how you keep them happy! If everyone at the organisation buys into this philosophy, you have a much better chance of delighting your customers.
How Can Different Departments Leverage Content?
Marketing — Where it Begins
This is where your content strategy materialises, and where content mesmerises the people looking at your business. The goal here is to generate leads — to get people to subscribe to your email, letters or social media feeds.
To smash your target number of leads and produce your ideal ROI, you need to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Understanding what excites and pains them gives you fuel for enticing content ideas.
At this early point in the buyer’s journey (the awareness stage), the aim isn’t to boast about your biz. It’s to answer the burning questions and concerns prospects may have in relation to what you sell.
Using top of the funnel (TOFU) content, you can position yourself as a credible authority that helps people fix a problem — allowing you to build trust, boost brand awareness and generate leads. As advertising agency Leo Burnett puts it: “What helps people, helps business.”
Suss out what your customers want and put your talented writers to the task of crafting ridiculously-good TOFU content. Such as:
- Informative blogs
- Long-form articles packed with useful information
- Social media posts
- Vlogs (video blogs)
- Landing pages (for content offerings such as guides)
Thinking of creative ways to distribute content helps you stand out in a crowd. For example, don’t just rely on Twitter or LinkedIn to broadcast your content. You could:
- Collaborate with influencers and write guest blogs for extra coverage
- Hand out physical copies to people you engage with face-to-face at events
- Publish blogs on Reddit or Pinterest to tap into new audiences
In the YouTube video below, Workfront show how B2B marketing can be funny. That's right. They've made email marketing funny. The best thing about the video is that everyone can relate to it, which means different departments are more likely to promote it.
Imagine if your content production ended here. People would find your marketing collateral through company events, Google search or social media. They’ll read it and love it because it answers their problems and shows that a solution is in sight.
Then, after subscribing to your company updates, they get a generic sales follow-up email that bores them into extinction. This is why your sales department must also harness content to wow your subscribers into customers.
Sales — Where It Rains Gold
Nobody enjoys being pushed into a purchase. After you’ve handed over the cash, it can feel like you’ve been taken advantage of. This is a rocky start to a new customer relationship.
Rather, you’re looking to lead prospects organically through to the end of the buyer cycle. So they buy from you because they want to — high-quality converted leads.
Facilitating this starts with distributing middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU) content for prospects at the consideration stage. It helps differentiate your brand from the competition in beautiful ways, putting you at the top of customers’ lists and creating organic buying experiences.
To provide this, we head back to marketing, the hub of content creation. They need to collaborate with sales to understand the business’ unique selling point (known as smarketing). This information can be gleaned through research, feedback forms from existing customers and old-school surveying on the high-street.
The best way to put all this information in one place and scan it for insights is by using an inbound marketing platform. There are lots on the market, but only HubSpot provides an all-in-one package (learn more about HubSpot’s capabilities here) that easily lets you import data for content marketing.
HubSpot contains an easy to access marketing hub where sales can view emails, blogs, CTA's and anything else marketing related — making it easy for the two to combine.
Marketing then uses the information to write compelling MOFU content in the form of:
- Thought-leadership pieces
- Landing pages (for free trials and assessments or content offerings)
- Comparison blogs or videos
- Opinion pieces
So, when it comes to following up a new lead, salespeople can ditch yawn-inducing emails and send enticing MOFU content pieces instead.
The next step is creating bottom of the funnel content (BOFU) for prospects in the buyer stage — content that helps sales meet their primary goal — to convert leads. For example, you might write a blog that drives the benefits of your product complete with a call-to-action (CTA) that asks readers to get in touch.
After BOFU content has been sent to contacts primed for purchasing, sales can work their magic and close the lead with a final email or call.
Customer Service — Where It Never Ends
Research says that acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.
Your customer service department must be brought into the content marketing fold because they help you retain customers. From dealing with customer complaints to keeping open dialogues on social media, they are the people that actively listen and engage with your biggest consumers.
“People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.” — Teddy Roosevelt
Through interactions over social media, email or phone, customer service reps can harvest precious data — what your customers desire and their current opinions — and relay this back to marketing so they can translate this valuable information into content that builds loyalty.
By using content that continues to add value, customer service reps can leverage these pieces to turn buyers into your biggest fans. Such content includes:
- Thought-leadership articles
- Self-help videos
- Insider news
- Product/service guides
- User-generated content
Keep the fire burning by continually wowing followers with exceptional customer service combined with content that rocks customers’ worlds.
Give em' the Pickle
In the 1970's, Bob Farrell set up an ice cream parlour which he turned into a franchise. He received a letter from a disgruntled customer who said they had been charged extra for a pickle.
Farrell created the term, 'Give em' the pickle!'; which meant making serving others your number one priority. It seems trivial now, but in the 70's it was revolutionary. He forged a career from it, going on to be a motivational speaker.
To add to that, many companies — including large retailers like Argos — have used the philosophy for their employee training.
How can you create content that your employees want to engage with? What message do you want to convey. Try to think of some inspiring ideas that'll engage your customers and employees.
Teamwork Creates Dreamwork
Do you want to generate more leads? Increase sales? Build long-lasting customer relationships? Marketing can’t do all of this on its own.
Everyone needs to get stuck in. Sales and Customer Service have to buy into the vision and commit to delivering a strategy (with Marketing spearheading the job).
If they don’t participate, the messages marketing attempt to deliver to customers will become blurry. With teams misaligned, confusion as to what you’re offering will dilute customer interest and deliver a disappointing ROI.
Ride the Content Tandem
With everyone fully on board the inbound marketing tandem, your teams can arm themselves with engaging, educating and entertaining content so they can work to their full potential and drive business in a competitive landscape.
Here’s the stickler though: how do you create seamless content and information sharing across all your departments?
HubSpot Comes to the Rescue
Poor communication swallows up valuable time. To illustrate, 40% of salespeople's time is spent looking for content that Marketing has created, according to the CMO Council.
This is where HubSpot can make a difference. As we mentioned earlier, it’s an all-in-one platform that includes a free CRM solution, a sales hub, a marketing hub and a customer service hub. What does this mean for your employees?
Your departments are always on the same page. They simply have to click once or twice within the platform, and they can effortlessly locate the content they need.
What’s more, they can also view the entire sales cycle and see which stage each contact is in. This ensures engagement isn’t duplicated and customers or prospects are contacted at the right time with the most suitable marketing collateral.
Ultimately, using HubSpot you can deliver a consistent customer experience. Your reward is sharper engagement, highly-satisfied customers and a shorter sales cycle. All of these benefits result in increased sales and a boost in brand loyalty.
What Have We Learnt?
Content collaboration done right can catalyse the evolution of your business.
With marketing, sales and customer service working together like ice cream, sprinkles and chocolate sauce, your customers receive delicious buyer experiences to make them fall in love with your brand.
- Massive time savings
- Enhanced productivity
- Increased sales
- A stronger and more unified culture
All of which contribute to a healthier bottom line.
Connecting all your departments is easy with HubSpot. We’ve outlined why in our recent blog: Inbound Marketing Without HubSpot? Does it Work?
Find out how much the platform costs and whether it’s worth the investment here. Spoiler alert: if you’re serious about leveraging inbound marketing to grow your business (and you should be), you won’t regret a single penny!