Marketers, do you often feel like you create content for yourself?
We recently explored why getting your sales and customer service teams in on the content marketing action helps you execute lucrative campaigns.
We’re now going to take a closer look at how to connect marketing and sales and talk about some of the problems marketers may encounter when collaborating with sales on content.
Keep reading for easy-to-implement tips on getting sales to use content to help you achieve your marketing objectives and then some!
Smarketing: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
Why should you get sales to dip a spoon in your content pie?
Doing so provides juicy opportunities to convince and convert like you’re offering a budget holiday to Hawaii.
While it’s marketing’s responsibility to produce and distribute high-end, search engine optimised content, if sales also push content via social media and email, your customers will love the value you deliver.
Your sales reps spearhead customer connections online. Through friendly calls, quick reminder emails and effective face-to-face engagement, they keep prospects keen, nurture existing relationships and close sales.
Content is a superpower for sales. It helps them do all of the above but miles better. However, this can only happen if content collaboration is done right.
Let’s take a look at how you can easily align sales with content marketing.
1. The Best Set-Up for Easy Sharing
“Sorry, we didn’t see your email.”
“We can’t find the document!”
“We don’t have permission to edit the file.”
These are signs your content sharing process needs refining.
40% of salespeople's time is spent looking for content that marketing has created, according to the CMO Council.
Content can easily be lost in long email threads or chock-a-block inboxes. And, if the path to accessing stored documents online is too complex, sales reps will get frustrated and could abandon their search altogether.
Customer relationship management systems (CRMS) help you collate your content in one place for great accessibility. Marketing and sales get to share a high-level view of customers and related information (such as content sent).
While salespeople can see who has been sent what and when, marketing can attach new content and motion sales to get it out there.
HubSpot is an excellent choice. This feature is included in the inbound marketing platform and comes with lots of additional perks. You can learn more about HubSpot’s awesome capabilities in our recent blog.
A less expensive alternative is using a specific folder for sales content marketing. Try tagging your files, you can create a quick path to documents so salespeople can quickly find what they’re looking for. See the example below, HubSpot allows you to isolate certain blogs when you tag them.
2. Getting Buy-In from Executives
You simply don’t have the authority to motivate sales into action on your own. To get them on board the content marketing train, your captain needs to give the order.
Achieve this by demonstrating how content can bring in new and existing business to your executives. Data can help you. Dive into your content marketing statistics to build a case that demonstrates the value of content across every department.
To get this information, you need a reporting tool that taps into your blog’s performance. Click-through rates, page views and time spent per page are stats that will help prove content’s worth.
HubSpot offers slick reporting that mines data from your social media accounts, website, blog and emails. The best part is that you can access this information from one place without having to jump from platform to platform saving your time and energy.
Also, tie in your content marketing goals to the business’ wider-reaching targets. For example, use data to show how blogs, videos and social media posts can help increase sales and boost company growth. As the Harvard Business Review puts it:
“Once people see how your initiative fits into the big picture, they’ll be more willing to devote resources to it.”
Use these tactics to get executive buy-in and make strategising with sales as smooth as butter.
3. Creating Content Worth Sharing
So you’ve got the executives on board and sales are taking you more seriously. The next step is getting them to see content the way you do: an investment truly worth their time.
Engaging, entertaining and enlightening content is a must, not only to persuade the prospect but to convince sales of the power of information sharing:
“On average, conversion rates are six times higher for companies and brands using content marketing than those that aren’t” — Aberdeen Group
Do this successfully by understanding the types of content sales can use to drive value for prospects and customers (we cover this in another blog).
Additionally, link up with them to gather their unique insights about your customers so content can be personalised. This will help strengthen customer relationships and close leads. Insights might include:
- Which businesses or products do your customers often compare you with?
- What are their biggest complaints?
- What do they love about your offering and does this lead them to a sale?
- What do they commonly ask for?
Also, make sure sales reps’ hard work doesn’t go unnoticed …
4. Let Sales Know They Matter
Make your sales team a part of the content marketing process. When they contribute, they’ll become more invested in your plan, and you’ll receive extra input.
How they contribute can also increase their enthusiasm. Ensure tasks are fast and easy to complete: think about the tech you use (sharing information should be speedy as we mentioned in point one).
Set up meetings and workshops to boost communication and make your partnership stronger. Putting time aside to bring them up to speed also shows you appreciate the work they’re doing. Set up a sales appraisal meeting to let them know you're happy with their input.
Finally, help sales reps provide the information you need for content creation quickly. Let’s say you wanted a status report on customer behaviour over the last three months. You could ask specific questions to help them pinpoint precisely what you’re looking for. For example:
- Where are the majority of customers coming from?
- How much does the average customer spend?
- What has been their biggest complaint?
"None of us is as smart as all of us." — Ken Blanchard
Different perspectives can spark new opportunities: sales can help you produce innovative ideas so you can market the business like never before.
The key to obtaining this information quickly and easily is making sales feel good about offering it in the first place. Do this using the above points to demonstrate how much you value them.
5. Drive the Benefits of Collaborating
When sales and marketing combine their efforts, there are major perks you can pitch that echo why working together is a top idea:
- It makes their job easier
Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads.
- And more fulfilling
They get to offer real value to customers which helps build strong, sustainable relationships.
- It also saves time
Salespeople don’t waste their time with uninterested contacts because those who sign up do so willingly.
- They’re more likely to get bonuses
With an effective content strategy that delivers results, sales reps are more likely to smash their targets and receive bonuses as a result (if they’re on offer!).
With these benefits in mind, sales won’t be so reluctant to join forces. Collaborating with marketing will help them do their job better and drive success for the business. It’s simply your job to make them see how this is possible.
6. Celebrate Success
Have your sales team supercharged engagement on social media through content? Or perhaps they spotted a new trend you recently jumped on to create an awesome campaign.
“If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else." – Booker T. Washington
One of the most effective ways to encourage salespeople to keep on using content is to recognise their success.
In your monthly review, connect with senior staff and share positive results. With the greater team giving more credit to salespeople for their hard work, motivation levels will skyrocket.
You could also send out weekly roundup emails that include shoutouts to individuals for their sparkling achievements.
Or celebrate in style. Organise an away-day or dinner at a fashionable restaurant for your team and the sales department. Doing so is an opportunity to bond and build trust — strengthening your working relationship further.
Are You Missing a Beat?
70% of marketing content is not being touched by sales teams. That’s around two-thirds of marketing’s investment in content development in the bin. Not good!
Wouldn’t you rather be making the most out of your investment? You can do this effectively by encouraging your salespeople to push out content bursting with value.
If you learn how to connect marketing and sales, you’ll convince and convert leads at record speeds. How good is your content? In its current state, will it help you meet your marketing goals?