If you have a blog (and I hope by now you do), there’s a good chance that the majority of your content is being written by your marketing team. Have you considered asking your sales team to join the content team? Including your sales department can be one of the biggest untapped gems for your company to help with content support. Why? In most organizations, it’s your sales team that is closest to understanding your customers’ needs. They know first hand why your customers choose to do business with you, why they don’t, the competitive landscape, what problems your company can solve, etc. Leveraging this credible source of information can be a key marketing differentiator for your company. Including sales in your content marketing team can help you create more content and better quality content. Here are some considerations for getting Sales on board and helping them understand how they can help impact change.
How to Include your Sales Team to Help Create Better Content
Educate your sales team: Does your sales team know for what purpose your blogs exists? Does your sales team even know that you have a blog? Chances are there is a sales meeting coming around the corner and I encourage you to incorporate content marketing in your meeting agenda. The more your team can understand the “why” behind this essential marketing tactic, the greater buy-in you will get.
Enable your sales team: Encourage your sales team to be co-creators in helping come up with blog topics. If there is a centralized location for capturing recent questions they have encountered in the field, or a wish list of content ideas that would be helpful in enabling the sales process to close, having a “living document” on your Google Drive for these ideas will create a library of content possibilities.
Incentivize your sales team: What sales team doesn’t love a good competition? You can have some fun with this and create a healthy rivalry that not only rewards the individuals who contribute the most ideas, but because all things digital can be measured, you can tie incentives for the topics that perform the best. It won’t take long for other contributors to get in on the action!
Empower your sales team: Chances are you have some writers or “actors” on your sales team! Encourage your team to write their own articles or solicit volunteers for your next video blog shoot. If your sales reps are willing to be regular contributors, you can assign them a day of the week or month and you can even assign them a “beat” like a television news or magazine assignment editor. Give them a chance to be recognized and shine.
Socialize your sales team: In order for your content to get in the hands of the right audience, it’s important to share your blogs on the social media channels of your target audience. Encourage your sales team to either post your company articles on their own social media sites or centralize your publishing process using social media tools like the publishing tool in HubSpot.
Why Your Sales Team Should Care About Content Marketing
- Drives More of the Right Leads: The more high-quality content you publish on your website that is engaging, smart, and educational, the more visitors you will drive to your website. This increase in traffic from prospects that don’t already know you by name (organic traffic), will drive an incremental number of qualified sales leads.
- Inbound leads close faster than outbound leads: Like most sales organizations, there’s a fair share of cold calling that is still happening today. Depending on your product or service, this sales cycle for “cold leads” can be significant, which can lead to a thin and unpredictable pipeline of opportunities. Inbound leads (those prospects that find YOU) close faster and cost less to acquire than outbound leads because the prospect has done their research and has an identified need — and is further along on the buyer’s journey.
- Content as a Sales Tool: If your sales team has access to an arsenal of strategically written content to use as part of their sales process, it will help close more deals. They can use blogs as a conversation starter in a cold call, share an article as a timely and relevant follow-up to a meeting, and as a way to connect with a prospect on social media. Content is a powerful tool in the sales tool chest.
Inbound marketing success is a team effort, and it requires strong alignment between Sales and Marketing. The organizations getting the most out of their marketing budgets (and getting more of it) tend to be partnered tightly with Sales. According to the 2016 State of Inbound Report published by HubSpot, organizations who had a formal agreement between Sales and Marketing were more likely to see higher ROI on marketing dollars in 2015, receive a budget increase, and expand their sales teams. Sales and Marketing alignment could be the key difference in 2017 and take your digital marketing results from good to great!