Content Marketing for Sales Teams
Many people think of content and inbound marketing as showcasing your company's capabilities, previous work, or achievements. Your company’s blog can certainly do those things, and I recommend that. However, when planning out content, an often overlooked opportunity can be developing useful content for your sales team. Sure most blogging efforts aim to increase organic traffic and search engine optimization, but there may be another great way to accomplish those efforts, while simultaneously aiding your sales team in closing deals and educating your prospects.
When developing content that covers all three areas of the buyer's journey, I typically see folks either jump straight to decision-stage content with a hard sell or only focusing on high-level awareness stage content. In my opinion, what really can make or break your conversions for sales conversations is consideration stage content. At this stage, you can help your prospects identify potential solutions for their problems. This is a critical stage in the inbound marketing methodology that helps to position you as an expert and reinforce your company's potential offering for a solution.
Help vs. Sell
So how does this help sales? Following the inbound marketing methodology, one of the core tenants is the idea of Help vs. Sell. Traditional sales tactics are a dying method. No one wants to work with someone that gives them the used car sales ick. Forceful, and overly aggressive tactics actually hurt more than they help in today's information-driven world. This is why we recommend an approach that aims to help a prospect understand. When you can help educate or explain a complex issue to the client, you’re not only helping them, you’re positioning yourself as someone who is willing to spend the extra time, as well as caring about their outcome.
Answer the Common Questions
Some of the best ways to build rapport and compile consideration stage content for sales conversations is to first start by talking to your sales team. Ask them to compile a list of the most commonly asked questions or what parts of the business could be visualized or explained further. I’ll use myself as an example. Our agency sells a service called Growth-Driven Design which is a non-traditional approach to website design. It requires quite a bit of explanation when suggesting this approach to a client. While I can explain the process and its details via conversation in my sleep, I’m not naive enough to think that a prospect can hear that one time and fully understand it. To this end, our marketing team has developed multiple different blog topics that fully explain the process in detail, as well as answer questions that are commonly asked. One important suggestion is to make sure that the content you are producing, echoes exactly what your salesperson or sales team is saying. This is a critical step that helps set healthy expectations with a prospect. When and if they become a client, they should also experience exactly what was promised in the sales conversation and the content you produce. This creates alignment between marketing, sales, and then service or fulfillment.
One last benefit I haven’t mentioned is that by developing content in the consideration stage, you’ll actually capture very relevant keywords that pertain to your business and its services. Over time, you’ll find that this effort tends to help your company or organization rank in search results and help capture or persuade sales leads that you are unaware of.
Utilizing Your Content
Now that you are generating content for your sales team. How do you suggest using it? The first and most common way of using this type of content is in your sales follow-up. Often times after a sales call, you’ll determine that the prospect is interested, but also not quite ready to see a proposal or service agreement. This is usually a great sign for me to provide them with additional information on the process, service, or product, that way they can continue in their research. Compiling this information in a blog format on your website is a great way to keep that prospect coming back and familiar with your website. Continuing to consume additional content or reinforcing areas you’ve already covered. The last way you can utilize this content is through speaking engagements or presentations. If done correctly, speaking and presenting for new business is a great tactic. Use this information as an informative way to educate folks from your presentation who may be interested in the topic. They may even have other needs that you are unaware of, and when they are on their website you could possibly help them with additional services.
In summary, when you are thinking about generating content for your business, don’t forget that generating content that helps your sales team is a worthy and valuable approach. Sales-focused content can be an additional tool in your marketing toolkit. If you have any questions or would like help in developing ideas, don’t hesitate to reach out!