When your content marketing and sales forces align their efforts, they form a powerful symbiotic relationship that grows your brand and your bottom line.
There’s a big misperception out there that content marketing represents some kind of threat to the job security of sales personnel. It’s absolutely true that content marketing is an inbound approach, contrary to the traditional outbound approach of a B2B sales force. But make no mistake: Content marketing is not a substitute or replacement for an expert sales staff.It’s absolutely true that content marketing is an inbound approach, contrary to the traditional outbound approach of a B2B sales force. But make no mistake: Content marketing is not a substitute or replacement for an expert sales staff. Click To Tweet
In fact, it’s when marketing and sales work in tandem that they’re most effective. They can help each other out to generate more leads, nurture current leads more effectively, and even help close more deals.
Content marketing helps generate a steady flow of quality leads, and it provides targeted information to usher prospects down the sales funnel. But even quality leads don’t turn into sales on their own. This is where a sales staff comes in, to take those leads and cultivate them into new business.
Content marketing and sales: Division of labor
For content marketing and sales to work seamlessly together, it’s important to have a clear idea of the role of each. They provide different touch points for leads at each stage of the buying cycle. Here’s a quick primer:
1. Forming a relationship
In this early stage of the buying cycle, your content marketing efforts go toward opening up a dialogue with potential customers. Often, potential leads’ first engagement with your brand comes when they read one of your blog posts, come across your website while searching for product solutions, or see one of your social media posts through their network.
This is when your sales staff picks up the ball, keeping that positive contact going by developing it into a conversation. It’s your sales team’s job to cultivate an ongoing personal relationship with that prospect.
2. Providing information
Now that you’ve established a relationship and your sales team is continuing a dialogue with your prospect, content marketing can step in. B2B buyers report spending more time than ever conducting research, using expert content such as vendor websites, user reviews, and social media before making purchasing decisions. The content that you share with prospects at this stage of the buyer’s journey should be designed to answer informed questions and tip the scales in your favor.
At this stage, your sales staff should be directly answering questions from prospects. When a potential customer reaches out with a query, it’s likely that he or she has done a fair amount of research. So your sales reps need to speak specifically to the customer’s needs in a way that content alone can’t do, to keep them interested and moving down the funnel.
3. Advocating for your brand
Content marketing increases brand awareness for your business. It helps elevate your brand position within the industry and keeps your business top-of-mind, even at a time when potential customers aren’t ready to make a purchase.
When a customer is preparing to make a purchase, your sales staff is the primary advocate for your brand. They should be proactive in pursuing business when customers show interest in your content or when they reach out with questions. They drive dialogue and get to know customers and how your business can help them.
A match made in heaven
When content marketing and sales work together, you’ll see the results hit your bottom line. Curating and creating great content will generate quality leads for your company. And it also empowers your sales force to build relationships with potential customers — and close the sale.
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