Optimally, content and sales have a symbiotic relationship. But the key is understanding what kind of content your sales team needs to help them close deals.

A theme I’ll be examining in this space over the next few months is how content marketing can help businesses make sales. Content marketing and sales are not mutually exclusive functions. Content can help sales teams get meetings, build relationships, and close deals. So what kinds of content can the marketing staff develop to support sales?

First impressions

Sales reps know that first impressions are a one-time opportunity, and all-important for ushering prospects into the sales funnel. For the initial contact with a prospect, content can be a major asset, particularly personalized content. For example, take the time to familiarize yourself with the latest blog posts from target companies’ websites, and follow up with additional ideas they can leverage.

Additionally, to create a positive first impression, host a live workshop that caters to the needs of your prospects. Hubspot’s Bethany Cartwright suggests an event “that walks through industry best practices and helps troubleshoot common issues.” She also recommends that content marketing teams “build custom landing pages that populate the prospect’s name, company logo, and value props catered to their business needs.”

Turning around an initial rejection

One of the biggest, often insurmountable challenges for a sales team is receiving an initial “no” from a prospect. But with the help of content marketing, sales teams can often get past an initial rejection and turn it around. “Leveraging content doesn’t mean just leveraging your own content,” says Cartwright. “In ‘no’ situations, you can turn the tables and talk to prospects about their content instead.”

The basic idea behind content marketing is that your business’ greatest asset is your knowledge and expertise, not your products and services. Click To Tweet

We’ve said it before, and we’ll keep saying it: the basic idea behind content marketing is that your business’ greatest asset is your knowledge and expertise, not your products and services. When it comes to the intersection of content and sales, this idea holds true more than ever. Your best shot at turning around an initial “no” from a prospect is to offer them something of value aside from products. Content helps you build relationships with your prospects, which is your best shot at turning them into customers.

Middle and bottom of the funnel content

Once your sales team has successfully ushered prospects into the sales funnel, the role of content doesn’t go away. At these later stages of the buyer’s journey, content like case studies, implementation guides, and data sheets are of great value. On average, B2B businesses lose around 20% of their customers each year by neglecting customer relationships. These types of content can help cultivate a budding relationship with your prospects, keeping them loyal and engaged.

At these later stages, keep content as visual as possible. This is an ideal time to create and share infographics with your prospects, for example. Video also performs exceptionally well in the late-stage sales cycle. Include short video clips in follow-up emails, particularly video case studies or animated product demonstrations. And don’t forget to keep it personalized. Vidyard is an excellent tool for personalizing video messages to your prospects.

Content, when used effectively, is your sales team’s best friend. Keeping your marketing and sales teams aligned and working closely together is your best bet for generating and nurturing leads, and turning them into customers with a lasting and fruitful relationship.

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