Getting your sales and marketing teams to work together is no longer an option - it’s a necessity. Without a sound strategy in place for sales and marketing alignment, you’re not going to get the number of sales conversions you’d like.
In this article, I’ll outline four different ways your content marketing and sales teams can work together to boost your sales conversions.
Let’s get started.
Before The Sales Appointment
When it comes to a sales pitch, information is your main currency. The more you know about your prospect - their business, their professional background, what their challenges are, what they like and so on, the higher your chances of closing the deal.
Here’s how content marketing can help you with that.
Using Content For More Relevant Meetings
Your prospects aren’t going to tell you everything about what they need - it’s up to your sales reps to identify that themselves. With content marketing, that job becomes a whole lot easier.
With insights from Google Analytics, you can track a specific prospect’s journey on your site. You’ll be able to identify exactly what content a prospect has interacted with before he or she reached out to you. This could include:
- Blog posts viewed
- Product pages and feature pages viewed
- Ebooks downloaded
How does this help? Say your product is a CPG snack product and one of its differentiators is being gluten-free. Your marketing team notices that a particular prospective retail account has spent a significant amount of time viewing pages and videos about this differentiator.
They can relay this information to your field sales rep who will talk about that aspect of the product during the sales meeting. By talking about exactly what the prospect wants rather than deliver a generic presentation, your sales rep can truly capture the prospect’s interest.
Ask your content team to track content marketing metrics that show how leads have interacted with your website. Additionally, give your field sales reps easy access to this data so they can deliver more relevant pitches.
Using Content To Qualify Leads
A key part of any field sales is reaching out to leads at the right stage.
- Reach out too early and you have a lead who isn’t ready to commit.
- Reach out too late and they may have crossed over to your competitor.
Moreover, outside sales is extremely time-consuming. You should only make appointments with sales qualified leads (SQLs) who are actually interested in your solution.
Your marketing team needs to identify the right time to hand over a lead from the marketing stage to the sales stage of the funnel. But how do they identify if the lead is at the right stage? Through content marketing.
They can analyze the buyer’s journey of a specific lead - identify what kind of resources they’re interacting with and gauge their level of commitment at the time.
Have they only signed up for your newsletter?
They’re still a long way from moving down the funnel. Try and pitch to them now and you’re not going to be successful - even if you have your most talented sales rep on the job.
Have they viewed your corporate video?
They’re moving in the right direction, but plenty of people enjoy checking out corporate videos just out of curiosity. Doesn’t mean they are SQLs - not yet!
Have they viewed 100% of a product video??
That’s perfect! Ask your sales rep to reach out to set up an appointment. (Assuming you also have their contact details through an ebook download or something similar.)
The kind of content a website visitor interacts with is a great indicator of which stage of the buyer’s journey they’re in at the moment. Armed with this data, your field sales reps can focus on only those leads that have the highest chance of conversion.
After The Sales Appointment
How can content marketing and field sales team work together after the sales meeting to increase conversions? Your outside sales reps can relay valuable insights from their face-to-face meetings over to your marketing team to help them optimize their processes.
Here are two ways to do that.
Directing Content Strategy Based On Sales Meetings
It’s safe to say that your field sales reps will receive loads of new information about a customer after meeting them for the first time.This information will most likely be things that your marketing team can’t gauge from content analytics. That’s why it’s important for your sales team to convey this information to your marketing team to help them shape their marketing strategies.
With this new information, they’ll be better placed to understand what a customer really wants and modify their content strategy to fit those requirements perfectly. They will also be able to come up with more website lead generation ideas that work specifically for your customer persona.
For example, your reps may have discovered that most of your clients would like some helpful videos to show them how to file their business taxes. Your marketing team can then use a tool like Animoto to create a great how-to video that gives the clients exactly what they want!
Do they like infographics instead? No problem, your marketing team can use a tool like Venngage and get the job done. Adjust to what your customer wants and you will generate more qualified leads and close more deals.
Customizing Future Content Based On The Meeting
When it comes to using content for conversions, relevance is everything. Most outside sales teams require a number of face-face meetings before a deal is closed. Any lead generated via content marketing will continue to receive emails from your marketing automation system after the first meeting.
However, the content you send someone after a sales meeting should be very different from what you send before. Many marketers do a fantastic job of adapting their newsletter content based on the additional information they get from a client after a meeting. This is quite easy to do and it’s something your content and sales teams can easily execute.
Let’s say you sell a premium bottled water and the sales meeting reveals that the prospect is interested in various packaging size options. Your field sales rep can relay this information to your content team. Your content guys can then tag that lead in your marketing automation software to receive emails about packaging updates and similar topics. This will increase the likelihood of conversions as your clients will be receiving the right information at the right time to get them to convert.
Aligning your sales and marketing strategies is a surefire way to get your business to succeed. As your content and sales processes are now working in tandem, they can help each other reach the same goal.
Your content will fuel your sales strategy and your sales insights will help you create better content. Once you’ve got this combination sorted out, your conversions are guaranteed to skyrocket!
Peter Banerjea is Co-Founder of Startup Voyager, a content marketing agency and a blog about startup growth stories. Peter’s work has appeared in places like Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Huffpost, Inc. and Lifehacker. He has also spoken on leadership and marketing for organizations like British Telecom, AXA, Kuoni, IHS Markit, JCB and GKN.