Content is the beginning of marketing. And it’s been some time since marketers started considering content management as the backbone of their strategies. After all, content is fuel for most demand-generating actions — from inbound to outbound, on organic or paid channels, online or offline. But what about sales teams, have they been using content as an ally?
According to a SiriusDecisions survey, the answer is no. Two out of three content pieces created end up not being used by companies. This is a sign for help as a result from:
- Lack of planning, which can be solved by a good content mapping accompanying every step of the marketing funnel and
- Lack of involvement of the commercial team in the content strategy, which demands alignment between marketing and sales teams.
Team alignment is known as smarketing — a beneficial practice for both marketing and sales with a direct impact on the company’s results in volume of customer and revenue. According to a report released by DemandGen, 95% of customers choose a vendor who has presented them with the right content throughout the buying process. With the right content, a salesperson can offer the benefits of their product or service and thereby help the buyer make the best decision.
So how can you help your sales force do a good job? By simply offering content that helps them nurture leads and close more deals. It’s really that simple. That is, participate in sales meetings whenever possible, listen to the objections brought by the leads and create content that anticipates these possible obstacles.
There are many companies that get fantastic results when creating content on a recurring basis and yours can not be left out. Some Contentools customers get 40 times the amount invested (40x ROI), so don’t give up. But let’s move on, I promised content hacks and that’s what I’ll deliver now!
# 1: Create content along with the future customer
I learned this from the marketing team of Involves, the company behind Agile Promoter, leading technology software for trade marketing in Latin America. Their customers include L’Oréal, Motorola, CVC and many others. In their case, inviting executives to online interviews proved to be a great way of bringing new businesses to the sales pipeline. In addition, it helps them to warm up negotiations that are delaying the sales cycle. The content created is often a video with tips and information on the challenges of trade marketing, super useful for other executives working in the same industry.
Why do future clients participate? For them it is an opportunity to expose their knowledge to a broader audience, to reach a network of professionals they wouldn’t otherwise and to add more achievements to their resume, all in one action.
These interviews are done in two ways: they’re scheduled in advance and released to a professional base that wants to follow them live or recorded and edited for promotion afterward. In both cases, they are available on Involves’ news website. This page is prepared as an online club that execs can sign to and receive premium content (becoming leads on the marketing funnel).
How about following Involves’ steps? Whether you provide an operations, sales, HR or financial solution, it is very likely that your future client is someone with deep knowledge about their industry. Certainly other executives in the same field would love to hear what that person has to say!
# 2: Create a content hub and position yourself as a reference
Involves is also a success story by having created the first content hub of their industry. The Trade Club shares articles, rich materials such as exclusive e-books and videos with its members.
For Content Hack # 1 interviews are bottom of the funnel content. They’re used as sales collaterals and lead to both new deals and more closings. Content Hack #2 is about top and middle of the funnel, provided at the news website to:
- Attract qualified audience — top of the funnel;
- Turn visitors into leads — people who sign up to the club’s newsletter and
- Engage the ones who have already signed up.
The website also helps to generate continuous leads from the club’s members network. Once they sign up they’re encouraged to share materials on LinkedIn to download new rich content.
# 3: Share your achievements with leads on the pipeline
This hack I learned from Worthix, a company that provides consumer intelligence surveys based on artificial intelligence. Every time they close a new deal with a large brand, Worthix sends newsletters created by the marketing team to leads that are still on the pipeline “Selling for companies is about building relationships. Content helps me in this process. By sending these newsletters, I create a sense of urgency in leads from the same industry,” reveals Worthix CEO Guilherme Cerqueira.
The Contentools sales team does a similar process that has also proved to work very well. When a new product feature is launched, account executives share the news with leads. Most of the time they’re marketing managers who were waiting for that specific function to deploy the software with their teams. Some other times they can be the ones who have stopped responding in the middle of the deal for some reason — and the news creates a new hook to pick up the conversation.
I hope these content hacks help you to speed up enterprise sales using content! If you have any questions or want to learn other hacks, get in touch.