Too often, marketing and sales departments march to their own drummers, so to speak, rarely collaborating or joining efforts. Not only does this cause unnecessary internal tension and havoc, it also provides a confusing and less-than-pleasant experience for prospective customers traveling through your sales funnel.
Let’s look at why and how content works as a sales tactic:
1. Consumers educate themselves. We live in a world where buyers educate themselves. How many times have you searched the Internet for a service or product review? Everything we could want to know is a click away, so why would anyone want to talk to a salesperson before doing some independent research? Consider the B2B scenario where purchases are large investments and, often, long-nurtured relationships. The decision maker is going to want all the information available. When you provide high-quality content that educates audiences on your services, expertise and thought leadership, you’re providing them the information they need to make a decision they can feel good about. The fact you’re providing this information online means a prospect can educate himself at his own leisure, versus setting aside time in a busy work day to schedule a call he’s probably not ready to have.
2. Efficiency. If you’re in B2B sales, you know having extra materials to give prospects helps close the deal. Imagine if your prospects could receive such materials before your first conversation. By providing whitepapers, case studies, testimonials and the like on your website, you’re preparing your sales team for success. Your team will have more time to visit with ready-to-buy leads than educating those who are still deciding whether or not they want to work with your company, or whether they even need your service or product.
3. Brand messaging control. Control of your brand messaging is absolutely essential. Content creation is a form of documentation that tells the complex story of your brand. With some work, it will do so in a compelling, readable way. Effective content helps control the way employees, media, brand advocates, clients and prospects share your story. Equip them with content to share, and you’ll have less to worry about when it comes to word-of-mouth marketing.
4. Thought leadership. When your executive team’s ideas and expertise are represented online and throughout the media, you can’t help but be seen as an authority on your subject. Give your sales team the opportunity to show off your interviews, byline articles and other notable mentions in vertical publications. Let them point out how industry peers and influential figures are looking to your company for trends and innovation.
5. Online authority. Ranking highly on the search engine results pages (SERPs) says something about your brand. People know that search engines such as Google and Bing are always tweaking algorithms to guarantee the most- relevant information is provided when they search for a keyword. When you show up on the first page for industry keywords, it tells audiences that you are one of the most relevant sources of expertise. The same works with social media. Company Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages often appear on the first page of the SERPS when a brand name is searched. If you have a large following on these networks, it tells the prospective customer that you’ve been endorsed and have a healthy, genuine reputation.
How are you using quality content to help the sales process?