Marketing and Sales share a common goal: earning the right to connect with buyers.
Marketing's priority has shifted from outbound to inbound marketing. For Sales, a similar dramatic shift has occurred—away from relationship selling to value selling. Now, salespeople must provide insights at each stage in the buying cycle to earn trust.
Your marketing content matters... but only if you get Sales to exploit it at every stage in the process.
Generating qualified leads via inbound marketing and then helping Sales use content to address buyers' needs across the lifecycle has never been more important for creating opportunities and closing business. Salespeople require content that capture buyers' attention, sparks conversation, offers problem framing and solving perspectives, demonstrates value, and triggers action.
66% of B2B buyers credit "consistent and relevant communication provided by both the sales and marketing organizations as a key influence in choosing the company they ultimately made a purchase from" (DemandGen Report and Genius.com).
Here are seven practical ideas for how to help Sales use the assets you provide to earn buyers' trust and win accounts.
1. Inventory content, and make it fast to find and obvious how to use
Provide Sales an easily accessible online inventory of every useful asset - use your SproutLoud site to post up to date, customizable content that your Sales team can access anytime, from anywhere.
Think beyond categorizing information and resources by type, and consider organizing assets by buyer segments, pain points, and stage in the sales cycle. In other words, categorize content however is most intuitive for your sales team to find. They can then customize the information to specific buyer needs quickly and efficiently.
2. Provide multiple media and multiple voices
Beyond the obvious promotional content, include blog posts, whitepapers, articles, case stories, seminar videos, competitive comparisons, ROI calculators, and research reports—both from your company and from trusted third parties. Don't forget humorous content—often an effective way to break down barriers. The goal is to offer variety to help Sales ignite conversations and provide value-added insights that earn trust.
3. Identify the right social media forums
The idea is to help Sales get in the middle of the best conversations. Track and communicate the most influential and relevant ones for Sales to subscribe to and follow. Suggest the 3-2-1 approach: Identify for different sales teams three blogs to read, two LinkedIn groups to join, and one Twitter list to follow.
4. Use content to create conversation to bring clarity to a buyer's needs
Help Sales engage buyers by creating conversation starters, high-gain questions, and challenges to conventional wisdom.
5. Build in feedback loops
Just as you regularly build feedback loops into marketing materials to capture opinions and leads, also build feedback loops with Sales to determine the effectiveness of the assets you provide. Salespeople are on the front line. The customer input they receive should drive continuous improvement of materials, especially for digital materials that can be cost-effectively amended based on customer reactions, timely trends, new research, and more.
Thanks to Cliff Pollan and MarketingProfs.