Your marketing team may have created a library of valuable content to inform, engage and convert potential customers—a regularly updated blog, case studies, white papers, tip sheets, product web pages and more. But is all your hard work collecting dust?
Creating marketing assets is only half the battle. In addition to a content distribution strategy of your own, your content marketing’s ROI can be amplified by tapping into some of your organization’s most active players: the sales team.
Here are some tips on creating closer alignment between marketing and sales, by encouraging sales to become content champions.
Communicate and educate.
What may look like sales representative apathy might actually be a case of unfamiliarity. Beef up your internal communications so sales knows what content you offer, and how you can help:
- Sales stand-up meetings: Gather the sales team for weekly or monthly stand-up meetings. Fill them in on the marketing campaigns you’re running and introduce new assets you’ve created. Talk about and demonstrate how featured content can work to sales’ advantage. Report on content performance, such as white paper downloads or top viewed blog posts.
- Newsletters: An internal newsletter is another great way to keep sales in the loop. Link to new pieces of content, revisit older pieces relevant to an upcoming trade show or topic and remind everyone that your evergreen content is almost always ripe for the picking. Scoop.it has recently seen a rise in popularity, but a plethora of services exist to streamline the bookmarking and sharing of online content.
- Training: If your sales team is more traditional, some training may be beneficial. Explaining the impact of content on the buyer journey and discussing the advent of inbound marketing and inbound selling will go far in gaining respect and credibility.
The bottom line: Commit to partnering with the sales team. Keep the lines of communication—and content—open.
Make content distribution easy.
Your sales team is busy selling. So don’t ask them to be part-time marketers, too. Make it easy for sales reps to understand and share the content in their artillery.
- Sales cliff notes: Create a sales cliff notes sheet for all content created by marketing. Include the title, a brief description, content type, link or file path, target buyer persona and stage(s) in the sales process when it should be used. Then make it visually appealing, so it stands out on cluttered desktops and corkboards.
- Sample emails and social shares: When you publish new content, send it to the sales team along with examples of email copy or social media posts to help promote it.
The bottom line: Incorporating marketing content into the sales process may not come naturally to some. Help sales know when and how to share content with leads.
Help each other succeed.
Though it may not always seem like it, marketing and sales are both striving for the same thing: bottom-line impact. Find ways to complement one another to achieve perfect harmony.
- Implement marketing automation: Marketing automation software has huge potential to maximize content ROI. Use it to nurture leads, prioritize sales efforts, monitor engagement and recapture lost sales. Once they start to see a return, your sales team will thank you.
- Help sales answer leads’ FAQs: Sales representatives answering the same questions over and over? Ask them to BCC you when responding to a commonly asked question or request, then harvest ideas for blog posts, web content and more- a win-win for everyone. (Note: This idea courtesy of Ardath Albee at Content Marketing World 2013.)
The bottom line: Help sales win, and they’ll be your biggest fans.
An evolution in the buyer journey has caused a fundamental power shift in the direction of the consumer. The sales team’s role is changing. By positioning your marketing team as sales’ ally, you’ll win some new champions and find the legs your content needs to succeed.
How do you market your marketing internally?