In a crowded marketplace, attention is your currency: the market changes rapidly and if you fail to quickly engage your audience, the opportunity may well be lost forever.
Content marketing is all about providing value to your potential consumers that will lead to a profitable relationship. If the bulk of a buyer’s research is done online and your content is helping them make a purchase decision, then your content can be thought of as an extension of your sales team.
How content works as a sales agent
Good content marketing is actually more effective than a sales agent. It reaches more people, gains their trust, entertains, inspires, and associates your brand with something people appreciate. According to Demand Metric, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about three times as many leads. Here are some of the reasons it excels:
- More and more people begin their purchasing journey online. In fact, according to Google stats, 53% of shoppers say they do research before buying to ensure they’re making the best choice.
- On average, it takes 11.4 pieces of content for someone to make a purchase decision.
- People engage with content more readily than with your sales team. Here are some surprising stats: according to HubSpot, reps spend about 15% of their day leaving voicemails—and only 20% of all sales emails are opened. Meanwhile, a well-placed piece of content can be seen and engaged with within seconds.
Five ways to help your sales team with content
When supported by sales (and vice versa), content marketing can be extremely potent. Here’s how to use content marketing to help your team generate leads, nurture business relationships, and land sales.
1. Connect your content marketing and sales teams
So many businesses keep their sales and marketing teams separate, but that’s a mistake. To get the most out of both, make sure the two teams are aligned, communicating, and working together.
The silo mentality could cost your business between 20 and 30% in revenue annually, according to IDC. Your content should support your sales team and sync with the way they talk about your product or service. Additionally, your sales team coordinates closely with your core audience and could bring valuable insight to marketing regarding your content and what your customers need and want.
2. Use content as your sales pitch
Your sales team will have their own pitch, but your content can help them out. There are different types of content, each of which can be used to support their core message. The important thing to keep in mind is to keep messaging consistent through all points of contact. Anything that your sales team communicates should always align with the content that you’re producing, as this creates a smoother and more seamless buyer journey.
Educational blog articles, videos, and social media posts inform people about your brand or service. Informative pieces help your audience better understand their needs and position you as a brand that can help. Providing case studies, charts, and other forms of content will add more value for your audience. Below are some of the most popular and effective types of content used by B2B marketers.
3. Create a sales-oriented content plan
The best way to get sales and marketing working together is to ensure they’re intertwined via a plan that times various pieces of content to coincide with your marketing team’s efforts.
- If you have a new product about to launch, build amazing landing pages. Make sure they load quickly: recent statistics by KISSmetrics show that a delay of just one second can reduce your conversion rate by 7%. Be sure to make it clear (hire a copywriter if necessary) and well designed (a professional can help). Your sales team can then direct leads there—and/or collect lead information from the landing page itself.
- Host workshops that cover industry best practices and help leaders with their business issues. Your sales team can attend and/or share videos/interviews of said workshops with leads.
- Create amazing, readable blog posts with clickable headlines and stick to a regular schedule.
- Make content and other essential resources accessible to sales teams so that they can share this material with prospects and use it to help them close deals. Try using content experience platforms, which allow companies to create personalized experiences that help boost engagement. These can be used to centralize everything so sales teams can easily share content with potential customers.
Another thing to bear in mind is your sales funnel, which can help shape your content plan. Create dedicated content for each stage of the funnel and your audience will be much more receptive to your messaging because it matches their ability to appreciate and take in the information.
According to one study, almost 50% of B2B content marketers are creating content specifically for three to five buying stages. It’s the responsibility of the B2B marketer to define the touchpoints along the funnel and to develop a content strategy accordingly.
4. Focus on a lead magnet
A lead magnet is a free item or service created to attract leads, such as a free ebook, subscription, whitepaper, or consultation.
To have the biggest chance of success, you need to really get under the skin of your target market and figure out what it is they respond to. If you keep your audience’s needs in mind when creating your magnet, they’ll be more likely to engage. Remember to also make it as specific and valuable as possible.
To better understand your audience, research them. One way to do this is through finding commercial keywords, which tell you what your prospects intend to buy.
5. Utilize your social media channels
Social media sits at the top of your sales funnel, but it shouldn’t be neglected as a relationship-building tool to be used throughout the entire marketing journey. The sales team can also use it to maintain business relationships after a deal has been closed.
The same goes for emails. According to HubSpot’s marketing statistics, nurtured leads yield a 20% increase in sales compared to leads that are not nurtured—so it pays to stay in touch.
Whether you’re topping up your blog stash or catching up with clients on social media, keep your audience’s emotions at the forefront of everything you do.
Before you write, post, or share something, ask yourself if it’s relevant and useful to your audience and if it helps your sales team. Match your email marketing messages, tweets, blog posts, and videos to your audience’s pain points and needs while creating high-value content and you’ll soon be a business customers love to hear from—and most importantly, work with.