When it comes to marketing and sales, the key to conversion is collaboration—but all too often, misalignment causes your content to underperform and your sales team to underdeliver. Content can accelerate the customer/client journey, but only if you approach it with the right strategy in hand. To help kickstart your content’s efficacy and begin increasing sales, here are four key tactics to synchronize the efforts of your sales and marketing teams:
Create a Foundational Set of Shared Data, Goals and Personas
To measure how successful your content performs in the context of your sales process and enablement, you have to start from the same set of standards.
While a content marketer might think in terms of impressions and clicks, a seller will likely focus on leads and conversions. Each team is speaking about the same goals, but in a completely different language.
In some cases, information from one team can even help influence the other. For example, a sales team may have previously built a set of personas that guide who they target in their cold-calling or networking efforts. That same profile can help a content designer create meaningful, high-value content for those exact markets—and reach them on a broad scale through email campaigns, paid media and organic social content.
Often, it’s just a matter of getting your marketing and sales team in alignment. Do they share resources and data? Support each other’s efforts? Start by getting them in the same room. Then develop a cohesive set of KPIs and goals that both teams can work towards.
Integrate Marketing Content into Buyer Journeys
Recent data from the Content Marketing Institute shows that “most marketers surveyed create content for specific stages of the buyer’s journey (68 percent), but only 39 percent say their salespeople use the right content at the right stages.” For your content to be the most effective, it should be mapped against a buyer journey, with strategic and specific roles within that timeline.
When looking at the comprehensive buyer journey, content marketing often has the highest impact in the nurture and consideration phases—but that doesn’t mean you can’t bake it into the close, either. Consider each content type and how it may impact the specific stage of the potential customer or client, or support your sales team’s efforts.
Use Content to Fill the Conversation Gaps
The modern consumer often researches a fair amount before making a decision (for both personal and professional purchases). As such, the buyer journey must be agile. Don’t forget that a potential buyer may skip a few steps in the standard process.
Content is how you fill those gaps, and if you’re doing it right, search algorithms will rank your content above competitors. This is why it’s critical to align on your personas and key outcomes ahead of time—so content can do the talking where conversations cannot.
“Not every consumer will have the same journey, so it is critical to proactively plan for every stage at which consumers might engage,” shared experts at Deloitte. “Ignoring stages, consumer segments, or personas can create friction along the journey, and any point of friction a consumer experiences can be an opportunity for a competitor.”
That point of friction for your audience could be conflicting messages between a landing page and a seller, or lack of information available online to the consumer as they complete their initial research. Consider your content approach as not only supplemental to the sales team but a tool to fill the gaps where the modern consumer may deviate from the traditional journey.
Take Advantage of the Covert Capabilities of Content
Do you have a C-suite executive who is hard to reach? Are the decision-makers on the other end of the line avoiding your calls? While you might not be able to get onto the calendar of your intended audience, you can get on the front page of their phones.
For example, a CEO may have a packed back-to-back schedule, but they scroll through LinkedIn during a 10-minute coffee break. If your team has already deployed a targeted media campaign with relevant and high-value content, that executive just might stop scrolling to read what you have to say. Over time, this cracks the door open further for your sales team.
Smart and strategic content can also help improve how easy it is to find your organization’s service or offerings online. Content that’s keyword-dense and developed to appeal to the Google algorithm will help you rank above your competitors and make you the first solution to appear when they type a query into the search bar.
Jenn Mathews, SEO Manager at GitHub, explains: “At the core, Google (and other search engines) is a place to go when people want to answer a question or to learn more about something. When we understand the nature of why people search and help them with content that provides the answers they are looking for, then our business benefits from it.”
Increasing Sales with Content
Consider content as your not-so-secret weapon to improving your sales conversion; whether it’s a blog post, landing page or thought leadership, the content you build should help connect your business as the solution to your audience’s problem. As you align the sales journey with content tactics, the better (and more agile) your approach will become. Good luck!