With its ability to educate, inform, entertain and otherwise engage audiences, content marketing is a brilliant way for marketers to stir up interest and attract quality leads. And its uses don’t stop there. While content marketing may typically be associated with the marketing department, it can be equally beneficial on the sales end of the spectrum.
With the right sales and marketing alignment, your content can be powerful enough to help your sales representatives do everything from showcasing their expertise to closing the deal. Here are five ways content can contribute to the success of your sales team.
1. Position Sales Reps as Thought Leaders
Not many people are breaking down doors to talk to a sales rep pitching a product. But tons are interested in talking to a thought leader who can help them pinpoint a solution to their problems. LinkedIn research found a hefty 92% of buyers are more than eager to engage if a professional is known as a thought leader within an industry.
Positioning sales reps as thought leaders involves providing them with content that exhibits their expertise. Make sure your sales reps have accounts on LinkedIn and other relevant social media channels where they can publish posts, answer questions, join groups and discussions, and share their knowledge. The key here is to engage, not promote.
2. Establish and Maintain Digital Relationships with Leads
More and more sales teams are staying in the office instead of heading out on the field. That means it’s crucial for reps to establish and maintain digital relationships with their leads, something that can again be achieved with content.
Your content marketing setup is likely to already include lead nurturing campaigns that get blasted to the masses. Have reps create and manage their own email list of leads with which they can engage on a more personal level. Reps can send blog posts, white papers, e-books and other content that provides specific information and solutions based on a prospect’s needs.
Not only can this tactic reinforce your sales reps’ expertise in the industry, but it also keeps them top of mind. Again, the content should aim to inform and engage without attempting to sell.
3. Build Trust, Credibility and Emotional Connections
The content your sales team shares with leads serves to build trust, credibility and, perhaps most importantly, emotional connections. The more personalized and relevant the content, the more likely prospects are to realize the rep is truly in tune with their business.
Providing educational and useful content also helps to connect with a lead’s emotions, which is vital for making a sale. As much as we’d like to believe rational thought guides our purchasing decisions, they are actually made with the area of the brain that controls emotions.
Helping people feel knowledgeable and empowered with the content your rep shares can go a long way toward closing the deal.
4. Showcase the Benefits
Leads may review list after list of a product’s features and not bat an eye. But if you instead showcase the benefits a product can bring, you’re suddenly apt to have their full attention. Content that keeps the focus on the benefits, or what’s in it for the customer, enables your sales rep to target and provide solutions for specific pain points.
Benefits can be highlighted with content marketing pieces that include things like case studies, sales sheets, blog posts, infographics and slide decks that clearly illustrate the value of what you’re offering. Demonstrating how your product or service can save time, increase productivity and otherwise enhance the workplace does double duty of fortifying the emotional connection.
5. Help Prospects Sell it to Their Bosses
Most purchasing decisions aren’t made by a single person but an entire committee. That means even if the lead is sold on the idea, he or she has to turn around and sell it managers, department heads, finance execs and bosses.
Content can step in again here, providing hard numbers and data that show how your solution is a worthwhile investment for solving the prospect’s problems. Infographics are ideal for providing easy-to-digest statistics. Sales reps can also use case studies, videos, slide decks and additional data-driven content that answers questions, overcomes objections, and alleviates pain points.
Sales and marketing alignment is integral for creating all this juicy content, and getting the two departments together for regular meetings makes for a great start. Use the sessions for brainstorming and planning content your sales reps can then use to demonstrate their expertise, strengthen relationships, outline benefits and firmly close the sale.