Content marketing generates three times more leads for less than half the cost of traditional marketing. And according to a DemandGen Report, 95% of your customers end up signing with the vendor that delivers relevant content throughout the buyer’s journey.
While your marketing department may keep a multitude of freelancers and in-house writers busy churning out content—case studies, videos, blog posts, e-books, whitepapers and more—you shouldn’t assume that content delivery is the sole responsibility of marketing. After all, it’s your sales teams that are on the front lines of the buying process. They are the ones talking with prospective customers every day.
While marketing is busy seeding the buyer’s journey with content, inside sales can increase their success by taking a more active role in content distribution.
B2B Buyers Are Hungry for Your Content
Let’s face it, the Internet has raised a generation of buyers that prefer to research and investigate on their own before deciding to talk with sales. Research suggests that 70% of buyers choose to learn about products and services through editorial content, such as blogs, videos and whitepapers.
Don’t underestimate the sophistication of your buyers. They recognize the difference between marketing messaging or sales talk and the articles, webinars, podcasts and case studies that inform and educate. They no longer trust the promotional spiel. They want to know about their peers’ experiences, and they need the insight of industry experts.
It’s up to a smart sales team to provide the content that their buyers want and need by:
- Integrating content delivery into the sales process
- Providing those developing the content with greater insight into the sales process.
Follow Up With Content
Part of your inside sales team’s responsibility is to nurture prospects, educate and help them move toward a buying decision. In addition to connecting and engaging with prospects on the phone, your inside sales team can be a conduit for delivering content.
Encourage your inside salespeople to use blog posts, case studies, whitepapers and webinars as part of their sales activity. Whether talking with a prospect, leaving a voicemail or sending out an email campaign, they can build their message around a piece of content.
In this way, content becomes a way to open up a conversation, keep a prospect engaged and even qualify a lead and judge the propensity to buy. But before contacting a prospect, inside salespeople must:
- Be acquainted with the content: They need to read the article or whitepaper, listen to the podcast or watch the video. With firsthand knowledge, they can better engage with the prospect and take the conversation deeper.
- Select two or three key points: These can be openers that will catch a prospect’s interest and make them want to learn more. While working from a script never stimulates two-way conversation, it is a good idea for reps to have several facts and figures close at hand to support their message.
- Match content to the prospect: Creating custom content can be expensive. But with a little thought to a prospect’s industry and potential pain points, a rep can share existing content that speaks to a prospect’s issues.
As a follow-up tool, good content gives your inside sales reps a valid reason to connect with prospects.
Align Your Sales and Marketing Efforts
While marketing may manage the content development process, they shouldn’t be working in a vacuum. Your inside sales reps and field sales are on the front lines, talking with buyers every day. They know what your prospective customers really want and need to know.
If your company’s marketing and sales are not in alignment already, it’s time to create a collaborative team across departments. According to MarketingProfs, aligning sales and marketing can boost revenue by as much as 208%.
Working closely with marketing, sales can share insight into the buying process from working in the trenches. Then, together, the departments can:
- Evaluate the competitive landscape.
- Build buyer persona(s) and agree on an ideal customer profile.
- Define a common objective for each campaign.
- Collaborate on content needed throughout the buyer’s journey.
- Synchronize that content to deliver the right message, to the right person, at the right time.
When sales and marketing are aligned, you are ensuring better use of content. Not only will your inside salespeople know what’s available to use as they nurture and follow up with prospects, but they’ll have a hand in crafting a message that they know addresses the buyers’ pain points.
Tools to Help Inside Sales Better Leverage Content
Your company has a lot invested in content. It’s part of the SEO strategy that gives your products and services visibility on search engines. It’s the information that attracts attention on social sites and keeps customers and prospects coming back to your website for more.
But if you’re not making it easy for reps to use the content as part of their sales process, you’re missing an opportunity. Here are a few tools that will help keep fresh, relevant content at hand and easy to share:
- ClearSlide: A sales engagement and enablement platform that makes it fast and easy for sales people to integrate existing content into presentations on the fly.
- Contently: Provides a comprehensive content marketing suite that includes the popular Docalytics email tracking tool that alerts reps when email attachments are opened or shared.
- KnowledgeTree: A central content repository that uses predictive analytics to select appropriate content for seamless integration into emails, presentations and sales calls.
Make the most of your company’s investment in content by encouraging inside salespeople to use it as part of their nurturing and prospect follow-up process.