An endless number of tools can assist with content creation, whether you're finding the right topic, optimizing your copy, or promoting it. As well as being great time-savers, such tools often provide useful data.
But we sometimes run the risk of becoming overdependent on them. It's easy to slip into autopilot and stick with the content drafting processes we're familiar with, but in doing so you could be overlooking valuable insights a little closer to home.
Your sales team may not be the first port of call when you're writing content (especially in a remote or hybrid working world), but salespeople are often ideal for helping with content. Sales speaks with your prospects more frequently than other departments do, and it best understands what prospects and customers need.
Moreover, working more closely with your sales team provides not only inspiration but also another outlet for promoting your content.
Sales Holds All the Secrets
In marketing, we spend a lot of time researching and studying our potential audience, but little to no time actually interacting with them. The most elaborate customer persona diagrams in the world can never compare with having actual conversations with real people on a daily basis.
Your salespeople know what your audience genuinely cares about, what challenges they face, what type of content they prefer to consume, and—most important—what holds them back. Those are the kind of insights that a piece of tech could never provide; therefore, they should be shaping the content you create.
Furthermore, your salespeople have individual relationships with your customers, and they can share your content with them directly.
Sales Can Fuel Content Ideas
I've often found that the best content brainstorming sessions come when you invite people from different areas of the business, especially Sales. Establishing what prospects' most frequently asked questions are can give you a starting point for blog posts, Q&A style on-page content, or even the beginnings of a PR campaign. Uncover insights your salespeople already have, as well as any common gaps in their knowledge.
Another piece of information that's really useful to extract is whether there are any frequent barriers to closing a sale. That's where your content can arguably have the biggest impact from a commercial perspective. When you understand those barriers, you can plan content and messaging that works to overcome them, whether by working with the content on your site or finding new case studies that show how such issues are resolved.
What's more, your sales team often has information on your competitors that goes beyond the numbers you'll find in a standard tool. Through their daily conversations, they know what companies your prospects are talking to, what content they're reading, and which competitors are stronger than you—and in which areas.
The connection between Sales and content should provide as much benefit for your sales team as it does for you. While you're getting a free source of content inspiration and insights, they're being provided with assets that are more relevant for their pipeline.
Using Your Sales Team to Promote Your Content
People often react better when content comes from an individual person than from a brand. That's true of several types of content, from emails to blog posts to social media. Your salespeople may have social media followings that are heavily made up of your target audience, so it makes sense to take advantage of that.
Think how often you ask the rest of your marketing team to share company blog posts across their personal LinkedIn accounts. Do you ever ask the sales team to do so? Keep salespeople in the loop when new content goes live, as they may well be looking for suitable content to share.
Think about other useful contacts Sales could have that you'd like to get your content in front of. Those interactions could be casual—following up on a phone call with a prospect via email with a piece of content relevant to the conversation, for example. You may even be able to create bespoke pieces your business development team can share with prospects.
How to Begin the Relationship Between Sales and Content
Including key members of your sales team in your regular planning sessions is a good way to kick-start the relationship between Sales and content marketing. Or, you could flip it around and occasionally sit in on a sales team meeting. The latter can be especially interesting because sometimes information that doesn't seem significant to others can spark a new content idea.
If time is an issue, simply being included in the circulation of notes taken from team meetings can be useful. You may also want to run marketing plans past the sales team before implementing them, in the same way you might seek buy-in from other departments.
Finally, get in the habit of keeping the business development team abreast of content that's going live so they can help promote it.
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Sales and Marketing are ultimately working toward the same goal, so it's logical to share insights. Take advantage of the close relationship your salespeople have with your audience—they're the content tool your marketing team needs.
More Resources on the Relationship Between Sales and Content Marketing
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