If you’re in marketing, you've probably come across this obstacle to your company working with the sales team to fully embrace B2B content marketing/inbound marketing as a way of reaching prospects and generating leads.
The business might really love the concept of attracting new people through producing useful, informative and engaging content, whether it’s articles for newsletters, blog posts or writing case studies. But the stumbling block can often be that someone has to write this stuff, and “who in our organisation has got the time/inclination to generate all this content”? (As Marcus Sheridan points out in his useful post entitled "How to Turn Your Company Into a Content Creation Machine", the answer to the question should be everyone!)
Sales people can be a really valuable resource for generating great content. Why? Well, they regularly make presentations to prospective customers, solve problems and answer questions for customers; they are face-to-face with clients all the time so they get to understand (in-depth) what they like and dislike about your service or solution, what pain your product solves, the list goes on…
Marketers reading the above paragraph will be rubbing their hands with glee thinking about the wealth of content that could be created - throughout your sales funnel - from all this knowledge, for instance:
blog posts based on real issues and problems happening for your customers right now;
case studies highlighting how a particular customer’s business has directly benefitted from your services;
web videos – “how-to” demos with your sales people explaining specifically how clients can use your product or service;
articles for newsletters on trends or hot topics in the industry.
It is clear that a rich vein of content could be derived from the intelligence and experience locked up with your sales team. But how do you convince them to spend time creating that key content, time they could be spending in front of clients developing and closing sales, right? What’s in it for them?
Someone who sees a clear benefit to sales teams that get involved in content creation and the inbound marketing process is Frank Belzer (aka the sales archaeologist). Listening to Frank speak at Inbound Marketing UK (IMUK) 2012, last November, he believes – as a sales guy himself - that there is a great reward for both sales folk and marketers who collaborate in this area: greater lead generation, better informed/educated prospects, greater brand awareness, enhanced reputation and authority, improved conversion rates, etc.
In his guest post for Lynton Web, Frank Belzer underlines why – for precisely the reasons highlighted above – sales people should be contributing to their company’s online content, and the prizes that await them from making that commitment. The worldy Mr Belzer suggests three key motivators for sales people getting involved:
1) That they should consider content as one of their sales tools, citing the real value of sending an informative and useful blog post by way of follow up to a prospect, instead of a less useful “it was nice to speak/meet with you earlier” type email. In this way, they enhance there role as a “trusted adviser” to potential customers.
2) By creating content themselves, they are informing and educating prospects around issues they know really matter, thus helping deliver truly qualified leads, interested in hearing from your business and focussed on what it is you can do for them – surely music to any sales persons ears?
3) That from more informed, nurtured “sales-ready” leads comes more income - enough said!
So, if you’re a marketer grappling with issue of trying to convince your sales people to get started on writing – this post should give you some ideas of how to make the pitch to them. And if you’re a sales person reading this post, you’re sitting on a content gold mine…so start putting pen to paper (or hand to keyboard!) and share the wealth.
If you are looking for a steer on how to get started with the writing side of things you may find the eBook below helpful.