Content marketing is an investment in your business… but only if it’s supporting your sales strategy. If your sales team isn’t aligned with your content marketing strategy, then you could be wasting time and money generating content that isn’t hitting the mark.

It’s not hard to see why marketing and sales are different. They tend to work on completely different goals and metrics:

Research by sales technology company, Highspot, showed that while marketers think their content contributes to big sales boosts, 65% of that content is never used by sales teams. They recommend that minimising wasted marketing budgets starts with analysing which content is leading to sales and trying to cater more to your audience instead of launching flashy campaigns. Your sales team and marketing team need to work together instead of in their own silos for a number of reasons.

The importance of content marketing
More than just a buzzword, content marketing has become one of the most powerful tools for attracting targeted customers, building loyalty and driving profitability, says Veronica Stoddard, the principal of VS Content Strategies and former travel editor for USA Today.

“If done right and properly integrated within a brand, content marketing will benefit a cross-section of departments including marketing, sales, public relations, and even customer relations,” says Veronica.

Did you know?
A study by Aberdeen Group found that businesses with highly aligned sales and marketing teams earned an average of 32% year-over-year growth, while those who reported less alignment saw a 7% decrease in revenue. This makes aligning content marketing and sales much more than a nice-to-have – it’s something that every business owner should be focusing on.

Here are a few smart ways to integrate content marketing and sales for high-impact results:

Crafting content that brings in leads
If there’s one thing a sales team wants from marketing, it’s better quality leads. Forrester Research showed that most buyers are almost a third of the way through their buyer’s journey before they reach out to a sales representative. With more and more people doing research online and reading for unbiased product reviews before they contact sales staff, a marketer’s responsibility becomes even greater. The marketer needs to focus on creating content that supports the buyer’s journey and leads to better quality leads.

One way to create content that generates hot leads is to focus on educating the reader. Consider the pain points and challenges that they face and tailor your content to focus on ways that help them overcome their challenges. Interactive content also goes a long way in engaging your target audience. In the built environment specifically, tools that help contractors, quantity surveyors, specifiers and architects are a great way to give your potential buyers something useful that they can use. These tools can also assist sales people in gauging where they are in their sales journey, which will help them meet buyers where they are at in the buying process.

Get more input from sales representatives
Marketers don’t always receive enough feedback from the clients they are marketing to and sales representatives can help close this loop. Whether your marketers are creating brochures for trade events or case study content for sales representatives to take to meetings, the feedback that sales people receive from the industry should be relayed to the writers and marketing people who are crafting the content.

Go beyond sales and marketing
Forrester Research showed that 73% of consumers prefer using a company’s website to answer their questions, which means that the right type of content should be on your website. Consider how your customer service team can contribute to your content marketing and sales strategies by making every customer interaction with your business a learning opportunity. This type of feedback can contribute to the content that is developed by your marketers and the way that sales people approach customers.

Revive internal communications
Set up a monthly internal newsletter where the marketing team, sales team, business executives and customer service team each write an article about what they’re working on. This will help keep everyone in the loop about upcoming projects, create clarity about strategic goals of each group and give the various business units greater insight to what everyone is doing.

Take your content marketing efforts to clients
If you have advertorials or editorials printed in niche industry publications, such as FLOORS in Africa Magazine, then you can forward a PDF version of the article to clients or take the magazine to them when you are there for a meeting. You should also be republishing this content on your social media profiles and blog.

Thanks and acknowledgement are given to www.adweek.com, www.aberdeen.com, www.go.forrester.com, www.smartinsights.com, www.digitalcurrent.com and www.convinceandconvert.com for some of the information contained in this article.

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