The latest buzz word, ‘smarketing’, is all about better aligning sales and marketing to improve communication and performance to create more leads and increase profits.
All too often sales and marketing work in isolation from one another and this can create a disconnect. For example, marketing often has different priorities to sales. Setting email opening targets, website traffic numbers and marketing leads don’t always equate into sales
Smarketing is all about getting sales and marketing to talk to each other and work towards common goals to realize business growth. Sales teams are invaluable sources of content for marketing. They know customer pain points, their challenges and goals – this can be tailored into content that will help potential customers truly understand why your product/service is right for them.
Going forward, marketing needs to ask itself two important questions before producing collateral: What will it be used for? How will it help sales engage with potential/current customers? The answers will help engage customers and produce a successful campaign.
Here are some tips on how to create content with ‘stickability’ that will help sales teams bolster their pitches and close deals.
- Know the client base you are creating content for so it lets the sales teams hit the ‘sweet spot’. To do this you must have a clear picture of your clients, their profiles and demographics. Find out their preferences for direct communications. According to a Hubspot survey, email is still the preferred channel, although applications like WhatsApp and YouTube are making their mark and podcasts are having a resurgence.
- Find out where decision makers go for buying information. In the Hubspot State of Inbound 2016 report, for example, respondents’ top two sources were vendor authored materials (41 percent) and media articles (38 percent). According to analyst firm Forrester 82 percent of buyers view at least five pieces of content from the eventual winning vendor.
- Create content that is concise, to the point, carries a consistent company message and is in a format that is easy for sales teams to utilize. Put together ‘leave behinds’ for sales teams to give potential clients to reinforce pitches. Market research company IDC estimates that sales teams don’t use 80 percent of content that marketing generates, even though most of it is created for sales and channel use. The two main reasons cited is they don’t know it exists or it will take them too long to filter the necessary content to close a deal!
- Marketing needs to make sure the company, products and services are on the radar of potential clients, even before sales teams go in. Part of the process sales are struggling with right now according to a Hubspot report is prospecting for new business. Twenty-six percent of respondents said prospecting for customers was a huge challenge. Sixty-two percent of survey respondents indicated that prospects were “somewhat” or “not at all” knowledgeable about their companies before a sales person makes contact.
- Make your content buyer-centric and appealing to the client – not product-centric. Buyers want to know how they can solve a problem with a solution, boost efficiency and their ROI. Sales leads who are nurtured with targeted content increase sales opportunities by 20 percent, according to DemandGen.
- Blogs can not only be used to build brand, company and executive awareness – they can also be invaluable sales tools for significant product updates, launches and company news. Sixty percent of marketers said blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority in a recent Hubspot report. Google, for example, often issues press statements in its blogs, as opposed to traditional press releases. B2B companies that blog generate 67 percent more sales leads per month than those that do not, according to Social Media B2B.
- Make sure the content covers the buyer’s journey from start to finish. Buyers ultimately lead the sales cycle. Sales teams need to use content to help build relationships with customers and make their key differentiation points stand out. If it is down to a choice of two products at the end, response time and personalized content can make a big difference. In a recent DemandGen report 95 percent of buyers chose a solution that “provided them with ample content to help navigate through each stage of the buying process”.
- Produce targeted case studies. They are a powerful tool for sales teams and add credibility. Ensure that the case studies focus on customer challenges that their peers can recognize so that the solution resonates with them. There is no need for an in-depth technical overview of the products, rather how the solution helped solve a problem.
- Create content that allows for personalization. The closer a sales person can get to a one-to-one prospect with a potential client, the more likely they are to turn into a customer. According to the Content Marketing Institute, among the best-in-class B2B marketers, 71 percent tailor content to the decision maker.
- Create thought leadership content. Your company’s knowledge base is invaluable. Ninety-six percent of buyers in a 2016 DemandGen report said they want more content with input from industry thought leaders.
- Create content that your target audience will actively want to share. The more content such as blogs, LinkedIn postings and Tweets are shared, the more you are getting your message out and widening your network. Forty-two percent of buyers in the Hubspot report said they communicated via LinkedIn, for example. So make sure you get the most out of your content by socializing it.
With content pivotal to the sales process, it is no surprise that 62 percent of companies are outsourcing their marketing content, according to Mashable.
Here at Futurity Media we have an experienced content creation team who can work side by side with marketing and sales teams to get the very best results from ‘smarketing’ campaigns Contact us for an informal chat how we can get ‘smarketing’ off the ground in your organization.