You know the inner workings of your content marketing strategy, and you know the objectives and your reasons for including them in your plans. It all makes sense to you, but you’re beginning to get the feeling that you don’t have full buy-in from your sales managers and their teams. In fact, a disconnect between sales and marketing departments is a real problem for many small and large businesses. It is often the lead cause for marketing project failure and lower than excepted sales achievements.
This disconnect is a common situation between marketing and sales teams, who are both geared toward revenue growth, but often see different perspectives in how it should be accomplished. A Content Marketing Institute article provides guidance for improving the communication about your content marketing plan to the sales team.
You know your strategy inside and out, and you are sure that it’s the right path for growth for your company. There’s a certain art, however, in selling your plan to your sales team, so here are a few ideas for how you can present your strategy and get buy-in from every level, from inside sales reps to sales managers:
Explain the “why” of your plan. When you communicate your plan to the sales team, make sure to start by explaining why you’ve chosen your particular direction. Demonstrate the relevance of your plan in relation to core objectives that are universally pursued within your company. Are your goals aligned with those of your sales department? Be sure to clearly draw that connection.
It’s also important to regularly communicate with the sales team to be sure that you are supporting them with the content they need. For example, you may be completely focused on lead generation only to find out that the sales team’s pipeline is bursting at the seams with leads. Instead the sales team may be having difficulties moving leads down the sales pipeline because they lack content more appropriate for a buyer ready to make a decision, like case studies testimonials, and white papers.
Give an overview of your “how.” Your sales team will value an explanation of how you’re accomplishing the objectives of your content marketing strategy. You don’t have to detail how many white papers you expect to produce in a quarter, but you can definitely provide an overview of how content marketing builds relationships and transitions:
- Provide a brief explanation for how you’ve identified the target audience and how you go after their attention
- Demonstrate how you engage the audience and build relationships through content pieces and their calls to action
- Use data to show how this activity converts your target audience into high-quality leads that are funneled to sales
As noted in the article, professionals in content marketing like to say that, “content is king.” That may be true in the world of marketing, but in every other context, revenue is thought to be king. If content doesn’t produce revenue, your sales team won’t understand its value.
Describe the “what.” Your sales team needs to know what your marketing plan is doing to support company objectives, but you don’t need to give them a list of your planned content launch dates. Sales reps won’t be interested in your mix of blogs versus infographics and white papers.
What they are interested in is the plan you have relative to their sales goals and company objectives. These conversations are important, because they help sort out any potential misunderstandings about your shared vision for revenue growth. Talk about specific goals that the company has for growth and how your marketing plan specifically supports those goals.
Share your data. You can demonstrate how your content marketing strategy is contributing to growth by presenting data to sales managers and reps. It’s critical, though, that you share the data that’s important for their position in the company.
For instance, you do not need to share metrics that demonstrate your click-through rates on your email newsletters, or which keywords tend to get the most hits that lead to your blogs (though these are important they aren’t what will resonate with your sales team). Instead, talk about what share of the online voice your company has versus your competitors or which kinds of content are most reliable for converting readers into buyers.
Talk about reliable lead generation through telemarketing. One area that isn’t addressed in the article from Content Marketing Institute is the reliability of telemarketing for producing high-quality leads for sales teams. Many marketing teams become focused on digital content distribution, forgetting tried-and-true methods like direct mail and telemarketing. Telemarketing is particularly effective at sorting out who the decision-maker is at a company and providing information critical for closing a sale.
Here are a few reasons why you will want to include telemarketing along with your digital distribution methods:
- It builds a relationship. With so much focus on digital communication, people are missing the “human touch”. When you call clients/prospects you demonstrate that you care, that you want to take the time to find out in person what their business challenge and needs are. When you use telemarketing, it takes marketing back to a human-to-human conversation, where trust and loyalty thrive. When you take the time to listen to your clients and prospects they will reward you with real time information. This can help your sales team determine the sales potential they represent to your organization.
- It’s proactive. When compared with social media or email newsletters, telemarketing is an active way to collect information about your target audience. When you produce content and place it on social media, for instance, you are forced to wait to see if the piece receives any attention. When you use telemarketing to augment your efforts on social media, you can have the opportunity to determine several items during a conversation:
- Whether the contact is, in fact, the decision-maker
- In which format they prefer to receive content
- What types of challenges and problems they are facing currently
- What is their decision making process and timeline
- Are there any potential hesitations or questions that could prevent them from choosing your company
- It offers the opportunity to score and prioritize leads. Leads that come from telemarketing have been closely qualified and vetted. This allows you to give your sales team actionable leads that require immediate attention and the other less qualified leads can be nurtured longer by the marketing team.
Content marketing is a great way to build your company’s reputation for being a trusted resource for expertise in your industry. When it comes to lead generation, though, don’t make the mistake of bypassing telemarketing and relying solely on digital marketing techniques. Your sales team knows the importance of quality lead generation, so be ready with a plan that promotes growth across your organization.
Blue Valley Telemarketing regularly works with companies to help them design a content marketing plan that supports a vibrant sales team with a combination of digital distribution techniques and reliable lead generation through telemarketing.