leverage-sales-contentI read every single whitepaper, ebook, blog post, and product update our marketing department produces.

The marketing team here at HubSpot not only helps generate inbound leads, but they also help convert those leads into customers with the content they create. As a sales rep, reading the information they produce and recognizing the work they do to combat objections helps me close more deals.  

For example, we receive a weekly product digest from the marketing department. This email educates sales reps about updates within our tools and products. Digesting this information regularly helps me understand our products inside and out. These documents help define the language they use, their expectations overall, and their perspective of the product when looking at our website.  

In turn, this helps me communicate with my prospects throughout the entire sales cycle and close more deals in multiple ways. Here's a further breakdown of the benefits.

Sales Should Use Content To ...  

1. Book that first call.

Some might think that HubSpot salespeople don't have trouble booking that first call. And you'd be right. But, even though our marketing team has built an opt-in database of millions of contacts, we still need to proactively and persistently reach out to our prospects. Just because someone downloads an ebook or even requests a consultation doesn't mean I'm going to get them right on the phone. 

Content plays a huge role in helping us book that first call. We are constantly sending content to our prospects based on our research. For example, if I see they've posted an opening for a new marketing hire on their site, I'll send them a guide on how to hire a modern marketer. If I see that they downloaded an ebook about website redesign a few months back, I'll email them with a newer version or another article on the topic. 

2. Earn a second meeting.

Marketing's role isn't over after you start talking to a prospect. Those whitepapers, ebooks, and blog posts play a part in every single stage of the sales process.  

For example, content is critical in reinforcing what you uncovered and explored on that initial conversation. Many people have those eureka moments when they read things on their own time. Prospects really start to understand how you can help when you email them with content that is relevant to them, based on our first conversation. It also shows that you listened and that you're already helping them. You're also more credible when the content you send reinforces what was discussed because you're now saying the same thing that your amazing marketing team has published. 

3. Build a relationship.

I'm a firm believer that you become a much better sales rep when you understand how your buyers buy and the things they need to learn in order to make an informed decision. The marketing content I read helps me learn about these things. By having this knowledge, I can speak more effectively to my prospect's challenges and pain points; I earn a prospect's trust at the start because I'm knowledgeable about what we do and what they deal with. As a result, I have more relevant conversations and tend to ask questions that really make them think. 

I love when the communication begins to flow and I'm no longer a sales rep on the other end of the phone line. I'm in the same foxhole with them; together we identify problems and solutions.  

4. Overcome objections easier.

I make it a priority when I'm speaking with prospects to try not use the word HubSpot in my first fifteen minutes. This way, they know that I'm serious about helping them first, and only selling them if I know that we can help them. 

But, I still consistently hear, "Why should I use HubSpot for XYZ?" or "Why can't I just use a bunch of free online tools?" It's incredibly effective to overcome objections by referring to a blog post or whitepaper that our marketing team created.  

When I receive a new objection, I share that with the marketing team so that they can write new articles addressing this new objection. Our marketing team creates lots of content that helps us address the same objections on future calls. Sometimes we even get to avoid the objection completely because they read the an article on our site that addressed it for me. I've gotten on calls with prospects for the first time and some of them will confess things like, "I've been following for years, but I didn't think you would be able to help me ... but then I read that article that made me think differently." 

5. Build credibility.

Technology changes. Industry standards change. The market environment changes.  

Just look at where I work. The product we had just two years ago was quite different than our current product. The vision is similar, but what we sell is different.  It's imperative to leverage marketing to stay up to speed with what the market expects and how your company's product is changing. What I learn from our marketing content enables me to be credible when I'm helping prospects diagnose their needs and create solutions to their challenges. 

6. Expedite the sales cycle.

People learn in various ways. Some want to talk to me and learn from me directly, while others enjoy reading an ebook on their own time, while some want to read charts of data in a SlideShare before they feel comfortable moving ahead in the sales process.  

Having marketing materials at your fingertips can expedite the sales cycle through manual or automated nurturing -- initiated by a sales rep. If the prospect has other priorities that prevent them from focusing on improving their online marketing right now, I'll make a note to contact them in a week or a month. I'll then send them a whitepaper that marketing created because it reminds them of their interest or a missed opportunity. If I disovered an interest of theirs, I can even put them into a lead nurturing sequence. This keeps them engaged and helps me re-engage them in a conversation, and ultimately reduce the sales cycle.  

7. Close the deal.

How many times, as a sales rep, have you picked up the phone and in the first few sentences the prospect says, "You know what, everything that I'm doing is fine. This stuff doesn't apply to my type of business."  

I'd say, "It's funny you mention that. Lots of people think that, unfortunately. I have an article from people who said the same thing who ultimately changed their mind. Should we talk about why they changed their mind?"

Whether I end up sending the article or not, it's hard for them to argue with me, as I have published proof. This helps me establish expertise in their industry, overcome objections, and ultimately help close more business. 

At the end of the day, if you're working in sales ... my recommendation is to make marketers your best friends. Period.  

Do you work with a marketing team to turn prospects into profits? Tell me about your techniques in the comments below.

                                   

Originally published Apr 10, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017

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Sales Collateral