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Wouldn’t it be great if you could remain top of mind with prospects without having to be the annoying sales rep who calls, emails, and/or “checks in” every week?

Well, it’s easier than you think when you harness the power of content.

Publishing content is one of the most valuable things you can do to attract and nurture leads. Here are a few examples of how this works:

  • You’re publishing content on LinkedIn, and each time you post a new article, LinkedIn sends a notification to all of your contacts, including leads who won’t respond to your emails.
  • You’re publishing articles on external publications, so when a lead searches for an answer to a question related to your industry or offering, he finds an article you wrote on that exact topic.
  • You’re publishing a newsletter with links to your most recent content, and each week, like clockwork, it acts as a reminder to your leads that you’re an expert and have valuable information to offer.

These are just three examples of how content can sell for you. But for this to happen, your content marketing initiatives and sales processes need to be in sync. Unfortunately, this is very difficult for many companies. According to a Forrester Research report, only 8% of B2B companies have achieved proper marketing-sales alignment.

Here are some tips for getting your marketing and sales teams working together on content like a well-oiled machine:

  • Organize your content creation efforts. Using a system to keep everything consistent and centralized will streamline content creation and ease the burden on both the sales and marketing teams. Create a knowledge bank to store, organize, and easily access your sales team’s expertise, including answers to common objections, as ammo for articles.
  • Encourage all sales team members to share published content. Your salespeople should be sharing content on their social networks and emailing leads relevant content to spark conversations. By using a content promotion template, you can easily track the articles being shared. After making a sale, you can go back and evaluate your efforts to see which strategies saw profitable returns.
  • Have your salespeople write content to showcase their expertise. When prospects read content from your salespeople, they form relationships before the selling process even begins. Encourage your sales and marketing teams to work together to create and edit content that ties back to your overall content strategy. Then ensure each salesperson leverages the content effectively.

By aligning your marketing and sales teams, you can produce powerful lead-nurturing content that’s relevant to prospects because it helps them overcome obstacles.

To ramp up your lead-nurturing content, consider these three valuable approaches:

1) Articles that showcase your company’s expertise on a topic

By contributing to external publications and demonstrating your knowledge, you earn credibility by association and become a trusted industry resource people will look to for what’s coming next. By guest blogging, you’re tapping into new networks of people who probably haven’t heard of your business and don’t (yet) know you could provide a viable solution to a problem they’re facing.

2) Blog posts that dive into your company’s approach to customer problems

Once a lead has found your blog through an external article, the content on your site guides them along through the funnel. Middle of the funnel content should consist of blog articles that further educate the reader, showcase your unique approach, and encourage them to learn more through a specific call to action such as downloading a whitepaper or ebook.

3) Whitepapers that offer in-depth analysis of popular pain points

By developing and offering resources that delve deeper into a topic, you’re providing leads with something more tangible than a blog post and solidifying their confidence in your expertise.

We created a whitepaper showcasing how we generated more than 100 leads from one piece of content, and it’s become one of our highest-performing pieces of content because it addresses a common need: tying content to sales.

Whitepapers are great for bottom of the funnel leads who have identified your company as a potential solution and are in the final stages of a purchasing decision.

When you align the sales and marketing departments and create the right type of content for each part of the funnel, you’re nurturing leads throughout the buying process and shrinking the sales cycle. That way, when a salesperson finally gets on the phone with a lead, your content has already done the selling.

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Originally published May 12, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017

Topics:

Social Selling