Whether the discussion centers around lead quality, buyer personas or content, there seems to be a never-ending battle between sales and marketing departments to stay aligned. When it comes to content, the sales team is rarely using the content that the marketing team is creating – in fact, 90 percent of content developed for sales is never used in selling (eMarketer).
Why? In most cases, sales teams don’t think the content developed by marketers speaks to their prospects in the right way, or it fails to address the common objections uncovered in the sales process. Unifying these teams could save both parties’ time and also increase the chances that sales goals are met.
Never fear. You don’t have to spend time and resources creating long-form content for your sales team – there are great marketing assets and tools located within most organizations that can be leveraged, helping to bridge the gap between sales and marketing and moving prospects further down the funnel:
Webinars: Invite top prospects to host
Webinars are a tried-and-true tactic to generate leads. An in-house subject matter expert hosts a webinar on a particular topic and prospects are invited to attend. When they register, contact info is collected and they are thrown into the sales funnel. This is an effective marketing strategy to cast a wide net to a large group of prospects, but it is not catered to your top prospects or “big fish” targets.
To make an impact on your top prospects, approach the individuals to be webinar participants vs. attendees. Make the opportunity to be a featured participant appealing to your potential prospects by tailoring these opportunities to the individual. It is crucial to research what the person is passionate about discussing and craft a webinar that speaks to this interest or area of expertise. The marketing lead responsible for the webinar and the sales lead should work together to determine which prospects they are targeting and the webinar topic.
Once the prospect (or prospects, if you can find additional subject matter experts in your prospect pool) agrees to participate, the marketing lead and account executive can use a discovery call or meeting about the webinar to uncover additional information about the prospect to use in subsequent touch points. It is wise to invite a current client to participate as well, as a customer can serve as third-party validation if the prospect inquires about how it is to work with your company.
Media coverage: Thought leadership outreach
Many marketers do not think about using the knowledge of their sales team to shape media pitch angles, but they are missing out on a big opportunity. Ultimately, your sales team is reaching out to prospects to uncover a common pain point that can be solved with the company’s product or service. In the sales process, there are likely common questions or objections raised by prospects — information that can be used as thought leadership in outreach to the media.
How? One way is to figure out what these common questions are and turn them into a bylined article from a company spokesperson to pitch to the media. For example: “3 Questions to Ask When Vetting Outsourced IT Vendors,” “5 Risks to Consider When Moving Data to the Cloud,” “Top Reasons the Legal Industry is Ready for Digital Signatures.” If a bylined article is placed in your trade media or a national media outlet as contributed content, get it in the hands of the sales team to use in outreach (part of an email sequence, in their email signatures, etc.) to move prospects further down the funnel. Because the info was sourced from the sales team, they will not be resistant to using it and the third-party validation of a media source adds credibility to the message.
In addition to thought leadership coverage, any company features, case studies or product coverage secured in the press should be shared with the sales team and used in outreach.
Video: Testimonials, trade shows
Which would you rather consume — a written case study or a video testimonial? Most would choose the latter. Marketers know that visual content is more compelling than text, and video is the most powerful of them all. The obvious advice and low-hanging fruit when it comes to video is to make sure you are investing in it as part of your content strategy. Prospects relate to people like them experiencing the same problem they have, so capturing a customer telling their story on video is a fantastic touchpoint for the sales team — much more effective than sending a demo video of the new platform upgrade.
A unique tactic that benefits both the sales and marketing team is wrapping a video content strategy into trade-show planning. An industry trade show likely brings you together with your exhibiting competitors, all vying for the attention of shared prospects. How do you stand out? Treat prospects as experts in the industry and invite them to your booth to share their perspective on a particular topic, captured on video. Ask the sales team identify the top 10 target prospects at the show and have the marketing team reach out them before the show. Outreach from a marketing contact will make the prospect feel less “sold to” and more likely to schedule a time to come to the booth and participate.
With a full video schedule at the show, the sales AE can meet prospects in person and the marketing team can use the final video as a marketing piece to use in post-show campaigns.
While sales and marketing may never live in perfect harmony, there are many marketing tactics that can be invaluable for the sales team. Webinars, media coverage and video are three innovative solutions to bring these two teams together. It takes constant communication between departments, working together to uncover the other marketing treasures that will yield more qualified leads.
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