The Relationship Between Sales Enablement And Content Marketing
Content marketing is one of the most effective forms of inbound marketing. You could argue that it’s the foundation for success that your other online marketing efforts depend on. Content marketing is a strategy used to attract new prospects and nurture leads. Unfortunately, many businesses assume that your content has done its job once a lead is sales qualified.
Yet, the goals of your content creation shouldn’t be limited to just your marketing strategy. There’s still work to be done at the bottom of the sales funnel, after all. Your sales team can leverage the content that your marketing team creates to help them close deals, making sales enablement a critical goal of content creation.
What Is Sales Enablement?
Sales enablement is a strategy leveraging content assets created to support your sales team’s needs to shorten sales cycles and convert leads into customers. Sales enablement focuses on the relationship between sales and marketing to respond to sales and sales cycle needs. Marketing creates the necessary supporting resources your sales team can reference or nurture leads across the line.
Sales enablement is a strategy in which your marketing efforts help improve your sales efforts. Content creation plays a big part in this relationship. Your sales team would work together with your marketing team to identify what kinds of content assets are needed in an identified sales cycle situation. Your marketing team would then create these pieces to be used as job aids by the sales team.
Why Is Sales Enablement Important?
A lack of sales enablement will hurt your sales team’s ability to convert customers. Once leads are passed on to your sales team, they will often need access to resources to nurture leads and turn them into customers. For instance, a salesperson who can direct sales leads to a case study that addresses their specific questions will have an easier time building trust to convert that lead to a customer. If sales enablement is lacking, then the salesperson may not have access to the type of content they need to address a lead’s questions. For example, if the available case studies don’t focus on the challenges of a specific group of leads, those case studies won’t help.
The bottom line, a lack of a sales enablement strategy will create a divide between your marketing and sales teams, which means your marketing strategy won’t connect with your sales strategy. Such a lack of alignment will only diminish your lead management process and make it more difficult to generate sales.
How Content Marketing Improves Sales Enablement
A good content marketing strategy is vital to successful sales enablement. High-quality content that targets your buyer personas, and that addresses every stage of the buyer’s journey will enable your sales team in the following ways:
Content Helps Generate Leads
Despite the focus on marketing, your content will eventually set the stage for your sales team. If your content attracts the wrong audience at the top of the sales funnel, your sales team will end up with fewer leads than needed. If your content doesn’t generate high-quality leads, then your sales team will have difficulty closing deals even if the leads they’re handed belong to your target audience.
Collaboration ensures everyone is on the same page with your buyer personas and what constitutes a high-quality lead. These elements will help inform your content marketing strategy so that you can enable your sales team to achieve tremendous success.
Content Helps Nurture Leads Through The Sales Funnel
Your content needs to do more than generate brand awareness and bring in more traffic. You need content across channels that addresses every stage of the buyer’s journey. A good content strategy is one that will nurture leads from one stage to the next. This way, once your leads are ready to be engaged by your sales team, they will have already been educated about their particular challenge, the potential solutions, and your brand. As a result, your sales team will have an easier time guiding your leads towards the ultimate goal: closing the deal.
Content Addresses Common Questions And Concerns
Without the right content, your sales personnel would spend an excessive amount of time answering common questions and addressing common concerns. For example, before making a purchase, your leads will want to know how your products or services will solve their unique challenges. If your content addresses these common questions and concerns, it saves your sales team a significant amount of time and shortens the sales cycle.
With a sales enablement strategy in place, your site should already have content addressing common questions and concerns. Many of your leads will have already found it — and if they haven’t, your sales team can easily direct them to this content to help move them further down the sales funnel.
Content Helps Close Sales
Even though sales enablement should result in content that leads can find on their own, they may still have questions and doubts that could prevent a sale. Such obstacles should come as no surprise — your sales team will always have some work to do once they engage with your qualified leads. As part of an effective sales enablement strategy, your marketing team can create job aids for your sales personnel to use. These job aids, such as case studies or white papers, can help alleviate any doubts or concerns your leads may have, thereby helping your sales team to close the sale successfully.
Types Of Content That Will Enable Your Sales Team
Technically, you could say that all content enables your sales team somehow. After all, content that attracts new prospects and generates new leads is essentially giving your sales team a potential sales source. However, your marketing team can create a few types of content specifically designed for sales enablement. These types of content can help qualify leads by educating and engaging them and can also be used by your sales team as job aids for addressing questions and concerns to help close deals. The following are a few examples of content that can be created for sales enablement:
Company And Product Content
Product content is any content that describes your product or service, its features or functions, how they can be used, and their needs or challenges. Product pages, product demonstrations, product reviews, and product comparisons are all examples. They help inform leads in the buyer’s decision stage, making it easier for sales personnel to close deals. Your sales team can use such content to help answer any questions about your products or services or showcase why they are the perfect solution to the lead’s specific challenges.
Company content describes your company’s history, what your values are, what your unique value proposition is, and what your goals are. The about us page on most websites is filled with company content; however, you can also publish company content on your blog or on social media, such as press releases about awards you’ve won or behind-the-scenes videos of your employees. Customers these days are just as picky about who they buy from as what they buy. They want to make sure they’re doing business with a company whose values align with theirs. This type of content helps build trust, making it easier for your sales team to engage successfully.
Educational content is meant to nurture new prospects by providing them with valuable information concerning their challenges and the solutions to those challenges. Such content can include webinars, blog posts, and useful resource downloads. When such content is created for specific buyer personas, your leads should develop the belief that your company can provide the solution they need. As a result, your sales team is better positioned to make a case for your product or service. If the educational content you create was made to target a specific buyer persona, odds are the leads you attract will be higher qualified. Leads attracted by content developed without a buyer persona in mind are usually more difficult for sales teams to close.
Businesses you are competing with directly (and some companies within the same industry you’re not competing directly with) share the same target audience. It’s a good idea to research what type of content they’re publishing on their websites and social media channels. Take note of content that performs exceptionally well. You should create content that competes directly with their content and improve on it.
You can then reach out to reputable websites linked to your competitors’ content and suggest that they redirect their links to your content since it’s better. Doing so can help you attract more leads. On top of that, higher quality competitive content will give you a leg up over direct competitors when your leads are in the decision stage. They will be comparing brands at this stage, making it easier for your sales team to showcase your competitive advantage.
Reviews, Testimonies, And Case Studies
There’s only so much that your sales team can say to a potential customer to convince them that your products or services are their best option. Since every business that a lead engages with will say the same thing, you should have reviews and customer testimonials available that set you apart. Your sales team can help build brand trust by showcasing what other customers think about your company and your products or services. They can also use case studies, which are more in-depth narratives focusing on customers and how your product or service solved a specific problem. Case studies are a fantastic resource for showing how your product or service can address particular challenges by offering real-world examples.
Blog posts help to attract new prospects and generate new leads. Good blog content can help leads to educate themselves about their challenges and potential solutions. As a result, they will be more informed, and they will also develop a trust in your business as a result of the brand authority you’ve established throughout your blog. This trust will make it easier for your sales team to engage with qualified leads. Because leads will be more informed, it will also help shorten the sales cycle since your team won’t have to spend as much time educating them.
Email Campaign Content
Email drip campaigns allow you to send content tailored to the lead’s needs using email list segmentation and automation. For example, you can trigger emails to be sent to leads based on actions that they take. Using analytics, you can monitor how leads engage with your emails, such as whether they’re opening them, reading them, clicking on links within the email, etc. These metrics can help you qualify leads as sales-ready and help your team identify new sales opportunities. Sales personnel that are in contact with sales leads can also email them relevant content to help push them over the finish line based on the direct interactions that they’ve had.
Alignment Leads To Better Sales Enablement Content
One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is keeping their marketing and sales departments separate. A lack of communication and collaboration between the two departments will hurt sales enablement and diminish your marketing efforts’ effectiveness. It’s only through alignment that your marketing and sales strategies will see their most tremendous success. Here are a few ways to improve alignment between your marketing and sales teams:
Implement Consistent Terminology And Processes
Believe it or not, one of the most common barriers against marketing and sales alignment is the use of different terminology and processes. For example, your marketing team may have a different definition of the term “lead” than your sales team. Your marketing team may consider both prospects and qualified leads as “leads,” whereas your sales team may only consider leads that have been qualified as “leads.” This difference in terminology can make it difficult for marketing and sales to get on the same page. The same goes for various processes being used. Make sure that the wording and qualification processes used by both departments are consistent.
Open Lines Of Communication Between Marketing And Sales
When marketing and sales teams are shut off from each other, they’re less likely to work together. They may even hold each other in contempt. For example, if the sales team’s numbers drop, they’ll be more likely to blame their leads’ quality, while the marketing team will blame the sales team for doing a poor job closing their leads.
By encouraging communication between the two teams, they’ll be more likely to work together than to work against each other. For instance, if a sales team notices that one type of lead closes easier than another, they can relay this valuable information to the marketing team. Your marketing team can then adjust the way that they qualify leads for the sales team. Encourage communication by providing both groups channels to communicate, such as assigning points of contact for each team.
Encourage Collaboration Between Marketing And Sales
Encouraging communication is vital to alignment, but that doesn’t always mean that your marketing and sales personnel will communicate. After all, people who don’t know each other are less likely to reach out to each other. To encourage more effective collaboration, consider holding routine meetings where your marketing and sales teams can share knowledge and get to know each other. By having your teams collaborate regularly, you will also improve communication throughout your organization.
Eliminate Data Silos
Data silos can be crippling for fostering alignment. Be sure that your marketing and sales teams have access to the same data. Otherwise, all kinds of issues can present themselves. For example, if your sales team doesn’t have access to updated customer profiles, they won’t effectively engage with qualified leads. The lead may have already described their pain point to a customer service representative via online chat without the sales representative knowing. As a result, the sales rep may take the wrong action, or the lead may be forced to repeat themselves, presenting a lackluster customer experience.
If your marketing team doesn’t have all of the information about a lead’s interactions with your customer service reps, they may not qualify the lead in time for your sales team to strike while the iron’s hot. Implement a CRM and make sure that customer profiles are updated immediately when new data becomes available.
Develop The Best Sales Enablement Strategy For Your Business
Sales enablement is an essential facet of your marketing strategy. Strive to align your marketing and sales strategies by encouraging better communication and consistent collaboration between them. You will develop a better sales enablement strategy that will benefit your marketing and sales teams and contribute to tremendous overall success in the long run.