Sales reps? Involved in content marketing? That doesn’t seem accurate. Isn’t that what you pay your marketing department to do? We get why you might approach this subject with skepticism — but once we explain, there will be no question about it. Your sales reps absolutely need to invest more time in content marketing.
Let’s start with the bottom line. Your marketing department only has part of the picture to work with. They distribute content and observe as target audiences interact with the information. And they use what they observe to improve messaging and targeting. But they’re only seeing a portion of the total buyer’s journey. The other portion is owned by your sales reps, who personally interact with qualified leads and experience firsthand which leads become custpomers. Additionally, your sales reps know which questions your company isn't answering and problems you're not solving with your current content. This information needs to come full circle so marketing can use it to refine content and reach the highest quality leads possible.
Let’s break it down by the numbers to see why content marketing is so important and how it impacts the sales funnel.
1. Content is a Colossal Part of the Purchase Decision
85 percent of customers regularly seek content they trust to educate their purchasing decision. In fact, they digest about 11.4 pieces of content before they make a purchase.
According to Content Marketing Institute's 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report, sales and marketing teams doing content marketing successfully also do these 4 key things:
- Understand what successful content marketing looks like
- Document a content marketing strategy
- Create/document an editorial mission statement
- Communicate regularly and often with BOTH sales and marketing
2. Sales Perspective Makes Content Better
88 percent of B2B companies implement some form of content marketing strategy. Point being, it’s highly likely your direct competitors are using content marketing to swoop in on the target market. But here’s the catch. Only 30 percent of marketers feel their content marketing strategy is currently effective. So if sales helps piece together the missing portion of information to improve overall strategy, there’s a very good chance you will out-pace your competition. Of the least effective companies out there, 40 percent don’t use content marketing. Of the most effective companies out there, 53 percent do.
3. Sales and Marketing Share the Same Goals
Despite the ages-old feud between the two departments, sales and marketing are actually working toward the same exact goals. Marketing’s top two priorities are to generate quality leads and close sales. In fact, most B2B marketers believe sales lead quality is the most important metric. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
4. Content is a Critical Sales Tool
Social media is one of the best ways for a company to distribute its content, and sales reps can take full advantage of social platforms. 78.6 percent of reps that use social media to sell outperform those who don’t. Salespeople who use social media are also 23 percent more successful at exceeding their sales quota by more than 10 percent. By “using social media,” we mean sharing content, helping to educate audiences, vetting leads, and ultimately being an active member of the community your marketing team works so hard to create.
5. Content Brings Employees Together
If your organization is actively sharing content and engaging with social communities, employees are 27 percent more likely to believe in its future, 20 percent more likely to stay and be a part of that future, and 40 percent more likely to see your organization as a real contender in today’s market. On which networks you choose to exist will depend entirely on your industry and where your target audiences spend their time. LinkedIn is the most effective channel for sharing content and is currently utilized by 95 percent of B2B companies. Twitter and YouTube follow close behind. While popular, only about 30 percent of marketers feel Facebook is an effective channel for sharing content (mostly B2C marketers).
This Salesforce Infographic illustrates why your sales reps need to invest more time in content marketing.
The grand takeaway: your sales reps are brand ambassadors. They are the face of your organization and they need to represent and support the messages marketing is putting out. But the bigger gain is the relationship content can create between sales and marketing. The two must learn to work together and share information if either wants to meet their goals.