In your organization, who creates the most content -- marketing or sales? Who writes the content for your website? Who writes your blog articles, white papers and customer emails? Who writes the copy for brochures and advertisements?
Many organizations will answer: marketing, of course, and quickly add, “sales creates some stuff too, I think.”
The correct answer to “Who creates the most content -- marketing or sales?” should be -- neither. Effective content creation should be a collaborative initiative. That means sales and marketing work together on content to create a single content/resource library.
If not, you’ll end up with marketing creating content that sales doesn’t know exist, and sales creating content marketing doesn’t know exist. Sound familiar?
How to Create Quality Content between Marketing and Sales
Digital content by itself isn’t a marketing strategy — it’s just bits of information. To make a piece of content really work for you, it needs to be part of a larger overall digital strategy.
Online digital content should work in three ways:
- It should attract attention, rank with the search engines and drive people to your company website.
- It should guide prospects through the buyer’s journey and answer their questions along the way.
- It should be an asset for turning prospects into sales (aka, generating revenue).
When sales and marketing work together to create content, they create a better buyer experience.
For example, if sales creates its own collateral that doesn’t align with the marketing collateral, you may be sending out different messages that confuse buyers. When buyers are confused or they begin to lose trust, they pause. And when they pause, your chances of closing the deal go down.
When you work together, you gain efficiency by utilizing both teams’ strengths. Marketing has the skill set for creating, designing, producing and promoting content, while sales has direct access to the No. 1 source for what the content should be -- the buyer.
Step 1: Show Sales the Benefits of Digital Content
How do you create a collaborative effort between marketing and sales when creating content? First, start by showing sales the benefits of digital content. Present the data.
Track back the data of a new customer and show sales how that customer visited a web page X many times, signed up for the e-newsletter, downloaded whitepaper Y and spent 20 minutes watching video Z on your social media channel.
This is valuable insight for sales to know what a prospect is doing online before and between sales calls.
Step 2: Create a Collaborative Sales Resource Library
Next, create a resource library that outlines what content marketing uses for lead generation and what content sales can use during the sales process.
The sales team needs easy access to content that is relevant and answers a prospects’ needs while they meet and communicate with this lead. Integrate your content into your CRM or through a content management system.
Marketing has the skill set to write and design content that is buyer-centric -- not a sales pitch nor overly promotional. The sales team should see themselves as expert educators with valuable resources at their fingertips to help guide prospects to the best solution.
By working together on content, marketing and sales can create efficiencies.
For example, marketing could create for sales a handful of email templates ready to go with attached white papers, guides or videos that answer those top questions prospects have. The sales team can personalize the template, hit send and record the activity in the CRM.
For many companies, it works best to have one person or agency overseeing the management of content. This helps ensure the content aligns with the buyer’s journey, has established deadlines and editorial calendars, gets published and promoted, and is optimized and refreshed as needed.
Step 3: Get Sales Involved in Content Creation
It’s important to get salespeople collaborating on content creation; yet, that is very difficult for many companies.
“Sales is busy; sales doesn’t know how to write; sales doesn’t know where to start” are all common things you may hear. Sales reps have the information at hand; they just don’t know what to do with it.
It takes one team, one goal, one vision.
One of the biggest opportunities for improving business performance today is aligning marketing and sales -- not only on digital content, but around a single revenue goal. The challenge is many don’t know how to implement it.
As your buyer’s journey becomes more complex due to the internet, the line between marketing and sales will continue to blur.
For the two teams to improve ROI, productivity and ultimately, company growth, they must break down the barriers, take a shared view of the modern buyer’s journey and build a bridge toward collaborative efforts that roll up to one top-line goal.