The New Role of Sales (As Dictated by Content)

The New Role of Sales (As Dictated by Content) image 2653055999 f022327941Open Communication for the Content Marketeer

A few weeks ago, we talked about Eloqua’s research on today’s sales funnel, which tells us that as much as 70% of the customer’s journey is complete by the time they contact your sales department. In that article, we talked about how this statistic impacts modern marketers—making engagement and content priority one.

And, turns out, we’re not the only ones who found this stat relevant and mind-blowing.

In a recent white paper published cooperatively by the CEB and Google, this research is cited as proof that we need to pay attention to digital channels and content marketing. It’s the foundation for a 46-page document.

Since everybody’s buzzing about this stat, we thought the topic deserved a little more coverage from us. Because this shift in the sales funnel doesn’t just mean a new role for marketers…it means a new role for your sales team, too.

What does the sales team have to do with it?

So, here’s the catch: content marketing doesn’t exist in a vacuum. You might be writing brilliant blog posts, useful emails, and web content that knocks people’s socks off. But if your sales team isn’t taking advantage of the ground your content marketing covers, you might still be losing customers at that critical visible stage of your funnel.

Once your buyer does contact the sales team, all the effort you put into content marketing should also have an impact on how you sell.

What kind of impact, you ask?

Well…

Taking advantage of your content marketing

Connecting your sales team with the positive impact of your content marketing starts with:

  • Keeping your sales team in the loop on all new content marketing projects and key materials
  • Training your sales team to ask new prospects key questions about whether they’ve read or seen something online—and to gauge opportunities to build on the connections and associations your content marketing has already created
  • Making sure sales scripts and training materials match up with the voice and tone guidelines and brand personality standards you’ve set up for your content marketing

A little homework

As you know, I love giving out homework. Here’s the assignment for today:

Gather up your sales materials—from PowerPoint presentations to leave-behind brochures to scripts—and audit them against your content marketing and brand standards. Ask yourself:

  • Does this script/presentation/sales material match up with the brand personality we’ve been projecting in our content marketing?
  • Are we using the proper tone for this stage in the sales funnel?
  • Does this scrip/presentation/sales material build on the information, good will, and reputation we’ve been building with our content marketing?

By answering these questions, you can start to identify which sales materials and scripts keep your buyers moving smoothly through the sales funnel and which ones need a little help.

Okay, your turn.

How does your company make sure there’s a seamless transition between content marketing and live sales? How has a shifting sales funnel impacted your company? Any tips, tricks, or stories to share? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Photo credit: Nicholas Smale

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