Your sales team just might be your best source for effective content ideas. (Don’t worry; it’s OK if you have doubts at this point). They are on the front lines with your customers. All day, sales reps listen to customers’ pain, expectations, desires, and goals as they relate to your products, their businesses, and their lives at large. As marketers, you can collect and leverage all of this informal, qualitative data to create more effective content initiatives.
Before I get into this, I want to stress that when reaching out to sales, you should ensure you are dealing with your top salespeople. Unfortunately, too many salespeople are “sprayers and prayers,” and you want input from those that really probe and understand.
Here are four ways that your salespeople can help you improve the results from your content initiatives.
- Understand buyer pain points for more targeted content. You know your product helps your customers. But do you really know what problems it solves? Your salespeople, having had hundreds of conversations with customers, understand buyers’ true motivations. Knowing these motivations puts you in a position to create content about opportunities and pain points that your product solves. In this way, your content can provide real value and establish trust with both customers and prospects. For example, sales reps for an HR services company are hearing over and over again that customers are struggling to attract “A” players. The marketing team should consider a content campaign to share “ways to communicate your employer brand that will have top talent lined up at your door”.
Note: Pay careful attention to the language your customers use and incorporate it into your text, videos, and other content media.
- Identify the true buying process. Sure, you have a good understanding of the buying process. However, as we are finding out, the buying process is not linear, especially with SMBs, who typically are not experienced buyers. While no one can predict the direction (and momentum) in which every buyer will go, sales can tell you some of the more common buyer paths and deviations. With that information, you can create content to nudge the buyers back on track.
- Identify top objections. Sales pros know that the top four to five objections represent about 80 percent of them. They are also very good at addressing objections before they arise. There should be several content assets that address each objection. For example, if you provide Internet service, and a top objection from prospects is they don’t want the hassle of switching carriers, you can create a checklist for simplifying a move to a new provider (including a sample timeline). You can also have an article about how to evaluate what Internet service is really costing customers (including the cost of downtime and data recovery, and savings in productivity that comes with more Internet speed).Be a little wary of salespeople who state that price is a top objection. In most cases, they haven’t dug far enough to find the true objections (see second paragraph).
- Identify customers for customer-based content. As we mentioned a few months ago, customer-based content is always a slam dunk in your marketing efforts. Who better than salespeople to give you suggestions about which customers would be game?
If these ideas are not enough, just imagine the looks on the faces of your top salespeople when you ask them for their input on improving your company’s content. That alone could make it worth it.