Even if your buyers work for a company that has separate sales and marketing teams, most people don't really think about the difference when they're considering their own purchases. Nobody's thinking of themselves as a buyer in various stages of a buying cycle. Instead, people have a problem that needs solving, and they set out to find answers.
If you want to close more deals, your sales team must have the same informative power as your marketing team so the transition is seamless.
Trust is Everything
Consider the sticky fact that only 18 percent of business buyers trust and respect salespeople. Ouch.
In today's market, building trust is all about equipping customers with the information they need to feel confident about choosing your solutions over the competition's. Your sales team needs to be seen as not only the keepers of the knowledge, but also as the experts behind the ideas. They can no longer be the people with the figures and the means to complete a sale. Instead, they must become trusted advisors.
In fact, according to a recent survey, more than 80 percent of business decision-makers said thought leadership increased their trust in a vendor. Let's take a page from the content marketing handbook and let content build up that confidence.
How to Use Content Marketing to Close Deals
The days of salespeople meeting face-to-face with potential customers are waning. That means the ways buyers get to know someone, build a relationship, establish trust, and eventually choose to do business with that person have changed entirely. Relationships and trust are being created digitally, and the delivery method is content.
Here are a few examples of content that will build trust (and close deals!):
- Frequently Asked Questions. If your website doesn't have a FAQ, it's time to get one. Sales and customer service teams are constantly answering questions by phone, email, or messaging. Make it official and get it on the website for prospects who are still researching, and to point people to as a resource that's always available.
- Pain Points. Much like frequently asked questions, your current and potential customers probably have a long list of pain points that have brought them to you in the first place. Marketers are already using this information to draw in leads, but is this information being shared with the sales team to help seal the deal?
- Differentiators. Your sales team already knows what to say when asked how they stand apart from the competition. Now, create content that tells the same story. Your sales team can share these pieces with prospects, post them to social media accounts, or use them as part of an email drip campaign.
- Hard Facts. Case studies, surveys, industry white papers, and other research that proves your company's solutions are all great ways to establish thought leadership and build trust. Arm your sales team with slide decks, videos, infographics, and written documents that demonstrate their expertise.
Don't forget about loyalty and retention, too. Once the deal is closed, use helpful content like how-to guides and user discussions to not only bring customers back when they're ready for another purchase, but also to turn customers into the holy grail of sales and marketing: brand advocates.
Take These Tips From Content Marketers
No matter how your sales team puts content to work, there are two Golden Rules when it comes to content that must be followed. First, make use of buyer personas and every ounce of data you have on a prospect as you go in for the sale. That way, you are always addressing the prospect's wants and needs while staying away from anything that's irrelevant or repetitive.
Second, even though you're trying to close a deal, the objective is always to be informative and helpful — not promotional. Remember, people are out looking for solutions to problems from people and companies they can trust. When you focus on the needs of your audience, building that bridge of trust will be much easier to achieve.
Made for Each Other
Content marketing has been the route to success for marketing departments for the past several years. Now it's time to make content work for sales. When these two teams pool resources and work together, you'll see a real difference in your bottom line.