I was recently having lunch with a friend, a salesperson for a small technology firm, when he mentioned he was having trouble getting warm leads to bite and become hot leads. I began asking him questions about his communication channels, his tone, and content and before we knew it, we had identified three big take-aways for improving his outreach. I looked at the list and realized they were all strategies for good content marketing and something many sales and marketing professionals would value.

What Sales Can Learn From Content Marketers

Start With The WIFFM?

What’s In It For Me? It’s what good content marketers imagine a customer asking and a question they make sure to answer clearly in their content. All good marketing starts and ends with the customer, and so should sales. While most sales people I know listen well and really know and care about their customers, I don’t see it when I review their sales decks, emails or proposals. If the first slide of your sales presentation is about your company, time to sit down with your content marketer and get the WIFFM perspective. Try this: Start each email, each deck, with, “you” or “your” and see how that shifts your sales from you to them.

Nurture

Nurturing is keeping a prospect engaged until they are ready to buy. It’s the cornerstone of marketing because it keeps your company on the top of your customer’s mind. Sales can take a page from content marketing by following up on leads who are good, but not yet ready to buy.

And it doesn’t have to be time consuming. For example, I once worked for a big consultancy where one of the lead principals sent out his “Friday Thoughts” in an email every week. These were his expert, original opinions on the state of the industry that he personally wrote. They were highly prized by his clients and prospects alike and kept him on the top of everyone’s mind.

Always Be CTAing

Content marketing is all about leading people through the sales funnel, so each piece of content has a very clear and specific call to action (CTA) to bring someone to the next step. Seems simple, right? Still, I can’t tell you the number of sales emails, pitches even, that make it to my inbox that do not include a CTA.

Personally, I like being as specific as possible with sales CTAs. “Are you free for a 15 min call on Thursday at 11:45am?” is easier to answer than, “Let me know when you’re free.” While you may not get as many “bites”, those you do get will be better because they are engaged and ready for the next step making these leads a better use of a sales person’s valuable time.

Sales and marketing go together like peanut butter and jelly. With constant conversations, we can learn from each other and keep the sales rolling in.

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