As a past CMO, product marketer, and sales enablement lead, I get asked frequently if I have any tips for content marketers who are looking to improve their content ROI. While there are several things content marketers can consider (and should be), there is one tip I always suggest. Get to know your sales peers immediately!
It’s easy to believe that content marketing stops with your marketing department. (I mean, “marketing” is right there in the name.) However, there are a ton of ways that content can make an impact beyond marketing, and one of the most effective ways of developing it starts with sales – sales insights, sales enablement needs, etc. To create content that helps your sales team be better at their jobs, you’ve got to include them in the process. Now, for any content creator or marketing leader not currently working closely with sales, reach out, develop procedures for working together, and drive it. Working together needs to be promoted by sales and marketing leaders, easy for sales reps (don’t create extra work), and managed.
Unlocking greater content ROI isn’t difficult when following a few best practices. Here are a few I’ve found, working with sales, that are helpful:
- Brainstorming Sessions. It’s critical to get sales and marketing into the same room on an ongoing basis to capture ideas and knowledge – whether its during planning, enablement, or deal review sessions. Generally, I’ve seen teams come together for short weekly or bi-weekly sessions following lunch-n-learn style training sessions or pipeline reviews to discuss hot topics. You don’t need to allocate hours of time outside of your planning sessions, but use these small windows of time to learn more, probe, and adjust. Additionally, teams usually come together on a quarterly basis to talk and brainstorm during planning sessions. Take advantage of this time with sales by building in brainstorming and knowledge transfer into the agenda. Here are some things to think about:
- What topics is sales hearing about on a regular basis that are difficult to answer?
- What’s a piece of content sales wishes they could send that they don’t have? What’s the No. 1 piece of content they always send?
- What’s the most common reason sales lose deals? Can new content help address this?
- What are some ways sales described your offers that have gone over really well?
- Sales Call Shadowing. One simple, effective way for your marketing team members to learn more about what sales is seeing and how they are responding is to join sales calls. Marketing leaders should be developing a process in which content marketers are shadowing calls frequently – to learn more about an industry, a solution, a topic, or as part of new employee onboarding. Marketers will always learn something valuable that can be applied, and in parallel, build trust and credibility with sales. Sitting in on calls is a great way to immerse yourself in the sales process and learn first-hand what your sales reps need — and it requires nothing additional from your sales team. It’s a win – win for both groups.
I realize that it’s easy for marketers to feel like they are too busy and bogged down with deliverables to do this ‘perceived’ additional work. I have felt the very same way at times in my career. But, it’s a disservice to not be doing these sales alignment sessions in today’s digital world. These sessions will improve content value quickly, improve marketing’s planning and prioritization efforts, and cement strong bonds with the sales team.