Content Marketing & Sales: Three Reasons Why Your Sales Reps Should "Always Be Sharing"
It's a tried and true business maxim that everyone in the company needs to be a sales person. But the buying environment has completely changed. The internet has democratized the sales process. As a result, it no longer suffices to be just a sales person. Everyone needs to be a marketer too. In fact, according to a recent study by the Bridge Group, 57% of Sales pipelines are generated by marketing. As a result, we need to update the traditional sales ABC maxim of "Always Be Closing" to "ABS" or "Always Be Sharing".
As a salesperson, why wouldn't you want to ABS?
By now, almost every marketer is well versed in the benefits and the need to have a defined Content Marketing strategy. Having sales embrace this concept is another story. We're all busy, and sales people are especially sensitive to the demands that their jobs place on them. To be clear, I am not advocating that sales drop what they're doing and start becoming content generation machines. However, I’d like to focus on the benefits of sales participating in and learning marketing’s content strategy:
- Continuous Learning: If you're continuously looking for, finding, and sharing content, you're going to accelerate your understanding of the marketplace. As a consequence you'll have a more confident and knowledgeable sales team. In turn more confidence and knowledge will lead to better conversations with prospects that instigate action.
It doesn't take much to get started. Build it into your model week. Monday - Wed - Friday and make a promise to yourself. Set-up Google News Alerts, RSS feeds, join the relevant groups on Linkedin and start following influential people in your vertical on Twitter. Learn just one new thing per day and you'll be dangerous.
- Credibility: As you share content and build your knowledge base you’re also going to build your credibility and work towards becoming a trusted resource. I don't have delusions that your sales reps should morph into analysts nor am I suggesting it. You should however at least have a voice through an online presence. And yes, you’re prospects do their homework on you as well.
- Inbound & Outbound Prospecting: You'll amplify marketing-s efforts--who doesn't like to get a qualified marketing lead in their CRM? Marketing is trying to help you – help them help you by spreading the word! Concurrently, as you read through articles you’ll discover previously unknown opportunities (Outbound). Additionally, you’ll be inspired to pursue your own sourcing themes – a mini-marketing campaign if you will.
I see it all of the time with my team making a string of calls into a particular vertical or group of companies that share a set of characteristics. Thought it does not always mean that you'll uncover a golden goose, but more often than not this type of "logical sourcing" will grow your pipeline. “But Erik, I already have enough leads!” That’s great, but this is a great way to make sure youdon’t take your foot off of the accelerator.
In my upcoming post I'll discuss how to align sales and marketing to institutionalize this behavior in your organization content arms race.
Do you see additional reasons why your sales team should participate in content marketing efforts? Are your teams already practicing ABS? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.