Marketing activities like brand building and increasing market visibility are notoriously hard to track, which is frustrating for sales reps who just want immediate results. It is from this skeptical perspective that many sales reps approach the rapidly-growing trend of content marketing. To many sales reps, creating content is just another marketing strategy that cannot be tracked and that will have doubtful results for lead generation. However, sales reps who take this view of content are taking one of the most valuable weapons at their disposal out of their arsenal. 

As the Internet and social media have grown in popularity, they have created a more educated and empowered class of consumer. Prospects are engaging with sales reps later in the sales cycle, and even then, they prefer to engage with companies with which they have already formed a relationship. With so much emphasis placed on relationships, a sales rep needs to provide real value to their prospects. Arming your sales reps with great content makes the modern sales process run smoother, and more efficient for your sales team.

Content gives your sales reps...

With that being said, it can still be difficult to get sales on board with the content creation process. Here are five advantages of content creation that will get even the most skeptical sales rep excited. 

...a way to build relationships.

All leads are not created equal, and some are closer to making a purchase than others. Content gives sales reps the ability to nurture leads who aren't yet sales-ready, instead of ignoring them in favor of a hotter lead. Sales reps can use content to educate leads and help them through the sales process by providing actionable insights and information designed to move them closer to purchase. excuse to check-in.

Trying to engage prospects can be tough. It’s hard to touch base without interrupting busy schedules or seeming too pushy. Content gives your sales reps an excuse to touch base with their prospect in a way that is unobtrusive and provides real value. Passing on a recent blog post, infographic, or webinar with a simple message of "Hey, I saw this and thought you might find it helpful" can do wonders for building rapport and reengaging prospects.

...a way to be a resource.

Sales reps love the ability to serve as a resource, or a consultant, to their prospects. It builds trust and keeps communication open. Great content puts more resources at your sales team’s disposal when interacting with prospects. The ability to answer a complex question with "We actually tackled that question on our blog last week," or "I have an infographic I can share with you that will tell you all about that," is a great way to build relationships and trust.

...added credibility.

With so much information at the fingertips of the modern consumer, it is more important than ever for your sales reps to have a credible reputation. Consumers no longer trust generic marketing or sales messages. Having a library of content at their disposal makes sales reps appear to be authorities on all topics related to your industry.

...more leads!

The greatest payoff of a content strategy is that it adds a new source of leads to your pipeline. As potential customers continue to visit your site, complete forms, and download items so that they can continue reading your content, you are creating a steady flow of potential leads for your sales team. 

Content is not just another strategy for sales to discount and criticize. With buy-in from your sales team, content can become a tool to unify sales and marketing throughout the sales process and drive tremendous results.

How does your sales team approach your company’s content strategy?

* Image and comedy genius courtesy of Jason Miller