You’re about to unveil fresh, hot content. Social media messaging in place? Check. Blog posts scheduled? Check. Outbound campaign built? Check. Strategy for the sales team? Well...we’ll shoot them an email...
Sadly, that’s how far too many content marketers “enable” their friends in sales. We design multi-tiered distribution and promotional plans for big content initiatives. But when it comes to equipping sales to get the most bang out of our content-dedicated bucks, we’re fine passing along a team-wide email that gets buried deep in their overflowing inboxes.
The hallmarks of great content marketing organizations are not just shares, traffic and inbound links. The best recognize their sales force as that - a “force” that can extend the reach, life and overall effectiveness of content. Pros trained in the art of closing deals can take an asset like an eBook, a whitepaper, a webinar, even an infographic, and use it as an intro for a one-on-one conversation with leads.
Like any audience, you have to reach sales where they live. And in most organizations, the sales team lives in their CRM. On top of those grand plans for distributing content on blog feeds, social networks, online communities and email, you need to treat CRM as another channel.
If you’re with me so far, you’re probably asking, “Great, but how?”
Glad you asked. Here are some tips to get you started.
Resist temptation. Don’t immediately start pushing all your stuff into a generic folder titled “content.” And don’t create a folder for every little asset you’ve ever created.
Time is precious and sales folks don’t have time to dig into a myriad of folders for the right asset. Create folders for the content that moves the needle, and use clear naming conventions so your content is easy to find.
For instance, name your folders by content title, the buyer persona or vertical you're targeting, and the ideal sales stage. Organize content efficiently inside your CRM and reps will use it.
Content marketers know you can't just create and push. You need a promotional strategy if you’re going to rise above the noise.
Same goes for sales. Write email templates for the sales team for every major content piece you push to CRM and include it among the assets in your folder. You made the content. The messaging around it should come from you.
Collaboration performs best when it’s open and unfettered. Be sure to post a Chatter message indicating what you’ve added, where to find it, and how to use it.
(Quick pro tip: If you integrate Kapost’s content marketing software with Salesforce.com, you can push content into your organized folders directly from the app just like you would push a blog post, video, eBook or SlideShare. And it will automatically generate a Chatter post.)
If you really want the sales team to pay attention, don’t post only when you want sales to share something. Active members of the community command far more response when making an ask.
When publishing content, do you target influencers? How about the influencers among your sales team?
A content champion among your sales team will help spotlight the assets pushed to their CRM. A respected, successful sales colleague can bring instant attention and credibility to your work. Find one who believes in the power of content, pick their brain and invite them to participate in the content creation process, and soon the rest of the sales staff will take notice.
A great content strategy works from top to bottom. If you follow these four steps and treat CRM like an actual publishing channel, sales will soon sing the praises of the content marketing team.
Jesse Noyes is Senior Director of Content Marketing at Kapost. He got his start in the newsroom and today his goal is to ensure Kapost's content meets the best editorial standards, that Kapost tells the best stories and spreads the word through social media channels.
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