Salespeople make a lot of phone calls and are used to hearing the word “no” a LOT. Add in performance-based compensation, lofty sales goals, and having your activity scrutinized, and you’ve got a highly stressful job.
Thankfully, there are lots of tools that help make the sales process easier. Here at Brandpoint, we use tools like Salesforce and Pardot to help keep our sales and marketing teams organized and sane.
But what about tools that give salespeople a better place to start their conversation with customers? Content might be the answer and your company blog could be the perfect place to start.
Although website traffic has been the most important KPI for B2B marketers in the past, lead generation is now a top goal for content marketing programs. In fact, a Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs joint study conducted late last year suggests sales lead quality has become the most important metric for content marketing success.
Blogs aren’t necessarily sales-closers but they are the perfect top-of-the-funnel content that provides an easy point of entry to what you and your brand are all about.
Your content exists to answer questions and your blog allows the largest segment of your audience to get their questions answered in a low-risk, approachable format. They’re also the landing spot for other content that might add value to your site visitor’s experience. If you’re providing enough value with your blog, you can include links to other blog content to increase your pages per visit or even include a form that requires the user to exchange their contact information for heavier gated content.
At the beginning of 2017, we decided to invest a little more fully in our company blog and content creation practice by:
Increasing our blog-publishing cadence by over 100%
Including dynamic forms on all blog pages
Calling out twice as much Brandpoint content (that already existed) within the blogs
After just a few months, we started to see the results. In Q2 of this year, we’ve been able to increase our inbound leads by almost 100% over Q1. In addition, between April and May of 2017, we increased our opportunities created by 100%. And opportunities created in June 2017 are slated to be 100% greater than May.
That means our blog is pulling a lot of weight when it comes to both filling our sales funnel and creating significant opportunities for our sales team.
We also started a weekly blog email roundup just a few weeks ago that features our favorite blogs from the week delivered right to our audience’s inbox. Since we started, we’ve had well over a hundred people volunteer their contact info to receive that blog content directly.
Investing in your blog is a terrific tactic for growing your business. Blogs provide significant organic SEO value, will help you generate and nurture leads, and can be an awesome resource for your sales team. Our account executives and business development managers use our company blog content all the time to start new conversations for a new lead or provide additional value for a prospect they’ve been talking with for a while.
It provides more opportunities for your audience to engage with your organization and it gives your sales team better conversation-starters. Here are just a few tips on how to make your blog work for you as a sales tool:
Some of the most successful blogs offer many opportunities for their audience to engage further with the brand. If you’ve got the right tools in place, it can be a lead-generation gold mine.
Maybe it’s an offer to sign up to receive that blog content directly. Perhaps you offer additional gated content in exchange for an email address. When you provide your audience with real value AND make it easy for them to access more, you’ll be able to capture more leads for less.
BONUS: Make sure you’re using a marketing automation tool, like Pardot. This makes it easy to capture that lead info and plug it directly into your CRM.
Your sales team has tremendous insight as to what clients and prospects are looking for and what their biggest challenges are. Those insights can turn into fresh blog content relatively quickly and give your sales team some more ammunition to generate more interest in what you have to offer.
BONUS: Send the most relevant blogs directly to your sales people. They can include those blogs in their conversations directly with prospects.
There are lots of moving parts in the content creation process. You need to have the right pieces in place to create content that converts. We recommend investing in some in-house content creators, finding a quality content marketing agency to help or a combination of the two.
BONUS: Start with a content marketing strategy. A comprehensive plan like this can help you nail down which pieces are missing and how your company can adjust.
As the digital landscape grows even larger, content will be the primary way businesses communicate with their audience. A Gartner study suggests that by 2020 (just a few years away), customers will manage 85% of their relationship with a company without talking to a human.
That means content is going to pull double duty. It will serve as both a marketing tactic but it will prove to be an invaluable sales tool that will help organizations continue to grow their business.
Nels Gilbertson-Urtel is the content marketing manager at Brandpoint, a content marketing agency that delivers turn-key content marketing services to a variety of clients and industries.