I’m a big advocate of collaboration when it comes to content marketing. When creatives partner with sales teams to create content, magic happens.
There’s nothing like sales experience to inform content with the types of questions and objections prospects raise before they decide to buy. That feedback can enable marketers to enrich content with the exact information people want to know.
But what about the people with a sales background who apply for a position on your content team? Well, why not? So long as they can write, design infographics, or create videos and audio content, their sales experience makes them an ideal candidate.
That extra insight into your prospects’ pain points, I would argue, would make a salesperson a strong candidate, especially for B2B content teams. As Justin Bosco points out, white papers and other long-form content are an essential part of the B2B lead generation and nurturing process along the customer journey.
- Salespeople should work their creative muscles to create content prospects want or need
- People with sales experience are great at lead generation and nurturing and content marketing
- Success at sales takes motivation, empathy, and consistency – essential qualities in prospective content marketers.
Lead Generation and Nurturing
Informative, trust-building content delivered through well-written blog posts is one of the best ways to generate and nurture leads. Building awareness of your company’s expertise in your field is the first step.
Since prospects want to learn if your company knows its stuff well enough to help them solve their problems, you’ll want to bring subject matter experts into the loop, along with sales professionals. Subject matter experts can provide you with the details about how to deal with the challenges your prospects face. It’s up to your content teams to convert that information into easy-to-understand copy.
Growing your relationship with these leads will take around ten touch points over time. Content can do just that – and there’s no one better positioned to inform that content than your sales teams – or former sales personnel now on your content team. They know the challenges that your prospects face, and they know how to solve them.
As casual blog readers turn into email subscribers, your chance of converting them into customers increases almost exponentially. Email marketing, after all, yields anywhere from a 38 to a 44% return on your investment. No one would be better positioned to create persuasive email copy than someone with sales experience who knows how to write.
Closing the Sale
Even more detailed, personalized content is critical during the decision-making process. Account-based marketing can be the secret sauce that nabs the sale for your company.
With their insights into each decision-maker’s unique perspective, people with sales experience can create content that addresses each of their concerns. Additionally, they can discern which prospects are “digital window shoppers” and which are marketing qualified leads (MQLs), which are well worth the effort you spend on wooing them into the fold.
Motivation, Empathy, and Consistency Are Must-Haves for Both Sales and Content Marketing
We’ve talked a lot about how a former (or current) salesperson’s expertise can inform great marketing content. However, there are several emotional components that mark both adept salespersons and content marketers.
These crossover “soft skills,” are a must for successful sales personnel. They’re also essential for content creators.
- Motivation: With nearly half the nation’s content marketers creating at least one piece of content each day, as Neil Patel observes, they can’t lose sight of quality work, even at such a fast pace. An unmotivated salesperson will soon find herself begging for bread. Likewise, an unmotivated creative won’t see the kinds of results that convert leads into customers.
- Empathy: If the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear the word “salesperson” is that sleazy, pushy guy from the car lot, forget it. To make it in high-dollar sales, you have to put yourself into the prospect’s shoes and walk around in them. You must actually feel their pain, not just say that you do. Solving problems, not a slick sales pitch, is essential for sales success. Dittos for content marketing. Storytelling that positions the prospect in the center of the action is the critical ingredient. You can’t do that without empathy.
- Consistency: Since many salespeople earn their living primarily by commission, they must be consistent to provide for themselves and their families. Although creatives often earn a salary and don’t find themselves hurting for money during tough times, they’ll never rise to prominence in the field unless they can produce top-quality content consistently.
However, a Couple Notes of Caution
Depending on where they worked before, some people with a sales background might need a bit of coaching before you turn them loose on a piece of content. In content marketing, well-informed advice is a better strategy than product-focused copy.
All too often, salespeople focus on the product. That shouldn’t be the case in either sales or content marketing. I’ve worked in both fields, and believe me, product-centered sales pitches or content rarely produce the results that customer-centered approaches generate.
So, coach former sales personnel to focus on what your expertise can do for your customer rather than on the product and its features. Using customer-centered content – and sales pitches – that feature your prospect as the hero is the best strategy for both professions.
Secondly, when writing white papers, press releases, or other formal copy, former salespeople might lapse into their conversational style and write in the first or second person. These informative documents don’t have to be dull, but they need a more objective, third-person approach to solving a problem or announcing a breakthrough.
Never be afraid to add former sales personnel to your content teams. Providing they have the creative chops to handle the job, they might just be the spark you need to light the creative fire throughout your company.
If you are ready to get more traffic to your site with quality content published consistently, check out our Content Builder Service. Set up a quick consultation, and I’ll send you a free PDF version of my books. Get started today – and generate more traffic and qualified leads for your business.