January 12th, 2015

Content Marketing: How the Sales Team Should Work with Marketing


Content marketing: How the Sales Team Should Work with Marketing

In Part I of this series, we talked about the rising popularity of content-based marketing. A reported 93% of B2B marketing teams in North America are using a content-marketing approach, according to B2B Content Marketing 2014 research. While that’s an impressive number, only 9% of survey respondents felt it was “very effective,” while 33% said “effective.” That tells me people are jumping on the bandwagon without clear strategies, tactics, or implementation.

I shared a definition used by Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, which publishes the annual B2B survey:

“Content marketing is the strategic marketing approach of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

While Part I focused on tips for how marketing could become better aligned with sales, now let’s turn to what sales can do to align with marketing in order to optimize a content-marketing approach.

Sales should:

  • Share content broadly. Salespeople who share good content add to their credibility and position themselves as trusted advisors or go-to resources. Such sharing takes the form of regularly posting content on LinkedIn, tweeting about it, emailing it, snail-mailing it, using it as a post-meeting take-away — whatever method works to get content in front of the client.
  • Communicate with the content development team. Don’t wait for marketing surveys or the editorial calendar; take an active role in helping the marketing team deliver the content that sales reps need to engage prospects and clients. If one rep is thinking about a certain topic that would be helpful for a blog post or other marketing material, other reps are surely thinking the same thing. But, marketing will never know unless someone in sales tells them.
  • Follow up, and then follow up some more. Effective follow-up and nurturing of a lead who has downloaded a piece of content is vital to the success of that particular marketing campaign. Even if the prospect doesn’t have an identified need or isn’t a hot lead, it’s likely there is some interest in the company’s products or services related to the download content. Use the content as a way to connect and build credibility. It may take time, but the only way anything will happen is if sales reps reach out, follow up, and nurture the lead. While it may be tempting to give up and move on to the next lead if there’s no immediate callback or response, slow and steady wins the race — especially with content-based marketing.

Content marketing is here to stay. A projected 35% of every company’s marketing budget will be spent on content-based marketing development and campaigns.

But marketing just can’t develop good pieces and send them out. And sales just can’t discount the longer-term effects of a good content-marketing strategy. Both must be aligned with the strategy and implementation.

Together, marketing and sales can drive much higher returns on marketing investments and, ultimately, achieve business outcomes.


New For 2015 – Complimentary Research Paper

Best Practices for the Design and Delivery of Sales Training – Click here to download


About The Author: James A. Brodo

Jim Brodo is Senior Vice President of Marketing at Richardson. Jim brings over a decade experience to this position with Richardson, where he oversees all marketing and communications efforts for the organization including SEO, SEM, planning, public relations, advertising, lead nurturing, and brand strategy. Jim is currently focused on updating the corporate identity, especially through the use of organic SEO and SEM tactics. He spearheaded the implementation of professional social networking strategies, launch of the new website, updated messaging, and marketing materials. In addition, Jim is credited for creating a content marketing syndication strategy that focuses on adding value to clients and prospects. As the leader of the corporate marketing operations, Jim aims to strengthen Richardson’s brand as the top sales training company in the industry.

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2 Responses to “Content Marketing: How the Sales Team Should Work with Marketing”

  1. January 12, 2015 at 9:51 am, Annette Kurer said:

    For 12 years I was a Sales Director at Unilever Cosmetics International managing a multi-million dollar business in over 20 countries. I was and still am passionate about cross-functional communication to achieve companies’ outcomes. I became fed-up with marketing demanding feedback “urgently”, but never actively listening to the demands of the sales people and hence failing to deliver materials that could actually support sales.
    I would ask my sales team, who interfaced with clients & consumers, to tell me what was needed from marketing and then collaborated with marketing to produce the desired materials.
    In my case the marketing team were never incentivised to support the delivery of forecasted sales and thus suffered no ramifications if sales targets were not achieved.
    Once I engaged with marketing and we collaborated on “content marketing”, and they delivered the right supportive materials, the ROI from marketing became positive.
    This was over 20 years ago and every client I coach/train I implement this approach. It is common sense and nothing new, but reiteration is essential.


  2. January 14, 2015 at 3:13 pm, Kurt Haug said:

    All valid points and reasonable requests, Jim. And if here-and-now, ADD-addled (even if highly effective) sales professionals are too impatient to wait for the harvest, your first point cannot be over-emphasized.
    Using relevant, custom-delivered content to bolster your credibility is like bringing a nice bottle of wine to a dinner party. Improves your chances of sitting next to the host and having HIM/HER pour for YOU. (Did I just grossly mix my metaphors?:-))


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