Sales people have all been there.
You’re on a call with a prospect. In the industrial and manufacturing spheres, the buying process tends to be longer. Lots of people are involved. Lots of money is at stake. These buyers want to buy, but they’ll do their due diligence first.
If only you could get off the phone and send them information that relates directly to the questions they’re asking.
Content marketing spawns industrial growth by understanding clients’ industries and creating the content that targets their buyers. But we also think sales teams can level up by using that content to increase their efficiency and make their interactions with prospects more meaningful.
Why do we believe this?
Adoption of content marketing programs in the industrial and manufacturing sector has lagged behind other B2B arenas, but it’s gaining ground—fast.
According to Content Marketing Institute’s 2017 survey of manufacturers, almost two-thirds of manufacturers always or frequently consider how content marketing impacts someone’s experience with their organization.
The study also showed that 65 percent of manufacturers have content marketing programs in “young” or “adolescent” stages, and that 82 percent of manufacturers felt that creating quality content factored into their success.
Read more key findings from the CMI study here.
The point? More industrial firms are adopting these programs because they’re realizing they work. The next step is to empower sales teams to use the fruits of successful content marketing programs to help close more sales.
The digital marketers’ role
Marketers make messages. In the information age, messages matter—a lot. That’s because more buyers compile their shortlists of good candidates before they ever speak with any of them.
The marketer’s role is to craft clear, compelling messages that cut through the noise to provide information buyers will use during the buying process.
Marketers do a lot of studying to pull this off, including:
- Thorough research of the industries they’re trying to reach.
- Identification and analysis of buyer personas in those industries.
- Learning the language those personas use when they’re on the hunt for information.
With the groundwork laid, it’s a matter of strategic multimedia storytelling. Writers, artists and editors take what marketing strategists learn and turn it into messages that speak meaningfully to the people you want to reach.
Then, that content is passed along to the sales team for them to add to their toolbox. This is what sales enablement is all about.
The two-way street
But sales team members are far from just passengers here. The integrated sales/marketing apparatus works best when the sales team is as active in content ideation as the marketing gang is.
That means informing the marketing team of current trends, pain points or new questions emerging among prospects. It means generating content ideas based on what they hear in their day-to-day contacts. It means assisting marketing in “speaking the language” of these prospects to ensure messages hit their marks.
And if you think you’re stepping on marketing’s toes by shuttling content ideas their way, think again. Sales teams have their ears closest to the ground. They hear how buyers’ thinking evolves over time. Sales teams’ insight —and active participation— is priceless for the marketers who generate this rolling stock of information.
What you get in return
In time, you’ll become armed with a trove of content you can use to help answer any question a prospect might have in any stage of the buying process.
It might be a blog post that directly addresses a question your prospects are asking. It might be a video that explains an industrial process. Maybe it’s a white paper that digs deep to explain why a product or service your company offers makes sense to buyers. It could be a case study illustrating how a customer did better business because of something your firm offers.
The more content you have up your sleeve, the better positioned you are to be a credible, trustworthy source of the information buyers crave.
Efficiency and quality
When sales and marketing teams merge, they become a double-barreled unit that ultimately makes sales teams more efficient. You could give an hour-long lecture during a call with a prospect to address their questions and concerns. Or, you could take five minutes to compile content that meets their needs.
It’s what we do at Gorilla 76. After nearly every sales call we’re on, we follow up with an email loaded with related content that reinforces what we talked about and strengthens prospects’ understanding of what we offer.
This does two things for you. First, it quickly supplies prospects with the information they’ll use during their decision-making process. Second, it frees you up to get to that next call faster. These combine to potentially increase the touchpoints you make with prospects while also boosting the quality of those interactions.
We know the industrial and manufacturing buying process can take months. While this strategy might not speed that up, it keeps you top-of-mind as a trusted, credible source of information and puts you in better position to close the sale.
The bottom line
More and more, buyers do huge amounts of research on their own before they ever request a consultation or quote. That underscores the importance of content as a traffic-generation machine.
But salespeople can optimize the buyer’s journey by keeping the content pipeline full from start to finish, and become trusted sources of information along the way.
Your customers’ business —and your own— will improve as a result.
Our in-depth guide on B2B website planning is a great resource you can use to build the groundwork for an all-star sales-marketing one-two punch. Get the handbook below.