Ep. 22 | Sujan Patel On Using Content to Align Sales and Marketing


Today's episode features Sujan Patel, founder of Webprofits, a content marketing agency that helps companies like Linkedin, Salesforce, and Zillow and others grow their businesses through content marketing. Sujan joined us to talk about why most marketing and sales teams are not aligned and how content can be the catalyst for bringing sales and marketing together to provide useful information to prospects and customers to accelerate the sales cycle. As Sujan says, "You don't need to be the creator of the information, but you need to be the source of information." Now that's a helping sells approach.

Improving Sales Processes Using Content: Align Marketing and Sales For Increased Revenue

Leveraging content in the sales process is crucial. Revenue will increase when marketing steps "over the line" and effectively communicates what they are doing with sales. This means both giving and receiving feedback. Historically, marketing has been the furthest away from the customer in the success cycle. Support and success and sales folks talk to customers, but marketing creates the copy targeting the customer. Because of this disconnect, marketing may be working off old information. Marketing should seek qualitative feedback from sales in order to work together to create a "growth division" that aligns with customer realities.

This is the article Sujan wrote that Bill and Sarah talked about: "The Step-by-step guide to how sales can leverage content" 

Understand What Sales Conversations Look Like

Leads will improve when marketing better understands sales. In the marketing war chest, there's years of content to pull from; figure out how to map content already created to the conversations happening with prospects. Put a piece of content in the sales follow-up emails or signature or P.S. and give the salespeople fifty articles to choose from, or guide them for conversation x, y or z. Salespeople are intuitive and can understand situations. Give them knowledge this exists and they will leverage it.

Salespeople Need To Be Thought Leaders And Expert Content Curators

You don't need to blanket this strategy through the organization. Pilot it with a few salespeople, roll it out slowly, get data, then roll out across the board when the pilot is to be a successful. Marketers should help salespeople build their brands. It's not required to blog every day, but if your contacts are on LinkedIn, sales folks should publish great content there.

Sales doesn't necessarily need to be the creator of information; sales needs to be the curator of excellent content.

Marketing teams should help salespeople become master curators. Marketing can help do the heavy lifting to apply things they're doing for the brand account to sales profiles.

.@ServiceRocket #HelpingSells Ep. 22 | @SujanPatel On Using Content to Align Sales and Marketing: http://bit.ly/2cJmZPJ

How Can Salespeople Help Marketers?

Marketers can learn and gain insights from customers and from sales. They should get feedback about prospect conversations and join them. Are leads the marketing team bringing in hesitant or want a lot of information? If these things are the problem, marketing can apply this to automation. If people are always asking for information about the product, send them on a different nurture campaign. The salesperson can be giving information and likely have it and it turns into frustration, but the information is there with ongoing communication can be dealt with. You can get more technical. If you're driving a new channel as a marketer, you're going to try Linkedin ads, but make sure sales teams know about it and gets qualitative feedback from the sales team on this one channel. As a marketer you are collecting conversion rates, click-through-rates, but by the time you get qualitative information it may be too late, So get info way earlier.

Talk About Your Customers Problems And Feed That Into Content Pipeline

Use "content circles" to help them be smarter in doing things outside of working with you. Figure out what customers do in their spare time and what their problems are to get frontline content to document it. This directly targets problems people have. That's helping sells. Continuing to educate customers after the sale is key. After conversions, send educational content to customers sent from a person who would reply. Support can also continue conversations. You can turn sales and marketing conversations to success and support, so it's a group conversation. 

Should Messages Come From Sales or Marketing? 

Send emails from the person customers are use to talking to. You can send emails from the CEO, but people know it's not the CEO sending the email. Send it off from the person who started the conversation is a best bet. It's the best way to get the upsell and increase LTV. The key to customer delight is making the customer happy they made the decision to purchase your software. Continue to add value. Take NPS surveys.

Be helpful. No Matter Where Content Comes From.

Even if you turn down a customer and they aren't a right fit and don't convert, as a sales person, if you help them, you've done marketing and created an advocate or on your way to an advocate. Call the people that don't convert or may never convert as megaphones. Be aware of how you treat people who aren't a fit. There are offline conversations you can guarantee it will happen.

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Sarah E. Brown and Bill Cushard

Written by Sarah E. Brown and Bill Cushard

Helping Sells Radio co-hosts, Bill Cushard and Sarah E. Brown, are Rocketeers based in Palo Alto, CA. Reach out to them by emailing marketing@servicerocket.com or on Twitter using the hashtag #HelpingSells.