How Content Marketing Helps Sales Teams Turn More Leads into Opportunities

August 6, 2019

Shawn Parrotte

I’ve been in content marketing for almost a decade and I am always surprised by new data or new tools or new best practices. The constant, though, is that no matter how long you’ve been doing something, you can’t do it alone.

A Rising Tide Lifts All Ships

I’ve worked with dozens of sales teams. I’ve seen our partnership work magic -- building brand momentum and skyrocketing our pipeline. And I’ve seen it fall apart -- siloed, each of us keeping our hard-earned secrets to ourselves.

I am much more interested in how content marketing and sales teams can work like magic. Because together, we can bring in higher quality (and higher volume) leads, and higher engagement with our target market.

When we are siloed, I’ve found that it’s often because content marketers haven’t been clear about what we do, and how we can help.

So let’s demystify the role that content marketing plays in the sales funnel and how sales teams can help content marketing, too.

What is Content Marketing? #

First things first: What is it, even?

There are a lot of definitions out there, but let me give you mine: Content Marketing is the engine that drives the strategy, development, and deployment of marketing content that is relevant and valuable to our target audience.

The goal of content marketing is to drive pipeline. Or, as CMI says, “To drive profitable customer action.”

Great. But What Does a Content Marketing Manager Do? #

Our role is constantly changing -- typically to keep up with customer behaviors. Regardless of industry, we’re here to analyze these behaviors and learn from them.

Here’s the thing: Content, when done well, is informed by data. We understand our users, we see the trends, and we know the tools. We draw on SEO, SEM, Paid Media. We know how the digital ecosystem supports itself. Much of what we do is collecting user behavior data to transform it into relevant content.

In other words: We know how to get the word out and how to get it picked up.

We have our fingers on the pulse of our target market (read: prospects), particularly how they consume content. We are constantly evaluating the impact of our messaging and what we create.

Sales and Content Marketing #

This is where the magic of a sales and content marketing partnership comes in. The content funnel is only one piece of the pie.

The content marketing and sales feedback loop is essential for effective content creation. Essentially:

  • Sales teams help content marketing by shining a light on the specific needs, questions, and interests of our customers.
  • Content marketing helps sales teams by warming the prospects before they get the call.

Ultimately, we want to ensure that your sales funnel is well-funded with content, and that your insights are captured and shared.

How Content Marketing Can Help Sales #

1. Lead Generation. #

The obvious connection, and incredibly important.

The content funnel and the sales funnel should, in theory, align with each other. We can develop content that helps nurture the very cold newcomer all the way to the very engaged advocate. (Read: high quality leads)

If our best leads are interested in actionable tips for cold calling, we can leverage that interest into a lead who downloaded a data driven report that they can use right away.

It’s useful for the user. It answers their questions, provides immediate help, and gives some direction for their own solutions - with or without us.

And they’re not surprised when our rep follows up with them to see if we can provide further help.

2. Thought Leadership. It’s all about authority. #

You know what this it. Every organization has star players who know the industry like no one else. Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) are in every department of your organization. Content marketing can give their expertise traction on the grand stage, shining light on the person, the company, and the product.

Good content marketing makes sure that we show up when people are talking about the industry, not just the product. We give our best users the best information directly from the SMEs.

When a prospect references a talk you’ve done or a guest post you’ve written, you know that conversation is going somewhere. That’s when content marketing has done its job.

3. Reinforcing Key Use Cases for the Pitch. Everything from Ebooks to Case Studies. #

In CS, you’re hearing where we’re hitting it out of the park for our customers. Highlighting these wins in our content is a great way to engage the lightly curious, but it’s even more impactful for your prospecting or discovery calls.

When done well, this is an ideal match between two marketing powerhouses: Content and Customer. You may not have met Sophie Cheng yet, but she’s joined us as our Customer Marketing guru. We’re in a constant partnership, combining insights from our different funnel domains to create the best content for you.

Content marketing will collect a bank of use cases that we will use for blogs, podcasts, videos, and everything in between. If you need something specific, talk your content marketing manager! They may have something on hand that you can reference on your next call.

The partnership between Sales and Content Marketing ensures that we’re always getting better, avoiding a siloed experience, and building a healthy, scalable funnel. Since joining, I’ve been blown away by the incredible talent here. Everyone is willing to jump in and help with my own ramp, even happily agreeing to be part of my video experiments. We’re going to build some great stuff together.

Are You Ready to Experience Chorus?

Start driving tangible performance improvements in your Revenue Org today.