Why your sales team needs content marketing

A theme I heard repeatedly at last week’s Content Rising conference in Boston was one that’s been echoed in many places recently: sales teams have lots of wishes and dreams focused on content.
At the event, which focused on brand storytelling, sales leaders from ADP payroll services and Fidelity Investments talked about how content helps their reps close deals. Here’s what they had to say:
1) ADP reps get credit for closing deals by sharing content with prospects.
In a panel discussion focused on creating editorial missions, ADP Senior Director of Communications Jim Duffy talked about the amount of research prospects do before they reach out to a sales associate. To get in front of potential clients searching for information online, the company needed to up its content game.
When ADP launches its small-business-focused site at the end of the summer, the marketing team will encourage reps to share site content and give them credit for deals that close after a prospect interacts with articles, webcasts and other assets. To make it all work, Duffy said the marketing team is having casual conversations with colleagues in sales, but the company is also adding content strategy and tactics to its formal training for reps.
2) Fidelity reps know to sell products, first they have to educate prospects.
In a discussion about creating content that leads to influence, Fidelity’s John Sweeney talked about how the company embraced content after the 2008 downturn to engage with skittish audiences. Today, that content strategy is an important part of building trust with customers and potential customers, and the sales team has embraced it enthusiastically. Fidelity didn’t have to train its reps to leverage content, Sweeney said, because they already knew from conversations with clients how important education is to the ultimate sale. The reps want great content because it helps them close deals.
The partnership between PR, content and sales
Earned and owned media – press coverage and a corporate blog, for example – help prospects find you and figure out if they might want to do business with you. You can better measure the impact of that content and reap even greater rewards from it by involving your sales team. When reps know how to use content, they’ll learn which assets resonate best, and they’ll win over more prospects who are ready to make buying decisions.
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