[Editor's note: Happy Holidays! This week, the editorial team at Content Marketing Institute wanted to share some of the best content marketing blog posts we've seen from the CMI Online Training and Certification program's roster of expert instructors. Today's post originally appeared on Carla Johnson's Type A Communications blog.]
One of the biggest struggles between sales and marketing stems from understanding what sales needs to turn a prospect into a customer, and what marketing has the bandwidth to produce. It’s a battle that repeats itself regardless of company size or industry focus.
To help remove some of the animosity from the relationship, it helps to have everyone on the same page and understand the multiplication mindset when it comes to creating the right content marketing:
- Set objectives: Traditionally, marketing has created content and handed it off to sales teams to use how and when they see fit; a “one-size-fits-all” approach that no longer works. Before marketing can better assist sales, both have to determine their main objective for content — brand awareness, lead generation, sales, customer retention, thought leadership, and so forth.
- Know your buyers: Take time to identify the people with whom you want to connect and understand them intimately. By creating personas, both sales and marketing will identify and understand common characteristics of a group of people with whom you want to connect. It outlines their perspectives, fears, drivers, and content needs.
- Understand your buyer/retention cycle: Many companies focus on generating leads and closing the sale, then forget about customers until it’s time for them to buy again. That’s a big mistake. Sales teams need to think about retention and renewals as much as the original sale. What matters most to your persona during each phase? How do their content needs change?
- The multiplier effect: This is where sales gains empowerment and marketing can catch their breath. On average, teams can create 12 additional pieces of content from a single white paper. Here are just a few examples once you have the main piece created:
- Blogs: Generate multiple posts that cover why the problem is a problem, the solution (your unique point of view) and the impact the solution has on an organization.
- Videos: Consider both internal and external. What does your subject-matter expert have to teach about the subject? What’s something that proved most valuable to a customer.
- Webinar: Think “how to,” and give hands-on information that allows attendees to listen, then immediately use what they learned.
- Infographic: We all like pictures, and they help make statistics and new processes easier to relate to.
- Publish an eBook: Look for common themes and questions and then create an eBook that addresses them.
- Develop an app: Can you help your customers by making life easier for them through an app?
- Create a community: If you hear the same questions from customers over and over, this may be the time to bring them together. Connect them both online and off and help facilitate connections that prove valuable for them.
Right time. Right place. Right content
What content you use when depends on the persona and where they are in the buyer/retention cycle. Now that you understand your personas, and the breadth and depth of content that you can create from a single source, it’s easier to map that to the buyer/retention cycle and deliver the right content that engages them with the right message when they’re most likely to pay attention.
Stay tuned for more details on the CMI Online Training and Development program. And if you are looking for more guidance on content marketing, read “Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, & Win More Customers by Marketing Less,” by Joe Pulizzi.
Cover image via StockFreeImages.com