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3 Ways to use Top of Funnel Marketing Content to Improve the Sales Process



November 10, 2020

The main purpose of marketing content is to drive traffic to your website and to generate leads. However, that isn’t the only purpose. Content created by your marketing team can be used to support sales at every stage of the sales cycle.  

But first, what do we mean by marketing content? This includes blogs, eBooks, case studies, whitepapers, webinars, infographics and videos. These resources can be used to reinforce what sales is saying to prospects, provide additional insights and further educate prospects pushing them closer to closing. In fact, a survey found that 61% of buyers feel they have a favorable sales experience when the sales professional provides additional relevant information.

Sales is becoming more buyer-centric, which means the sales team needs to provide the prospect relevant and useful content along the buyer journey. This content serves to ease  prospects down the sales funnel, and when marketing resources are properly mapped to the various stages of the buyer’s journey, the sales cycle will shorten.

It’s not too late to start utilizing marketing content if you aren’t already. Below are 3 ways you can use marketing content to improve the sales process:

1) Educate and inform prospects

Sales has evolved over the years. What was once effective (the hard sell and pitching) are no longer things prospects respond well to. Instead, prospects are more interested in learning how you and your product/service can solve their business problems. A prospects buying journey is really an extended education process.

As a sales professional, you need to facilitate this education process and remove as much friction as possible from the prospect’s buying journey. You can do this with the help of marketing content, by sharing topics your prospect cares about and offering your unique perspectives on them. Referencing educational content during the call helps - but if you don’t have that off the top of your head, emailing them afterwards with resources is fine.

Tip: at CoPilot AI, our content manager created a ‘cheat sheet’ for sales that has every piece of content on it, with the link to that content for easy access. In the doc, the content has a summary section of what it is about, which persona it’s for, and where it is in the buyer’s journey.

2) Handle objections & questions effectively

There is only so much information you can get across over a phone or Zoom meeting. And for many people, it can be challenging to absorb everything just by hearing someone speak about it. Because of this, some prospects may leave a meeting feeling confused or like all their questions haven’t been thoroughly dealt with, despite the sales persons best efforts.

The best way to ensure this doesn’t happen is by following up the call with an email that includes additional resources that further address any questions, concerns or objections the prospect had. This is also a good opportunity to send them content that will address future anticipated questions.

If you don’t know if you have content that addresses the items raised in your meeting, check with your marketing team! They will be able to share the appropriate resources or point you in the right direction.

The marketing team can also greatly benefit from this because it shares with them what is coming up in the sales process from prospects, so they can better align their content marketing efforts to fit prospect needs.

3) Continuous engagement and lead nurturing

In a perfect world, every prospect you schedule a call with will be ready to buy. But that’s not how it works. You’ll likely encounter several prospects where the timing isn’t right. And while CRMs have made it easy to ensure you don’t forget about these leads over time, the challenge is how you can ensure the prospect doesn’t forget about you.

This scenario is the perfect opportunity to engage and nurture these prospects with marketing content. Too often sales people make the mistake of blindly following up once a month to see if the timing is better, instead of continuing to educate and add value. It’s more important to become a valuable resource to the prospect over time, than to continue to poke and prod the prospect for months hoping they’ll re-engage.

A casual, but effective, way to do this is by sending them an email with a relevant resource. For example, if marketing publishes a new blog that aligns with something you and the prospect spoke about, shoot them a quick email with the link to the resource saying, “hey - our team just published this and it made me think of when we spoke about XYZ so I thought you’d be interested”.

The power of marketing content in the sales process

In the end, it is important to work closely with your marketing team to ensure you have the content you need to improve and speed up the sales process. Having that open communication with marketing is imperative. It helps them better understand what gaps they have in their content, and what topics they should be writing about. And it will help you close more deals.

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