Boost Sales With These Simple Content Marketing Tactics

Content and the Sales FunnelIf you are in sales, then you are use to answer your customer’s questions in a way they clearly understand.

They have questions. They have problems in their industry  industry and they want answers to their questions. You just talk to your customers as people.

Sadly, many marketers get too caught up in saying “buy my product” and forget they are talking to people and providing real, authentic answers.

One kind of marketing, however, demands that marketers provide real, lasting information. Content marketing can create a relationship between a company and its customers.

With content, marketers can arm salespeople to help customers successfully progress through each stage of the sales cycle. Through informative and unique stories, marketers and salespeople can together strategically boost sales and influence buyer behaviors.

Here are types of content to improve your sales and performance regardless of where in the sales funnel your customer is:

When Sales and Marketing Collide

Sales and Marketing CollideDoes it ever seem to you like sales people are from Mars and marketers are from Venus?

Sales people feel they must translate what they see as marketing’s one-size-fits-all approach into a practical message tailored for their unique customer while the marketing team often believes the sales people themselves are the problem because they are not following their product positioning.

What’s behind this communication gap? Language.

The Language of Sales and Marketing

Language of sales and marketingSales and marketing have different views of the world.

Salespeople say:

Marketing people do not spend enough time in the field. They don’t take specific customer complaints seriously enough. Marketing needs to create a system for better field communications.

Marketers say:

Sales is always asking for information that they have already received. We spend much effort gathering and writing up product and competitive information, send out that information, and reps call a week later for the same information. This takes time away from other important tasks we have.

Salespeople say:

Marketing should be more demanding with R&D and manufacturing to alter product designs and production schedules.

Marketers say:

We are under-resourced: too many sales chiefs and not enough implementation people.

Salespeople say:

Biggest frustration to our sales reps is lack of timely information.

Marketers say:

Our success depends on fulfilling customer expectations for tomorrow, not just today.

Salespeople say:

Sales reps’ compensation should not be penalized for price erosion…that’s a product issue out of our control.

Marketers say:

Sales is happy to criticize, rather than accept responsibility and suggest constructive improvements.

Let’s face it, sales gets input straight from the horse’s mouth, the customer

straight from horse's mouthEach customer is supplying a valuable piece to the puzzle. It’s important that each sales person capture that input and makes sure it gets back to the marketing team.

Every customer has their own set of individual issues. Marketing is capturing the insights from all of sales. They are sifting and prioritizing those that are important locally, regionally and nationally. From those inputs, plans and strategies are being developed that cover all the bases, not just one account.

Customer responsiveness, urgency, and speed really are the goals of marketing

mistrustMarketing isn’t being slow ― they are being thorough and deliberate. The reason is that marketing isn’t the only department required to create a new product. That involves most of the rest of the company from ops to finance.

Whether you label it as healthy tension, territorial friction or a downright conflict of personalities, anyone who’s spent time working in marketing will be familiar with the terse, often challenging and almost always character-building relationship with sales.

Good Selling!

Greg Bonsib is an author of the new Mighty Guides Ebook Data Disruption.

 

A New Way To Budget For Marketing In 2016

“I know that half my advertising dollars are wasted, but I don’t know which half”

make your marketing dollars work harderSound familiar?

For decades, companies have tried to make their marketing dollars work harder. They have used concepts such as target marketing, niche marketing and positioning to help build sales by generating leads, reaching decision-makers and even asking for the order. But a problem remains: marketing and sales have never been completely coordinated.

The result is that money is allocated to marketing because everyone knows marketing is necessary. And sales people are told go out and sell because most B2B products and services are sold that way.

This approach has worked in the past, but the changing business climate will continue to force companies to re-evaluate the entire process. To borrow a buzz-phrase, tomorrow’s marketing will have to work − not harder − but smarter.

Instead of basing the marketing budget on projected sales, the sales requirements can be used to establish a zero-based approach

In this way, the actual point when the sale is closed determines what materials and how much should be spent to make the direct selling effort as cost-effective as possible.

Cost Effectiveness of Direct Selling Worksheet

The first step is to determine the total cost for your entire sales force, and then the average cost-per-call and cost-per-sale. (At this stage, do not factor out individual salespeople). The chart to the left will help you calculate this.

The resulting numbers are a measure of your current marketing efficiency, arid will serve as a gauge of the cost-effectiveness of your total future program.

Next, using the chart below, break out your new accounts and those you have had for at least one re-order. Depending upon market factors, you may also want to break out the accounts by region, season, or some other criterion.

Cost Breakdown by Account TypeWhat you are measuring here is the cost-effectiveness of your existing direct-selling effort, looking for the types of accounts which are most profitable and those which are least profitable.
As a general rule, your marketing depends upon the profitability level of each category. Those categories where direct selling is very profitable should have programs designed to support the sales person, helping to either increase the dollar volume per account or lower the average cost-per-sale.

Those categories where the profitability level is low should have programs designed to replace the sales person as much as possible.  This can be accomplished effectively with programs such as automated marketing to lower the cost of pre-qualification inquiry fulfillment.

Once you have determined the coA New Way To Budget For Marketingst-per-sale for each category, you should establish sales objectives. The first is to maximize a sales person’s productivity and to do that requires establishing the prime job function:

  • Developing new business leads
  • Making presentations
  • Maintaining face-to–face contact at existing accounts
  • Trouble-shooting problem accounts

Obviously, some or all of these functions could be present in all categories, but by assigning the sales person a prime function, you are taking the first step in determining:

  1. Better way to budget marketingThe type of program (support vs. replacement) that will result in a lower overall cost-per-sale
  2. The message that each component in the program should carry
  3. The amount to be spent to deliver the message(s)

Given this information, you are now in a position to correlate all your marketing, advertising, promotion and direct selling expenses to sales.

Program effectiveness can now be tracked. And you can begin to consider your marketing spend in terms of its contribution to profits…instead of just cost of sales.

Good Selling!