To get the most effective content ideas possible from your sales team:
Create a “Revenue Team” to eliminate the sales/marketing silos.
Schedule regular brainstorming sessions.
Make sure sales understands how content can be used with prospects.
Use the content litmus test.
If you want to create content that adds value to the sales process, your marketing and sales teams need to align and work together.
The reason is simple: Your sales team knows better than anyone what your buyers need and are looking for. Sales knows what questions your prospects ask, what pains they experience, and ultimately, what motivates them to buy.
The problem is often that inbound sales staff and inbound marketing teams don’t know how to collaborate on the content idea-generation process — at least not very well.
Many marketers listen to sales calls or ask sales to fill out surveys to get content-worthy ideas. Others try brainstorming content ideas with sales directly, but when your marketing team sets up time with sales to get the creative juices flowing, your sales team pushes back. They have clients to call, quotas to hit — and they’re just “too busy.”
This can result in the capital F-word for your team: Frustration.
Your marketing team knows that if they could just nail down content that would help sales the most, they could breathe life into the entire sales process.
We’re talking about content that holds the power to get more prospects in the pipeline, explain repeat questions, shorten the sales cycle, and generate revenue for your business.
Why wouldn’t sales want to be all in?
Your marketing team needs to understand how to cut through the red tape and get the sales team excited about the content creation process.
In this article, I’m going to teach you how to get content marketing ideas from your sales team that actually drive revenue. These methods work in a range of industries — whether B2B or B2C — and have helped our clients generate millions in revenue.
To help your sales and marketing teams get there too, I’ll explain:
Why sales team buy-in is crucial to the content brainstorming process.
How to get exactly what your sales team needs to close more deals faster.
This way, each piece of content your marketing team creates isn’t simply “nice to have,” but fulfills a clear purpose and leads prospects down the buyer’s journey toward making a purchase.
Here’s how to get your sales and marketing teams from “just too busy” to rowing in the same direction and landing more sales.
Why you need buy-in from your sales team (and how to get it)
When we first meet with marketing team members, they’re typically fired up about our sales and marketing framework called They Ask, You Answer. But when they try to get sales on board, they are met with resistance as we uncover clear silo issues.
Sales might think they’re aligned with marketing. But then we ask sales, “When was the last time you pulled up a page on your website to help explain something while you were on a sales call?” After some blank stares, they tell us they rarely or even never do that on an actual sales call.
And when we ask why, the majority of answers include something along the lines of, “Because our website doesn’t have the information that our prospects want to know.”
It becomes clear to us that these teams are not aligned and are not prepared to create great content.
If there is one thing you take away from this article, let it be this: If you want to create content that helps your sales team shorten their sales cycle and land more deals, you need to answer your prospects’ most pressing questions about the products and services you offer.
To produce the content that really speaks to buyers, marketing teams need their sales teams' guidance. They know the customers better than anyone.
But marketing teams struggle to get buy-in, which dooms their efforts from the start.
Explain the what, why, and how of content creation
The most effective way to accomplish sales buy-in is to position the process in a way that your sales or company leadership can understand the what, why, and how.
Sales needs to understand that content can:
Get more prospects in the pipeline, shorten their sales cycle, and generate more revenue (the what).
Establish your business as the No. 1 authority in your industry and build the trust necessary to land more deals (the why).
Answer questions your prospects are asking more honestly and transparently than your competition (the how).
In short, your leadership and sales team need to understand the value in creating content for the sales process.
Lead the sales team to self-discovery
Another way to get buy-in is to use Jonah Berger’s advice from The Catalyst and help your teams absorb the information and discover the solution on their own.
The idea is that people resist solutions when they are told this is what you need to do.
But if they discover these solutions on their own, they hold more power. For example, introducing a business leader to content marketing evaluators such as our content scorecard can show exactly where the company's efforts are falling short. This is more effective than telling them the same thing.
This self-discovery process helps your leadership and sales team understand on their own that creating content for the sales process must be a priority.
They need to understand the power that content has in moving the sales needle.
How to get exactly what your sales team needs to close more deals faster
Once your sales and leadership teams are on the same page and aligned, you can start planning your content needs.
Here’s what to do:
1. Eliminate silos by creating a revenue team
A revenue team can help you ditch the silos and bring your teams together.
This is a team made up of the main players from sales and marketing. They get together every two weeks to brainstorm topics based on questions your sales team hears every day. These are questions that:
They get asked all the time.
Indicate a buyer is far from making a decision.
Show resistance, doubts, worries, or fears.
Expose gaps in information necessary for key decision-makers to give the go-ahead.
With this information, marketing can produce thorough, vetted content to address these questions in a way that builds trust with buyers.
2. Schedule a blog post ideas session or watch party
When you’ve established a revenue team, get everyone together and brainstorm the top 50 questions your sales team gets asked on a regular basis. Use an upvote system to prioritize which topics you tackle first.
(These often end up being topics we call The Big 5, which are questions that buyers ask in pretty much any industry.)
Also, get the marketing team together to watch sales calls. For each, discuss what went well and what didn’t. Identify content needs that speak directly to the buyers you're watching.
3. Train your sales team to use content in their sales process
We teach our clients how to use assignment selling — a sales technique of assigning "homework" to prospects to read or watch prior to a sales call. This homework is content that specifically addresses common questions. With these out of the way, your sales team will have more time to address buyer-specific questions.
4. Use the content litmus test framework
Use these four questions to be sure the content you're producing will be useful for your sales team:
Is this content relevant to our buyers?
Is it clear when someone would need this information?
Do we know exactly how a buyer would search or ask for this information?
Is a blog post the best format for this information?
If you can answer “yes” to all four questions, it’s probably a good topic to write about.
Zero in on content that helps your prospects
When you include sales in your content creation process, you’ll quickly see the difference between relevant and irrelevant content. Content about press releases, what your company is up to, or how wonderful your business is, typically fails to help buyers make a purchasing decision.
When you create content that consistently leads prospects to the next stage in their buyer’s journey, your sales team will get excited to help create even more.
The hardest part is getting started — but once you build that momentum and sales and marketing keep seeing those results, it’s impossible to stop. Your sales team will have more time in their schedule to meet with more qualified prospects, and your marketing team will finally feel like they’re making a difference.
And the best part? Your business will be thriving because your teams learned how to work better together.