Reimagine the potential of marketing and sales alignment by shifting content toward lead generation and sales enablement. It’s the key to success in our digital-only environment. In this article you’ll learn:
- Why change is necessary to generate real results and lay a foundation for long-term growth
- What types of content your brand should focus on to make the shift toward sales enablement
- How a knowledgeable content partner can help you succeed
The year 2020 has been full of change at every level of our society, even in marketing. Brands are being forced to reinvent their customer experiences for a digital-only world.
In a recent Adobe Summit presentation, Sarah Kennedy, vice president of marketing for Digital Experience at Adobe, agreed. She noted that our current world situation creates an opportunity to simplify and focus, take our teams off “what works” autopilot, and get honest about what needs to happen for marketing to generate results. Not only can that help your brand thrive today, but it can also lay the foundation for long-term growth and generate real results.
Content marketing with wider goals, such as raising awareness, has an important place in the marketing mix. Yet, when it’s crunch time, there’s greater pressure to tie content to measurable impact. If now is your opportunity to get laser focused on generating bottom-line results — and in part one of this article I tell you why it is — how do you get started?
Here are four content types that should be on your radar for production right now:
1. Sales consultant content
Despite the ongoing industry conversations about a lack of alignment between marketing and sales, these two business units increasingly rely on one another. Sales teams are taking on the role of consultants that guide B2B buyers on how to solve their most crucial problems. From well-researched white papers to highly relevant case studies, today’s sales reps want content they can integrate into their presentations and conversations with prospective customers.
Sales enablement is all about equipping your sales teams with the tools, technology, and content they need to sell. LinkedIn has created a resource on social selling that their own team uses to help solidify the idea of digital B2B sales, and they’ve also made it available to customers. The pieces that are included range from how to manage your digital pipeline to what it means to really deliver value at every stage of the customer journey. When prospects need to know what LinkedIn’s product can do — and how they’ll get the most value from it — sales enablement content instills confidence, shows success stories, and helps build a data-backed case that having a plan for digital selling is crucial.
2. Partner support
Channel partners are a vital avenue to new audiences, helping B2B brands amplify sales and extend the reach of their products and services. Savvy brands are creating partner portals that make it easy to download the co-branded content and sales enablement materials they need to help drive partner brand sales.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise has a network that includes more than 250,000 channel partners worldwide, and they recently launched their Partner First Program to help make these relationships a success. The program has content to help partners better understand the customer journey, customized resources for different types of partners, and extensive marketing and sales collateral that can be used in campaigns. If your brand relies on channel partners to sell products and services, empowering them with the right content can speed up deals, solidify brand alignment, and make it easier for resellers to prioritize your products and services.
3. Digital experiences
As more of the customer journey goes online, fostering deep connections with customers is critical. Strong digital experiences aren’t just about easy-to-find content and frictionless transactions, although those are essential elements. Brands also need to find strategic ways to offer more value at each stage of the customer journey and throughout the ongoing relationship.
Adobe Experience League is one model that brings together marketers and “experience makers” who use the company’s products. Experience League offers exclusive content, learning opportunities and reference libraries, and community features that allow users to interact with Adobe experts and each other. The result is deeper loyalty and an interconnected digital experience that helps members support each other’s efforts.
4. Demand generation campaigns
Demand campaigns are familiar. Your brand produces a long-form piece such as a white paper or a webinar, and uses that as gated content. Your audience gets access in exchange for sharing their email address. From there, you can put them into your marketing funnel, send them triggered emails and newsletters, or share their information with your sales team for follow-up. With physical events going virtual and travel being nearly impossible, there’s a resurgence of demand generation and lead generation campaigns to keep connections to fresh leads flowing.
Thought leadership and insights firm Forrester regularly brings experts together to share their perspectives on everything from systems integration in marketing to leading in times of crisis. They’ve made these webinars available on a page that’s easy to access, and viewing the content is as simple as signing up. By integrating these webinars with newsletters, social campaigns, sales team and customer success outreach, and advertising, they generate countless subscribers and leads.
As you craft a content marketing strategy for the rest of 2020 and beyond, you don’t have to go it alone. Find a knowledgeable partner with experience crafting overarching strategies and developing effective sales and demand generation campaigns. Whether you’re starting the process by conducting an audit to understand what content you already have or launching a campaign in partnership with your sales team, performance-oriented marketing will be crucial to keeping your growth goals on target no matter what the future brings.
If you’re ready to develop a performance marketing roadmap, Stoke can help. Contact us to discuss your needs today.