Content as a Bridge Between B2B Sales and Marketing
Marketing and sales should be closer disciplines. Too many organizations manage them separately and end up engaging prospects in very different ways. There is a lot of wisdom in using very similar content in integrated marketing programs as in your sales engagement. Each connects with prospects and customers at different phases of the journey.
By listening to prospects and customers through conversations, social, search, formal research - we can get a clear sense of what business problems they wrestle with long before they need our products. That's what we create content to address.
We deliver useful, compelling content that helps them understand and even solve business problems before they buy or before they are even in shopping mode. We use digital marketing techniques - increasingly targeted delivery, native contextual placement and more to reach more of the right people. We don't know they will all become customers of ours but we know they fit a profile and share an affinity for the topics that intersect our business and theirs.
We use much of the same content in the sales engagements between the field force that interacts with independent agents and the customers they both serve. Historically, these engagements include a lot of face-to-face meetings. Increasingly email and, now, LinkedIn extend that relationship between those moments. Sales people (field + agents) learn a new cadence to connect with prospects and customers more often. Relevant content makes that outreach a welcome one.
Examples of relevant content
Supply Chain Pressure Test - this is a simple diagnostic, light-interactive, that helps mid-sized manufacturers think through their exposure for supply chain risk. It drives them towards a conversation with their independent agent or with their carrier (us)
Plastics Manufacturing Trends - we recently attended the NPE2015 trade event. This brought together some of the most innovative next technologies for plastics manufacturers. By highlighting what we saw there, we can help manufacturers who attended or who did not start to recognize some of the trends that may have an impact on business risk.
The top 5 manufacturing workplace injuries - simple, practical articles like this one that include a visual, can help manufacturers better understand safety issues and take steps to reduce their incidence in their shop.
Designing around the buyer journey
We want to build preference and even drive demand beyond the typical insurance renewal cycle. That means looking at a complete 'buyer journey' and finding ways to be of-use even when a person isn't in an active shopping or buying phase.
The digital content marketing efforts - delivering content via a web site and promoting via email, social channels and content-oriented advertising serves a purpose all along the journey but is particularly useful in the front third and back third. Sales engagements happen adjacent to and including the conversion phase. Using similar, expert content in both efforts will earn relevant awareness, achieve necessary efficiency and connect sales and marketing at a time when they are stronger together than they are apart. It also "sells."
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