Rethink Marketing Podcast: Aligning Sales to Your Content Marketing Strategy

Is your content marketing strategy working? Do you have the buy in from everyone on the team, including sales?

The answers are probably no, and no.

We recently chatted on the Rethink Marketing podcast with Phil Bosley, CEO of Tactical Marketing, about his favorite KPI in marketing automation. His answer was the Known Website Visitor Rate. He said a successful content marketing strategy — and therefore a successful inbound marketing program — will have a Known Website Visitor Rate of about 10 percent.

Unfortunately, he said, the most B2B businesses have between 3-4 percent rate.

According to MarketingProfs, 37 percent of marketing organizations have a documented content marketing strategy, and only 20 percent describe their approach to content marketing as “very successful.” We asked Phil for his advice on optimizing your content marketing strategy.

This transcript has been edited for length. To get the full measure, listen to the podcast. 

How do you align your sales team with your content marketing strategy?

Nathan: Often, it is easy to discuss a content marketing strategy, but hard to implement one. Who takes the lead? How do you make sure that your content marketing strategy remains your guiding light to all of these other marketing activities, your trade shows, demand gen, things like that?

Phil: Such a good question. So what we’re talking about is actually the change management. So who takes the lead? Your head of marketing takes the lead. Your head of marketing takes the lead and priority number one for the head of marketing is to go to the sales leader, to go to a sales team, and reiterate: my goal is to generate excellent quality leads who are ready to buy from you. You have to have harmony between the marketing and the salesroom.

So, the head of marketing goes to the head of sales, goes to the sales team, and says: ‘Look, we are here to support you. And we understand that you can’t stop business while we make these changes.’

And you get buy in that something has to change, that there’s an honesty, a transparency in the process where you just acknowledge, ‘We aren’t doing a good enough job for you. We need to provide you more, and so we are going to undertake in a strategic overhaul that better connects with our buyers so we’re finding you the right leads who are more likely to buy, more likely to buy quickly.’

image quote about having patience in executing your content marketing strategy

And if you can find a sales team who doesn’t want a marketing team to do that, then I’m stunned. That’s what every sales team is begging for from their marketing team, just that honesty, that transparency.

And your sales team is going to say: ‘Hey, we want this email promoting the upcoming trade show.’ Great, make them the email. These are not binary. This is change management, this is growth over time.

So you go through, you define the personas. You go through, you define your funnel stages. You go through, you create your content. And you pick a spot: we’re going to focus on lead gen.

So yeah, I built sales their trade show promotion email. I built sales their end of quarter special email. But I also took the 98 percent of my leads that have no meaningful engagement, the lists that I’ve acquired over the years, and I started lead generation email and PPC ads, and social media ads, and I started targeting this group with the content that I developed in parallel to the things I was already doing for sales.

And it is, by giving sales what they need to keep functioning today, and coordinating and organizing this larger overhaul and then implementing that, spend a quarter, spend two quarters building it and deploying it slowly, a piece at a time.

And ‘Ah, I don’t have a lead gen problem any more. The leads I’m generating aren’t converting fast enough. Now, I have a lead nurture problem.’ And then spend your next quarter or two quarters building out your lead nurture process.

This isn’t an overnight thing. This is a massive shift in the way marketers think. And it takes time for leads to bake, so keep doing the things you need to do for your sales team, and then start taking this one bite at a time.

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