By Anthony O’Brien | Published in Professional Planner, March 13, 2017

Last week, I wrote about the value of measuring content marketing and how challenging it can be to track its effectiveness as a sales tool.

That said, it still has a role to play and for content to be effective it’s important that you take your sales team on the journey with you. If you fail to engage with your sales team, then it’s highly unlikely they’ll use the content to help them get in the front door with potential leads. Moreover, if your sales aren’t aligned with your marketing, it will cost you money.

Sales needs a digital relationship

While there’s still a place for hitting the phones to cold-call leads, it’s fair to say there are probably savvier and less stressful ways of generating new business. To be fair, the best salespeople have already adopted the latest digital technologies and social media platforms into their prospecting and relationship building. Therefore, your thought leadership in rich content marketing gives them an additional reason to engage with their contacts.

Sales people should be thought leaders, too

A good sales person – whether they are working in financial planning, real estate or technology – must be able to build relationships with clients. In the past, personal relationships alone were enough to build trust with clients. However, clients want more in 2017, and this is where a good sales person should use your content to help push their industry knowledge and credentials. As a consequence, it will help lift their profiles as key contributors to your business.

Giving your sales agents a voice through content, will encourage them to buy into your thought leadership programs. They might even have a crack at writing a blog or creating some video content themselves; either way it will be a win-win for your firm and your salespeople.

The sales function needs to understand the client

To be honest, if your content doesn’t engage with your client base then it’s a waste of time and money. At the same time, your salespeople must be on board with the themes and concepts your content marketing addresses. Moreover, learning and understanding the topics that your potential clients find engaging is valuable sales training.

At the most basic level, sharing your content gives your sales representatives a reason to touch base with their leads and clients, with a ‘freebie’ that might strike a chord with them, whether it’s an investment market trend, yet another legislative change to our superannuation system, or an estate planning theme. The ‘free’ offering is the key coefficient in the content marketing paradigm. Every client and potential lead will have a preconceived notion of how salespeople operate. Cynicism is a typical presumption, which is why quality content, which is free-of-charge, can be a way of breaking through the firewall of scepticism and surreptitiously delivering clients to the top of your sales funnel.