The shortcomings of your lead generation and content strategy

Marketing and sales departments aren’t working collaboratively enough on building personas and nurturing leads. Here’s what needs to happen.

This article was sponsored by Marketo to let readers know about its Definitive Guide to Engaging Content Marketing’ »

It’s solidified itself as a surefire way to fill a sales pipeline with leads at lower acquisition costs. Yes, the potential of content marketing, inbound marketing, social selling or whatever else they may call it at your organisation is an enticing one indeed, on which many of us have come to rely.

But it’s almost inevitable that it becomes derailed by silos. Here’s what happens:

  1. sales stops prospecting
  2. it falls on marketing to generate the leads
  3. sales says ‘the leads are weak’
  4. marketing says ‘the lead follow-up is weak’, and
  5. sales says ‘the leads are the wrong accounts and the wrong contacts at the accounts’.

This doesn’t mean inbound marketing is a dud, it doesn’t mean marketing isn’t working and it doesn’t mean you need a new sales team. We just need to work together.

In partnership with your sales team and your executive team, adopt a strategic focus about serving a certain set of accounts. Take a targeted approach to generating demand. Build out ideal customer profiles and identify the right people in those accounts, then develop messaging for each buyer persona, with specific content that facilitates their journey. This account-based approach will yield higher value deals and improve ROI.

Better personas

Work together when building out accurate and detailed customer personas. Between four and six is ideal. Here’s what you should know:

Interviews and research stage:

  • background
  • job details
  • where they do research
  • goals 
  • pain points
  • preferred content platform
  • role in purchase process, and
  • what marketing message will speak directly to this persona.

Then you can go about envisioning – and telling the stories of – your personas, before understanding their buying stages:

  • awareness
  • purchase, and
  • advocate.

Collaboration

Sales can’t wash its hands completely of prospecting. Top sales professionals get in early, shape demand and teach where buyers are learning early in the buyer journey. Equipped with hot content provided by marketing, they can do a better job of identifying and enticing decision-makers and influencers.

Conversely, marketing must interact with sales to understand the needs of its customers. 

Don’t develop programs built around your products, because future customers don’t revolve around your products. Focus on their journey and build programs that way, or they may not even become your customers in the first place.

For a full template on developing better personas and content marketing strategies that are helpful, entertaining and guaranteed to build strong bonds between customers and your brand, grab your copy of ‘The Definitive Guide to Engaging Content Marketing’.

 

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash