Beyond Lead Generation: How to Use Content for Sales Enablement, Lead Nurturing and Retention

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Posted: May 21, 2013 | Content Marketing

Many marketers consider content to be primarily used for top-of-funnel lead generation techniques. While it’s absolutely true that content can help you drive the right traffic to your site and introduce your business to prospective customers, it’s also effective at later stages of the funnel. By thinking of strategic ways you can incorporate your great thought leadership in other aspects of your marketing, you can extend the life of content and get much more use out of each piece.

Content can help your sales teams engage more deeply with their prospects, can improve the success of marketing automation, and can help educate and retain existing clients.

Convert Mid-Funnel Leads

As you know, marketing automation can help you run more marketing campaigns more effectively and with less work on your part. Without content however, getting the most out of marketing automation can be a challenge. The more you create, the more archived content you have to draw from, and the more you can achieve with marketing automation.

When using marketing automation for lead nurturing, content can (and should) play a major role in nurturing campaigns. Leads who are still in the nurturing stage typically need more information before they’re ready to convert. Sharing your own useful content lets you reach out to customers with something new. Adding value instead of sending a generic check-in email can establish a positive brand association while providing nurture-stage leads with the resources they need to make their purchase decision. Just make sure that you are not only focusing on promotional content pieces–the best lead nurturing uses your thought leadership to build trust and engage.

Enabling Sales

Though it’s not applicable to every single piece of content you put out, you should think about how some pieces can specifically aid your sales team. If sales is regularly encountering the same question about how to use your product, writing a blog post (or white paper if it’s a tough question) can give sales something to send to a confused or concerned prospect. Additionally, timely blogs or white papers can provide a reason for sales to touch base with prospects who may not be ready to make a purchase but are still qualified leads. An informative webinar on a useful topic is also a great way to re-engage dormant leads, and sending emails with purely informational content can help the sales person build trust and establish a relationship.

The beauty of using content for sales enablement, is that this process works both ways—you can help your sales team reach out to their prospects and your sales team can provide you with inspiration for your editorial calendar. Some of the most successful content I’ve ever created was designed specifically to address customer pain points or frequently asked questions that the sales team brought to our attention. So make sure you are always working with your sales teams to determine what content might resonate with prospects.

Keep Customers Engaged and Informed

Content doesn’t lose its value once a lead becomes a customer. Help your customers get the most out of your product with thoughtful blogs, whitepapers, or visual infographics.  If you currently use webinars as a lead gen tool, have your support team or account managers encourage current customers to attend. Include links to webinars wherever your clients might find them easily. For example, links can be placed within your dashboard, on your website, or even in your email signature.  Depending on how complicated your product is, or how deep your knowledge of complementary solutions, you might want to make explainer video content or webinars specifically geared toward assisting current customers. Having a rich archive of content can also make it easier on your support team. If customers can find their answers in a webinar, they may not need additional resources.

Creating valuable content specifically for customers can improve their opinion of your company, increase brand loyalty, ramp up retention, and ultimately boost revenue.

Closing

Content is key for lead generation, but it can do so much more. Creating great content isn’t easy, so turn to your sales team, account managers, and even customers for content inspiration. Once you’ve built that great content, leveraging it for multiple purposes — lead generation, SEO, traffic, nurturing, and retention — you’ll get more from your efforts and see a higher ROI over all.

How else do you use content?

Related Resources

  • Ramsay Leimenstoll

    I really like the idea to include a link to recurring webinar/demo opportunities in an email signature – I think that’s a piece of real estate that might be under-utilized at times (though don’t let ‘em get too long or else people won’t read *any* of it!). Having it in a recurring place (especially one that often appears just when users are having issues or want more interaction) makes it easy for them to click and take advantage of the opportunity when the moment is right for them – not when it was right for you to send an email blast.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Clyde-Jr-Miller/100002297351761 Clyde Jr Miller

    amazing

  • http://www.debtconsolidationcare.com/User/good.nelly Nelly Brown

    Write content that will help you promote your products to the potential clients. At the end of the day, you need to sell your product. Keep in mind that USP of the product and highlight that in the content. Make sure you develop an informative content or the clients will simply lose interest. Include images and videos in the content. You can even use an infographic to explain and promote a product through visual medium.

Caroline Watts manages the content marketing program at ReTargeter, a full-service display platform specializing in retargeting and audience targeting. ReTargeter is a proud partner of Marketo LaunchPoint.

Read Caroline's Blogs

#contentmarketing is more than demand gen, remember to use it in all stages of your funnel.

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