How to Use Content Marketing to Accelerate Sales Pipeline

by Gerry Moran

Can posting the right content for the right customer on the right channel at the right time really speed up a sale?

When it’s put that way, that type of sales success sounds more like it’s driven by publishing instead of selling, right? I thought only a call-blitzing sales rep could make a sale close faster.

So, here’s a news flash! Successful sales reps and marketers need to be good at publishing, too. Good content skills speed up the quota-busting long game. If you are not integrating your content marketing strategy into your field marketing, corporate marketing, and field sales organizations, then you need to make this change – to create more sales opportunities, increase sale size, and decrease the sale cycle.

The Content Marketing, Social Media and Social Selling Recipe

Unlike email or telemarketing, content marketing is not a direct marketing tactic. It is an ingredient in the sales recipe – something that will make it ‘cook quicker.’ The three steps to create this marketing mix to accelerate the sales pipeline are:

1. Awareness. Establish your brand awareness and credibility by showing you understand the customer’s challenge through content posted on your social channels. Your customers find out about you from your reputation, which manifests through your social posts in relevant watering holes.

2. Consideration. Drive purchase consideration by getting customers to click through to your destination or reply with a comment. This engagement connects so you can help them solve their problem. This initial conversation, combined with content, will help your customer understand you can solve their problem.

3. Acceleration. Increase relationships and accelerate pipeline by delivering the right content at the right time – via 1-1 and other broader nurturing channels.

Using these three steps will accelerate sales more than if selling without social media and content marketing.

Content marketing can help accelerate the pipeline on two levels – at the marketing department/organization AND from the individual sale rep level.

How Marketing Departments Can Use Content To Accelerate Sales

Marketing organizations can use content to activate late-funnel conversations and consideration by delivering relevant information to specific customer watering holes – LinkedIn Groups, external communities, etc. For instance, if the marketing team was close to closing key deals around a cloud-based point of sales solutions, the content could be created in a format (e.g., infographic) to resonate in watering holes.

Unfortunately, many companies have not adopted an end-to-end content model to take advantage of these targeted opportunities. And, just loading up Twitter with a selection of branded Tweets won’t work either. Neither will blog posts placed on company-owned sites since they need to be amplified, in addition to being posted.

How Social Media Can Accelerate Pipeline From An Account-Based Marketing or Sales Organization Perspective

Content can also accelerate ABM- or sales team-based pipeline. A company can create targeted content to speak to the key point that will help close the sale. For instance, if a company sells analytics solutions to the target account, they could create a SlideShare presentation to speak to the key customer needs. After syndicating this content on owned social channels, get the team to distribute and deliver this content – infographics, SlideShares, blog posts, etc. – via individual digital, social, and email channels.

Regarding sales- and ABM-focused social listening, companies can monitor key accounts to understand if there are any dots to connect – to help handle an objection or double-down on the point of interest with custom content.

Do you have a way in which you have used content to accelerate the pipeline? If so, please share below. Or contact me at gerry@marketingthink.com.

So, if you are trying to accelerate the pipeline, you need first to build a process to map content to the right customer on the right channel at the right time. There is no one size fits all when it comes to pipeline acceleration and content creation.

NOTE: This blog post was originally found at https://marketingthink.com/5-content-marketing-plays-win-social-selling/ and published on 10/30/2014. It was refreshed and moved to the new WordPress platform on 1/24/2021.

Gerry Moran is a social media and content marketing strategist who's worked for large global brands and digital agencies. He's spent significant time in hands-on marketing leadership roles with HBO, IKEA, Ralston Purina, Kodak, and numerous digital agencies. He spent his last ten years working at SAP and Cognizant, where he built their content marketing operating models, developed social media training programs, and helped thousands with their LinkedIn makeovers and personal branding strategies.

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