8 Ways Marketers Can Help Their Sales Teams Right Now 70
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The B2B sales game has greatly changed since the pandemic began. Research from McKinsey found that more than three-quarters of buyers and sellers now prefer digital self-service or remote human interaction when it comes to engaging with brands.
Salespeople who thrived at in-person interactions now find themselves adjusting to an increasingly digital world. Six-figure deals are now being made at home in a t-shirt and shorts rather than business casual attire at the office.
The future of B2B sales will only continue to be more digital and remote. As marketers, it’s our responsibility to assist our sales teams in navigating these digital landscapes. Below are eight actionable tips to work into your marketing plan if you want to help your sales team crush their numbers this year.
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1. Listen to Customer Call Recordings
Hey marketers, when was the last time you picked up the phone and listened in on a few sales calls? While it’s easy to get consumed in our day-to-day tasks, it could help your sales team if you take a step back and hear how your customers are actually doing.
What are some of the common pain points your customers are experiencing? What sort of feedback are you getting on that new product launch? Are there any new-use cases your customers have discovered?
Listening to sales calls can answer these questions, and it may be the feedback your marketing team needs to improve the customer experience on your website. Below are a few options for listening to sales calls.
Video Conferencing Tools
With more than 50% of prospective customers interested in a product demo on the first call, you may want to consider a video conferencing tool, like Zoom. These tools are a great way to personalize sales calls in a remote working environment. If your prospects don’t feel comfortable hopping on video, these tools allow for voice conferencing as well. Either video or voice calls can be recorded and stored in the cloud.
Internet Phone Systems
An internet phone system stores a recording of each customer call in the cloud for up to six months, with some options extending cloud storage up to a full year. These recordings have metadata, like account name, call length, call type, and more.
Contact your customer success team and have them pass on any notable call recordings.
2. Provide Feedback on Sales Scripts
Another advantage of listening to call recordings is you get to provide an outside perspective on the current scripts your salespeople are using.
Without feedback, sales scripts can become stiff, robotic, and may not convey the value of your product as best as they could. Also, as your product or service evolves, so should the sales scripts. Giving feedback is a great way to keep scripts fresh and keep your salespeople on their toes.
Below are a few helpful tips on providing feedback on sales scripts:
- Divvy out call recordings to a few marketers or your team. Everyone should get a chance to listen to how your salespeople and customers interact.
- Once assigned, have your team transcribe the calls. Some phone system tools auto-transcribe calls, so you may be able to skip this step.
- Have your team be critical of the script. Did the salesperson miss a chance to mention one of your product’s flagship features? Was the salesperson able to speak to specific pain points the customer had? Could the salesperson have benefited from referencing a case study or other marketing asset?
If you’re looking to improve marketing and sales alignment, the first two sections of this article are a great way to go about it. Your marketers have just as much of a responsibility to learn about your customers as your salespeople do.
3. Be Active on Social Media
According to a Harris Poll, more than half of U.S. adults are using social media more frequently now than before the pandemic. With more activity on platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn, there’s no excuse you can’t join in on the discussions.
As a marketer, make an effort to post more frequently and engage with your followers and others in your social community. This is a key step in building your personal brand and it can help lead to more eyes on your business’s product. Speaking of which, below are a few ways to drive attention:
- Create videos using or talking about your product and post them on social media. Mos, a loan forgiveness brand, is a good example of how to do this on platforms, like TikTok and Twitter.
- Host a Twitter Spaces or Clubhouse chat room about a variety of topics in your industry, especially a topic where you can name-drop your brand. Be careful not to be too product-focused, though.
- Use Instagram Stories to highlight your product, especially if it’s a physical one, like fashion, furniture, art, etc. You can run polls and ask questions in your Stories as well. This allows you to connect directly with your audience in ways you can’t on other social media platforms. Many direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands use Instagram exclusively.
If you can’t get excited and build hype around your brand on social media, how can you expect your customers to do it?
Below is just one example of how social media can drive demand. A swipe file tool, called Swpely, was able to add more than 500 users in just ten days from its invite-only beta launch. At the time of writing this, Swpely surpassed 1,000 users. This is the power of community on social media.
While social media won’t be the silver bullet for your sales team, it’s a great way to get more eyes on your brand and spread the word.
4. Build Links to Your Top Lead Sources
It’s better to have more leads than no leads, which is why your digital marketing team should dedicate more time building backlinks to your top lead sources.
For the search engine novice, a backlink is when another brand links from their domain to your domain. Google’s algorithm uses these links, and other factors, as an indicator of how a webpage will rank for any given keyword.
Webpages near the top of search results typically have more backlinks than webpages near the bottom of search results. In fact, Search Engine Journal lists backlinks as the second most important ranking factor — many SEOs would agree.
After gathering these webpages, start deciding how to build links to them. Below are a few quick tips for getting links fast:
- Guest blog: Some websites allow for guest blogging. Pitch a few ideas to these sites that are relevant to your webpages, and, hopefully, your pitch will get accepted. For example, if you’re trying to build links to your remote management webpage, write about “10 Ways Remote Managers Can Motivate Their Teams”.
- Contact your network: Friends help friends. See who in your network would be willing to link a few times to your webpages, and you can hook them up later with links to their content.
The higher your top lead sources rank on search engines, the more leads should come through. It’s an effective way to help out your sales team while increasing site traffic.
5. Create an Online Knowledge Base
Your salespeople are crunched for time. Between prospecting, running product demos, sending cold outreach, and other daily tasks, it’s hard for them to find time to answer each prospect’s question with full attention.
If you’re looking to free up some time for your sales team while also adding value to your prospects, consider creating an online knowledge base.
A knowledge base is a single space your prospects and customers can refer to when using your product. Think of it as an online instruction manual where a user can access frequently asked questions (FAQs), provide self-support, watch step-by-step product videos, and more.
Below is an example of what the Nextiva knowledge base looks like:
Research from Harvard Business Review revealed that 8 in 10 customers are open to resolving an issue themselves before reaching out to sales or support. A thorough knowledge base empowers this type of self-service.
Let’s also not forget the advantage a knowledge base has for your sales team. For example, they could access the knowledge base in a sales call to quickly answer an FAQ without pinging someone from marketing or customer success.
If your brand doesn’t already have a knowledge base live on the website, there are a few ways to go about creating one.
Design a Webpage
The more cost-effective way to build a knowledge base is to design it as any other web page you would on your site. However, this webpage would need a certain look, feel, and functionality.
- Make sure this webpage has a search bar. This search function could bring up support articles, how-to articles, step-by-step videos, and any other assets your customers would find useful.
- This page should also have categories, so customers know where to begin their self-service. For example, the Nextiva knowledge base (seen above) has separate categories for admin portals, phone setup, mobile and desktop app setup, and more.
- There should be a user-feedback system in the knowledge base as well. If support articles, videos, and other assets aren’t as helpful as you think, customers should be able to let you know.
Listed above are the main components of a knowledge base. For a complete guide on building a knowledge base from scratch, Groove is a great resource.
Go With a Knowledge Base Software
If you have the budget, going with a knowledge base software instead of designing one from scratch is a great way to reap the benefits of self-service support. Some of today’s top tools are Zendesk, Talkdesk, and Document360.
Knowledge bases, while effective in assisting your prospects and customers, need to be frequently updated, so they don’t confuse and frustrate its users. You wouldn’t want your customers setting up a feature the old way, only to find out it doesn’t work anymore.
6. Personalize Your Content Marketing
Instead of producing more SEO-focused articles, have your team incorporate more personalized content targeted toward specific audiences. These can be blogs, webpages, videos, and podcasts.
Below is an example of hyper-personalized content written by Slack. This particular article focused on how they use their own product for new-hire onboarding, so they can assist their customers faster and more efficiently.
Personalized content like this does a few things:
- It differentiates your content from the competition. When you’ve run out of keyword ideas, where do you find inspiration for content creation?
- It showcases the product without being too product-heavy. Product content can be stale and filled with jargon, so an article like this is able to keep the reader engaged without bombarding them.
- It speaks to a persona. If you’re a support agent or manager, this article speaks directly to you.
Personalized content doesn’t just take place on your blog, it can take place on your webpages as well. For example, you can apply the insight you’ve gotten from your call recordings to update a landing page.
If you notice a pattern of more customers using a certain feature, highlight that in your landing pages. Show customers and prospects what they’re looking to find, your sales team will thank you.
7. Create More Case Studies
As marketers, it’s our responsibility to get our sales teams the content they need to close more deals this year. When selling to companies that involve more stakeholders, you may need more customer success content at your disposal. This is where case studies come in handy for salespeople.
Case studies are a great way to show how:
- Your product helped a customer reach or surpass their goals.
- Your customer support and quality of service is like none other.
- Customers in a particular industry used your product for success. This is especially important for customers with industry compliance, like healthcare or financial services.
Looking for some inspiration on what a great case study looks like, below are some examples to get the ideas flowing:
Simplereach and Intel
At the time of this case study, Intel launched iQ, a website focusing on technology, innovation, culture, and business trends. They needed to drive traffic to iQ, so they went with Simplereach for content distribution.
In the case study, Simplereach highlighted that they were able to drive more than 500,000 visits to iQ in just one month. Simplereach also lowered Intel’s cost-per-click (CPC) in their four weeks of work.
Highlighting performance and efficiencies while also using data and charts to support the results is a great way to structure your case studies.
HubSpot and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
At the time of this case study, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was looking to modernize how it marketed to people visiting Cleveland. It previously used a marketing tool that couldn’t provide a level of customer understanding the Rock Hall needed. This led to customer data living on disparate tools.
Using HubSpot CRM and Facebook Messenger, the Rock Hall was able to increase audience size by 81% and increase sales by 12% through Messenger interactions.
HubSpot shows that case studies don’t need to be buried within PDF files. They can live on your website for any prospect to read at their own convenience.
Case studies allow prospects to get a better visualization of what success looks like for them using your product or service. However, they’re an asset that is often underutilized or misunderstood by marketing teams. This CoSchedule podcast will teach you how to create case studies that are actually compelling to prospects.
8. Give Customer Feedback a Listen
According to a customer service survey by Microsoft, 77% of consumers view brands more favorably if they seek out and apply feedback. If you really want to show your customers you care, you’ll implement their feedback.
With so many ways to acquire feedback nowadays, there’s no excuse your business should be in its own echo chamber. Below are some quick and easy ways for seeking out feedback:
Survey Your Customers Directly
One way to acquire feedback is to email your customers directly with a link to a short survey. In this survey, you’ll look to get a pulse on how customers feel about your product plus their overall satisfaction.
These customer service metrics are referred to as Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Service Satisfaction (CSAT). There will also be space in this survey for customers to leave qualitative feedback.
Use Third-Party Review Websites
Brands like G2, Capterra, TechnologyAdvice, and others are solely focused on helping prospects with their buying decision by allowing real users to leave ratings and reviews for any type of software. According to BrightLocal, 87% of consumers read online reviews in 2020 before making a purchase.
Below is an example of what this feedback looks like on G2:
Companies can respond directly to feedback within these websites. There are also reviews and rating dashboards in the back-end of these sites, so you’ll get a more holistic view of customer feedback.
Create a Forum on Your Website
If you’re looking for product ideas from current customers, you can create a forum on your website where users can submit ideas and upvote other ideas. HubSpot is a brand that is excellent at community forums.
Hearing out and applying customer feedback can make sales jobs easier. Your sales team will feel more confident that the feedback their customers share won’t go unnoticed. This also makes customer nurturing more authentic from both a sales and marketing standpoint.
From a product standpoint, both positive and negative feedback can be used to improve the service you provide.
As marketers, we should use this time to help our sales teams rally back from a difficult year in 2020.
You can help more directly by providing feedback on sales scripts, interviewing customers for case studies, or — indirectly — by building more links to top lead sources or personalizing your content marketing.
However you decide to help, your sales team will appreciate the extra hand and added effort. Combining a few of the tips I’ve provided above will bring you one step closer to better marketing and sales alignment.
June 7, 2021