More often than not, sales people will tell you their function is to sell. Makes sense, right? Well, not so fast.

If you thought about going up to a person on the street (or to their door for that matter) and pitching them a product, idea or service, you would likely get a lot of dirty looks and hostility. That’s because consumers aren’t prepared to talk to salespeople as early as they used to be. They want to do research on their own and they want to independently investigate their options before you shove a product or service down their throat (or P!SS them off!) Queue: Inbound selling.

What Does Sales Have to Do With Content?

Sales is arguably the most client-facing aspect of many businesses. They are the first point of contact for a lot of relationships that your company has with prospects. This means that they have a wealth of knowledge about the questions and needs of your potential customers.

So, what does this have to do with content creation?

If you are looking to be the resource your prospects come across when doing their aforementioned independent search, you want to answer these exact questions before your sales team gets involved (AKA inbound selling)! This results in though leadership and authority that you could not get otherwise.

Now, those salespeople reading this are thinking to themselves (or out loud) my job is to sell, not to write. This is true. But before we discuss your options, we need to be on the same page about how invaluable sales opinions are to the prospects on your website and searching Google. So, do you agree that you have the missing puzzle piece to your company’s content creation? OK, now we can move forward.

“But Sales Doesn’t Have Time to Create Content…”

If you have the time and skills to write a blog in it’s entirety, hats off to you! In fact, most subject matter experts do not.

So… where do we go from here? Interviewing, outlining, recording, re-purposing… the list goes on forever! There are so many ways to create content when you don’t have the time for it, that many people never consider.

If you’re working with a skilled inbound agency, you will likely have these options:

  • Interviewing: This is a great option if you’re working with an agency. Here at Quintain, our content manager interviews client subject matter experts, and then we write the blogs for them. In one hour, she can usually knock out four topics, and come back to fully-formed blog posts that simply need your stamp of approval!
  • Outlining: Maybe you don’t have time to write a whole blog, but you have some ideas you can quickly jot down. Pick your persona, and then write top-level ideas or arguments with two to three bullet points that you want to touch on in the blog post. For most agencies, this should be enough for them to craft a blog post that captures what you’re envisioning. (Pro tip: add a relevant article to give your writer extra guidance, if your topic is extremely industry specific.)
  • Recording: If interviewing and outlining don’t work for you, simply record your conversations with prospects, or record your thoughts after you have a meeting with a potential client. With that recording in-hand, an agency should be able to extract and draft a blog post or two! However, be sure to structure your thoughts and give context so that the recording makes logical and chronological sense.
  • Video: One of the quickest ways to create great content is video. So if you feel more comfortable speaking your thoughts and ideas rather than writing them, you can take a page out of our own Kathleen Booth’s playbook with a video blog series.

All of the methods above work just as well for creating other types of content, too. And if you already have sales content, great! You can extract blog posts from that and give your writer some guidelines or re-purpose it as-is. If you don’t follow the steps to creating blog posts, just re-purpose them chapters of an eBook. This method requires some strategic guidance to get it right, but if you work closely with your agency you can nail it!

What do salespeople have to say about it?

How much should/does your sales team participate in content creation? This question was asked in a sales-focused LinkedIn group, which has since expired. The post got a lot of response, but the jury is still out. Half of the responses indicated that they think there would be a gap in their content without sales opinion, the other half was insulted that sales should be a part of the process because they need to be selling.

So… what do you think? Should sales be involved? Have you included sales in your content creation and noticed a difference? We’d love to hear from you!