IDG Communications’ marketing team recently attended HubSpot’s virtual INBOUND conference to gain practical tips, strategic insights, and a bit of inspiration about the latest and greatest in the sales and marketing industries. There’s an intangible energy that surrounds virtual event environments that help to refresh your brain and spark new ideas – something we could all use these days. With that in mind, our team wanted to share content marketing tips that will help our tech marketing peers drive results and edge out the competition.

Here are our top 3 takeaways from a session with Marcus Sheridan on creating content that sells:

  1. Take a sales-first approach: When talking about how to make content that sells, Marcus’ first tip was to use a litmus test of asking yourself what percentage of content you create is integrated into the sales process. Hopefully, it’s a lot! But, if your content often goes unused by sales, then there are a few steps to take to make sure the content you produce aligns with their needs and is properly utilized during sales conversations. The best way to do this is to make sure sales is part of the marketing team! Sales teams communicate with prospects day-in and day-out, meaning they hear tech buyers’ most common questions, pain-points, and other valuable insights that can be addressed through content. Your marketing teams can use the knowledge provided by sales to create a variety of educational content and sales resources.
  2. Create a learning center: By creating a learning center on your website, potential buyers know exactly where to go for answers to their questions as their business needs evolve. IDG’s 2019 Customer Engagement study reports that 74% of IT decision-makers are more likely to consider an IT vendor who educates them through each stage of the decision process. By creating a learning center (or a microsite on a trusted 3rd party website)  and taking a sales-first approach, marketers can create a variety of relevant educational content that serves buyers through the entire purchase process – and creates a natural hand-off to sales to start a meaningful conversation. And, as Marcus also suggested, be sure to teach your sales team “assignment selling,” which includes integrating marketing materials into sales conversations, and even telling buyers to read specific resources!
  3. Measure ROI: As always, it’s important to assess progress and establish benchmarks by measuring ROI. Otherwise, how will your teams know what is working? Of course, every organization manages their metrics differently, but some good indicators to identify successful content may include tracking the most-viewed content, types of content frequently associated with a handoff to sales, and even taking a look back at consistencies in content used during the buying process that ultimately resulted in sale. This way, your marketing team will have a good handle on what’s working, and where to fill in the gaps.

For more insight on how to enhance your content marketing strategy, check out MarketingFit Content Marketing 101, and check out our blog on email marketing tricks for additional takeaways from INBOUND.