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When speaking at Content Marketing World recently, I said something that surprised a few people: Modern sales and marketing require both disciplines to act as one.  If you see sales and marketing as two separate functions, then you are living in the past.

The shame is that in most organizations, businesses overlook the importance of a tight connection between the two parts of the organization. When you recognize how today’s customers have evolved in their buying habits, the sales and marketing connection becomes obvious.

A Silo Approach No Longer Works

We used to think of marketing and sales as having two distinct roles. The Marketing Team was there to create interest and awareness. The Sales Team was supposed to build customer confidence and urgency. As more of the buying process continues to shift to online markets, you have a huge opportunity to build customer trust and uncover urgency through content. Smart companies use online content as an integral part of the sales process. The content serves as examples to help your clients better understand how you address common challenges they might be facing, too.

Top performing companies are making the shift. At Content Marketing World, in addition to the keynote session, I delivered a workshop with my good friend, Marcus Sheridan of, about integrating sales and marketing. Two years ago, there were 16 people registered for our workshop. Last year, there were 40. This year, over 75 registered. Next year, several companies have threatened to bring their sales leadership (to a marketing conference).

Attract The Best Sales Opportunities

Is your current messaging rooted in YOUR perspective, or the customer’s perspective? Perhaps your messaging resonates well with your internal team, but not as vividly as you’d like with the customer.

Marketing departments spend hours crafting just the right phrasing to capture a complicated concept in one or two words. Your sales and customer service teams are regularly in front of customers, and they too are well-served to craft their language carefully. They receive multiple questions per day. Ask them for the questions they hear most often.

Make sure you capture the exact words your customers use. Don’t turn it into “marketing speak.” Keep it raw.

Your salespeople not only receive those questions but answer them. If you pay attention to the questions and answers, you’ll have the information you need to create valuable content that attracts your ideal customers.

Accelerate Sales

Great content helps to not only attract the right customers, but to serve as a valuable tool for maintaining a conversation and building confidence and trust with your potential clients.

This means that instead of saying, “Hey, just checking in to see if you’ve made a decision yet…” you can send a note that says, When we met, you asked a great question about driving traffic to your website. Ive included a link to an article that might be helpful. Once youve had a chance to review the article, Id be happy to answer any questions.

The key, however, is to ensure that your sales organization is feeding relevant topics to marketing, and then using that content as part of a follow-up strategy with clients.  In a recent podcast episode on Grow My Revenue, I share how to properly follow up using content you’ve created for your clients.

If you decide to continue keeping sales and marketing separate entities, then know that you are not keeping pace with trends in buyer behavior. If you refuse to change, just be sure to order plenty of cardboard signs, markers and tin cups – you’ll be doing plenty of begging for business.

Its Your Turn

Where have you gained confidence because the seller shared great content? Share your experiences in the comments or via Twitter or LinkedIn.

Using Content Marketing As A Follow-Up Tool