By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor
There’s a lot of information in the business press today about “collaboration,” and for good reason. “Big data” sees organizations collecting a lot of information, but often, this insight is used by individual departments for their own purposes, and as a result, organizations are failing to build a “big picture” profile of their customers, processes, or operations. While members of the sales department once zealously guarded their tactics, leads and contacts, it’s simply not in the best interest of any sales organization to remain insular from other departments that touch customers, such as marketing and advertising, the contact center and back-office operations.
Once upon a time, inside sales teams or contact center agents gathered leads and passed them onto outside sales people. Marketing created campaigns and deployed them with little input from any other department (such as sales). Marketing also created sales enablement tools such as PowerPoint presentations, media kits and case studies, handing them over to the sales team and expecting sales personnel to “take it from there.” It simply no longer makes sense to operate in this manner. Leads fuel sales, marketing supports sales, sales can provide insight to marketing, and the contact center shouldn’t be left to “sort it all out.” Today, the need for content marketing means all involved departments need to work together.
“It seems that everywhere I go these days — client meetings, prospect meetings, networking groups — there is talk, but also confusion, about demand generation, lead generation, and content marketing and how they fit together,” wrote Will Davis, Chief Marketing Technology Officer for Right Source (News - Alert) for Business2Commmunity recently. “To be fair, it’s easy to be confused, because many folks are using each of these terms a bit differently.”
Content marketing is the idea of creating customized, relevant, valuable marketing materials for individuals or target audiences. It takes the old “one size fits all” idea of blasting marketing materials to entire lists and instead posits that if you provide something of value to prospects, they will gain trust in your brand. First, however, you need to understand what it is your prospects want – tips, ideas, case studies, news, infographics, etc. This will require spending some time with the customer relationship management system, contact center knowledge bases, customer call recordings (preferably via an analytics solution with a good search tool), the marketing department, inside and outside sales teams and even departments such as billing or shipping.
“High-quality content should be a part of EVERY piece of marketing that you do, so that makes content marketing, by nature, a part of demand generation and lead generation,” wrote Davis. “In short, good luck trying to generate demand or leads without high-quality content.”
Good content marketing will, in turn, lead to quality lead generation, and can even drive demand generation, which is an old idea with a twenty-first century spin on it. (Think of some of the great social media campaigns that have led to demand generation.) Integrating sales, marketing and the contact center may sound like a series of headaches waiting to happen. But no company succeeds today with its various functions operating in a vacuum. Customers expect 360-degree care, and this is impossible without 360-degree marketing and sales.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson