I experienced marketing first from the outside looking in. As an account executive for a software company, I depended on marketing to help me generate leads, provide the materials I needed to move the prospect through the buying cycle, and to create a general awareness about the company and product before I ever engaged the lead.

I've also experienced marketing as the one responsible for doing the things that sales expects marketing to do. The cold hard truth is that marketing usually ends up with the short end of the stick: a lot of work and very little glory. If sales are up, the sales team rocks. If sales are down, marketing must not be doing their job. (Ever experienced that?)

Use downloadable content can help drive sales cycles.

Often salespeople neglect to take advantage of how content marketing can help them engage static leads in their database, prompt conversation with key personalities who are part of the decision cycle within an organization, and provide a reason to contact clients in between upgrades and renewals.

One popular form of content marketing is creating downloadable PDFs. Many times salespeople see the primary function of these pieces as lead generation tools. My contention is that they are excellent for lead cultivation and conversion, too.

Here are seven ways sales can use downloadable content:

  1. Send the downloadable content to a decision maker who has stalled in the buying process. This is a legitimate opportunity to see if you can get things moving forward again.
  2. Blast the downloadable content to your existing clients to remind them that you are still there. Everyone likes to know that others are looking out for them.
  3. Print the downloadable content out in color and include that with seminar or workshop materials. Give them something of value that doesn't ask them for a signature at the end.
  4. Create a 90-minute workshop around the downloadable content. It will make it easy for participants to take notes and give them a reason to keep the printed copy.
  5. Offer downloadable content as a reason to sign up for a Webinar or use as a follow-up to a product demonstration. Premiums are still a proven direct marketing function that converts prospects to leads and leads to clients.
  6. Include it as part of your follow-up to a conference call or onsite meeting when appropriate. Again, another way you can separate yourself from the competition and interact with the prospect in ways that benefits them and you.
  7. Use downloadable content to add credibility to your product or service. Independent research, case studies, and white papers remind the prospect of what you discussed and can be used to affirm your position. You're also helping your internal champion "sell" you to all the people involved in the decision process.

What's your next step?

For the sales team: Are you effectively utilizing the downloadable content your marketing department is producing for you?

For the marketing team: Are you building your content strategy around the buying cycle of your client (including objections the sales team most often receives) for the purpose of equipping sales to move the prospect through the buying cycle?

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