Financial technology marketers are steadily improving at creating awareness-stage marketing content. Many who were once verbose and blustery are now producing more customer-centric thought leadership. The white papers, blogs and articles they produce today provide substantially more value to the audience and are doing a better job of attracting leads into the funnel.
However, fin-tech marketers’ ability to convert those leads into qualified sales opportunities and revenue is still lagging behind other industries. They need to get better at nurturing mid- and late-stage leads.
Awareness content may attract leads, but if marketers really want to contribute to revenue, they have to keep leads engaged and influence buyers deeper in the evaluation process. For content to deliver ROI at these later stages, it has to answer the questions that prospective customers are asking as they progress through the decision process. But Marketing can’t create this content on its own. Success at this stage demands closer alignment with Sales.
How is this done? Well, here are some simple ways you can work more directly with your sales team to source content that is directly relevant to the questions buyers are asking at these later stages.
Capture Questions and Answers
Start by developing a process to capture every question asked and every answer delivered to prospects, clients, and even to reporters. You can use this to nurture leads as they progress in their buying cycle.
Sales, Professional Services, Customer Support, and even Media Relations are answering questions every day. Find a simple way for them to loop Marketing in on the email threads (include both the questions and the answers).
If Marketing has access to the company’s CRM, and if the CRM is synched with the salespeople’s email, you can generally comb through important conversations directly to identify key content. If not, then have the Sales team add Marketing as a BCC or forward pertinent emails.
In addition, ask sales people to quickly record notes immediately after a sales meeting or phone conversation. This can take the form of notes typed into the CRM, or quick recordings into their phone’s digital recorder that they send over to Marketing (which you can have transcribed and then add to the CRM notes). Ask them to include both the questions asked by prospects and their responses.
Marketing should collect and categorize the responses and schedule regular meetings with Sales to review them and analyze trends. Collaborate to identify the most relevant topics and important content needs.
Use Q&A Content to Nurture Leads
We repurpose this type of content to update product pages on the website and product sell sheets, we create online FAQs, develop blog posts, and prepare emails to include in ongoing lead nurture programs.
Sales Email Templates Help Sales Nurture
Start by developing reusable content for the Sales team. This is how you create immediate value. If Sales sees you finding ways to make their jobs easier, they’ll stay engaged in the process.
We create sales email templates right in the CRM that answer common questions. This allows Sales to quickly find frequently used content and create personalized responses quickly when someone new asks a similar question. (Most CRM systems allow users to customize text in a sales email on the fly for a specific customer without impacting the template).
Topic-Based Campaigns Nurture Leads with Specific Interests
Re-purpose the same material to create automated nurture campaigns that target specific buyer personas and cover specific topics. This allows you to help the sales person follow up on a consistent basis with prospects and keep the subject matter directly relevant to their buying process.
We recommend designing these campaigns to cover many of the common (or important) questions and answers. Start out with the most common topics, and then as you get more Q&A content from Sales, you can create additional topic-based touches to add to your ongoing nurture programs. But remember, your industry and client questions evolve, so look back at the nurture touches on a regular basis and update the emails to keep them relevant and timely.
This approach allows you to stay in touch with prospects over time, providing highly useful content to encourage more engagement.
If your CRM and Marketing Automation systems permit, make these campaigns available to Sales. Then, when Sales gets a question on a covered topic from a new lead, they can manually add that lead to a highly relevant automated nurture program. Otherwise, use this as an opportunity to build your relationship with Sales by reviewing the available nurture campaigns and identifying prospects they’d like to include.
Starting Point for Blog Posts
In addition to email nurturing, you can turn the content into broader topics for blog posts. This is especially valuable for questions that come up frequently. You can also turn reactions from customers into blog content.
Here’s a real example of how we used this approach just recently:
A couple weeks ago, I sent out an email to everyone on our list who had downloaded our buyer persona template with some tips about how to use the template.
A former client responded with a contrarian point of view and a few questions. That sparked an email conversation that I turned into this blog post: Buyer Personas: Sales Won’t Let Us Interview Customers.
Once it was published, I sent that blog to this person, and he responded with more questions and comments. I’ll be able to turn my next response to him into yet another post. In addition, I used my email responses and the blog posts to update an automated nurture program for everyone who downloads the buyer persona template in the past or future. It’s very specific to their interests, gives them more depth, and demonstrates our thought leadership on the topic.
Help Move Specific Opportunities Forward
The more you collaborate with Sales, the more opportunity you’ll have to directly influence important deals. Work with key sales people to identify accounts where they’ll welcome your help. Get as much insight as you can into the issues at the account, the buyer personas involved, the people the sales team can’t access, and hurdles they’re trying to overcome. Encourage them to recall questions the prospect asked and how your team answered. Look for ways to create content that will educate other buyer personas who are involved in the deal. Then prepare lead nurturing campaigns that specifically target that account.
I often use this method to both educate specific prospects and create new content that is very relevant for other leads. For example, on a sales call, two marketing executives from a multi-national stock exchange asked me how to measure the ROI of content marketing. I gave them some pointers on how to measure and how to set internal expectations.
Then, after the call, I wrote down notes about the conversation, which I turned into this blog post: How Do You Measure the ROI of Content Marketing? I sent the article to the prospect, and they used it to build their business case and set internal expectations.
But the blog post has also proven to be one of the most popular articles on our site and is currently in use in our nurture campaigns. It has attracted many more qualified leads since it was published.
Record Demos with Prospects
If your sales team does virtual demos, have them record the meetings. That way, you’ll get all the questions and answers, which you can use for a number of things.
For example, you can turn segments into short videos that are closely related to what customers want to see. Those can be put up on your website, or held in a private channel to be leveraged in your email nurturing campaigns. This is particularly powerful if you use segments where your technical sales person is answering prospects’ questions about specific capabilities and demonstrating the answer in your platform.
You can also use these demos to capture common questions and answers for your lead nurture campaigns, blog posts and to provide additional insights on the website product and solution pages.
Sales and Marketing Alignment
Lots of people talk about aligning sales and marketing, but few do the work necessary to actually collaborate. If you take these ideas and put them to work in your organization, you’ll develop a collaborative environment where both teams are more likely to succeed. You’ll do a better job of nurturing mid- and late-stage leads, and you’ll convert more of those leads into revenue.
As you work on this, here are some resources that might prove helpful:
Buyer Persona Template
Facilitating the Buying Process at Financial Institutions