Using Interactive Content to Fuel Marketing and Sales Alignment
July 24, 2018 | Greg Allen
If you’ve read the SnapApp blog (or any marketing publication recently, for that matter) you’ve probably seen the increased importance of sales and marketing alignment. Buyers are increasingly demanding a world where marketing and sales is seamless – there is no handoff, it’s simply one engine that fuels your customer journey.
By gating all our assets we’ve basically created a dynamic that forces buyers away from our website and content. Buyers today prefer to do their own due diligence before offering up an email address that basically guarantees them the sales call or email that follows.
Audience’s increased preference to engage on their own terms and in a personalized manner has left marketing looking to adapt experiences while sales spends hours and energy crafting hyper-personalized, unique email messages to stand out from the competition. Finding the right balance of quality vs quantity of sales follow up isn’t easy, and has resulted in increased automation and hopeless attempts at humor to simply get any response. See:
Be sure to check out our video: What B2B Buyers Hate Most About Sales
Clearly what we’re doing isn’t working – on the marketing or sales side. So what do we do?
At SnapApp we might be a little bit biased, but we believe that interactive content is more than a shiny new piece of content that simply is cooler than a white paper.
Interactive experiences can also drive meaningful sales and marketing alignment by collecting critical qualifying information on your prospects before by some minor miracle they find themselves on a discovery meeting after a cold call.
By putting control back in the hands of your buyers you can improve engagements and uncover the challenges truly facing your prospects, helping get back to what they really want… value.
Let’s explore how interactive content can transform your marketing and sales alignment drive real results.
Let’s Begin with the Basics
By now you’d probably heard of interactive content but what is it really and why do it? Let me start with a quick pitch (I know, I’m sorry, but I’m in sales and we all knew this was coming.)
Interactive content is a better way to educate, entertain, and engage your audience. It’s anything that requires the participants’ active engagement — more than simply reading or watching. In return for that engagement, participants receive real-time, hyper-relevant results they care about.
How Does Interactive Content Help Sales?
Last August we partnered with Heinz Marketing to research generational buying differences. Our biggest takeaway: it is clear buyers are tired of the standard marketing and sales playbook.
And that means our “best practices” aren’t the best practices when buyer journey’s have chanced so drastically.
In today’s world where marketing has to own more of the buyer journey like you can see above, the same level of qualification of prospects needs to be done in the middle of the funnel, but your prospects aren’t willing to do it with your sales team.
Using interactive content throughout your buyer journey means that you’re constantly asking questions and learning more about your prospects, which means that when the time finally comes for them to have a conversation with sales, your team is prepared.
Interactive can help provide value and context to prospect outreach. Instead of a generic marketing message; “Thanks for downloading, be sure to also check out our blog” or, even worse, a sales follow up “I wanted to touch base with you regarding your form submission on our site. Can you give me some details of what you’re looking for so I can get you to the right place?” interactive will help you have a digital conversation without scaring off your prospects.
Sending generic marketing messages after a content download? Replace it with a CTA driving an interactive assessment asking them how they want to engage going forward.
Sending form submits right to sales? No problem, the answers and interactive insights captured can provide the context we lack today when attempting to personalize the message.
With this approach you’ll immediately showcase you’re listening, understanding their needs, and most importantly, you’ll be treating the prospect like a human – not a name on a list.
This will even help sales prioritize the best leads and help marketing understand what’s driving bottom line results. As an individual contributor myself I can attest to the fact that at times, with one quick glance, I’ll determine if a lead should be prioritized or put on the back burner. Sales people are busy too and with revenue as the ultimate objective you better believe your sales team is investing time in proven areas more than others.
This results in leads falling through the cracks or potentially even going completely untouched. Instead, with interactive you can help understand what leads should be prioritized because they include the all-important qualification and context sales desires.
You’re probably thinking, “sounds great, Greg, but where do I start?”
Let’s take look at a few examples of how you could start arming your sales team with the information they need to be successful today, alongside marketing activities you’re already doing.
Interactive Content for Events
Marketers and sales people alike love events — they’re great for brand recognition and present a unique opportunity for that all important face time with prospects. It’s no surprise they’re highly valued in most marketing operations – it’s the best opportunity to present value and many times yields the highest ROI.
The struggle with events? The same as your other demand gen initiatives… it’s hard to know what leads are the highest quality. You could scan hundreds of leads but usually there are only a handful of highly qualified prospects. Are you sending them all as MQLs? What if they really just wanted the cool socks you had at your booth? The list will go to your sales team resulting hours of calls/emails to prospects that might not even be considering your solution, while competing with every other vendor that attended.
Instead imagine leveraging an interactive experience. Ask; “How do you want us to follow up with you” with an interactive assessment.
At SnapApp we used the assessment above to do just that, and flip the script event follow up. By using interactive content inside our events, we don’t waste time on the people who just appreciate our taste in SWAG, and also don’t miss anyone who might not fit for our ideal buyer persona, but loved the message.
You’ll maximize your ROI and help qualify event leads faster. But the interactive follow up value doesn’t end with just WHO sales should spend their time on. It also makes sales outreach personalized and powerful.
We’ve all sent or received generic event follow up like this:
Generic Email – Low Personalization:
It was great meeting you at [event]. I heard we had a great conversation around [value prop 1], so let me know if you would be interested in schedule a 30 minute call to learn more about each other’s businesses and how we can help!
And both prospects and sales people alike know that it works inconsistently at best.
However, with interactive conversations are rich and focus on your prospect, not on you.
Interactive Enhanced Email – High Personalization:
It was great meeting you at [event]. Thanks for filling out our post-event assessment. Looking forward to scheduling a call to highlight your goals of [Goals Answer 1A] and [Goals Answer 1B] this quarter. I noticed you’re also currently using [Product/Solution Answer] to support these efforts today. We worked with [client example A] and [client example B] who experienced similar challenges and replaced [Product/Solution Answer]. When can we schedule 30 minutes to discuss further? How does [X/X @ X:XX] work?
Interactive content can be the glue your modern sales and marketing organization needs to drive revenue and be successful in today’s changing buying environment. By treating your prospects like people and asking them what they, marketers and sales people are driving better conversations, shorter sales cycles, and more revenue.
Explore more on how interactive content can power your demand gen efforts in our guide