Recently, I was invited to do a guest blog by the ladies at Valuable Content Marketing. Run by Sharon Tanton and Sonja Jefferson (authors of the excellent book Valuable Content Marketing, download a free chapter here), whose focus is on creating content that helps in find and win new customers. Their action (and content) packed website is full of great ideas and inspiration for those who are responsible for creating good marketing material for their businesses.

The blog I was asked to write was to provide a perspective from the sales department. I’ve worked in both ‘sales’ and ‘marketing’ departments for several organisations, as well as having to manage both as the European Sales & Marketing Director for an American organisation and thought I might stir things up a bit. So my guest blog was a little provocative and put forward the case that we need sales and marketing to work closely together in defining what marketing content is required, which sales persona it is directed at and when it might be used effectively by someone working at the sales coal face.

Sharon and Sonja also run the Bristol Content Group and last week we held an open workshop entitled “Selling with Content” to discuss the topic further. We were also joined by Bryony Thomas of Watertight Marketing fame (click the link to check out Bryony’s site and also to downlaod a free chapter of the book Watertight Marketing). Bryony and I went through a generic sales process and reviewed what content is required from marketing to support the sales process and what skills are required by sales to ensure the content is used effectively. Bryony represented the ‘marketing’ side or the equation during the evening and I represented the ‘sales’ side. (Although, in all honesty, Bryony and I agree on sales & marketing integration to support new business development, but it made for a fun evening to represent the ‘opposing’ sides)

Now, sharing the stage with these 3 (award winning) authors made me feel a tad inferior but I did my best to fight the sales corner and ensure that we in sales were well represented. This was helped by having a – pretty equal – balance of sales & marketing professionals in the room.

It was a lively and very interactive meeting and we were fortunate to have David Gilroy in the room of Conscious Solutions who
not only wrote a blog about the evening, but also produced a superb mindmap that summarised the content of the event that you can download from his blog page. Thanks David.

The “Be More Cat” at the top of the flip chart used during the evening is a reference to how we might treat customers. As every cat owner knows – you are not a cat owner! A cat will only stay with you if they are looked after, loved and nurtured. If you neglect your cat, they will leave you and go find someone else to look after them.

Perhaps, a lot like customers?