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Getting Sales To “Buy-In”

At Tegrita, we welcome collaborators and guest writers to contribute content to our blog. This week, Nick Smirnoff, Web and Digital Marketing Manager at Laerdal Medical, shares how to bridge the gap between marketing and sales using an internal Eloqua campaign.

Aligning sales and marketing with an immersive customer experience

Getting buy-in from non-marketing teams can be a struggle for organizations as they onboard the latest technology and marketing approaches. For many sales teams, “content marketing” and “marketing automation” are foreign terms. Does your sales team get it? Do they have a deep understanding of your digital marketing efforts? My guess, is no.

At Laerdal, we have global sales and marketing teams, and just like many other organizations, the issue we were facing is to work with Sales to ensure they understand the marketing experience. So, how do we address this struggle? How do we prove to our colleagues that our marketing approach is effective? As we prepared to share the value of content marketing, personalization, and social media at our annual Sales and Marketing Summit, our content marketing team developed an idea that would:

  • Communicate the value of content marketing
  • Demonstrate how marketing automation works
  • Highlight the benefits and potential of modern marketing

Our annual, internal Sales and Marketing Summit was the perfect opportunity to engage our sales team by creating an atypical nurture campaign and communicating to them like we communicate to our target audience. Research shows that nearly half of today’s buyers consume 3 to 5 pieces of content before they ever have contact with a sales person, and 95% of clients choose suppliers who offer content at every stage across the sales cycle. Therefore, our goal was to demonstrate the value of our content to the sales team. The entire campaign, from the articles to the personalized thank you emails, replicated our typical automated nurture campaigns. We gave our sales team a sense of what our customer experience is like when we distribute content into the marketplace.

How did it work?

All Sales and Marketing Summit participants were sent an initial email that would enter them into a multi-step, nurture campaign. The email subject line was “Don’t let your teams miss out!” and upon opening, they were presented with an opportunity to read an article entitled: 5 Ways Content Can Get You Closer to Commitment. The only way to access this article was by clicking through the email and following the directions.

Once participants clicked the call-to-action button in the email, they were sent to a teaser version of the article on our website, where they were prompted to complete a short form if they wanted to continue reading. The form prompted them to choose one challenge that their clients have encountered. Based upon their selection, they were sent a follow-up, personalized email from our content writer, with an additional piece of content that addressed that specific customer need.

Having the sales team participate in the campaign was key to the learning objectives of the meeting, as it was a supplement to additional on-site training sessions that covered content marketing, personalization, and social media. To conclude this campaign, we sent some follow-up emails to the participants that contained links to a feedback survey, presentations, and additional resources.

What did we learn?

Overall, we received very positive feedback about this campaign; those who participated expressed that they enjoyed the immersive experience. Like any email, our initial email got lost in the clutter of a crowded inbox, so not all segment members followed us through the entire journey (only 35% form completion rate). However, this was a fantastic opportunity to showcase the entire process and many participants didn’t even realize they were part of a marketing campaign. Some who missed the initial email, quickly realized that they had missed out, and scrambled to find the email in their inbox so they too could begin their journey.

Through it all, we were able to establish a new appreciation for content among our sales colleagues. Traditionally, many sales professionals contact their customers primarily focused on making a sale. Coupling this campaign, with the on-site workshop enabled our sales team to see the value of our marketing tools and content. This campaign reinforced the idea that content can help in fostering and maintaining relationships, as well as setting the sales professional apart as a trusted solutions advisor.

Want to see the content that powers our marketing automation campaigns? Check out our collection of educational content at www.laerdal.com/us/resourcelibrary  

At Laerdal, we work towards a future where no one should die or be disabled unnecessarily during birth or from sudden illness, trauma, or medical errors. Our solutions are used for quality education and therapy in emergency and critical care.  

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Nick Smirnoff is the Digital & Web Marketing Manager at Laerdal Medical, with nearly 15 years of integrated and digital marketing experience. His mix of technical and practical experience provides him with a unique skill set that allows him to help conceptualize, build, and execute successful campaigns for Laerdal that support the marketing strategy and ultimately provide valuable customer experiences.

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