How SEOs Can Work with the Sales Team to Drive Business Growth
(Wednesday 29 July 2020)
We are all familiar with the age-old tale of how marketing and sales teams once ran in complete silos.
In fact, many organizations still function this way.
At the end of the day, there is no major difference between marketing and sales.
We share the same primary goal – to drive business growth.
Therefore, it’s in marketing’s best interest to help sales and in sales’ best interest to help marketing.
SEOs & Sales Team: How to Better Work Together
While there are many ways that marketing and sales can work together so that both teams are better at their jobs and generate more revenue for the business, this post will focus on one specific marketing strategy – SEO.
Let’s jump into some of the ways that SEO professionals can work with sales teams to drive business growth.
Whether you’re an SEO working in-house or at an agency, these simple methods will help improve your strategy.
1. Reach the Right Audiences
A good SEO strategy takes more than increasing website traffic – it requires getting your website in front of the right people.
This is where SEO pros and sales teams must work closely together to help drive business growth.
Yes, keyword research is essential to build a solid foundation for any SEO strategy.
You can spend hours upon hours doing keyword research – uncovering every term with search volume, doing competitive research, digging through Search Console reports for longer tail queries, etc.
But having direct input from the sales team is what will take your SEO strategy to the next level.
Get feedback from the sales team to verify keyword priorities and uncover potential gaps in your roadmap. And do this regularly!
Remember, sales folks are talking to prospects and customers every day.
They know the unique language used, the information they are looking for, and the biggest challenges that they’re up against.
Focusing on longer tail keywords that come from these types of discussion can help move the needle of your SEO strategy.
While longer tail keywords typically have lower monthly search volume, there is a much better chance that these users will actually convert.
For example, someone searching for “black leather crossbody purse” is much more likely to convert than someone searching for “purses.”
Choose quality over quantity to drive real business impact.
2. Understand & Refine Processes
As someone whose focus is SEO, having a thorough understanding of the sales process is vital.
Sit down with the sales team and ensure you fully grasp some of the most basic (and often overlooked) elements of the sales process like:
- Target audiences and job titles.
- Key decision-makers involved.
- Daily responsibilities and challenges.
- Competitive advantages that win deals.
- Common issues or topics that arise.
- Priority industries, company size, and revenue.
- And more.
This shouldn’t just be a one-time conversation either.
Customers purchasing behaviour, needs, and challenges are constantly evolving and changing – especially in a time where companies are working to adapt to today’s unknown business environment.
Similarly, it’s important for the sales team to be aware of digital marketing campaigns that are bringing in leads.
This will help personalize follow up and better nurture those prospects.
Spend time gathering and reviewing sales materials like follow up cadences, pitch decks, product brochures, demos, and more.
There may even be an opportunity to leverage some of this material for SEO.
This brings me to my next point…
3. Develop Mutually Beneficial Content
Syncing up with sales can help spike new content ideas based on:
- The feedback they are hearing.
- The questions prospects and customers are asking.
- The information they are looking for.
Sometimes we get so fixated on our keyword research and roadmap that we may overlook valuable keyword targets with lower search volume and really solid search intent.
We may not have some important keywords on our radar at all, or prospects may be using different language than we are.
Brainstorming with the sales team can help avoid these common concerns.
Once you develop content inspired by this feedback:
- Sales folks will have an asset to share with prospects/customers to better nurture them or strengthen the existing relationship.
- And you will have a piece of content that is carefully crafted to rank in Google.
In this same way, the SEO research that you are regularly doing can offer the sales team great value.
Share key search trends that you uncover, the user behaviour you’re seeing, branded queries that can expose a lot about what prospects are trying to learn in the process.
For example, branded queries that include “reviews,” “vs,” “pricing,” “free”, and “demo.”
4. Test, Track & Adjust
Tracking the traffic to your website is great.
But do you know if and how users are converting?
A conversion can mean many different things depending on your business model but, in this case, I’m referring to whether the users coming to your website are actually taking action.
- Retail or eCommerce websites must track if visitors are making purchases.
- B2B organizations should know when visitors fill out forms (to download a gated asset or submit a contact us request).
Setting up goals in Google Analytics and/or Google Tag Manager is essential.
Make sure that you are analyzing this data regularly and adjusting your strategies as needed.
If you’re seeing an increase in traffic to a landing page but no action being taken – ask yourself what needs to be changed.
- Are you reaching the right users?
- Could the page be further optimized to drive conversions?
- Is there enough information on the page?
- Do competitions have a similar page? If so, what are they doing that you are not?
Arguably the most important aspect of SEO and sales alignment is ensuring that you have the data needed to report progress back to your team, make informed decisions, and adjust your strategy ongoing.
Before dedicating a budget to new SEO strategies, make sure you will be able to properly track and monitor the data and report results back to the rest of the marketing team and sales team.
Whether you are working at an agency or in-house, communicating with sales on a regular basis will help take SEO and broader marketing tactics to the next level.
If you don’t already have a recurring meeting with the sales team, I encourage you to get one on the calendar as soon as possible!
This is more important than ever before – with so many of us working remotely and missing out on the casual conversations that happen in passing in the office.
I realize that both teams are likely very busy and that no one likes an extra meeting on their calendar.
But if you make sure that the obvious benefits are explained, and objectives are clear – your organization will be one step closer to marketing and sales alignment.
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