There are dozens upon dozens of things that businesses and brands need to be successful. A great product, an even better story, top of the line customer service, the list goes on and on.
Two things that have become a requirement now a days is a search engine optimization strategy and a sales team. These two are able to create new customers and walk customers through user journeys, but they both do so in very different ways.
What’s funny is how these two essentials are looked upon like they’re on two completely different planets. When really, they’re not that far from each other, and both have similar goals to accomplish. The sales team works on the sales floor, generally in cubicles or desks lined one by one. SEO’s sit with marketers, are at a separate agency, or in a building of their own.
Rarely do SEO’s and members of the sales team have discussions with each other past how bitter the morning’s coffee was or excitement from their 3-day weekend. That needs to change.
A tremendous amount of information and data can be shared among each of these teams to help better a business or brand. When each team works together, and communicates, it’s amazing what kind of outcomes and ROIs can be generated.
Whether you’re an in-house SEO, agency SEO, or have your own set of clients, let’s look at how you can start working closer with a sales team to generate better results for your search campaigns.
Let’s look at 12 questions all SEO’s should be asking members of the sales team.
1. What is the Sales Process Like? Walk Me Through It.
Every piece of the business puzzle should know what the sales process is like and when any changes to the process are made. This seems pretty ordinary in terms of steps, but you’d be surprised how little communication can happen between different teams.
As an SEO, it’s important to know what steps are made during the user journey through the sales aspect. We already know, or at least have an idea, of what steps are made during the user journey of an online search. Once a lead makes a move and fills out a form, signs up for a newsletter, or reaches out, you need to know what move the sales team makes and figure out how to integrate the process with your SEO strategy.
This may look like adjusting web copy to answer specific questions, adding an FAQ page, gathering new competitor data that a customer mentions on the phone, etc.
2. Who is Our Demographic? Describe Them to Me.
It’s easy to assume that we are all on the same page and all teams under one roof operate under the same protocol, but often that’s not the case. What your idea as an SEO is of the demographic can be completely different from the sales team.
Which makes sense as the sales team are the ones communicating on the phone or in person with your searchers and may have a better idea than you do of what kind of toppings they like on their hamburger.
Try to get as specific as you can when asking this question and gather as much demographic information as possible. Demographics evolve and things that you as an SEO need to know, like location, age range, interests, etc. may have changed since you first started working with the company or client.
3. What Makes a Lead a “Good” Lead?
We know what our dream searcher looks like. They’re searching for your exact keywords, clicking on your PPC ads, interacting with the website and landing pages, increasing website traffic, and leaving great reviews.
That isn’t exactly the dream persona for the sales team, though. Understanding what they define as a good lead, a quality prospect, can help redefine what you thought made a good searcher and create a more realistic persona to target with SEO.
4. Where Do a Majority of the Leads Come From?
Please say from the internet. If the sales team claims that their “good” leads are not coming from the internet then you’re doing something wrong.
Why aren’t they coming from the internet? Are they having difficulty finding business information, is the website not loading fast enough and causing high bounce rates, is the content not what they expected?
This is an extremely important wake up call, I mean question, to ask your sales team.
5. How Often Do You Encourage Prospects or Customers to Use the Website? Which Pages?
We can look at analytics and see which pages are getting the most traffic, but we can’t always give a reasoning behind the results.
Perhaps during the sales process, team members take a prospect to a specific page on the website. That will fluctuate traffic and provide a reasoning why /about is getting more traffic than the homepage.
Use this data to work with the sales team and discover how you can better rank this page as a sales tool.
6. What is a Customer’s Biggest Complaint?
Sure, they have tons of complaints, but what’s a complaint that you hear over and over again? Talk to a few different team members to see if there is a repetitive complaint. Most of the time there will be. Then, see how you can implement addressing this into your SEO strategy.
Can some of the meta tags provide a solution within the text? Should you be getting backlinks for more trustworthy companies so customers can trust the brand better? Is the business information giving mixed signals across search engines?
7. What is a Potential Customer’s Biggest Hesitation to Work With the Company?
This is a big one. This is a question that SEO’s can really pull from the sales team and tweak their strategy with. Knowing what a prospect’s hesitation may be is like being given a five minute head start in a 5k.
Answer all of their concerns, address every single one of their worries with your content, keywords, and tags.
8. What is Your Pitch? What Words Do You Use to Communicate?
Get a copy of the pitch and see how similar or different it is from your SEO content. Are you speaking the same language? Does the branding align with what’s on the internet and what’s being said on the phone?
Make sure it does.
9. What Words Are Customers Using?
Keyword people – this one is for you! Depending upon what kinds of questions a customer asks, what kind of phrases or words they group together will give you a ton of new keyword ideas. Plus, it will be keywords that come straight from your demographic.
10. What Are a Few of the Most Commonly Asked Questions?
See above. The whole point of asking this question is to learn new keywords and make sure you are addressing these questions in your content. Sure, you can add to your FAQ page, but mainly you’re looking at new keyword ideas with this question.
Did I miss one? What kinds of questions do you ask the sales team on a regular basis?