A Friendly Reminder: Search Engine Optimization Could Use the Help of Your Sales Team

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Whenever we talk about SEO, it’s always about the SEO team (no surprise there). However, it’s important to realize that other departments in your company might very well be able to help boost your optimization. Your sales team in particular is going to be a huge asset to you when it comes time to really understand your audience, what they want to see and hear, and what their buying habits are. After all, optimization is all about getting relevant visibility in order to get clicks in order to get conversions. Think of it this way: Your sales team can see the future in the sense that it was your initial optimization that led those calls (usually) to the sales team.

How a Sales Team Can Work with an SEO Department

Bridging the gap between sales and SEO can sometimes be a little bit of a headache. In many small businesses, a sales team doesn’t fully understand what goes into SEO (and let’s be honest; us SEO professionals could learn a thing or two from sales. We forget sometimes that people are one of the few things more difficult to deal with than Google, but that’s a story for a different day). The key then is to know what information your sales team holds and understand what information you can gather regarding SEO.

You will find that there are two major SEO components that your sales team can help you with: link building and content. A few ways they can help you in these areas include:

  • Understanding the latest industry updates and competition.

A sales team understands what is going on in the industry. They know what the perceptions are out there, and they know what perceptions need to be changed. They are incredibly aware of what the competition is doing in terms of selling, and a lot of this can relate back to SEO.

How this Helps SEO: If the competition is promising guaranteed results, for example, you could use this information to write a blog post about why guaranteed results don’t work well in your industry. This information also works great when it comes to link building. If potential customers speak with a sales member and discuss somewhere they found a competitors link, you should work to get yourself that same link! Also talk with your sales team about topics in the industry that are hot right now to help you determine great keywords to target and great content to use for guest blogging.

  • Utilize the connections in the industry that your sales team has made.

You sales team likely has connections with past customers, current customers, and other businesses in the industry. A sales representative is the one that different accounts and different customers feel comfortable talking with—he/she is the “go-to” person.

How this Helps SEO: The more connections you can have in SEO, the better. This will help you find places to build backlinks as well as help you establish those same relationships for SEO purposes like social sharing. First get your sales team to share all of the content your team publishes, and the start connecting with their prior relationships and hope that they will soon do the same.

  • What are people asking on the phones? Is there a theme?

Sales people are talking directly with the type of people you’re trying to reach. They will be able to tell if there is a trend in questions being asked or concerns that many people have about the industry or about your company.

How this Will Help SEO: This is another great opportunity for content. You want to write the content that your audience needs, so what better way to make that happen than hear from them directly? Even if your sales team can’t seem to find a trend, take anything that was said and see if you can make some sense out of it for a blog post or a white paper.

How to Get Started Bridging the Gap Between Sales and SEO

You want to keep in mind that the more your sales team understands SEO, the better they will be able to help you. Having a basic understanding of keyword research and link building will help your sales team understand just what information would be most beneficial. Therefore, this should be your first of three steps:

  1. Educate. Educate your sales team on the basics of SEO. Having a simple one-hour seminar once a week for approximately two to three weeks should be enough to start.
  2. Report. Each month (or even each week if you have a large sales team) have the sales team send your SEO department a report detailing common trends they found with customers, competition, and overall industry news.
  3. Execute. Utilize the information you receive from the sales team and then remind them to share your latest content with their social and professional connections.

It’s also important to realize that the flipped idea is also true—understanding SEO can help a sales department succeed. If you’re on the sales side of things, you can learn more about how SEO can help here.

How does your company utilize its sales team for SEO purposes? Is there any process that worked best for you? Let us know your story and your thoughts in the comments below.

Photo Credit: wordstream.com

Amanda DiSilvestro

Amanda DiSilvestro

Online Content Editor/Writer at HigherVisibility
Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from Panda and Penguin updates. She writes for HigherVisibility, a... Read Full Bio
Amanda DiSilvestro
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  • Matt

    I think it’s awesome that you’ve had such luck getting SEO and sales on the same team. However in my agency, it’s been a total disaster that no one even attempts any more.

    Sales resents SEO because of the very fact that SEO can NOT guarantee results. As such, sales says that revealing this truth makes SEO a hard sale ( especially given the amount of money our agency charges to retain SEO services).

    So to do their job and make their money, sales has to make (or implies) all sorts of outlandish promises about what SEO “will without a doubt 110%” do for the client’s site.

    This of course infuriates SEO because then we’re stuck with an angry client because their truly impossible expectations are not being and will never actually be met.

    Any thoughts on how you HONESTLY sale SEO in 2013 and how you price it so that it’s actually appealing to a client?

    Admittedly, asking a client to spend tens of thousands of dollars on something that may or may not radically
    increase their business is tough.

    At least with a physical bill board, fr example, it’s guaranteed every person that drives by will see it.

    But with search results as completely individualized as they are, it’s the REALITY that not everyone who searches for “XYZ Phrase” will be getting your client’s website in their results.

    Would love to hear any thoughts on these issues 🙂

  • Manikannan

    I totally agree with Matt statement! Even I too face such issues in my career…

  • Amanda DiSilvestro

    I definitely get what you’re saying Matt, but my article really isn’t talking about selling SEO. You’re right, selling SEO is so difficult because you can’t guarantee results! I can definitely see how that would be a disaster. In my article I’m more talking about how sales can help SEO professional learn about trends in the industry and things that the customers are really saying, which will help them find keywords and market accordingly. In other words, your company doesn’t have to be an SEO firm that is trying to sell SEO (which I think is what you’re describing), but rather any company that can benefit from SEO (that’s every type of company from furniture salesman to restaurant owners).

    That said, I do agree with your statement! Thanks for reading!

    • Jake Martin

      I fully agree with you Amanda! I read Matt’s comment and cringed, bringing me back to the days of being at an SEO agency vs. being in-house now.

      SEO sales is quite difficult and in the SMB sector it lends itself to over-promising and under-delivering. However, I still think that there is a tremendous value from closing the loop with your sales team, even for SEO services.

      If the sales reps are repetitively handling the same objections or questions, then there is an amazing opportunity in creating a whiteboard video that can facilitate this educational component. Then the sales rep’s role changes to generating warm leads and getting them on the webinar. The webinar in turn *should* have a much higher conversion rate than over-the-phone sales.

  • Callum Adair

    Amanda in reading this particular I thought it was very educational and i am a big fan of your site thanks for sharing this great information 🙂