As the head of marketing and editor-in-chief of Fundera.com, Meredith Wood calls herself a “sales groupie.”
“I’m obsessed with the team at our company that operates as the first line of defense for our customers,” she says.
Wood uses the term “sales” somewhat loosely as most of them are a combination of sales and service and are there to assist customers from the beginning to the end of the loan application cycle.
“Sales has this tremendous exposure that are our readers, these business owners,” Wood explains. “They know firsthand their struggles and what these people face every day, and they’re also the experts. They have the knowledge that we’re trying to portray in our content.”
Fundera.com has a large suite of lenders that offer different kinds of loans to business people, and Wood admits that, given the intricacies, there are a lot of topics for articles but that they can be difficult to translate into company materials, which is why she spends a lot of time with the sales team.
“I try to pick their brains about the questions that customers are asking. If I have a particularly tough subject matter, instead of taking it to the Internet, I’d rather have a conversation with them and have them explain it so I can write a more thoughtful and helpful article.”
Fundera also has a system in place that encourages sales to submit titles and topics for content, whether it be in a weekly check-in, or a monthly meeting. They also have a channel embedded in a messaging app so if a sales person is on the phone with a prospect, and they get a niche-oriented question that they would like to have content developed, they can pose it real-time.
Wood talks about numerous examples of articles that have done really well for conversions of organic searches, despite the hyper-specific titles.
“You can sit around all day and brainstorm titles, but you really need to be in touch with the people that are getting asked questions by your customers. You may think that it’s not a popular question, but you’ll be surprised,” she says.
Wood admits that it’s a continuous project to improve the ways that their sales team uses their content, but initially have done a great job in two areas:
- Wood is involved with sales training where everyone gets an education on how to use content in the sales process and how to easily search and find the articles they need for any given situation.
- The continuous process of meeting with sales and asking what questions they’re getting that have not been addressed in their current content library.
“There’s so much that you don’t know about your readers, and you really have to task yourself with figuring it out,” says Wood. “You have to understand that it is a constant conversation. It’s not something where you do the initial research and then you know them forever.”
Wood approaches this dilemma by not only being involved with the people that are constantly interacting with the audience, but also by conducting personal calls weekly with customers herself.
“I’ve made it a goal to have a conversation every week with a customer because it’s not about us, it’s about them,” says Wood. “It’s about their story, what they’ve overcome, and how they’ve gotten to where they are. You realize how much you learn in terms of what they worry about when you spend that time letting someone talk about themselves.”
Wood continues, “There’s a wide world out there of problems, subject matters and situations, and if you’re only relying on Google to find topic areas, you’re missing out on this whole other piece of the pie which is what will truly allow you to be interesting and competitive [with content].”