For most companies, bridging the gap between marketing and sales is a big challenge as the two sides often think they have little in common. But nothing is further from the truth.

Think of the quarterback and wide receiver on a football team or the wheel and blades of a turbine. If the quarterback and wide receiver are not reading from the same playbook, they will experience more interceptions and fumbles than touchdowns which will cause them to lose games and hurt the entire team. If the wheel and blades of a turbine are misaligned, the machine will experience excessive vibration and rotor bending which will eventually lead to total equipment failure. Likewise, if sales and marketing aren’t working in tandem to convert leads into clients, then the entire company will suffer and fail to achieve success.

As content becomes more and more important in marketing, content marketers must take the time to help sales teams understand the value that they can provide. Silos must be broken. Collaboration between the two sides must commence. For companies to grow, it’s vital that content marketers and sales teams start working together. Only then will content marketers be able to create relevant and effective white papers, videos, blogs, and other content that sales teams will be excited to share. Such content creation will help them better connect with leads and close deals faster.

Here are three ways content marketers can provide value to sales teams:

1. Content marketers provide sales teams with more options

After sales’ initial contact with a prospective client, their immediate follow-up is usually a proposal. But leads are rarely ready to sign on the dotted line that quickly. They need more convincing. They need more counsel. They need more…you guessed it! Content. According to research from CMO Council, decision makers touch at least five pieces of content before they buy. Before presenting the ring and popping the big question, sales can take their leads on a few more dates by providing them meaningful content created by the marketing team.

One week, they can ask them to read an article. The next, they might hit them with a surprise social infographic. A few days later, sales can continue to woo their lead with an amazing video. Providing consistent content shows leads and clients alike that a company is committed to getting to know them, to understand them and provide them with information that is beneficial to their success.

Tom DiScipio says, “It also serves the purpose of delighting existing customers with valuable information. This builds stronger customer relationships and when it’s time for a renewal or upsell, sales has a better shot at retaining the business.”

2. Content marketers help sales teams communicate better with leads and clients

Everyone knows that sales people talk – a lot. But do they always know what they’re talking about? Are they always making sense to the lead/client? No and no. But this is where content marketers get to work their magic. They can write words, design graphics and shoot video that makes the sales teams look and sound knowledgeable.

To be fair, this is a two-way street. We’re not turning marketers into that college friend who stays up overnight to write a 15-page long report, so her partying friend can make an A+ on it the next morning. Sales must do their homework too. Sales teams are closer to leads/clients than marketers will ever be. They know more about their wants, needs, likes, dislikes and demands. The sales team must communicate this information to the marketing team so that they can then use it to create more tailored content that will allow sales to return to leads/clients and say exactly what they want to hear.

3. Content marketers enable sales teams to create long-term customer relationships

After a lead has been converted into a client, sales teams are hard-pressed to find fresh ways to stay connected with them and committed to them. Customer retention is important to a company’s success because it takes much more time, energy and resources to acquire a new client than it does to invest in an existing one. Research from Fundera shows that “65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers” and that “a 2% increase in customer retention can lower costs by as much as 10%”.

Additionally, 54% of customers consider no longer shopping with retailers who don’t provide them with engaging content and relevant coupons. This shows that content is key to keeping clients coming back for more.

By creating content that sales teams can send to clients on a regular basis, marketers play a key role in brand loyalty and customer retention.