Ironically, content marketing shouldn’t be relegated to (you know), marketing. We continue to overlook the value of content to empower and enable salespeople to better engage in a conversation, develop trusting relationships and become an advisor to leads. Does this image resonate with your company?
Imagine your prospect is checking different quotations, and you need to explain to your boss or board about the use and importance of every product you need to buy, as the company stakeholders want to make sure exactly why are they important. The challenge is that your prospect is not an expert in each product, so how do they match the big picture?
When browsing for solutions, you receive software specifications, compatibility, and one-year limited warranties. Few salespeople give you a clue on how these fit together. However, there is always that one supplier that instead of just focusing on the technical capabilities of a product, they give you a story about its use and a basic introduction on how this fits to become an essential corporate solution. Bingo! They give you valuable, remarkable content, in context.
Out of the dozens of products that you received a pitch from, you provide this bigger picture to your stakeholders. They then can visualize and calculate the potential ROI. That is the power of storytelling in sales.
Inbound Sales is centered on the buyer, rather than the seller. A sales team with this mindset personalizes the experience to the buyer’s context the same way a more customized, automated CRM does. It is simple:
..if you cannot add value beyond the information a customer can find on their own, they do not have a reason to even talk to you.
A good CRM is the first step. However, inbound salespeople need to develop trust by showing genuine interest in helping. Ask yourself, are you providing relevant content for your sales process? That’s where sales enablement comes in handy.
According to Demand Metric, these are a series of processes, practices, technologies or tools that improve their performance. You can have the best CRM and business intelligence software available for your sales process. But if you do not provide useful content that interests potential buyers, you are keeping salespeople in the dark.
Aberdeen Group Research shows that:
Only 52% of marketing and sales surveyed practice content-based sales enablement.
Content-based sales enablement practitioners were 64% more effective at maintaining consistent, relevant and personalized communications compared to non-practitioners.
Content-based enablement improved lead acceptance rates at 2.2 times the rate of non-practitioners.
But, are sales getting enough help? HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2016 shows that conversion, traffic, revenue, and ROI are the top marketing priorities, and sales enablement is only the 5th priority.
Enabling sales to become an advisor
A major challenge with an Inbound sales strategy is that most of the time, people have done some research on the subject before becoming comfortable talking with a sales person. In B2B sales, decision making comes after a long deliberation process and involves several areas and individuals within a company.
According to Content Marketing Institute, you can leverage content marketing not just to create the potential for deals, but to help the sales team close deals.
First, because leads and potential customers look for guidance about their solution, rather than a sales pitch. A 2016 content preferences survey found that 51% of B2B buyers rely on shorter, interactive and educational content to reach a decision.
So, get the most of external and marketing based, quality content to help your customers with educational information and orientation.
Sales executives need to develop a relationship with the client.
At a day and age where potential customers have already done their research, chances that product specifics are valuable information to give over the phone and email are slim.
They are running through those on your website and other review sites. Customers want someone who shows they care and that are generally concerned about their challenges, and honestly want to help. Content gives you valuable information to stay on top of your client’s minds.
Imagine your proposal is on hold until next quarter. Life goes on, as does your sales target. Now, can you imagine a supplier calling back every 15 days for confirmation? Well, Sales still needs to reach out - only in a different way - by sharing insights or information that your prospect will find helpful.
What type of content does your sales team use to engage customers?