Revenue Growth Requires Innovative Approaches To Sales, Too
If you want to see ongoing month-over-month revenue growth at your company, you had better be prepared to start innovating how your sales reps work with prospects.
This innovation starts with how sales reps use content. First, consider packing up the product literature and company one-pagers. People can find all of that on your website, and if they can’t, you had better add those pages quickly.
In fact, they should be able to get anything and everything about you, your company and your products or services quickly and easily from your website. Remember, the sales reps don’t control the sales process anymore. Your prospects are in control. They’ll do 80% of the work on their own before they even ask to speak with a rep.
And when they do finally ask to speak with one of your sales reps, those reps had better be on the top of their game.
Here are five innovative ways today’s most successful sales reps use content to help guide their prospects through the tail end of their buyer journey.
1) They Create Their Own Content
Yes, they do. The best reps are spending some of their time creating original content and sharing that content with their connections via social media.
Why would they do that? First, because they have a direct relationship with your potential buyers. They know every question, every concern and every challenge facing your prospects. Who better to create content that answers those questions and addresses those concerns?
Once you stop asking reps to make hundreds of cold calls and help them focus on high-quality and qualified sales opportunities, time is going to be open for them to create content that their prospects will love.
This helps sales reps build their own personal brand. It helps them attract opportunities to your business. It positions reps as thought leaders. When your prospects finally connect with them, they’ll be positioned as the expert instead of the sales rep.
This is going to help them close faster and more frequently, making a massive impact on your ability to drive the cost of acquisition down and revenue up.
If your reps aren’t creating content right now, if you haven’t empowered them to do so or if they need training on how to create this content, that should be a big initiative in this current quarter.
2) They Share Curated Relevant Content
Original content isn’t always needed to help prospects feel safe with your company and your reps. Sometimes they can curate it and share someone else’s relevant content.
Sales reps who are connected within your industry know the thought leaders and they follow them. They read about the industry, they uncover interesting facts and they find relevant pieces of content that support your company’s story.
Sharing this information with prospects makes your sales reps look like industry experts. They’re not afraid to share someone else’s content or ideas, especially when it helps support the position or the advice they’re providing your prospects.
We share a lot of HubSpot data and Salesforce content with our prospects. The companies are not direct competitors, and the information they publish closely aligns with our story and supports our positioning with prospects.
When prospects see other, bigger companies that share our perspective or ideas, it supports our positioning and gets people to feel comfortable with us as a potential partner.
3) They Make Videos For Prospects
You can write a long email or you can record a short video. About 60% of people in the world identify as visual learners, meaning they’d rather watch than read.
Sending prospects a video often helps makes complex concepts easier to understand. Using video in sales emails also helps differentiate your company and, at least in our case, helps us practice what we preach, which is a core value at Square 2.
The experience you create in the sales process plays a key role in whether you win or lose deals. Providing sales reps with tools and innovation that makes them and your company stand out helps your prospects remember you more and feel safer working with you instead of your competition.
Finally, when people see other people, they just feel better. How do you feel when you see a long email? Not great. Your brain literally forces you to say, “Ugh, I’ll read this later.”
How do you feel when you get an email with a video? “Oh, a video, let me hit play. Hmmm, interesting. That was refreshing – I like this company.”
How you make people FEEL during the sales process is a big contributor to closing deals and closing them quickly. Video is an amazing way to get prospects to feel safe with your company.
4) They Support Their Sales Conversations With Content
Let’s be honest, most people don’t believe your salespeople. As consumers, we’ve been trained to think salespeople are trying to convince us to buy something using any means possible.
If we’re continuing to be honest, it’s probably true 90% of the time. Sometimes we run into a salesperson who is actually trying to help us instead of selling to us, but those situations are few and far between.
Because of this predisposition, your sales team needs outside supporting facts to help them gain credibility and trust. Remember, trust is a big part of what you need to establish if you’re going to secure a new customer.
One of the best ways to get them to trust your reps is to arm reps with content that supports what they’re telling your prospects.
Here’s an example that we use. We recommend the HubSpot CMS almost 90% of the time for clients that want a new CMS or don’t have a CMS. That’s fine, but we follow up on that recommendation with content that supports the recommendation.
We use content from outside sources that positions HubSpot vs. WordPress or HubSpot vs. Sitecore or HubSpot vs. the specific CMS the client is using. This content supports what we’ve told them and makes them feel like we’re honest and fairly representing the technology. It goes a long way in gaining their trust while making them more educated around their technology and marketing options.
The best sales reps have this content before they even start a sales process with a prospect. They know what conversations they’re likely to have, they know the positions they’ll need to defend and they know the issues prospects are concerned about.
Because they know this, they have a library of supporting content in context to the exact issues, challenges or concerns their prospect presents. This makes the sales rep look highly prepared and capable of handling any of the prospect’s issues.
It’s the new bar for selling today, and you should be prepared to support reps with the right content for delivery at the right time.
5) They Provide Different Content At Different Stages Of The Buyer Journey
The way people buy has changed dramatically. Today your prospects are looking around for information about products and services that you provide long before they show up on your radar. Even after they show up, they might not want to talk with a rep until many days after their initial visit to your website.
Once they do present themselves, they expect you to understand the journey they’re on and support that instead of trying to change it.
What’s consistent about every buyer journey in every industry is that prospects have questions. They have questions that can’t be answered on your website and require assistance from a person.
These questions are going to be different at each stage of the buyer journey. People who engage early will have different questions than those who engage later in their journey.
Your sales reps have to be aware of these questions, and your reps have to be armed with content that answers those questions.
Here’s an example: We have a client that provides hops to brewers. When their prospects first engage, they have questions about the quality of the hops, the growing process, the harvesting and the quality control associated with getting the hops ready to be shipped.
Our client is armed with videos, infographics and other well-designed information that clearly shows their attention to the growing, harvesting and delivery of high-quality hops to brewers.
When their prospects move through the buyer journey and get toward the end of the process, their questions change to shipping, payment, timing and ordering issues.
Our client is again armed with the information they need to share that quickly moves prospects past these issues and on to the final stage where paperwork, agreements and contracts are being signed.
Upgrades like this will have a real and positive impact on your ability to accelerate revenue. The addition of these materials shaved 20% off their sales process and increased their close rate by 30%. These are significant improvements and direct contributors to revenue growth.
The role of the sales rep is evolving quickly, and supporting reps with the right content is a big part of this evolution. Getting reps to use the content and to understand why it works is important. Don’t underestimate the behavior change required in some organizations.
Once you start seeing success, everyone will want to use content in their sales efforts.
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