Content That Serves Sales Is Key To Revenue Generation
When you think of content marketing, it’s usually focused on marketing content. Putting your thought leadership out into the world accomplishes many tasks for marketers:
- It answers questions prospects might have as they are researching a purchase
- It introduces new prospects to your company as content is shared
- Content is a great tool for search engine optimization (SEO)
- It creates a fan base of people who follow your company
- Good content creates backlinks when other websites link to it
But often forgotten is the content needed to close deals.
HubSpot, the popular marketing automation platform, published some interesting facts about this issue:
“Did you know that reps spend about 15% of their day leaving voicemails? And only 20% of all sales emails are ever opened. This means 80-85% of sales outreach efforts are going unnoticed by those prospects you’ve worked so hard to capture with content.
“In fact, research shows that decision-makers touch at least five pieces of content before they buy. But only 20% of salespeople actually use content to engage prospects and clients. For marketers, this leaves us with a big question: How do we leverage the content we’ve created to help salespeople bridge the gap, engage more prospects and close the deal?”
As buyers engage with your sales process, other questions and issues arise that need to be addressed. Content is a perfect tool to help get the deal to the finish line. Here are some things to consider when supporting your sales team with great content:
Make sure it is aligned with sales: If prospects receive a different story in the sales process than in their marketing experience, that causes friction and a reason to pause. The voice, tone, story and execution should be perfectly aligned via the entire buyer’s journey.
Personalize it: If the sales team takes a few extra minutes to choose the appropriate case study that matches a prospect’s industry, they feel safer than a more general (read: “unrelated to me”) example. Also, finding the piece of content that assuages a prospect’s specific concern goes a long way in creating a tight relationship.
Choose the content based on personas: If you are selling to engineers, choose content from your archive that is text rich and full of data points. If you are selling to a sales manager, send them a video and text information to their cell phone. Understanding how prospects want to receive their content is key.
Be the authority: I witnessed a salesperson saying we “hope to” do this and it “might be good” to do that. The tone should be more like, “Based on my experience, these are my four specific recommendations to achieve your goals and objectives, and here’s the data to back it up.” You are the authority – provide content that exemplifies that.
So here are ways your content can help you close deals:
Differentiate your product or service: Imagine your sales team is executing a sales process at the highest possible level and the competition isn’t. What an advantage! By providing a remarkable experience via the sales process, your company begins to emerge as the obvious choice to do business with early in the competitive scenario, helping improve your close rate and shortening the sales cycle.
Position salespeople as thought leaders: Despite a wide range of digital tools, buyers still need to like their salesperson. Think of that helpful person in the clothing store who suggested a shirt you would have never considered but now you wear whenever it comes back from the laundry because you love it. They gave you something you hadn’t considered that brings great value. By providing interesting and appropriate content, your salesperson can do the same. And the position of thought leader trumps salesperson any day of the week.
Leverage digital tools: If COVID taught us anything, digital tools are going to be a foundational component of selling well into the future. If your company can’t provide a digital experience today, you are already behind. Emails, videos, blog posts, case studies, infographics, webinars and everything else you need to tell your story have to be seamlessly digital and provide a great viewing, reading or listening experience for the prospect based on today’s devices. Pro tip: Get DocuSign today.
Stay front of mind during longer sales cycles: Six months is a typical sales cycle in a complex and high-ticket sale. By dripping on your prospect with a variety of content over that time, you stay relevant in the sales cycle. Map the typical sales cycle and then match appropriate forms of content to that sales cycle assuming what they will need when to keep moving forward.
For example, one company created a landing page for the purchasing department, because typically at 90 days the purchasing department at large organizations got involved. That forethought of sending an email with a link to that page could be the simple difference between winning and losing a large deal.
Help prospects sell the deal internally: The average B2B sale involves seven to eight decision-makers or influencers. Content will help carry your story to other decision-makers besides the contact you are dealing with. Another client created an infographic for the IT department, which typically had to bless the purchase of enterprise software. The infographic visualized the typical decision-making process from the IT professional’s viewpoint and kept the deal moving forward.
Finally, to make it easier, here are 10 kinds of content that your marketing and/or content teams need to provide to the sales team:
Content For The Sales Process:
1. Blog posts
3. Case studies
Content For Internal Sales Support:
4. Sales scripts
5. Product sheets
6. Competitor comparisons
Content For Sales Conversions:
7. Email templates
10. Social messages
The content your marketing department produces must serve the sales team so that the end game – revenue – is produced. Your sales team needs to distribute relevant and thoughtful content to drive customers to signing on the dotted line. Your sales enablement efforts need to focus on content marketing to aid the sales team in gaining that new sale.
By helping your sales reps distribute your content appropriately, you’ll continue to drive up your close rate and shorten your sales cycle.
Posted By Author Eric Keiles - Chief Entrepreneur In Residence
Eric Keiles is the co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Square 2. He is a leading sales and marketing strategist focused on pioneering a new marketing methodology. Along with his business partner Mike Lieberman, he is leading the revolution in how entrepreneurs change the way they think about marketing their companies. A natural entrepreneur himself, Eric has founded and grown five companies since 1997.