“Coffee is for closers.”
What a legendary line from the iconic sales movie “Glengarry Glen Ross.” Closing is indeed part of the sales process. However, allow me to introduce you to a new sales mantra…
“Content is for closers.”
Think of all the collateral material you share with prospects and clients throughout the sales process. Each stage of the process demands educated conversations and a supply of relevant information. In this ultra-connected, instant gratification, immediate quest to search out information in the business climate, integrating the notions of content and collateral becomes a natural approach that drives your value.
Google and the internet have forever changed the sales process, the sales funnel and the buyer’s journey. In the article How Content Completes the Sales Cycle, we are introduced to engagement. Engagement, as in how you keep your prospects and clients interested, educated and committed to a lasting relationship with you and your brand.
Brent Adamson, the principal executive advisor at CEB, in his fantastic keynote speech, Digital Evolution of the B2B Customer Buying Journey, gave us these three takeaways in sales…
- Sales reps must maximize every interaction with prospects and clients.
- Sales reps must have a strong digital strategy.
- Sales reps must make sure they have educational content for all stages of the buyer’s journey.
The sales evolution is a response to the rapid enhancement of technology, buyer needs and buyer empowerment. We already know prospects consume and educate themselves with content and social data, and position themselves far into their buying journey before ever connecting with a sales rep.
As more and more people (prospects and clients) become involved in the buying process and the buying journey, it can become a long and winding business road.
Sales reps must arm their prospects and clients with the right content at the right time, to help them make the best possible buying decision. Content used correctly boosts your brand, their trust and your reputation, allowing you to become an educational source for your clients. Ultimately, this will elevate your position with your clients to the point where they become brand evangelists.
Content Facilitates Conversation
You must position yourself with the right tools to have conversations with your clients and prospects throughout each stage of their buying journey. Content is one tool to enable these conversations. Content attracts and draws in prospects. Content educates prospects and may potentially help them solve a particular problem which, in turn, may steer them to a buying decision. Delivering valuable and educational content positions you as a relevant and valuable source. Your prospects crave sales reps who can “have intelligent conversations and deliver effective valuable messages.”
According to the Brevet Group, “Only 13% of buyers believe sales reps can understand their needs.” Sales reps must understand the importance of truly connecting with their buyers. You must make the effort to conduct research, learn something about them and understand their world. Start to humanize yourself inside their world as this provides a foundation around trust and credibility.
As you review this sales funnel, think about how content can help facilitate, nurture and pull your client or prospect along their buying journey.
Three Stages Sales Reps Can Leverage Content
According to a study conducting by Pardot, “76% of buyers prefer different content at each stage of their research process.”
Stage One: Top of the Sales Funnel
Here, sales reps are driving awareness and positioning themselves as credible resources. This could be…
- How-to blog articles;
- Content from credible resources, thought leaders or subject matter experts.
Stage Two: Middle of the Sales Funnel
This is where sales reps connect with prospects through sharing information. This could be…
- Case studies;
- Long form blog articles;
- Relevant industry news;
- Your own book.
Stage Three: Bottom of the Sales Funnel
This is where sales reps engage one-to-one with prospects. This could be…
- Long-form blog posts;
- Customer testimonials;
- Peer recommendations;
- Visual media.
Hang Out Where Your Buyers Hang Out
B2B buyers are spending more time conducting research before they make their purchasing decisions. Successful sales reps create great opportunities to connect with buyers. To become more relevant “upping the game,” I encourage sales reps to adopt and integrate social selling into your current sales strategy. Business times are different and call for a multi-pronged approach by sales reps to align with today’s modern buyer.
You must serve up all the information you can to your potential clients. You need to get out there and proactively market yourself online. Create or curate content which is insightful, relevant, engaging and educational so your prospects are excited to consume it (i.e. read, watch and listen to it). This is how you attract the traffic, convert this traffic into leads (conversations) and then close the leads, turning them into raving fans.