June 23, 2014

Why Sales Can't Live Without Content Marketing

Let’s face it: It’s hard work being a salesperson. Today’s buyers are not the wallflowers they used to be; they are more sophisticated and powerful than ever before. In fact, discerning prospects can be anywhere from two-thirds to 90 percent of the way through the buying cycle before they reach out to a sales agent. In other words, buyers are avoiding salespeople at all costs.

That’s because rather than turning to a sales agent for information, consumers are now performing their own research about a company or product. According to Demand Gen Report’s “2014 B2B Buyer Behavior Survey,” 68 percent of respondents agreed that the number of sources used to research and evaluate a purchase has increased over the past year.

So, what does this mean for salespeople? It means their role has fundamentally changed from being a seller to a trusted advisor who helps guide buyers down the right path to purchase.

“Executives need and want insights from suppliers like you to help them figure out what’s wrong, what the business implications of the problem are, what potential directions are available, and what options are available to solve it,” said Mark Lindwall, senior analyst at Forrester Research.

If agents want to attract and retain today’s consumers, they have to build creditability and trust. And the easiest way to do that is by distributing and sharing content that engages and educates.

Enter content marketing.

Content creation plays an important role in the sales process. Other than getting buyers into the funnel, content can actually help in getting buyers to sign on the dotted line. Below are three ways content can help salespeople to “always be closing”:

1. Better, more relevant conversations: In order to be a trusted advisor, you have to not only understand what your product does, but also how it addresses your buyer’s biggest challenges. Salespeople can educate themselves by reading up on content their marketing team is already likely producing— such as whitepapers, case studies and blogs. Even better, this content can be shared with buyers to help educate them as well.

2. Fail-proof follow-up tool: Don’t let the conversation stop after the first call. Keep the communication flowing by delivering content-packed follow-up emails. For example, include a recent case study that highlights how your product helped a similar client save money or share an interesting industry-focused blog. This way, you’ll stay top of mind and start to build a solid rapport with consumers.

3. Relationship builder: As a seasoned sales rep, you’re well aware of the 80/20 principle—20 percent of your customers produce 80 percent of your sales—which means that maintaining a good relationship with your existing buyers is paramount. Continuously sharing relevant, interesting content with your customers will reassure them that you are thinking about them and their needs. A great way to ensure regular content delivery is to invite them to sign up for your eNewsletter or blog.

Forget wit and charm, content is the most effective weapon you have to educate your prospects and get them to sign on that dotted line. Want to learn more about content marketing? Check out the Content Boost blog or subscribe to our eNewsletter by clicking here.


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