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The Social Selling Blog

Tactics and strategies to align with the modern buyer

Are Salespeople Allergic to Content?

Posted by Amar Sheth on Jan 11, 2017 11:47:00 AM

sales-allergic-content.jpgIt’s a fact, it’s real. And there is no point of ignoring it. Salespeople are allergic to content. The reasons are far and they’re varied and the list is long, but salespeople are not seeing the value of sharing content. After training 80,000 salespeople worldwide, here are some common things that we’ve picked out on why salespeople are not sharing content. But, before we go into that, let’s talk about the value up front.

First and foremost, we know from empirical studies that 74% of buyers will choose the salesperson that’s first to add value. Now, if that’s the case, how do you insert value today into a into a sales cycle and into a buyer’s journey?

Sharing content is one aspect of that. Whether you do it individually with the buyer or whether you do it on mass to your entire social network, you have to share content. Sharing content has a couple of key advantages that I’ll explore shortly.

Some other data to consider:

sales-allergic-content.png

So ultimately, if we look at the power content it’s obvious. People want to buy, but they don’t want to be sold to. So the way you help them buy is through education. And the data says that, if you educate, you win the user. That’s the reason content should be shared.

So, why are salespeople not sharing content? Why are they allergic to sharing content?

1) They Don’t Know How

First and foremost, they don’t know how to do it. No one has physically sat them down, taught them and gotten them into a group or rhythm on how to effectively share content. And how to do it in such a way that’s simple and easy and doesn’t take a lot of time.

Salespeople are creatures of habit. We hate when we’re ripped out of our routines. You can’t just say share content, which is typically what most marketing teams do. You have to show them the value, the benefits and then show them how to do and how it weaves into their daily routine. If you don’t do that, you have no chance that your sales people are going to share content.

Far too often, marketing teams view salespeople as hamsters. They view them as little soldiers in their armies where the soldiers are sent out to war to do their work, to do their bidding. However, salespeoples don’t want to be anyone’s hamsters and don’t want to be anyone’s soldiers. So when someone comes along and says share this, without any reason why, clearly there is going to be a backlash. And we’ve seen that time and again in some of the largest companies in the world.

2) No Intermediate Sales Outcome

There is no direct correlation between sharing content a tangible sales outcome. No one can tell a salesperson why all likes, share and comment matters. If marketing sat sales down and explained it in a way where the analogy makes sense from the sales perspective, then you’d see a much higher uptake.

So, what do likes, comments, shares, favorites, retweets, and mentions all have in common? What’s that common DNA thread that binds all of them together? They start conversation. When you share content, and you get any type of engagement that helps you to reach out and start having conversations in the market. And I believe that in sales, our job is just to have more conversations.

Why not put seeds out into the field? Wait for the rain to fall and then pick that fruit up. Content is the most tangible way to start conversations online.

3) The Wrong Kind of Content

The content you’re asking salespeople to share is too me, me, me. It’s all about you, your company, your brand, your products, your services, the benefit of you versus the competitor. Nowhere in your content is there any explanation of why this helps the customer. What is it that you’re doing to improve the customer’s life. What’s missing is that element of storytelling.

So before asking a salesperson to share your content about feeds, and specks of products, take one step back and consider, is the content worthy enough of your attention? If it’s not, then why should salespeople share it?

In the unconnected economy of 15 years ago, the expectation was that you take all brochures and dump them online. Just like the expectation was when the Internet was launched, that you take offline billboards and place them into online banner advertisements. But clearly, if the billboards are ignored, then why would the banner ads attract anyone? And we know that’s the case because banner cost have plummeted massively in the past 20 years.

You think your brochures that are not working in the real world are all of a sudden going to work just because they’re on social? It’s not your salespersons’ fault if they’re allergic to content. It’s your lack of consideration from your customer. It’s your lack of consideration for your end buyer; that’s the problem.

The Bottom Line

Sharing content is not rocket science. The biggest challenge is changing the mindset of your sales team. Salespeople need to understand that content drives conversations. But marketers need to understand that the content needs to tell effective stories to enable these conversations. One can’t happen without the other. It’s hand and glove.

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Amar Sheth

About the Author

Amar Sheth has trained thousands of people worldwide on the topic of Social Selling, through a style that’s part storytelling and part motivational.