The marketing team knows the value of great content because it helps identify prospects and generate leads. It also allows them to gather market intelligence on industry-specific challenges and create product awareness.
Then there is this: Great content provides the foundation for an exceptional client experience.
That’s why you can access great content that provides valuable information for solving business challenges. For instance:
Best practices for using email as a B2B marketing tool and mining data from an email tracking program;
How to get your new sales development team off to a great start from Day 1;
Finding the right balance between sales automation and sales personalization.
Go ahead, search any of those subjects and get a quick demonstration of the power of content.
Content can take its form in downloadable white papers, briefs and case studies, blogs, articles, one-pagers, infographics, podcasts, and presentations. And it can be customized for specific clients.
Creative, entertaining, educational content not only helps marketers target potential clients through a specific pain their company can solve, but also gives clients an indication of the company’s value proposition, expertise, and customer service.
But content shouldn’t be the exclusive property of the marketing department. Content can be used at every stage of the sales cycle to serve a valuable purpose, moving the relationship along in a positive, professional, and powerful way.
The International Data Corporation (IDC), a global market intelligence firm, defines sales enablement as, “The delivery of the right information to the right person at the right time and in the right place.”
Great content should be readily available to the sales team for use at any stage of the sales process, allowing the salesperson to share it with the right person at the right time and in the right place.
Here are 3 ½ reasons you should strive for a great content experience for the buyer at any stage in the sales cycle.
1. Your mom always said, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
The qualified lead is handed off from the marketing team to a salesperson. The salesperson makes initial contact with the prospect and begins the consulting process.
Does the buyer want it to be a “Hey, buy our stuff!” call? No way.
Think of how the interaction could be elevated if, during the initial encounter , the salesperson could offer some great educational and helpful content that is specific to the prospect’s industry. With some preparation prior to the call, the sales rep can demonstrate the desire to serve the client and solve business challenges as an effective and thoughtful solution provider.
2. “Let me send you some information on that challenge.”
The salesperson should offer timely and relevant information with every contact, establishing an understanding of the prospect’s business – even the pain points. Make a point to create an informative exchange for the potential client, who will appreciate the service without sales pressure.
Over time, the relationship deepens, trust will grow, and the sales rep gains an advocate inside the prospect’s company.
3. And then the prospect says, “Yes, but …”
“But we don’t have a budget…But I need to consult with the buying team…But it’s September and we don’t sign in September…”
Let’s face it. The buyer is wired to object. But a salesperson armed with great content – whether it’s a fresh infographic, a downloadable research document, or a link to a fabulous podcast – has tools to overcome the objection and serve the client.
Continuing to demonstrate a commitment to customer service and a thorough understanding of the client’s challenges gets the salesperson closer to a “yes” and the client more confident about the relationship.
3 ½. Get the salesforce to use content as a tool.
As a manager, if you’re championing 1 through 3, your salesforce will close more sales and your clients will be impressed. But first, you have to get the salespeople to do it.
Managers must ensure that salespeople are using content as a tool. Some salespeople are reluctant to use content simply out of ignorance.
The manager should ask the salesperson: “Have you found relevant content about this business challenge in our archive? How are you planning on using it with the client?”
Encourage them to seek out content and to share ideas for content that would address challenges faced by clients (and by salespeople!). Teach them how to deliver that content to the prospect and then how to follow up on it, maintaining effective contact.
The bottom line: good content creates value for the client and demonstrates your commitment to providing a stellar customer experience. Why wouldn’t you want to use it at every opportunity?
Learn more about how content is for closers in our eBook.