Your job as a sales rep in the age of social selling begins with publishing great content. Customers want to buy from reputable businesses that provide value right from the very first contact, making content for sales reps an important part of your sales strategy. To help you maintain a sharp edge on your inspiration, we’ve put together five tips on how to generate sticky, attention-getting content.
1. Become a news source
Your content needs to continuously offer fresh value, and one way to do that is to curate and share news items that interest your customers. Jamie Shanks writes, “Salespeople are playing the role of an editor for their connections.” He points out that you can become a trusted curator, picking out the most valuable items from “a sea of information.” Dave Howe suggests setting up Google Alerts for specific keywords, so you’ll see relevant news items when they first appear.
2. Answer your customers’ questions
Selling is about providing solutions, and this service-oriented mindset should extend beyond whatever products you’re actually selling. Your content itself should display empathy with the confusion or pain points that your customers experience, and seek to provide valuable answers. In the Otimo Sales & Marketing blog, Vincent Messina writes, “Good content is anything that answers the questions your prospects and customers have, not only about your stuff, but their world in general.” When customers sense that you’re interested in their needs, they’ll be more inclined to believe that your products will also provide value.
3. Add the personal touch
You understand the importance of developing relationships, and relationships begin with human beings. Every brand, no matter how large, seeks to put forward the individual human beings who make up their enterprise. “Don’t forget to add a human element to the content that you ... share,” Director of Marketing Jose Sanchez reminds us. A Georgia Tech studyfound that photos with faces drive engagement with social media and get 38 percent more “likes” than other kinds of images. Sprout Social suggests that you can give your brand personal appeal by adding a selfie here or there in your sales content.
4. Create content for every stage of the sales funnel
Customers do a lot of their research before they engage with a supplier, but savvy sales content can position itself as one of the information sources. Zach Tyler, Digital Marketing Strategist at Explorics comments “By creating content at every level of the sales funnel, you’re making it incredibly easy for customers to overcome objections.” He posts an illuminating infographic by Eloqua that describes various types of content, showing the points in the sales cycle that are best for sharing each content type. As he says, “The key ... is sending the right content at the right time.”
5. Build on your competitors' keywords
You know who your competition is, but it’s important to remember that you’re competing with them for more than sales. You’re also in competition for users who enter specific keywords in Google, so it’s good to stay informed on what those keywords are. Search Engine Journal lists four free online services that businesses can use to find out which search words are leading users to the competition. Buzzsumo provides step-by-step instructions on creating competitor content alerts, to keep you up to date on what is being posted by others in your market space. The obvious next step is for you to create your own fresh content focused on these same keywords. Remember, though, that you can’t resort to boring filler text that’s stuffed with keywords or the Google algorithms will penalize your site. Once you have the keywords, you have to be creative in developing interesting content in those topic areas.
Selling is essentially a creative occupation, and in the online marketplace the opportunities for creativity are nearly endless. “Content” can mean videos or webinars, images, infographics, news stories, surveys, and much more. As you work on providing valuable resources, you’ll come to see your potential customers as your audience. Your motivation will no longer center on wanting something from them; instead, you’ll be driven by the goal of giving something to them. Your customers will perceive that your focus on their needs and this perception is your most powerful sales ally.