How much time are you wasting trying to sell to a client that isn't ready? Studies say that up to half of qualified leads just aren't ready to buy yet. They will be ready, though, with nurturing through content marketing. Smart sales professionals send these prospects the right content by their funnel stage. Nurture leads with the appropriate content and watch average order size grow by 47 percent. Less time, more money. Everybody wins.
This level of sophisticated content targeting demands mastery of a content library. Before you can master it, you need to organize or build one. The good news is, you are five steps away right now.
Step 1: Assess what you have
What are you working with now? Is everyone going their own way or pulling from a repository? What content tools do you have at your disposal. This is the stage where a home builder is looking at an open lot. If you have a content library, you just need better organization. If you've got a sales team scouring the internet or the marketing department for ideas, this may take some time.
Tools needed: Investigative curiosity. Ask everyone on their team what content has worked for them.
Step 2: Create a map of the marketing funnel
All your prospects fall into one of these three stages:
- Searching – gathering info about companies that can solve their problems
- Comparing – their problem is identified and now they are narrowing their options
- Ready to buy – whoever gets there first with a great solution wins
At the searching stage, they don't want to be hounded by a hungry salesperson. At the ready to buy stage, however, they need someone to guide them through the purchase quickly and efficiently.
Tools needed: Information on understanding the marketing and sales funnel, by experts like Seth Godin.
Step 3: Organize and map your content to the stages
It's time to think like the buyer. At each stage, consider what kind of free content would be most helpful for them. Remember that your goal is to create value for the buyer, not drive them to buy something they may not need. Creating value turns you into a resource for the buyer while pressured sales burn bridges.
- Searching – white papers, videos, webinars
- Comparing – case studies, demos, samples
- Ready to buy – personal contact, coupons, proof of concept
Tools needed: A place to store content for each stage, such as a content hub from Uberflip.
Step 4: Fill in the gaps
Do you have all the content you need? The answer is always, “No.” If you don't have enough of the right content for each stage, curate or create it. There are ample tools available for creating explainer videos, infographics and animated gifs even if you have no artistic skills whatsoever. Don't wish for it, make it yourself. You'll have the time because you're not doing demos for prospects in the Searching phase.
Tools you need: Content discovery tools like Pocket and content creation tools like Savo Inspire Digital Postcards or Rawshorts.
Step 5: Deploy and refine
Building a content library is straight-forward, but using it is a bit of an art. Follow this structure and refine it according to how your buyers respond. Sometimes prospects don't know what their problem is, so they jump right into comparing before they've done their homework on what is causing the problem. Be the one they turn to for advice and they will listen when it's time to buy.
Tools needed: Content optimizers like Inbound Writer and your own experience.
All Systems Are a Go
Ideally, you always want to be a Tweet or LinkedIn InMail away so that when they've gotten the information and inspiration they need, you'll be there to bring them over the finish line. Lead nurturing with content marketing does a lot of what salespeople used to do in the old days: make connections, be helpful and appear when you need them. It just helps you accomplish this on a much grander scale.