As a salesperson the challenge to generate new leads and opportunities and eventually convert them to customers is often a gruelling and protracted experience. And this is often the case even if the potential customer already knows of your company!
When the salesperson hears the prospect say they’ve never heard of their company the challenge becomes exponentially tougher. Not only is there the barrier of having to sell the product or service but the salesperson has to sell their company as well, convincing the prospect their company is trustworthy, experienced, knowledgeable and worth doing business with.
In the (now seemingly distant) pre-internet age, this would be where the salesman would either send or brandish his corporate brochure enabling the customer to get a taste of the company they are dealing with. Now though, this is where content marketing comes to the rescue of the salesperson! Unfortunately, many sales professionals don’t understand what content marketing is and thus the powerful impact it can have on their success.
In brief, Content Marketing is the publishing and marketing of content both on a website and in traditional offline collateral. The purpose is to support the generation of leads, the education of the target market, the growth of brand awareness and improving the perception of the brand. All of these objectives are an important asset to all salespeople and help hugely in nurturing a prospect.
Also worthy of note are the various statistics that are banded about as to what percentage of a sale is completed before a company actually engages with a potential supplier which range from 60 to 90%!
Let’s have a look then at the fundamental value of Content Marketing for sales professionals:
Lead Generation – High-quality content such as white papers or relevant industry information can make for excellent downloadable assets on a company website, landing page, or content for marketing emails. This type of content helps to develop contact lists of potential customers as well as creating trust in the brand.
Education – The more prospects and customers understand a company, its products, services, and the sector it operates in, the more the salesperson can focus on selling the company’s products and services and less on selling the company itself. A company’s blog posts, information-rich website content, and educationally focused offline material all accomplish this.
Brand Awareness – A well-executed offline content marketing campaign can be transferred and used on the company website and used for blogs and news articles online also. The intention will be for readers to share the content on social media for example, exposing the company to a much wider audience.
Brand Perception – Content marketing helps smaller and medium sized companies establish credibility among prospects and their potential market. Authoritative content creates trust and strengthens the brand. For salespeople re-purposing content into bespoke sales presentations and relevant case studies is a great way of assisting the sale and nurturing the prospect.
Sales professionals should take a proactive role in help create content and make a strong case for its inclusion within the marketing budget. When content marketing really focusses on a customer’s needs and incorporates the language of the customer it really has great potential.