The primary purpose of marketing content is to drive traffic to your website and generating leads, but it’s not its only purpose. The content your marketing team creates as a part of the organization’s marketing strategy can and should be repurposed to support the entire sales process.
This includes resources like blog articles, eBooks, whitepapers, case studies, Infographics, webinar recordings, and videos. Each of these resources can be used to reinforce your sales message, provide additional insight, and answer questions your prospects didn’t even know they had.
In short, they help remove friction as prospects move from the awareness stage, through the consideration stage, and into the decision stage. When marketing resources are appropriately mapped to the various stages of the buyer’s journey, the velocity of the sales process will increase, and sales cycles will shorten.
Salespeople who aren’t leveraging marketing content resources as they engage their prospects are putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage and making their jobs much more difficult than they need to be. Below are four ways successful salespeople are using marketing content resources to improve sales performance.
1. Educate Prospects
No one wants to be sold to. Your prospects don’t want to hear your pitch, but they are very interested in learning how to solve their business problems. A prospect’s buying journey is really an extended education process.
- They’re discovering their business needs
- Uncovering potential solutions
- Refining their requirements
- Calculating the potential impact of their options
- Confirming the direction they want to go
- And determining their next-best-step to implementing the solution
The objective of every sales process should be to facilitate this education process and to remove as much friction from the prospect’s buying journey as possible. You can do this by sharing your unique perspective on topics your prospect cares about.
It’s nearly impossible to do this in a meeting or even in a series of sales calls. But after your meetings and between your calls, you can send them appropriate resources that will help them lead, help them solve their problem, and ultimately help them make the very best decision.
2. Build Your Personal Brand as Thought Leader
Your prospects don’t buy your product or solution because they have extra money in the budget, or because they liked your sales pitch. Prospects buy for only one reason—to solve a business problem.
When a prospect visits your website or agrees to schedule a meeting with you, it’s because they’re actively seeking a solution to a problem. They’re looking for answers. The most valuable answers come from experts. Who would you rather get medical advice from a second-year med student or a seasoned physician who has been practicing medicine for over 30 years?
Be that seasoned professional for your prospects. Even if you’re just starting out in sales, you can share the expertise of those on your team. As you share relevant content, people will begin to think of you as a trusted resource for relevant and valuable information and insights.
3. Respond to Questions and Objections
Everyone learns differently. Some people can grasp a topic just by hearing someone speak about it. Others need to read about it or see graphical depictions before they can really understand a new subject.
You may leave a sales meeting or hang up a call and think that you deftly dealt with every question and objection that was raised. However, your prospects may have a different opinion. They could leave the same meeting confused and scratching their heads.
Avoid this scenario by following up every meeting or call with an email that includes additional resources. Look for content to send that addresses the topics that speak to the questions your prospect raised and the concerns they shared. Send them content that will help you respond to their objections and address future anticipated questions.
4. Stay in Touch with Long-term— “Not-Ready-to-Buy-Yet” Leads
Every salesperson understands that just because a prospect speaks with you on the phone or agrees to schedule a meeting with you doesn’t mean they’re ready to buy. In fact, most prospects you speak with may someday be your very best opportunities, but today the timing just isn’t right.
CRMs have made it easy to ensure these leads don’t get lost over time. We can schedule a future task in the tool, and the technology will remind us to follow up with the prospect at some point in the future. But how do you keep the prospect from forgetting about you until they’re ready? How do you stay top-of-mind? And how do you avoid the “just checking in” follow-up voice mails and emails that seem to annoy everyone?
Every engagement with a prospect (whether it’s via a phone call, voice mail, email, or social media) should always have a clear objective. And “just checking in” isn’t a clear objective. Instead, we should remember the first two points— educate and share thought leadership.
Do you want to be remembered as the salesperson who pestered a prospect for months and months? Or would you rather be remembered as the professional who educated, informed and became a valuable resource over time? You can do this by consistently sharing appropriate content—marketing content—as you nurture the opportunity.
How to Leverage Marketing Material in the Sales Process
Most organizations experience one of two problems when trying to effectively leverage their marketing material in the sales process.
First, they don’t have enough content to work with. They only have a corporate brochure and a 5-year-old case study. The solution is simple: start creating the content you need. Conduct an audit of your current resources, identify your gaps, and develop an editorial calendar that will help you stay on task.
The second problem many organizations face is having too much content. They have so much material they’re not even sure what they have or how to use it. A potential solution to this problem is a sales playbook. One of the features of many playbooks is to serve as a central content repository. All the available content is in one place. More importantly, it’s mapped to various scenarios that come up in the sales process and guides the sales team on how and when to use it.