Let’s put to bed the LinkedIn creeping, constant emailing, phone calling and other pesky check-in tactics salespeople once relied on.
The ABCs of selling — Always be Closing — is no longer enough. Sales success today requires us to ABH: Always be Helping. And that’s where content comes into play.
If we haven’t had the chance to meet yet, you’ll soon see that I love using analogies, anecdotes, and the occasional song lyric to explain things. One of my favorite analogies about content marketing comes from Uberflip co-founder and COO, Randy Frisch about building relationships with content.
Transactions vs. Relationships
Marketing your company with content is like charming the woman of your dreams—the one you want to stick around.
Sure, sometimes an aggressive “Can I have your number” approach will work, just like transactional Sales tactics can still close deals. But what are the chances that the relationship will be successful in the long run for both parties?
Content becomes the sweet-talking relationship builder that a Sales team can leverage to break the ice with new leads and educate them throughout the decision-making process. But how do you get your Sales team on board with it all?
Getting Buy-in From Sales
Marketers around the globe are doing an incredible job at creating content that speaks to all areas of the funnel. But many of the marketers that I speak to on a daily basis still struggle to have their Sales team adopt content into their sales process.
In many cases, Sales and Marketing teams are divided. Sales complains that the leads are no good and Marketing says the Sales team couldn’t close a book if they tried. Times are changing, however, Sales and Marketing teams are working together more closely than ever before.
Sales lends Marketing the invaluable insights necessary to create content that targets the needs of buyer personas, and Marketing gives Sales a library of content that’s created with their goals in mind.
The reality is that prospects are learning more on their own about your industry, your business and your product by way of content. And it’s happening before they even talk to a Sales rep.
Your Sales team needs to adapt to this change in the buying process. Like Kanye West once said: Go ahead and switch your style up...and watch the money pile up.
Become a Know-It-All
One of the biggest assets a Sales rep has is knowledge and the drive to continue learning. Beyond the ability to talk-the-talk with a deep understanding of how customers walk-the-walk, this is about effectively using the supporting content that’s available to you.
Begin with a review of your typical buyer personas and look at what affects them day-to-day. What concerns them outside of your product? Are they focused on digital with SEO and integrations, or are they focused oncreating and tracking content?
Buyer personas are constantly evolving, so be sure to regularly revisit each one and the content that is created for them. At Uberflip we have a weekly cadence between Sales, Marketing and Customer Success to review content in the pipeline, product updates, current objections and much more.
Keep in mind the benefits of curating content as well as leveraging your existing content library to educate prospects. A consultative, thought leader approach is integral to today’s sales mindset.
To paraphrase The Notorious B.I.G: “If you don’t know, now you know” thanks to that in-depth blog post that answered your prospect’s burning question.
The Experience is Everything
An often overlooked aspect of content marketing is how it is consumed: the overall content experience. Context matters—would you prefer an ice-cold adult beverage outside in the depths of winter or on a hot summer day next to the barbecue?
Many marketers are guilty of having their content organized by format rather than by topic. Can you expect most leads to sift through a third of your blog posts just to find one that’s relevant to them? Doubtful.
What’s needed is a structure for your content library that can accommodate your buyer personas. This ensures there is an on-site, centralized place where a lead can consume blogs, videos and premium content that shares an overarching theme that’s relevant to them. It’s crucial to collaborate with both Sales & Marketing when you implement this.
A customer of ours that does this well is Dyn, a provider of cloud-based internet performance solutions and one of my go-to examples of standout content libraries. Their content library has a menu to help visitors consume content by Topic. For example, a stream dedicated to Cloud Adoption houses whitepapers, blogs and webinars, specifically about that topic.
Take it Further—Get Personal
Now, a follow-up email with 5+ hyperlinks to your blog, webinars and whitepapers isn’t going to fly.
I’m talking about tailoring content in a personalized experience that speaks directly to a single lead or opportunity. Persona-based organization of content is great for the TOFU (Top Of FUnnel), but as opportunities mature to BOFU (Bottom Of FUnnel), there is great benefit to having a hyper-targeted content library.
My team of course uses the Uberflip platform to give us shared access to our in-depth content library and the ability to whip up a branded landing page via custom content streams to build personalized experiences that target the opportunity at stake. Specific user permissions let the Marketing team sleep easier at night knowing we won’t be able to muck up anything facing the end-user.
Here’s an example of this level of content personalization for a current customer of ours, Netskope.
I shared a targeted content library that spoke to their needs and catered to their interests, with a MailTo CTA on the side in case other stakeholders had questions. Now, with a dedicated private URL, I can dynamically add content as the opportunity matures and check in on the metrics to see how they engaged with this personalized content experience.
To Wrap Up...
Relevant, contextual and knowledgeable is the new tall, dark and handsome—at least for prospects who are shopping for your solution.
That's why it's important to make your Sales team a part of the content creation process, because they see directly where the latest and greatest content pieces can be applied. But a formal feedback process for Sales and Marketing needs to be in place for the Sales team to be involved. Sales is out there talking to customers and leads on a daily basis, and they need to share that breadth of knowledge to have the right kind of content created for them to use.
Once in place, make sure your Sales team has easy access to the content and a way to create personalized experiences for new opportunities. That's how you close with content.