Improving your sales team’s effectiveness is an ongoing process. Content marketing can help. In fact, content is no longer a nice-to-have. For most marketers, it’s a must-have. Here’s why.
Content IS Your Sales Team
For starters, today’s buyers are typically far into their decision-making journey before they invite a salesperson into the conversation. So for the first three-quarters of that journey, your content marketing is a proxy for your sales team. If it’s not demonstrating your expertise and its applicability to the problem they’re trying to solve, you will never be in the running for serious consideration by your prospects.
Being in the running isn’t really our goal, though. We want to make the short list and, ultimately, win the business. For that, content can again ride to the rescue, setting the stage for the late-funnel work that your actual sales team will do.
The question is, what kind of content will do that? Content that is optimized to attract your audience, is structured to create a story that engages your audience, and which asks the questions that will move your audience toward a decision.
Optimizing Your Content Marketing
For your content marketing to work well, you have to know who will be reading it and what their objectives are. Your content has to address the challenges they are facing and understand what their status quo looks like.
That last bit is key because your competition is not just the other firms with whom you trade account wins and losses; it’s inertia. If you can’t create a case that points to real business improvements gained by changing what they’re doing now, you won’t lose the sale to your competitors. There simply won’t be a sale.
Story Follows Research
Once you’ve done the research that helps ensure you’re speaking the using the right language and addressing the right issues, you must get their attention and get them engaged. This is not a time for same-old, same-old. It’s time for constructing a narrative that brings your value proposition to life.
Data can support your story, but the human and emotional aspect is what resonates with even the most analytical audience. Make them feel the decision they’re about to make and let the data support that feeling.
Ask and Answer
Finally, it’s question time. You should be ready to ask questions that will move your prospect toward the next step on their buying journey. And you should be prepared to answer the questions that you know (from your research) are top of mind for prospects at each stage.
Whether your content answers those questions or your sales team does will depend on the questions and on the nature of the prospect and the sale. Either way, strong content is an important part of giving your sales team the best chance for making the most of the opportunities your marketing creates.