A Marketer's Plea for Content for Sales
Content marketing is something you hear a lot about these days - but what about content for sales? Nobody can deny that content marketing can be effective for brand awareness and trust building, but B2B sales conversations require more than just awareness.
In a new episode of The Social Business Engine podcast features, I discuss the evolution of content for sales as I prepare to travel to the 8th annual Content Marketing World conference where I'm speaking again. We'll take a look at why companies should be thinking not just about content for marketing, but also about content for sales - here are some of the main points of discussion.
What are the Most Popular Ways in Which Marketing Sets the Stage for Sales?
A recent Content Marketing Institute study reveals the most popular types of content that marketing departments are producing. They are…
- Social media posts - 94% (not really content, but the promotion of the content)
- Case studies - 73%
- Pre-produced videos - 72%
- E-books & white papers - 71%
- Infographics - 65%
- Photos/images - 56%
These are the things that are getting attention and building brand awareness - but they only matter if they're driving profitability and sales opportunities.
Find out how content for sales takes up the baton after marketing has done its job in building brand awareness and top of the funnel leads in this podcast episode.
Content Marketing vs Content for Sales - Do You Know The Difference?
Profitable customer action is the end goal of content marketing, but as we all know, the content marketing approach is a “slow game”, one that builds top-of-mind presence for brands and establishes a basis for trust with buyers over the long haul.
To accomplish this, content marketing has to be done via an omnichannel approach (multiple channels of distribution) and is done on a “one to many” basis.
Content for sales is also aimed at obtaining profitable customer actions, but it has a significantly different approach. Content for sales is used to create or sustain sales conversations, which are not carried out through a one to many approach like content marketing. Sales conversations happen on a one to one basis, in which the content being used is leveraged in a more personal and powerful way by salespeople.
With such a marked difference, it’s important to understand the most effective ways to approach content for sales.
What's The Role of Content in Helping Sales Pros Improve Quota Achievement?
Recent studies show that 94% of buyers consume several pieces of content from the company they wind up buying from.
Think that through - if your buyers are doing their research via the content that you provide them, isn’t it vital that your company produces valuable and informative content in order to move their buying decision along?
What types of content should you be creating for salespeople to use to create conversations? There’s no study that definitively shows what works best, but from my experience with clients, podcast guests, and conversations at conferences, these are some of the best forms that content for sales can take:
- Internal podcasts
- Case studies
- Use case examples
- Competitive intelligence
- Research reports
- Technical papers
- Industry-specific papers
- Inspirational content to attract conversations
- Third party content
- Personalized video
We cover each of these approaches, and how he sees B2B salespeople use them effectively, on this episode.
The Powerful Edge You Can Give Your Sales Team via Content For Sales
In wrapping up the episode, we also look at the most important principles for producing effective content for sales…
- Content for sales should be vaulted - Your sales team needs to know that they have exclusive content which their buyers are unable to find anyplace else. That way they can present the content as an expert consultant, and in a controlled environment during their sales conversations.
- Content for sales should map to the buyer’s journey - It should also be specific to the buyer’s persona - you can't take a “one size fits all” approach.
- Assessment is vital - There are various ways to effectively track content for sales by using UTMs to ensure each piece of content is unique to each individual. Use content libraries and distribution platforms internally, then measure the contribution the content is making to the sales pipeline by using marketing automation technology.
I explain each of these steps in detail on this podcast episode, and how a content for sales approach can help salespeople have more conversations with qualified buyers, which is an important step on the journey to achieving quota.
Outline of This Episode
- [2:38] Do you know the difference between content marketing and content for sales?
- [8:30] Overcoming the “Glass Building” syndrome
- [11:06] The most popular type of content that comes from B2B marketing
- [12:23] The type of content we should make useful as “Content For Sales”
- [16:29] Why content for sales should be vaulted content
- [18:52] The simple concept of how to gauge the effectiveness of content for sales
- [20:07] How YOU can be a guest on the Social Business Engine podcast
Resources & People Mentioned
- CSO Insights Buyer Preferences Study
- The Content Marketing Institute
- DemandGen Report 2018 Content Preferences Survey
- McKinsey Study About Marketing and Sales
- Content Marketing Institute Study About Most Popular Forms of Content
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