It’s not hard to develop a piece of content—say, a video or an infographic, an article or a white paper—on a topic that somebody might find interesting. But, if there’s not a natural bridge for a sales rep to use to follow up on the consumption of that content and turn that into a sales conversation, you’re really just creating content for branding and awareness.
That’s not enough for today’s B2B company.
The right approach is to identify the high probability pains that your prospect is experiencing and develop content based on those topics.
- What are the things that keep them up at night?
- What are the business challenges that they face and are trying to solve?
Once they start to explore your content and make a decision to explore some solutions to problems you’ve so eloquently outlined, your content can take a slightly different tone that is based around the new issues, and that’s when initial sales conversations usually get started.
In the middle of funnel, they’re usually looking at vendors, so the content can shift to talk about the advantages of your solution, including demonstrations.
At the bottom of the funnel they’re actually narrowing down their buying decisions and much of your content at this stage may be based on case study results or client testimonials.
Why are these funnel distinctions important?
Because that’s how a well-trained sales professional behaves at each stage of the sales funnel. For example, a top-producing sales rep isn’t out there just talking about themselves and their product and telling everyone why they should buy from them, because they know that no one wants to hear that.
And they don’t want to hear it online, either. They don’t want to hear it face-to-face. They don’t want to hear it on the phone.
Prospects want to talk to someone that can solve business problems. They have pain.
When good sales reps prospect for leads, they’re probing for the same pain points, and when they find it, they’ve found the beginning of the consultative sales conversation.
Your content should mirror this same process, so if that prospect downloaded a white paper on Topic X that you know to be a consistent problem in the marketplace, then viola! There’s your foundation for a consultative sales conversation.
For example, you can now approach a prospect and say, ”Hey, I saw you downloaded this topic. A lot of our customers also experience that exact same business problem. Tell me the challenge you’re facing in that area.”
Now you’ve created the opening for a salesperson to have a business conversation.
But not so fast.
It’s unlikely that prospect is going to instantly want to buy from you. What they most likely do next is continue the conversation with sales. Keep marketing to them with your pain oriented content and some may come back to you at a later date ready to engage.
We’ve had numerous customers that viewed our emails and webinars for a year or more before they were ready to take a meeting with a salesperson.
They’ll keep coming back to your web site or your social media content until they’re ready to proceed further down the buying process.
So, the critical thing to consider when developing your content is not creating content that just gets clicked through, gets downloaded, and creates engagement, but rather content that is designed to create engagement that really facilitates a sales conversation, regardless of whether it happens on the phone, face-to-face, or solely through digital formats.