B2B Sales Has Changed
Sales reps used to be able to generate their own leads. It's not that buyers ever wanted to talk to sales reps, but it was the only way they could learn about best practices and solutions available in the market. It was Marketing's job to create awareness. However, a well-trained sales professional could easily fill their calendar with new opportunities using the phone, knocking on doors, and asking for referrals.
Today, buyers don't need to talk to sales reps to learn best practices. They use the Internet to read articles and white papers, watch videos, attend webinars, study infographics, and use social media to check vendor references before ever talking to a rep. The result: B2B sales reps are starving because they can no longer generate their own leads.
This paradigm shift has created a void between Sales and Marketing that must be filled by Content Marketing. Your content must connect with multiple influencers at every stage of the buying process on the device and channel they prefer.
Most importantly, the new Content Marketing function is a continuous process. It's not a project or a campaign or an event. It's a never-ending critical business process that feeds your sales team and therefore needs to be dedicated, resourced, and continually optimized. This is the new normal.
You're missing out on deals you never knew existed
This shift in buyer behavior has flipped lead generation on it's head. In fact, according to Marketing Sherpa, the buyer is the one finding the seller 80% of the time. That means if your not getting found by buyers, you're missing out on sales opportunities you never even knew existed.
So how are buyers finding sellers? Content.
B2B sales requires more content, not more reps
The old way...
Not so long ago, the biggest companies with the most sales reps won. Big companies could out-spend smaller competitors and flood the market with sales reps knocking on doors and hitting the phones.
The new way...
Today, companies with the most (good) content win. That's because buyers are the ones finding sellers and content scales on much smaller budgets than hiring a large team of sales reps.
But, how much content?
Think of your prospects as an audience, not a list. Scrubbing a list is an event but keeping an audience engaged until sales-ready requires a steady stream of content.
Only a small portion of your market is actively looking for a vendor at any given time. That means long term success requires engaging those prospects who aren't actively looking and you can't do that with a few random pieces of content.
Also, Google has a never ending appetite to crawl and index everything you produce to help users find you. Inbound company Hubspot says companies who blog 16+ times per month, generate 5.3x as many leads as those who only publish 1-2 times per month.
Fractional team of resources
Running an effective Content Marketing function, requires many new skills that didn't exist just a few years ago.
You'll need a technologist to connect your website with Marketing Automation and your CRM and a database administrator to manage the data. You'll need someone who understands your buying personas, their high-probability pains, and the type of content they want to consume. To produce that content, you'll need strategists, writers, editors, designers, videographers, and post-production staff. Then you'll need tech-savvy staff who can string all that together and execute campaigns. Whew, that's a lot of people!
In reality, you don't need 100% of each of these people and, even if you did, you likely can't afford to staff a Content Marketing team with all of those people on a full-time basis. Rather, you need a highly-skilled team of fractional resources.
Blueprint to build your own Sales Engine
We're Content Marketing experts with Sales DNA. We design and execute content marketing programs that get your sales team in front of more qualified prospects. Our programs generate leads, grow sales pipeline, and improve win rates.
Download the infographic below and see how we do it or use it as a blueprint for building your own sales engine.