The new reality for B2B sales reps is that customers are making their purchasing decisions on their own time. A sales rep’s initial interaction with a customer tends to come after they have already conducted thorough research. Thanks to all of the content accessible online, the market is more educated on products and competition than ever. No longer do they need to get all of their information directly through a sales rep.
According to Marketing Leadership Council Research, customers advance 57% of the way through the buying cycle before they make first contact with the supplier. Customers are using the power of Google, social media, and referrals to find the answers to their own questions. There are mounds of helpful content just waiting to be consumed on whatever issue they’re concerned with.
So what does a marketer need to know about creating a content marketing program that sales reps can really use?
Turning a problem into a huge opportunity
When a prospective customer finally reaches a sales rep, the goal of the rep is always to get to the next meeting. Or from the famous words of Mr. Alec Baldwin himself, “Always be closing!” This is an important frame of mind marketers should have when creating content to assist the sales process.
Said another way: The singular purpose of content used by sales reps is to drive the lead to the next stage of the buying process.
When marketers and sales departments work together, they can create incredibly valuable content that resonates and pushes people through the sales funnel. By creating content at every level of the sales funnel, you’re making it incredibly easy for customers to overcome objections.
Other benefits of content marketing with sales reps:
- Build credibility
- Dig deeper into commonly asked questions
- Build trust
- Increase authority
With useful content in a sales rep’s arsenal, they can open up more opportunities to communicate. You can now have conversations with buyers by:
- Providing follow-up content
- Cross-prospecting or champion-building through email and social media
- Live meetings, hangouts, or webinars
- Nurture existing customers for cross-selling or up-selling opportunities
What type of content should be produced?
The key to an effective content strategy is sending the right content at the right time. This is essential. If you’re sending content for the sake of sending content, you’re only going to aggravate your leads. To handle this, be sure that you have different types of content made for different stages of the business funnel. I’ve attached a very helpful infographic by Eloqua below.
The toughest challenge for creating content used by sales reps
The biggest challenge is for marketers to produce incredibly useful content. Remember, you’re not creating content just for the sake of it. The only way it’ll help with a sale is if you actually answer some of the objections the user may have. This is why it’s very important for marketers and sales reps to be on the same page.
My recommendation is to analyze the specific questions or issues your customer normally encounters when using your product or service. Talk to your reps and see where they spend their time, what objections they encounter most often, and how they overcome them. Also, investigate to find out what have been common hangups that have ultimately been the reason why a prospect didn’t buy? These are the questions you need to answer with the content you create.
To start, check out our free Buyer Persona outline. This will make sure you have answered all of the important questions regarding your company’s most important asset: your customers.
Once you have relevant and useful content for prospects to use, sales rep’s likelihood of a sale increases tenfold.