Last week I collaborated with Trish Bertuzzi & Matt Bertuzzi (from The Bridge Group Inc) and Lori Richardson (CEO of Score More Sales) on an American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP) Boston Chapter event. The event was hosted by Cathy Bilafer, Director of Inside Sales and Lead Development at Kronos. Our overarching topic: “Using Content to Move the Sale Forward”. With buyers demanding that salespeople bring value to the table, we advocated the benefits to salespeople of using content to share expertise and insights.
So what do we mean by content?
- Industry reports on trends and new developments
- customer success stories
- ROI Calculators
- implementation guides
- analyst reports
- product information
- training materials
- webinar recordings
- blog posts
- slide decks
- images…and more.
I began my presentation segment, “Ten Tips for Using Content to Set the Buying Vision”, by asking the assembled 100+ inside sales professionals:
Q: “How many of you use content today in your sales process?”
A: Less then 15% raised their hands.
Was this answer a surprise? A bit, as I would have thought more hands would go up. At the same time it points to:
- The opportunity for salespeople to differentiate themselves from other salespeople if they do begin to use content in their selling process.
- The opportunity for Marketing and Sales to collaborate to bring the value of all that marketing content into the hands of salespeople for the last mile message delivery to potential customers.
- How sales leaders can help their sales representatives become respected experts.
Content is now a centerpiece of business-to-business (B2B) inbound marketing. Marketers are regularly creating content to help attract potential buyers to their companies. Potential clients are consuming this content. In fact, data from IDG shows that IT decision makers consume on average nine (9) pieces of content during the purchase process.
Sharing content CAN increase a salesperson’s opportunity to win each deal.
The reality is buyers are doing their own research. Left to their own devices, buyers will not typically speak with a sales rep until they are roughly 2/3 through the buying process. At the same time, buyers tell us they respect and trust the person who helps them set the “buying vision” and go with the vendor who does more often then not. Said differently, the vendor who disrupts a client’s satisfaction with the status quo—by articulating a better outcome with a clear path to achieving it—most often wins the deal. Sharing valuable content to educate is one way a salesperson can engage a potential buyer early on—ideally even before the prospect realizes there is a problem.
There is a lot written on the importance of aligning marketing and sales to achieve the ultimate goal of growing revenues. Most marketing organizations are creating a lot of content to help create leads. I see a huge opportunity for marketing and sales to collaborate on helping sales reps learn how best to use content to drive revenue.