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by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes

Often people seem to think that content is a one trick pony, often it’s treated like a “cold call” or often people try to measure it, when it cannot be measured or don’t measure it when it can be measured.  Anyway enough of the introductions, let’s talk about how the modern seller and marketer can use content.

  1. Prospecting – In the old days you blindly made call after call, the technology now exists to prospect but to be more focused. Applications exist that will map your territory and or listen for intent.  Either way you will need to make an outreach.  First base for every modern seller is a referral, if not then a warm outreach.  Warm being that you will have researched the person, understand how they tick and can have some “content” to “oil the gears”.  Now this isn’t what one influencer said to me, which was to dispatch a sales person with a boring white paper under their arm. A great example of this is ISTATOY (I saw this and thought of you) by Passle https://home.passle.net/  So far we have used this with 100% success rate.  It’s simple, you research a person, find an article they might find interesting and send it to them via the ISTATOY feature.  You are notified when the person opens it.
  2. Relationship Selling – LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com use this term called “multi-threading”, which means that there isn’t just one person involved in the sale anymore. According to CEB, now Gartner, https://www.cebglobal.com/ there are 6.8 people involved in a sale, in IT it can be 8 or 10.  This is why you may need different content for different people.  The business won’t want to read about techies stuff but the architecture team may well want to.  The modern sales people, needs to be comfortable having conversations at different levels and with different people.  Content can help.
  3. Insight – As a modern seller we need to give our customers insight, tell them something they don’t know. In fact, as far as I can remember, customers have wanted insight.  In the past, lots of sales people saw this as an excuse to take a brochure or a white paper and dump on the prospects desk.  Where they sat with all the other last sales people, never to be read.  Where as the A-Players read the content, absorb it and provide a “snippet” to the prospect.  For example, I was in a meeting with one of the biggest lawyers in the world and as we know the market, we were able to share (within the realms of client confidentially) learning from all our other professional services clients.  In the world of internet and social, things have changed, we can now reach our prospects and clients via social media.
  4. Nurturing – We as sales people can also nurture our prospects on LinkedIn and other social media platforms by sharing insight. If we follow the 4-1-1 rule and share 4 pieces of content, that are relevant for your territory.  Don’t make the mistake one of my contacts makes.  He always posts a quarterly, KPMG video.  With the comment, here is KPMG’s https://home.kpmg.com/uk/en/home.html quarterly video.  No context.  Where as you could watch the video, post it and say.  Great video from KPMG, my 3 take aways are 1. blah, 2. blah and 3. blah.  Not only have you shown insight, with context, but just saved me 15 minutes.  One of the sales people that worked for me, didn’t believe me, until he was in a bid situation.  It was Public Sector / Federal and he wasn’t allowed to contact the client.  But the Finance Director / Chief Finance Officer (CFO) liked one of his posts and because of this he felt he was able to influence the bid.  Which he went on to win.
  5. Throughout The Sales Process – You can use all 4 of the techniques above in existing sales pursuits to get wider and deeper in terms of the people you have contacts with. For example, in an Account Based Marketing (ABM) style.  You can use content to speed up the sales process through the sales funnel.  And it always gives you a reason to call, which enable you to unblock sales or react to compel active pressure.  Content is your trusty tool throughout the sales and closing process.
  6. Lead Generation – CEB now Gartner state that people are 57% of the way through the buying process before they contact a sales person. Now regardless if it’s 35%, 57% or 85% people are and do research online and you want to get as much of the inbound as you can.  The more inbound you get the less outbound you need to make.  We as a company, make no outbound, all of our business comes through referral and inbound.  Saving time energy and means we have an “always on” demand generation process, rather than the “feast and famine of traditional techniques.  Here at Digital Leadership Associates (DLA) we publish a blog a day http://www.social-experts.net/blog/ and get 3 pieces of inbound, every day.
  7. The Trick with Content – We know a company that writes really good blogs, that get great engagement, then they send the next few days patting each other on the back or event trying to measure it. The trick to content is for it to be regular.  Google likes content and the more good content that you put out, the more likely people will find it.  The more people will find you and contact you.
  8. Measurement – I’ve had a person tell me they are not putting out content as they cannot measure it or see who has consumed it. They are missing the point.  We use Leadfeeder https://get.leadfeeder.com for example, to track who comes to the website.  Now it cannot see the exact person, you can only see where IP address comes from.  Not much use if somebody is accessing your website from their hotel room.  But in a recent deal situation, we could see that people were accessing the website, during our pitch meeting.  If we use a fishing analogy, cold calling is like a person casting out a line, where as content is like a trawler casting out a net.  The more content you publish, the more inbound you will get.

Finally I have written this without using digital marketing jargon.  Too many articles jump in with comments like ToFu (top of funnel), MoFu (middle of funnel) and BoFu (bottom of funnel), losing the reader.  I’ve tried above to work though these areas but using everyday language.  But the reader, hopefully you can see that different content is required, or maybe the same content can be used.  It just needs to be used differently where your buyer is in the buying cycle. If you would like to find out more…please get in touch.

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